Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter XI.—The Sin of Men Due Not to Fate, But to Free-Will.

How, then, shall I admit this nativity according to Fate, when I see such managers of Fate? I do not wish to be a king; I am not anxious to be rich; I decline military command; I detest fornication; I am not impelled by an insatiable love of gain to go to sea; I do not contend for chaplets; I am free from a mad thirst for fame; I despise death; I am superior to every kind of disease; grief does not consume my soul. Am I a slave, I endure servitude. Am I free, I do not make a vaunt of my good birth. I see that the same sun is for all, and one death for all, whether they live in pleasure or destitution. The rich man sows, and the poor man partakes of the same sowing. The wealthiest die, and beggars have the same limits to their life. The rich lack many things, and are glorious only through the estimation they are held in; 453 but the poor man and he who has very moderate desires, seeking as he does only the things suited to his lot, more easily obtains his purpose. How is it that you are fated to be sleepless through avarice? Why are you fated to grasp at things often, and often to die? Die to the world, repudiating the madness that is in it. Live to God, and by apprehending Him lay aside your old nature. 454 We were not created to die, but we die by our own p. 70 fault. 455 Our free-will has destroyed us; we who were free have become slaves; we have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God; we ourselves have manifested wickedness; but we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it.



Or, reading with Maranus, κἃνγεν., “even though,” etc.


[Think of a Chaldean heathen, by the power of grace, thus transformed. Sapiens solus liber, but the Christian alone is wise. This chapter compares favourably with the eloquence of Chrysostom in his letter to Cyriac, which, if spurious, is made up of passages to be found elsewhere in his works. Tom. iii. p. 683. Ed. Migne, Paris, 1859.]


[Comp. cap. xv., infra, and the note 6, p. 71.]

Next: Chapter XII. The Two Kinds of Spirits.