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of flight to the four winds. He lay gasping upon the floor

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"So from mine own nature, I am led by the hand to the knowledge of the mighty working of the Creator; and at the same time I think upon the well-ordered structure and preservation of the whole creation, how that in itself it is subject everywhere to variableness and change, in the world of thought by choice, whether by advance in the good, or departure from it, in the world of sense by birth and decay, increase and decrease, and change in quality and motion in space. And thus all things proclaim, by voices that cannot be heard, that they were created, and are held together, and preserved, and ever watched over by the providence of the uncreate, unturning and unchanging God. Else how could diverse elements have met, for the consummation of a single world, one with another, and remained inseparable, unless some almighty power had knit them together, and still were keeping them from dissolution? `For how could anything have endured, if it had not been his will? or been preserved, if not called by him?' as saith the Scripture.

of flight to the four winds. He lay gasping upon the floor

"A ship holdeth not together without a steersman, but easily foundereth; and a small house shall not stand without a protector. How then could the world have subsisted for long ages, a work so great, and so fair and wondrous, -- without some glorious mighty and marvellous steersmanship and all-wise providence? Behold the heavens, how long they have stood, and have not been darkened: and the earth hath not been exhausted, though she hath been bearing offspring so long. The water- springs have not failed to gush out since they were made. The sea, that receiveth so many rivers, hath not exceeded her measure. The courses of Sun and Moon have not varied: the order of day and night hath not changed. From all these objects is declared unto us the unspeakable power and magnificence of God, witnessed by Prophets and Apostles. But no man can fitly conceive or sound forth his glory. For the holy Apostle, that had Christ speaking within him, after perceiving all objects of thought and sense, still said, `We know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.' Wherefore also, astonied at the infinite riches of his wisdom and knowledge, he cried for all to understand, `O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!'

of flight to the four winds. He lay gasping upon the floor

"Now, if he, that attained unto the third heaven and heard such unspeakable words, uttered such sentences, what man of my sort shall have strength to look eye to eye upon the abysses of such mysteries, or speak rightly thereof, or think meetly of the things whereof we speak, unless the very giver of wisdom, and the amender of the unwise, vouchsafe that power? For in his hand are we and our words, and all prudence and knowledge of wisdom is with him. And he himself hath given us the true understanding of the things that are; to know the structure of the world, the working of the elements, the beginning, end and middle of times, the changes of the solstices, the succession of seasons, and how he hath ordered all things by measure and weight. For he can shew his great strength at all times, and who may withstand the power of his arm? For the whole world before him is as a little grain of the balance, yea, as a drop of the morning dew that falleth down upon the earth. But he hath mercy upon all; for he can do all things, and winketh at the sins of men, because they should amend. For he abhorreth nothing, nor turneth away from them that run unto him, he, the only good Lord and lover of souls. Blessed be the holy name of his glory, praised and exalted above all for ever! Amen."

of flight to the four winds. He lay gasping upon the floor

Ioasaph said unto him, "If thou hadst for a long time considered, most wise Sir, how thou mightest best declare to me the explanation of the questions that I propounded, methinks thou couldest not have done it better than by uttering such words as thou hast now spoken unto me. Thou hast taught me that God is the Maker and preserver of all things; and in unanswerable language thou hast shown me that the glory of his majesty is incomprehensible to human reasonings, and that no man is able to attain thereto, except those to whom, by his behest, he revealeth it. Wherefore am I lost in amaze at thine eloquent wisdom.

"But tell me, good Sir, of what age thou art, and in what manner of place is thy dwelling, and who are thy fellow philosophers; for my soul hangeth fast on thine, and fain would I never be parted from thee all the days of my life."

The elder said, "Mine age is, as I reckon, forty and five years, and in the deserts of the land of Senaar do I dwell. For my fellow combatants I have those who labour and contend together with me on the course of the heavenly journey."

"What sayest thou?" quoth Ioasaph. "Thou seemest to me upwards of seventy years old. How speakest thou of forty and five? Herein methinks thou tellest not the truth."

Barlaam said unto him, "If it be the number of years from my birth that thou askest, thou hast well reckoned them at upwards of seventy. But, for myself, I count not amongst the number of my days the years that I wasted in the vanity of the world. When I lived to the flesh in the bondage of sin, I was dead in the inner man; and those years of deadness I can never call years of life. But now the world hath been crucified to me, and I to the world, and I have put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and live no longer to the flesh, but Christ liveth in me; and the life that I live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. And the years, that have passed since then, I may rightly call years of life, and days of salvation. And in numbering these at about forty and five, I reckoned by the true tale, and not off the mark. So do thou also alway hold by this reckoning; and be sure that there is no true life for them that are dead to all good works, and live in sin, and serve the world-ruler of them that are dragged downward, and waste their time in pleasures and lusts: but rather be well assured that these are dead and defunct in the activity of life. For a wise man hath fitly called sin the death of the immortal soul. And the Apostle also saith, 'When ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.'"