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Fathers Of The Church, Catholic Edition

Tyrannius Rufinus is chiefly known from his relation to Jerome, first as an intimate friend and afterwards as a bitter enemy. The immense influence of Jerome, through all the ages in which criticism was asleep, has unduly lowered his adversary. But he has some solid claims of his own on our recognition. His work on the Creed, besides its intrinsic merits, must always be an authority as a witness to the state of the creed as held in the Italian churches in the beginning of the 5th century, as also to the state of the Canon and the Apocrypha at that time. And it is to his translations that we are indebted for our knowledge of many of the works of Origen, including the greatest of them all, the Peri 'Archon. We are the more grateful for his services because they were so opportune. The works of Origen, which had been neglected in the West for a century and to such an extent that the Pope Anastasius says that he neither knows who he was nor what he wrote, came suddenly into notice in the last quarter of a century before Alaric's sack of Rome a.d. 385-410: and it was at this moment that Rufinus appeared, according to his friend Macarius' dream like a ship laden with the merchandize of the East, an Italian who had lived some 25 years in Greek lands, and sufficiently equipped for the work of a translator. Through his labours during the last 13 years of that eventful time a considerable part of the works of the great Alexandrian have floated down across the ocean of the Dark Ages, and, while lost in their native Greek, have in their Latin garb come to enrich the later civilization of the West.

a.d. 344-5: Rufinus was born at Concordia (Jer. Ep. v. 2. comp. with Ep. x. and De Vir. Ill. S:53) between Aquileia and Altinum, a place of some importance, which was destroyed by the Huns in 452 but afterwards rebuilt. His birth was about the year 344 or 345, he being slightly older than Jerome. Nothing is known of his education or the events of his youth; but that he was early acquainted with Jerome and was interested in sacred literature is seen from the fact that in 368 when Jerome went with Bonosus to Gaul, Rufinus begged him to copy for him the works of Hilary on the Psalms and on the Councils of the Church (Jer. Ep. v. 2).

a.d. 372-3: His mother did not die till the year 397, as is seen from Jerome's mention of her (Letter LXXXI, 1), and it would appear that both his parents were Christians. But he was not baptized till about his 28th year. He was at that time living at Aquileia, where he had embraced the monastic state, and was a member of the company of young ascetics to which Jerome and Bonosus belonged. The presence among them of Hylas the freedman of Melania, the wealthy and ascetic Roman matron, shows that that relation had already begun which was afterwards of such importance in the life of Rufinus. It must have been just before the breaking up of that company that he was baptized, for Jerome, writing of him (Ep. iv. 2) in 374 from Antioch says "He has but lately been washed and is as white as snow." He himself gives a full account of his baptism in his Apology.

a.d. 373: When this company of friends was scattered, Rufinus joined the noble Roman lady, Melania, in her pilgrimage to the East. He visited the monasteries of Egypt, and apparently desired to remain there; but a persecution arose against the orthodox monks from Lucius the Arian bishop of Alexandria, seconded by the governor, both being prompted by the Arian Emperor Valens: the monasteries were in many cases broken up, and Rufinus himself for a while suffered imprisonment and was then banished from Egypt. Rufinus probably on coming out of prison joined Melania who had then settled at Diocaesarea on the coast of Palestine for the purpose of making a home for the Egyptian exiles on their way to their various destinations. He states in his Apology that he was 6 years in Egypt, and that he returned there again, after an interval, for two years more. He was a pupil both of Didymus, then head of the catechetical school, who wrote for him a treatise on the death of infants, and of Theophilus, afterward Bishop of Alexandria, and that he saw many of the well-known hermits, such as Serapion and Macarius, whom he describes in his History of the Monks. Whether Melania returned with him to Egypt, or whether she went to Jerusalem, we do not know: it is also uncertain whether a journey which he made to Edessa was undertaken at this time. The date of the settlement of Melania on the Mount of Olives according to Jerome's Chronicle is 379, or, according to our present reckoning of dates, 377. We may suppose that Rufinus joined her in 379. This was his home for eighteen years, till the year 397.

a.d. 386: Rufinus was ordained at Jerusalem, probably about the time when John, with whom he was closely connected, succeeded Cyril in the Bishopric. The great resources of Melania were added to his own which seem to have been not inconsiderable. He built habitations for monks on the Mount of Olives, and employed them in learned pursuits, and in copying manuscripts. On the arrival of Jerome at Bethlehem, the old friendship was renewed, though not apparently with all its former warmth. Jerome certainly at times visited Rufinus and once at least stayed with him, and he and his friends brought mss. to be copied by the monks of the Mount of Olives. He gave lectures on Christian writers and doctrine, of which a satirical account is given at a later period by Jerome in his letter to Rusticus. The nick-name Grunnius which he there gives him was probably caused by some trick of the voice. But we may gather from Jerome that he read the Greek church writers diligently and lectured upon them, a study which enabled him to do much good work at a later time. It is probable that he lectured in Greek, since he says in 397 that his Latin was weak through disuse. We may set against Jerome's depreciatory description the account given by Palladius. "Rufinus, who lived with Melania, was a man of congenial spirit, and of great nobility and strength of character. No man has ever been known of greater learning or of gentler disposition." Palladius also speaks of the princely hospitality of Melania and Rufinus: "They received," he says, "bishops and monks, virgins and matrons and helped them out of their own funds: They passed their life offending none and being helpers of the whole world." It is said by Palladius that he had heard from Melania that she had been present at the death of Pambas in Egypt which took place in the year 385, and it is probable that Rufinus accompanied her on this occasion. He himself records a journey which he made to Edessa and Charrhoe, when he saw settlements of the monks like those which he had previously seen in Egypt. But the date of this journey does not appear. It may have been undertaken in order to visit some of the exiles from Egypt before his establishment on the Mt. of Olives. He records also the visits of the remarkable men who were entertained by him; Bacurius, who had been king of the Ubii, and afterwards count of the Domestics under Theodosius, and was governor or duke of Palestine when Rufinus settled there; and AEdesius the companion of Frumentius the Missionary to the tribes in the N. W. of India. But his chief interest and occupation throughout seems to have been with his monks at Mt. Olivet with perhaps some connection with the diocesan work of his friend John, the Bp. of Jerusalem. Palladius records that Rufinus and Melania were the means of restoring to the communion of the church 400 monks. What was this schism, which Palladius describes as being "on account of Paulinus"? It is probable that the words relate to the monks of Bethlehem whose alienation from the Church of Jerusalem had been due to the ordination of Paulinian, Jerome's brother, by Epiphanius. We know that Rufinus before leaving Palestine was reconciled to Jerome; and we know also that Jerome's book against John, Bishop of Jerusalem, which describes the schism was suddenly broken off; and that he remained from that time forward at one with his Bishop. We may be allowed to believe that the influence of Melania as well as Rufinus had been exerted for some time previously to bring about this happy result.

a.d. 382: Rufinus' part in the controversy thus terminated is partly known and partly the subject of inference. The original source of discord is not known. It is possible that Rufinus, who had been mentioned by Jerome in his Chronicle (a.d. 378) as being, together with Florentius and Bonosus, a specially distinguished monk, did not find himself included in his friend's Catalogue of Church writers published at Bethlehem.

a.d. 392: When Aterbius began the Origenist troubles at Jerusalem, Rufinus, who treated him with merited scorn probably felt some resentment at Jerome who, by "giving satisfaction" to the heresy hunter, had countenanced his proceedings. Rufinus appears as Bishop John's adviser during the visit of Epiphanius, as the chief of a chorus of presbyters who applauded their own bishop and derided Epiphanius as a "silly old man;" and as present when Epiphanius remonstrated with his brother-bishop. He is also mentioned by Epiphanius in his letter to John as holding an important place in the Church, "May God free you and all about you, especially the presbyter Rufinus, from the heresy of Origen, and all others." This sentence will suggest to all who are familiar with church-controversies a whole series of scenes in the schism which continued between Bethlehem and Jerusalem during the next five years. Jerome believed Rufinus to have injured him at every turn, to have procured the abstraction of a Manuscript of his from the house occupied by Fabiola on her visit to Bethlehem perhaps to have been in league with Vigilantius. But such insinuations have the appearance rather of the suspicions prompted by anger than of actual fact. In any case they were condoned when the two old companions who had been so long parted by ecclesiastical strife met together at the Church of the Resurrection at a solemn eucharistic feast, and joined hands in token of reconciliation, and when Jerome accompanied his friend some way on his journey before their final parting.

a.d. 397: He arrived in Italy, in company with Melania, early in the spring of 397. They were there received by Paulinus of Nola with great honour. Melania went on at once to Rome; but Rufinus stopped at the monastery of Pinetum near Terracina. His welcome by the Abbot Urseius and the philosopher Macarius, and their request to him to translate various Greek books, amongst others the Peri 'Archon of Origen, are described in his Prefaces to the Benedictions of the Patriarchs, the Apology of Pamphilus and the translations of Origen. The preface to Origen's chief work had the worst and most lasting results. He says that, being aware of the odium attaching to the name of Origen, he had feared to translate the work: but that the example of Jerome (whom he does not name but whose great ability he extols) in translating Origen encourages him to follow in his steps. This Preface, with this translation of the Peri 'Archon, was published in Rome early in the year 398, Rufinus having moved there to stay with Melania.

a.d. 400-403: At Rome he lived in the circle of Melania, her son Publicola and his wife Albina, with their daughter the younger Melania and her husband Pinianus, to whom we may probably add the Pope Siricius, and certainly Apronianus, a young noble whom he speaks of as his son in the faith. Jerome's friend Eusebius of Cremona was also in Rome, and on friendly terms with him. But on the appearance of the work of Origen with Rufinus' Preface, a great ferment arose leading to the violent controversy between Rufinus and Jerome which is described in the Preface to their Apologies.

