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Article 14

 

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The Creation and Fall of Man, and His Incapacity to Perform What is

Truly Good

We believe that God created man out of the dust of the earth, and made and formed him after His own image and likeness, good, righteous, and holy, capable in all things to will agreeably to the will of God. But being in honor, he understood it not, neither knew his excellency, but willfully subjected himself to sin and consequently to death and the curse, giving ear to the words of the devil. For the commandment of life, which he had received, he transgressed; and by sin separated himself from God, who was his true life; having corrupted his whole nature; whereby he made himself liable to corporal and spiritual death. And being thus become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways, he hath lost all his excellent gifts which he had received from God, and retained only small remains thereof, which, however, are sufficient to leave man without excuse; for all the light which is in us is changed into darkness, as the Scriptures teach us, saying: The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not; where St. John calls men darkness.

Therefore we reject all that is taught repugnant to this concerning the free will of man, since man is but a slave to sin, and can receive nothing, except have been given him from heaven. For who may presume to boast that he of himself can do any good, since Christ says, No man can come to Me, except the Father that sent me draw him? Who will glory in his own will, who understands that the mind of the flesh is enmity against God? Who can speak of his knowledge, since the natural man

receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God? In short, who dare suggest any thought, since he knows that we are not sufficient of ourselves to account any thing as of ourselves, but that our sufficiency is of God? And therefore what the apostle says ought, justly to be held sure and firm, that God worketh in us both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. For there is no understanding, nor will conformable to the divine understanding and will but what Christ hath wrought in man; which He teaches us when He says: Apart from Me ye can do nothing.

 
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