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Chapter 17 [XVI.]—Does Pelagius Designedly Refrain from Openly Saying that All Good Action is from God?

“That we are able to speak,” says he, “is of God; but that we make a good or a bad use of speech is of ourselves.” He, however, who has made the most excellent use of speech does not teach us so. “For,” says He, “it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.”18241824     Matt. x. 20. “So, again,” adds Pelagius, “that I may, by applying a general case in illustration, embrace all,—that we are able to do, say, think, any good thing, comes from Him who has endowed us with this ability, and who also assists it.” Observe how even here he repeats his former meaning —that of these three, capacity, volition, action, it is only the capacity which receives help. Then, by way of completely stating what he intends to say, he adds: “But that we really do a good thing, or speak a good word, or think a good thought, proceeds from our own selves.” He forgot what he had before18251825     See ch. 5. said by way of correcting, as it were, his own words; for after saying, “Man is to be praised therefore for his willing and doing a good work,” he at once goes on to modify his statement thus: “Or rather, this praise belongs both to man, and to God who has given him the capacity of this very will and work.” Now what is the reason why he did not remember this admission when giving his examples, so as to say this much at least after quoting them: “That we are able to do, say, think any good thing, comes from Him who has given us this ability, and who also assists it. That, however, we really do a good thing, or speak a good word, or think a good thought, proceeds both from ourselves and from Him!” This, however, he has not said. But, if I am not mistaken, I think I see why he was afraid to do so.


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