a.d. 398: Meanwhile, Rufinus had left Rome probably in 398, having obtained the usual Literae Formatae from the Pope Siricius, who died that year, to introduce him to other churches. We hear of him at Milan, where in the presence of the Bishop, Simplicianus, he met Eusebius of Cremona, and heard him read out a letter of Theophilus containing some passages from the Peri 'Archon, against which he vehemently protested.

a.d. 399-408: He then, having probably visited his native city of Concordia, where his mother, possibly his father also was still living, took up his abode at Aquileia. There he was welcomed by the bishop, Chromatius, by whom he had been baptized some 26 or 27 years before. Rufinus probably arrived at Aquileia in the beginning of 399, and remained there 9 or 10 years. It was during this period that all his principal works except the Commentary on the Benedictions of the patriarchs, the translation of the Peri 'Archon and Pamphilus' Apology, and the book on adulterations of Origen were composed. It was soon after his settlement at Aquileia that he heard from Apronianus of the letter of Jerome to Pammachius and Oceanus expressing his anger against him for the mention he had made of Jerome in the Preface to the Peri 'Archon. The conciliatory letter to Rufinus which accompanied this and which was an answer to a friendly one from Rufinus was not sent on by Jerome's friends; and Rufinus, thinking that his old friend had completely turned against him, composed his Apology (434-482) which drew forth Jerome's reply. This controversy is placed in full before the reader of this volume in an English translation, with prefatory notes. It may therefore be treated very shortly here.

Rufinus' Apology is an answer to Jerome's letter to Pammachius and Oceanus. It is addressed to Apronianus of Rome. He makes a profession of his Christian standing and faith, especially on the points raised by the Origenistic controversy; he describes the circumstances which had led him to translate the books of Origen, and defends his method of translation, which, he says, has been misrepresented by men sent from the East to lay snares for him. His method, he declares, was the same which had been used by Jerome, who boasted that through him the Latins knew all that was good in Origen and nothing of the bad. Where he found passages in Origen's writings, in flagrant contradiction to the orthodox opinion he had maintained elsewhere, he concluded that the passage had been falsified by heretics, and restored the more orthodox statement which he believed to have been originally there. He then turns round upon Jerome and points out that, in his Commentaries on the Ephesians, written some 10 years before, to which he specially referred in his Letter as showing his freedom from heresy, he had practically adopted the opinions now imputed to Origen as heretical, such as the fall of souls from a previous state into the prison house of earthly bodies, and the universal restoration of spiritual beings.

In the second book he clears himself from the imputation of following Origen and Plato in believing in the lawfulness of using occasional falsehood in the government and training of men. But he imputes to his adversary a systematic use of falsehood in reference to his reading heathen authors, while he professed in his letter to Eustochium to have solemnly promised never even to possess them. He then takes a wider view of Jerome's writings, showing how, in this Letter to Eustochium, his books against Jovinian, etc., he had by his satirical pictures held up to ridicule the various classes of Christians, clergy, monks, virgins: how he had praised Origen indiscriminately as a teacher second only to the Apostles: how he had defamed men like Ambrose, and therefore his present accusations were little worth: how he boasted of having taken as his teachers not only Origenists like Didymus or heretics like Apollinarius, but heathen like Porphyry, and had made his translation of the Old Testament under the influence of the Jew Baranina (whose name Rufinus perverts into Barabbas). He concludes by summarizing his accusations and calling upon the reader to choose between him and his opponent.

This Apology was only sent to a few friends of Rufinus; but portions of it became known to Jerome's friends and his brother Paulinian carried them to Bethlehem, together with Rufinus' Apology addressed to Pope Anastasius. Jerome had also before him the letter of Anastasius to John Bishop of Jerusalem showing his dislike of Rufinus' proceedings. On these he grounds his own Apology, which was originally in two books and was addressed to Pammachius and Marcella a.d. 402.

In the first book he blames Rufinus' breach of friendship after the reconciliation which had taken place at Jerusalem; he then shows that he was compelled to translate the Peri 'Archon in order to show what it really was. He declares that the Apology of Origen translated by Rufinus as the work of Pamphilus was really written by Eusebius; that Origen had been condemned by Theophilus and Anastasius, by East and West alike, and by the decree of the Emperors. He defends himself for having used heathen and heretical teachers, and help of a Jewish scholar in translating the Old Testament. As to his Commentaries on the Ephesians he declares that he merely put side by side the opinions of various commentators, indicating at times his knowledge that some were heretical: and as to his anti-Ciceronian dream, he ridicules the idea that a man can be bound by his night visions.

In the second book he criticizes Rufinus' Apology addressed to Anastasius as to both its style and its matter, and blames him for his treatment of Epiphanius, and endeavours to implicate him in the imputation of heresy. He then defends his translation of the Old Testament, showing by copious quotations from the Prefaces to the Books that he had done nothing condemnatory of the Septuagint, whose version he had himself translated into Latin and constantly used in familiar expositions.

This Apology was brought to Rufinus at Aquileia by a merchant who was leaving again in two days. Chromatius no doubt urged him, as he urged Jerome not to continue the controversy and he yielded. He wrote, however, a private letter to Jerome, which has been lost, sending him an accurate copy of his Apology, and while declining public controversy, yet declaring that he could have said even more than before, and divulged things which would have been worse to Jerome than death. Jerome in his answer written a.d. 403, which forms B. iii of his Apology, declares that the controversy is Rufinus' fault, and defends his friends for their conduct towards him, even in holding back the conciliatory letter written in 399; but shows how a way might still be open for friendship. He touches again upon most of the points dwelt on in the previous books, defending himself and accusing Rufinus, and ends by declaring that his bitter reply was necessitated first by Rufinus' threats, and secondly by his abhorrence of heresy, from all complicity with which he must at any price clear himself.

This book closed the controversy. Rufinus did not reply, Jerome did not relent. Nothing in Rufinus' subsequent writings reflects on Jerome; but Jerome is never weary of expressing his hatred of Rufinus, speaking of him after his death as "the Scorpion" and writing malignant satirical descriptions of him like that in his letter to Rusticus.

It may be observed, however, that notwithstanding the violent words used on both sides, it was possible for eminent churchmen to esteem and befriend both parties. Augustine, on receiving Jerome's Apology, laments, in words which must have been felt by Jerome as a severe reproach, that two such men, so loved by the churches, should thus tear each other to pieces. Chromatius, while he kept up communications with Jerome, and supplied him with funds for his literary work, was also the friend and adviser of Rufinus.

Rufinus' friends at Aquileia, like those at the Pinetum and at Rome, were anxious to gain from him a knowledge of the great church-writers of the East, and especially of Origen. No one at Aquileia seems to have known Greek. He makes excuses in his Prefaces for the difficulty of the task and his own short-comings which seem to be partly conventional, partly genuine. But he did a work which he alone or almost alone at that period was qualified to do. His translations of Origen and Pamphilus were already known. We learn from Jerome that Rufinus had translated parts of the LXX. He now translated Eusebius' Church History, and added to it two books of his own; he translated the so-called Recognitions of Clement, which till then were almost unknown in Italy. He wrote a History of the Monks of the East, partly from personal knowledge, partly from what he had heard or read of them. And he translated the Commentaries of Origen upon the Heptateuch or 1st seven books of Scripture, except Numbers and Deuteronomy; and those on the Epistle to the Romans. He also wrote his exposition of the Creed, and probably some other works which have not come down to us.

a.d. 400-402: The first part of his stay at Aquileia was troubled by the controversy with Jerome. He also received from his friends at Rome the intelligence that his Preface and translation of the Peri 'Archon had been brought to the notice of the Pope Anastasius, by Pammachius and Marcella; and probably the letter of the Pope to Venerius Bishop of Milan, which is quoted in Anastasius' letter to John of Jerusalem was also brought to his knowledge.

a.d. 400: Though there is no reason to suppose, as has been often done, that the Pope passed sentence upon him, still less that he summoned him to Rome. Rufinus was so far affected by what he heard of the adverse feeling excited in the Pope's mind toward him that he thought it desirable to write an explanation or apology vindicating his action in the translation of Origen, and giving an exposition of his own belief on some of the principal points dealt with in the Peri 'Archon. From the letter of Anastasius to John of Jerusalem we gather that John had written to him in the interest of Rufinus, and had blamed Jerome's friends at Rome, perhaps also Jerome himself, for the part they had taken in reference to him. It is a curious fact that this letter was known to Jerome but not to Rufinus during the controversy; but it can hardly be inferred with any certainty from this that John had changed sides and favoured Jerome at Rufinus' expense.

a.d. 408: After 8 or 9 years at Aquileia Rufinus returned to Rome. His friend Chromatius of Aquileia had died in 405. Anastasius of Rome had also passed away (a.d. 402), and his successor Innocentius was without prejudice against Rufinus. Melania was either there or with Paulinus at Nola. Her son Publicola had died in 406, but his widow Albina was with her, and her granddaughter the younger Melania with her husband Pinianus. The siege of Rome by Alaric was impending, and the whole party were starting by way of Sicily and Africa, in both of which Melania had property, intending eventually to reach Palestine. He joined their "religious company" as he tells us in the Preface to Origen on Numbers which, according to Palladius formed a vast caravan with slaves, virgins and eunuchs; and he was with them in Sicily when Alaric burned Rhegium the flames of which they saw across the straits.

