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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 22

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 22 [XXI.]—Love is a Good Will.

That love, however, which is a virtue, comes to us from God, not from ourselves, according to the testimony of Scripture, which says: “Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God: for God is love.” 1832 It is on the principle of this love that one can best understand the passage, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;” 1833 as well as the sentence, “And he cannot sin.” 1834 Because the love according to which we are born of God “doth not behave itself unseemly,” and “thinketh no evil.” 1835 Therefore, whenever a man sins, it is not according to love: but it is according to cupidity that he commits sin; and following such a disposition, he is not born of God. Because, as it has been already stated, “the capacity” of which we speak is capable of either root. When, therefore, the Scripture says, “Love is of God,” or still more pointedly, “God is love;” when the Apostle John so very emphatically exclaims, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and be, the sons of God!” 1836 with what face can this writer, on hearing that “God is love,” persist in maintaining his opinion, that we bare of God one only of those three, 1837 namely, “the capacity;” whereas it is of ourselves that we have “the good will” and “the good action?” As if, indeed, this good will were a different thing from that love which the Scripture so loudly proclaims to have come to us from God, and to have been given to us by the Father, that we might become His children.


Footnotes

224:1832

1 John 4:7, 8.

224:1833

1 John iii. 9.

224:1834

1 John 3.9.

224:1835

1 Cor. xiii. 5.

224:1836

1 John iii. 1.

224:1837

See above, ch. 4.


Next: Chapter 23

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