Saturday, May 12, 2012

St. Fulgentius of Ruspe On God's Sovereignty In Salvation

I'm not really a fan of St. Fulgentius of Ruspe as much as I am with St. Augustine, but I've recently discovered something very interesting about this early church father after digging through some of his worksy. I found out that this old bishop of the town/city of Ruspe who lived around the 460-530 AD was apparently Augustinian in his soteriological convictions, and therefore, somewhat Calvinistic in his understanding of God's sovereignty in Salvation (and in interpreting Scripture surrounding that subject). Here's a good quote from him which shows what I'm talking about (*emphasis and Scriptural references added):
2. For here penance can profit the sinner when God does not hasten to punish the sinner, so that he may grant the forgiveness of sins to the person converted to penance. For if here could be any kind of fruitful penance for the wicked after this life, the blessed Peter would not say that God bears patiently because he does not want anyone to perish (2 Pe. 3:9), namely of those whom "he foreknew and predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son." (Rom. 8:29) No one of these perishes. "For who opposes his will?" (Rom. 9:19) These are visited freely by the mercy of God before the end of this present life; they are moved for their salvation with a contrite and humbled heart and all by the divine gift are converted to penance to which they are divinely predestined to free grace, so that, converted, they may not perish but have life eternal. Without a doubt, these are all whom, according to the proclamation of the blessed Paul, "God wills... to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth." (1 Tim. 2:4) Because he who has done all things he wanted wants this, what he wants he always does invincibly. And so that is fulfilled in them which the unchangeable and invincible will of almighty God has, whose will, just as it cannot be changed in its plans, so neither is his power stopped or hindered in its execution; because neither is anyone able justly to censure his justice, nor can anyone stand opposed to his mercy.
 3. Whence our Savior reproves the malevolence of the unbelieving city with these words: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling." (Mat. 23:37) Christ said this to show its evil will by which it tried in vain to resist the invincible divine will, when God's good will neither could be conquered by those whom it deserts nor could not be able to accomplish anything which it wanted. That Jerusalem, insofar as it attained to its will, did not wish its children to be gathered to the Savior, but still he gathered all whom he willed. In this it wanted to resist the omnipotent but was unable to because God who, as it is written, "Whatever the Lord pleases, he does," (Psa. 135:6) converts to himself whomever he wills by a free justification, coming beforehand with his gift of superabounding grace on those whom he justly damn if he wished. Therefore, when the Apostle Peter says that God is "patient, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance," (2 Pe. 3:9) let us not so understand the word "all" as stated above, as if there is no one who will not do a fitting penance, but we must understand "all" here as those to whom God gives penance in such a way that he may also give them the gift of perseverance, i.e. those who are converted by the prevenient divine mercy in such a way that by the same subsequent mercy, they will never go back to the serious sins which they have renounced. These are the ones to whom, as Paul says, "God grants... repentance that leads to the knowledge of the truth and that they may return to their senses out of the Devil's snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will." (2 Tim. 2:25-26) Anyone who is careful to practice this penance in this life will be able to find the fruit of his penance with God.
 Source: To Euthymius, Book II, Ch. 2-3

It's nearly impossible to see Catholics who would talk that way nowadays. Semi-Pelagianism and its humanistic philosophies has so consumed the Catholic religion that there remains no room of acceptance to the pure Augustinian view on grace and freewill within its bounds. Thank God he gave us the Reformation.


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