Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/On Nature and Grace/Chapter 23
Chapter 23 [XXI.]—Adam Delivered by the Mercy of Christ.
But observe how, by specious arguments, he continues to oppose the truth of Holy Scripture. The Lord Jesus, who is called Jesus because He saves His people from their sins, in accordance with this His merciful character, says: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; I am come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Accordingly, His apostle also says: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” This man, however, contrary to the “faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,” declares that “this sickness ought not to have been contracted by sins, lest the punishment of sin should amount to this, that more sins should be committed.” Now even for infants the help of the Great Physician is sought. This writer asks: “Why seek Him? They are whole for whom you seek the Physician. Not even was the first man condemned to die for any such reason, for he did not sin afterwards.” As if he had ever heard anything of his subsequent perfection in righteousness, except so far as the Church commends to our faith that even Adam was delivered by the mercy of the Lord Christ. “As to his posterity also,” says he, “not only are they not more infirm than he, but they actually fulfilled more commandments than he ever did, since he neglected to fulfil one,”—this posterity which he sees so born (as Adam certainly was not made), not only incapable of commandment, which they do not at all understand, but hardly capable of sucking the breast, when they are hungry! Yet even these would He have to be saved in the bosom of Mother Church by His grace who saves His people from their sins; but these men gainsay such grace, and, as if they had a deeper insight into the creature than ever He possesses who made the creature, they pronounce [these infants] sound with an assertion which is anything but sound itself.
- Matt. i. 21.
- Matt. ix. 12.
- 1 Tim. i. 15.