Comments on De Servo Arbitrio “On the Enslaved Will” or The Bondage of Will

Did Luther have Augustine in mind?

Luther's view of free will seems to match Augustine's view. That is, that free will does not exist until the will is set free by the grace of God. Then and only then can a person either choose to accept or choose to reject God's grace. Does God nil what I will? Perhaps when you and I say yes in the hour of decision, we are asking and yielding to God's will to rule supreme in our hearts and lives. I believe when we say no in the hour of decision that God does not force His will on us. Having said that does God not use the circumstances of life to convince a person to turn to Him?

    And this Thy whole gift was, to nill what I willed, and to will what Thou willedst. But where through all those years, and out of what low and deep recess was my free-will called forth in a moment, whereby to submit my neck to Thy easy yoke, and my shoulders unto Thy light burden, O Christ Jesus, my Helper and my Redeemer? How sweet did it at once become to me, to want the sweetnesses of those toys! and what I feared to be parted from, was now a joy to part with. For Thou didst cast them forth from me, Thou true and highest sweetness. Thou castest them forth, and for them enteredst in Thyself, sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood; brighter than all light, but more hidden than all depths, higher than all honour, but not to the high in their own conceits. Now was my soul free from the biting cares of canvassing and getting, and weltering in filth, and scratching off the itch of lust. And my infant tongue spake freely to Thee, my brightness, and my riches, and my health, the Lord my God.

Augustine, S., Bishop of Hippo, & Pusey, E. B. (1996). The confessions of St. Augustine. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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