From a homily written in the second century


                                                           FROM A HOMILY WRITTEN IN THE SECOND CENTURY

                                                         Our salvation depends on the integrity of our lives

                                                                        (Cap 18:1  – 20, 5: Funk 1, 167 – 171)


Let us be sure that when the day of judgment comes, our place will be among those who give thanks to God and have served him, and not with the ungodly who face condemnation. As for myself, I am only a sinner, not yet beyond the reach of temptations, I still strive to make progress and hope to attain at least some virtue, for I fear the judgment that awaits me.


My brothers and sisters, you have heard the word of God who is the very fountainhead of truth. Therefore, I now read you an appeal to heed what is written, and thereby save both yourselves and your reader. The reward I ask is that you repent with your whole heart, to save yourselves and find life. If we do this, we shall set an example for all young people, for whom the glory and goodness of God is a challenge to be generous in his service.


Let me say also that when we are given a warning and corrected for doing something wrong, we should not be so foolish as to take offense and be angry. There are times when we are unconscious of the sins we commit because our hearts are fickle, lacking in faith. Futile desires becloud our minds. We need to pull ourselves up, therefore, because our very salvation is at stake. Those who keep God’s commandments will have reason to rejoice. For a short time in this world they may have to suffer, but they will rise again and their reward will endure for ever. No one who holds God in reverence should grieve over the hardships of this present time, for a time of blessedness awaits him. He will live again in heaven in company of all those who have gone before him; for all eternity he will rejoice, never to know sorrow again.


So do not be disturbed at the sight of wicked men possessing great wealth while the servants of God suffer want. We, my brother and sisters, must have faith. Competing as we are in the arena of the living God, we are receiving the training in this present life that will make us worthy to be crowned in the life to come. No honest man becomes rich overnight; he has to wait for the reward of his labours. If God gave virtue an immediate recompense, we should straightway find ourselves engaging in commerce, instead of perfecting ourselves in his service. Although to all outward appearance we might be irreproachable, we should not be seeking God, but our own advantage, and bringing down on our sinful souls the divine judgment that would soon make us feel the full weight of our chains.


To the one invisible God, the Father of truth, who sent forth the Saviour, the author of immortality, and through him revealed to us the truth and the heavenly life – to be glory throughout all ages, for ever and ever. Amen 


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