This translation of Numbers was his last work. He was at that time suffering in his eyes; and he died soon afterwards in Sicily, as we learn from Jerome's malicious words "The Scorpion now lies underground between Enceladus and Porphyrion." The undying hatred of Jerome towards him has unduly lowered him in the estimation of the Church. He was far below Jerome in literary ability, but in their great controversy he displayed more magnanimity than his rival, being willing to forego a public answer to his provoking apology. He was highly esteemed by the eminent churchmen of his time and the Bishops near whom he lived. Chromatius of Aquileia was his friend; for Petronius of Bologna he wrote his monastic history, for Gaudentius of Brixia he translated the Clementine Recognitions, for Laurentius (perhaps of his native Concordia) he composed his work on the Creed. Paulinus of Nola continued his friendship for him to the end. Above all Augustine speaks of him as the object of love and of honour; and, in his reply to Jerome who had sent him his Apology, says: "I grieved, when I had read your book, that such discord should have arisen between persons so dear and so intimate, bound to all the churches by a bond of affection and of renown."

We may conclude this notice by two quotations from writers who lived shortly after the death of Rufinus; the first of which shows how unfairly the fame of Jerome has pressed on the memory of his antagonist, while the second may be taken as the verdict of unprejudiced history. Pope Gelasius, at a Council at Rome in 494, drew up a list of books to be received in the church, in which he says of Rufinus: "He was a religious man, and wrote many books of use to the Church, and many commentaries on the Scripture; but, since the most blessed Jerome infamed him on certain points, we take part with him (Jerome) in this and in all cases in which he has pronounced a condemnation." On the other hand Gennadius, in his list of Ecclesiastical writers says: "Rufinus, the presbyter, of Aquileia, was not the least of the church-teachers, and showed an elegant genius in his translations from Greek into Latin;" and, after giving a list of his writings, he continues: "He also replied in two volumes to him who decried his works, showing convincingly that he had exercised his powers through the might which God had given him, and for the good of the church, and that it was through a spirit of rivalry that his adversary had employed his pen in defaming him."

I. Original Works which still Survive.

1. A Commentary on the Benedictions of the 12 Patriarchs.

2. A dissertation on the adulteration of the works of Origen by heretics, subjoined to his translation of Pamphilus' Apology for Origen.

3. An apology addressed to the Pope Anastasius.

4. The Apology for himself against the attacks of Jerome.

5. Ecclesiastical History in Two Books, being a continuation of the History of Eusebius translated by Rufinus into Latin.

6. The History of the Monks.

7. The Exposition of the Creed.

8. The Prefaces to the Books of Origen.

II. Translations from Greek Writers.

1. The Rule of St. Basil, translated at Pinetum for the Abbat Urseius in 397 or 398.

2. The Apology of Pamphilus for Origen.

3. Origen's Peri 'Archon.

4. Origen's Homilies.

The Translation of the Homilies on Judges, though there is no Preface to it, is ascribed to Rufinus by Fontanini, who maintains that in this case, the name of Rufinus being discredited on account of Jerome's diatribe against him, the editors have suppressed the Preface, while in some other cases they have substituted the name of Jerome for that of Rufinus.

The Translation of Origen's Commentary 36th, 37th and 38th Psalms.

The works of Origen on the Ep. to the Romans

5. The Translation of 10 Tracts of St. Basil and 8 of Gregory Nazianzen.

6. The Sentences of Xystus.

7. The Sentences of Evagrius Ponticus (or Iberita or Galatus).

8. The Recognitions of Clement.

9. The translation of Eusebius' Eccl. History.

Rufinus had arrived with Melania, in Italy, in the spring of 397, after a stay in the East of some 25 years. They had visited Paulinus at Nola, and had been entertained by him with the highest honours. Melania probably remained in Campania, where she had property, engaged in family affairs; but Rufinus set out for Rome. He stopped, however, for some months at the monastery of Pinetum near Terracina, with his friend Urseius the Abbot.

His work on Jacob's Benedictions on his sons in Gen. xlix was occasioned by the following letter from Paulinus, who alludes to it in writing to Sulpicius Severus (Ep. xxviii). "I have written a short note to the Presbyter Rufinus, the companion of the saintly Melania in her spiritual journey, a truly holy and truly learned man, and one united with me on this account in the closest affection." The work itself, being an Exposition of Scripture, is not given, but only the Preface.

1. Even a short letter from one so likeminded as yourself is a great refreshment, like the dew which revives a thirsty field when the rivers are low. But while I confess that I have been refreshed by this letter which, though short, is still from you, and is sent by the servant of our common children, yet I have been troubled at hearing that all at once through the disquiet of your anxiety and the uncertainty caused by delay, you have determined that you must go to Rome. May the Lord grant you to receive joy in the Lord from what we are doing: so that, as now we share in your anxiety, so we may rejoice in your joy, and that we may still have some beginnings of hope that we may enjoy your presence, when you begin to see clearly your way and the will of the Lord concerning you.

2. You are kind enough, with that affection which makes you love me as yourself, to desire that I should take up more seriously the study of Greek literature. I acknowledge the kindness which dictates this wish; but I am unable to give it effect, unless, through God's blessing on my earnest desires, I should have the happiness of your company for a longer time. How can I gain any proficiency in a foreign tongue in the absence of him who might teach me what I do not know? I think that, in the matter of the translation of St. Clement, besides the other defects of my abilities, you noticed this especially as showing the weakness caused by my want of practice, that where I had been unable to understand the words or to express them accurately, I have translated them according to my idea of their drift, or, to speak more truly, set down what I thought ought to be there. All the more therefore do I need that, through God's mercy, I may have your company in fuller measure; for that will be like wealth to the poor or like gathering the crumbs which fall from the rich man's table with the eager appetite of the bondman's heart.

3. At the moment when I was writing these words my eye fell upon a passage of Scripture, occurring in a portion which I had set down for reading, namely that in which Judah is blessed by Jacob; and I determined after a time to knock at the door of your mind, for which the Lord had given me this most timely occasion. I beg you, if you love me, or rather because you love me so greatly, to write and say how you understand this blessing of the Patriarchs; and, if there are some things in it which are worth knowing but hard to understand, impart to me also the knowledge of them; especially of that passage which says: "Binding his colt to the vine and his ass's colt to the haircloth." Tell me what is the colt and the ass's colt, and why his colt is to be bound to the vine, but the ass's colt to the hair cloth.

1. The more I excuse myself to you, and the more I assert that I am unable to respond to your inquiries, the more instant you become in your requests, and the harder become your demands: you treat me as you would an ox whose laziness you have discovered, and prick his flanks and back as he stops and turns back with goads of ever increasing sharpness. I must point out to you, therefore, that, even if I am able to bow my neck low so as just to drag the heavy yoke which you lay upon me, yet I have no chance of bursting at a rapid pace into the open and wide-spreading plains through a form of speech which flows at large and pours itself forth over far-extending space. Bear with me therefore if my resolution has been but tardily fulfilled, and if I come up only at a feeble pace to the point to which you call me.

2. You ask me how the passage in Genesis is to be understood in which Israel the father of the patriarchs is represented as predicting what he saw would happen to each of his sons, and says of Judah, amongst other things: "Binding his colt to the vine, and his ass's colt to the tendril of the vine." You write it "and his ass's colt to the haircloth" (cilicium); but in the Greek it stands: kai te heliki ton polon tes onou autou. The Greeks call by the name helika(twist) not the sprigs of the vine (as our copies have it) but those sickle-like shoots by which it supports itself on branches of trees or poles or the supports of the kind which I think the farmers call goatikins; so that the vine is made safe by these clinging shoots from all danger of falling, and the tendril can either become loaded with grapes or grow out in unfettered length. I think therefore that this very word (helici), like some others, must have been set down a long time ago in the Latin versions, and that it was afterwards supposed by unintelligent copyists that by helici, hair-cloth (cilicium) must be meant.

3. It is easy in this way to emend the mistakes of the translation; but it is not so easy to find out the meaning of the expression itself unless we take into consideration the whole passage. But the treatment of this passage would be placed in a fuller and clearer light if we could go back to the beginning of the whole of these Benedictions. But this implies no small amount of leisure and of time; or, to speak in a more Christian sense, it demands a mind illuminated by the Holy Spirit. My talent is but slight, and there are many demands on my time; and my friends are urging me to comply with their requests about Origen. But, so far as these circumstances admit, and so great a matter can be treated with brevity, I will state at once what appears to me the true meaning of this passage, for the love with which you bid me trust you in everything, and without prejudice to the judgment of others, who may have something better to say about it.

Rufinus, as we see by his Preface to the former book, considered it unsatisfactory to expound the Blessing upon Judah apart from those on his brethren. Paulinus therefore, taking the occasion of their common friend Cerealis' journey to Rome, sends the following letter to induce Rufinus to expound the remaining Benedictions.

1. Although our son Cerealis declared to me that it was uncertain whether, in returning as he now does to St. Peter, he would be able to visit you, yet it appears to me that it would be blamable in me and vexatious to you were I not to write to you by him in whom you have a part as well as I. It seems to me preferable to lose some letter paper by his not visiting you rather than to lose credit with you as I think I should do by his visiting you without it: and therefore I have entrusted this letter, I will not say to chance, but to faith: for I believe that the Lord will direct to you the way both of our son and of my letter; since to those who long for good all will turn to good; and indeed he longs for you as you ought to be longed for by one who understands the good he may gain from your society. I believe that this longing of his in a good matter will not be lost, according to his faith and piety: and therefore I have confidence that he will reach you and abide with you, and that I shall see the saving help of the Lord doubled towards you, since in him you will have the accession of a good son and pupil and assistant, and he will find in you a father and teacher of all good things given to him from the Lord, who will add to the efficacy and power of his prayers the strength of spiritual grace. As to myself, though I have the assurance that when you return to the East you will be unwilling to depart without visiting me, yet my sins make me fear that the daughter of Babylon, may turn you away from me. I pray therefore with earnest longings to the Lord that he would give me not according to my deserts but according to my desire and may direct your course to me in the way of peace; for such as do not walk in that way are reprobate and condemned and incapable of truly longing for your presence.

