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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
THEOPHILUS: Chapter XIV.—Theophilus an Example of Conversion.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XIV.—Theophilus an Example of Conversion.

Therefore, do not be sceptical, but believe; for I myself also used to disbelieve that this would take place, but now, having taken these things into consideration, I believe. At the same time, I met with the sacred Scriptures 544 of the holy prophets, who also by the Spirit of God foretold the things that have already happened, just as they came to pass, and the things now occurring as they are now happening, and things future in the order in which they shall be accomplished. Admitting, therefore, the proof which events happening as predicted afford, I do not disbelieve, but I believe, obedient to God, whom, if you please, do you also submit to, believing Him, lest if now you continue unbelieving, you be convinced hereafter, when you are tormented with eternal punishments; which punishments, when they had been foretold by the prophets, the later-born poets and philosophers stole from the holy Scriptures, to make their doctrines worthy of credit. Yet these also have spoken beforehand of the punishments that are to light upon the profane and unbelieving, in order that none be left without a witness, or be able to say, “We have not heard, neither have we known.” But do you also, if you please, give reverential attention to the prophetic Scriptures, 545 and they will make your way plainer for escaping the eternal punishments, and obtaining the eternal prizes of God. For He who gave the mouth for speech, and formed the ear to hear, and made the eye to see, will examine all things, and will judge righteous judgment, rendering merited awards to each. To those who by patient continuance in well-doing 546 seek immortality, He will give life everlasting, joy, peace, rest, and abundance of good things, which neither hath eye seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive. 547 But to the unbelieving and despisers, who obey not the truth, but are obedient to unrighteousness, when they shall have been filled with adulteries and fornications, and filthiness, and covetousness, and unlawful idolatries, there shall be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish, 548 and at the last everlasting fire shall possess such men. Since you said, “Show me thy God,” this is my God, and I counsel you to fear Him and to trust Him.


Footnotes

93:544

[Ps. cxix. 130. Note this tribute to the inspired Scriptures and their converting power; I might almost say their sacramental energy, referring to John vi. 63.]

93:545

[Rev. xix. 10. I cannot reconcile what Scripture says of itself with the modern refinements as to the human and divine element, while fully admitting that there are such elements, intermixed and interpenetrated mutually, beyond all power of dissection by us. I prefer the childlike docility of the Fathers.]

93:546

Rom. ii. 7.

93:547

1 Cor. ii. 9.

93:548

Rom. 2:8, 9.


Next: Book II

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