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Chapter VII.

How it lies in our own power to choose whether to remain under the grace of the gospel or under the terror of the law.

Wherefore it lies today in our own power whether we choose to live under the grace of the gospel or under the terrors of the law: for each man must incline to one side or the other in accordance with the character of his actions, for either the grace of Christ welcomes those who go beyond the law, or else the law keeps its hold over the weaker ones as those who are its debtors and within its clutches. For one who is guilty as regards the precepts of the law will never be able to attain to the perfection of the gospel, even though he idly boasts that he is a Christian and freed by the Lord’s grace: for we must not only regard as still under the law the man who refuses to fulfil what the law enjoins, but the man as well who is satisfied with the mere observance of what the law commands, and who never brings forth fruits worthy of his vocation and the grace of Christ, where it is not said: “Thou shalt offer to the Lord thy God thy tithes and firstfruits;” but: “Go and sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and come follow Me;” 2176 where, owing to the grandeur of perfection, to the request of the disciple there is not granted even the very short space of an hour in which to bury his father, 2177 as the offices of human charity are outweighed by the virtue of Divine love.



Exod. 22:29, Matt. 19:21.


Cf. S. Matt. viii. 21, sq.

Next: Chapter VIII. How Theonas exhorted his wife that she too should make her renunciation.