2. But now for the business part of my letter. I charge you, with the importunity, with which I am in the habit of knocking at your door even in the middle of the night, being driven by fear of a refusal to the modest attitude of a supplicant, to show me kindness once more, and to expound the Benedictions on the twelve Patriarchs. You have already made a beginning with the prophecy relating to Judah, and have given, according to the precept, a threefold interpretation of it. I now beg you to expound the prophecy as it relates to each of the sons of Judah: so that I may myself become possessed of the truth by your means, and may also gain through your help the favor and the praise which will accrue to me; for I shall thus be able to make answer to those who have thought well to consult me on the difficulties of this passage of Scripture not with foolish words drawn from my own understanding but with divine truth flowing from your inspiration.

Rufinus, though at this time busy with his larger works, the translations of Pamphilus' defence of Origen, and Origen's Peri 'Archon, and, though about to set out for Rome, lost no time in composing the work which Paulinus demanded, and sent it him with the following letter.

1. Though our common son Cerealis did not visit me, he felt what pain he would cause me if he delayed my reception of your letter, and forwarded it to me. In reading it I felt, as usual, a continual increase in my yearning towards you: but I found towards its close a request from which I have frequently begged you to excuse me-I mean the request which you make that I should write something in answer to your questions as to the interpretation of passages of Scripture. I thought that I should lead you to desist from these questions by the writings I have once and again sent you, which have given evidence of my ignorance and of the roughness of my speech.

2. But since you still are not weary of commanding me, I have at once, to the best of my powers, added to what I had written at your desire on the Benediction of Judah the comments on the remaining eleven patriarchs. I acted like the man in the parable of the two sons. I thought that I should thus best fulfil the father's will: and though when he ordered me to go into the vineyard I had said I will not go, yet after a while I went. If, as I grant, there is some rashness in the fact that with so little capacity we attempt such a great task, I would say, with submission to you, that this must be most justly imputed to you, since, through your excessive love for me you do not see that my measure of knowledge, as of other virtues, is but slight. I wrote this work in the days of Lent, while I was staying in the monastery of Pinetum, and I wrote it for you. But I found it impossible to conceal this poor work from the brethren who were there: and they, considering that a thing which had been honoured by your approval must be of great importance, extorted from me the permission to copy it for themselves. Thus, while you demand from me food for yourself you give refreshment to others also. Farewell, and be in peace, my most loving brother, most true worshipper of God, and an Israelite in whom there is no guile. I entreat you who are so full of the grace of God to hold me still in remembrance.


While Rufinus was staying at Pinetum, a Christian named Macarius sought his advice and assistance. He was engaged in a controversy with the Mathematici, a class of men who had deserted the scientific studies from which they took their name, and had turned to astrology and a belief in Fatalism. Macarius, having heard of Origen's greatness in the region of Christian speculation, earnestly desired some knowledge of his writings: but was unable to attain it through ignorance of Greek. He declared to Rufinus that he had had a dream in which he saw a ship laden with Eastern merchandize arriving in Italy, and that it was declared to him that this ship would contain the means of attaining the knowledge he desired. The coming of Rufinus seemed to him the fulfilment of his dream, and he earnestly besought him to impart to him some of the treasures of his Greek learning, and especially to translate for him Origen's great speculative work, the Peri 'Archon, that is On First Principles. Rufinus hesitated, knowing that there was a strong prejudice against Origen, and that he was looked on, especially in the West, as a heretic, though his writings were little known there. He yielded, however, to the solicitations of Macarius: but to guard against the imputation of heresy, he undertook three preliminary works. First, he translated the Apology of the Martyr Pamphilus for Origen; secondly, he wrote a short treatise on the Adulteration by heretics of the works of Origen; and, thirdly, in translating the Peri 'Archon he prefixed to it an elaborate Preface in justification of his course in translating the work. All these documents became the subject of vehement controversy which found its expression in the letter of Jerome to his friends at Rome, and the Apologies of Rufinus and Jerome translated in this volume.

The Apology of Pamphilus for Origen forms the sixth book of a work undertaken by him in connexion with Eusebius of Caesarea, the Church Historian. Pamphilus was a great collector of books, and a learned man, but Eusebius was the chief writer. Pamphilus was put to death in the last persecution, that under Galerius; and Eusebius having at a later time fallen under suspicion of Arianism, it was attempted by those who disliked Origen, to dissociate Pamphilus from all connexion with the work. There seems however no reason to doubt, notwithstanding Jerome's violent protestations, that Pamphilus was associated with Eusebius throughout the work, and that he actually wrote the sixth book. The translation of this Apology was made first, and sent out with a Preface which runs as follows:

You have been moved by your desire to know the truth, Macarius, who are "a man greatly beloved," to make a request of me, which will bring you the blessing attached to the knowledge of the truth; but it will win for me the greatest indignation on the part of those who consider themselves aggrieved whenever any one does not think evil of Origen. It is true that it is not my opinion about him that you have asked for, but that of the holy martyr Pamphilus; and you have requested to have the book which he is said to have written in his defence in Greek translated for you into Latin: nevertheless I do not doubt that there will be some who will think themselves aggrieved if I say anything in his defence even in the words of another man. I beg them to do nothing in the spirit of presumption and of prejudice; and, since we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, not to refuse to hear the truth spoken, lest haply they should do wrong through ignorance. Let them consider that to wound the consciences of their weaker brethren by false accusations is to sin against Christ; and therefore let them not lend their ears to the accusers, nor seek an account of another man's faith from a third party, especially when an opportunity is given them for gaining personal and direct knowledge, and the substance and quality of each man's faith is to be known by his own confession. For so the Scripture says: "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation": and: "By his words shall each man be justified, and by his word shall he be condemned." The opinions of Origen in the various parts of Scripture are clearly set forth in the present work: as to the cause of our finding certain places in which he contradicts himself, an explanation will be offered in the short document subjoined. But as for myself, I hold that which has been handed down to us from the holy fathers, namely, that the Holy Trinity is coeternal, and of a single nature, virtue and substance; that the Son of God in these last times has been made man, has suffered for our transgressions and rose again from the dead in the very flesh in which he suffered, and thereby imparted the hope of the resurrection to the whole race of mankind. When we speak of the resurrection of the flesh, we do so, not with any subterfuges, as is slanderously reported by certain persons; we believe that it is this very flesh in which we are now living which will rise again, not one kind of flesh instead of another, nor another body than the body of this flesh. When we speak of the body rising we do so in the words of the apostle; for he himself made use of this word: and when we speak of the flesh, our confession is that of the Creed. It is an absurd invention of maliciousness to think that the human body is different from the flesh. However, whether we speak of that which is to rise, according to the common faith, as the flesh, or, according to the Apostle, as the body, this we must believe, that according to the clear statement of the Apostle, that which shall rise shall rise in power and in glory; it will rise an incorruptible and a spiritual body: for "corruption cannot inherit incorruption." We must maintain this preeminence of the body, or flesh, which is to be: but, with this proviso, we must hold that the resurrection of the flesh is perfect and entire; we must on the one hand maintain the identity of the flesh, while on the other we must not detract from the dignity and glory of the incorruptible and spiritual body. For so the Scripture speaks. This is what is preached by the reverend Bishop John at Jerusalem; this we with him both confess and hold. If any one either believes or teaches otherwise, or insinuates that we believe differently from the exposition of our faith, let him be anathema. Let this then be taken as a record of our belief by any who desire to know it. Whatever we read and whatever we do is in accordance with this account of our faith; we follow the words of the Apostle, "proving all things, holding fast that which is good, avoiding every form of evil." "And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them and upon the Israel of God."




The next work was sent out at the same time with Pamphilus' Apology. Rufinus believed that Origen's works had been adulterated by heretics so as to turn his assertions into support of their own opinions. He therefore, in his translation of the Peri 'Archon, altered many things which had a heterodox meaning as found in the ordinary mss. of Origen, so as to make the work consistent with itself and with the orthodox views expressed in other parts of Origen's writings. How far this process was legitimate or honest must be judged from a perusal of the controversy which followed; but it should be borne in mind, first, that the standard of literary exactness and conscientiousness was not the same in those days as in ours; secondly, that when everything depended on copyists there was room for infinite variations in the copies, whether through negligence, ignorance or fraud; thirdly, that the principles adopted by Rufinus were precisely those acknowledged by his great opponent Jerome, in his Treatise De Optimo Genere Interpretandi, and his Letter to Vigilantius (Letters lxvi and lxi).

