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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 8

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 8 [VII.]—(2) Whether There is in This World a Man Without Sin.

[2nd.] If, however, I am asked the second question which I have suggested,—whether there be a sinless man,—I believe there is not. For I rather believe the Scripture, which says: “Enter not into judgment with Thy servant; for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified.” 481 There is therefore need of the mercy of God, which “exceedingly rejoiceth against judgment,” 482 and which that man shall not obtain who does not show mercy. 483 And whereas the prophet says, “I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my heart,” 484 he yet immediately adds, “For this shall every saint pray unto Thee in an acceptable time.” 485 Not indeed every sinner, but “every saint;” for it is the voice of saints which says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 486 Accordingly we read, in the Apocalypse of the same Apostle, of “the hundred and forty and four thousand” saints, “which were not defiled with women; for they continued virgins: and in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault.” 487 “Without fault,” indeed, they no doubt are for this reason,—because they truly found fault with themselves; and for this reason, “in their mouth was discovered no guile,”—“because if they said they had no sin, they deceived themselves, and the truth was not in them.” 488 Of course, where the truth was not, there would be guile; and when a righteous man begins a statement by accusing himself, he verily utters no falsehood.



Ps. cxliii. 2.


Jas. ii. 13.


Jas. ii. 13.


Ps. xxxii. 5.


Ps. xxxii. 6.


1 John i. 8.


Rev. xiv. 3-5.


1 John i. 8.

Next: Chapter 9