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making the lives of the Hebrews bitter with hard service, in clay and in brick, and in all service, 'not on the mountains and hills, but in the plains. For becoming a material man through his own wickedness, and living a life in all things according to the flesh, just because he is fond of clay, he wishes to turn the Hebrews also into clay, for his own reason is not purified from the clay; and just as clay is hardened by the sun, so his reason was hardened by the bright beams of Godhead visiting Israel.”
He gathers the Old and New Testament into one harmonious whole in these words.
“Not perceiving the difference between visible and spiritual Judaism, that is, between the Judaism which is outward, and the Judaism which is inward, Godless and impious heresies forsook Judaism and the God who gave our Scriptures and the whole Law, and invented a different God besides Him who gave the Law and the Prophets, besides the Maker of heaven and earth. The fact is not so however; but He who gave the Law, also gave the Gospel. He who made things visible also made things invisible. And things visible are akin to things invisible, in such wise akin that the invisible things of God since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made. The things of the Law and the Prophets which are seen are akin to the things of the Law and the Prophets which are not seen, but are intelligible. Seeing then, that the Scripture itself consists as it were of a body which is seen, and a soul therein apprehended by the reason, and a spirit, that which corresponds to the copies and shadow of heavenly things, let us call upon Him who created Scripture with a body, soul, and spirit, the body for those who were before us, the soul for us, and the spirit for those who
in the coming age shall inherit eternal life, and are destined to reach the heavenly archtypal things contained in the law; and then let us search, not for the letter, but for the soul of what we are considering. Then if we are able, we will ascend to the spirit corresponding to the principles involved in the sacrifices of which we read.”
Enough has been quoted from Origen's writings to show what manner of thinker he was, and to give some glimpse of his metaphysical reasoning, his mentally musical harmonizing of reason, philosophy and revelation, making grand symphonies of spiritual truth.
So selfless is he in his interpretative searching of Holy Writ that he never obtrudes his own personality between the world and God. The teacher is forgotten in his teaching. There is an analogy between the humble precincts of that early Christian School in Alexandria, close to the academic lustre of the famed Museum, and the modest house on Columbus Avenue, Boston-the central city of American academics—where Mrs. Eddy held her first classes as Founder of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College; an analogy which does not find so close a parallel in all the intervening centuries.
Both schools were despised and ignored by the literary and scholastic world pursuing its studies around them; both were subjected to persecution; both were accomplishing work of priceless spiritual value for time and eternity.
The Presbyter of Cæsarea and the Pastor of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, though with feet on the lowest rung of ecclesiastical honour in the eyes of earth, were nearest the angels in spiritual vision and the understanding of the “mysteries of the Kingdom of God.”
We cannot do better than to conclude these quotations from the writings of Origen with the testimony given by F. W. Farrar, D.D., to his value in Christian history:
"He exercised on the Church of his own day and of all succeeding ages an almost incredible influence. He had saints and martyrs and holy hermits and wise bishops among his converts and pupils. He won over to the faith alike Christian heretics and heathen philosophers. He wrote hundreds of books and pamphlets which others without acknowledgment appropriated. He was even by the confession of his enemies, the greatest man who had risen in the church since the days of the apostles, and perhaps also the holiest. His homilies have been the type of all homilies since. He laid the very foundation of the science of textual criticism. He was the first who attempted a philosophy of Christianity. . . . He is even still too great for their comprehension, too wide, and deep, and brave a thinker for the vulgar mediocrity of common and cringing thought.”
To which may be added this analysis by the Rev. W. Fairweather:
“In the purity and loftiness of his Christian character, in the sincerity, depth, and earnestness of his piety, we have the perfect counterpoise of his extraordinary attainments as a scholar, his singular acuteness as a thinker, and his constructive powers as a theologian. His eye was single and therefore his whole body was full of light. A character like this so rich and so noble, so rounded and complete, is a possession to the Christian Church for all time, and one in view of which Origen is rightly ranked as at once the greatest of the Fathers' and 'the finest genius of Christian theology.''
This testimony to the unique spirituality, the intuitive perception, meekness and power of the great Alexandrian,
will give abiding significance, in the estimate of all unfettered, truth-discerning minds, to the striking parallelisms with the interpretations of Scripture, which are found in the writings of Mrs. Eddy, the Founder and Leader of the Christian Science Movement.
GREGORY OF NEOCÆSAREA AND AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO
T is profoundly interesting to garner some of the first fruits of this "finest genius of Christian theology;"
to follow out the effect of Origen's teaching in the life of one of his most earnest, most devoted students.
The verses which flowed with such poetic fervour from the pen of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the Victorian age might well have been voiced by Christian missionaries in this third century.
“Truth is fair: should we forego it?
Can we sigh right for a wrong?
And the Real is His song.
Let Pan be dead.”
“Truth is large. Our aspiration
Scarce embraces half we be.
And doubt Truth's sufficiency!-
tales of our own telling-
The Gods of Pantheism had indeed received their deathblow, when the light of a purely spiritual Christian theology, reaching into the innermost recesses of physical anatomy and structure, began to stream into Pagan cities and provinces, forcing strongholds of evil thinking and material living, to yield to the name and nature of Christ.