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ANF08. The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementia, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First
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Chapter XX.—The Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.

“Peace be to all of you who are prepared to give your right hands to truth:614614    [This opening sentence occurs in the Homilies, but in other parts the discourses differ.  This is far more dignified and consistent than that in the Homilies, which at once introduces a claim to authority as messenger of the Prophet.—R.]  for whosoever are obedient to it seem indeed themselves to confer some favour upon God; whereas they do themselves obtain from Him the gift of His greatest bounty, walking in His paths of righteousness.  Wherefore the first duty of all is to inquire into the righteousness of God and His kingdom;615615    Matt. vi. 33. His righteousness, that we may be taught to act rightly; His kingdom, that we may know what is the reward appointed for labour and patience; in which kingdom there is indeed a bestowal of eternal good things upon the good, but upon those who have acted contrary to the will of God, a worthy infliction of penalties in proportion to the doings of every one.  It becomes you, therefore, whilst you are here,—that is, whilst you are in the present life,—to ascertain the will of God, while there is opportunity also of doing it.  For if any one, before he amends his doings, wishes to investigate concerning things which he cannot discover, such investigation will be foolish and ineffectual.  For the time is short, and the judgment of God shall be occupied with deeds, not questions.  Therefore before all things let us inquire into this, what or in what manner we must act that we may merit to obtain eternal life.


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