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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 Character of God.

“Behold, then, the character of that God to whom you, Simon, wish to persuade us to be ungrateful, and the earth continues to bear you, perhaps wishing to see who will venture to entertain similar opinions to yours.  For you were the first to dare what no other dared:  you were the first to utter what we first heard.  We first and alone have seen the boundless long-suffering of God in bearing with such great impiety as yours, and that God no other than the Creator of the world, against whom you have dared to act impiously.  And yet openings of the earth took not place, and fire was not sent down from heaven and went not forth to burn up men, and rain was not poured out,13071307    One ms. reads, “was not restrained.” and a multitude of beasts was not sent from the thickets, and upon us ourselves the destructive wrath of God did not begin to show itself, on account of one who sinned the sin, as it were, of spiritual adultery, which is worse than the carnal.  For it is not God the Creator of heaven and earth that in former times punished sins, since now, when He is blasphemed in the highest degree, He would inflict the severest punishment.13081308    We have inserted ἄν, and suppose the sentence to be ironical.  The meaning might be the same without ἄν.  The text of Dressel is as follows:  “For is not He who then punished the sins God, Creator of heaven and earth; since even now, being blasphemed in the highest degree, He punished it in the highest degree?”  But, on the contrary, He is long-suffering, calls to repentance, having the arrows which end in the destruction of the impious laid up in His treasures, which He will discharge like living animals when He shall sit down to give judgment to those that are His.13091309    Cotelerius translates:  “to His enemies.”  Wherefore let us fear the just God, whose shape the body of man bears for honour.”


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