Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/Concerning Man's Perfection in Righteousness/Chapter 16
(15.) The Fifteenth Breviate.
XV. “And this, moreover, has to be said,” he says: “God is certainly righteous; this cannot be denied. But God imputes every sin to man. This too, I suppose, must be allowed, that whatever shall not be imputed as sin is not sin. Now if there is any sin which is unavoidable, how is God said to be righteous, when He is supposed to impute to any man that which cannot be avoided?” We reply, that long ago was it declared in opposition to the proud, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not sin.” Now He does not impute it to those who say to Him in faith, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” And justly does He withhold this imputation, because that is just which He says: “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” That, however, is sin in which there is either not the love which ought to be, or where the love is less than it ought to be,—whether it can be avoided by the human will or not; because when it can be avoided, the man’s present will does it, but if it cannot be avoided his past will did it; and yet it can be avoided,—not, however, when the proud will is lauded, but when the humble one is assisted.
- Ps. xxxii. 2.
- Matt. vi. 12.
- Matt. vii. 2.
- See above, in his work De Spiritu et Litterâ, 64; also De Naturâ et Gratiâ, 45.