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True2Ourselves Forums   > Community Topics > Theology  > ECF Origen 3rd Century I 1-3

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Old 07-25-2012, 09:32 PM
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Default ECF Origen 3rd Century I 1-3

Book I. - Writings of the Early Church Fathers

Origen
Book I.
Preface.

1. When false witnesses testified against our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, He remained silent; and when unfounded charges were brought against Him, He returned no answer, believing that His whole life and conduct among the Jews were a better refutation than any answer to the false testimony, or than any formal defence against the accusations. And I know not, my pious Ambrosius,(1) why you wished me to write a reply to the false charges brought by Celsus against the Christians, and to his accusations directed against the faith of the Churches in his treatise; as if the facts themselves did not furnish a manifest refutation, and the doctrine a better answer than any writing, seeing it both disposes of the false statements, and does not leave to the accusations any credibility or validity. Now, with respect to our Lord's silence when false witness was borne against Him, it is sufficient at present to quote the words of Matthew, for the testimony of Mark is to the same effect. And the words of Matthew are as follow: "And the high priest and the council sought false witness against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none, although many false witnesses came forward. At last two false witnesses came and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and after three days to build it up. And the high priest arose, and said to Him, Answerest thou nothing to what these witness against thee? But Jesus held His peace."(2) And that He returned no answer when falsely accused, the following is the statement: "And Jesus stood before the governor; and he asked Him, saying, Art Thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said to him, Thou sayest. And when He was accused of the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto Him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against Thee? And He answered him to never a word, insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly."(3)

2. It was, indeed, matter of surprise to men even of ordinary intelligence, that one who was accused and assailed by false testimony, but who was able to defend Himself, and to show that He was guilty of none of the charges (alleged), and who might have enumerated the praiseworthy deeds of His own life, and His miracles wrought by divine power, so as to give the judge an opportunity of delivering a more honourable judgment regarding Him, should not have done this, but should have disdained such a procedure, and in the nobleness of His nature have contemned His accusers. That the judge would, without any hesitation, have set Him at liberty if He had offered a defence, is clear from what is related of him when he said, "Which of the two do ye wish that I should release unto you, Barabbas or Jesus, who is called Christ? "(4) and from what the Scripture adds, "For he knew that for envy they had delivered Him."(5) Jesus, however, is at all times assailed by false witnesses, hand, while wickedness remains in the world, is ever exposed to accusation. And yet even now He continues silent before these things, and makes no audible answer, but places His defence in the lives of His genuine disciples, which are a pre-eminent testimony, and one that rises superior to all false witness, and refutes and overthrows all unfounded accusations and charges.

3. I venture, then, to say that this "apology" which you require me to compose will somewhat weaken that defence (of Christianity) which rests on facts, and that power of Jesus which is manifest to those who are not altogether devoid of perception. Notwithstanding, that we may not have the appearance of being reluctant to undertake the task which you have enjoined, we have endeavoured, to the best of our ability, to suggest, by way of answer to each of the statements advanced by Celsus, what seemed to us adapted to refute them, although his arguments have no power to shake the faith of any (true) believer. And forbid, indeed, that any one should be found who, after having been a partaker in such a love of God as was (displayed) in Christ Jesus, could be shaken in his purpose by the arguments of Celsus, or of any such as he. For Paul, when enumerating the innumerable causes which generally separate men from the love of Christ and from the love of God in Christ Jesus (to all of which, the love that was in himself rose superior), did not set down argument among the grounds of separation. For observe that he says, firstly: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (as it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."(6) And secondly, when laying down another series of causes which naturally tend to separate those who are not firmly grounded in their religion, he says: "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."(7)
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: ECF Origen 3rd Century I 1-3

The OP this time I found on the Internet so it was much easier to post a copy of a longer section. Again I will wait 24 hours to post any comments of my own... unless someone else starts the ball rolling first. This writer was a very early one indeed (life span approx 184/185CE(AD) 253/254CE(AD)).
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:28 AM
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Default Re: ECF Origen 3rd Century I 1-3

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Originally Posted by Amadeus View Post
The OP this time I found on the Internet so it was much easier to post a copy of a longer section. Again I will wait 24 hours to post any comments of my own... unless someone else starts the ball rolling first. This writer was a very early one indeed (life span approx 184/185CE(AD) – 253/254CE(AD)).
Origen is problematic. He had great insights and is often quoted, yet he had some bad ideas to, which is one reason he is not called Saint Origen. Look at "Origenist controversies" here: NEW ADVENT ENCYCLOPEDIA: Origen and Origenism
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:04 PM
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Default Re: ECF Origen 3rd Century I 1-3

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Origen is problematic. He had great insights and is often quoted, yet he had some bad ideas to, which is one reason he is not called Saint Origen. Look at "Origenist controversies" here: NEW ADVENT ENCYCLOPEDIA: Origen and Origenism
Thanks for the link, CC. I opened it and read through it quickly... only skimming some parts. I did not realize that Origen stirred things up in that manner. It seems that most of the controversy occurred after his death.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: ECF Origen 3rd Century I 1-3

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[size="5"]Origen
Book I.
Preface.

1. When false witnesses testified against our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, He remained silent; and when unfounded charges were brought against Him, He returned no answer, believing that His whole life and conduct among the Jews were a better refutation than any answer to the false testimony, or than any formal defence against the accusations...
The lack of a response by Jesus to His accusers is explained very well here. The years and months and days of the man, Jesus; and what He did, and did not do, in them, is His testimony to anyone who is able to perceive it: "Eyes to see:" and "ears to hear".

Quote:
3. I venture, then, to say that this "apology" which you require me to compose will somewhat weaken that defence (of Christianity) which rests on facts, and that power of Jesus which is manifest to those who are not altogether devoid of perception. Notwithstanding, that we may not have the appearance of being reluctant to undertake the task which you have enjoined, we have endeavoured, to the best of our ability, to suggest, by way of answer to each of the statements advanced by Celsus, what seemed to us adapted to refute them, although his arguments have no power to shake the faith of any (true) believer.
Again, Origen is saying that nothing that he can say will make a difference to those to who are unable to perceive the Truth of the defence that Jesus already made by His very life as a man. The ones who already believe do not need it. Yet, Origen, so as not to be seen as holding back because of his own inability alone, and the possible negative that might make, goes ahead and pursues the task of explaining the unexplainable.

Origen may not have been designated as a "saint" by the formal Church as CC indicates, but his attitude as shown by what I have read should certainly have nothing to do with that failure. Fortunately, it is as always, God alone, who gives the increase. No other increase really matters, does it?
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