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| Chapter XIII.—Degrees of Glory in Heaven Corresponding with the Dignities of the Church Below. |
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Chapter XIII.—Degrees of Glory in Heaven Corresponding with the Dignities of the Church Below.
He, then, who has first moderated his passions
and trained himself for impassibility, and developed to the beneficence
of gnostic perfection, is here equal to the angels. Luminous already,
and like the sun shining in the exercise of beneficence, he speeds
by righteous knowledge through the love of God to the sacred abode,
like as the apostles. Not that they became apostles through being
chosen for some distinguished peculiarity3379
of nature, since also
Judas was chosen along with them. But they were capable of becoming
apostles on being chosen by Him who foresees even ultimate issues.
Matthias, accordingly, who was not chosen along with them, on showing
himself worthy of becoming an apostle, is substituted for Judas.
Those, then, also now, who have exercised
themselves in the Lord’s commandments, and lived perfectly
and gnostically according to the Gospel, may be enrolled in
the chosen body of the apostles. Such an one is in reality a
presbyter of the Church, and a true minister (deacon) of the
will of God, if he do and teach what is the Lord’s; not as
by men, nor regarded righteous
because a presbyter, but enrolled in the presbyterate3381
because righteous. And although
here upon earth he be not honoured with the chief seat,3382
| 3381 Presbytery
he will sit down on the
judging the people, as John says in the
For, in truth, the covenant of salvation, reaching
down to us from the foundation of the world, through different generations
and times, is one, though conceived as different in respect of gift.
For it follows that there is one unchangeable gift of salvation given by
one God, through one Lord, benefiting in many ways. For which cause the
which separated the Greek from the Jew is
taken away, in order that there might be a peculiar people. And so both
meet in the one unity of faith; and the selection out of both is one.
And the chosen of the chosen are those who by reason of perfect knowledge
are called [as the best] from the
Church itself, and
honoured with the most august glory—the judges and
rulers—four-and-twenty (the grace being doubled) equally from
Jews and Greeks. Since, according to my opinion, the grades3385
here in the Church, of
bishops, presbyters, deacons, are imitations of the angelic glory,
and of that economy which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who,
following the footsteps of the apostles, have lived in perfection
of righteousness according to the Gospel. For these taken up in the
clouds, the apostle3386
| 3385 προκοπαί.
[Book vii. cap. i, infra.]|
writes, will first minister [as deacons],
then be classed in the presbyterate, by promotion in glory (for
from glory) till they grow into “a
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