Title: NPNF1-05. St. Augustine: Anti-Pelagian Writings
Creator(s):
Schaff, Philip (1819-1893) (Editor)

Print Basis: New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886
Rights: Public Domain
CCEL Subjects: All; Proofed; Early Church
LC Call no: BR60
LC Subjects:

Christianity

Early Christian Literature. Fathers of the Church, etc.


A SELECT LIBRARY


OF THE


NICENE AND

POST-NICENE FATHERS


OF


THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.





EDITED BY

PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D.,

PROFESSOR IN THE UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK.

IN CONNECTION WITH A NUMBER OF PATRISTIC SCHOLARS OF EUROPE AND AMERICA.





VOLUME V

ST. AUGUSTIN:

ANTI-PELAGIAN WRITINGS.





T&T CLARK

EDINBURGH

__________________________________________________

WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN


SAINT AUGUSTIN'S ANTI-PELAGIAN WORKS.

translated by

PETER HOLMES, D.D., F.R.A.S.,

DOMESTIC CHAPLAIN TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE COUNTESS OF ROTHES,

AND CURATE OF PENNYCROSS, PLYMOUTH;

and

REV. ROBERT ERNEST WALLIS, Ph.d.,

INCUMBENT OF CHRIST CHURCH, COXLEY, SOMERSET.

THE TRANSLATION REVISED, AND AN INTRODUCTION PREFIXED, BY

BENJAMIN B. WARFIELD, D.D.,

PROFESSOR IN THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY AT PRINCETON, N.J.


Contents.

__________

preface to the american edition.

prefatory note by the american reviser.

introduction to augustin's anti-pelagian writings. By the Rev. Professor B.B. Warfield, D.D.

dedication of vol. i. of edinburgh edition.

dedication of vol. ii. of edinburgh edition.

preface to vol. i. of edinburgh edition.

preface to vol. ii. of edinburgh edition.

"on the merits and remission of sins, and on the baptism of infants."

Three Books. Written A.D. 412.

(De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione, et de Baptismo Parvulorum.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "De Peccatorum Meritis," etc.

The Treatise itself.

"on the spirit and the letter." One Book. Written A.D. 412.

(De Spiritu et Litterâ.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "De Spiritu et litterâ."

The Treatise itself.

"on nature and grace." One Book. Written A.D. 415.

(De Naturâ et Gratiâ, contra Pelagium.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "De Naturâ et Gratiâ."

Introductory Note.

The Treatise itself.

"on man's perfection in righteousness." One Book. Written about the end of 415.

(De Perfectione Justiciæ Hominis.)

Preface to the treatise.

The Treatise itself.

"on the proceedings of pelagius." One Book. Written early in 417.

(De Gestis Pelagii.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "De Gestis Pelagii."

Preface to the treatise.

The Treatise itself.

"on the grace of christ, and on original sin." Two Books. Written in 418.

(De Gratiâ Christi, et de Peccato Originali, contra Pelagium.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "De Gratiâ Christi," and "De Peccato Originali."

Book I. On the Grace of Christ.

Book ii. On Original Sin.

"on marriage and concupiscence." Two Books. Written early in 419 and 420.

(De Nuptiis et Concupiscientiâ.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "De Nuptiis et Concupiscientiâ."

Advertisement to the Reader.

A Letter from Augustin to the Count Valerius.

Book I.

Preliminary Notes to the Second Book.

Book ii.

"on the soul and its origin." Four Books. Written late in 419.

(De Animâ et ejus Origine.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "De Animâ et ejus Origine."

Advertisement to the Reader.

Book I. Addressed to Renatus.

Book ii. Addressed to the Presbyter Peter.

Book III. Addressed to Vincentius Victor.

Book IV. Addressed to Vincentius Victor.

*"Against two letters of the pelagians." Four Books. Written in 420 or a Little Later.

(Contra Duas Epistolas Pelagianorum.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "Contra Duas Epistolas Pelagianorum."

