Chapter XXV.—Fifth Suggestion.
“But you say: Then those who adore what ought not to be adored, should be immediately destroyed by God, to prevent others doing the like. But are you wiser than God, that you should offer Him counsel? 767 He knows what to do. For with all who are placed in ignorance He exercises patience, because He is merciful and gracious; and He foresees that many of the ungodly become godly, and that even some of those who worship impure statues and polluted images have been converted to God, and forsaking their sins and doing good works, attain to salvation. But it is said: We ought never to have come even to the thought of doing these things. You do not know what freedom of will is, and you forget that he is good who is so by his own intention; but, he who is retained in goodness by necessity cannot be called good, because it is not of himself that he is so. Because, therefore, there is in every one liberty to choose good or evil, he either acquires rewards, or brings destruction on himself. Nay it is said, God brings to our minds whatsoever we think. What mean ye, O men? Ye blaspheme. For if He brings all our thoughts into our minds, then it is He that suggests to us thoughts of adultery, and covetousness, and blasphemy, and every kind of effeminacy. Cease, I entreat of you, these blasphemies, and understand what is the honour worthy of God. And say not, as some of you are wont to say, that God needs not honour from men. Indeed, He truly is in need of none; but you ought to know that the honour which you bestow upon God is profitable to yourselves. For what is so execrable, as for a man not to render thanks to his Creator?
Rom. xi. 34.