Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/669

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iborn is Christ, her other seed is the community of the faithful. — In this interpretation, of which we have .given a summary, there are two diflii-ulties: (I) In the enumeration of tlio emperors tliiee are passed •over, viz. Cialba, Otlio, and Vitellius. IJut this •omission may be explained by the .shortness of their reigns. Each one of the three reigned but a few montlis. — (II) Tradition assigns the Apocalypse to the reign of Domitian. But according to the com- putation given above, the Seer himself a-ssigns his work to the reign of Vespasian. For if this com- putation be correct, Vespasian Ls the emperor whom ne designates!us "the one that is". To this objec- tion, however, it may be answered that it was the custom of a|X)calyptic writers, e. g., of Daniel, Enoch, and the Sibylline books, to cast their visions into the form of prophecies and give tliem the appearance of being the work of an earlier date. No hterarj' fraud was thereby intended. It was merely a peculiar style of writing adopted:is suiting their subject. The Seer of the Apocalypse follows this practice. Though actually banished to Patmos in the reign of Domitian, after the destruction of Jerusalem, he ■wrote as if he had been there and had seen his visions in the reign of Vespasian when the temple perhaps yet existed. Cf. II, 1, 2.

We cannot conclude without mentioning the theory advanced by the Cierman scholar Vischer. He holds the Apocalypse to have been originally a purely Jewish composition, and to have been changed mto a Christian work by the insertion of those sec- tions that deal with Christian subjects. From a doctrinal point of view, we think, it cannot be ob- jected to. There are other instances where inspired writers have availed themselves of non-canonical literature. Intrinsically considered it is not im- probable. The Apocalypse abounds in passages which bear no specific Christian character but, on the contrary, show a decidedly Jewish complexion. Vet on the whole the theory is but a conjecture. (See also Apocryph.\.)

SlMCOX. Tht Re^tlalion of St. John (CambridRe. 1893); •Calmfim, Commentaire (Paris, 1906); Semeria. il Primo Sanifue Crulinno (Home. 1901); Hoi.timanx, llmul Cummcntur (Leipzig, 1893); Mommsen, Froi-inco of Ihc Rumtm Empire (Ix>n(lon, 1886); Salmon, Introduction to the New Testament, (LonUoD, 1897): Cobloy in Vic, Diet, de la Bible.


Apocatastasis (Or., awoKariaTaaii; Lat., restitutio in pri.-itinuiii .sliitum, restoration to the original con- dition), a name given in the hi.story of theology to the doctrine which teaches that a time will come when all free creatures shall share in the grace of salvation; in a special way, the devils and lost souls.

This doctrine was explicitly taught by St. flregory of Nyssa, and in more than one passage. It first occurs in his "De animd et resurrect ione " (P. G., XLVI, cols. 100, 101), where, in speaking of the punishment by fire assigned to souls after death, he compares it to the process whereby gold is rcfineil in a furnace, through being separated from the dross with which it is alloyed. The punishment by fire is not, there- fore, an end in itself, but is ameliorative; the very reason of its infliction is to .separate the gooil from the evil in the soul. The i), moreover, is a painful one; the sharpness and duration of the pain are in proportion to the evil of which each soul is guilty; the Hame lasts so long as there is any evil left to destroy. A time, then, will come, when all evil shall cease to be since it has no existence of its ovra apart from the free will, in which it inheres; when every free will .shall be turned to God, shall be in God, and evil shall no more have wherein to exist. Thus, St. Gregory of Nyssa continues, shall the word of St. Paul be fultilleti: Deus eril omnia in omnibus (I Cor., xv, 28), which means that evil shall, ultimately, have an end, since, if God be all in all, there is no longer any place for evil (cols. 104, 105;

cf. col. 1.52). St. Gregory recurs to the same thought of the final annihilation of evil, in his "Oratio cate- chetica ", ch. x.xvi; the same comparison of fire which purges gold of its impurities is to be found there; so also shall the power of God purge nature of that which is j)reteniatural, namely, of evil. Stich purification will be painful, xs is a suigical operation, but the restoration will ultimately be complete. .Vnd, when this restoration shall have been accomplished (r) els ri dpxa'on diroKaTiaTa<rit Tutv vvi/ iv Kaxlif KUfUvtav), all creation shall give thanks to God, both the souLs which have had no need of purification, and those that shall have needed it. Not only man, however, shall be set free from evil, but the devil, also, by whom evil entcre<l into the world (rbn re ivBpunrov t^s icaKlas iXevBepwr, Kal airiv riv t^j fcaxfas tvptTTiv Iwntvos. P. G., XLV, col. 69.) The same teacliing is to be found in the "Do mortuis" (ibid., col. 536). Bardenhewer justly observes (" Pat rologie " , Freiburg, 1901, p. 206) that St. Gregory says elsewhere no less con- cerning the eternity of the fire, and of the punishment of the lost, but that the Saint himself understood this eternity as a period of very long duration, yet one which has a limit. Compare witn this "Contra U.surarios" (XLVI, col. 4.36), where the sufTering of the lost is spoken of as eternal, o/uda, and "Oral. Catechet.", XXVI (XLV, col. 69), where evil is annihilated after a long period of time, tuiKpaU irepii- 5ois. These verbal contradictions explain why the defenders of orthodoxy should have thought that St. Gregory of Nyssa's writings had been tampered with by heretics. St. Germanus of Constantinople, writing in the eighth century, went so far as to say that those who held that the devils and lost souls would one day be .set free had dared "to instil into the pure and most healthful spring of his [Gregory's] writmgs the black and dangerous poison of the error of Origen, and to cunningly attribute this fooUsh heresy to a man famous alike for his virtue and his learning" (quoted by Photius. Bibl. Cod., 223; P. G., CIII, col. 1105). Tillemont, "Mdmoires pour I'histoire eccl<5.siastique " (Paris, 1703), IX, p. 602, incHnes to the opinion that St. Germanus had good grountls for what he .said. We nuist, however, admit, with Bardenlicwer (loc. cit.) that the explana- tion given by St. Germanus of Constantinople cannot hold. This was, also, the opinion of Petavius, "Theolog. dogmat." (Antwerp, 1700), III, "De .\ngelis", 109-111.

The doctrine of the itroKaTdixTaais is not, indeed, peculiar to St. Gregory of Ny.s,sa. but is taken from Origen, who seems at times reluctant to decide concerning the question of the eternity of punish- ment. Ti.xeront has well said that in his " De principiis" (I. vi, 3) Origen does not venture to assert that all the evil angels shall sooner or later return to God (P. G., XI, col. 168, 169); while in his "Comment, in Rom.", VIII, 9 (P. G., XIV, col. 1185), he states that Lucifer, unlike the Jews, will not be converted, even at the end of time. Ekewhere, on the other hand, and as a rule, Origen teaches the diroicaT<£<TTair(s. the final restoration of all intelligent creatures to friendship with God. Tixeront writes thus concerning the matter: "Not all shall enjoy the same happiness, for in the Father's house there are many mansions, but all shall attain to it. If Scrip- ture sometimes seems to speak of the punishment of the wicked as eternal, this is in order to terrify sinners, to lead them back into the right way, and it is always possible, with attention, to discover the true meaning of these texts. It must, however, always be accepted as a principle that God does not chasten except to amcnil, and that the sole end of His greatest anger is the amelioration of the guilty. As the doctor uses fire and steel in certain deep-seated diseases, so God does but use the fire of hell to heal the impenitent