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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : 13. But they answer and speak, saying, |If the will of man without any aidà

On Patience by St. Augustine

13. But they answer and speak, saying, |If the will of man without any aidà

13. But they answer and speak, saying, |If the will of man without any aid of God by strength of free choice bears so many grievous and horrible distresses, whether in mind or body, that it may enjoy the delight of this mortal life and of sins, why may it not be that in the same manner the self-same will of man by the same strength of free-choice, not thereunto looking to be aided of God, but unto itself by natural possibility sufficing, doth, in all of labor or sorrow that is put upon it, for righteousness and eternal life's sake most patiently sustain the same? Or is it so, say they, that the will of the unjust is sufficient, without aid of God, for them, yea even to exercise themselves in undergoing torture for iniquity, and before they be tortured by others; sufficient the will of them which love the respiting of this life that, without aid of God, they should in the midst of most atrocious and protracted torments persevere in a lie, lest confessing their misdeeds they be ordered to be put to death; and not sufficient the will of the just, unless strength be put into them from above, that whatever be their pains, they should, either for beauty's sake of very righteousness or for love of eternal life, bear the same?|

Footnotes:

Liberi arbitrii c14. They which say these things, do not understand that as well each one of the wicked is in that measure for endurance of any ills more hard, in what measure the lust of the world is mightier in him; as also that each one of the just is in that measure for endurance of any ills more brave, in what measure in him the love of God is mightier. But lust of the world hath its beginning from choice of the will, its progress from enjoyableness of pleasure, its confirmation from the chain of custom, whereas |the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts,| not verily from ourselves, but |by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.| And therefore from Him cometh the patience of the just, by Whom is shed abroad their love (of Him). Which love (of charity) the Apostle praising and setting off, among its other good qualities, saith, that it |beareth all things.| |Charity,| saith he, |is magnanimous.| And a little after he saith, |endureth all things.| The greater then is in saints the charity (or love) of God, the more do they endure all things for Him whom they love, and the greater in sinners the lust of the world, the more do they endure all things for that which they lust after. And consequently from that same source cometh true patience of the righteous, from which there is in them the love of God; and from that same source the false patience of the unrighteous, from which is in them the lust of the world. With regard to which the Apostle John saith; |Love not the world, neither the things that be in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him: because all that is in the world, is lust of the flesh, and lust of the eyes, and pride of life; which is not of the Father, but is of the world.| This concupiscence, then, which is not of the Father, but is of the world, in what measure it shall in any man be more vehement and ardent, in that measure becometh each more patient of all troubles and sorrows for that which he lusteth after. Therefore, as we said above, this is not the patience which descendeth from above, but the patience of the godly is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. And so that is earthly, this heavenly; that animal, this spiritual; that devilish, this Godlike. Because concupiscence, whereof it cometh that persons sinning suffer all things stubbornly, is of the world; but charity, whereof cometh that persons living aright suffer all things bravely, is of God. And therefore to that false patience it is possible that, without aid of God, the human will may suffice; harder, in proportion as it is more eager of lust, and bearing ills with the more endurance the worse itself becometh: while to this, which is true patience, the human will, unless aided and inflamed from above, doth not suffice, for the very reason that the Holy Spirit is the fire thereof; by Whom unless it be kindled to love that impassible Good, it is not able to bear the ill which it suffereth.

Footnotes:

Rom. v.5 1 Cor. xiii.4, 7

Magnanima

Ambitio sæculi

1 John ii.15, 16

Deifica

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