Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful For Many Things

"For the Lord has made known to us by the prophets both the things which are past and present, giving us also the first-fruits of the knowledge of things to come, which things as we see accomplished, one by one, we ought with the greater richness of faith and elevation of spirit to draw near to Him with reverence....Therefore we ought to be deeply grateful to the Lord, because He has both made known to us things that are past, and has given us wisdom concerning things present, and has not left us without understanding in regard to things which are to come....Understand, then, you children of gladness, that the good Lord has foreshown all things to us, that we might know to whom we ought for everything to render thanksgiving and praise." (The Epistle Of Barnabas, 1, 5, 7)

"O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors! Having therefore convinced us in the former time that our nature was unable to attain to life, and having now revealed the Saviour who is able to save even those things which it was formerly impossible to save, by both these facts He desired to lead us to trust in His kindness, to esteem Him our Nourisher, Father, Teacher, Counsellor, Healer, our Wisdom, Light, Honour, Glory, Power, and Life, so that we should not be anxious concerning clothing and food." (The Epistle To Diognetus, 9)

"Moreover, if we believe that some inflictions are sent on us by the Lord, to whom should we more exhibit patience than to the Lord? Nay, He teaches us to give thanks and rejoice, over and above, at being thought worthy of divine chastisement. 'Whom I love,' says He, 'I chasten.' O blessed servant, on whose amendment the Lord is intent! with whom He deigns to be angry! whom He does not deceive by dissembling His reproofs!" (Tertullian, Of Patience, 11)

"And so He wills that our prayers should not simply be requests, but thanksgivings too for what we have. For how should he ask for future things, who is not thankful for the past? 'But in everything by prayer and supplication.' Wherefore we ought to give thanks for all things, even for those which seem to be grievous, for this is the part of the truly thankful man. In the other case the nature of the things demands it; but this springs from a grateful soul, and one earnestly affected toward God. God acknowledgeth these prayers, but others He knoweth not. Offer up such prayers as may be acknowledged; for He disposeth all things for our profit, though we know it not. And this is a proof that it greatly profiteth, namely, that we know it not. 'And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.' What meaneth this? 'The peace of God' which He hath wrought toward men, surpasseth all understanding. For who could have expected, who could have hoped, that such good things would have come?" (John Chrysostom, Homilies On Philippians, 14)

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