Book I.

Book ii.

Book III.

Book IV.

"on grace and free will." One Book. Written in 426 or 427.

(De Gratiâ et Libero Arbitrio.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "De Gratiâ et Libero Arbitrio."

Two Letters from Augustin to Valentinus and the Monks of Adrumetum, and forwarded with the Following Treatise.

The Treatise itself.

*"on rebuke and grace." One Book. Written in 426 or 427.

(De Correptione et Gratiâ.)

Extract from Augustin's "Retractations" on "De Correptione et Gratiâ."

The Treatise itself.

*"on the predestination of the saints." One Book. Written in 428 or 429.

(De Prædestinatione Sanctorum.)

*"on the gift of perseverance." One Book. Written in 428 or 429.

(De Dono Perseverantiæ.)

Note.--The treatises marked wth an asterisk above were translated by Dr. Wallis; the others by Dr. Holmes.



Preface to the American Edition.

------------------------

"This volume contains all the Anti-Pelagian writings of Augustin, collected by the Benedictine editors in their tenth volume, with the exception only of the two long works Against Julian, and The Unfinished Work, which have been necessarily excluded on account of their bulk. The translation here printed is that of the English version of Augustin's works, published by Messrs. T. and T. Clark at Edinburgh. This translation has been carefully compared with the Latin throughout, and corrected on every page into more accurate conformity to its sense. But this has not so altered its character that it ceases to be the Edinburgh translation,--bettered somewhat, but still essentially the same. The excellent translation of the three treatises, On the Spirit and the Letter, On Nature and Grace, and On the Proceedings of Pelagius, published in the early summer of this year by two Oxford scholars, Messrs. Woods and Johnston (London: David Nutt), was unfortunately too late in reaching America to be of any service to the editor.

"What may be called the explanatory matter of the Edinburgh translation, has been treated here even more freely than the text. The headings to the chapters have been added to until nearly every chapter is now provided with a caption. The brackets which distinguished the notes added by the translator from those which he translated from the Benedictine editor, have been generally removed, and the notes themselves often verbally changed, or otherwise altered. A few notes have been added,--chiefly with the design of rendering the allusions in the text intelligible to the uninstructed reader; and the more lengthy of these have been enclosed in brackets, and signed with a W. The result of all this is, that it is unsafe to hold the Edinburgh translators too closely responsible for the unbracketed matter; but that the American editor has not claimed as his own more than is really his.

"In preparing an Introductory Essay for the volume, two objects have been kept in view: to place the necessary Prolegomena to the following treatises in the hands of the reader, and to furnish the English reader with some illustrations of the Anti-Pelagian treatises from the other writings of Augustin. In the former interest, a brief sketch of the history of the Pelagian controversy and of the Pelagian and Augustinian systems has been given, and the occasions, objects, and contents of the several treatises have been briefly stated. In the latter, Augustin's letters and sermons have been as copiously extracted as the limits of space allowed. In the nature of the case, the sources have been independently examined for these materials; but those who have written of Pelagianism and of Augustin's part in the controversy with it, have not been neglected. Above others, probably special obligations ought to be acknowledged to the Benedictine preface to their tenth volume, and to Canon Bright's Introduction to his edition of Select Anti-Pelagian Treatises. The purpose of this essay will be subserved if it enables the reader to attack the treatises themselves with increased interest and readiness to assimilate and estimate their contents.

"References to the treatises in the essay, and cross-references in the treatises themselves, have been inserted wherever they seemed absolutely necessary; but they have been often omitted where otherwise they would have been inserted because it has been thought that the Index of Subjects will suffice for all the needs of comparison of passages that are likely to arise. In the Index of Texts, an asterisk marks some of those places where a text is fully explained; and students of the history of Biblical Interpretation may find this feature helpful to them. It will not be strange, if, on turning up a few passages, they will find their notion of the power, exactness, and devout truth of Augustin as an interpreter of Scripture very much raised above what the current histories of interpretation have taught them."

