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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on Nature and Grace.: Chapter 36

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 36 [XXXII.]—Pride Even in Such Things as are Done Aright Must Be Avoided. Free Will is Not Taken Away When Grace is Preached.

So will He bestow on us whatever pleases Him, that if there be anything displeasing to Him in us, it will also be displeasing to us. “He will,” as the Scripture has said, “turn aside our paths from His own way,” 1219 and will make that which is His own to be our way; because it is by Himself that the favour is bestowed on such as believe in Him and hope in Him that we will do it. For there is a way of righteousness of which they are ignorant “who have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge,” 1220 and who, wishing to frame a righteousness of their own, “have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.” 1221 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth;” 1222 and He has said, “I am the way.” 1223 Yet God’s voice has alarmed those who have already begun to walk in this way, lest they should be lifted up, as if it were by their own energies that they were walking therein. For the same persons to whom the apostle, on account of this danger, says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure,” 1224 are likewise for the self-same reason admonished in the psalm: “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice in Him with trembling. Accept correction, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and ye perish from the righteous way, when His wrath shall be suddenly kindled upon you.” 1225 He does not say, “Lest at any time the Lord be angry and refuse to show you the righteous way,” or, “refuse to lead you into the way of righteousness;” but even after you are walking therein, he was able so to terrify as to say, “Lest ye perish from the righteous way.” Now, whence could this arise if not from pride, which (as I have so often said, and must repeat again and again) has to be guarded against even in things which are rightly done, that is, in the very way of righteousness, lest a man, by regarding as his own that which is really God’s, lose what is God’s and be reduced merely to what is his own? Let us then carry out p. 134 the concluding injunction of this same psalm, “Blessed are all they that trust in Him,” 1226 so that He may Himself indeed effect and Himself show His own way in us, to whom it is said, “Show us Thy mercy, O Lord;” 1227 and Himself bestow on us the pathway of safety that we may walk therein, to whom the prayer is offered, “And grant us Thy salvation;” 1228 and Himself lead us in the self-same way, to whom again it is said, “Guide me, O Lord, in Thy way, and in Thy truth will I walk;” 1229 Himself, too, conduct us to those promises whither His way leads, to whom it is said, “Even there shall Thy hand lead me and Thy right hand shall hold me;” 1230 Himself pasture therein those who sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of whom it is said, “He shall make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” 1231 Now we do not, when we make mention of these things, take away freedom of will, but we preach the grace of God. For to whom are those gracious gifts of use, but to the man who uses, but humbly uses, his own will, and makes no boast of the power and energy thereof, as if it alone were sufficient for perfecting him in righteousness?



See Ps. xliv. 18.


Rom. x. 2.


Rom. x. 3.


Rom. x. 4.


John xiv. 6.


Phil. ii. 12.


Ps. 2:11, 12.


Ps. ii. 12.


Ps. lxxxv. 7.


Ps. lxxxv. 7.


Ps. lxxxvi. 11.


Ps. cxxxix. 10.


Luke xii. 37.

Next: Chapter 37

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