Hear, then, the parables of the tower; for I will reveal all to you, and give me no more trouble in regard to revelation: for these revelations have an end, for they have been completed. But you will not cease praying for revelations, for you are shameless.
When rapt into the heavens,
For that there are spiritual creatures in the heavens, all the Scriptures loudly proclaim; and Paul expressly testifies that there are spiritual things when he declares that he was caught up into the third heaven,
It, too, has eyes and ears of its own, by means of which Paul must have heard and seen the Lord;
It does not, however, belong to our present object to explain why Paul says, "Whether in the body, I know not; or whether out of the body, I know not: God knoweth."
of God do not speak of "seven" heavens, or of any definite number at all,
Paul the apostle, he says, knew of this gate, partially opening it in a mystery, and stating "that he was caught up by an angel, and ascended as far as the second and third heaven into paradise itself; and that he beheld sights and heard unspeakable words which it would not be possible for man to declare."
For the apostle, he says, does not suppose paradise to be in the third heaven, in the opinion of those who knew how to observe the niceties of language, when he says, "I know such a man caught up to the third heaven; and I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body, God knoweth, that was caught up into paradise."
3. Hear, then, concerning the seven
If they do maintain that they are more excellent than he, let them prove themselves so by their works, for they have never pretended to anything like [what he describes as occurring to himself]. And for this reason he added, "Whether in the body, or whether out of the body, God knoweth,"
because the strength of God is made perfect in weakness,
Of the carnal one are the words, "Not what I would that do I practise, but what I hate that do I." And he too who was caught up to the third heaven and heard unspeakable words
Wherefore also the elders who were disciples of the apostles tell us that those who were translated were transferred to that place (for paradise has been prepared for righteous men, such as have the Spirit; in which place also Paul the apostle, when he was caught up, heard words which are unspeakable as regards us in our present condition
of martyrdom. Now, although Paul was carried away even to the third heaven, and was caught up to paradise,
to his own paradise,
We must therefore know that the Paraclete is the Holy Spirit, who teaches truths which cannot be uttered in words, and which are, so to speak, unutterable, and "which it is not lawful for a man to utter,"
Nay, Paul even heard "unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."
Such are the things which Paul labours to express when he says, "I heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter,"
and, "I have heard inexpressible words which it is not possible for man to declare."
Revelation of the holy Apostle Paul: the things which were revealed to him when he went up even to the third heaven, and was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words.
Suppose one of the Apostles to have understood the "unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter,"
-thereby teaching us that greatness has its proofs in lowliness, just as (according to the apostle)there is power even in infirmity
But there is a great difference between these two ways. For over one are stationed the light-bringing angels of God, but over the other the angels
But he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for strength is made perfect in weakness. Gladly therefore shall I rather glory in infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
But what will excite my surprise still more is the case (next supposed by Marcion), that a God so good and gracious, and so averse to blows and cruelty, should have suborned the angel Satan-not his own either, but the Creator's-"to buffet" the apostle,
as he writes to his Timotheus. "But withal himself says that `a stake
or the design is to humble, as the apostle tells us, that there was given him a stake, the messenger of Satan, to buffet him;
"There was given to me," he says, "a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be lifted up: for which thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me; and He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee, for strength is made perfect in weakness."
2 Cor. 12:7 - NIV, NAB - in Cyprian Treatise XII Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews
For which thing I thrice besought the Lord, that it should depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for strength is perfected in weakness."
2 Cor. 12:8 - NIV, NAB - in Archelaus Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes
he says: "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for strength is made perfect in weakness."
Long-suffering therefore was God, when man became a defaulter, as foreseeing that victory which should be granted to him through the Word. For, when strength was made perfect in weakness,
All proof of abstinence is lost when excess is impossible; for sundry things have thus their evidence in their contraries. Just as "strength is made perfect in weakness,"
Is he then the same God as He who gave Satan power over the person of Job that his "strength might be made perfect in weakness? "
He will love the flesh which is, so very closely and in so many ways, His neighbour-(He will love it), although infirm, since His strength is made perfect in weakness;
In this way also "shall strength be made perfect in weakness,"
Lastly, when Paul is praying the Lord for its removal, what does he hear? "Hold my grace sufficient; for virtue is perfected in infirmity."
For in other respects, too, injustice in proportion to the enmity it displays against righteousness affords occasion for attestations of that to which it is opposed as an enemy, that so righteousness may be perfected in injustice, as strength is perfected in weakness.
And if these severities will seem to be more grievous than martyrdoms, yet once more he says: "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake."
; but (it will be) when it has endured laceration for Christ's sake,
the Gentiles to the exercise of some eminent heavenly virtue, is, by the visible proofs of some marked (divine) regard, a terror to her Gentile husband, so as to make him less ready to annoy her, less active in laying snares for her, less diligent in playing the spy over her. He has felt "mighty works;
For in saying, toward the end of the Epistle, "Lest, when I shall have come, God humble me, and I bewail many of those who have formerly sinned, and have not repented of the impurity which they have committed, the fornication, and the vileness,"
And yet to these persons themselves repentance is granted, and the hope of lamenting and atoning is left, according to the saying of the same apostle: "I fear lest, when I come to you, I shall bewail many of those who have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness which they have committed."
Also in the same: "But I fear lest perchance, when I come to you, God may again humble me among you, and I shall bewail many of those who have sinned before, and have not repented, for that they have committed fornication and lasciviousness."
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