Or are we Indeed to Believe that it is for any Other Reason...
41. Or are we indeed to believe that it is for any other reason, that God suffers to be mixed up with the number of your profession, many, both men and women, about to fall, than that by the fall of these your fear may be increased, whereby to repress pride; which God so hates, as that against this one thing The Highest humbled Himself? Unless haply, in truth, thou shalt therefore fear less, and be more puffed up, so as to love little Him, Who hath loved thee so much, as to give up Himself for thee, [2162] because He hath forgiven thee little, living, forsooth from childhood, religiously, piously, with pious chastity, with inviolate virginity. As though in truth you ought not to love with much greater glow of affection Him, Who, whatsoever things He hath forgiven unto sinners upon their being turned to Him, suffered you not to fall into them. Or indeed that Pharisee, [2163] who therefore loved little, because he thought that little was forgiven him, was it for any other reason that he was blinded by this error, than because being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish his own, he had not been made subject unto the righteousness of God? [2164] But you, an elect race, and among the elect more elect, virgin choirs that follow the Lamb, even you "by grace have been saved through faith; and this not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God: not of works, lest haply any be elated. For we are His workmanship, created in Jesus Christ in good works, which God hath prepared, that in them we may walk." [2165] What therefore, by how much the more ye are adorned by His gifts, shall ye by so much the less love Him? May He Himself turn away so dreadful madness! Wherefore forasmuch as the Truth has spoken the truth, that he, unto whom little is forgiven, loveth little; do ye, in order that ye may love with full glow of affection Him, Whom ye are free to love, being loosened from ties of marriage, account as altogether forgiven unto you, whatever of evil, by His governance, ye have not committed. For "your eyes ever unto the Lord, forasmuch as He shall pluck out of the net your feet," [2166] and, "Except the Lord shall have kept the city, in vain hath he watched who keepeth it." [2167] And speaking of Continence itself the Apostle says, "But I would that all men were as I myself; but each one hath his own proper gift from God; one in this way, and another in that way." [2168] Who therefore bestoweth these gifts? Who distributeth his own proper gifts unto each as He will? [2169] Forsooth God, with Whom there is not unrighteousness, [2170] and by this means with what equity He makes some in this way, and others in that way, for man to know is either impossible or altogether hard: but that with equity He maketh, it is not lawful to doubt. "What," therefore, "hast thou, which thou hast not received?" [2171] And by what perversity dost thou less love Him, of Whom thou hast received more?


[2162] Gal. ii.20 [2163] Luke vii.36-47

[2164] Rom. x.3

[2165] Eph. ii.8-10. [See R.V.]

[2166] Ps. xxv.15

[2167] Ps. cxxvii.1

[2168] 1 Cor. vii.7

[2169] 1 Cor. xii.11

[2170] Rom. ix.16

[2171] 1 Cor. iv.7

section 40 and what members
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