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of them, and possibly the second. Five Things then you en
1. What Opinion the Antients had of the Worth, Spirit and Temper of his Person.
2. What they thought of his Doctrine.
5. By what his Adversaries, endeavour'd to confute them, and how I imagine an Origenist would answer to their Objections.
answer to the firft, be pleas'd to receive this Advergainst the Entertainment of a too forward Prejudice against him. Those that are skill'd and well-read in the antient Writers of the Church, tell us, that there are very few Records left of him, but such as must be had out of those Writings which were on purpose compos'd to refute his Opinions; or at least out of such as collect and amass together his Opinions without their Confutation, with design to bid Men beware of them and deteft them. Wherefore it is not to be wondred at, if the Heat of Disputation, or Zeal for what they were persuaded was the Truth, make them sometimes, in so pardonable a Paffion, speak fomething more harshly and tartly of his Person and Opinions, whom they imagin’d the Adversary and Subverter of it. But to the bufiness: 'Tis laid to his Charge that he was carry'd away with too curious an Endeavour of letting no part of Holy Scriptures, how hard foever, go unexplain'd, which prov'd his Ruin: That he was very temerarious, and in his Interpretations said any thing carelesly what he pleas’d; that he was xou todos xj doxicat copos, a Searcher of Things unsearchable, in B1 Bass's TWY STYPapier, who fill'd all the World with his Toys and Nugacity, a Fanatick, éseabsopo, a Caviller and Jeerer at the Simplicity of true Believers, one who thro his carnal Mind and Reasonings could not receive the Grace of the Spirit, an Unbeliever, and the greatest of Unbelievers, a pitiful vain-glorious Man, perverted by his great Skill in the Greek Learning. The Unpleasantness of the Argument tires me aļready, and my Reverence to the Censurers makes me abstain from their Names : But I shall recreate your Mind with his more advantageous Pi&ture, which they drew for him in a direct View of him, without fo oblique a Caft upon his Opinions. And here they represent hint as one who, both in his Youth and afterwards, willingly and courageously suffer'd many Perfecutions and inych barbarous Usage for the Name of Christ, and the Holy
Doctrine of Faith, being many times drag'd thro the Streets of the City, reproachfully us’d and reviťd, enduring Tor tures unfuiferable, envy'd and hated by those in Power for his eximious Piety and Learning, who overthrew and confu Eed all the Heresies that were in the Church in 'his time very well skill'd in the Natures and Properties of Animals and other natural things; who liv'd an Ascetick Life, and thro his excefiive Strictness, spare Diet, and Abstinence from Animals, 'tis reported, Jaspektet auro TET]wxlvar whom none but the Ignorant and Unskilful ca nr deny to have þeen the Måster of the Churches after the Apostles, so wel? vers'd in the Holy Scriptures, that he had them all without book; and his Knowledg in them was so great that even his Adversaries with'd to have had it, tho with the Envy of his Name; whose continual Study Night and Day was to understand them, and to explain them to others; and innumerable Treatises of that kind he publish'd for the good of all Men, besides a multitude of other Writings, to the number of 6000 Volunies in all ; who writ more than other Men can real: and all this Divine Knowledg he had in conjunction with the perfect understanding of the profoundeft Mysteries of the best and noblest Seets of Philosophy, before whom Plotinus hiinself was asham’d to continue his Lecture, so much did he revere this holy and learned Father. And to be short, I refer you to the Encomium given him by Vincentius Lirinenfis This is a Draught of him from those who otherwise were not apt to favour him. And you in taking a view of it, cannot but clearly discover these two things, the Ingenuity and Integrity of those who were Enemies to his Doctrine, in that they did not, like the Difputers of After-ages, make all Men ignorant and impious who were not of their Mind and the ftupendious worth of Origen, which drew such fair Testimonies of his personal Perfections even from them, who thro their Dislike of his Opinions, could not possibly be his profess'd Encomiasts. And if I should add what Intimations I find of the Esteem had of him by such as did not difapprove his Dogmata, you would then say that he was little less than an Apoftle; but because the witness of Friendship is so apt to be partial, and so less credible, I will wave it, ånd here make an end of the firft Query, THE "HE second is, What they thought of his Do&trines?
