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ANF05. Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix
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IV.

On Psalm lviii. 11

But since there is a time when the righteous shall rejoice, and sinners shall meet the end foretold for them, we must with all reason fully acknowledge and declare that God is inspector and overseer of all that is done among men, and judges all who dwell upon earth. It is proper further to inquire whether the prophecy in hand, which quite corresponds and fits in with those preceding it, may describe the end.

When Hippolytus dictated these words,13901390    He is addressing his amanuensis, a man not without learning, as it seems. Hippolytus dictates these words. the grammarian asked him why he hesitated about that prophecy, as if he mistrusted the divine power in that calamity of exile.

The learned man calls attention to the question why the word διαγράφῃ (= may describe) was used by me in the subjunctive mood, as if silently indicating doubt.

Hippolytus accordingly replied:—

You know indeed quite well, that words of that form are used as conveying by implication a rebuke to those who study the prophecies about Christ, and talk righteousness with the mouth, while they do not admit His coming, nor listen to His voice when He calls to them, and says, “He that hath ears to hear let him hear;” who have made themselves like the serpent and have made their ears like those of a deaf viper, and so forth. God then does, in truth, take care of the righteous, and judges their cause when injured on the earth; and He punishes those who dare to injure them.


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