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His erroneous sentences seem then more properly to contain queries and conjectures than Tettled opinions. Athanasius (and he must be allowed to have been a judge of this matter) believed him to be found, and quotes him to prove our Lord's co-eternity and co-effentiality with the Father. And he observes that what things he wrote by way of controversy and disputation are not to be looked on as his own words*.

The best defence, after all, of Origen, lies in the general holiness of his life, and patient suffering for the faith of Christ in his old age. And I rejoice that amidst all the trash with which his writings abound, we have yet this unquestionable testimony that he kept the commandments of God, and had the faith of Jelus. The great loss of his works, particularly his very voluminous commentaries, is not much to be regretted. But there are two fentences $ in them which deserve to be quoted ac length. He thus speaks on these words,

“ we conclude that a man is justified by faith, &c. “ the justification of faith only is sufficient, so that if any only believe, he may be justified, though no good work baih been fulfilled by him ;” and again, on the cale of the penitent thief," he was justified by faith without the works of the law; because concerning this the Lord did not inquire what he had before done, neither did he stay to ask what work he would perform after he had believed, but being justified by his confession only, he, going to paradise, carried him as a companion along with him."

Thus the precious doctrine of justification, though too much fullied and covered with rub: bith, even in the third century, was yet alive in I i

the * Cave's Life of Origen. See Bihop Beveridge on the Articles of the Church of Eoglaod.

Rom 32

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the faith of the most dubious characters among the Ante-nicene fathers. This it was that kept Origen, with all his hay and stubble, firm on christian foundations, and distinguished him radically from an enemy of Christ.

IV. If we compare the public life of these two men, the Græcian shines in a scholastic, the Roman in a pastoral capacity. Origen appears as an author, and moves in a sphere calculated for the learned. Cyprian is a preacher, and like the Apostles addresses equally all sorts of men. Yec, through the pride of corrupt nature, he was most likely to be attended to by the poor; refinement of thought he valued not; to address the heart and conscience, and to reduce every religious consideration to real practice, this was his aim. Yet Origen was usefully employed in untying knotty speculations, in arguing down heresies, and in recommending christianity, or something like chriftianity, to the learned world. No doubt his labours would be of some use amidst the mischief which the accommodating scheme produced; but the-pastoral labours of Cyprian, as they would not be received at all by prejudiced philosophers, so where they were received, left effects of unadulterated piety, through the Divine influence that attended them. As a christian bishop, hardly any age has seen his superior in activity, disinterestedness, steady attention to discipline, equally remote from extremes of negligent remiffness and impracticable severity; a charity and a patience unwearied, and ever consistent. He may safely be recommended as a model to all pastors, and particularly to those of episcopal rank, through Christendom. Whoever of them feel a desire to ferve God, in the most arduous and the most important of all professions, next after the study of


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the sacred Oracles, may proficably give their days and nights to Cyprian. All his genuine writings, the correspondence with Stephen of Rome, and what relates to the controversy between them ex. cepted, deserve to be ftudioully perused : his letters most of all; yet unless a man has himself ex. perienced the New Birth unto righteousness, he cannot be expected to relish them much; if he is regenerated indeed, it is scarce possible for him not to feel a generous glow of the purest godliness from the reading of them with care and attention. That such bishops were more frequent in Europe is devoutly to be wished. What avails good sense, taste, learning, without christian simplicity, and a heart above the world, its Aatteries or its frowns! Whoever would see what chriftian bishops were once, and still ought to be, let him contemplate the prelate of Carthage.

V. But the chief point of view in which the contrast between these two persons is most striking, is in the consequences and fruits of their labours and their works. Before Cyprian's time Africa appears to have been in no very fourishing state with relpect to christianity. Within twelve years he was the instrument of most material service in recovering many apoftates, in reforming discipline, and in reviving the essence of godliness. His example was most fragrant among them for ages. The honours paid to his memory demonstrate it. Certain it is, that his diocese, once the scene of Punic greatness, continued long after one of the most precious gardens of chriftianity, as I shall have abundant occalion to fhew in the course of this history, should I be allowed to continue it. But the mischiefs of Origen's taste and spirit in religion were inexpressible. Talents and learning !-Fie who possesses much of them has more abundant need to learn humility and divine caution. If he does not much benefit mankind by them, he is in danger of prejudicing them much. No man, not' altogether unsound and hypocritical, ever more hurt the church of Christ than Origen. From the fanciful mode of allegory introduced by him, uncontrouled by scriptural rule and order, arose a vitiated method of commenting on the scriptures, which has been succeeded by a contempt of types and figures altogether, just as his fanciful ideas of letter and spirit tended to remove from men's minds all right conceptions of genuine spirituality. A thick mift for ages pervaded the christian world, supported by his absurd allegorical mode. The learned alone were looked at as guides implicitly to be followed; and the vulgar, when the literal sense was hissed off the stage, had nothing to do but to follow the authority of the learned. It was not till the days of Luther and Melancthon that this evil was fairly and successfully opposed.


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If I have carried the parallel to a greater length than the just laws of history allow, the importance of the case is my only apology. Let the whole be considered in connection with two passages of St. Paul: “ I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, lest your minds be corrupted from the fimplicity that is in Chrift;" and " hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"


c H A P. XVI.


OTHER PARTICULARS OF VALERIAN'S PERSECUTION.“ T has been already mentioned that Cyprian

heard of the death of Sixtus, bishop of Rome, a little before his own martyrdom. In pursuance of the cruel orders of Valerian, for carrying on the persecution, he had been seized with some of his clergy. While they were carrying him to execution, Laurentius, his chief deacon, followed him weeping, and said, “ Whither goest thou, father,

, without thy fon ?” “ Sextus said, “ You shall follow me in three days.” We may suppose him to have been possessed with the spirit of prophecy in saying this, because we are certain that miraculous gifts were as yet by no means extinct in the church. But perhaps the declaration was not out of the reach of common sagacity from the circumstances of affairs.

After Sixtus's death * the Prefect of Rome, moved by an idle report of the immense riches of 'the Roman church, sent for Laurentius, and ordered him to deliver them up. Laurentius replied, “ Give me a little time to set every thing in order, and to take an account of each particular.” The Prefect granted him three days time. In that space Laurentius collected all the poor who were supported by the Roman church, and going to the Prefect, said, “Come, behold the riches of our God; you shall see a large court full of golden vessels." The Prefect followed him,

. but seeing all the poor people he turned to Laurentius with looks full of anger. displeased at ?” said the martyr; “the gold you so eagerly desire is but a vile metal taken out of

the * Aug. Vol. 9, P. 52,-See Fleury, b. 7.

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