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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LII. ORIGEN, De Principiis,iii.1.13.


How God deals with Sinners


Οὐκοῦν ἐγκαταλείπεται θείᾳ κρίσει ὁ ἐγκαταλειπόμενος, καὶ μακροθυμεῖ ἐπί τινας τῶν ἁμαρτανόντων ὁ θεὸς οὐκ ἀλόγως, ἀλλ' ὡς αὐτοῖς συνοίσοντος ὡς πρὸς τὴν ἀθανασίαν τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ τὸν ἄπειρον αἰῶνα τοῦ μὴ ταχὺ συνεργηθῆναι εἰς σωτηρίαν, ἀλλὰ βράδιον ἐπὶ ταύτην ἀχθῆναι μετὰ τὸ πειραθῆναι πολλῶν κακῶν. ὥσπερ γάρ τινα καὶ ἰατροὶ δυνάμενοι τάχιον ἰάσασθαι, ὅταν ἐγκεκρυμμένον ἰὸν ὑπονοῶσιν ὑπάρχειν περὶ τὰ σώματα, τὸ ἐναντίον τῷ ἰάσασθαι ἐργάζονται, διὰ τὸ ἰᾶσθαι βούλεσθαι ἀσφαλέστερον τοῦτο ποιοῦντες· ἡγούμενοι κρεῖττον εἶναι πολλῷ χρόνῳ παρακατασχεῖν τινα ἐν τῷ φλεγμαίνειν καὶ κάμνειν ὑπὲρ τοῦ βεβαιότερον αὐτὸν τὴν ὑγείαν ἀπολαβεῖν, ἤπερ τάχιον μὲν ῥῶσαι δοκεῖν , ὕστερον δὲ ἀναδῦναι καὶ πρόσκαιρον γενέσθαι τὴν ταχυτέραν ἴασιν· τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον καὶ ὁ Θεός, γινώσκων τὰ κρύφια τῆς καρδίας καὶ προγινώσκων τὰ μέλλοντα, διὰ τῆς μακροθυμίας ἐπιτρέπει τάχα καὶ διὰ τῶν ἔξωθεν συμβαινόντων ἐφελκόμενος τὸ ἐν κρυπτῷ κακὸν, ὑπὲρ τοῦ καθᾶραι τὸν δι' ἀμέλειαν τὰ σπέρματα τῆς ἁμαρτίας κεχωρηκότα, ἵνα εἰς ἐπιπολὴν ἐλθόντα αὐτά τις ἐμέσας, εἰ καὶ ἐπὶ πλεῖον ἐν κακοῖς γεγένηται, ὕστερον δυνηθῇ καθαρσίου τυχὼν τοῦ μετὰ τὴν κακίαν ἀναστοιχειωθῆναι. Θεὸς γὰρ οἰκονομεῖ τὰς ψυχὰς οὐχ ὡς πρὸς τὴν φέρ' εἰπεῖν πεντηκονταετίαν τῆς ἐνθάδε ζωῆς, ἀλλ' ὡς πρὸς τὸν ἀπέραντον αἰῶνα· ἄφθαρτον γὰρ φύσιν πεποίηκε τὴν νοερὰν καὶ αὐτῷ συγγενῆ, καὶ οὐκ ἀποκλείεται ὥσπερ ἐπὶ τῆς ἐνταῦθα ζωῆς ἡ λογικὴ ψυχὴ τῆς θεραπείας.

He therefore that is left is left to the divine judgement; and God is long-suffering towards certain sinners, not unreasonably, but with intent to profit them, with a view to the immortality of the soul and the unending age, that they be not quickly brought into salvation, but led to it more slowly, after they have had trial of many evils. For even as physicians (though able to heal a man more quickly), when they suspect that there is hidden poison anywhere in the body, do the reverse of healing, and this they do because they wish to heal the more surely; counting it better to keep a man for a long time in inflammation and sickness that he may the more certainty recover his health, than that he should seem to gain strength more quickly and afterward fall back again, so that the quicker healing is but for a time; in the same way God also, knowing the secret things of the heart and foreknowing the things to come, through His long-suffering permits [sins], perhaps by means of outside events drawing together the evil that is in secret, for the sake of cleansing him who by reason of carelessness has received the seeds of sin, to the end that when they have come to the surface a man may spue them out, and even if he have been deep in wickednesses, may afterward be able to obtain cleansing after his wickedness and be renewed. For God disposes souls not as for say the fifty years of life on earth, but as for the unending age; for He has made the intelligent nature incorruptible and akin to Himself, and the rational soul is not shut out from cure as in this present life.


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