Christopher, these are rather lengthy, but here they are. After reading Cassian many years ago I never had any more misgivings on the issue.
EXCERPTS FROM ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM AND ST JOHN CASSIAN ON PREDESTINATION
The page numbers given are from the standard Post-Nicene Fathers texts. (These are available online; one site that has them is ccel.org.)
FROM THE CONFERENCES OF ST. JOHN CASSIAN (+ 435) - Third Conference of Abbot Chaeremon
...When His goodness sees in us even the very smallest spark of good will shining forth, which He Himself has struck as it were out of the hard flints of our hearts, He fans and fosters it and nurses it with His breath, as He “willeth all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” for as He says, “it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish,” and again it says: “Neither will God have a soul to perish, but recalleth,” meaning that he that is cast off should not altogether perish. For He is true, and lieth not when He lays down with an oath: “As I live, saith the Lord God, for I will not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his way and live.”
For if He willeth not that one of His little ones should perish, how can we imagine without grievous blasphemy that He does not generally will all men, but only some instead of all to be saved? Those then who perish, perish against His will, as He testifies against each one of them day by day: “Turn from your evil ways, and why will ye die, O house of Israel.”
The grace of Christ then is at hand every day... (p. 425)
The Divine protection then is inseparably present with us, and so great is the kindness of the Creator towards His creatures, that His Providence not only accompanies it, but actually constantly precedes it, as the prophet experienced and plainly confessed, saying: “My God will prevent me with His mercy.” And when He sees in us some beginnings of a good will, He at once enlightens it and strengthens it and urges it on towards salvation, increasing that which He Himself implanted or which He sees to have arisen from our own efforts. For He says “Before they cry, I will hear them: While they are still speaking I will hear them;” and again: “As soon as He hears the voice of thy crying, He will answer thee.” And in His goodness, not only does He inspire us with holy desires, but actually creates occasions for life and opportunities for good results, and shows to those in error the direction of the way of salvation.
Whence human reason cannot easily decide how the Lord gives to those that ask, is found by those that seek, and opens to those that knock, and on the other hand is found by those that sought Him not, appears openly among those who asked not for Him, and all the day long stretches forth His hands to an unbelieving and gainsaying people, calls those who resist and stand afar off, draws men against their will to salvation, takes away from those who want to sin the faculty of carrying out their desire, in His goodness stands in the way of those who are rushing into wickedness.
But who can easily see how it is that the completion of our salvation is assigned to our own will, of which it is said: “If ye be willing, and hearken unto Me, ye shall eat the good things of the land,” and how it is “not of him that willeth or runneth, but of God that hath mercy?” What too is this, that God “will render to every man according to his works;” and “it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do, of His good pleasure;” and “this is not of yourselves but it is the gift of God: not of works, that no man may boast?”...
In all these there is a declaration of the grace of God and the freedom of our will, because even of his own motion a man can be led to the quest of virtue, but always stands in need of the help of the Lord. For neither does anyone enjoy good health whenever he will, nor is he at his own will and pleasure set free from disease and sickness. But what good is it to have desired the blessing of health, unless God, who grants us the enjoyments of life itself, grant also vigorous and sound health? But that it may be still clearer that through the excellence of nature which is granted by the goodness of the Creator, sometimes first beginnings of a good will arise, which however cannot attain to the complete performance of what is good unless it is guided by the Lord, the Apostle bears witness and says: “For to will is present with me, but to perform what is good I find not” (p. 427).
These two then; viz., the grace of God and free will seem opposed to each other, but really are in harmony, and we gather from the system of goodness that we ought to have both alike, lest if we withdraw one of them from man, we may seem to have broken the rule of the Church’s faith: for when God sees us inclined to will what is good, He meets, guides, and strengthens us: for “At the voice of thy cry, as soon as He shall hear, He will answer thee;” and: “Call upon Me,” He says, “in the day of tribulation and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” And again, if He finds that we are unwilling or have grown cold, He stirs our hearts with salutary exhortations, by which a good will is either renewed or formed in us (p. 428).
...We plainly assert our unconditional opinion that the grace of God is superabounding, and sometimes overflows the narrow limits of man’s lack of faith (p. 433).
...God brings salvation to mankind in diverse and innumerable methods and inscrutable ways, and that He stirs up the course of some, who are already wanting it, and thirsting for it, to greater zeal, while He forces some even against their will, and resisting. And that at one time He gives his assistance for the fulfilment of those things which he sees that we desire for our good, while at another time He puts into us the very beginnings of holy desire, and grants both the commencement of a good work and perseverance in it. Hence it comes that in our prayers we proclaim God as not only our Protector and Saviour, but actually as our Helper and Sponsor (p. 433).