My object in the translation from Greek into Latin of the holy martyr Pamphilus' Apology for Origen, which I have given in the preceding volume according to my ability and the requirements of the matter, is this: I wish you to know through full information that the rule of faith which has been set forth above in his writings is that which we must embrace and hold; for it is clearly shown that the Catholic opinion is contained in them all. Nevertheless you have to allow that there are found in his books certain things not only different from this but in certain cases even repugnant to it; things which our canons of truth do not sanction, and which we can neither receive nor approve. As to the cause of this an opinion has reached me which has been widely entertained, and which I wish to be fully known by you and by those who desire to know what is true, since it is possible also that some who have before been actuated by the love of fault-finding may acquiesce in the truth and reason of the matter when they have it set before them; for some seem determined to believe anything in the world to be true rather than that which withdraws from them the occasions of fault-finding. It must, I think, be felt to be wholly impossible that a man so learned and so wise, a man whom even his accusers may well admit to have been neither foolish nor insane, should have written what is contrary and repugnant to himself and his own opinions. But even suppose that this could in some way have happened; suppose, as some perhaps have said, that in the decline of life he might have forgotten what he had written in his early days, and have made assertions at variance with his former opinions; how are we to deal with the fact that we sometimes find in the very same passages, and, as I may say, almost in successive sentences, clauses inserted expressive of contrary opinions? Can we believe that in the same work and in the same book, and even sometimes, as I have said, in the following paragraph, a man could have forgotten his own views? For example that, when he had said just before that no passage in all the Scripture could be found in which the Holy Spirit was spoken of as made or created, he could have immediately added that the Holy Spirit had been made along with the rest of the creatures? or again, that the same man who clearly states that the Father and the Son are of one substance, or as it is called in Greek Homoousion, could in the next sentence say that He was of another substance, and was a created being, when he had but a little before described him as born of the very nature of God the Father? Or again in the matter of the resurrection of the flesh, could he who so clearly declared that it was the nature of the flesh which ascended with the Word of God into heaven, and there appeared to the celestial Powers, presenting a new image of himself for them to worship, could he, I ask you, possibly turn round and say that this flesh was not to be saved? Such things could not happen even in the case of a man who had taken leave of his senses and was not sound in the brain. How, therefore, this came to pass, I will point out with all possible brevity. The heretics are capable of any violence, they have no remorse and no scruples: this we are forced to recognize by the audacities of which they have been frequently convicted. And, just as their father the devil has from the beginning made it his object to falsify the words of God and twist them from their true meaning, and subtilely to interpolate among them his own poisonous ideas, so he has left these successors of his the same art as their inheritance. Accordingly, when God had said to Adam, "You shall eat of all the trees of the garden;" he, when he wished to deceive Eve interpolated a single syllable, by which he reduced within the narrowest bounds God's liberality in permitting all the fruits to be eaten. He said: "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?" and thus by suggesting the complaint that God's command was severe, he more easily persuaded her to transgress the precept. The heretics have followed the example of their father, the craft of their teacher. Whenever they found in any of the renowned writers of old days a discussion of those things which pertain to the glory of God so full and faithful that every believer could gain profit and instruction from it, they have not scrupled to infuse into their writings the poisonous taint of their own false doctrines; this they have done, either by inserting things which the writers had not said or by changing by interpolation what they had said, so that their own poisonous heresy might more easily be asserted and authorized by passing under the name of all the church writers of the greatest learning and renown; they meant it to appear that well-known and orthodox men had held as they did. We hold the clearest proofs of this in the case of the Greek writers and this adulteration of books is to be found in the case of many of the ancients; but it will suffice to adduce the testimony of a few, so that it may be more easily understood what has befallen the writings of Origen.

Clement, the disciple of the Apostles, who was bishop of the Roman church next to the Apostles, was a martyr, wrote the work which is called in the Greek 'Anagnorismos, or in Latin, The Recognition. In these books he sets forth again and again in the name of the Apostle Peter a doctrine which appears to be truly apostolical: yet in certain passages the heresy of Eunomius is so brought in that you would imagine that you were listening to an argument of Eunomius himself, asserting that the Son of God was created out of no existing elements. Then again that other method of falsification is introduced, by which it is made to appear that the nature of the devil and of other demons has not resulted from the wickedness of their will and purpose, but from an exceptional and separate quality of their creation, although he in all other places had taught that every reasonable creature was endowed with the faculty of free will. There are also some other things inserted into his books which the church's creed does not admit. I ask, then, what we are to think of these things? Are we to believe that an apostolic man, nay, almost an apostle (since he writes the things which the apostles speak), one to whom the apostle Paul bore his testimony in the words, "With Clement and others, my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life" was the writer of words which contradict the book of life? or are we to say, as we have said before, that perverse men, in order to gain authority for their own heresies by the use of the names of holy men, and so procure their readier acceptance, interpolated these things which it is impossible to believe that the true authors either thought or wrote?

Again, the other Clement, the presbyter of Alexandria, and the teacher of that church, in almost all his books describes the three Persons as having one and the same glory and eternity: and yet we sometimes find in his books passages in which he speaks of the Son as a creature of God. Is it credible that so great a man as he, so orthodox in all points, and so learned, either held opinions mutually contradictory, or left in writing views concerning God which it is an impiety, I will not say to believe, but even to listen to?

Once more, Dionysius the Bishop of Alexandria, was a most learned maintainer of the church's faith, and in passages without end defended the unity and eternity of the Trinity, so earnestly that some persons of less insight imagine that he held the views of Sabellius; yet in the books which he wrote against the heresy of Sabellius, there are things inserted of such a character that the Arians endeavour to shield themselves under his authority, and on this account the holy Bishop Athanasius felt himself compelled to write an apology for his work, because he was assured that he could not have held strange opinions or have written things in which he contradicted himself, but felt sure that these things had been interpreted by ill disposed men.

This opinion we have been led to form by the force of the facts themselves, in the case of these very reverend men and doctors of the church; we have found it impossible, I say, to believe that those reverend men who again and again have supported the church's belief should in particular points have held opinions contradictory to themselves. As to Origen, however, in whom, as I have said above, are to be found, as in those others, certain diversities of statement, it will not be sufficient to think precisely as we think or feel about those who enjoy an established reputation for orthodoxy; nor could a similar charge be met by a similar excuse, were it not that its validity is shown by words and writings of his own in which he makes this fact the subject of earnest complaint. What he had to suffer while still living in the flesh, while still having feeling and sight, from the corruption of his books and treatises, or from counterfeit versions of them, we may learn clearly from his own letter which he wrote to certain intimate friends at Alexandria; and by this you will see how it comes to pass that some things which are self-contradictory are found in his writings.

"Some of those persons who take a pleasure in accusing their neighbours, bring against us and our teaching the charge of blasphemy, though from us they have never heard anything of the kind. Let them take heed to themselves how they refuse to mark that solemn injunction which says that Revilers shall not inherit the kingdom of God,' when they declare that I hold that the father of wickedness and perdition, and of those who are cast forth from the kingdom of God, that is the devil, is to be saved, a thing which no man can say even if he has taken leave of his senses and is manifestly insane. Yet it is no wonder, I think, if my teaching is falsified by my adversaries, and is corrupted and adulterated in the same manner as the epistle of Paul the Apostle. Certain men, as we know, compiled a false epistle under the name of Paul, so that they might trouble the Thessalonians as if the day of the Lord were nigh at hand, and thus beguile them. It is on account of that false epistle that he wrote these words in the second epistle to the Thessalonians: We beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him; to the end that ye be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter as sent from us, as that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no man beguile you in any wise.' It is something of the same kind, I perceive, which is happening to us also. A certain promoter of heresy, after a discussion which had been held between us in the presence of many persons, and notes of it had been taken, procured the document from those who had written out the notes, and added or struck out whatever he chose, and changed things as he thought right, and published it abroad as if it were my work, but pointing in triumphant scorn at the expressions which he had himself inserted. The brethren in Palestine, indignant at this, sent a man to me at Athens to obtain from me an authentic copy of the work. Up to that time I had never even read it over again or revised it: it had been so completely neglected and thrown aside that it could hardly be found. Nevertheless, I sent it: and,-God is witness that I am speaking the truth,-when I met the man himself who had adulterated the work, and took him to task for having done so, he answered, as if he were giving me satisfaction: "I did it because I wished to improve that treatise and to purge away its faults." What kind of a purging was this that he applied to my dissertation? such a purging as Marcion or his successor Apelles after him gave to the Gospels and to the writings of the Apostle. They subverted the true text of Scripture; and this man similarly first took away the true statements which I had made, and then inserted what was false to furnish grounds for accusation against me. But, though those who have dared to do this are impious and heretical men, yet those who give credence to such accusations against us shall not escape the judgment of God. There are others also, not a few, who have done this through a wish to throw confusion into the churches. Lately, a certain heretic who had seen me at Ephesus and had refused to meet me, and had not opened his mouth in my presence, but for some reason or other had avoided doing so, afterwards composed a dissertation according to his own fancy, partly mine, partly his own, and sent it to his disciples in various places: I know that it reached those who were in Rome, and I doubt not that it reached others also. He was behaving in the same reckless way at Antioch also before I came there: and the dissertation which he brought with him came into the hands of many of our friends. But when I arrived, I took him to task in the presence of many persons, and, when he persisted, with a complete absence of shame, in the impudent defence of his forgery, I demanded that the book should be brought in amongst us, so that my mode of speech might be recognized by the brethren, who of course knew the points on which I am accustomed to insist and the method of teaching which I employ. He did not, however, venture to bring in the book, and his assertions were refuted by them all and he himself was convicted of forgery, and thus the brethren were taught a lesson not to give ear to such accusations. If then any one is willing to trust me at all-I speak as in the sight of God-let him believe what I say about the things which are falsely inserted in my letter. But if any man refuses to believe me, and chooses to speak evil of me, it is not to me that he does the injury: he will himself be arraigned as a false witness before God, since he is either bearing false witness against his neighbour, or giving credit to those who bear it."

Such are the complaints which he made while still living, and while he was still able to detect the corruptions and falsifications which had been made in his books. There is another letter of his, in which I remember to have read a complaint of the falsifying of his writings; but I have not a copy of it at hand, otherwise I could add to those which I have quoted a second testimony in favour of his good faith and veracity direct from himself. But I think that I have said enough to satisfy those who listen to what is said, not in the interest of strife and detraction, but in that of a love of truth. I have shown and proved in the case of the saintly men of whom I have made mention, and of whose orthodoxy is no question, that, where the tenor of a book is presumably right, anything which is found in it contrary to the faith of the church is more properly believed to have been inserted by heretics than to have been written by the author: and I cannot think it an absurd demand that the same thing should be believed in the case of Origen, not only because the argument is similar but because of the witness given by himself in the complaints which I have brought out from his writings: otherwise we must believe that, like a silly or insane person, he has written in contradiction to himself.

