13 For who can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills? 14 For the reasoning of mortals is worthless, and our designs are likely to fail; 15 for a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind. 16 We can hardly guess at what is on earth, and what is at hand we find with labor; but who has traced out what is in the heavens? 17 Who has learned your counsel, unless you have given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high?
But the peace which is peculiar to ourselves we enjoy now with God by faith, and shall hereafter enjoy eternally with Him by sight. But the peace which we enjoy in this life, whether common to all or peculiar to ourselves, is rather the solace of our misery than the positive enjoyment of felicity. Our very righteousness, too, though true in so far as it has respect to the true good, is yet in this life of such a kind that it consists rather in the remission of sins than in the perfecting of virtues. Witness the prayer of the whole city of God in its pilgrim state, for it cries to God by the mouth of all its members, Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And this prayer is efficacious not for those whose faith is without works and dead, but for those whose faith works by love. For as reason, though subjected to God, is yet pressed down by the corruptible body, so long as it is in this mortal condition, it has not perfect authority over vice, and therefore this prayer is needed by the righteous.