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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on Rebuke and Grace.: Chapter 28

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 28.—The First Man Himself Also Might Have Stood by His Free Will.

Thus also He made man with free will; and although ignorant of his future fall, yet therefore happy, because he thought it was in his own power both not to die and not to become miserable. And if he had willed by his own free will to continue in this state of uprightness and freedom from sin, assuredly without any experience of death and of unhappiness he would have received by the merit of that continuance the fulness of blessing with which the holy angels also are blessed; that is, the impossibility of falling any more, and the knowledge of this with absolute certainty. For even he himself could not be blessed although in Paradise, nay, he would not be there, where it would not become him to be miserable, if the foreknowledge of his fall had made him wretched with the dread of such a disaster. But because he forsook God of his free will, he experienced the just judgment of God, that with his whole race, which being as yet all placed in him had sinned with him, he should be condemned. For as mary of this race as are delivered by God’s grace are certainly delivered from the condemnation in which they are already held bound. Whence, even if none should be delivered, no one could justly blame the judgment of God. That, therefore, in comparison of those that perish few, but in their absolute number many, are delivered, is effected by grace, 3343 is effected freely: 3344 thanks must be given, because it is effected, so that no one may be lifted up as of his own deservings, but that every mouth may be stopped, 3345 and he that glorieth may glory in the Lord. 3346







Rom. iii. 19.


Jer. ix. 24.

Next: Chapter 29

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