The above has been prepared by Dr. Warfield. I need only add that the present volume contains the most important of the doctrinal and polemical works of Augustin, which exerted a powerful influence upon the Reformers of the sixteenth century and upon the Jansenists in the seventeenth. They constitute what is popularly called the Augustinian system, though they only represent one side of it. Enough has been said on their merits in the Prolegomena to the first volume, and in the valuable Introductory Essay of Dr. Warfield, who has been called to fill the chair of systematic theology once adorned by the learning and piety of the immortal Hodges, father and son.

The remaining three volumes will contain the exegetical writings of the great Bishop of Hippo.

Philip Schaff.

New York, September, 1887.


introductory essay on augustin and the pelagian controversy.

by professor benjamin b. warfield, D.D.


A Select Bibliography of the Pelagian Controversy.

(Adapted from Dr. Schaff's Church History, vol. iii.)

------------------------

I. Three works of Pelagius, printed among the works of Jerome (Vallarsius' edition, vol. xi.): viz., the Expositions on Paul's Epistles, written before 410 (but somewhat, especially in Romans, interpolated); the Epistle to Demetrias, 413; and the Confession of Faith, 417, addressed to Innocent I. Copious fragments of other works (On Nature, In Defence of Free Will, Chapters, Letter to Innocent) are found quoted in Augustin's refutations; as also of certain works by Coelestius (e.g., his Definitions, Confession to Zosimus), and of the writings of Julian. Here also belong Cassian's Collationes Patrum, and the works of the other semi-Pelagian writers.

II. Augustin's anti-Pelagian treatises; also his work On Heresies, 88, 428; many of his letters, as e.g., those numbered by the Benedictines, 140, 157, 178, 179, 190, 191, 193, 194; and many of his letters, as e.g., 155, 163, 165, 168, 169, 174, 176, 293, 294, etc. Jerome's Letter to Ctesiphon (133), and his three books of Dialogue against the Pelagians (vol. ii. of Vallarsius); Paulus Orosius' Apology against Pelagius; Marius Mercator's Commonitoria; Prosper of Aquitaine's writings as also those of such late writers as Avitus, Cæsarius, Fulgentius, who bore the brunt of the semi-Pelagian controversy.

III. The collections of Acta of the councils and other public documents, in Mansi and in the appendix to the Benedictine edition of Augustin's anti-Pelagian writings (vol.x.).

IV. Literature.--A. Special works on the subject: Gerh. Joh. Vossius, Hist. de Controversiis quas Pelagius ejusque reliquiæ moverunt, 1655; Henr. Norisius, Historia Pelagiana, etc., 1673; Garnier, Dissert. vii. quibus integra continuentur Pelagianorum Hist. (in his edition of Marius Mercator, I. 113); the Præfatio to vol. x. of the Benedictine edition of Augustin's works; Corn. Jansenius, Augustinus sive doctrina S. Augustini, etc., adversus Pelagianos et Massilienses, 1640; Jac. Sirmond, Historia Prædestinatiana, 1648; Tillemont, Mémoires xiii. 1-1075; Ch. Wilh. Fr. Walch, Ketzerhìstorie, Bd. iv. and v., 1770; Johann Geffken, Historia semi-pelagianismi antiquissima, 1826; G. F. Wiggers, Versuch einer pragmatischen Darstellung des Augustinismus und Pelagianismus, 1821-1833 (Part I. dealing with Pelagianism proper, in an E. T. by Professor Emerson, Andover, 1840); J.L. Jacobi, Die Lehre des Pelagius, 1842; P. Schaff, The Pelagian Controversy, in the Bibliotheca Sacra, May, 1884; Theod. Gangauf, Metaphysische Psychologie des Heiligen Augustinus, 1852; Julius Müller, Die Christliche Lehre von der Sünde, 5th edition 1866 (E. T. by Urwick, Edinburgh); Do., Der Pelagianismus, 1854; F. Wörter, Der Pelagianismus u. s. w. 1866; Mozley, On the Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination, 1855; Nourrisson, La philosophie de S. Augustin, 1868; Bright, Select anti-Pelagian Treatises of St. Augustine, 1880; William Cunningham (not to be confounded with the Scotch professor of that name), S. Austin and his Place in the History of Christian Thought, being the Hulsean Lectures for 1885; James Field Spalding, The Teaching and Influence of St. Augustine, 1886; Hermann Reuter, Augustinische Studien, 1887.

