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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 7

Early Church Fathers  Index     

7. This conflict none experience in themselves, save such as war on the side of the virtues, and war down the vices: nor doth any thing storm the evil of lust, save the good of Continence. But there are, who, being utterly ignorant of the law of God, account not evil lusts among their enemies, and through wretched blindness being slaves to them, over and above think themselves also blessed, by satisfying them rather than taming them. But whoso through the Law have come to know them, (“For through the Law is the knowledge of sin,” 1823 and, “Lust,” saith he, “I knew not, unless the Law should say, Thou shalt not lust after,” 1824 and yet are overcome by their assault, because they live under the Law, whereby what is good is commanded, but not also given: they live not under Grace, which gives through the Holy Spirit what is commanded through the Law: unto these the Law therefore entered, that in them the offense might abound. The prohibition inp. 382 creased the lust, and made it unconquered: 1825 that there might be transgression also, which without the Law was not, although there was sin, “For where there is not Law, neither is there transgression.” 1826 Thus the Law, Grace not helping, forbidding sin, became over and above the strength of sin; whence the Apostle saith, “The Law is the strength of sin.” 1827 Nor is it to be wondered at, that man’s weakness even from the good Law added strength to evil, whilst it trusts to fulfill the Law itself of its own strength. Forsooth being ignorant of the righteousness of God, 1828 which He gives unto the weak, and wishing to establish his own, of which the weak is void, he was not made subject to the righteousness of God, reprobate and proud. But if the Law, as a schoolmaster, lead unto Grace one made an offender, as though for this purpose more grievously wounded, that he may desire a Physician; against the baneful sweetness, whereby lust prevailed, the Lord gives a sweetness that worketh good, that by it Continence may the more delight, and “our land giveth her fruit,” 1829 whereby the soldier is fed, who by the help of the Lord wars down sin.



Rom. 3.20Rom. iii. 20


Rom. 7.7Rom. vii. 7. [See R.V.]


Rom. 5.20Rom. v. 20


Rom. 4.15Rom. iv. 15


1 Cor. 15.561 Cor. xv. 56


Rom. 10.3Rom. x. 3


Ps. 85.12Ps. lxxxv. 12

Next: Section 8

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