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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

BUT since many persons, imposed on by his detractors, have been deterred from reading Origen, as though he were a blasphemous writer, I deem it not unseasonable to make a few observations respecting him. Worthless characters, and such as are destitute of ability to attain eminence themselves, often seek to get into notice by decrying those who excel them. And first Methodius, bishop of a city in Lycia named Olympus, laboured under this malady; next Eustathius, who for a short time presided over the church at Antioch; after him Apollinaris; and lastly Theophilus. This quaternion of revilers has traduced Origen, but on very different grounds, one having hatched one cause of accusation against him, and another another; and thus each has demonstrated that what he has taken no objection to, fully has his sanction. For since one has attacked one opinion in particular, and another has found fault with another, it is evident that each has admitted as true what he has not cavilled at, giving a tacit approbation to what he has not assailed. Methodius indeed, when he had in various places railed against Origen, afterwards as if to disavow all he had previously said, expresses his admiration of the man, in a Dialogue which he entitled “Xenōn.” But I affirm that from the censure of these men, greater commendation accrues to Origen. For those who have sought out whatever they deemed worthy of reprobation in him, and yet have never charged him with holding unsound views respecting the holy Trinity, do in this way most distinctly attest his orthodox piety: and by not reproaching him on this point, they commend him by their own testimony. But Athanasius the defender of the doctrine of consubstantiality, in his “Discourses against the Arians,” continually cites this author as a witness of his own faith, interweaving his words with his own. Thus for instance: “The most admirable and laborious Origen,” says he, “by his own testimony confirms our doctrine concerning the Son of God, affirming him to be co-eternal with the Father.” Those therefore who load Origen with vituperation, overlook the fact that their maledictions fall at the same time on Athanasius, the eulogist of Origen. Having thus vindicated Origen, we shall return to the course of our history.








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