As to the possibility that the heretics may have acted in the violent manner supposed, such wickedness may easily be believed of them. They have given a specimen of it, which makes it credible in the present case, in the fact that they have been unable to keep off their impious hands even from the sacred words of the Gospel. Any one who has a mind to see how they have acted in the case of the Acts of the Apostles or their Epistles, how they have befouled them and gnawed them away, how they have defiled them in every kind of way, sometimes adding words which expressed their impious doctrine, sometimes taking out the opposing truths, will understand it most fully if he will read the books of Tertullian written against Marcion. It is no great thing that they should have corrupted the writings of Origen when they have dared to corrupt the sayings of God our Saviour. It is true that some persons may withhold their assent from what I am saying on the ground of the difference of the heresies; since it was one kind of heresy the partisans of which corrupted the Gospels, but it is another which is aimed at in these passages which, as we assert, have been inserted in the works of Origen. Let those who have such doubts consider that, as in all the saints dwells the one spirit of God (for the Apostle says, "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets," and again, "We all have been made to drink of that one spirit"); so also in all the heretics dwells the one spirit of the devil, who teaches them all and at all times the same or similar wickedness.

There may, however, be some to whom the instances we have given have less persuasive force because they have to do with Greek writers; and therefore, although it is a Greek writer for whom I am pleading, yet, since it is the Latin tongue which is, so to speak, entrusted with the argument, and they are Latin people before whom you have earnestly begged me to plead the cause of these men, and to show what wounds they suffer by the calumnious renderings of their works, it will be satisfactory to show that things of the same kind have happened to Latin as well as Greek writers, and that men approved for their saintly character have had a storm of calumny raised against them by the falsification of their works. I will recount things of still recent memory, so that nothing may be lacking to the manifest credibility of my contention, and its truth may lie open for all to see.

Hilary Bishop of Pictavium was a believer in the Catholic doctrine, and wrote a very complete work of instruction with the view of bringing back from their error those who had subscribed the faithless creed of Ariminum. This book fell into the hands of his adversaries and ill wishers, whether, as some said, by bribing his secretary, or by no matter what other cause. He knew nothing of this: but the book was so falsified by them, the saintly man being all the while entirely unconscious of it, that, when his enemies began to accuse him of heresy in the episcopal assembly, as holding what they knew they had corruptly inserted in his manuscript, he himself demanded the production of his book as evidence of his faith. It was brought from his house, and was found to be full of matter which he repudiated: but it caused him to be excommunicated and to be excluded from the meeting of the synod. In this case, however, though the crime was one of unexampled wickedness, the man who was the victim of it was alive, and present in the flesh; and the hostile faction could be convicted and brought to punishment, when their tricks became known and their machinations were exposed. A remedy was applied through statements, explanations, and similar things: for living men can take action on their own behalf, the dead can refute no accusations under which they labour.

Take another case. The whole collection of the letters of the martyr Cyprian is usually found in a single manuscript. Into this collection certain heretics who held a blasphemous doctrine about the Holy Spirit inserted a treatise of Tertullian on the Trinity, which was faultily expressed though he is himself an upholder of our faith: and from the copies thus made they wrote out a number of others; these they distributed through the whole of the vast city of Constantinople at a very low price: men were attracted by this cheapness and readily bought up the documents full of hidden snares of which they knew nothing; and thus the heretics found means of gaining credit for their impious doctrines through the authority of a great name. It happened, however, that, shortly after the publication, there were found there some of our catholic brothers who were able to expose this wicked fabrication, and recalled as many as they could reach from the entanglements of error. In this they partly succeeded. But there were a great many in those parts who remained convinced that the saintly martyr Cyprian held the belief which had been erroneously expressed by Tertullian.

I will add one other instance of the falsification of a document. It is one of recent memory, though it is an example of the primeval subtlety, and it surpasses all the stories of the ancients.

Bishop Damasus, at the time when a consultation was held in the matter of the reconciling of the followers of Apollinarius to the church, desired to have a document setting forth the faith of the church, which should be subscribed by those who wished to be reconciled. The compiling of this document he entrusted to a certain friend of his, a presbyter and a highly accomplished man, who usually acted for him in matters of this kind. When he came to compose the document, he found it necessary, in speaking of the Incarnation of our Lord, to apply to him the expression "Homo Dominicus." The Apollinarists took offence at this expression, and began to impugn it as a novelty. The writer of the document thereupon undertook to defend himself, and to confute the objectors by the authority of ancient Catholic writers; and he happened to show to one of those who complained of the novelty of the expression a book of the bishop Athanasius in which the word which was under discussion occurred. The man to whom this evidence was offered appeared to be convinced, and asked that the manuscript should be lent to him so that he might convince the rest who from their ignorance were still maintaining their objections. When he had got the manuscript into his hands he devised a perfectly new method of falsification. He first erased the passage in which the expression occurred, and then wrote in again the same words which he had erased. He returned the paper, and it was accepted without question. The controversy about this expression again arose; the manuscript was brought forward: the expression in question was found in it, but in a position where there had been an erasure: and the man who had brought forward such a manuscript lost all authority, since the erasure seemed to be the proof of malpractice and falsification. However, in this case as in one which I mentioned before, it was a living man who was thus treated by a living man, and he at once did all in his power to lay bare the iniquitous fraud which had been committed, and to remove the stain of this nefarious act from the man who was innocent and had done no evil of the kind, and to attach it to the real author of the deed, so that it should completely overwhelm him with infamy.

Since, then, Origen in his letter complains with his own voice that he has suffered such things at the hands of the heretics who wished him ill, and similar things have happened in the case of many other orthodox men among both the dead and the living, and since in the cases adduced, men's writings are proved to have been tampered with in a similar way: what determined obstinacy is this, which refuses to admit the same excuse when the case is the same, and, when the circumstances are parallel, assigns to one party the allowance due to respect, but to another infamy due to a criminal. The truth must be told, and must not lie hid at this point; for it is impossible for any man really to judge so unjustly as to form different opinions on cases which are similar. The fact is that the prompters of Origen's accusers are men who make long controversial discourses in the churches, and even write books the whole matter of which is borrowed from him, and who wish to deter men of simple mind from reading him, for fear that their plagiarisms should become widely known, though, indeed, their appropriations would be no reproach to them if they were not ungrateful to their master.

For instance, one of these men, who thinks that a necessity is laid upon him, like that of preaching the Gospel, to speak evil of Origen among all nations and tongues, declared in a vast assembly of Christian hearers that he had read six thousand of his works. Surely, if his object in reading these were, as he is in the habit of asserting, only to acquaint himself with Origen's faults, ten or twenty or at most thirty of these works would have sufficed for the purpose. But to read six thousand books is no longer wishing to know the man, but giving up almost one's whole life to his teaching and researches. On what ground then can his words be worthy of credit when he blames men who have only read quite a few of these books while their rule of faith is kept sacred and their piety unimpaired.

What has been said may suffice to show what opinion we ought to form of the books of Origen. I think that every one who has at heart the interests of truth, not of controversy, may easily assent to the well-proved statements I have made. But if any man perseveres in his contentiousness, we have no such custom. It is a settled custom among us, when we read him, to hold fast that which is good, according to the apostolic injunction. If we find in these books anything discrepant to the Catholic faith, we suspect that it has been inserted by the heretics, and consider it as alien from his opinion as it is from our faith. If, however, this is a mistake of ours, we run, as I think, no danger from such an error; for we ourselves, through God's help, continue unharmed by avoiding what we hold in suspicion and condemn: and further we shall not be accounted accusers of our brethren before God (you will remember that the accusing of the brethren is the special work of the devil, and that he received the name of devil from his being a slanderer). Moreover, we thus escape the sentence pronounced on evil speakers, which separates those who are such from the kingdom of God.


The Translation of the two first Books of the Peri 'Archon was issued soon after, or contemporaneously with the Apology of Pamphilus. The Preface to them was intended to remove prejudices by showing that Jerome (who though not named is clearly described) had been Rufinus' precursor in translating Origen. The compliments paid to Jerome were no doubt sincere: but the use made of his previous action can hardly be justified. Rufinus knew well that Jerome's view of Origen had to some extent altered, that a disagreeable controversy had sprung up at Jerusalem about him, in which he and Jerome had taken opposite sides: and that the animosity aroused by this had with the greatest difficulty been allayed, and a reconciliation effected at the moment when he had quitted Palestine. This Preface with the Translation of the Peri 'Archon was the most immediate cause of the violent controversy and the final estrangement between Rufinus and Jerome.

