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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. X:
Dogmatic Treatises, Ethical Works, and Sermons.: Chapter XV. Those who are dissatisfied with the fact that the good receive evil, and the evil good, are shown by the example of Lazarus, and on the authority of Paul, that punishments and rewards are reserved for a future life.

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Chapter XV.

Those who are dissatisfied with the fact that the good receive evil, and the evil good, are shown by the example of Lazarus, and on the authority of Paul, that punishments and rewards are reserved for a future life.

57. We have fully discussed two questions; and this discussion, as we think, has not turned out quite unfavourably for us. A third question yet remains; it is this: Why do sinners have abundance of wealth and riches, and fare sumptuously, and have no grief or sorrow; whilst the upright are in want, and are punished by the loss of wives or children? Now, that parable in the Gospel ought to satisfy persons like these; 98 for the rich man was clothed in purple and fine linen, and dined sumptuously every day; but the beggar, full of sores, used to gather the crumbs of his table. After the death of p. 11 the two, however, the beggar was in Abraham’s bosom in rest; the rich man was in torment. Is it not plain from this that rewards and punishments according to deserts await one after death?

58. And surely this is but right. For in a contest there is much labour needed—and after the contest victory falls to some, to others disgrace. Is the palm ever given or the crown granted before the course is finished? Paul writes well; He says: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 99 “In that day,” he says, He will give it—not here. Here he fought, in labours, in dangers, in shipwrecks, like a good wrestler; for he knew how that “through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God.” 100 Therefore no one can receive a reward, unless he has striven lawfully; nor is the victory a glorious one, unless the contest also has been toilsome.


Footnotes

10:98

S. Luke xvi. 19 ff.

11:99

2 Tim. 4:7, 8.

11:100

Acts xiv. 22.


Next: Chapter XVI. To confirm what has been said above about rewards and punishments, he adds that it is not strange if there is no reward reserved for some in the future; for they do not labour here nor struggle. He goes on to say also that for this reason temporal goods are granted to these persons, so that they may have no excuse whatever.

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