============================== >>>For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.. I Corinthians 2: 2<<<=============================
Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2013

Peter – The man with purpose (Part XV)

Peter – The man with purpose (Part XV)

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Chastisements on the Righteous and the Wicked:

“But perhaps you will say, What of the fact that, in that common chastisement, like things befall the pious and the impious?  It is true, and we confess it; but the chastisement turns to the advantage of the pious, that, being afflicted in the present life, they may come more purified to the future, in which perpetual rest is prepared for them, and that at the same time even the impious may somewhat profit from their chastisement, or else that the just sentence of the future judgment may be passed upon them; since in the same chastisements the righteous give thanks to God, while the unrighteous blaspheme.  Therefore, since the opinion of things is divided into two parts, that some things are done by order and others against order, it ought, from those things which are done according to order, to be believed that there is a providence; but with respect to those things which are done against order, we should inquire their causes from those who have learned them by prophetic teaching:  for those who have become acquainted with prophetic discourse know when, and for what reason, blight, hail, and pestilence, and such like, have occurred in every generation, and for what sins these have been sent as a punishment; whence causes of sadness, lamentations, and grief’s have befallen the human race; whence also trembling sickness has ensued, and that this has been from the beginning the punishment of parricide.

Chastisements for Sins:

“For in the beginning of the world there were none of these evils, but they took their rise from the impiety of men; and thence, with the constant increase of iniquities, the number of evils has also increased.  But for this reason divine providence has decreed a judgment with respect to all men, because the present life was not such that everyone could be dealt with according to his deservings.  Those things, therefore, which were well and orderly appointed from the beginning, when no causes of evil existed, are not to be judged of from the evils which have befallen the world by reason of the sins of men.  In short, as an indication of the things which were from the beginning, some nations are found which are strangers to these evils.  For the Seres, because they live chastely, are kept free from them all; for with them it is unlawful to come at a woman after she has conceived, or while she is being purified.  No one there eats unclean flesh, no one knows aught of sacrifices; all are judges to themselves according to justice.  For this reason they are not chastened with those plagues which we have spoken of; they live to extreme old age, and die without sickness.  But we, miserable as we are, dwelling as it were with deadly serpents I mean with wicked men—necessarily suffer with them the plagues of afflictions in this world, but we cherish hope from the comfort of good things to come.”

God’s Precepts Despised:

“If,” said the old man, “even the righteous are tormented on account of the iniquities of others, God ought, as foreseeing this, to have commanded men not to do those things from which it should be necessary that the righteous be afflicted with the unrighteous; or if they did them, He ought to have applied some correction or purification to the world. This rendering is according to a marginal reading.  “God,” said Aquila, “did so command, and gave precepts by the prophets how men ought to live; but even these precepts they despised:  yea, if any desired to observe them, them they afflicted with various injuries, until they drove them from their purposed observance, and turned them to the rabble of infidelity, and made them like unto themselves.

The Flood:

“Wherefore, in short, at the first, when all the earth had been stained with sins, God brought a flood upon the world, which you say happened under Deucalion; and at that time He saved a certain righteous man, with his sons, in an ark, and with him the race of all plants and animals. And yet even those who sprang from them, after a time, again did deeds like to those of their predecessors; for those things that had befallen them were forgotten, so that their descendants did not even believe that the flood had taken place.  Wherefore God also decreed that there should not be another flood in the present world, else there should have been one in every generation, according to the account of their sins by reason of their unbelief; but He rather granted that certain angels who delight in evil should bear sway over the several nations—and to them was given power over individual men, yet only on this condition, if any one first had made himself subject to them by sinning—until He should come who delights in good, and by Him the number of the righteous should be completed, and by the increase of the number of pious men all over the world impiety should be in some measure repressed, and it should be known to all that all that is good is done by God.

Evils Brought in by Sin:

“But by the freedom of the will, every man, while he is unbelieving in regard to things to come, by evil deeds run into evils.  And these are the things in the world which seem to be done contrary to order, which owe their existence to unbelief.  Therefore the dispensation of divine providence is withal to be admired, which granted to those men in the beginning, walking in the good way of life, to enjoy incorruptible good things; but when they sinned, they gave birth to evil by sin.  And to every good thing evil is joined as by a certain covenant of alliance on the part of sin, since indeed the earth has been polluted with human blood, and altars have been lighted to demons, and they have polluted the very air by the filthy smoke of sacrifices; and so at length the elements, being first corrupted, have handed over to men the fault of their corruption, as roots communicate their qualities to the branches and the fruit.

“No Rose without Its Thorn.”

“Observe therefore in this, as I have said, how justly divine providence comes to the help of things vitiated; that, inasmuch as evils which had derived their origin from sin were associated with the good things of God, He should assign two chiefs to these two departments.  And accordingly, to Him who rejoices in good He has appointed the ordering of good things, that He might bring those who believe in Him to the faith of His providence; but to him who rejoices in evil, He has given over those things which are done without order and uselessly, from which of course the faith of His providence comes into doubt; and thus a just division has been made by a just God.  Hence therefore it is, that whereas the orderly course of the stars produces faith that the world was made by the hand of a designer, on the other hand, the disturbance of the air, the pestilent breeze, the uncontrolled fire of the lightning, cast doubt upon the work of providence.  For, as we have said, every good thing has its corresponding contrary evil thing joined with it; as hail is opposite to the fertilizing showers, the corruption of mildew is associated with the gentle dew, the whirlwinds of storms are joined with the soft winds, unfruitful trees with fruitful, noxious herbs with useful, wild and destructive animals with gentle ones.  But all these things are arranged by God, because that the choice of men’s will has departed from the purpose of good, and fallen away to evil.

Abad of Jesus Christ,

  Stulo Robinson.S.

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====================================>>>Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31 <<<====================================