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ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second
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Chapter XLV.

But that the object of Christianity35713571    ὁ λόγος. is that we should become wise, can be proved not only from the ancient Jewish writings, which we also use, but especially from those which were composed after the time of Jesus, and which are believed among the Churches to be divine.  Now, in the fiftieth Psalm, David is described as saying in his prayer to God these words:  “The unseen and secret things of Thy wisdom Thou hast manifested to me.”35723572    τὰ ἄδηλα καὶ τὰ κρύφια τῆς σοφίας σου ἐδήλωσάς μοι.  Solomon, too, because he asked for wisdom, received it; and if any one were to peruse the Psalms, he would find the book filled with many maxims of wisdom:  and the evidences of his wisdom may be seen in his treatises, which contain a great amount of wisdom expressed in few words, and in which you will find many laudations of wisdom, and encouragements towards obtaining it.  So wise, moreover, was Solomon, that “the queen of Sheba, having heard his name, and the name of the Lord, came to try him with difficult questions, and spake to him all things, whatsoever were in her heart; and Solomon answered her all her questions.  There was no question omitted by the king which he did not answer her.  And the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, and the possessions which he had35733573    τὰ κατ᾽ αὐτόν. and there was no more spirit in her.35743574    καὶ ἐξ αὑτῆς ἐγένετο.  And she said to the king, The report is true which I heard in mine own land regarding thee and thy wisdom; and I believed not them who told me, until I had come, and mine eyes have seen it.  And, lo, they did not tell me the half.  Thou hast added wisdom and possessions above all the report which I heard.”35753575    Cf. 1 Kings x. 1–9.  It is recorded also of him, that “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore.  And the wisdom that was in Solomon greatly excelled the wisdom of all the ancients, and of all the wise men of Egypt; and he was wiser than all men, even than Gethan the Ezrahite, and Emad, and Chalcadi, and Aradab, the sons of Madi.  And he was famous among all the nations round about.  And Solomon spake three thousand proverbs, and his songs were five thousand.  And he spake of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop which springeth out of the wall; and also of fishes and of beasts.  And all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth who had heard of the fame of his wisdom.”35763576    Cf. 1 Kings iv. 29–34.  The text reads, περὶ πάντων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς, for which παρά has been substituted.

And to such a degree does the Gospel desire that there should be wise men among believers, that for the sake of exercising the understanding of its hearers, it has spoken certain truths in enigmas, others in what are called “dark” sayings, others in parables, and others in problems.35773577    καὶ ἄλλα διὰ προβλημάτων.  And one of the prophets—Hosea—says at the end of his prophecies:  “Who is wise, and he will understand these things? or prudent, and he shall know them?”35783578    Hos. xiv. 9.  Daniel, moreover, and his fellow-captives, made such progress in the learning which the wise men around the king in Babylon cultivated, that they were shown to excel all of them in a tenfold degree.  And in the book of Ezekiel it is said to the ruler of Tyre, who greatly prided himself on his wisdom, “Art thou wiser than Daniel?  Every secret was not revealed to thee.”35793579    Cf. Ezek. xxviii. 3.


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