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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 XLVIII.—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 every one 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 serpents822822    Ezek. ii. 6.—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.”


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