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54. Can, then, anything be made, some one will say, without God’s will? We37753775    The ms. and first three edd., read vobis—“you,” corrected nobis, as above, by Ursinus. must consider carefully, and examine with no little pains, lest, while we think that we are honouring God37763776    So the ms.; but most edd., following the Brussels transcript, read dominum—“Lord.” by such a question, we fall into the opposite sin, doing despite to His supreme majesty. In what way, you ask, on what ground? Because, if all things are brought about by His will, and nothing in the world can either succeed or fail contrary to His pleasure, it follows of necessity that it should be understood that37773777    Utis omitted in the ms., first four edd., and Hild. all evils, too, arise by His will. But if, on the contrary, we chose to say that He is privy to and produces no evil, not referring to Him the causes of very wicked deeds, the worst things will begin to seem to be done either against His will, or, a monstrous thing to say, while He knows it not, but is ignorant and unaware of them. But, again, if we choose to say that there are no evils, as we find some have believed and held, all races will cry out against us and all nations together, showing us their sufferings, and the various kinds of dangers with which the human race is every moment37783778    So LB., reading p-uncta for the ms. c-uncta. distressed and afflicted. Then they will ask of us, Why, if there are no evils, do you refrain from certain deeds and actions? Why do you not do all that eager lust has required or demanded? Why, finally, do you establish punishments by terrible laws for the guilty? For what more monstrous37793779    So the ms., Hild., and Oehler, reading imman-ior; LB., from the margin of Ursinus, major—“greater;” the rest, inanior—“more foolish.” act of folly can be found than to assert that there are no evils, and at the same time to kill and condemn the erring as though they were evil?37803780    The difficulty felt by Arnobius as to the origin of evil perplexed others also; and, as Elmenhorst has observed, some of the Fathers attempted to get rid of it by a distinction between the evil of guilt and of punishment,—God being author of the latter, the devil of the former (Tertullian, adv. Marcionem, ii. 14). It would have been simpler and truer to have distinguished deeds, which can be done only if God will, from wickedness, which is in the sinful purpose of man’s heart.


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