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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise Concerning Man’s Perfection...: Section 42

Early Church Fathers  Index     

(42.) God’s Promises Conditional. Saints of the Old Testament Were Saved by the Grace of Christ.

He, however, thought he had discovered a great support for his cause in the prophet Isaiah; because by him God said: “If ye be willing, and hearken unto me, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye be not willing, and hearken not to me, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken this.” 1582 As if the entire law were not full of conditions of this sort; or as if its commandments had been given to proud men for any other reason than that “the law was added because of transgression, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” 1583 “It entered, therefore, that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” 1584 In other words, That man might receive commandments, trusting as he did in his own resources, and that, failing in these and becoming a transgressor, he might ask for a deliverer and a saviour; and that the fear of the law might humble him, and bring him, as a schoolmaster, to faith and grace. Thus “their weaknesses being multiplied, they hastened after;” 1585 and in order to heal them, Christ in due season came. In His grace even righteous men of old believed, and by the same grace were they holpen; so that with joy did they receive a foreknowledge of Him, and some of them even foretold His coming,—whether they were found among the people of Israel themselves, as Moses, and Joshua the son of Nun, and Samuel, and David, and other such; or outside that people, as Job; or previous to that people, as Abraham, and Noah, and all others who are either mentioned or not in Holy Scripture. “For there is but one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,” 1586 without whose grace nobody is delivered from condemnation, whether he has derived that condemnation from him in whom all men sinned, or has afterwards aggravated it by his own iniquities.



Isa. 1:19, 20.


Gal. iii. 19.


Rom. v. 20.


Ps. xvi. 4.


1 Tim. ii. 5.

Next: Section 43