Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.54 On the resurrection Part 3

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.54 On the resurrection Part 3

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 25.01.54 On the resurrection Part 3

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What then, I asked, are the fire and the gulf and the other features in the picture? Are they not that which they are said to be?

I think, she replied, that the Gospel signifies by means of each of them certain doctrines with regard to our question of the soul. For when the patriarch first says to the Rich Man, "Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things," and in the same way speaks of the Poor Man, that he, namely, has done his duty in bearing his share of life's evil things, and then, after that, adds with regard to the gulf that it is a barrier between them, he evidently by such expressions intimates a very important truth; and, to my thinking, it is as follows. Once man's life had but one character; and by that I mean that it was to be found only in the category of the good and had no contact with evil. The first of God's commandments attests the truth of this; that, namely, which gave to man unstinted enjoyment of all the blessings of Paradise, forbidding only that which was a mixture of good and evil and so composed of contraries, but making death the penalty for transgressing in that particular. But man, acting freely by a voluntary impulse, deserted the lot that was unmixed with evil, and drew upon himself that which was a mixture of contraries. Yet Divine Providence did not leave that recklessness of ours without a corrective. Death indeed, as the fixed penalty for breaking the law, necessarily fell upon its transgressors; but God divided the life of man into two parts, namely, this present life, and that "out of the body" hereafter; and He placed on the first a limit of the briefest possible time, while He prolonged the other into eternity; and in His love for man He gave him his choice, to have the one or the other of those things, good or evil, I mean, in which of the two parts he liked: either in this short and transitory life, or in those endless ages, whose limit is infinity. Now these expressions "good" and "evil" are equivocal; they are used in two senses, one relating to mind and the other to sense; some classify as good whatever is pleasant to feeling: others are confident that only that which is perceptible by intelligence is good and deserves that name. Those, then, whose reasoning powers have never been exercised and who have never had a glimpse of the better way soon use up on gluttony in this fleshly life the dividend of good which their constitution can claim, and they reserve none of it for the after life; but those who by a discreet and sober-minded calculation economize the powers of living are afflicted by things painful to sense here, but they reserve their good for the succeeding life, and so their happier lot is lengthened out to last as long as that eternal life. This, in my opinion, is the "gulf"; which is not made by the parting of the earth, but by those decisions in this life which result in a separation into opposite characters. The man who has once chosen pleasure in this life, and has not cured his inconsiderateness by repentance, places the land of the good beyond his own reach; for he has dug against himself the yawning impassable abyss of a necessity that nothing can break through. This is the reason, I think, that the name of Abraham's bosom is given to that good situation of the soul in which Scripture makes the athlete of endurance repose. For it is related of this patriarch first, of all up to that time born, that he exchanged the enjoyment of the present for the hope of the future; he was stripped of all the surroundings in which his life at first was passed, and resided amongst foreigners, and thus purchased by present annoyance future blessedness. As then figurativelyhyperlink we call a particular circuit of the ocean a "bosom," so does Scripture seem to me to express the idea of those measureless blessings above by the word "bosom," meaning a place into which all virtuous voyagers of this life are, when they have put in from hence, brought to anchor in the waveless harbour of that gulf of blessingshyperlink . Meanwhile the denial of these blessings which they witness becomes in the others a flame, which burns the soul and causes the craving for the refreshment of one drop out of that ocean of blessings wherein the saints are affluent; which nevertheless they do not get. If, too, you consider the "tongue," and the "eye," and the "finger," and the other names of bodily organs, which occur in the conversation between those disembodied souls, you will be persuaded that this conjecture of ours about them chimes in with the opinion we have already stated about the soul. Look closely into the meaning of those words. For as the concourse of atoms forms the substance of the entire body, so it is reasonable to think that the same cause operates to complete the substance of each member of the body. If, then, the soul is present with the atoms of the body when they are again mingled with the universe, it will not only be cognizant of the entire mass which once came together to form the whole body, and will be present with it, but, besides that, will not fail to know the particular materials of each one of the members, so as to remember by what divisions amongst the atoms our limbs were completely formed. There is, then, nothing improbable in supposing that what is present in the complete mass is present also in each division of the mass. If one, then, thinks of those atoms in which each detail of the body potentially inheres, and surmises that Scripture means a "finger" and a "tongue" and an "eye" and the rest as existing, after dissolution, only in the sphere of the soul, one will not miss the probable truth. Moreover, if each detail carries the mind away from a material acceptation of the story, surely the "hell" which we have just been speaking of cannot reasonably be thought a place so named; rather we are there told by Scripture about a certain unseen and immaterial situation in which the soul resides. In this story of the Rich and the Poor Man we are taught another doctrine also, which is intimately connected with our former discoveries. The story makes the sensual pleasure-loving man, when he sees that his own case is one that admits of no escape, evince forethought for his relations on earth; and when Abraham tells him that the life of those still in the flesh is not unprovided with a guidance, for they may find it at hand, if they will, in the Law and the Prophets, he still continues entreating that Justhyperlink Patriarch, and asks that a sudden and convincing message, brought by some one risen from the dead, may be sent to them.

What then, I asked, is the doctrine here?

