A simple, gentle week, a nice respite from the world. And reason to recall to approach your “salvation with fear and trembling.”
1 Now, although the man who sins puts an impediment in the way of grace, and as far as the order of things requires he ought not to receive grace, yet, since God can act apart from the order implanted in things, as He does when He gives sight to the blind or life to the dead—at times, out of the abundance of His goodness, He offers His help in advance, even to those who put an impediment in the way of grace, turning them away from evil and toward the good.
And just as He does not enlighten all the blind, or heal all who are infirm, in order that the working of His power may be evident in the case of those whom He heals, and in the case of the others the order of nature may be observed, so also, He does not assist with His help all who impede grace, so that they may be turned away from evil and toward the good, but only some, in whom He desires His mercy to appear, so that the order of justice may be manifested in the other cases.
Hence, the Apostle says, in Romans (9:22-23): “What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, that He might show the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He has prepared unto glory?”
2 However, while God does indeed, in regard to men who are held back by the same sins, come to the assistance of and convert some, while He suffers others or permits them to go ahead in accord with the order of things—there is no reason to ask why He converts the former and not the latter.
For this depends on His will alone; just as it resulted from His simple will that, while all things were made from nothing, some were made of higher degree than others; and also, just as it depends on the simple will of the artisan that, from the same material uniformly disposed, he forms some vessels for noble uses and others for ignoble purposes. Hence, the Apostle says, in Romans (9:21): “Or does not the potter have power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?”
3 By this we set aside the error of Origen, who said that certain men are converted to God, and not others, because of some works that their souls had done before being united to their bodies. In fact, this view has been carefully disproved in our Book Two.