B. The appropriate section in the Histories of Doctrine, as for example those of Münchner, Baumgarten-Crusius, Hagenbach (also E. T.), Neander (also E. T.), Baur, Beck, Thomasius, Harnack (vol. ii. in the press); and in English, W. Cunningham, Shedd, etc.

C. The appropriate chapters in the various larger church histories, e.g., those of Schröckh, Fleury, Gieseler (also E. T.), Neander (also E.T.), Hefele (History of the Councils, also E. T.), Kurtz (also E. T.); and in English, Schaff, Milman, Robertson, etc.


Introductory Essay on Augustin and the Pelagian Controversy.

by professor benjamin b. warfield, D.D.

------------------------


I. The Origin and Nature of Pelagianism.

It was inevitable that the energy of the Church in intellectually realizing and defining its doctrines in relation to one another, should first be directed towards the objective side of Christian truth. The chief controversies of the first four centuries and the resulting definitions of doctrine, concerned the nature of God and the person of Christ; and it was not until these theological and Christological questions were well upon their way to final settlement, that the Church could turn its attention to the more subjective side of truth. Meanwhile she bore in her bosom a full recognition, side by side, of the freedom of the will, the evil consequences of the fall, and the necessity of divine grace for salvation. Individual writers, or even the several sections of the Church, might exhibit a tendency to throw emphasis on one or another of the elements that made up this deposit of faith that was the common inheritance of all. The East, for instance, laid especial stress on free will: and the West dwelt more pointedly on the ruin of the human race and the absolute need of God's grace for salvation. But neither did the Eastern theologians forget the universal sinfulness and need of redemption, or the necessity, for the realization of that redemption, of God's gracious influences; nor did those of the West deny the self-determination or accountability of men. All the elements of the composite doctrine of man were everywhere confessed; but they were variously emphasized, according to the temper of the writers or the controversial demands of the times. Such a state of affairs, however, was an invitation to heresy, and a prophecy of controversy; just as the simultaneous confession of the unity of God and the Deity of Christ, or of the Deity and the humanity of Christ, inevitably carried in its train a series of heresies and controversies, until the definitions of the doctrines of the Trinity and of the person of Christ were complete. In like manner, it was inevitable that sooner or later some one should arise who would so one-sidedly emphasize one element or the other of the Church's teaching as to salvation, as to throw himself into heresy, and drive the Church, through controversy with him, into a precise definition of the doctrines of free will and grace in their mutual relations.

This new heresiarch came, at the opening of the fifth century, in the person of the British monk, Pelagius. The novelty of the doctrine which he taught is repeatedly asserted by Augustin [1] , and is evident to the historian; but it consisted not in the emphasis that he laid on free will, but rather in the fact that, in emphasizing free will, he denied the ruin of the race and the necessity of grace. This was not only new in Christianity; it was even anti-Christian. Jerome, as well as Augustin, saw this at the time, and speaks of Pelagianism as the "heresy of Pythagoras and Zeno;" [2] and modern writers of the various schools have more or less fully recognized it. Thus Dean Milman thinks that "the greater part" of Pelagius' letter to Demetrias "might have been written by an ancient academic;" [3] Dr. De Pressensé identifies the Pelagian idea of liberty with that of Paganism; [4] and Bishop Hefele openly declares that their fundamental doctrine, "that man is virtuous entirely of his own merit, not of the gift of grace," seems to him "to be a rehabilitation of the general heathen view of the world," and compares with it Cicero's words: [5] "For gold, lands, and all the blessings of life, we have to return thanks to the Gods; but no one ever returned thanks to the Gods for virtues." [6] The struggle with Pelagianism was thus in reality a struggle for the very foundations of Christianity; and even more dangerously than in the previous theological and Christological controversies, here the practical substance of Christianity was in jeopardy. The real question at issue was whether there was any need for Christianity at all; whether by his own power man might not attain eternal felicity; whether the function of Christianity was to save, or only to render an eternity of happiness more easily attainable by man. [7]

