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great and important services of an active nature in the church, attended' with an almost uninterrupted series of suffering; such as no man could perform to the glory of God, but one who knew assuredly the ground on which he stood, by a strong work of the Divine Spirit on his soul. His experience in conversion he describes himself in his letter to Donatus. His reception of christianity was not the effect of mere reasoning or speculation. It was not carried on in a scholastic or philosophical manner, but may truly be said to have been “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." He felt the grace of God, forgiveness of sins by Jesus Christ, the influence of the Holy Ghost powerful, exuberant, and victorious. His foul was brought into the love of God, and that of the purest kind, rempered ever with humility and godly fear; and it is very evident that he always saw the work to be of God, and had nothing to behold in himself as wife, holy, and glorious; that a spirit of thankfulness for redeeming love, of simple dependance on the Divine promises, and of steady charity to God and man was the result. His race was of no long duration ; about twelve years ; by far the: greater part of the time he was bishop of Carthage. He lived a christian life, and no part of that was exempt from much labour or much affiiction. He seems never to have known what it was to settle into a luke-warm ftate. The fire first kindled in him burnt serene and steady to the end of his days. I know that Molheim charges him with an ambitious domineering spirit that invaded the rights of the lower clergy and people *. But I know him too well, though an excellent and very judicious secular historian, to truit his account of men of real holiness. From the most attentive review I

have * Ecclef. History, Century 3, Chap. 2.

have been able to make of the African prelate, by a repeated perufal of his writings, especially his epiftles, I cannot see any thing on which to ground this censure. He did nothing in general without the clergy and people. He was ever sedulous in promoting the good of the whole. The episcopal character itself, through the gradual growth of superstition, though as yet at no very blameable height in the church, was naturally growing up to an excess of honour, and some few expresions fayouring of haughtiness and asperity under parti. cular provocation I have observed in Cyprian. But ambition was not his vice. Candour would father say he was in general influenced by a very fervent zeal, doubtless supported in its exertions by a temper remarkably active and fanguine. But when I would look for any thing felfish, proud, or domineering in his general conduct, I am struck with the steady tenor of gentleness, charity, and humility. In fine, had he not been a christian, one might have held him forth to the world as a great man; if it be the part of a great man to unite, in a large and capacious foul, the opposite qualities which so rarely meet in firm consistence in the same subject; spirit and mildness, magnanimity and mercy, fortitude and prudence, warmth of temper and accuracy of judgment, and particularly zeal and discretion, each in a very high degree.

In Origen’s conversion we see nothing remarkable. He received christianity more in a way of education. It is not usual with God to make use of such persons for such extraordinary services, as those who like Cyprian in the prime of life have been selected from the world. Origen's views of the peculiar truths of christianity were, to say no more, too faint and general, nor ever sufficiently distinguished from moral and philo

sophical fophical religion. He bore persecution, when young, with much zeal and honesty ; but he lived many years in peace and prosperity. Souglit after by philosophers, esteemed by courts, and honoured by the great, he lived a scholastic rather than an active life in the church, always fully employed indeed, but more like a scholar than a minister, ever bent on promoting truth and holiness, so far as he knew them, but always leaving one in pain because of the defectiveness of his views. His laft fcenes are the best and most decisively christian. He suffered persecution with the pàtience and honesty of a martyr, and proved indeed whose disciple he was on the whole. Mosheim charges him with dishonesty in his arguments against Celsus, and says that any one that has penetration and judgment may discern it *. I have examined this tract, I cannot say by any means with that care with which I have Cyprian's letters, as I do not think it deserves it, but I have examined it so far as to be induced to diffent from Mosheim. Indeed great honesty of mind was, if I mistake not, a ruling feature of Origen's character. When will modern writers learn to shew any candour toward the ancients, and cease to suppose all excellencies to be confined to these later ages ?

After this general review of these two men, and after it has been owned that integrity and fairness of mind were pofíeffed by both in a very great degree, if it be asked wherein lay the superior virtue of Cyprian, I answer, besides what has been faid of the difference of their conversions, and above all of the work of God in their hearts all along.

II. Cyprian * Mosheim's Eccl. History, Ceaiury 3, Chap. 3.

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II. Cyprian was pofleffed of a fimplicity to which Origen seems ever to have been a itranger. By simplicity I mean here a genuine and unadulterated taste for the doctrine and spirit of the chri. ftian religion,' just as it stands in its real nature. It is potlible for a person very eminent in this gift, which is purely divine and spiritual, not to know much more of evangelical truth than another far inferior in this respect, because the light and means of information are very different in different ages of the church, and it is evident that the third century suffered a decline in illumination. But where a man is deficient in knowledge, yet if his finplicity of christian taste be very Itrong, he will be filent on those subjects which he understands not, at least you shall hear hardly any thing opposite to any part of Divine truth. This is Cyprian's case. I cannot find, for instance, that he understood the election of

grace. Since Justin's days the knowledge of it was departing from the church. But he opposed it not. Origen, less humble and less submissive to Divine instruction, and feeling more resources in his reasoning powers, dares to oppole it by an opposite statement of the doctrine *

In Cyprian this liinplicity appears in a supreme degree. He never trifles with scripture, or fets up his reason against it. Void of the whole apparatus of Græcian philosophy, and possessed of what is much better, plain good senle, he takes always the words of scripture in their first, obvious, and most natural meaning, and thinks he has sufficiently proved his point, when he has supported it by an apposite quotation. His spirit bows to che Divine Word; and hence faith, patience, charity, heavenly-mindedness have full dominion in his soul.

Hence * Philocalia xxi.

Hence his sentiments have a strength, a purity, a perspicuity peculiarly inherent in those whose religious taste is altogether fcriptural. Here it is that he and Origen are opposite, toto Celo.The latter is full of platonic notions concerning the soul of the world, the transmigration of spirits, free-will, the pre-existence of souls, and allegorical interpretations without end. The first and simple sense of scripture he too often dares to reject entirely *. David's sin in the affair of Uriah he cannot admit. It seems he had not such strong and palpable proof of his own innate depravity, as to suppose it possible for so good a man to fall so foully. He has recourse therefore to a hidden abstruse fense. In his numberless comments on scripture, he constantly deals in fanciful allegories, and makes a system of this sort which pervades the whole of the sacred oracles; and while the just and plain sense is much neglected, he covers the whole with the thick mist of mysticism and chimerical philosophy, and while he labours still to support the faith which was once delivered to the saints, he mixes it with much allegorical trash, after the manner of his platonic master Ammonius, which will not incorporate with christian doctrine. Thus, by accommodating his interpretation to the then reigning literary talte, he gained to himself indeed a celebrity of character among the heathen, even among the great and the noble, but threw all things into inextricable ambiguity. The quickness of his parts and his superior ingenuity hence entangled him only the deeper, and enabled him to move in the chaos of his own formation with an ease and rapidity that rendered him unconicious of the difficulties in which he had involved himself.

One # Philoc. Chap., Page 20

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