Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that you should do that which is honest, though we be as failures.
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Cornelius a Lapide
Now I pray to God that ye do no evil. S. Augustine from this lays down, in opposition to the Pelagians, that grace is required not only to do good works, but to abstain from evil, to resist temptations, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world and the flesh. To overcome the more grievous temptations is impossible for nature unassisted by the grace of God.
Not that we should appear approved. I am not labouring to have my fame and power approved by you, and to manifest to you the power I have to effectually punish those among you who do wrong: for all this I care little. One thing I do care for, and that Isaiah , that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. Reprobates may mean, as Gagneius thinks, "esteemed wicked." Or better still, it means regarded as rejected, as abjects—deprived of power, inglorious, without authority to punish. If they were obedient, this authority would not be exercised, and so might, by those so disposed, be denied. It is clear, therefore, that reprobate is not here used as the opposite of predestinated, or of devout or holy, but of approved and highly thought of (Theophylact and Anselm). Cf. 1 Samuel 15:9; Psalm 118:22.