I am aware that a great many of our brethren were incited by their longing for Scriptural knowledge to demand from various men who were versed in Greek literature that they would give the works of Origen to men who used the Latin tongue, and thus make him a Roman. Among these was that brother and associate of mine to whom this request was made by bishop Damasus, and who when he translated the two homilies on the Song of Songs from Greek into Latin prefixed to the work a preface so full of beauty and so magnificent that he awoke in every one the desire of reading Origen and eagerly investigating his works. He said that to the soul of that great man the words might well be applied: "The King has brought me into his chamber": and he declared that Origen in his other books had surpassed all other men, but in this had surpassed himself. What he promises in this Preface is, indeed, that he will give to Roman ears not only these books but many others of Origen. But I find that he is so enamoured of his own style that he pursues a still more ambitious object, namely, that he should be the creator of the book, not merely its translator. I am then following out a task begun by him and commended by his example; but it is out of my power to set forth the words of this great man with a force and an eloquence like his: and I have therefore to fear that it may happen through my fault that the man whom he justly commends as a teacher of the church both in knowledge and in wisdom second only to the Apostles may be thought to have a far lower rank through my poverty of language. When I reflected on this I was inclined to keep silence, and not to assent to the brethren who were constantly adjuring me to make the translation. But your influence is such, my most faithful brother Macarius, that even the consciousness of my unfitness is not sufficient to make me resist. I have therefore yielded to your importunity though it was against my resolution, so that I might no longer be exposed to the demands of a severe taskmaster; but I have done so on this condition and on this understanding, that in making the translation I should follow as far as possible the method of my predecessors, and especially of him of whom I have already made mention. He, after translating into Latin above seventy of the books of Origen which he called Homiletics, and also a certain number of the "Tomes," proceeded to purge and pare away in his translation all the causes of stumbling which are to be found in the Greek works; and this he did in such a way that the Latin reader will find nothing in them which jars with our faith. In his steps, therefore, I follow, not, indeed, with the power of eloquence which is his, but, as far as may be, in his rules and method, that is, taking care not to promulgate those things which are found in the books of Origen to be discrepant and contradictory to one another. The cause of these variations I have set forth very fully for your information in the Apology which Pamphilus wrote for the books of Origen, to which I have appended a very short treatise showing by proofs which seem to me quite clear that his books have been in very many cases falsified by heretical and ill-disposed persons. This is especially the case with the books which you now require me to translate, namely, the Peri 'Archon, which may be rendered either Concerning First Principles or Concerning Principalities. These books are in truth, apart from these questions, exceedingly obscure and difficult; for in them he discusses matters over which the philosophers have spent their whole lives without any result. But our Christian thinker has done all that lay in his power to turn to purposes of sound religion the belief in a creator and the order of the created world which they had made subservient to their false religion. Wherever therefore I have found in his books anything contrary to the truth concerning the Trinity which he has in other places spoken of in a strictly orthodox sense, I have either omitted it as a foreign and not genuine expression or set it down in terms agreeing with the rule of faith which we find him constantly assenting to. There are things, no doubt, which he has developed in somewhat obscure language, wishing to pass rapidly over them, and as addressing those who have experience and knowledge of such matters; in these cases I have made the passage plain by adding words which I had read in other books of his where the matter was more fully treated. I have done this in the interest of clearness: but I have put in nothing of my own; I have only given him back his own words, though taken from other passages. I have explained this in the Preface, so that those who calumniate us should not think that they had found in this fresh material for their charges. But let them take heed what they are about in their perversity and contentiousness. As for me, I have not undertaken this laborious task (in which I trust that God will be my helper in answer to your prayers) for the sake of shutting the mouths of calumnious men, but with the view of supplying material for the increase of real knowledge to those who desired it. This only I require of every man who undertakes to copy out these books or to read them, in the sight of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and adjure him by our faith in the coming kingdom, by the assurance of the resurrection of the dead, by the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels (even as he trusts that he shall not possess as his eternal inheritance that place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and where their fire will not be quenched and their worm will not die) that he should neither add nor take away, that he should neither insert nor change, anything in that which is written but that he should compare his copy with that from which it is copied and correct it critically letter for letter, and that he should not keep by him a copy which has not received correction or criticism, lest, if his copy is not thus distinct, the difficulty of the meaning may beget a still greater obscurity in the mind of the readers.

Rufinus had now come to Rome. The translation of B. III. and IV. had been made probably at Pinetum early in 398. He was already aware of the strong feelings aroused by his Translation of B. I. and II., and he complains that parts of his work were obtained by Jerome's friends while still uncorrected, and used to his discredit (Apol. i, 18-21, ii, 44); but he continued the work, prefixing to it the following Preface as his justification.

Reader, remember me in your sacred moments of prayer, that I may be a worthy follower of the Spirit. It was you, Macarius, by whose instigation, I might say by whose compulsion, I translated the two first books of the Peri 'Archon. I did it during Lent; and at that time your near presence, my Christian brother, and your fuller leisure, forced me also into fuller diligence. But now that you are living at the opposite end of Rome from me, and my taskmaster pays his visits more seldom, I have taken longer in unfolding the sense of the two last books. You will remember that in my former preface I gave you warning that some people would be full of indignation when they found that I had no harm to say of Origen: and this, as I think you have found, has not been long in coming to pass. But if those demons who excite men's tongues to evil speaking, have been already set on fire by that first part of the work, though in it the author had not yet fully laid bare their devices, what will be the effect of this second part, in which he is going to disclose all the secret labyrinths through which they creep into the hearts of men and deceive the hearts of the weak and the frail? You will see disorder springing up on all sides, and party spirit will be raised, and an outcry will spread all through the town, and Origen will be summoned to the bar and condemned for his attempt to dispel the darkness of ignorance by the light of the Gospel's lamp. But all this will matter very little to those who are endeavouring to hold fast the sound form of the catholic faith while exercising their minds in the study of divine things.

I think it necessary, however, to remind you of the principle which I acted upon in reference to the former books, and which I have observed in the present case also, namely, not to set down in my translation things evidently contradictory to our belief and to the author's opinions as elsewhere expressed, but to pass them over as not genuine but inserted by others. On the other hand I have not, either in the former books or in these, omitted the novel opinions which he has expressed about the formation of the reasonable creation, considering that it is not in such things that the faith mainly consists, but that what he is aiming at is merely knowledge and the exercise of the faculties, and that possibly there may be certain heresies which may have to be answered in this way. Only, in cases where he may have chosen to repeat in these later books what he had said before in the earlier, I have thought it expedient to cut out certain portions for the sake of brevity.

Those whose object in reading these books is to gain knowledge, not to disparage their author, would do well to seek the aid of men more skilled than themselves in interpreting them. For it is an absurd thing to get grammarians to explain to us the fictions of the poets' writings and the laughable stories of the comedians, and yet to think that books which speak of God and the celestial powers, and the whole universe, and which discuss all the errors of pagan philosophy and of heretical pravity are things which any one can understand without a teacher to explain them. In this way it comes to pass that men prefer to remain in ignorance and to pronounce rash judgments on things which are difficult and obscure rather than to gain an understanding of them by diligent study.


This document was called forth by accusations against Rufinus made, soon after his accession, to Anastasius, who held the Roman see from 498 to 503. The authority of the Roman Popes at this time was not what it afterwards became, and it is improbable that Anastasius should have summoned Rufinus, as some suppose him to have done, from Aquileia, where he was living on confidential terms with the Bishop Chromatius, to come to Rome to answer a formal accusation or to be judged by him. But since Rome was the centre of information, a Christian would not wish to be ill-thought of by its Bishop. Those who accused Rufinus were the friends of Jerome at Rome, especially the noble widow Marcella and the Senator Pammachius. They had endeavoured to gain some condemnation of Rufinus from Siricius before his death in November 398; but Siricius befriended Rufinus ("his simplicity was imposed on," according to Jerome). On the election of Anastasius, however, in 399, they accused Rufinus of having, by his translation of Origen's Peri 'Archon introduced heresy into the Roman church. Jerome thus speaks of Marcella, Ep. cxxvii. 10. "She was the cause of the condemnation of the heretics: she brought witnesses who had been at a former time under their instruction, and thus imbued with error and heresy; she showed how many there were who had been deceived; she had the volumes of the Peri 'Archon brought in, and pointed out the alterations which the Scorpion had made in them: till at last letters were written, and that more than once, summoning the heretics to come and defend themselves, but they did not dare to come. So great was the force of conviction brought to bear on them that, to prevent their heresy being exposed in their presence, they chose to stay away and be condemned." From the letter of Anastasius to John of Jerusalem about Rufinus we gather that, while he strongly disapproved the translation of Origen, he left Rufinus himself to his own conscience, and did not care to know what had become of him. The letter of Rufinus, though called an Apology, bears no trace of being an answer to a summons or judgment of the Pontiff, but merely a reply to statements which were likely to prejudice him in the Pontiff's opinion. The year in which the Apology was written was 400 a.d.

1. It has been brought to my knowledge that certain persons, in the course of a controversy which they have been raising in your Holiness' jurisdiction on matters of faith or on other points, have made mention of my name. I venture to believe that your Holiness, who have been trained from your infancy in the strict principles of the Church, has refused to listen to any calumnies which may have been directed against an absent person, and one who has been favourably known to you as united with you in the faith and love of God. Nevertheless, since I hear it reported that my reputation has been attacked, I have thought it right to make my position clear to your Holiness in writing. It was impossible for me to do this in person. I have just returned to my family after an absence of nearly 30 years; and it would have been harsh and almost inhuman to come away again so soon from those whom I had been so late in revisiting. The labour also of my long journey has left me too weak to begin the journey again. My object in this letter is not to remove some stain of suspicion from your mind, which I regard as a holy place, as a kind of divine sanctuary which does not admit any evil thing. Rather, I desire that the confession I am about to make to you may be like a stick placed in your hands to drive away any envious persons who may be barking like dogs against me.

2. My faith, indeed, was sufficiently proved when the heretics persecuted me. I was at that time sojourning in the church of Alexandria, and underwent imprisonment and exile which was then the penalty of faithfulness; yet for the sake of any who may wish to put my faith to the test, or to hear and learn what it is I will declare it. I believe that the Trinity is of one nature and godhead, of one and the same power and substance; so that between the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost there is no diversity at all, except that the one is the Father, the second the Son, and the third the Holy Ghost. There is a Trinity of real and living Persons, a unity of nature and substance.

3. I also confess that the Son of God has in these last days been born of the Virgin and the Holy Spirit: that he has taken upon him our natural human flesh and soul; that in this he suffered and was buried and rose again from the dead; that the flesh in which he rose was that same flesh which had been laid in the sepulchre; and that in this same flesh, together with the soul, he ascended into heaven after his resurrection: from whence we look for his coming to judge the quick and the dead.

