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Chapter 4 Section 7.

- Origenes Alexandrinus

Part 4
Chapter 4—Of Efficacious Grace

Section 7—Origines Alexandrinus. A.D. 230.
Origen, though a very unguarded writer, and though a very considerable part of his works have been interpolated by
Ruffinus, said to be a favorer of Pelagius, yet has many passages in his writings which shows that he thought that
regeneration, and all that is truly and spiritually good, are owing to the grace and power of God. “It must be known,”
says he,[1] “that all that men have is from the grace of God, for they have nothing of debt; for who hath first given to
him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? Wherefore it is grace, whatever he has, who was not, and is a receiver
from him, who always was, and is, and will be forever.” He intimates, that all good thoughts are from the Spirit of
God. “We pray,” says he,[2] “that the light of the knowledge of the glory of God might shine into our hearts, the Spirit
of God being present with our imaginative faculty, kai phantazontos emas ta tou Theou, and suggesting to us the
things of God.” He represents all manner of virtues, as wrought in us by a divine hand, and not as the produce of
nature. “Images dedicated to God, and becoming him,” says he,[3] are not such as are prepared by mechanic artificers;
but what are planned by the Logos or word of God, kai morphoumena en emin, ai aretai, ‘and formed in us, even
those virtues’ which are the images of the firstborn of every creature, in whom are examples of righteousness,
temperance, wisdom, godliness, and the rest of the virtues.” Yea, he ascribes the duties and actions of the saints to the
energy of the same divine person: “As,” says he,[4] “the soul quickens and moves the body, which of itself has no
living motion; so the Logos or Word, kinon epi ta deonta kai energon, ‘inciting with energy to things which ought to
be done,’ moves the whole body, the church, and every member of them that are of the church, doing nothing without
the Word.” Whatever knowledge men have of God in a spiritual way, springs from divine grace according to him.
“Those words in Matthew 11:27,” he says,[5] “manifestly show, that God is known theia tini chariti, ‘by a certain
divine favor or grace,’ which is infused into the soul, not without God, but by a sort of an afflatus, or inspiration.” And
in another place he observes,[6] that “God opens the mouth, the ears, and eyes, that we may speak, perceive, and hear
the things that are God’s.” He must be a stranger to Origen’s writings, who knows not that he frequently suggests the
necessity of the grace and assistance of God to understand the Scriptures. I need not give instances. The work of
sanctification he attributes to the Spirit of God. “Let us endeavor,” says he,[7] “that we may be unworthy of this so
great and sublime an understanding, that is, of the mystical sense of the shewbread; but that our soul may first be made
a holy place, and in the holy place we may take in holy mysteries, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, ex quo
sanctificatur omne quod sanctum est, by whom is sanctified every thing that is holy.” And in another place,[8] “The
grace of the Holy Spirit is present, that those things which are not substantially holy, may be made holy by the
participation of him. Seeing therefore first, that they may be, they have from God the Father. Secondly, that they may
be rational, they have from the Word. Thirdly, that they may be holy, they have from the Holy Spirit.” The change that
is made in man in conversion, he denies to be the effect of moral suasion, but ascribes it to the power and efficacy of
divine grace. Having mentioned these words in Matthew 3:9, Think not to say, etc., he observes,[9] that “they teach us
that unbelievers, who are called stones, because of their stony hearts dunamei Qeou metabalein oiouV teeinai, may be
changed, by the power of God, from stones, to children of Abraham.” “Celsus,” says he,[10] “may laugh at what is
said, or the Jew, whom he introduces; yet it must be said, that many, as if unwilling, have come to Christianity,
pneumatoV tinoV treyantoV autwn to hgemonikon aifnidion, ‘a certain spirit suddenly turning their intellectual faculty,’ from
hating the Logos or Word, to die for him.” And in the same work he has these words:[11] “The doctrine of those who
were first sent, and labored to constitute churches, and their preaching, were indeed with persuasion; but not such as is
among the professors of the wisdom of Plato, or any other philosophers, who have nothing more than human nature;
but the demonstration of the apostles of Jesus, given by God, had a force of persuading from the Spirit and power;
wherefore their word, or rather God’s, ran swiftly and sharply, and thereby changed many of them, who were by
nature and custom sinners, whom no man could change by any punishment whatsoever; the Word transformed them,
shaping and forming them according to his will.” Again he observes,[12] “The divine word says, that what is said,
though it is in itself true, and is fit to persuade, yet is not sufficient to reach the human soul, ean mh kai dunamiV tiV Qej
ekdoqh , unless a certain power is given from God to him that speaks,’ and grace flourishes in what is said: and this is
not without God, in them who speak with energy.” To which may be added the following expressions of his:[13]
“Now the word of his preaching is known to all, so that it is received by very many, almost in all the world; that they[11/2/2010 10:40:49 AM]
Chapter 4 Section 7. - Origenes Alexandrinus