Why, seeing that Lazarus' soul is occupiedhyperlink with his present blessings and turns round to look at nothing that he has left, while the rich man is still attached, with a cement as it were, even after death, to the life of feeling, which he does not divest himself of even when he has ceased to live, still keeping as he does flesh and blood in his thoughts (for in his entreaty that his kindred may be exempted from his sufferings he plainly shows that he is not freed yet from fleshly feeling),-in such details of the story (she continued) I think our Lord teaches us this; that those still living in the flesh must as much as ever they can separate and free themselves in a way from its attachments by virtuous conduct, in order that after death they may not need a second death to cleanse them from the remnants that are owing to this cementhyperlink of the flesh, and, when once the bonds are loosed from around the soul, her soaringhyperlink up to the Good may be swift and unimpeded, with no anguish of the body to distract her. For if any one becomes wholly and thoroughly carnal in thought, such an one, with every motion and energy of the soul absorbed in fleshly desires, is not parted from such attachments, even in the disembodied state; just as those who have lingered long in noisome places do not part with the unpleasantness contracted by that lengthened stay, even when they pass into a sweet atmosphere. Sohyperlink it is that, when the change is made into the impalpable Unseen, not even then will it be possible for the lovers of the flesh to avoid dragging away with them under any circumstances some fleshly foulness; and thereby their torment will be intensified, their soul having been materialized by such surroundings. I think too that this view of the matter harmonizes to a certain extent with the assertion made by some persons that around their graves shadowy phantoms of the departed are often seenhyperlink . If this is really so, an inordinate attachment of that particular soul to the life in the flesh is proved to have existed, causing it to be unwilling, even when expelled from the flesh, to fly clean away and to admit the complete change of its form into the impalpable; it remains near the frame even after. the dissolution of the frame, and though now outside it, hovers regretfully over the place where its material is and continues to haunt it.

Then, after a moment's reflection on the meaning of these latter words, I said: I think that a contradiction now arises between what you have said and the result of our former examination of the passions. For if, on the one hand, the activity of such movements within us is to be held as arising from our kinship with the brutes, such movements I mean as were enumerated in our previous discussionhyperlink , anger, for instance, and fear, desire of pleasure, and so on, and, on the other hand, it was affirmed that virtue consists in the good employment of these movements, and vice in their bad employment, and in addition to this we discussed the actual contribution of each of the other passions to a virtuous life, and found that through desire above all we are brought nearer God, drawn up, by its chain as it were, from earth towards Him,-I think (I said) that that part of the discussion is in a way opposed to that which we are now aiming at.

How so? she asked.

Why, when every unreasoning instinct is quenched within us after our purgation, this principle of desire will not exist any more than the other principles; and this being removed, it looks as if the striving after the better way would also cease, no other emotion remaining in the soul that can stir us up to the appetence of Good.