4. But, further, as to the resurrection of our own flesh, I believe that it will be in its integrity and perfection; it will be this very flesh in which we now live. We do not hold, as is slanderously reported by some men, that another flesh will rise instead of this; but this very flesh, without the loss of a single member, without the cutting off of any single part of the body; none whatever of all its properties will be absent except its corruptibility. It is this which is promised by the holy Apostle concerning the body: It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. This is the doctrine which has been handed down to me by those from whom I received holy baptism in the Church of Aquileia; and I think that it is the same which the Apostolic See has by long usage handed down and taught.

5. I affirm, moreover, a judgment to come, in which judgment every man is to receive the due meed of his bodily life, according to that which he has done, whether good or evil. And, if in the case of men the reward is to be according to their works, how much more will this be so in the case of the devil, who is the universal cause of sin? Of the devil himself our belief is that which is written in the Gospel, namely, that both he and all his angels, will receive as their portion the eternal fire, and with him those who do his works, that is, who become the accusers of their brethren. If then any one denies that the devil is to be subjected to the eternal fires, may he have his part with him in the eternal fire, so that he may know by experience the fact which he now denies.

6. I am next informed that some stir has been made on the question of the nature of the soul. Whether complaints on a matter of this kind ought to be entertained instead of being put aside, you must yourself decide. If, however, you desire to know my opinion on the subject, I will state it frankly. I have read a great many writers on this question, and I find that they express divers opinions. Some of those whom I have read hold that the soul is infused together with the material body through the channel of the human seed; and of this they give such proofs as they can. I think that this was the opinion of Tertullian or Lactantius among the Latins, perhaps also of a few others. Others assert that God is every day making new souls, and infusing them into the bodies which have been framed in the womb; while others again believe that the souls were all made long ago, when God made all things of nothing, and that all that he now does is to plant out each soul in its body as it seems good to him. This is the opinion of Origen, and of some others of the Greeks. For myself, I declare in the presence of God that, after reading each of these opinions, I am up to the present moment unable to hold any of them as certain and absolute; the determination of the truth in this question I leave to God and to any to whom it shall please him to reveal it. My profession on this point is therefore, first, that these several opinions are those which I have found in books, but, secondly, that I as yet remain in ignorance on the subject, except so far as this, that the Church delivers it as an article of faith that God is the creator of souls as well as of bodies.

7. Now as to another matter. I am told that objections have been raised against me because, forsooth, at the request of some of my brethren, I translated certain works of Origen from Greek into Latin. I suppose that every one sees that it is only through ill will that this is made a matter of blame. For, if there is any offensive statement in the author, why is this to be twisted into a fault of the translator? I was asked to exhibit in Latin what stands written in the Greek text; and I did nothing more than fit the Latin words to the Greek ideas. If, therefore, there is anything to praise in these ideas, the praise does not belong to me; and similarly as to anything to which blame may attach. I admit that I put something of my own into the work; as I stated in my Preface, I used my own discretion in cutting out not a few passages; but only those as to which I had come to suspect that the thing had not been so stated by Origen himself; and the statement appeared to me in these cases to have been inserted by others, because in other places I had found the author state the matter in a catholic sense. I entreat you therefore, holy, venerable and saintly father, not to permit a storm of ill will to be raised against me because of this, nor to sanction the employment of partisanship and of calumny-weapons which ought never to be used in the Church of God. Where can simple faith and innocence be safe if they are not protected in the Church? I am not a defender or a champion of Origen; nor am I the first who has translated his works. Others before me had done the very same thing, and I did it, the last of many, at the request of my brethren. If an order is to be given that such translations are not to be made, such an order holds good for the future, not the past; but if those are to be blamed who have made these translations before any such order was given, the blame must begin with those who took the first step.

8. As for me, I declare in Christ's name that I never held, nor ever will hold, any other faith but that which I have set forth above, that is, the faith which is held by the Church of Rome, by that of Alexandria, and by my own church of Aquileia; and which is also preached at Jerusalem; and if there is any one who believes otherwise, whoever he may be, let him be Anathema. But those who through mere ill will and malice engender dissensions and offences among their brethren, and cause them to stumble, shall give account of it in the day of judgment.

Bishop of the Church of Rome to John Bishop of Jerusalem Concerning the Character of Rufinus.

The letter of Anastasius to John of Jerusalem was written in the year 401; it is spoken of in Jerome's Apol. iii., c. 21, which was written in the first half of 402, as "the letter of last year." Jerome intimates in the same passage that it was only one of several letters of the same character which Anastasius wrote to the East. Rufinus had not seen it, and refused to believe its genuineness. But there seems to be no reason for doubting this. Anastasius had, at the earnest request of Theophilus of Alexandria, formally condemned Origenism. And Rufinus' translations of Origen's Peri 'Archon and of Pamphilus' Vindication of Origen, and his own book on the Falsification of Origen's works were taken at Rome as a defence of Origenism generally. Rufinus, however, appealed continually, and especially in his Apology to Anastasius, to the church of Jerusalem, where he had been ordained. "My faith," he says, "is that which is preached at Jerusalem." Anastasius, therefore, in condemning Origen would be understood as condemning Rufinus, and might also seem to condemn his Bishop John of Jerusalem. This will account for the fulsome praises with which the letter opens. John, moreover, had written "to consult" Anastasius about Rufinus, which probably implies some action in Rufinus' interest; but the fact that Jerome knew the contents of the letter and Rufinus did not seems to show that Bishop John had become more friendly with Jerome and less so with Rufinus.

1. The kind words of approval that you have addressed, my dear Bishop, to your brother Bishop, is a fresh mark of your long tried affection. It is a high commendation which you confer upon me, a most lavish recognition of my services. I thank you for this proof of your love; and, following you at a distance in my littleness, I bring the tribute of my words to honour the splendour of your holiness and those virtues which the Lord has conferred upon you. You excel all others so far, the splendour of your praise shines forth so conspicuously, that no words which I can use can equal your deserts. Yet your glory excites in me such admiration that I cannot turn away from the attempt to describe it, even though I can never do so adequately. And, first, the praise which you have bestowed on me out of the serene heaven of your great spirit forms part of your own glory: for it is the majesty of your episcopate, shining forth like the sun upon the opposite quarter of the world, which has reflected its own brightness upon us. And you give me your friendship unreservedly; you do not weigh me in the balance of criticism. If it is right for you to praise me, must not your praise be echoed back to you? I beg you therefore, for your own sake no less than mine, that you will not praise me any more to my face. I ask this for two reasons: if the praise is undeserved it must excite in your brother-bishop a sense of pain; if it is true, it must make him blush.

2. Let me come to the subject of your letter. Rufinus, about whom you have done me the honour to ask my advice, must bring his conscience to the bar of the divine majesty. It is for him to see how he can approve himself to God as maintaining his true allegiance to him.

3. As for Origen, whose writings he has translated into our language, I have neither formerly known, nor do I now seek to know either who he was or what expression he may have given to his thought. But as to the feeling left by this matter on my own mind I should be glad to speak with your holiness for a moment. The impression which I have received is this,-and it has been brought out clearly by the reading of parts of Origen's works by the people of our City, and by the sort of mist of blindness which it threw over them,-that his object was to disintegrate our faith, which is that of the Apostles, and has been confirmed by the traditions of the fathers, by leading us into tortuous paths.

4. I want to know what is the meaning of the translation of this work into the Roman tongue. If the translator intends by it to put the author in the wrong, and to denounce to the world his execrable deeds, well and good. In that case he will expose to well-merited hatred one who has long laboured under the adverse weight of public opinion. But if by translating all these evil things he means to give his assent to them, and in that sense gives them to the world to read, then the edifice which he has reared at the expense of so much labour serves for nothing else than to make the guilt the act of his own will, and to give the sanction of his unlooked for support to the overthrow of all that is of prime importance in the true faith as held by Catholic Christians from the time of the Apostles till now.

5. Far be such teaching from the catholic system of the Church of Rome. It can never by any possibility come to pass that we should accept as reasonable things which we condemn as matters of law and right. We have, therefore, the assurance that Christ our God, whose providence reaches over the whole world, bestows his approval on us when we say that it is wholly impossible for us to admit doctrines which defile the church, which subvert its well tried moral system, which offend the ears of all who are witnesses of our doings and lay the ground for strife and anger and dissensions. This was the motive which led me to write my letter to Venerius our brother in the Episcopate, the character of which, written as it was in my weakness but with great care and diligence, you will realize by what I now subjoin: "Whence, then, he who translated the work has gained and preserves this assurance of innocence I am not greatly troubled to know: it fills me with no vain alarm. I certainly shall omit nothing which may enable me to guard the faith of the Gospel amongst my own people, and to warn, as far as in me lies, those who form part of my body, in whatever part of the world they live, not to allow any translation of profane authors to creep in and spring up amongst them, which will seek to unsettle the mind of devout men by spreading its own darkness among them. Moreover, I cannot pass over in silence an event which has given me great pleasure, the decree issued by our Emperors, by which every one who serves God is warned against the reading of Origen, and all who are convicted of reading his impious works are condemned by the imperial judgment." In these words my formal sentence was pronounced.

6. You are troubled by the complaint which people make as to our treatment of Rufinus, so that you pursue certain persons with vague suspicions. But I will meet this feeling of yours with an instance taken from holy writ, namely, where it is said: "Man seeth not as God seeth; for God looketh upon the heart, but man upon the countenance." Therefore, my dearly beloved brother, put away all your prejudice. Weigh the conduct of Rufinus in your own unbiassed judgment; ask yourself whether he has not translated Origen's words into Latin and approved them, and whether a man who gives his encouragement to vicious acts committed by another differs at all from the guilty party. In any case I beg you to be assured of this, that he is so completely separate from all part or lot with us, that I neither know nor wish to know either what he is doing or where he is living. I have only to add that it is for him to consider where he may obtain absolution.

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