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Chapter 36.—The Preaching of the Gospel and the Preaching of Predestination the Two Parts of One Message.

Therefore, by the preaching of predestination, the preaching of a persevering and progressive faith is not to be hindered; and thus they may hear what is necessary to whom it is given that they should obey. For how shall they hear without a preacher? Neither, again, is the preaching of a progressive faith which continues even to the end to hinder the preaching of predestination, so that he who is living faithfully and p. 540 obediently may not be lifted up by that very obedience, as if by a benefit of his own, not received; but that he that glorieth may glory in the Lord. For “we must boast in nothing, since nothing is our own.” And this, Cyprian most faithfully saw and most fearlessly explained, and thus he pronounced predestination to be most assured. 3649 For if we must boast in nothing, seeing that nothing is our own, certainly we must not boast of the most persevering obedience. Nor is it so to be called our own, as if it were not given to us from above. And, therefore, it is God’s gift, which, by the confession of all Christians, God foreknew that He would give to His people, who were called by that calling whereof it was said, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” 3650 This, then, is the predestination which we faithfully and humbly preach. Nor yet did the same teacher and doer, who both believed on Christ and most perseveringly lived in holy obedience, even to suffering for Christ, cease on that account to preach the gospel, to exhort to faith and to pious manners, and to that very perseverance to the end, because he said, “We must boast in nothing, since nothing is our own;” and here he declared without ambiguity the true grace of God, that is, that which is not given in respect of our merits; and since God foreknew that He would give it, predestination was announced beyond a doubt by these words of Cyprian; and if this did not prevent Cyprian from preaching obedience, it certainly ought not to prevent us.



Cyprian, Testimonies, iii. 4; see The Ante-Nicene Fathers, v. p. 528.


Rom. xi. 29.

Next: Chapter 37