Genetically speaking, Pelagianism was the daughter of legalism; but when it itself conceived, it brought forth an essential deism. It is not without significance that its originators were "a certain sort of monks;" that is, laymen of ascetic life. From this point of view the Divine law is looked upon as a collection of separate commandments, moral perfection as a simple complex of separate virtues, and a distinct value as a meritorious demand on Divine approbation is ascribed to each good work or attainment in the exercises of piety. It was because this was essentially his point of view that Pelagius could regard man's powers as sufficient to the attainment of sanctity,--nay, that he could even assert it to be possible for a man to do more than was required of him. But this involved an essentially deistic conception of man's relations to his Maker. God had endowed His creature with a capacity (possibilitas) or ability (posse) for action, and it was for him to use it. Man was thus a machine, which, just because it was well made, needed no Divine interference for its right working; and the Creator, having once framed him, and endowed him with the posse, henceforth leaves the velle and the esse to him.

At this point we have touched the central and formative principle of Pelagianism. It lies in the assumption of the plenary ability of man; his ability to do all that righteousness can demand,--to work out not only his own salvation, but also his own perfection. This is the core of the whole theory; and all the other postulates not only depend upon it, but arise out of it. Both chronologically and logically this is the root of the system.

When we first hear of Pelagius, he is already advanced in years, living in Rome in the odour of sanctity, [8] and enjoying a well-deserved reputation for zeal in exhorting others to a good life, which grew especially warm against those who endeavoured to shelter themselves, when charged with their sins, behind the weakness of nature. [9] He was outraged by the universal excuses on such occasions,--"It is hard!" "it is difficult!" "we are not able!" "we are men!"--"Oh, blind madness!" he cried: "we accuse God of a twofold ignorance,--that He does not seem to know what He has made, nor what He has commanded,--as if forgetting the human weakness of which He is Himself the Author, He has imposed laws on man which He cannot endure." [10] He himself tells us [11] that it was his custom, therefore, whenever he had to speak on moral improvement and the conduct of a holy life, to begin by pointing out the power and quality of human nature, and by showing what it was capable of doing. For (he says) he esteemed it of small use to exhort men to what they deemed impossible: hope must rather be our companion, and all longing and effort die when we despair of attaining. So exceedingly ardent an advocate was he of man's unaided ability to do all that God commanded, that when Augustin's noble and entirely scriptural prayer--"Give what Thou commandest, and command what Thou wilt"--was repeated in his hearing, he was unable to endure it; and somewhat inconsistently contradicted it with such violence as almost to become involved in a strife. [12] The powers of man, he held, were gifts of God; and it was, therefore, a reproach against Him as if He had made man ill or evil, to believe that they were insufficient for the keeping of His law. Nay, do what we will, we cannot rid ourselves of their sufficiency: "whether we will, or whether we will not, we have the capacity of not sinning." [13] "I say," he says, "that man is able to be without sin, and that he is able to keep the commandments of God;" and this sufficiently direct statement of human ability is in reality the hinge of his whole system.

