All hail, ye sons and daughters, in the name of our Lord 1445 Jesus Christ, who loved us in peace.
Seeing that the divine fruits 1446 of righteousness abound among you, I rejoice exceedingly and above measure in your happy and honoured spirits, because ye have with such effect received the engrafted 1447 spiritual gift. Wherefore also I inwardly rejoice the more, hoping to be saved, because I truly perceive in you the Spirit poured forth from the rich Lord 1448 of love. Your greatly desired appearance has thus filled me with astonishment over you. 1449 I am therefore pursuaded of this, and fully convinced in my own mind, that since I began to speak among you I understand many things, because the Lord hath accompanied me in the way of righteousness. I am also on this account bound 1450 by the strictest obligation to love you above my own soul, because great are the faith and love dwelling in you, while you hope for the life which He has promised. 1451 Considering this, therefore, that if I should take the trouble to communicate to you some portion of what I have myself received, it will prove to me a sufficient reward that I minister to such spirits, I have hastened briefly to write unto you, in order that, along with your faith, ye might have perfect knowledge. The doctrines of the Lord, then, are three: 1452 the hope of life, the beginning and the completion of it. For the Lord hath made known to us by the prophets both the things which are past and present, giving us also the first-fruits of the knowledge 1453 of things to come, which things as we see accomplished, one by one, we ought with the greater richness of faith 1454 and elevation of spirit to draw near to Him with reverence. 1455 I then, not as your teacher, but as one of yourselves, will set forth a few things by which in present circumstances ye may be rendered the more joyful.
Literally, “the judgments of God being great and rich towards you;” but, as Hefele remarks, δικαίωμα seems here to have the meaning of righteousness, as in Rom. v. 18.137:1447 137:1448 137:1449 137:1450 137:1451 137:1452
The Greek is here totally unintelligible: it seems impossible either to punctuate or construe it. We may attempt to represent it as follows: “The doctrines of the Lord, then, are three: Life, Faith, and Hope, our beginning and end; and Righteousness, the beginning and the end of judgment; Love and Joy and the Testimony of gladness for works of righteousness.” We have followed the ancient Latin text, which Hilgenfeld also adopts, though Weitzäcker and others prefer the Greek.137:1453 137:1454 137:1455
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