Tuesday, September 25, 2007

St. Cyprian on Perseverence

"And that we may more fully understand, beloved brethren, that patience is a thing of God, and that whoever is gentle, and patient, and meek, is an imitator of God the Father; when the Lord in His Gospel was giving precepts for salvation, and, bringing forth divine warnings, was instructing His disciples to perfection, He laid it down, and said, "You have heard that it is said, You shall love your neighbour, and have your enemy in hatred. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them which persecute you; that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, who makes His sun to rise on the good and on the evil, and rains upon the just and on the unjust. For if you love them which love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans the same? And if you shall salute your brethren only, what do ye more (than others)? do not even the heathens the same thing? Be therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."(1 Matt. 5:43-48) He said that the children of God would thus become perfect." (Treatise 9, # 5)

"But if we also, beloved brethren, are in Christ; if we put Him on, if He is the way of our salvation, who follow Christ in the footsteps of salvation, let us walk by the example of Christ, as the Apostle John instructs us, saying, "He who says he abides in Christ, ought himself also to walk even as He walked." (ibid, #9)

"It is the wholesome precept of our Lord and Master: "He that endures," says He, "unto the end, the same shall be saved; " (Matt. 10:22) and again, "If you continue," says He, "in my word, you shall be truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."(Jn. 8:31-32) We must endure and persevere, beloved brethren, in order that, being admitted to the hope of truth and liberty, we may attain to the truth and liberty itself; for that very fact that we are Christians is the substance of faith and hope.
...But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we by patience wait for it.(Rom. 8:24-25) Therefore, waiting and patience are needful, that we may fulfil that which we have begun to be, and may receive that which we believe and hope for, according to God's own showing. Moreover, in another place, the same apostle instructs the righteous and the doers of good works, and them who lay up for themselves treasures in heaven with the increase of the divine usury, that they also should be patient; and teaches them, saying, "Therefore, while we have time, let us labour in that which is good unto all men, but especially to them who are of the household of faith. But let us not faint in well-doing, for in its season we shall reap. ..."Hold that which you have, that another take not your crown." (Rev. 3:11) Which word exhorts us to persevere with patience and courage, so that he who strives towards the crown with the praise now near at hand, may be crowned by the continuance of patience."(Ibid, # 13)

"...it behoves us, in this bodily frailty and weakness, always to struggle and to fight. And this struggle and encounter cannot be sustained but by the strength of patience. But as we are to be examined and searched out, diverse sufferings are introduced; and a manifold kind of temptations is inflicted.... Nor does anything distinguish between the unrighteous and the righteous more, than that in affliction the unrighteous man impatiently complains and blasphemes, while the righteous is proved by his patience, as it is written: "In pain endure, and in your low estate have patience; for gold and silver are tried in the fire."(Ibid, #17)

"It is patience which firmly fortifies the foundations of our faith. It is this which lifts up on high the increase of our hope. It is this which directs our doing, that we may hold fast the way of Christ while we walk by His patience. It is this that makes us to persevere as sons of God, while we imitate our Father's patience."(Ibid, #20)

"Let us rather press onward and labour, and, watching with our whole heart, and steadfast to all endurance, let us keep the Lord's precepts; so that when that day of anger and vengeance shall come, we may not be punished with the impious and sinners, but may be honoured with the righteous and those that fear God."(Ibid, #24)

"Moreover, in the Gospel the Lord speaks, and says: "He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved."(Matt. 10:22) And again: "If you shall abide in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (Jn. 8:31-32) Moreover, forewarning us that we ought always to be ready, and to stand firmly equipped and armed... Also the blessed Apostle Paul, that our faith may advance and grow, and attain to the highest point, exhorts us, saying: "Do you not know, that they which run in a race run all indeed, yet one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And they, indeed, that they may receive a corruptible crown; but ye an incorruptible." (1 Cor. 9:24-25) ...And again: "We are children of God: but if children, then heirs; heirs indeed of God, but joint-heirs with Christ, if we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together." (Rom. 8:16-17) And in the Apocalypse the same exhortation of divine preaching speaks, saying, "Hold fast that which you have, lest another take your crown; " (Rev. 3:11) which example of perseverance and persistence is pointed out in Exodus, when Moses, for the overthrow of Ama-lek, who bore the type of the devil, raised up his open hands in the sign and sacrament of the cross, and could not conquer his adversary unless when he had steadfastly persevered in the sign with hands continually lifted up. (Treatise 11, #8)

This would be more on the fact that only those who persevere to end shall reap a reward of glory, and goes to show all the more that the Protestant view of Justification is simply not the view of St. Cyprian, and is not the view espoused by the Apostles.

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