“O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God How inscrutable are the judgments of God and His ways past finding out For who hath known the mind of the Lord?” [Rom. xi. 33, 34]. Whoever then imagines that he can by human reason fathom the depths of that inconceivable abyss, will be trying to explain away the astonishment at that knowledge, at which that great and mighty teacher of the gentiles was awed. For if a man thinks that he can either conceive in his mind or discuss exhaustively the dispensation of God whereby He works salvation in men, he certainly impugns the truth of the Apostle’s words and asserts with profane audacity that His judgments can be scrutinized, and His ways searched out (p. 434).
FROM THE HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (+ 407)
From Homily 16 on Romans
...This was a sign of foreknowledge, that [Jacob and Esau] were chosen from the very birth. That the election made according to foreknowledge, might be manifestly of God, from the first day He at once saw and proclaimed which was good and which not...
He that knoweth how to assay the soul, knoweth which is worthy of being saved. Yield then to the incomprehensibleness of the election. For it is He alone Who knoweth how to crown aright. How many, for instance, seemed better than St. Matthew; to go by the exhibition of works then visible. But He that knoweth things undeclared, and is able to assay the mind’s aptitude, knew the pearl though lying in the mire, and after passing by others, and being well pleased with the beauty of this, He elected it, and by adding to the noble born free-will grace from Himself, He made it approved. For if in the case of these arts which are perishable, and indeed in other matters, those that are good judges do not use the grounds on which the uninstructed form their decision, in selecting out of what is put before them; but from points which they are themselves well aware of, they many times disparage that which the uninstructed approve, and decide upon what they
For it is not a mere exhibition of works that God searcheth after, but a nobleness of choice and an obedient temper (Gk. gnomie) besides...
“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Ex. xxxiii. 19: observe context.) For it is not thine to know, O Moses, he means, which are deserving of My love toward man, but leave this to Me. But if Moses had no right to know, much less have we” (p. 466).
Ver. 20. “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?”
This he does to take down the objector’s unseasonable inquisitiveness, and excessive curiosity, and to put a check upon it, and teach him to know what God is, and what man, and how incomprehensible His foreknowledge is, and how far above our reason, and how obedience to Him in all points is binding.
Here it is not to do away with free-will that he says this, but to show, up to what point we ought to obey God. For in respect of calling God to account, we ought to be as little disposed to it as the clay is. For we ought to abstain not from gainsaying or questioning only, but even from speaking or thinking of it at all, and to become like that lifeless matter, which followeth the potter’s hands, and lets itself be drawn about anywhere he may please. And this is the only point he applied the illustration to, not, that is, to any enunciation of the rule of life, but to the complete obedience and silence enforced upon us.
And this we ought to observe in all cases, that we are not to take the illustrations quite entire, but after selecting the good of them, and that for which they were introduced, to let the rest alone. As, for instance, when he says, “He couched, he lay down as a lion;” (Numb. xxiv. 9) let us take out the indomitable and fearful part, not the brutality, nor any other of the things belonging to a lion. And again, when He says, “I will meet them as a bereaved bear” (Hos. xiii. 8), let us take the vindictiveness. And when he says, “our God is a consuming fire” (Deut. iv. 24; and Heb. xii. 29), the wasting power exerted in punishing (p. 467).
And when he does go on to say, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” do not suppose that this is said by Paul as an account of the creation, nor as implying a necessity over the will, but to illustrate the sovereignty and difference of dispensations; for if we do not take it in this way, divers incongruities will follow, for if here he were speaking about the will, and those who are good and those not so, He will be Himself the Maker of these, and man will be free from all responsibility. And at this rate, Paul will also be shown to be at variance with himself, as he always bestows chief honor upon free choice. There is nothing else then which he here wishes to do, save to persuade the hearer to yield entirely to God, and at no time to call Him to account for anything whatever.
“He endured him with much long-suffering,” being willing to bring him to repentance. For had He not willed this, then He would not have been thus long-suffering. But as he would not use the long-suffering in order to repentance, but fully fitted himself for wrath, He used him for the correction of others, through the punishment inflicted upon him making them better, and in this way setting forth His power. For that it is not God’s wish that His power be so made known, but in another way, by His benefits, namely, and kindnesses, he had shown above in all possible ways.
But in saying, “which He had afore prepared unto glory,” he does not mean that all is God’s doing. Since if this were so, there were nothing to hinder all men from being saved. But he is setting forth again His foreknowledge (p. 468)...
