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Chapter 41.—Augustin Indulgently Shows that the Judges Acted Incautiously in Their Official Conduct of the Case of Pelagius.

Why, then (some one will say), did the judges approve of this? I confess that I hardly even now understand why they did. It is, however, not to be wondered at, if some brief word or phrase too easily escaped their attention and ear; or if, because they thought it capable of being somehow interpreted in a correct sense, from seeming to have from the accused himself such clear confessions of truth on the subject, they decided it to be hardly worth while to excite a discussion about a word. The same feeling might have occurred to ourselves also, if we had sat with them at the trial. For if, instead of the term worthy, the word predestinated had been used, or some such word, my mind would certainly not have entertained any doubt, much less have been disquieted by it; and yet if it were asserted, that he who is justified by the election of grace is called worthy, through no antecedent merits of good indeed, but by destination, just as he is called “elect,” it would be really difficult to determine whether he might be so designated at all, or at least without some offence to an intelligent view of the subject.


As for myself, indeed, I might readily pass on from the discussion on this word, were it not that the treatise which called forth my reply, and in which he says that there is no God’s grace at all except our own nature gratuitously created17401740     We have preferred the reading gratis creatam to the obscure gratiam creaturam. with free will, made me suspicious and anxious about the actual meaning of Pelagius—whether he had procured the introduction of the term into the argument without any accurate intention as to its sense, or else as a carefully drawn dogmatic expression. The last remaining statements had such an effect on the judges, that they deemed them worthy of condemnation, without waiting for Pelagius’ answer.

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