They say his Heresy, tho entertaind by the moft eminent Chriftianis, and such as profess’da Monaftick and Anchoretick Life and Poverty, yet was it narar handlar deox Supon Tepos That bis Dogmata concerning Faith and matters of
higher Speculation, are the most absurd of any that ever were before or after him, those only Opinions of other Selts excepted, which countenanc'd impure and filthy Practices: That his Doctrine of the Refurrection, beside the Nugacity of it, was indeed mere Unbelief; a deceitful Opinion, not maintain’d by Faith, but Syllogisms and Ratiocinations, subverting the Confession of our Faith, in this rare qu'on huar auk BawórtorMadness, and Ignorance, and Blasphemy ; ä putative Resurrection, and only in Appearance, for he did only in Words confess that Article, but in Deed and in his Mind denyd and subverted it. His Opinion concerning Pre-existence, and the happier State of the Soul before she was thruft down into these inferior parts of the World, they say, is περεπισμός και τραγικολογία, without Senfe or Undertanding, the Conceit of bad Men, Blasphemy and Stolidity: That the Author of it did imitate the Craft and Deceitfulness of the Devil, that old Serpent, who of old deceivid Eve, and ftill does the Minds of the Simple: That his Doctrine in general is absurd and pernicious, a Serpentine deadly Poison, which he vomited into the World to his own Destruction, and theirs who adhere to him. His Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, they say, is manifeft Blasphemy, and he by it was the Father of Arianism, and the Root whence all other like Heresies sprang; fo nearly symbolizing not only with Arius, but with Eunomius and Manicheus also, that they who have written against them have with the same Labour answer'd to his Impieties ; An Enemy of God and the Church for his moft hateful Opinions ; and one profeffes, in the Word and Faith of a Chriftian, that his Dogmata are poisonous and contrary to Scripture. His Opinion concerning the happy Reftitution of all Things, and the Liberation of the Puni hd, whether Men or Dæmons, is such, that they cannot tell whether they shou'd be griev'd or laugh at it. What hath been produc'd upon this second Inquiry, I think is sufficient, to let you see what Opinion some pious and learned Persons of the Church had of Origen's Docs trines. I cannot here, as in the former Query, oppose to this severer Censure one more favourable in his behalf, because the more antient Authors, I make use of in this whole mat. ter, were profess’d Enemies to his Dogmata, and I have heard of no other extant which befriend them. Yet something you may gather from the firft Testimony produc'd in this Particular, and add to it, that he hath not wanted such as have apologiz'd for him, and defended the Catholickness of his Do&rine ; Men very eminent in the Church for Place and Dignity, and also for their learned Writings, fonie where; of are till extant, and in great efteem in the World, One of
them is by his Adversaries themselves confess’d to be Catho. lick in the grand Heresy of all, to wit, that of the Holy Trinity: A second was so good a Christian, as to confirm the Truth of his Faith by Martyrdor. That I may not add that some later Writers, but very learned Men, have defended him too: for I know with some Men it will be exception enough againft their Authority to say they are Modern; with others against their Reason to say, This Man was a Philosopher, that a Papift, a third a Jesuit, the worst of Papifts ; for the Holy Father hath found Defenders amongst all these sorts of Men. But instead of such Testimonies of antient Writers, which do as much cry up, the . Truth and Nobleness of his Dogmata, as those others I have produc'd do reprove their Falleners and Contrariety to the Faith of the Gospel: What if I should give you a sort History of their Quarrel againft him and his Opinions ? May not this poffibly lomewhat leffen the Credit of their harder Censure I will be very brief in it, because I know you would rather hear what his Opinions are, than see the Con- tentions among the venerable Fathers of the Christian Church. Origen, according to the Philosophicalness of his excellent Spirit, had asserted God to be purely incorporeal and immense, and that it was an impious derogation to his moft perfect Essence to be limited by any form whatever, and therefore not by human-Shape; however the Scripture does ascribe to him the several Parts of human Bodies. And this he did with some Zeal and Earneftness, because some unlearned Monks of Egypt had advanc'd the contrary pinion, tor which they were call?d by him Anthropomorphites. Now as it commonly happens, and as we see in the Roman Church, that the same Orders conftantly transinit the fame Opinions to all their Successors; so was it amongft these ignorant Monks, for the same false Conceit was preserv'd and strenuoully maintain'd amongst them almost two hundred years af
At which time Epiphaniu, one of that Profeffon, had inbibid the Error, or at least was not much averse from it; for tho he was without doubt a very pious Man, yet it is apparent enough that he had not much Learning, and therefore was very obnoxious to that dull Hallucination: for his Piety would make him very much revere the plain Declarations of Scripture which countenance it, and his little Learning could not rescue him from the Fallacy. But as tenacioully as the Monks of his time kept their old Mumpfimus which their Predecellors had taught them; fo with no less care did other more learned Chriftians retain the truc and more reasonable Doctrine of Origen. And it is no won
der if there was much Contention amongst them,and many hard, Words given, to the mutual provoking and inflaming one another. It happend about this time that Theophilus Bishop of Antioch, an Origenist, and one who had in publick Writings call d Epiphanius an Herefiarch, had ordaind one Diofcorus, an Origenist too, Bishop of Hermopolis, and committed to two of his Brothers the whole management of the Affairs of his own Church : but they being as pious as learned, did much dislike the Temper and Practices of Theophilus, who was a proud, revengeful, covetous, crafty and turbulent Man; and out of this disguft left him, and retir'd to their Monasteries, again, from whence he had call?d them. He smelling out what it was that displeas'd them, instead of mending his Manners, was refolv'd to be reveng'd of them; and therefore besides his sending several Monkish Anthropomorphites into those Parts whereço they had retird, to kindle that Çuntroversy afresh, to bring Diofcorus and his Brothers into what' Danger and Envy he could, as holding the blafphemous Opinion of Origen (for so he impiously and against his Conscience call'd it) he also persecuted them by the arind force of Soldiers; so that they poor Men were constrain'd to save themselves by Aying to Constantinople, where St. Chrysostom was Bishop. And tho this holy and wise Prelate would not communicate with them till the whole Cause was heard and judg'd according to Ecclefiaftical Form; yet the proud Theophilus having nothing in his Eye but Violence and Revenge, was resolv'd to be reveng’d on him too for giving shelter to his Enemies. And therefore, thro his malicious Craft, le abus'd the simple and unwary Zeal of Epiphanius, and inftigated him to call a Synod in his See for condemning the Books of Origen; signifying to him withal, that tho he had formerly been of another Mind, yet now he had renounc'd that pernicious Doctrine, and was wholly come over to his Opinion. By this Device he knew he should be even with all his Enemies together, who all admir'd and reverenc'd the Name and Works of that learned Father. And by the same great Craft of his, it is thought he drew in St. Jerem also into the fame Confederacy: Which he might not difficultly do, he being naturally of a very hot and eager Disposition, and tho a very learned Man, yet scarce beyond the bounds of Philology. The Synod was call’d, and 'the Books condenn'd, according to í heophilus's Project, who did the same in his own See too, and made Epiphanius write to Chryfoftom to follow their Example. But as it seems this Holy Father was not so forward in the Business, and therefore the restless Spirit of Theophilus inftigated Epiphanius to go to Conftantinople, car