1. It is clear that devastating wars and other calamities do not take place without the will of God. However, it does not necessarily follow that we should not arm ourselves against our enemies nor seek to heal our diseases, believing it to be against the will of God.
2. It is also not uncommon for God’s justice to use impious kings and princes as tools to teach the righteous to be patient and to punish villains for their crimes and transgressions. We see many examples of this in antiquity. God reveals His good will in the malevolent desires and deeds of the wicked so that they may do His righteous judgment of the guilty before Him. Like a kind father who punishes his children with a whip for their transgressions and then sees them improve, caresses them, and throws the whip into the fire, so God does with men who do evil deeds that defile their integrity.
3. It is not difficult to make good out of good; but it is surprising that one can turn evil into good; there is a common saying: “Everyone can be a sailor in a calm sea.”
4. If God had not allowed falling into sin, and had not corrected those transgressions that had been committed, and had not borne good consequences out of evil deeds, then it would be unlikely that we could learn God’s inherent righteousness that punishes the evil ones and rewards the righteous ones.
5. The saints argued that God, who is good, would have never allowed anything evil to happen if He had not known that He would bring forth many great virtues from it.
6. Let me ask you, my beloved Christian brother, who often voices his grievous complaints to the heavens and earth. Tell me what offends you: is it the will (intent) of the offender, or is it only his power (ability to exercise his intent), or both? You answer: I am insulted by both. Let me tell you in response that neither malicious will nor its implementation (power) can offend you: a malicious intention (will) without power is insignificant and does no harm to you, while the implementation of the intention depends on the will of God, which is just and holy.
7. You know that all the powers are from God, so why do you grieve and complain about your offender for doing none other than that which God has authorized him to do to you. If it were not the case, he could not have insulted you without God’s permission.
8. Who can do us any harm if we seek good?
9. There is only one reliable way to soothe yourself: when you are offended or hurt, do not pay attention to the anger of the offender; instead, turn to the righteous God who permitted your offender to hurt you, and do not pay him evil for the evil he has done: for God allowed it in order to achieve good and noble goals, albeit unknown to you for the time being.
10. Human will is firmly set against God by three evil qualities: a) evil habits (practices), b) lack of patience, and c) instability (variability) of our will’s desires.
11. Why is the wrong fast rejected by God? It is because hypocrites prefer to please their selfish interests during the days of fasting, and use fasting as a convenient way to achieve their lusts. God says, “I love fasting but I hate and reject hypocrisy that defiles fasting.”
12. Is the difference between a potter and clay smaller than that between God and man, a lowly worm? Who is bold enough to say to God, “Why do you do this, Lord?”
13. O Lord, your judgments are a great abyss, an abyss deep beyond the limit.
14. All our success in Christian life depends on how we subjugate our own will to the will of God.
15. Just as a warrior must be obedient to his commander in all things, follow his example, and be ready to carry out his every order, so every true Christian must have his whole life at the disposal and under the command of God.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds