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Origen, AGAINST CELSUS, Part III, Complete

Translated from the Greek original by Frederick Crombie.

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Has the nature of man, when desiring to walk along a rope extended in the air through the middle of the theatre, and to carry at the same time numerous and heavy weights, been able by practice and attention to accomplish such a feat; but when desiring to live in conformity with the practice of virtue, does it find it impossible to do so, although formerly it may have been exceedingly wicked? See whether he who holds such views does not bring a charge against the nature of the Creator of the rational animal [3653] rather than against the creature, if He has formed the nature of man with powers for the attainment of things of such difficulty, and of no utility whatever, but has rendered it incapable of securing its own blessedness. But these remarks may suffice as an answer to the assertion that "entirely to change a nature is exceedingly difficult." He alleges, in the next place, that "they who are without sin are partakers of a better life;" not making it clear what he means by "those who are without sin," whether those who are so from the beginning (of their lives), or those who become so by a transformation. Of those who were so from the beginning of their lives, there cannot possibly be any; while those who are so after a transformation (of heart) are found to be few in number, being those who have become so after giving in their allegiance to the saving word. And they were not such when they gave in their allegiance. For, apart from the aid of the word, and that too the word of perfection, it is impossible for a man to become free from sin.

[3653] tou logikou zoou.

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