Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/Concerning Man's Perfection in Righteousness/Chapter 15

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(14.) The Fourteenth Breviate.

XIV. “Again the question must be asked,” he says, “If man’s nature is good, as nobody but Marcion or Manichæus will venture to deny, in what way is it good if it is impossible for it to be free from evil? For that all sin is evil who can gainsay?” We answer, that man’s nature is both good, and is also able to be free from evil. Therefore do we earnestly pray, “Deliver us from evil.”[1] This deliverance, indeed, is not fully wrought, so long as the soul is oppressed by the body, which is hastening to corruption.[2] This process, however, is being effected by grace through faith, so that it may be said by and by, “O death, where is thy struggle? Where is thy sting, O death? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law;”[3] because the law by prohibiting sin only increases the desire for it, unless the Holy Ghost spreads abroad that love, which shall then be full and perfect, when we shall see face to face.


  1. Matt. vi. 13.
  2. Wisd. ix. 15.
  3. 1 Cor. xv. 35, 36.