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Chapter LXIII.

After this, not understanding how it has been said that “every one who exalted himself shall be abased;”36263626    Cf. Matt. xxiii. 12. nor (although taught even by Plato) that “the good and virtuous man walketh humbly and orderly;” and ignorant, moreover, that we give the injunction, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time;”36273627    1 Pet. v. 6. he says that “those persons who preside properly over a trial make those individuals who bewail before them their evil deeds to cease from their piteous wailings, lest their decisions should be determined rather by compassion than by a regard to truth; whereas God does not decide in accordance with truth, but in accordance with flattery.”36283628    προς κολακείαν.  Now, what words of flattery and piteous wailing are contained in the Holy Scriptures when the sinner says in his prayers to God, “I have acknowledged my sin, and mine iniquity have I not hid.  I said, I will confess my transgression to the Lord,” etc., etc.?  For is he able to show that a procedure of this kind is not adapted to the conversion of sinners, who humble themselves in their prayers under the hand of God?  And, becoming confused by his efforts to accuse us, he contradicts himself; appearing at one time to know a man “without sin,” and “a righteous man, who can look up to God (adorned) with virtue from the beginning;” and at another time accepting our statement that there is no man altogether righteous, or without sin;36293629    In the text it is put interrogatively:  τίς ἄνθρωπος τελέως δίκαιος; ἢ τίς ἀναμάρτητος;  The allusion seems to be to Job xv. 14 (Sept.):  τίς γὰρ ὢν βροτὸς, ὅτι ἔσται ἄμεμπτος; ἢ ὡς ἐσόμενος δίκαιος γεννητὸς γυναικός; for, as if he admitted its truth, he remarks, “This is indeed apparently true, that somehow the human race is naturally inclined to sin.”  In the next place, as if all men were not invited by the word, he says, “All men, then, without distinction, ought to be invited, since all indeed are sinners.”  And yet, in the preceding pages, we have pointed out the words of Jesus:  “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”36303630    Matt. xi. 28.  All men, therefore, labouring and being heavy laden on account of the nature of sin, are invited to the rest spoken of in the word of God, “for God sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”36313631    Ps. cvii. 20.

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