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NPNF2-04. Athanasius: Select Works and Letters
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15. The Lord’s hour and time.

Now as these things are written in the Scriptures, the case is clear, that the saints know that a certain time is measured to every man, but that no one knows the end of that time is plainly intimated by the words of David, ‘Declare unto me the shortness of my days14551455    Ps. cii. 23, LXX..’ What he did not know, that he desired to be informed of. Accordingly the rich man also, while he thought that he had yet a long time to live, heard the words, ‘Thou fool, this night they are requiring thy soul: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided14561456    Luke xii. 20.?’ And the Preacher speaks confidently in the Holy Spirit, and says, ‘Man also knoweth not his time14571457    Eccles. ix. 12..’ Wherefore the Patriarch Isaac said to his son Esau, ‘Behold, I am old, and I know not the day of my death14581458    Gen. xxvii. 2..’ Our Lord therefore, although as God, and the Word of the Father, He both knew the time measured out by Him to all, and was conscious of the time for suffering, which He Himself had appointed also to His own body; yet since He was made man for our sakes, He hid Himself when He was sought after before that time came, as we do; when He was persecuted, He fled; and avoiding the designs of His enemies He passed by, and ‘so went through the midst of them14591459    Luke iv. 30..’ But when He had brought on that time which He Himself had appointed, at which He desired to suffer in the body for all men, He announces it to the Father, saying, ‘Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son14601460    John xvii. 1..’ And then He no longer hid Himself from those who sought Him, but stood willing to be taken by them; for the Scripture says, He said to them that came unto Him, ‘Whom seek ye14611461    John xviii. 4, 5.?’ and when they answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ He saith unto them, ‘I am He whom ye seek.’ And this He did even more than once; and so they straightway led Him away to Pilate. He neither suffered Himself to be taken before the time came, nor did He hide Himself when it was come; but gave Himself up to them that conspired against Him, that He might shew to all men that the life and death of man depend upon the divine sentence; and that without our Father which is in heaven, neither a hair of man’s head can become white or black, nor a sparrow ever fall into the snare14621462    Matt. v. 36; x. 29..


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