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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise Concerning Man’s Perfection...: Section 43

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XX.—(43.) No Man is Assisted Unless He Does Himself Also Work. Our Course is a Constant Progress.

But what is the import of the last statement which he has made: “If any one say, ‘May it possibly be that a man sin not even in word?’ then the answer,” says he, “which must be given is, ‘Quite possible, if God so will; and God does so will, therefore it is possible.’” See how unwilling he was to say, “If God give His help, then it would be possible;” and yet the Psalmist thus addresses God: “Be Thou my helper, forsake me not;” 1587 where of course help is not sought for procuring bodily advantages and avoiding bodily evils, but for practising and fulfilling righteousness. Hence it is that we say: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” 1588 Now no man is assisted unless he also himself does something; assisted, however, he is, if he prays, if he believes, if he is “called according to God’s purpose;” 1589 for “whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed p. 176 to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” 1590 We run, therefore, whenever we make advance; and our wholeness runs with us in our advance (just as a sore is said to run 1591 when the wound is in process of a sound and careful treatment), in order that we may be in every respect perfect, without any infirmity of sin whatever,—a result which God not only wishes, but even causes and helps us to accomplish. And this God’s grace does, in co-operation with ourselves, through Jesus Christ our Lord, as well by commandments, sacraments, and examples, as by His Holy Spirit also; through whom there is hiddenly shed abroad in our hearts  1592 that love, “which maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered,” 1593 until wholeness and salvation be perfected in us, and God be manifested to us as He will be seen in His eternal truth.


Footnotes

175:1587

Ps. xxvii. 9.

175:1588

Matt. vi. 13.

175:1589

Rom. viii. 28.

176:1590

Rom. 8:29, 30.

176:1591

Ps. lxxvii. 2.

176:1592

Rom. v. 5.

176:1593

Rom. viii. 26.


Next: Chapter 44

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