SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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LIa. ORIGEN, De Principiis, iv.6 = Philoc.p.12.

The true ground of Old Testament Inspiration

Ἀποδεικνύντες δὲ ὡς ἐν ἐπιτομῇ περὶ τῆς θεότητος Ἰησοῦ, καὶ χρώμενοι τοῖς περὶ αὐτοῦ λόγοις προφητικοῖς , συναποδεί κνυμεν θεο πνεύστους εἶναι τὰς προφητευούσας περὶ αὐτοῦ γραφάς· καὶ τὰ καταγγέλλοντα τὴν ἐπιδημίαν αὐτοῦ γράμματα καὶ διδασκαλίαν μετὰ πάσης δυνάμεως καὶ ἐξουσίας εἰρημένα, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τῆς ἀπὸ τῶν ἐθνῶν ἐκλογῆς κεκρατηκότα. Λεκτέον δὲ ὅτι τὸ τῶν προφητικῶν λόγων ἔνθεον καὶ τὸ πνευματικὸν τοῦ Μωσέως νόμου ἔλαμψεν ἐπι δημήσαντος Ἰησοῦ. ἐναργῆ γὰρ παραδείγματα περὶ τοῦ θεοπνεύστους εἶναι τὰς παλαιὰς γραφὰς πρὸ τῆς ἐπιδημίας τοῦ Χριστοῦ παραστῆσαι οὐ πάνυ δυνατὸν ἦν· ἀλλ' ἡ Ἰησοῦ ἐπιδημία δυναμένους ὑποπτεύεσθαι τὸν νόμον καὶ τοὺς προφήτας ὡς οὐ θεῖα εἰς τοὐμφανὲς ἤγαγεν ὡς οὐρανίῳ χάριτι ἀναγεγραμμένα . ὁ δὲ μετ ' ἐπιμελείας καὶ προσοχῆς ἐντυγχάνων τοῖ ς προφητικοῖς λόγοις, παθὼν ἐξ αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἀνα γινώσκειν ἴχνος ἐνθουσιασμοῦ , δι' ὧν πάσχει πεισθήσεται οὐκ ἀνθρώπων εἶναι συγγράμματα τοὺς πεπιστευμένους ἡμῖν εἶναι θεοῦ λόγους. καὶ τὸ ἐνυπάρχον δὲ φῶς τῷ Μωσέως νόμῳ, «καλύμματι» ἐναποκεκρυμμένον, συνέλαμψε τῇ Ἰησοῦ ἐπιδημίᾳ «περιαιρεθέντος τοῦ καλύμ ματος» καὶ «τῶν ἀγαθῶν» κατὰ βραχὺ εἰς γνῶσιν ἐρχομένων, ὧν «σκιὰν εἶχε» τὸ γράμμα.

In this our Demonstration in brief of the divinity of Jesus, and in our use of the words of the Prophets concerning Him, we are making simultaneous demonstration of the inspiration of those scriptures which prophesy about Him, and proving the literature which proclaims His Coming to be an utterance of füll power and authority, which for that reason has laid firm hold of the elect of the Gentiles. Indeed, we may say that the inspired character of the prophetic writings and the spirituality of the law of Moses shone out when Jesus came. Clear proofs of the Inspiration of the Old Testament could not well be given before the Christ had come. Till then the law and the prophets were open to a suspicion of not being truly divine: it was the Coming of Jesus that set them in a piain light as records made by the grace of heaven. He who with diligent attention reads the words of the prophets will from his very reading experience a trace and vestige of inspiration in himself, and this personal experience will convince him that those are no compilations of men, which we are firmly persuaded are the words of God. The light, too, that was always there in the Mosaic law, though covered with a vail, shone out simultaneously with the Coming of Jesus, when the vail was taken away and the good things came little by little into view, those good things whose shadow was found in the letter.


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