To that objection, she replied, we answer this. The speculative and critical faculty is the property of the soul's godlike part; for it is by these that we grasp the Deity also. If, then whether by forethought here, or by purgation hereafter, our soul becomes free from any emotional connection with the brute creation, there will be nothing to impede its contemplation of the Beautiful; for this last is essentially capable of attracting in a certain way every being that looks towards it. If, then, the soul is purified of every vice, it will most certainly be in the sphere of Beauty. The Deity is in very substance Beautiful; and to the Deity the soul will in its state of purity have affinity, and will embrace It as like itself. Whenever this happens, then, there will be no longer need of the impulse of Desire to lead the way to the Beautiful. Whoever passes his time in darkness, he it is who will be under the influence of a desire for the light; but whenever he comes into the light, then enjoyment takes the place of desire, and the power to enjoy renders desire useless and out of date. It will therefore be no detriment to our participation in the Good, that the soul should be free from such emotions, and turning back upon herself should know herself accurately what her actual nature is, and should behold the Original Beauty reflected in the mirror and in the figure of her own beauty. For truly herein consists the real assimilation to the Divine; viz. in making our own life in some degree a copy of the Supreme Being. For a Nature like that, which transcends all thought and is far removed from all that we observe within ourselves, proceeds in its existence in a very different manner to what we do in this present life. Man, possessing a constitution whose law it is to be moving, is carried in that particular direction whither the impulse of his will directs: and so his soul is not affected in the same way towards what lies before ithyperlink , as one may say, as to what it has left behind; for hope leads the forward movement, but it is memory that succeeds that movement when it has advanced to the attainment of the hope; and if it is to something intrinsically good that hope thus leads on the soul, the print that this exercise of the will leaves upon the memory is a bright one; but if hope has seduced the soul with some phantom only of the Good, and the excellent Way has been missed, then the memory that succeeds what has happened becomes shame, and an intestine war is thus waged in the soul between memory and hope, because the last has been such a bad leader of the will. Such in fact is the state of mind that shame gives expression to; the soul is stung as it were at the result; its remorse for its ill-considered attempt is a whip that makes it feel to the quick, and it would bring in oblivion to its aid against its tormentor. Now in our case nature, owing to its being indigent of the Good, is aiming always at this which is still wanting to it, and this aiming at a still missing thing is this very habit of Desire, which our constitution displays equally, whether it is baulked of the real Good, or wins that which it is good to win. But a nature that surpasses every idea that we can form of the Good and transcends all other power, being in no want of anything that can be regarded as good, is itself the plenitude of every good; it does not move in the sphere of the good by way of participation in it only, but if is itself the substance of the Good (whatever we imagine the Good to be); it neither gives scope for any rising hope (for hope manifests activity in the direction of something absent; but "what a man has, why doth he yet hope for?" as the Apostle asks), nor is it in want of the activity of the memory for the knowledge450of things; that which is actually seen has no need of being remembered. Since, then, this Divine nature is beyond any particular goodhyperlink , and to the good the good is an object of love, it follows that when It looks within Itselfhyperlink , It wishes for what It contains and contains that which It wishes, and admits nothing external. Indeed there is nothing external to It, with the sole exception of evil, which, strange as it may seem to say, possesses an existence in not existing at all. For there is no other origin of evil except the negation of the existent, and the truly-existent forms the substance of the Good. That therefore which is not to be found in the existent must be in the non-existent. Whenever the soul, then, having divested itself of the multifarious emotions incident to its nature, gets its Divine form and, mounting above Desire, enters within that towards which it was once incited by that Desire, it offers no harbour within itself either for hope or for memory. It holds the object of the one; the other is extruded from the consciousness by the occupation in enjoying all that is good: and thus the soul copies the life that is above, and is conformed to the peculiar features of the Divine nature; none of its habits are left to it except that of love, which clings by natural affinity to the Beautiful. For this is what love is; the inherent affection towards a chosen object. When, then, the soul, having become simple and single in form and so perfectly godlike, finds that perfectly simple and immaterial good which is really worth enthusiasm and lovehyperlink , it attaches itself to it and blends with it by means of the movement and activity of love, fashioning itself according to that which it is continually finding and grasping. Becoming by this assimilation to the Good all that the nature of that which it participates is, the soul will consequently, owing to there being no lack of any good in that thing itself which it participates,be itself also in no lack of anything, and so will expel from within the activity and the habit of Desire; for this arises only when the thing missed is not found. For this teaching we have the authority of God's own Apostle, who announces a subduinghyperlink and a ceasing of all other activities, even for the good, which are within us, and finds no limit for love alone. Prophecies, he says,shall fail; forms of knowledge shall cease; but "charity never faileth;" which is equivalent to its being always as it is: and thoughhyperlink he says that faith and hope have endured so far by the side of love, yet again he prolongs its date beyond theirs, and with good reason too; for hope is in operation only so long as the enjoyment of the things hoped for is not to be had; and faith in the same way is a supporthyperlink in the uncertainty about the things hoped for; for so he defines it-"the substancehyperlink of things hoped for"; but when the thing hoped for actually comes, then all other faculties are reduced to quiescencehyperlink , and love alone remains active, finding nothing to succeed itself. Love, therefore, is the foremost of all excellent achievements and the first of the commandments of the law. If ever, then, the soul reach this goal, it will be in no needof anything else; it will embrace that plenitude of things which are, whereby alonehyperlink it seems in any way to preserve within itself the stamp of God's actual blessedness. For the life of the Supreme Being is love, seeing that the Beautiful is necessarily lovable to those who recognize it, and the Deity does recognize it, and so this recognition becomes love, that which He recognizes being essentially beautiful. This True Beauty the insolence of satiety cannot touchhyperlink ; and no satiety interrupting this continuous capacity to love the Beautiful, God's life will have its activity in love; which life is thus in itself beautiful, and is essentially of a loving disposition towards the Beautiful, and receives no check to this activity of love. In fact, in the Beautiful no limit is to be found so that love should have to cease with any limit of the Beautiful. This last can be ended only by its opposite; but when you have a good, as here, which is in its essence incapable of a change for the worse, then that good will go on unchecked into infinity. Moreover, as every being is capable of attracting its like, and humanity is, in a way, like God, as bearing within itself some resemblances to its Prototype, the soul is by a strict necessity attracted to the kindred Deity. In fact what belongs to God must by all means and at any cost be preserved for Him. If, then, on the one hand, the soul is unencumbered with superfluities and no trouble connected with the body presses it down, its advance towards Him Who draws it to Himself is sweet and congenial. But supposehyperlink , on the other hand, that it has been transfixed with the nails of propensionhyperlink so as to be held down to a habit connected with material things,-a case like that of those in the ruins caused by earthquakes, whose bodies are crushed by the mounds of rubbish; and let us imagine by way of illustration that these are not only pressed down by the weight of the ruins, but have been pierced as well with some spikes and splinters discovered with them in the rubbish. What then, would naturally be the plight of those bodies, when they were being dragged by relatives from the ruins to receive the holy rites of burial, mangled and torn entirely, disfigured in the most direful manner conceivable, with the nails beneath the heap harrowing them by the very violence necessary to pull them out?-Such I think is the plight of the soul as well when the Divine force, for God's very love of man, drags that which belongs to Him from the ruins of the irrational and material. Not in hatred or revenge for a wicked life, to my thinking, does God bring upon sinners those painful dispensations; He is only claiming and drawing to Himself whatever, to please Him, came into existence. But while He for a noble end is attracting the soul to Himself, the Fountain of all Blessedness, it is the occasion necessarily to the being so attracted of a state of torture. Just as those who refine gold from the dross which it contains not only get this base alloy to melt in the fire, but are obliged to melt the pure gold along with the alloy, and then while this last is being consumed the gold remains, so, while evil is being consumed in the purgatorialhyperlink fire, the soul that is welded to this evil must inevitably be in the fire too, until the spurious material alloy is consumed and annihilated by this fire. If a clay of the more tenacious kind is deeply plastered round a rope, and then the end of the rope is put through a narrow hole, and then some one on the further side violently pulls it by that end, the result must be that, while the rope itself obeys the force exerted, the clay that has been plastered upon it is scraped off it with this violent pulling and is left outside the hole, and, moreover, is the cause why the rope does not run easily through the passage, but has to undergo a violent tension at the hands of the puller. In such a manner, I think, we may figure to ourselves the agonized struggle of that soul which has wrapped itself up in earthy material passions, when God is drawing it, His own one, to Himself, and the foreign matter, which has somehow grown into its substance, has to be scraped from it by main force, and so occasions it that keen intolerable anguish.