...When he says, “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,” he does not deprive us of free-will, but shows that all is not one’s own, for that it requires grace from above. For it is binding on us to will, and also to run: but to confide not in our own labors, but in the love of God toward man.
Whence then are some vessels of wrath, and some of mercy? Of their own free choice. God, however, being very good, shows the same kindness to both. For it was not those in a state of salvation only to whom He showed mercy, but also Pharaoh, as far as His part went (p. 469).
Why then are you troubled, as though the promise had failed, when all the Prophets show that it is not all that are to be saved (p. 470)?
Ver. 32. “Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the Law.”
This is the clearest answer in the passage, which if he had said immediately upon starting, he would not have gained so easy a hearing. But since it is after many perplexities, and preparations, and demonstrations that he sets it down, and after using countless preparatory steps, he has at last made it more intelligible, and also more easily admitted. For this he says is the cause of their destruction: “Because it was not by faith, but as it were by the works of the Law,” that they wished to be justified (p. 471).
From Homily 18
Ver. 5. “Even so then at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” For he shows here that it is the worthy that God useth to save even if the promise be made to the whole nation.
...By saying election, he showed the approval of them, but by saying grace, he showed the gift of God (p. 483).
From Homily 1 on Ephesians
That you may not then, when you hear that “He hath chosen us,” imagine that faith alone is sufficient, he proceeds to add life and conduct. To this end, saith he, hath He chosen us, and on this condition, “that we should be holy and without blemish” (p. 51).
For by all means would he have chosen those who were approved. He hath Himself rendered us holy, but then we must continue holy (p. 51).
“In love,” saith he, “having predestinated us.” Because this comes not of any pains, nor of any good works of ours, but of love; and yet not of love alone, but of our virtue also. For if indeed of love alone, it would follow that all must be saved; whereas again were it the result of our virtue alone, then were His coming needless, and the whole dispensation. But it is the result neither of His love alone, nor yet of our virtue, but of both. “He chose us,” saith the Apostle; and He that chooseth, knoweth what it is that He chooseth. “In love,” he adds, “having foreordained us;” for virtue would never have saved any one, had there not been love. For tell me, what would Paul have profited, how would he have exhibited what he has exhibited, if God had not both called him from the beginning, and, in that He loved him, drawn him to Himself? But besides, His vouchsafing us so great privileges, was the effect of His love, not of our virtue.
Because our being rendered virtuous, and believing, and coming nigh unto Him, even this again was the work of Him that called us Himself, and yet, notwithstanding, it is ours also (pp. 51-2).
Do you observe how that nothing is done without Christ? Nothing without the Father? The one hath predestinated, the other hath brought us near (p. 52).
Ver. 5. “According to the good pleasure,” he continues, “of His will.”
That is to say, because He earnestly willed it. This is, as one might say, His earnest desire. For the word “good pleasure” every where means the precedent will, for there is also another will. As for example, the first will is that sinners should not perish; the second will is, that, if men become wicked, they shall perish. For surely it is not by necessity that He punishes them, but because He wills it (p. 52).
...He points out the origination, the purpose, the will, the first intention, as proceeding from the Father, and the fulfillment and execution as effected by the agency of the Son...
Just in the very beginning of the Epistle, he used the expression “through the will of the Father.” The Father, he means, willed, the Son wrought. But neither does it follow, that because the Father willed, the Son is excluded from the willing; nor because the Son wrought, that the Father is deprived of the working. But to the Father and the Son, all things are common. “For all Mine are Thine,” saith He, “and Thine are Mine.” (John xvii. 10.)
From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...
Sent: Thursday, July 9, 2009 11:39:16 PM
Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Justification and Predestination
Would you be willing to share those quotations?
On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 11:35 PM, randall hay <stortford@sbcglobal .net>wrote:
> I've put together a collection of quotes from St John Cassian and St John
> Chrysostom on the issue, but I've never done something like a
> The though of putting a booklet together on the various Lutheran questions
> has crossed my mind, though....certain questions seem to be almost
> universal... .
> Subdeacon R.
> ____________ _________ _________ __
> From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@gmail. com <xcjorr%40gmail. com>>
> To: LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com<LutheransLookingEa st%40yahoogroups .com>
> Sent: Thursday, July 9, 2009 9:08:31 AM
> Subject: [LutheransLookingEa st] Justification and Predestination
> Does any one happen to know of any good reference materials that discusses
> how the Orthodox handle the verses that a Lutheran would normally point to
> regarding justification and predestination?
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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