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Chapter XXXVII.—God Righteous as Well as Good.

Then said Simon:  “Inform us, therefore, what he who desires to know the truth must first learn.”  Then Peter:  “Before all things it must be inquired what it is possible for man to find out.  For of necessity the judgment of God turns upon this, if a man was able to do good and did it not.  And therefore men must inquire whether they have it in their power by seeking to find what is good, and to do it when they have found it; for this is that for which they are to be judged.  But more than this there is no occasion for any one but a prophet to know:  for what is the need for men to know how the world was made?  This, indeed, would be necessary to be learned if we had to enter upon a similar construction.  But now it is sufficient for us, in order to the worship of God, to know that He made the world; but how He made it is no subject of inquiry for us, because, as I have said, it is not incumbent upon us to acquire the knowledge of that art, as though we were about to make something similar.  But neither are we to be judged for this, why we have not learned how the world was made, but only for that, if we be without knowledge of its Creator.  For we shall know that the Creator of the world is the righteous and good God, if we seek Him in the paths of righteousness.  For if we only know regarding Him that He is good, such knowledge is not sufficient for salvation.  For in the present life not only the worthy, but also the unworthy, enjoy His goodness and His benefits.  But if we believe Him to be not only good, but also righteous, and if, according to what we believe concerning God, we observe righteousness in the whole course of our life, we shall enjoy His goodness for ever.  In a word, to the Hebrews, whose opinion concerning God was that He is only good, our Master said that they should seek also His righteousness;690690    Matt. vi. 33. that is, that they should know that He is good indeed in this present time, that all may live in His goodness, but that He shall be righteous at the day of judgment, to bestow eternal rewards upon the worthy, from which the unworthy shall be excluded.


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