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Chapter 23.—Nothing is Commanded to Man Which is Not Given by God.

Since these things are so, I see that nothing is commanded to man by the Lord in the Holy Scriptures, for the sake of trying his free will, which is not found either to begin by His goodness, or to be asked in order to demonstrate the aid of grace; nor does man at all begin to be changed by the beginning of faith from evil to good, unless the unbought and gratuitous mercy of God effects this in him. Of which one recalling his thought, as we read in the Psalms, says, “Shall God forget to be gracious? or will He restrain His mercies in His anger? And I said, Now have I begun; this change is of the right hand of the Most High.”26752675     Ps. lxxvii. 9, 10. When, therefore, he had said, “Now have I begun,” he does not say, “This change is of my will,” but “of the right hand of the Most High.” So, therefore, let God’s grace be thought of, that from the beginning of his good changing, even to the end of his completion, he who glorieth may glory in the Lord; because, as no one can perfect good without the Lord, so no one can begin it without the Lord. But let this be the end of this book, that the attention of the reader may be refreshed and strengthened for what follows.


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