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How far men in sinning know not what they do.
in explaining the words, and keep looking to the of the Apostle, countless incongruities will follow? For if they sinned through ignorance, then they did not deserve to be punished. As then he said above, for without the Law sin is dead, not meaning that they did not know they were sinning, but that they knew indeed, but not so distinctly; wherefore they were punished, but not so severely: and again; I should not have known lust; not meaning an entire ignorance of it, but referring to the most distinct knowledge of it; (he said also, that it wrought in me all manner of concupiscence, not meaning to say that the commandment made the concupiscence, but that sin through the commandment introduces an intense degree of concupiscence;) so here it is not absolute ignorance that he means by saying, For what I do, I know not; since how then would he have pleasure in the Law of God in his inner man? What then is this, I know not? I get dizzy, he means, I feel carried away, I find a violence done to me, I get tripped up without knowing how. Just as we often say, Such an one came and carried me away with him, without my knowing how; when it is not ignorance we mean as an excuse, but to shew a sort of deceit, and circumvention, and plot. For what I would, that I do not: but what I hate, that I do. How then canst thou be said not to know what thou art doing? For if thou willest the good, and hatest the evil, this requires a perfect knowledge. Whence it appears that he says, I would not, not as denying free will, or as adducing any constrained necessity. For if it was not willingly, but by compulsion, So that we sinned, then the punishments that took place before would not be justifiable. But as in saying I know not, it was not ignorance he set before us, but what we have said; so in adding the I would not, it is no necessity he signifies, but the disapproval he felt of what was done". Since if this was not his meaning in saying, That which I would not, that I do: how is it he does not go on,' But I do what I am compelled and enforced to.' For this is
ε ἐμποδισμὸς ταῖς βουλήσεσι. Arist.
This seems to have been Plato's
view of free-will. See Tenneman,
210 The Conscience of a sinner justifies the Law and the Creation.
XIII. 1 ἐξουσίᾳ
HOMIL. what is opposed to willing and power'. But now he does not say this, but in the place of it he has put the word, I hate, that you might learn how when he says, I would not, he does not deny the power. Now, what does the I would not mean? It means, what I praise not, what I do not approve, what I love not. And in contradistinction to this, he adds what follows; But what I hate, that I do.
Ver. 16. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the Law, that it is good.
You see here, that the understanding is not yet perverted, but keeps up its own noble character during the action. For even if it does pursue vice, still it hates it the while, which would be great commendation, whether of the natural or the written Law. For that the Law is good, is (he says) plain, from the fact of my accusing myself, when I disobey the Law, and hate what has been done. And yet if the Law was to blame for the sin, how comes it that he feels a delight in it, yet hates what it orders to be done. For I consent, he says, unto the Law, that it is good.
Ver. 17, 18. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.
On this text, those who find fault with the flesh, and contend it was no part of God's creation, attack us. What are we to say then? Just what we did before, when discussing the Law: that as there he makes sin answerable for every thing, so here also. For he does not say, that the flesh worketh it, but just the contrary, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. But if he does say that there dwelleth no good thing in it, still this is no charge against the flesh. For the fact that no good thing dwelleth in it, does not shew that it is evil itself. Now we admit, that the flesh is not so great as the soul, and is inferior to it, yet not contrary, or opposed to it, or evil; but that it is beneath the soul, as a harp beneath a harper, and as a ship under the pilot. And these are not contrary to those who guide and use them, but go with them entirely, yet are not of the same honour with the artist. As then a person who says, that the art resides not in the harp or the ship, but in
The flesh not evil in itself, but unfit to rule.
the pilot or harper, is not finding fault with the instruments, ROM. but pointing out the great difference between them and the artist; so Paul in saying, that in my flesh dwelleth no good thing, is not finding fault with the body, but pointing out the soul's superiority. For this it is that has the whole duty of pilotage put into its hands, and that of playing. And this Paul here points out, giving the governing power to the soul, and after dividing man into these two things, the soul and the body, he says, that the flesh has less of reason, and is destitute of discretion, and ranks among things to be led, not among things that lead. But the soul has more wisdom, and can see what is to be done and what not, yet is not equal to pulling in the horse as it wishes. And this would be a charge not against the flesh only, but against the soul also, which knows indeed what it ought to do, but still does not carry out in practice what seems best to it. For to will, he says, is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not. Here again in the words, I find not, he does not speak of any ignorance or perplexity, but a kind of thwarting and crafty assault made by sin, which he therefore points more clearly out in the next words.
