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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 13

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 13.—A Subterfuge of the Pelagians.

Daniel, indeed, after the prayer which he poured out before God, actually says respecting himself, “Whilst I was praying and confessing my sins, and the sins of my people, before the Lord my God.” 509 This is the reason, if I am not mistaken, why in the above-mentioned Prophet Ezekiel a certain most haughty person is asked, “Art thou then wiser than Daniel?” 510 Nor on this point can that be possibly said which some contend for in opposition to the Lord’s Prayer: “For although,” they say, “that prayer was offered by the apostles, after they became holy and perfect, and had no sin whatever, yet it was not in behalf of their own selves, but of imperfect and still sinful men that they said, ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.’ They used the word our,” they say, “in order to show that in one body are contained both those who still have sins, and themselves, who were already altogether free from sin.” Now this certainly cannot be said in the case of Daniel, who (as I suppose) foresaw as a prophet this presumptuous opinion, when he said so often in his prayer, “We have sinned;” and explained to us why he said this, not so as that we should hear from him, Whilst I was praying and confessing the sins of my people to the Lord, my God; nor yet confounding distinction, so as that it would be uncertain whether he had said, on account of the fellowship of one body, While I was confessing our sins to the Lord my God; but he expresses himself in language so distinct and precise, as if he were full of the distinction himself, and wanted above all things to commend it to our notice: “My sins,” says he, “and the sins of my people.” Who can gainsay such evidence as this, but he who is more pleased to defend what he thinks than to find out what he ought to think?


Footnotes

49:509

Dan. ix. 20.

49:510

Ezek. xxviii. 3.


Next: Chapter 14

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