Page:LostApocryphaOfTheOldTestamentMRJames.djvu/41

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23
THE OLD TESTAMENT

archangel of the power of the Lord, and a captain of captains of thousands among the sons of God? Am I not Israel, the first minister before the face of God?' And I called upon my God by the inextinguishable name." "It is likely" (Origen goes on) "that if these words were really spoken by Jacob, and therefore recorded, that the incident 'He supplanted his brother in the womb' (Hos. xii. 3) happened intelligently (consciously, συνετῶσ)." He then speaks a little about Jacob and Esau, hinting at their possible pre-existence, and concludes: " But we have made a considerable digression in taking up the matter of Jacob and calling in as evidence a writing not lightly to be despised, to make something more credible of the theory about John, which maintains that he, according to Isaiah's word, being an angel, took a body in order to bear witness to the Light." This passage is summarized by Jerome on Haggai.

The second fragment is in the Philocalia, cap. xxiii. 15, taken from the Commentary on Genesis iii. It is partly to be found in Eusebius' Præp. Evang., VI. 11, and Procopius on Genesis quotes from it too. The topic is astrology.

"For, as we showed before that the fact that God knows what every man will do is no obstacle to free-will, so neither do the signs which God has appointed for the giving of information impede freewill: but, like a book containing future events in prophecy, the whole heaven—the book of God, as it is—may contain the future. Wherefore in the Prayer of Joseph this word of Jacob may be thus understood: 'For I have read in the tablets of heaven all that shall befall you and your sons.'

(19) "But if Jacob says he has read in the tablets of heaven what is to befall his sons, and upon this point some one objects to us that the opposite of what we have said is shown by the Scripture (for we were saying that man has no apprehension of the signs, whereas Jacob says he has read in the tablets of heaven), we shall say in defence that our wise men, aided by a spirit