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Chapter XXXIV.—Who are Worshippers of God?

“But some one will say, These passions sometimes befall even those who worship God.  It is not true.  For we say, that he is a worshipper of God, who does the will of God, and observes the precepts of His law.  For in God’s estimation he is not a Jew who is called a Jew among men (nor is he a Gentile that is called a Gentile), but he who, believing in God, fulfils His law and does His will, though he be not circumcised.771771    Rom. ii. 28; Rev. ii. 9.  He is the true worshipper of God, who not only is himself free from passions, but also sets others free from them; though they be so heavy that they are like mountains, he removes them by means of the faith with which he believes in God.  Yea, by faith he truly removes mountains with their trees, if it be necessary.772772    Matt. xvii. 20; Luke xvii. 6.  But he who seems to worship God, but is neither fortified by a full faith, nor by obedience to the commandments, but is a sinner, has given a place in himself, by reason of his sins, to passions, which are appointed of God for the punishment of those 152who sin, that they may exact from them the deserts of their sins by means of punishments inflicted, and may bring them purified to the general judgment of all, provided always that their faith do not fail them in their chastisement.  For the chastisement of unbelievers in the present life is a judgment, by which they begin to be separated from future blessings; but the chastisement of those who worship God, while it is inflicted upon them for sins into which they have fallen, exacts from them the due of what they have done, that, preventing the judgment, they may pay the debt of their sin in the present life, and be freed, at least in half, from the eternal punishments which are there prepared.


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