"This expression, 'How often would I have gathered thy children
together, and thou wouldst not,' set forth the ancient law of human liberty,
because God made man a free (agent) from the beginning, possessing his own soul
to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there
is no coercion with God, but a good will (toward us) is present with Him
continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man as well
as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational
beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is
good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves . . ."
"If then it were not in our power to do or not to do these things,
what reason had the apostle, and much more the Lord Himself, to give counsel to
do some things and to abstain from others? But because man is possessed of
free-will from the beginning, and God is possessed of free-will in whose
likeness man was created, advice is always given to him to keep fast the good,
which thing is done by means of obedience to God."