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Chapter XLVII.

But it is probable that what is written by Paul in the first Epistle to the Corinthians,35833583    Cf. 1 Cor. i. 18, etc. as being addressed to Greeks who prided themselves greatly on their Grecian wisdom, has moved some to believe that it was not the object of the Gospel to win wise men.  Now, let him who is of this opinion understand that the Gospel, as censuring wicked men, says of them that they are wise not in things which relate to the understanding, and which are unseen and eternal; but that in busying themselves about things of sense alone, and regarding these as all-important, they are wise men of the world:  for as there are in existence a multitude of opinions, some of them espousing the cause of matter and bodies,35843584    τὰ μὲν συναγορεύοντα ὑγῇ καὶ σώμασι. and asserting that everything is corporeal which has a substantial existence,35853585    τὰ προηγουμένως ὑφεστηκότα. and that besides these nothing else exists, whether it be called invisible or incorporeal, it says also that these constitute the wisdom of the world, which perishes and fades away, and belongs only to this age, while those opinions which raise the soul from things here to the blessedness which is with God, and to His kingdom, and which teach men to despise all sensible and visible things as existing only for a season, and to hasten on to things invisible, and to have regard to those things which are not seen,—these, it says, constitute the wisdom of God.  But Paul, as a lover of truth, says of certain wise men among the Greeks, when their statements are true, that “although they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful.”35863586    Cf. Rom. i. 21.  And he bears witness that they knew God, and says, too, that this did not happen to them without divine permission, in these words:  “For God showed it unto them;”35873587    Rom. i. 19. dimly alluding, I think, to those who ascend from things of sense to those of the understanding, when he adds, “For the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful.”35883588    Cf. Rom. i. 20–22.


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