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Chapter 54 [XXI.]—Beginning and End of Faith is of God.

Therefore that this opinion, which is unpleasing to God, and hostile to those gratuitous benefits of God whereby we are delivered, may be destroyed, I maintain that both the beginning of faith and the perseverance therein, even to the end, are, according to the Scriptures—of which I have already quoted many—God’s gifts. Because if we say that the beginning of faith is of ourselves, so that by it we deserve to receive 548other gifts of God, the Pelagians conclude that God’s grace is given according to our merits. And this the catholic faith held in such dread, that Pelagius himself, in fear of condemnation, condemned it. And, moreover, if we say that our perseverance is of ourselves, not of God, they answer that we have the beginning of our faith of ourselves in such wise as the end, thus arguing that we have that beginning of ourselves much more, if of ourselves we have the continuance unto the end, since to perfect is much greater than to begin; and thus repeatedly they conclude that the grace of God is given according to our merits. But if both are God’s gifts, and God foreknew that He would give these His gifts (and who can deny this?), predestination must be preached,—that God’s true grace, that is, the grace which is not given according to our merits, may be maintained with insuperable defence.

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