But some one will say, How then was it necessary that that prince should be made, who was to turn away the minds of men from the true prince? 836 Because God, who, as I have said, wished to prepare friends for His Son, did not wish them to be such as by necessity of nature could not be aught else, but such as should desire of their own choice and will to be good; because neither is that praiseworthy which is not desirable, nor is that judged to be good which is not sought for with purpose. For there is no credit in being that from which the necessity of your nature does not admit of your changing. Therefore the providence of God has willed that a multitude of men should be born in this world, that those who should choose a good life might be selected from many. And because He foresaw that the present world could not consist except by variety and inequality, He gave to each mind freedom of motions, 837 according to the diversities of present things, and appointed this prince, through his suggestion of those things which run contrary, that the choice of better things might depend upon the exercise of virtue.
[The doctrine of free-will, and the necessity of evil in consequence, appears throughout. Comp. book iii. 21, v. 6. In the Homilies there is not so much emphasis laid upon this point; but see Homily XI. 8.—R.]
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