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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on Nature and Grace.: Chapter 58

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 58 [L.]—Even Pious and God-Fearing Men Resist Grace.

Observe also what remark he adds, by which he thinks that his position is confirmed: “No will,” says he, “can take away that which is proved to be inseparably implanted in nature.” Whence then comes that utterance: “So then ye cannot do the things that ye would?” 1265 Whence also this: “For what good I would, that I do not; but what evil I hate, that do I?” 1266 Where is that capacity which is proved to be inseparably implanted in nature? See, it is human beings who do not what they will; and it is about not sinning, certainly, that he was treating,—not about not flying, because it was men not birds, that formed his subject. Behold, it is man who does not the good which he would, but does the evil which he would not: “to will is present with him, but how to perform that which is good is not present.” 1267 Where is the capacity which is proved to be inseparably implanted in nature? For whomsoever the apostle represents by himself, if he does not speak these things of his own self, he certainly represents a man by himself. By our author, however, it is maintained that our human nature actually possesses an inseparable capacity of not at all sinning. Such a statement, however, even when made by a man who knows not the effect of his words (but this ignorance is hardly attributable to the man who suggests these statements for unwary though God-fearing men), causes the grace of Christ to be “made of none effect,” 1268 since it is pretended that human nature is sufficient for its own holiness and justification.



Gal. v. 17.


Rom. vii. 15.


Rom. vii. 18.


1 Cor. i. 17. Another reading has crux Christi instead of “Christi gratia,” thus closely adopting the apostle’s words.

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