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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

The Platonician doctrine about Metempsychosis


Justin, a Platonician philosopher, was born at Naplouse, Palestine, in 103. He was converted to Christianity in 133. He wrote the following works: Exhortation to Gentiles; two Apologies of the Christian religion, the one to the emperor Antonine, and the other to the emperor Marcus-Aurelius; a Dialogue with the Jew Triphon; a treatise on Monarchy, or Unity of God; and an Epistle to Diognet, in which he states the reasons why Christians left the worship of the gods, and did not adopt that of the Jews. He composed other works, but they exist no more. The main editions of his works are those of Robert Etienne in 1551 and 1771, in Greek and Latin; that of Commelin in 1593, in Greek and Latin; that of Morel in 1656, and that of Don Marand in 1742, in folio. All these editions, and afterwards that of Migne, we have compared in the voluminous library of the theological seminary of Brou, France, where we have been ordained a priest. Although there were alterations of the text, we did not find any passage referring to the dogma of endless hell. True, addressing the Romans, he says: "Come, O Romans, to find instruction! Formerly I was like you, now be what I am. The power of the Christian religion has enlightened me, and freed me from servitude to my senses and passions: it has afforded me peace and serenity. The soul thus free is sure to reunite to her Creator, because it is right that she return to him from whom she emanated." But this passage neither explicitly nor implicitly supposes
that he believed, or that the first Christians believed, in endless hell; it is simply a Platonician and Christian doctrine, in regard to the purity of our soul which is worthy of God only when unstained. However Bailly, a Catholic theologian, says that on page 74 of the first Apology there is a passage proving his belief in endless hell. We did not find it.

Meliton, bishop of Sardes, Lybia, under the reign of Marcus-Aurelius, presented to this emperor an Apology of the Christian religion, in 171. Eusebe and several other authors praise it. Only a few fragments of it are found in the Bibliotheca Patrum; in none of them is a question of the dogma of endless hell.

Athenagoras, a Platonician philosopher, was converted to the Christian religion, and presented, in 177, an Apology of the Christian doctrines to the emperors Marcus-Aurelius and Lucius-Aurelius-Commode. He justified the Christians, who were charged by the Pagans with atheism: with sacrificing and eating a child in their assemblies; and with indulging to impudicity. In this Apology he ascribed to God but a general providence; and he expressed the Platonician opinion, that angels, or spirits, had the government of this world. He admitted that there were pains and rewards in the future life. Let us not infer from this that he referred to the dogma of endless hell. No; he merely meant, by those pains and rewards, the Platonician doctrine about Metempsychosis.

Ireneus was born in Greece, in 140. He became bishop of Lyons, Gaul. He wrote several theological works in the Greek language. He believed in a general judgment, and in the millenium, namely, in a temporal kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth, which was to last one thousand years immediately before the general judgment. During this reign of Jesus Christ, the Christians were to enjoy a happiness which was to be a foretaste of the happiness they should enjoy after the general judgment. Not only this Father did not teach the dogma of endless hell, but according to the ultramontane Bergier, he has been charged by the pretended Orthodox divines with having expressed himself in an heterodox manner upon the divinity of the Word; upon the spirituality of the angels and of the human soul; upon free agency and the necessity of grace; and upon the state of the souls after death. He seemed to be inclined to believe Metempsychosis--this, however, is our private opinion, resting on his general views on the state of the souls after death. The Catholics invoke but one passage of his writings against this opinion. Grabe, a Protestant, published at Oxford, in 1702, an edition of his works; it is quite different from the Catholic editions.

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