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THE NINTH BOOK OF THE COMMENTAR Y ON THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS n the entire preceding text of the epistle the Apostle had shown how the essence of religion has been transferred from the Jews to the [M1202] Gentiles , from circumcision to faith,1 from the letter to the Spirit, from shadow to truth, from fleshly observance [M1203] to spiritual observance.2 Moreover, he showed that these things had been described as going to happen in this way by prophetic voices. Now he sets about to establish the moral conduct and practices of this spiritual observance, to which, he teaches, the services of the worship of God have been transferred. He says, I exhort you therefore, brothers, through the mercy3 of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice living, holy, pleasing to God, your reasonable service . And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you may test what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.4 (2) We have shown, he says, that we are to refrain from fleshly sacrifices, in accordance with what even the prophet says, “Sacrifices and offering you have not wanted, nor have they been pleasing to you.”5 Now, he says, I am teaching you in which sacrifices God takes delight. And I am teaching these things not as one commanding6 —for the command of the law 1. Cf. Rom 4.12. 2. Cf. Rom 2.29; Col 2.17; Heb 8.5; 10.1. For other thematic summaries of Romans, see Preface of Origen (8); 3.1.3; 10.11.2. 3. Rufinus’s method is well-illustrated in this passage. The lemma contains “mercy” in the singular, as it appeared in the normalized Old Latin manuscript from which he was working. But in the Commentary below, he translates it in the plural, keeping with Origen’s explanations, which were based on the Greek, diav tw`n oijktirmw`n tou` qeou` (through the mercies of God). 4. Rom 12.1–2. 5. Ps 40.6; Heb 10.8. 6. Cf. 2 Cor 8.8. 191 was not profitable—but as one who has received the duty of reconciling you to God. “I exhort you, brothers,” and I exhort not through force, but “through the mercy of God.”7 For because, as I have shown above, everyone has been shut up under sin,8 now human salvation is no longer based upon merits but upon mercy. (3) But what do I exhort you? “That you should present your bodies as a sacrifice living, holy, and pleasing to God,” so that this might be “your reasonable service.” Here he calls the worship of God “service” because at one time this worship used to consist in the bodies of speechless animals. But now, he says, it should be offered with the body of a rational human being and your bodies, rather than those of animals, should become a sacrifice to God and be placed upon the sacred altars. For those who put to death their own members9 from the incentive of lust and rage, and who possess actions in their body that are pleasing to God are offering in a rational manner a sacrifice that is living, holy, and pleasing to God. Moreover, they are fulfilling according to the spiritual understanding the law of the sacrifices contained in Leviticus. For example, it says there that the people were offering, in the first place a calf, second a ram,10 third a goat,11 fourth turtle doves or even young doves,12 so that the soul of each person might be purified for the quality of his deeds. Now each person, by purifying these things in his own body, and discerning with the spiritual understanding, has offered a living sacrifice to God as his reasonable service. (4) We tried to explain each of these things [M1204] to the best of our ability when we discussed some matters of the book of Leviticus,13 how each person practices the worship of God by reasonable service. If someone conquers pride in his own body, he sacrifices a calf; if he rises above his anger, he is cutting the throat of a ram; if he vanquishes lust, he is bringing a goat as a burnt offering; if he cuts off his wandering and deceitful thoughts in their flight, he has sacrificed doves and turtledoves. 192 ORIGEN 7. Cf. 2 Cor 5...


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