Then it seems, I said, that it is not punishment chiefly and principally that the Deity, as Judge, afflicts sinners with; but He operates, as your argument has shown, only to get the good separated from the evil and to attract it into the communion of blessedness.

That, said the Teacher, is my meaning; and also that the agony will be measured by the amount of evil there is in each individual. For it would not be reasonable to think that the man who has remained so long as we have supposed in evil known to be forbidden, and the man who has fallen only into moderate sins, should be tortured to the same amount in the judgment upon their vicious habit; but according to the quantity of material will be the longer or shorter time that that agonizing flame will be burning; that is, as long as there is fuel to feed it. In the case of the man who has acquired a heavy weight of material, the consuming fire must necessarily be very searching; but where that which the fire has to feed uponhyperlink has spread less far, there the penetrating fierceness of the punishment is mitigated, so far as the subject itself, in the amount of its evil, is diminished. In any and every case evil must be removed out of existence, so that, as we said above, the absolutely non-existent should cease to be at all. Since it is not in its nature that evil should exist outside the will, does it not follow that when it shall be that every will rests in God, evil will be reduced to complete annihilation, owing to no receptacle being left for it?

But, said I, what help can one find in this devout hope, when one considers the greatness of the evil in undergoing torture even for a single year; and if that intolerable anguish be prolonged for the interval of an age, what grain of comfort is left from any subsequent expectation to him whose purgation is thus commensurate with an entire age?hyperlink

Whyhyperlink , either we must plan to keep the soul absolutely untouched and free from any stain of evil; or, if our passionate nature makes that quite impossible, then we must plan that our failures in excellence consist only in mild and easily-curable derelictions. For the Gospel in its teaching distinguishes betweenhyperlink a debtor of ten thousand talents and a debtor of five hundred pence, and of fifty pence and of a farthinghyperlink , which is "the uttermost" of coins; it proclaims that God's just judgment to all, and enhances the payment necessary as the weight of the debt increases, and on the other hand does not overlook the very smallest debts. But the Gospel tells us that this payment of debts was not effected by the refunding of money, but that the indebted man was delivered to the tormentors until he should pay the whole debt; and that means nothing else than paying in the coin of tormenthyperlink the inevitable recompense, the recompense, I mean, that consists in taking the share of pain incurred during his lifetime, when he inconsiderately chose mere pleasure, undiluted with its opposite; so that having put off from him all that foreign growth which sin is, and discarded the shame of any debts, he might stand in liberty and fearlessness. Now liberty is the coming up to a state which owns no master and is self-regulatinghyperlink ; it is that with which we were gifted by God at the beginning, but which has been obscured by the feeling of shame arising from indebtedness. Liberty too is in all cases one and the same essentially; it has a natural attraction to itself. It follows, then, that as everything that is free will be united with its like, and as virtue is a thing that has no master, that is, is free, everything that is free will be united with virtue. But, further, the Divine Being is the fountain of all virtue. Therefore, those who have parted with evil will be united with Him; and so, as the Apostle says, God will be "all in allhyperlink "; for this utterance seems to me plainly to confirm the opinion we have already arrived at, for it means that God will be instead of all other things, and in all. For while our present life is active amongst a variety of multiform conditions, and the things we have relations with are numerous, for instance, time, air, locality, food and drink, clothing, sunlight, lamplight, and other necessities of life, none of which, many though they be, are God,-that blessed state which we hope for is in need of none of these things, but the Divine Being will become all, and instead of all, to us, distributing Himself proportionately to every need of that existence. It is plain, too, from the Holy Scripture that God becomes, to those who deserve it, locality, and home, and clothing, and food, and drink, and light, and riches, and dominion, and everything thinkable and nameable that goes to make our life happy. But He that becomes "all" things will be "in all" things too; and herein it appears to me that Scripture teaches the complete annihilation of evilhyperlink . If, that is, God will be "in all" existing things, evil; plainly, will not then be amongst them; for if any one was to assume that it did exist then, how will the belief that God will be "in all" be kept intact? The excepting of that one thing, evil, mars the comprehensiveness of the term "all." But He that will be "in all" will never be in that which does not exist.

What then, I asked, are we to say to those whose hearts fail at these calamitieshyperlink ?

We will say to them, replied the Teacher, this. "It is foolish, good people, for you to fret and complain of the chain of this fixed sequence of life's realities; you do not know the goal towards which each single dispensation of the universe is moving. You do not know that all things have to be assimilated to the Divine Nature in accordance with the artistic plan of their author, in a certain regularity and order. Indeed, it was for this that intelligent beings came into existence; namely, that the riches of the Divine blessings should not lie idle. The All-creating Wisdom fashioned these souls, these receptacles with free wills, as vessels as it were, for this very purpose, that there should be some capacities able to receive His blessings and become continually larger with the inpouring of the stream. Such are the wondershyperlink that the participation in the Divine blessings works: it makes him into whom they come larger and more capacious; from his capacity to receive it gets for the receiver an actual increase in bulk as well, and he never stops enlarging. The fountain of blessings wells up unceasingly, and the partaker's nature, finding nothing superfluous and without a use in that which it receives, makes the whole influx an enlargement of its own proportions, and becomes at once more wishful to imbibe the nobler nourishment and more capable of containing it; each grows along with each, both the capacity which is nursed in such abundance of blessings and so grows greater, and the nurturing supply which comes on in a flood answering to the growth of those increasing powers. It is likely, therefore, that this bulk will mount to such a magnitude ashyperlink there is no limit to check, so that we should not grow into it. With such a prospect before us, are you angry that our nature is advancing to its goal along the path appointed for us? Why, our career cannot be run thither-ward, except that which weighs us down, I mean this encumbering load of earthiness, be shaken off the soul; nor can we be domiciled in Purity with the corresponding part of our nature, unless we have cleansed ourselves by a better training from the habit of affection which we have contracted in life towards this earthiness. But if there be in you any clinging to this bodyhyperlink , and the being unlocked from this darling thing give you pain, let not this, either, make you despair. You will behold this bodily envelopment, which is now dissolved in death, woven again out of the same atoms, not indeed into this organization with its gross and heavy texture, but with its threads worked up into something more subtle and ethereal, so that you will not only h.ave near you that which you love, but it will be restored to you with a brighter and more entrancing beautyhyperlink ."

