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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
MATHETES: Chapter VIII.—The miserable state of...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VIII.—The miserable state of men before the coming of the Word.

For, who of men at all understood before His coming what God is? Do you accept of the vain and silly doctrines of those who are deemed trustworthy philosophers? of whom some said that fire was God, calling that God to which they themselves were by and by to come; and some water; and others some other of the elements formed by God. But if any one of these theories be worthy of approbation, every one of the rest of created things might also be declared to be God. But such declarations are simply the startling and erroneous utterances of deceivers; 302 and no man has either seen Him, or made Him known, 303 but He has revealed Himself. And He has manifested Himself through faith, to which alone it is given to behold God. For God, the Lord and Fashioner of all things, who made all things, and assigned them their several positions, proved Himself not merely a friend of mankind, but also long-suffering [in His dealings with them]. Yea, He was always of such a character, and still is, and will ever be, kind and good, and free from wrath, and true, and the only one who is [absolutely] good; 304 and He formed in His mind a great and unspeakable conception, which He communicated to His Son alone. As long, then, as He held and preserved His own wise counsel in concealment, 305 He appeared to neglect us, and to have no care over us. But after He revealed and laid open, through His beloved Son, the things which had been prepared from the beginning, He conferred every blessing 306 all at once upon us, so that we should both share in His benefits, and see and be active 307 [in His service]. Who of us would ever have expected these things? He was aware, then, of all things in His own mind, along with His Son, according to the relation 308 subsisting between them.


Footnotes

28:302

Literally, “these things are the marvels and error.”

28:303

Or, “known Him.”

28:304

Comp. Matt. xix. 17.

28:305

Literally, “in a mystery.”

28:306

Literally, “all things.”

28:307

The sense is here very obscure. We have followed the text of Otto, who fills up the lacuna in the ms. as above. Others have, “to see, and to handle Him.”

28:308

Literally, “economically.”


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