God at times opens the heart through trials. Then the heart becomes so vast that, like the sands of the sea, it cannot be measured. Listen to holy Solomon, who speaks to us of this openness: “Therefore I prayed, and in me prudence was increased. I implored, and the Spirit of wisdom came to me.” So as to receive wisdom from God, he did not ask for riches or noble descendants or power, but he asked for wisdom. And he obtained everything that he did not ask for. For this reason Scripture says that the vastness of his heart was so great that, like the sand of the sea, it could not be measured. So that you would understand this greatness, he consciously says of himself, “Write it in the vastness of your heart.” Therefore, one who has wisdom should not keep it hidden, not even for an instant, but should celebrate it in public. He should proclaim everywhere, with authority, what prudence inspires in him.1
He did not come “to bring peace on earth … but a sword,” and Scripture calls the Word of God a “two-edged sword” because of the two Testaments.2
SEVERIAN OF GABALA:
He says, “division of soul and spirit.” The soul has a special feeling for the body, but the grace of the Holy Spirit draws against the body to the heavenly things.3
Therefore, the dread of divine power returns to the soul when we are eager to hide ourselves. Then, placed as we are by the thought of our sins in the midst of the trees of Paradise, where we committed sin, we are desirous of concealing ourselves and thinking hidden things which God does not demand of us. But God who is “the discerner of our thoughts and intentions of our hearts,” “piercing to the division of soul and spirit,” says, “Adam, where are you?”4
God, therefore, is uniquely good, and this he cannot lose. He is good. He is not good by sharing in any other good, because the good by which he is good is himself. But, when a finite human being is good, his goodness derives from God, because he cannot be his own good. All who become good do so through his Spirit. Our nature has been created to attain to him through acts of its own will. If we are to become good, it is important for us to receive and hold what he gives, who is good in himself.5
- EXPOSITIONS ON THE PSALMS 43.93. Voicu, S. J. (Ed.). (2010). Apocrypha (pp. 90–91). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- CITY OF GOD 20.21. Heen, E. M., & Krey, P. D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Hebrews (p. 62). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- FRAGMENTS ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS 4.12. Heen, E. M., & Krey, P. D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Hebrews (p. 62). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- ON PARADISE 14.68. Heen, E. M., & Krey, P. D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Hebrews (p. 62). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- LETTER 153, TO MACEDONIUS. Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 134). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.