But it somehow seems to me now, I said, that the doctrine of the Resurrection necessarily comes on for our discussion; a doctrine which I think is even at first sight true as well as crediblehyperlink , as it is told us in Scripture; so that that will not come in question between us: but since the weakness of the human understanding is strengthened still farther by any arguments that are intelligible to us, it would be well not to leave this part of the subject, either, without philosophical examination. Let us consider, then, what ought to be said about it.

As for the thinkers, the Teacher went on, outside our own system of thought, they have, with all their diverse ways of looking at things, one in one point, another in another, approached and touched the doctrine of the Resurrection: while they none of them exactly coincide with us, they have in no case wholly abandoned such an expectation. Some indeed make human nature vile in their comprehensiveness, maintaining that a soul becomes alternately that of a man and of something irrational; that it trans-migrates into various bodies, changing at pleasure from the man into fowl, fish, or beast, and then returning to human kind. While some extend this absurdity even to treeshyperlink and shrubs, so that they consider their wooden life as corresponding and akin to humanity, others of them hold only thus much-that the soul exchanges one man for another man, so that the life of humanity is continued always by means of the same souls, which, being exactly the same in number, are being born perpetually first in one generation, then in another. As for ourselves, we take our stand upon the tenets of the Church, and assert that it will be well to accept only so much of these speculations as is sufficient to show that those who indulge in them are to a certain extent in accord with the doctrine of the Resurrection. Their statement, for instance, that the soul after its release from this body insinuates itself into certain other bodies is not absolutely out of harmony with the revival which we hope for. For our view, which maintains that the body, both now, and again in the future, is composed of the atoms of the universe, is held equally by these heathens. In fact, you cannot imagine any constitution of the body independent of a concoursehyperlink of these atoms. But the divergence lies in this: we assert that the same body again as before, composed of the same atoms, is compacted around the soul;. they suppose that the soul alights on other bodies, not only rational, but irrational and even insensate; and while all are agreed that these bodies which the soul resumes derive their substance from the atoms of the universe, they part company from us in thinking that they are not made out of identically the same atoms as those which in this mortal life grew around the soul. Let then, this external testimony stand for the fact that it is not contrary to probability that the soul should again inhabit a body; after that however, it is incumbent upon us to make a survey of the inconsistencies of their position, and it will be easy thus, by means of the consequences that arise as we follow out the consistent view, to bring the truth to light. What, then, is to be said about these theories? This that those who would have it that the soul migrates into natures divergent from each other seem to me to obliterate all natural distinctions; to blend and confuse together, in every possible respect, the rational, the irrational, the sentient, and the insensate; if, that is, all these are to pass into each other, with no distinct natural orderhyperlink secluding them from mutual transition. To say that one and the same soul, on account of a particular environment of body, is at one time a rational and intellectual soul, and that then it is caverned along with the reptiles, or herds with the birds, or is a beast of burden, or a carnivorous one, or swims in the deep; or even drops down to an insensate thing, so as to strike out roots or become a complete tree, producing buds on branches, and from those buds a flower, or a thorn, or a fruit edible or noxious-to say this, is nothing short of making all things the same and believing that one single nature runs through all beings; that there is a connexion between them which blends and confuses hopelessly all the marks by which one could be distinguished from another. The philosopher who asserts that the same thing may be born in anything intends no less than that all things are to be one; when the observed differences in things are for him no obstacle to mixing together things which are utterly incongruous. He makes it necessary that, even when one sees one of the creatures that are venom-darting or carnivorous, one should regard it, in spite of appearances, as of the same tribe, nay even of the same family, as oneself. With such beliefs a man will look even upon hemlock as not alien to his own nature, detecting, as he does, humanity in the plant. The grape-bunch itselfhyperlink , produced though it be by cultivation for the purpose of sustaining life, he will not regard without suspicion; for it too comes from a planthyperlink : and we find even the fruit of the ears of corn upon which we live are plants; how, then, can one put in the sickle to cut them down; and how can one squeeze the bunch, or pull up the thistle from the field, or gather flowers, or hunt birds, or set fire to the logs of the funeral pyre: it being all the while uncertain whether we are not laying violent hands on kinsmen, or ancestors, or fellow-country-men, and whether it is not through the medium of some body of theirs that the fire is being kindled, and the cup mixed, and the food prepared? To think that in the case of any single one of these things a soul of a man has become a plant or animalhyperlink , while no marks are stamped upon them to indicate what sort of plant or animal it is that has been a man, and what sort has sprung from other beginnings,-such a conception as this will dispose him who has entertained it to feel an equal amount of interest in everything: he must perforce either harden himself against actual human beings who are in the land of the living, or, if his nature inclines him to love his kindred, he will feel alike towards every kind of life, whether he meet it in reptiles or in wild beasts. Why, if the holder of such an opinion go into a thicket of trees, even then he will regard the trees as a crowd of men. What sort of life will his be, when he has to be tender towards everything on the ground of kinship, or else hardened towards mankind on account of his seeing no difference between them and the other creatures? From what has been already said, then, we must reject this theory: and there are many other considerations as well which on the grounds of mere consistency lead us away from it. For I have heard persons who hold these opinionshyperlink saying that whole nations of souls are hidden away somewhere in a realm of their own, living a life analogous to that of the embodied soul; but such is the fineness and buoyancy of their substance that they themselves' roll round along with the revolution of the universe; and that these souls, having individually lost their wings through some gravitation towards evil, become embodied; first this takes place in men; and after that, passing from a human life, owing to brutish affinities of their passions, they are reducedhyperlink to the level of brutes; and, leaving that, drop down to this insensate life of pure naturehyperlink which you have been hearing so much of; so that that inherently fine and buoyant thing that the soul is first becomes weighted and downward tending in consequence of some vice, and so migrates to a human body; then its reasoning powers are extinguished, and it goes on living in some brute; and then even this gift of sensation is withdrawn, and it changes into the insensate plant life; but after that mounts up again by the same gradations until it is restored to its place in heaven. Now this doctrine will at once be found, even after a very cursory survey, to have no coherency with itself. For, first, seeing that the soul is to be dragged down from its life in heaven, on account of evil there, to the condition of a tree, and is then from this point, on account of virtue exhibited there, to return to heaven, their theory will be unable to decide which is to have the preference, the life in heaven, or the life in the tree. A circle, in fact, of the same sequences will be perpetually traversed, where the soul, at whatever point it may be, has no resting-place. If it thus lapses from the disembodied state to the embodied, and thence to the insensate, and then springs back to the disembodied, an inextricable confusion of good and evil must result in the minds of those who thus teach. For the life in heaven will no more preserve its blessedness (since evil can touch heaven's denizens), than the life in trees will be devoid of virtue (since it is from this, they say, that the rebound of the soul towards the good begins, while from there it begins the evil life again). Secondlyhyperlink , seeing that the soul as it moves round in heaven is there entangled with evil and is in consequence dragged down to live in mere matter, from whence, however, it is lifted again into its residence on high, it follows that those philosophers establish the very contraryhyperlink of their own views; they establish, namely, that the life in matter is the purgation of evil, while that undeviating revolution along with the starshyperlink is the foundation and cause of evil in every soul: if it is here that the soul by means of virtue grows its wing and then soars upwards, and there that those wings by reason of evil fall off, so that it descends and clings to this lower world and is commingled with the grossness of material nature. But the untenableness of this view does not stop even in this, namely, that it contains assertions diametrically opposed to each other. Beyond this, their fundamental conceptionhyperlink itself cannot stand secure on every side. They say, for instance, that a heavenly nature is unchangeable. How then, can there be room for any weakness in the unchangeable? If, again, a lower nature is subject to infirmity, how in the midst of this infirmity can freedom from it be achieved? They attempt to amalgamate two things that can never be joined together: they descry strength in weakness, passionlessness in passion. But even to this last view they are not faithful throughout; for they bring home the soul from its material life to that very place whence they had exiled it because of evil there, as though the life in that place was quite safe and uncontaminated; apparently quite forgetting the fact that the soul was weighted with evil there, before it plunged down into this lower world.


