Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/Concerning Man's Perfection in Righteousness/Chapter 24

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Chapter XI.—(23.) Passages of Scripture Which, When Objected Against Him by the Catholics, Cœlestius Endeavours to Elude by Other Passages: the First Passage.

After this he adduced the passages which are usually quoted against them. He does not attempt to explain these passages, but, by quoting what seem to be contrary ones, he has entangled the questions more tightly. “For,” says he, “there are passages of Scripture which are in opposition to those who ignorantly suppose that they are able to destroy the liberty of the will, or the possibility of not sinning, by the authority of Scripture. For,” he adds, “they are in the habit of quoting against us what holy Job said: ‘Who is pure from uncleanness? Not one; even if he be an infant of only one day upon the earth.’”[1] Then he proceeds to give a sort of answer to this passage by help of other quotations; as when Job himself said: “For although I am a righteous and blameless man, I have become a subject for mockery,”[2]—not understanding that a man may be called righteous, who has gone so far towards perfection in righteousness as to be very near it; and this we do not deny to have been in the power of many even in this life, when they walk in it by faith.


  1. Job xiv. 4, 5.
  2. Job xii. 4.