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An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.


Book I.

Chapter I.—That the Deity is incomprehensible, and that we ought not to pry into and meddle with the things which have not been delivered to us by the holy Prophets, and Apostles, and Evangelists.

No one hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him14061406    St. John i. 18 (R.V.).. The Deity, therefore, is ineffable and incomprehensible. For no one knoweth the Father, save the Son, nor the Son, save the Father14071407    St. Matt. xi. 27.. And the Holy Spirit, too, so knows the things of God as the spirit of the man knows the things that are in him14081408    1 Cor. ii. 11.. Moreover, after the first and blessed nature no one, not of men only, but even of supramundane powers, and the Cherubim, I say, and Seraphim themselves, has ever known God, save he to whom He revealed Himself.

God, however, did not leave us in absolute ignorance. For the knowledge of God’s existence has been implanted by Him in all by nature. This creation, too, and its maintenance, and its government, proclaim the majesty of the Divine nature14091409    Wisd. xiii. 5.. Moreover, by the Law and the Prophets14101410    Greg. Naz., Orat. 34. in former times and afterwards by His Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, He disclosed to us the knowledge of Himself as that was possible for us. All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us by Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honour14111411    Dionys., De div. nom., c. 1., seeking for nothing beyond these. For God, being good, is the cause of all good, subject neither to envy nor to any passion14121412    Greg. Naz., Orat. 34.. For envy is far removed from the Divine nature, which is both passionless and only good. As knowing all things, therefore, and providing for what is profitable for each, He revealed that which it was to our profit to know; but what we were unable14131413    Reading ὃπερ δε οὐκ ἐδυνάμεθα for ὃπερ δὲ οὖν ἐδυνάμεθα. Cod. Reg. 3379 gives καὶ ὃ οὐ δυνάμεθα. to bear He kept secret. With these things let us be satisfied, and let us abide by them, not removing everlasting boundaries, nor overpassing the divine tradition14141414    Prov. xxii. 28..

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