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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 48

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 48 [XLIV].—Ambrose is Not in Agreement with Pelagius.

I wish, indeed, that he would listen to the venerable bishop when, in the second book of his Exposition of the Gospel according to Luke, 1896 he expressly teaches us that the Lord co-operates also with our wills. “You see, therefore,” says he, “because the power of the Lord co-operates everywhere with human efforts, that no man is able to build without the Lord, no man to watch without the Lord, no man to undertake anything without the Lord. Whence the apostle thus enjoins: ‘Whether ye eat, or whether ye drink, do all to the glory of God.’” 1897 You observe how the holy Ambrose takes away from men even their familiar expressions,—such as, “We undertake, but God accomplishes,”—when he says here that “no man is able to undertake anything without the Lord.” To the same effect he says, in the sixth book of the same work, 1898 treating of the two debtors of a certain creditor: “According to men’s opinions, he perhaps is the greater offender who owed most. The case, however, is altered by the Lord’s mercy, so that he loves the most who owes the most, if he yet obtains grace.” See how the catholic doctor most plainly declares that the very love which prompts every p. 233 man to an ampler love appertains to the kindly gift of grace.



Book ii. c. 84, on Luke iii. 22. Compare Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, below, iv. ch. 30.


1 Cor. x. 31.


Book vi. c. 25, on Luke vii. 41.

Next: Chapter 49