Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter XIII. Of this also: “But I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.”
Of this also: “But I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.”
Because then the original curse of God has made us carnal and condemned us to thorns and thistles, and our father has sold us by that unhappy bargain so that we cannot do the good that we would, while we are torn away from the recollection of God Most High and forced to think on what belongs to human weakness, while burning with the love of purity, we are often even against our will p. 527 troubled by natural desires, which we would rather know nothing about; we know that in our flesh there dwelleth no good thing 2273 viz., the perpetual and lasting peace of this meditation of which we have spoken; but there is brought about in our case that miserable and wretched divorce, that when with the mind we want to serve the law of God, since we never want to remove our gaze from the Divine brightness, yet surrounded as we are by carnal darkness we are forced by a kind of law of sin to tear ourselves away from the good which we know, as we fall away from that lofty height of mind to earthly cares and thoughts, to which the law of sin, i.e., the sentence of God, which the first delinquent received, has not without reason condemned us. And hence it is that the blessed Apostle, though he openly admits that he and all saints are bound by the constraint of this sin, yet boldly asserts that none of them will be condemned for this, saying: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus: for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath set me free from the law of sin and death,” 2274 i.e., the grace of Christ day by day frees all his saints from this law of sin and death, under which they are constantly reluctantly obliged to come, whenever they pray to the Lord for the forgiveness of their trespasses. You see then that it was in the person not of sinners but of those who are really saints and perfect, that the blessed Apostle gave utterance to this saying: “For I do not the good that I would, but the evil which I hate, that I do;” and: “I see another law in my members resisting the law of my mind and bringing me captive to the law of sin which is in my members.” 2275
Cf. Rom. vii. 18.527:2274
Rom. 8:1, 2.527:2275
Rom. vii. 19.
Next: Chapter XIV. An objection, that the saying: “For I do not the good that I would,” etc., applies to the persons neither of unbelievers nor of saints.
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