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Chapter 14.—Why the Father Does Not Teach All that They May Come to Christ.

Why, then, does He not teach all that they may come to Christ, except because all whom He teaches, He teaches in mercy, while those whom He teaches not, in judgment He teaches not? Since, “On whom He will He has mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.”34703470     Rom. ix. 18. But He has mercy when He gives good things. He hardens when He recompenses what is deserved. Or if, as some would prefer to distinguish them, those words also are his to whom the apostle says, “Thou sayest then unto me,” so that he may be regarded as having said, “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth,” as well as those which follow,—to wit, “What is it that is still complained of? for who resists His will?” does the apostle answer, “O man, what thou hast said is false?” No; but he says, “O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Doth the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump?”34713471     Rom. ix. 18, ff. and what follows, which you very well know. And yet in a certain sense the Father teaches all men to come to His Son. For it was not in vain that it was written in the prophets, “And they shall all be teachable of God.”34723472     John vi. 45. And when He too had premised this testimony, He added, “Every man, therefore, who has heard of the Father, and has learned, cometh to me.” As, therefore, we speak justly when we say concerning any teacher of literature who is alone in a city, He teaches literature here to everybody,—not that all men learn, but that there is none who learns literature there who does not learn from him,—so we justly say, God teaches all men to come to Christ, not because all come, but because none comes in any other way. And why He does not teach all men the apostle explained, as far as he judged that it was to be explained, because, “willing to show His wrath, and to exhibit His power, He endured with much patience the vessels of wrath which were perfected for destruction; and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He has prepared for glory.”34733473     Rom. ix. 22. Hence it is that the “word of the cross is foolishness to them that perish; but unto them that are saved it is the power of God.”34743474     1 Cor. i. 18. God teaches all such to come to Christ, for He wills all such to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. And if He had willed to teach even those to whom the word of the cross is foolishness to come to Christ, beyond all doubt these also would have come. For He neither deceives nor is deceived when He says, “Everyone that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to me.” Away, then, with the thought that any one cometh not, who has heard of the Father and has learned.


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