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Chapter 7.—He Concludes that He Does Not Deprive the Wicked of Free Will.

It is not, therefore, true, as some affirm that we say, and as that correspondent of yours ventures moreover to write, that “all are forced into sin,” as if they were unwilling, “by the necessity of their flesh;” but if they are already of the age to use the choice of their own mind, they are both retained in sin by their own will, and by their own will are hurried along from sin to sin. For even he who persuades and deceives does not act in them, except that they may commit sin by their will, either by ignorance of the truth or by delight in iniquity, or by both evils,—as well of blindness as of weakness. But this will, which is free in evil things because it takes pleasure in evil, is not free in good things, for the reason that it has not been made free. Nor can a man will any good thing unless he is aided by Him who cannot will evil,—that is, by the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. For “everything which is not of faith is sin.” 25392539     Rom. xiv. 23. And thus the good will which withdraws itself from sin is faithful, because the just lives by faith.25402540     Hab. ii. 4. And it pertains to faith to believe on Christ. And no man can believe on Christ—that is, come to Him—unless it be given to him.25412541     Rom. i. 17. No man, therefore, can have a righteous will, unless, with no foregoing merits, he has received the true, that is, the gratuitous grace from above.


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