There were three specially important corollaries which flowed from this assertion of human ability, and Augustin himself recognized these as the chief elements of the system. [14] It would be inexplicable on such an assumption, if no man had ever used his ability in keeping God's law; and Pelagius consistently asserted not only that all might be sinless if they chose, but also that many saints, even before Christ, had actually lived free from sin. Again, it follows from man's inalienable ability to be free from sin, that each man comes into the world without entailment of sin or moral weakness from the past acts of men; and Pelagius consistently denied the whole doctrine of original sin. And still again, it follows from the same assumption of ability that man has no need of supernatural assistance in his striving to obey righteousness; and Pelagius consistently denied both the need and reality of divine grace in the sense of an inward help (and especially of a prevenient help) to man's weakness.

It was upon this last point that the greatest stress was laid in the controversy, and Augustin was most of all disturbed that thus God's grace was denied and opposed. No doubt the Pelagians spoke constantly of "grace," but they meant by this the primal endowment of man with free will, and the subsequent aid given him in order to its proper use by the revelation of the law and the teaching of the gospel, and, above all, by the forgiveness of past sins in Christ and by Christ's holy example. [15] Anything further than this external help they utterly denied; and they denied that this external help itself was absolutely necessary, affirming that it only rendered it easier for man to do what otherwise he had plenary ability for doing. Chronologically, this contention seems to have preceded the assertion which must logically lie at its base, of the freedom of man from any taint, corruption, or weakness due to sin. It was in order that they might deny that man needed help, that they denied that Adam's sin had any further effect on his posterity than might arise from his bad example. "Before the action of his own proper will," said Pelagius plainly, "that only is in man which God made." [16] "As we are procreated without virtue," he said, "so also without vice." [17] In a word, "Nothing that is good and evil, on account of which we are either praiseworthy or blameworthy, is born with us,--it is rather done by us; for we are born with capacity for either, but provided with neither." [18] So his later follower, Julian, plainly asserts his "faith that God creates men obnoxious to no sin, but full of natural innocence, and with capacity for voluntary virtues." [19] So intrenched is free will in nature, that, according to Julian, it is "just as complete after sins as it was before sins;" [20] and what this means may be gathered from Pelagius' definition in the "Confession of Faith," that he sent to Innocent: "We say that man is always able both to sin and not to sin, so as that we may confess that we have free will." That sin in such circumstances was so common as to be well-nigh universal, was accounted for by the bad example of Adam and the power of habit, the latter being simply the result of imitation of the former. "Nothing makes well-doing so hard," writes Pelagius to Demetrias, "as the long custom of sins which begins from childhood and gradually brings us more and more under its power until it seems to have in some degree the force of nature (vim naturæ)." He is even ready to allow for the force of habit in a broad way, on the world at large; and so divides all history into progressive periods, marked by God's (external) grace. At first the light of nature was so strong that men by it alone could live in holiness. And it was only when men's manners became corrupt and tarnished nature began to be insufficient for holy living, that by God's grace the Law was given as an addition to mere nature; and by it "the original lustre was restored to nature after its blush had been impaired." And so again, after the habit of sinning once more prevailed among men, and "the law became unequal to the task of curing it," [21] Christ was given, furnishing men with forgiveness of sins, exhortations to imitation of the example and the holy example itself. [22] But though thus a progressive deterioration was confessed, and such a deterioration as rendered desirable at least two supernatural interpositions (in the giving of the law and the coming of Christ), yet no corruption of nature, even by growing habit, is really allowed. It was only an ever-increasing facility in imitating vice which arose from so long a schooling in evil; and all that was needed to rescue men from it was a new explanation of what was right (in the law), or, at the most, the encouragement of forgiveness for what was already done, and a holy example (in Christ) for imitation. Pelagius still asserted our continuous possession of "a free will which is unimpaired for sinning and for not sinning;" and Julian, that "our free will is just as full after sins as it was before sins;" although Augustin does not fail to twit him with a charge of inconsistency. [23]

