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Chapter XX.—(43.) No Man is Assisted Unless He Does Himself Also Work. Our Course is a Constant Progress.

But what is the import of the last statement which he has made: “If any one say, ‘May it possibly be that a man sin not even in word?’ then the answer,” says he, “which must be given is, ‘Quite possible, if God so will; and God does so will, therefore it is possible.’” See how unwilling he was to say, “If God give His help, then it would be possible;” and yet the Psalmist thus addresses God: “Be Thou my helper, forsake me not;”15871587     Ps. xxvii. 9. where of course help is not sought for procuring bodily advantages and avoiding bodily evils, but for practising and fulfilling righteousness. Hence it is that we say: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”15881588     Matt. vi. 13. Now no man is assisted unless he also himself does something; assisted, however, he is, if he prays, if he believes, if he is “called according to God’s purpose;”15891589     Rom. viii. 28. for “whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed 176to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.”15901590     Rom. viii. 29, 30. We run, therefore, whenever we make advance; and our wholeness runs with us in our advance (just as a sore is said to run15911591     Ps. lxxvii. 2. when the wound is in process of a sound and careful treatment), in order that we may be in every respect perfect, without any infirmity of sin whatever,—a result which God not only wishes, but even causes and helps us to accomplish. And this God’s grace does, in co-operation with ourselves, through Jesus Christ our Lord, as well by commandments, sacraments, and examples, as by His Holy Spirit also; through whom there is hiddenly shed abroad in our hearts 15921592     Rom. v. 5. that love, “which maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered,”15931593     Rom. viii. 26. until wholeness and salvation be perfected in us, and God be manifested to us as He will be seen in His eternal truth.


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