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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

WHILST at this time Origen Avas performing the office of an elementary instructor at Alexandria, he also carried a deed into effect, which would seem, indeed, rather to proceed from a youthful understanding not yet matured; at the same time, however, exhibiting the strongest proof of his faith and continence. For understanding this expression, “There are eunuchs who have made themselves such (who have acted the eunuch) for the sake of the kingdom of heaven,” in too literal and puerile a sense, and at the same time thinking that he would fulfil the words of our Saviour, whilst he also wished to preclude the unbelievers from all occasions of foul slander, it being necessary for him, young as he was, to converse on divine truth not only with men but with females also, he was led on to fulfil the words of our Saviour by his deeds, expecting that it would not be known to the most of his friends. But it was impossible for him, much as he wished it, to conceal such an act. And when it was at last ascertained by Demetrius, the bishop of the church there, well did he admire the courage of the deed; and perceiving the ardour, and the soundness of his faith, he immediately exhorted him to cherish confidence; and at this time, indeed, urged him the more to continue in his work of instruction. Such, indeed, was his conduct then. But not long after this, the same Demetrius, seeing him doing well, great and illustrious, and celebrated among all, was overcome by human infirmity, and wrote against him to the bishops throughout the world, and attempted to traduce what he had done as a most absurd act. Then, as the most distinguished bishops of Palestine, and those of Cæsarea and Jerusalem, judged Origen worthy of the first and highest honour, they ordained him to the presbytery by the imposition of hands. He advanced, therefore, at this time, to great reputation, and obtained a celebrity among all men, and no little renown for his virtue and wisdom; but Demetrius, though he had no other charge to urge than that act which was formerly done by him when but a boy, raised a violent accusation against him. He attempted, also, to involve those in his accusations who had elevated him to the presbytery. These things were done a long time after. But Origen performed, without fear, his labours of instruction at Alexandria, night and day, to all that came; devoting the whole of his leisure incessantly to the study of divine things, and to those that frequented his school. In the mean while, Severus, having held the government about eighteen years, was succeeded by his son Antoninus. At this time, one of those that had courageously endured the persecution, and who, by the providence of God, had been preserved after the persecution, was Alexander, who we have already shown was bishop of the church at Jerusalem, and had been deemed worthy of this episcopate, on account of his distinguished firmness in his confession of Christ during the persecution. This happened whilst Narcissus was yet living.








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