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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Origen, ON PRAYER Complete

Translated by W. Curtis.

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Things in themselves so supremely great, so far above man, so utterly above our perishable nature, as to be impossible for the race of rational mortals to grasp, as the will of God became possible in the immeasurable abundance of the Divine grace which streams forth from God upon men, through Jesus Christ the minister of His unsurpassable grace toward us, and through the cooperant Spirit. Thus, though it is a standing impossibility for human nature to acquire Wisdom, by which all things have been established--for all things, according to David, God made in wisdom--from being impossible it becomes possible through our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

For what or who is man that he shall know the counsel of God, or who shall conceive what that Lord willeth? Since the thoughts of mortals are weakling and our purposes are prone to fail; for the body that is corruptible weighs down soul, and mind with its store of thought is burdened by its earthly tabernacle; and things on earth we forecast with difficulty, but things in heaven whoever yet traced out? Who would not say that it is impossible for man to trace out things in heaven? Yet this impossible thing, by the surpassing grace of God, becomes possible; for he who was caught up unto a third heaven traced out things in the three heavens through having heard unutterable utterances which it was not permitted for man to speak. Who can say that it is possible for the mind of the Lord to be known by man?

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