may understand what are believed, not by precursory words of wisdom, but by demonstration of the Spirit and power;
wherefore they may conclude they are brought to faith and credulity, coelesti virtute imo etiam plusquam coelesti, by a
heavenly power, yea, by more than a heavenly one.” Once more: “This,” says he,[14] “is a new thing, that those who
are strangers from the covenants of God, aliens from the promises, and afar off from the truth, dunamei tini qeia, by a
certain divine power receive it.” Yea, sometimes he expresses himself as though he thought some sort of force and
violence were used with men in the conversion and salvation of them. “The only begotten Son of God is present,” he
says:[15] “he defends, he keeps, he draws us to himself: hear how he speaks; “And lo, I am with you unto the end of
the world;” but neither is it sufficient that he is with us, “sed quodam modo vim nobis facit, ut nos pertrahat ad
salutem,” ‘but in some sort he forces us, that he may draw us unto salvation;’ for he says in another place, “When I
shall be lifted up, I will draw all unto me.” You see, how that he not only invites the willing, but draws those that
delay.” And little after, “The Lord himself, the Father, does not neglect the dispensation of our salvation, for he not
only calls us to salvation, but he draws; for so the Lord says in the gospel, “No man comes to me, but whom my
heavenly Father draws.” But the Father of the family, who sent his servants to invite his friends to the marriage of his
Son, after they who were first invited excused themselves, says to the servants, “Go forth to the highways and alleys,
and whomsoever ye find, compel them to come in;” so therefore we are not only invited by God, sed et trahimur et
cogimur ad salutem, but we are drawn and compelled unto salvation.” Moreover he signifies, that this call of God to
the participation of his grace, entirely arises from his sovereign will and pleasure. “The God of gods,” he says,[16]
“calls from the east and west to partake of himself by Jesus Christ, ous bouletai, whom he pleases.” Wherefore there
should be no boasting in the creature, but all glorying should he in God. “There are,” he observes,[17] “some among
the Gentiles, of good manners and honest behavior, who yet do not refer what they have to God, nor acknowledge the
grace given to them by him; but either ascribe it to their own industry, or glory in their masters and instructors; but the
apostle shows to us, that all that is good is from God, and given by the Holy Spirit; as the apostle James says, (Jam.
1:17), “that he that glories, may glory in the Lord.” “That which is worthy of boasting,” he says,[18] “ouk emeteron
alla doron esti Theou, ‘is not ours, but is the gift of God;’ from him is wisdom, from him is strength, and so of the
rest.” To all which may be added the following words of his,[19] which not only express his own, but the sense of the
whole church at that time: “It is the united sense of the whole church, that all the law is indeed spiritual; yet these
things which the law breathes out are not known to all, but to them only to whom the grace of the Holy Spirit is given,
in the word of wisdom and knowledge.”


[1] Origen in Romans 1. 10, fol. 223, B.

[2] Contr. Cels. 1. 4, p. 227.

[3] Ibid. 1. 8, p. 389.

[4] Ibid. 1. 6, p. 309, 310.

[5] Contr. Cels. 1.7, p. 361.

[6] In Exodus hom. 3, fol. 32, C.

[7] In Leviticus hom. 13, fol. 88, H.

[8] Peri Arcwn, 1. 1, c. 3, fol. 118, A.

[9] Comment. in Joan. p. 115.

[10] Contr. Cels. 1. 1, p. 35.

[11] Ibid. 1. 3, p. 152.

[12] Contr. Cels. 1. 6, p. 276; vide 1. 1, p. 21, et 50:5, p. 231.

[13] Peri Arcwn 1. 4, c. 1, fol. 151, D.[11/2/2010 10:40:49 AM]
Chapter 4 Section 7. - Origenes Alexandrinus

[14] Contr. Cells. 1. 8, p. 405.

[15] In Numbers homil. 20, fol. 131, 132, I. K.

[16] Contr. Cels. 1. 8, p. 381.

[17] In Romans 1:9, fol. 211, E.

[18] Comment. in Matthew p. 227; vide Peri Arcwn, 1. 3, c. 1, fol. 139. B.

[19] Peri Arcwn, 1. 1, Proem. fol. 112, C.[11/2/2010 10:40:49 AM]