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reasonable creature, without constraint in things of reason, discerneth and willeth good and evil; but it willeth not that good which is acceptable to God, except it be holpen with grace; but that which is ill, it willeth of itself: And therefore other men defined Free-Will in this wise: Free-Will is a power of reason and will, by which good is chosen by the assistance of grace, or evil is chosen without the assistance of the same.

Howbeit the state and condition of Free-Will was otherwise in our first parents, before they sinned, than it was either in them, or in their posterity, after they had sinned. For our first parents, Adam and Eve, until they wounded and overthrew themselves by sin, had so in possession the said power of Free-Will, by the most liberal gift and grace of God their Maker, that not only they might eschew all manner of sin, but also know God, and love him, and fulfil all things appertain ing to their felicity and wealth. For they were made righteous, and to the image and similitude of God, having power of Free-Will (as Chrysostome saith) to obey or disobey: so that by obedience they might live, and by disobedience they should worthily deserve to die. For the wise man affirmeth, that the state of them was of that sort in the beginning, saying thus; (c) God in the beginning did create man, (c) Ecclus. xv.


and left him in the hands of his own counsel: he gave unto him his precepts and commandments, saying, If thou wilt keep the commandments, they shall preserve thee; He hath set afore thee fire and water; put forth thy hands to whether thou wilt. Before man is life and death, good and evil; what him liketh, that shall he have. From this most happy estate our first parents falling by disobedience, most grievously hurted themselves and their posterity. For, besides many other evils that came by the transgression, the high power of man's reason and Freedom of Will were wounded and corrupted; and all men thereby brought into such blindness and infirmity, that they cannot eschew sin, except they be illumined and made free by an especial Grace, that is to say, by a supernatural help and working of the Holy Ghost; which although the goodness of God offereth to all men, yet they only enjoy it, which by their FreeWill do accept and embrace the same. Nor they also, that be holpen by the said Grace, can accomplish and perform things that be for their wealth but with much labour and endeavour; so great is in our nature the corruption of the first sin, and the heavy burden bearing us down to evil. For, truly, albeit the light of reason doth abide, yet it is much darkened; and with much difficulty doth discern things that be inferior, and pertain to this present

life but to understand and perceive things that be spiritual, and pertain to the everlasting life, it is of itself unable. And so likewise although there remain a certain Freedom of Will in those things which do pertain unto the desires and works of this present life, yet to perform spiritual and heavenly things Free-Will of itself is insufficient: and therefore the power of man's Free-Will, being thus wounded and decayed, hath need of a physician to heal it, and a help to repair it; that it may receive light and strength, whereby it may see, and have power to do, those godly and spiritual things, which, before the fall of Adam, it was able, and might have done.

To this blindness and infirmity of man's nature, proceeding of Original Sin, the prophet David had regard, when he (d) desired his eyes to be lightened of Almighty God, that he might consider the marvellous things that be in his law. And also the prophet Jeremy, saying, (e) Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be made whole. Saint Augustine also plainly declareth the same, saying, We conclude that Free-Will is in man after his fall; which thing whoso denieth, is not a catholick man; but in spiritual desires, and works to please God, it is so weak and feeble that it cannot either begin or per

(d) Psalm cxix.

(e) Jer. xvii.


form them, unless by the grace and help of God it be prevented and holpen. And hereby it appeareth, that man's strength and will in all things, which be healthful to the soul and shall please God, hath need of Grace of the Holy Ghost; by which such spiritual things be inspired to men, and strength and constancy given to perform them, if men do not wilfully refuse the said Grace offered unto them.

And, likewise, as many things be in the Scripture, which do shew Free-Will to be in man; so there be no fewer places in Scripture, which do declare the Grace of God to be so necessary, that if by it Free-Will be not prevented and holpen, it can neither do nor will any thing good and godly. Of which sort be these Scriptures following: (f) Without me ye can do nothing. No man cometh to me, except it be given him of my Father. We be not sufficient of ourselves, as of ourselves, to think any good thing. According unto which Scriptures, and such other like, it followeth, that FreeWill, before it may will or think any godly thing, must be holpen by the Grace of Christ, and by his Spirit be prevented and inspired, that it may be able thereto; and, being so made able, may from thenceforth work together with Grace; and by the same sustained, holpen, and maintained, may do and ac

(f) St. John xv. St. John vi. 2 Cor. iii.



complish Good Works, and avoid sin, and persevere also and encrease in Grace. It is surely of the Grace of God only, that first we be inspired and moved to any good thing: but to resist temptations, and to persist in goodness and go forward, it is both of the Grace of God, and of our Free-Will and endeaAnd finally, after we have persevered to the end, to be crowned with glory therefore, is the gift and mercy of God; who, of his bountiful goodness, hath ordained that reward to be given, after this life, according to such good works as be done in this life by his Grace.


Therefore men ought, with much diligence and gratitude of mind, to consider and regard the inspirations and wholesome motions of the Holy Ghost; and to embrace the Grace of God, which is offered unto them in Christ, and moveth them to good things; and furthermore to go about by all means to shew themselves such, as unto whom the Grace of God is not given in vain. And when they do feel, through their own infirmity, they be not able to do that they desire; then they ought earnestly, and with a fervent devotion and stedfast faith, to ask of him which gave the beginning, that he would youchsafe to perform it: which thing God will undoubtedly grant, according to his promise, to such as persevere in calling upon him. For he is naturally good, and willeth all men to

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