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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 51

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 51 [XLVI.]—Ambrose Teaches that It is God that Does for Man What Pelagius Attributes to Free Will.

Let him lend an ear also to the same godly bishop, who says, in the sixth book of this same book: 1908 “The reason why they would not receive Him is mentioned by the evangelist himself in these words, ‘Because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem.’ 1909 But His disciples had a strong wish that He should be received into the Samaritan town. God, however, calls whomsoever He deigns, and whom He wills He makes religious.” What wise insight of the man of God, drawn from the very fountain of God’s grace! “God,” says he, “calls whomsoever He deigns, and whom He wills He makes religious.” See whether this is not the prophet’s own declaration: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and will show pity on whom I will be pitiful;” 1910 and the apostle’s deduction therefrom: “So then,” says he, “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” 1911 Now, when even his model man of our own times says, that “whomsoever God deigns He calls, and whom He wills He makes religious,” will any one be bold enough to contend that that man is not yet religious “who hastens to the Lord, and desires to be directed by Him, and makes his own will depend upon God’s; who, moreover, cleaves so closely to the Lord, that he becomes (as the apostle says) ‘one spirit’ with Him?” 1912 Great, however, as is this entire work of a “religious man,” Pelagius maintains that “it is effected only by the freedom of the will.” But his own blessed Ambrose, whom he so highly commends in word, is against him, saying, “The Lord God calls whomsoever He deigns, and whom He wills He makes religious.” It is God, then, who makes religious whomsoever He pleases, in order that he may “hasten to the Lord, and desire to be directed by Him, and make his own will depend upon God’s, and cleave so closely to the Lord as to become (as the apostle says) ‘one spirit’ with Him;” and all this none but a religious man does. Who, then, ever does so much, unless he be made by God to do it?



It is the seventh book in the editions, c. 27, on Luke ix. 53.


Luke ix. 53.


Ex. xxxiii. 19.


Rom. ix. 16.


1 Cor. vi. 17. These are the words of Pelagius, which have been already quoted above, in ch. 24.

Next: Chapter 52

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