80 ek kataxrhsewj tinoj: not as usually "by a misuse of words."

81 There is an anacoluthon here, for tw agaqw kolpw follows w above; designed no doubt to bring the things compared more closely together. Oehler, however, would join agaqw with the relative, and translates as if tw = kai.

82 ton dikaion. Most of Krabinger's Codd. read ton plousion.

83 is occupied with his present blessings (asxoloj toij parousin); surely not, with Oehler, "is not occupied with the present world"!

84 kollhj. The metaphor is Platonic. "The soul ...absolutely bound and glued to the body" (Phaedo, p. 82 E).

85 her soaring. Plato first spoke (Phaedrus, p. 248 c) of "that growth of wing, by which the soul is lifted." Once these natural wings can get expanded, her flight upwards is a matter of course. This image is reproduced by Plotinus p. 769 A (end of Enneads); Libanius, Pro Socrate, p. 258; Synesius, De Providentia, p. 90 D, and Hymn i. III, where he speaks of the alma konfon of the soul, and Hymm iii. 42. But there is mixed here with the idea of a flight upwards (i. e. anadromh), that of the running-gronnd as well (cf. Greg. De scopo Christian. III. p. 299, toij thj arethj dromoij), which, as sanctioned in the New Testament Chrysostom so often uses.

86 outwj answers to kaqaper, not to wj above.

87 shadowy phantoms of the departed are often seen. Cf. Origen c. Cels. ii. 60 (in answer to Celsus' "Epicurean" opinion that ghosts are pure illusion): "He who does believe this (i. e. in ghosts) necessarily believes in the immortality, or at all events the long continuance of the soul: as Plato does in his treatise on the soul (i. e. the Phaedo) when he says that the shadowy apparitions of the dead hover round their tombs. These apparitions, then, have some substance: it is the so-called `radiant

0' frame in which the soul exists. But Celsus, not liking this, would have us believe that people have waking dreams and `imagine as true, in accordance with their wishes, a wild piece of unreality.

