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§ 24. On the same subject, JUSTIN MARTYR, in his Dialogue with Trypho, the Jewish fatalist, observes : " But that those, whether angels or
men, who are foreknown that they would be ' unjust, are not wicked through the fault of God, * but that each through his own fault is what • he is, I have shewn above. But that you ' may not have any pretence for saying, that * Christ must necessarily have been crucified, or 'that in your sour] race there are transgressors, . and that it could not have been otherwise, I ' have already observed in few words, that God desiring that men and angels should follow his will, determined to make them with full power '[freedom] to act justly, with the means of knowing by whom they were made, and through whom they were called into existence
out of nothing; and with this condition, that ' they were to be judged by him if they acted contrary to right reason; and we men and angels shall be by ourselves convicted of • having acted wickedly, unless we make haste ' to repent. But if the word of God declares • beforehand, that some, both angels and men, • will be hereafter punished, because he knows that they would persevere to the last in wickedness, he foretold it, but not that God made them such. Wherefore if they will repent, * all who are willing to obtain mercy from God, • have it in their power [i. e. at their option];
' and the word pronounces them happy, saying, • Blessed is he to whom God shall not impute
§ 25. Here Justin evidently combats fatalism. He shews that angels and men not wicked through the fault of God,” but “ each through his own fault.” And is not this the doctrine of modern Calvinists? And when he replies to Trypho's objection (oto adsı Xpisov saupabrvas) “ that Christ must necessarily have been crucified,” and that (ev tw yevei quwv) “in our race there are transgressors,” and “that it could not have been otherwise,” he remarks, in opposition to fatal necessity, that it was God's counsel and will (ποιησαι τουτους αυτεξουσις προς dizaiOn PRELAY) “ to make them with full freedom, or at their own disposal, to act justly.” His object clearly is to establish freedom as opposed to fate: and this is further evident by his denying “ that God made them such,” that is, wicked. Then he further shews, against the fatal system, that “all who are willing to obtain mercy from God (Quvavtal) " may,” or have it at their option. They “ have it in their power,” i
in the sense of a potentia non peccandi ; that is, they are not forced to sin, but are left at perfect liberty from sinning. So that neither God nor fate urges them on to be wicked, or to " persevere to the last in wickedness." And when
* Refut. p. 295.
he says that it was not necessary that Christ should be crucified, he could not mean, without frightful impiety, that it was in no sense necessary, but that it was not by fatal necessity: he came to be a Saviour, not by fate, but by the merciful counsel and gracious pleasure of God. Nevertheless, as the crucifixion of Christ was infallibly certain, before it took place, it was therefore hypothetically necessary.
For IF Christ came into our world as a perfect character, according to the divine purpose, and if devils and wicked men (whose wickedness originated in themselves,) were not restrained in the execution of their purpose, there was an infallible ground of certainty, notwithstanding their freedom to any conceivable degree. All that was good in the whole affair was from God; all that was wicked, from the wickedness of the agents exclusively. God's part was effected by him, but the wickedness of the agents was only permitted, or not hindered. And he well knew how to over-rule their evil designs for the good of men and for his own praise.
66 The wrath of man shall praise thee, and the remainder of wrath wilt thou restrain."
x $26. In the same nanner are to be under
stood the following quotations from ORIGEN : 666 This also is settled in the doctrine of the church, that every rational soul has free-will,
and that it has to contend against the devil ' and his angels, and the powers which oppose ' it, because they strive to burden it with sins: ' but we, if we live rightly and prudently, en
deavour to rescue ourselves from this kind of 'burden. Whence, consequently, we may under
stand, that we are not subject to necessity, so as ' to be compelled by all means to do either bad or 'good things, although it be against our will. For - if we be masters of our will, some powers, * perhaps, may urge us to sin, and others assist
us to safety; yet we are not compelled by necessity to act either rightly or wrongly.—There is no nature which does not admit of good or evil, except the nature of God, which is the foundation of all good.—The Creator indulged * the minds formed by himself with voluntary - and free motions, that the good in them might be their own, since it was preserved by their own will; but indolence and dislike of exertion ' in preserving good, and aversion and indif*ference to better things, caused the beginning • of receding from good."' * In these passages many important verities are contained. “ “Every rational soul has free-will." 66 We are not subject to necessity, so as to be compelled by all means,—although it be against our will.” “The nature of God, which is the foundation of all
* Refut. pp. 322, 323.
good, does not admit of good or evil;" but “ there is no other nature which does not." “ Indolence and dislike of exertion in preserving good, and aversion and indifference to better things, caused the beginning of receding from good.” This last sentence is an attempt to ac• count for the origin of moral evil; and is unobjectionable, as far as it goes.
§ 27. But as Origen was writing on a point of moral philosophy, an opponent had a right to ask, how came “ indolence and dislike," or how came “ aversion and indifference,” to take place in free-agents ? Is not each of these a moral evil? Is moral evil the cause of itself? Or is it uncaused? Surely to be uncaused is the exclusive prerogative of the self-existent Being. Here neither Origen, nor any of the Fathers, have a word to say,-but merely impose silence upon the enquirer. But why must he be silent? Because “ secret things belong to God.” The enquirer however urges, that this is a mere evasion, until evidence is produced that . it ought to be reckoned among the divine arcana: for that there are many things of that description, does by no means prove that this is one of them.-But it is unprofitable to enquire further.What! supposing the truth be ascertained, and one of the most radical of all truths. How can v you prove to me, adds the querist, that any truth,