Ver. 19, 20. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Do you see, how he acquits the essence of the soul, as well as the essence of the flesh, from accusation, and removes it entirely to sinful actions? For if the soul willeth not the evil, it is cleared: and if he does not work it himself, the body too is set free, and the whole may be charged upon the evil moral choice. Now the essence of the soul and body and of that choice are not the same, for the two first are God's works, and the other is a motion from ourselves towards whatever we please to direct it. For willing is indeed natural', and is from God: but willing on this 'pur wise is our own, and from our own mind.
So 5 Mss. Sav. has rs rixis, the user of the instrument, that was which seems to have been put in to shew that it was not the maker, but
212 The Law aids us against sin only by approving right.
Ver. 21. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, - evil is present with me.
What he says is not very clear. What then is it that is said? I praise the law, he says, in my conscience, and I find it pleads on my side so far as I am desirous of doing what is right, and that it invigorates this wish. For as I feel a pleasure in it, so does it yield praise to my decision. Do you see how he shews, that the knowledge of what is good and what is not such is an original and fundamental part of our nature, and that the Law of Moses praises it, and getteth praise from it? For above he did not say so much as I get taught by the Law, but I consent to the Law; nor further' on, that I get instructed by it, but I delight in it. Now what is, I delight? It is, I agree with it as right, as it does with me when wishing to do what is good. And so the willing what is good and the not willing what is evil was made a fundamental part of us from the first. But the Law, when it came, was made at once a strongers accuser in what was bad, and a greater praiser in what was good. Do you observe that in every place he bears witness to its having a kind of intensitiveness and additional advantage, yet nothing further? For though it praises and I delight in it, and wish what is good, the evil is still present with me, and the agency of it has not been abolished. And thus the Law, with a man who determines upon doing any thing good, only acts so far as auxiliary to him, as that it has the same wish as himself. Then since he had stated it indistinctly, as he goes on he gives a yet more distinct interpretation, by shewing how the evil is present, how too the Law is a law' to such a person only who has a mind to do what is good.
Ver. 22. For I delight, he says, in the law of God after the inward man.
He means, for I knew even before this what was good, but when I find it set down in writing, I praise it.
4 So 5 Mss. (προιὼν) Sav. προεῖπεν.
b 4 Mss. μízor, Sav. μugóver, of greater things.
1 Sav. ópoũ ¡ vóμws iorì, 'The Law
sides with.' Which reading makes no allusion to the opposing Law. 4 Mss. read μόνον (another μόνῳ) νόμος ἐστὶν ὁ vous. These and the two last various readings (as is often the case) are not noticed in Montfaucon's edition.
Sin no law of Nature, but obeyed as if it were a law. 213
Ver. 23. But I see another law in my members, warring ROM. 7, 23. against the law of my mind.
Here again he calls sin a law warring against the other, not from its deserving the name, but from the strict obedience yielded to it by those who comply with it. As then it gives the name of master' to Mammon, and of god' to the belly,' múgiov Mai. 6, not because of their intrinsically deserving it, but because of 24. the extreme obsequiousness of their subjects; so here he Luke 16, calls sin a law, owing to those who are so obsequious to it, Phil. 3, and are afraid to leave it, just as those who have received 19. the Law dread leaving the Law. This then, he means, is opposed to the law of nature; for this is what is meant by the law of my mind. And he next represents an array and battle, and refers' the whole struggle to the law of nature. For that of Moses was subsequently added over and above: : yet still both the one and the other, the one as teaching, the other as praising what was right, wrought no great effects in this battle: so great was the thraldom of sin, overcoming and getting the upper hand as it did. And this St. Paul setting forth, and shewing the decided3 victory 3 rà it had, says, I see another law warring against the law of *gáros my mind, and bringing me into captivity. He does not use the word conquering only, but bringing me into captivity to the law of sin. He does not say the bent of the flesh, or the nature of the flesh, but, the law of sin. That is, the thrall, the power. In what sense then does he say, Which is in my members? Now what is this? Surely it does not make the members to be sin, but makes them as distinct from sin as possible. For that which is in a thing is diverse from that wherein it is. As then the commandment is not evil, because by it sin took occasion, so neither is the nature of the flesh, even if sin subdues us by means of it. For in this way the soul will be evil, and much more so too, since it has authority in matters of action. But these things are not so, certainly they are not. Since neither if a tyrant and a robber were to take possession of a splendid mansion and a king's court, would the circumstance be any
Sav. aia and Mar. and 4 Mss. good order.
Sav. Mar. ivridne, which makes
much the same sense; his conj. and 2