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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 27

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 27. 566 —The Divine Remedy for Pride.

You cannot therefore attribute to God the cause of any human fault. For of all human offences, the cause is pride. For the conviction and removal of this a great remedy comes from heaven. God in mercy humbles Himself, descends from above, and displays to man, lifted up by pride, pure and manifest grace in very manhood, which He took upon Himself out of vast love for those who partake of it. For, not even did even this One, so conjoined to the Word of God that by that conjunction he became at once the one Son of God and the same One the one Son of man, act by the antecedent merits of His own will. It behoved Him, without doubt, to be one; had there been two, or three, or more, if this could have been done, it would not have come from the pure and simple gift of God, but from man’s free will and choice. 567 This, then, is especially commended to us; this, so far as I dare to think, is the divine lesson especially taught and learned in those treasures of wisdom and knowledge which are hidden in Christ. Every one of us, therefore, now knows, now does not know—now rejoices, now does not rejoice—to begin, continue, and complete our good work, in order that he may know that it is due not to his own will, but to the gift of God, that he either knows or rejoices; and thus he is cured p. 56 of vanity which elated him, and knows how truly it is said not of this earth of ours, but spiritually, “The Lord will give kindness and sweet grace, and our land shall yield her fruit.” 568 A good work, moreover, affords greater delight, in proportion as God is more and more loved as the highest unchangeable Good, and as the Author of all good things of every kind whatever. And that God may be loved, “His love is shed abroad in our hearts,” not by ourselves, but “by the Holy Ghost that is given unto us.” 569


Footnotes

55:566

See below, in ch. 33: also De Naturâ et Gratiâ, 29–32; and De Corrept. et Gratia, 10.

55:567

[Augustin appears to say, in this obscure passage, that had there been two persons, instead of two natures only, in our blessed Lord’s person, then no doubt salvation would have been due partly to a human cause.—W.]

56:568

Ps. lxxxv. 12.

56:569

Rom. v. 5.


Next: Chapter 28

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