« ForrigeFortsæt »
the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye
shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it (d).' Do you see how God speaks, and what laws he lays down? Hear also how Fate speaks, and how it lays down contrary laws; and learn how the former are declared by a Divine Spirit, but the latter by a wicked demon, and a savage beast. God has said, 'If ye be willing and obedient,' making us masters of virtue and wickedness, and placing them within our own power. But what does the other say? That it is impossible to avoid what is decreed by Fate, whether we will or not. God says,
ye be willing, ye shall eat the good of the land: but Fate says, Although we be willing, unless it shall be permitted us, this will is of no use. God says, If ye will not obey my words, a sword shall devour you ; Fate says, Although we be not willing, if it shall be granted to us, we are certainly saved. Does not Fate say this? What then can be clearer than this opposition? What can be more evident than this war, which the diabolical teachers of wickedness have thus shamelessly declared against the divine oracles? But, as I have said, that demons and men like demons (I mean the Greeks) should believe these things, is no wonder; but that you, who were thus en
joying (d) Is. C. 1. V. 19, 20.
joying the divine and saving instruction, should despise these things, and adopt those absurdities, which destroy the soul, this is of all things the most grievous.”—Vol. 2. p. 758.
“ In proof of what I have said, I will quote to you the words of Christ himself: he said to Peter, Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not (e):' What does this sifting mean? To whirl about, to move, to shake, as when things are sifted; but I, says he, prevented it, knowing that you cannot bear temptation. For the expression, that
faith may not fail,' shews that if he had permitted, his faith would have failed. But if Peter, the warm admirer of Christ, who exposed his life ten thousand times for him, and was always the foremost of the Apostles, and was pronounced blessed by his Master, and was called Peter on that account, because he had an unshaken and immoveable faith, would have been carried away, and would have fallen from his profession, if Christ had permitted the devil to tempt him as much as he wished, what other person will be able to stand without his assistance? Wherefore Paul also says,
. God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will, with the tempta
tion, re) Luke, c. 22. v. 31, 32.
tion, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (f). For he not only does not suffer a temptation to be brought above our strength, but even in that which is not above our strength, he is present, supporting and assisting us, when we shall first have contributed what we have of our own, namely, willingness, hope in him, thanksgiving, perseverance, patience. For not only in dangers which are above our strength, but also in those which are not above our strength, we stand in need of assistance from above, if we would resist manfully.”—Vol. 3. p. 35.
“ Let us constantly both preserve a right faith, and lead a good life, since it is every where declared to us, that without it there will be no advantage in right doctrines.”—Vol. 3. p. 239.
“ But why does he call it the Spirit of Faith, and reckon it in the catalogue of graces ? For if faith be a grace, and be given by the Spirit only, and be no merit of our own, neither those who disbelieve, will be punished, nor those who believe, praised. For such is the nature of
graces given, that they have no crowns, no rewards. For a gift is not the merit of those who receive, but the liberality of him who gives. Therefore he ordered his disciples not to rejoice, because they cast out devils; and he expelled from the kingdoin of
heaven (f) 1 Cor. C. 10. V. 13.
heaven those who prophesied in his name, and performed many miracles, since they had no claim from their own right actions, but wished to be saved by gifts only. If then, this is the nature of faith, and we have contributed nothing ourselves to it, but every thing is of the grace of the Spirit, and it has infused itself into our minds, and we are to receive no reward for it, how is it that he says, With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (8)?' Because faith is the merit of the virtue of him who believeth. But how does he intimate the same thing in another place, saying, “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (h);' if the whole be of the grace of the Spirit? And how did he give to the patriarch Abraham many crowns of praise on account of it? Because, despising all present things, he trusted in hope beyond hope. Why then does he call it the Spirit of Faith? From a desire of shewing, that to believe at first, and to obey when called, is from our own good disposition. But after the foundation of faith is laid, we want the assistance of the Spirit, that it may remain constantly unshaken and unmoveable. For neither
God, (8) Rom. C. 10. V. 10. (h) Rom. C. 4. V. 5.
God, nor the grace of the Spirit, prevents our choice; but it calls and waits, so that we go of our own accord, and willingly; then, after we have thus gone, it supplies all assistance from itself. For since the devil, after we have approached Faith, immediately makes his attack, being desirous of extracting this good root, and eager to sow tares, and to corrupt the genuine and pure seed; then we want the assistance of the Spirit, that, like a diligent husbandman, assiduously watching over our soul, he may, by much care and foresight, always guard this young plant of Faith. Therefore in his Epistle, he commanded the Thessalonians, saying, Quench not the Spirit(i);' shewing, that if the grace of the Spirit has entered into us, we shall hereafter be able to resist the devil, and all his wiles. For if no one call Jesus, Lord, but by the Holy Spirit, much more he will not be able to have his faith safe and rooted, except by the Holy Spirit.” Vol. 3. p. 263
“ He (Adam) was the cause of all the evils to himself, as you will hereafter learn, both of the loss of so great good, and the condemnation which he underwent on account of his disobedience.”_Vol. 4. p. 120. " Have you seen how the Lord endowed our
(i) 1 Thess. C. 5. V. 19.