EXTRACTED FROM THE PARALLELS OF JOHN OF DAMASCUS
About the unstable and changeable condition of human affairs.
Page 326. C. If one is to tell the plain truth, man is without real power in anything, never taking a firm hold of anything. I do not mean merely of common things, but not even of those which concern himself; neither of health, nor of a good condition of the outward senses, nor of soundness in respect of the other parts of his body, nor of his voice, nor of his presence of mind; for as to wealth, or glory, or friends, or power, or all the other things which depend on fortune, who is there who does not know how thoroughly unstable they are? So that we must of necessity confess that the supreme power over everything belongs to one being alone, the true Lord of all existing things.
About impious men, sinners, etc.
Page 341. D. If you wish to be governed under God as your king, take care not to sin; but if you commit sin, how can you be under the government of God as your king?
About those people who have renounced such and such a line of conduct, and then turning
back again, have adopted that very line which they had renounced.
Page 343. D. Some men, making improvement, have returned back to virtue before coming to the end, the ancient principle of oligarchy having destroyed the principle of aristocracy lately engendered in the soul, which having been quiet for a little while, has subsequently come up over again with greater power than before.
Page 343. D. When a man rightly establishes himself in a virtuous life, with meditation, and practice, and good government, and when having been known by all men as a pious man and one who fears God, he falls into sin, that is a great fall, for he has ascended up to the height of heaven, and fallen down into the abyss of hell.
About resurrection and judgment.
Page 349. A. It is not possible with God that a wicked man should lose his good reward for a single good thing which he may have done among a great number of evil actions; nor, on the other hand, that a good man should escape punishment, and not suffer it, if among many good actions he has done wickedly in anything, for it is infallibly certain that God distributes everything according to a just weight and balance.
Page 349. B. The mind is the witness to each individual of the things which they have planned in secret, and conscience is an incorruptible judge, and the most unerring of all judges.
About those who are ruled.
Page 359. A. He who has learnt how to submit to be ruled, immediately learns how to rule others; for even if a man were invested with the supreme power over all the earth and all the sea, he would not be a true ruler unless he had also learnt and been previously taught to submit to the rule of others.