0' In sleep we may well believe that this is the case: not so in waking hours, unless some one is quite out of his senses, or is melancholy mad." But Origen here quotes Plato in connection with the reality of the Resurrection body of Christ: Gregory refers to ghosts only, with regard to the filoswmatoi, whose whole condition after death he represents very much in Plato's words. See Phaedo, p. 81 B.

88 prolabwn; on the authority of five Codd., for proslabwn.

89 kata to emprosqen authj.

90 any particular good, not as Oehler, "jenseits alles Guten." The Divine Being is the complement, not the negation, of each single good.

91 en eauth blepousa. But Augentius and Sifanus seem to have read eauthn: and this is supported by three Codd.

92 to monon tw onti agaphton kai erasmion.

93 katastolhn. Cf. 1 Cor. xiii. 8-13.

94 Schmidt well remarks that there lies in legwn here not a causal but only a concessive force: and he puts a stop before eikotwj. Oehler has not seen that agaph is governed by the preposition sun in the verb "by the side of love," and quite mistranslates the passage.

95 ereisma.

96 upostasij. Heb. xi 1.

97 reduced to quiescence, atremountwn. This is the reading adopted by Krabinger, from four Codd., instead of the vex nihili of the editions, euthremontwn. The contrast must be between "remaining in activity (energeia)," and "becoming idle," and he quotes a passage from Plotinus to show that atremein has exactly this latter sense. Cf. 1 Cor. xiii. 8, 1 Cor. xiii. 10, katarghfhsontai, katarghfhsetai.

98 whereby alone, kaf o dokei monon pwj authj, k. t. l, the reading of Sifanus.

99 the insolence of satiety cannot touch. Krabinger quotes from two of his Codd. a scholium to this effect: "Then this proves to be nonsense what Origen has imagined about the satiety of minds, and their consequent fall and recall, on which he bases his notorious teaching about the pre-existence and restoration of souls that are always revolving in endless motion, determined as he is, like a retailer of evil, to mingle the Grecian myths with the Church's truth." Gregory, more sober in his idealism, certainly does not follow on this point his great Master. The phrase ubristhj koroj is used by Gregory Naz. also in his Poems (p. 32 A), and may have been suggested to both by some poet, now lost. "Familiarity breeds contempt" is the modern equivalent.

100 But suppose, &c. Moller (Gregorii doctrina de hom. natur., p. 99) shows that the following view of Purgatory is not that taught by the Roman Church.

101 by the nails of propension. This metaphor is frequently used by Gregory. Cf. De Virginit. c 5: "How can the soul which is riveted (proshlwfeisa) to the pleasures of the flesh, and busied with merely human longings, turn a disengaged eye upon its kindred intellectual light ?" So De Beatitud. Or. viii. (I. p. 833), &c.

102 purgatorial, kafarsiw. Five of Krabinger's Codd. and the versions of Augentius and Sifanus approve this reading. That of the Editions is akoimhtw. [This last epithet is applied to God's justice () by Isidore of Pelusium, Ep. 90: and to the "worm," and, on the other hand, the Devil, by Cyril Alexand. Act. Ephes., p. 252. Cf. S. S. Math. iii. 12; S. Mark ix. 48.] It is the same with aiwniw before puri just below. The Editions have it; the Codd. and Latin versions have not: Krabinger therefore has not hesitated to expunge it.

103 h tou puroj dapanh These words can have no other meaning to suit the sense. Krabinger's reproduction of Sifanus' Latin, "ignis ille consumens," makes the sentence a tautology.

104 proj olon aiwna. But cf. Plato, Timaeus, 37, 39 D.

105 Macrina's answer must begin here, though the Paris Editt. take no notice of a break. Krabinger on the authority of one of his Codd. has inserted fhsin h didaskaloj after pronohteon.

106 distuinguishes between. The word here is oiden, which is used of "teaching," "telling," after the fashion of the later Greek writers, in making a quotation.

107 of a farthing. No mention is made of this in the Parable (S. Matt. xviii. 23; S. Luke vii. 41). The "uttermost farthing" of S. Matt. v. 26does not apply here.

108 dia thj basanou.. Of course dia cannot go with ofeilhn, though Krabinger translates "per tormenta debita." He has however, with Oehler, pointed the Greek right, so as to take oflhma as in opposition to ofeilhn.

109 a state which owns no master and is self-regulating, &c. He repeats this, De Hom. Opif. c. 4: "For the soul immediately shows its royal and exalted character, far removed from the lowliness of private station, in that it owns no master, and is self-governed, swayed autocratically by its own will,-for to whom else does this belong than to a king?" and c. 16: "Thus, there is in us the principle of all excellence, all virtue, and every higher thing that we conceive: but pre-eminent among all is the fact that we are free from necessity, and not in bondage to any natural force, but have decision in our power as we please: for virtue is a voluntary thing, subject to no dominion:" and Orat. Catech. c. 5: "Was it not, then, most right that that which is in every detail made like the Divine should possess in its nature a self-ruling and independent principle, such as to enable the participation of the good to be the reward of its virtue?" It would be possible to quote similar language from the Neoplatonists (e.g. Plotinus vi. 83-6): but Gregory learnt the whole bearing and meaning of moral liberty from none but Origen, whose so-called "heresies" all flowed from his constant insistence on its reality.

