Part 4
Chapter 2—Of Redemption

Section 32—Ruffinus Aquileiensis. A.D. 390.

Ruffinus was presbyter of the church at Aquileia, and died A.D. 410. He translated much out of the Greek into the Latin tongue, as Eusebius's History, and many of the writings of Origen, of whom he seemed to be a favorer, about which Jerom and he had a sharp contention. Some others of his writings are still extant, as his Invectives against Jerom,and his Exposition of the Creed; in the former of which, besides his saying,[1] that Christ "was made man, and suffered for our salvation,and for our sins,"he has these words;[2] "Christ died for us,and shed his blood for our redemption.Sinners indeed we are, sed de ipsius grege sumus, et inter ejus oviculus numeramur,but we are of his flock, and are reckoned among his sheep." From whence it appears, that he thought that those for whom Christ shed his blood, though they are sinners, yet are of his flock, and the sheep of his pasture; in the latter of these pieces he thus expresses himself,[3] "He alone who knew no spot of sin,hath blotted out the sins of all; eorum duntaxat qui sanguine ejus postes suae fidei signassent,of them only who should mark the doors of their faith with his blood." Monsieur Daille[4] has a passage from this author which he thinks favors the general scheme; in which lie says,[5] "Therefore Jesus is crowned with thorns, that the first sentence of condemnation might be dissolved; he is led to the cross, and upon the tree is hung totius mundi vita,the life of the whole world." Which character is very true of Christ as the creator of all things, "in whom was life, and that life was the light of men," of every man that comes into the world; and even of him as a Redeemer and Savior, who gave his flesh for the life of the world,even the whole world of the elect; but not for the life of every individual person in the world: for it is not true in fact that Christ is the life of every man in a spiritual sense; every man is not quickened by him, and therefore this could not be Ruffinus's meaning. Besides, a little after, speaking of the water and blood which came out of Christ's side, he says,"it brought forth water, quae credentes diluat,‘that it might wash believers;' and it brought forth blood, qui condemnat incredulos,that it might condemn unbelievers."So far, according to him, was Christ or the death of Christ, from being the life of the whole world in that sense.

Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, was contemporary with Ruffinus and Jerom, the latter of which translated his three paschal books out of Greek into Latin, from whence M. Daille[6] has a citation which he supposes countenances the doctrine of general redemption, and is this[7] "Now also the living Wisdom of God calls us forth to celebrate the holy passover (or Easter) omnes cupiens ejus esse participes,desiring that all might be partakers of it." That is, of the Lord's supper, administered at that time; but surely it could never be the meaning of Theophilus, that it was the will of Christ that every individual person should partake of it, only all such as were proper subjects, cunctos Domini timore purgatos,‘all that were purified in the fear of the Lord;' these were fit to attend such a solemnity, as he himself says in the same book.[8] Monsieur Daille might have picked out a passage more to his purpose than this, as when Theophilus says,[9] "that Christ uniting to himself a whole body, and a whole soul, showed in himself a perfect man, ut perfectam cuntis hominibus in se et per se largiretur salutem,that he might in and by himself give perfect salvation to all men." But his meaning cannot be, that Christ gives complete salvation to every individual of mankind, for then every man would be saved,which is not true; but that Christ, being perfect man, gives perfect and complete salvation to all men to whom he gives salvation. And it is evident that this early writer was of opinion, that the sufferings and death of Christ could not be made void, and become of no effect, by any sins or transgressions of men whatever; for speaking of Origen, and his notions, "In vain," says he[10] "he dreams that souls ascend to heaven and descend, and now they go forward, and anon tumble down below, that so they often die through innumerable falls, et Christi passiv irrita fiat,‘and the sufferings of Christ become void;' for he who once died for us, aeternam nobis victoriae suae laetitiam dedit, quae nulla pitiorum mole extenuetur,hath given us the everlasting joy of his own victory, which cannot be lessened by any bulk of sins." Whereas if Christ suffered death for all men, and all men are not saved, his sufferings and death must be so far in vain and of no effect.

Monsieur Daille[11] next cites Synesius, who was ordained bishop of Ptolemais, A. D. 411, by Theophilus of Alexandria, who only says, "that Christ ought to be crucified uper thv apantwn amartiav,for the sin of all." But whether he means, that it was necessary that Christ should be crucified for the sins of the Gentiles as well as Jews, for the sins of all sorts of men, for the sins of all the elect, or for the sins of every individual of mankind; which latter sense can only serve the cause for which it is brought, is not certain. This author seems to be of a later date than to come within the time proposed to be considered.


[1] Ruffin. in Hieron. Invect. 1. 1, inter Hieron. Opera tom. iv. p. 87, A. M.

[2] Ibid. 1. 2, p. 99, B.

[3] Symbolum. ibid. p. 46, C.

[4] Page 821.

[5] Ibid. M.

[6] Page 821.

[7] Theoph. Pascal. 1. 3, inter Opera Hieron. tom. ix. p. 190, E.

[8] Theoph. Pascal. 1. 3, inter Opera Hieron, tom. ix. p. 191, A.

[9] Ibid. I. 1, p. 185, B.

[10] Ibid. 1.2, p. 188, I.

[11] Apolog. p. 821.