Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/On the Spirit and the Letter/Chapter 12
Chapter 12.—Paul, Whence So Called; Bravely Contends for Grace.
Accordingly Paul, who, although he was formerly called Saul, chose this new designation, for no other reason, as it seems to me, than because he would show himself little,—the “least of the apostles,”—contends with much courage and earnestness against the proud and arrogant, and such as plume themselves on their own works, in order that he may commend the grace of God. This grace, indeed, appeared more obvious and manifest in his case, inasmuch as, while he was pursuing such vehement measures of persecution against the Church of God as made him worthy of the greatest punishment, he found mercy instead of condemnation, and instead of punishment obtained grace. Very properly, therefore, does he lift voice and hand in defence of grace, and care not for the envy either of those who understood not a subject too profound and abstruse for them, or of those who perversely misinterpreted his own sound words; whilst at the same time he unfalteringly preaches that gift of God, whereby alone salvation accrues to those who are the children of the promise, children of the divine goodness, children of grace and mercy, children of the new covenant. In the salutation with which he begins every epistle, he prays: “Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ;” whilst this forms almost the only topic discussed for the Romans, and it is plied with so much persistence and variety of argument, as fairly to fatigue the reader’s attention, yet with a fatigue so useful and salutary, that it rather exercises than breaks the faculties of the inner man.
- Acts. xiii. 9.
- See Augustin’s Confessions, viii. 4.
- 1 Cor. xv. 9.
- See Rom. i. 7, 1 Cor. i. 3, and Gal. i. 3.