110 This (1 Cor. xv. 28) is a text much handled by the earlier Greek Fathers. Origen especially has made it one of the Scripture foundations upon which he has built up theology. This passage in Gregory should be compared with the following in Origen, c. Cels. iv. 69, where he has been speaking of evil anti its origin, and its disappearance: "God checks the wider spread of evil, and banishes it altogether in a way that is conducive to the good of the whole. Whether or not there is reason to believe that after the banishment of evil it will again appear is a separate question. By later corrections, then. God does put right some defects: for although in the creation of the whole all the work was fair and strong, nevertheless a certain healing process is needed for those whom evil has infected, and for the world itself which it has as it were tainted; and God is never negligent in interfering on certain occasions in a way suitable to a changeful and alterable world," &c. "He is like a husbandman performing different work at different times upon the land, for a final harvest." Also viii. 72: "This subject requires much study and demonstration: still a few things must and shall be said at once tending to show that it is not only possible, but an actual truth, that every being that reasons 'shall agree in one law (quoting Celsus' words) Now while the Stoics hold that when the strongest of the elements has by its nature prevailed over the rest, there shall be the Conflagration, when all things will fall into the fire, we hold that the Word shall some day master the whole of `reasoning nature,

0' and shall transfigure it to its own perfection, when each with pure spontaneity shall will what it wishes, and act what it wills. We hold that there is no analogy to be drawn from the case of bodily diseases, and wounds, where some things are beyond the power of any art of healing. We do not hold that there are any of the results of sin which the universal Word, and the universal God, cannot heal. The healing power of the Word is greater than any of the maladies of the soul, and, according go the will, He does draw it to Himself: and so the aim of things is that evil should be annihilated: whether with no possibility whatever of the soul ever turning to it again, is foreign to the present discussion. It is sufficient now to quote Zephaniah" (iii. 7-13, LXX.).

111 But, when A. Jahn, as quoted by Krabinger asserts that Gregory and Origen derived their denial of the eternity of punishment from a source "merely extraneous," i. e. the Platonists, we must not forget that Plato himself in the Phaedo, 113 F (cf. also Gorgias, 525 C, and Republic, x. 615), expressly teaches the eternity of punishment hereafter, for he uses there not the word aiwn or aiwnioj, but oupote.. They were influenced rather by the late Platonists.

112 Reading sumforaij,, i. e. death especially.

113 Such are the wonders. There is here, Denys (De la Philosophie d'Origene, p. 484) remarks, a great difference between Gregory and Origen. Both speak of an "eternal sabbath," which will end the circle of our destinies. But Origen, after all the progress and peregrinations of the soul, which he loves to describe, establishes "the reasoning nature" at last in an unchangeable quiet and repose; while Gregory sets before the soul an endless career of perfections and ever ncreasing happiness. This is owing to their different conceptions of the Deity. Origen cannot understand how He can know Himself or be accessible to our thonght, if He is Infinite: Gregory on the contrary conceives Him as Infinite, as beyond all real or imaginable boundaries, pashj perigrafhz ektoj (Orat. Cat. viii. 65); this is the modern, rather than the Greek view. In the following description of the life eternal Gregory hardly merits the censure of Ritter that he "introduces absurdity" into it.

114 such a magnitude as. Reading, ef o, with Schmidt. The "limit" is the present body, which must be laid aside in order to cease to be a hindrance to such a growth. Krabinger reads ef wn on the authority of six Codd., and translates "ii in quibus nullus terminus interrumpit incrementum." But tosouton can answer to nothing before, and manifestly refers to the relative clause.

115 Macrina may be here alluding to Gregory's brotherly affection for her.


But on high

A record lives of thine identity!

Thou shalt not lose one charm of lip or eye;

The hues and liquid lights shall wait for thee,

And the fair tissues, whereso'er they be!

Daughter of heaven ! our grieving hearts repose

On the dear thought that we once more shall see

Thy beauty-like Himselfour Master rose.

C. Tennyson Turner.-Anastasis.

117 idein ...ina mh amfiballh. This is the reading of the Paris Editt.: idein seems to go closely with alhfej: so that Krabinger's dein is not absolutely necessary.

118 some extend this absurdity even to trees: Empedocles for instance. Cf. Philosophumena (of Hippolytus, falsely attributed to Origen), p. 50, where two lines of his are quoted. Chrysostom's words (I. iv. p. 196), "There are those amongst them who carry souls into plants, into shrubs, and into dogs," are taken by Matthaeus to refer to Empedocles. Cf. Celsus also (quoted in Origen, c. Cels. viii. 53), "Seeing then men are born bound to a body-no matter whether the economy of the world required this, or that they are paying the penalty for some sin, or that the soul is weighted with certain emotions till it is purified from them at the end of its destined cycle, three myriad hours, according to Empedocles, being the necessary period of its wanderings far away from the Blessed Ones, during which it passes successively into every perishable shape-we must believe any way that there exist certain guardians of this prison-house." See De Hom. Opif. c. 28. Empedocles can be no other, then, than "the philosopher who asserts that the same thing may be born in anything:" below (p. 232 D). Anaxagoras, however, seems to have indulged in the same dictum (pan en panti), but with a difference; as Nicetas explains in his commentary on Gregory Naz., Orations: "That everything is contained in everything Empedocles asserted, and Anaxagoras asserted also: but not with the same meaning. Empedocles said it of the four elements, namely, that they are not only divided and self-centred, but are also mingled with each other. This is clear from the fact that every animal is engendered by all four. But Anaxagoras, finding an old proverb that nothing can be produced out of nothing, did away with creation, and introduced `differentiation

0' instead, &c." See also Greg. Naz., Poems, p. 170.