The peculiar individualism of the Pelagian view of the world comes out strongly in their failure to perceive the effect of habit on nature itself. Just as they conceived of virtue as a complex of virtuous acts, so they conceived of sin exclusively as an act, or series of disconnected acts. They appear not to have risen above the essentially heathen view which had no notion of holiness apart from a series of acts of holiness, or of sin apart from a like series of sinful acts. [24] Thus the will was isolated from its acts, and the acts from each other, and all organic connection or continuity of life was not only overlooked but denied. [25] After each act of the will, man stood exactly where he did before: indeed, this conception scarcely allows for the existence of a "man"--only a willing machine is left, at each click of the action of which the spring regains its original position, and is equally ready as before to reperform its function. In such a conception there was no place for character: freedom of will was all. Thus it was not an unnatural mistake which they made, when they forgot the man altogether, and attributed to the faculty of free will, under the name of "possibilitas" or "posse," the ability that belonged rather to the man whose faculty it is, and who is properly responsible for the use he makes of it. Here lies the essential error of their doctrine of free will: they looked upon freedom in its form only, and not in its matter; and, keeping man in perpetual and hopeless equilibrium between good and evil, they permitted no growth of character and no advantage to himself to be gained by man in his successive choices of good. It need not surprise us that the type of thought which thus dissolved the organism of the man into a congeries of disconnected voluntary acts, failed to comprehend the solidarity of the race. To the Pelagian, Adam was a man, nothing more; and it was simply unthinkable that any act of his that left his own subsequent acts uncommitted, could entail sin and guilt upon other men. The same alembic that dissolved the individual into a succession of voluntary acts, could not fail to separate the race into a heap of unconnected units. If sin, as Julian declared, is nothing but will, and the will itself remained intact after each act, how could the individual act of an individual will condition the acts of men as yet unborn? By "imitation" of his act alone could (under such a conception) other men be affected. And this carried with it the corresponding view of man's relation to Christ. He could forgive us the sins we had committed; He could teach us the true way; He could set us a holy example; and He could exhort us to its imitation. But He could not touch us to enable us to will the good, without destroying the absolute equilibrium of the will between good and evil; and to destroy this was to destroy its freedom, which was the crowning good of our divinely created nature. Surely the Pelagians forgot that man was not made for will, but will for man.

In defending their theory, as we are told by Augustin, there were five claims that they especially made for it. [26] It allowed them to praise as was their due, the creature that God had made, the marriage that He had instituted, the law that He had given, the free will which was His greatest endowment to man, and the saints who had followed His counsels. By this they meant that they proclaimed the sinless perfection of human nature in every man as he was brought into the world, and opposed this to the doctrine of original sin; the purity and holiness of marriage and the sexual appetites, and opposed this to the doctrine of the transmission of sin; the ability of the law, as well as and apart from the gospel, to bring men into eternal life, and opposed this to the necessity of inner grace; the integrity of free will to choose the good, and opposed this to the necessity of divine aid; and the perfection of the lives of the saints, and opposed this to the doctrine of universal sinfulness. Other questions, concerning the origin of souls, the necessity of baptism for infants, the original immortality of Adam, lay more on the skirts of the controversy, and were rather consequences of their teaching than parts of it. As it was an obvious fact that all men died, they could not admit that Adam's death was a consequence of sin lest they should be forced to confess that his sin had injured all men; they therefore asserted that physical death belonged to the very nature of man, and that Adam would have died even had he not sinned. [27] So, as it was impossible to deny that the Church everywhere baptized infants, they could not refuse them baptism without confessing themselves innovators in doctrine; and therefore they contended that infants were not baptized for forgiveness of sins, but in order to attain a higher state of salvation. Finally, they conceived that if it was admitted that souls were directly created by God for each birth, it could not be asserted that they came into the world soiled by sin and under condemnation; and therefore they loudly championed this theory of the origin of souls.

The teachings of the Pelagians, it will be readily seen, easily welded themselves into a system, the essential and formative elements of which were entirely new in the Christian Church; and this startlingly new reading of man's condition, powers, and dependence for salvation, it was, that broke like a thunderbolt upon the Western Church at the opening of the fifth century, and forced her to reconsider, from the foundations, her whole teaching as to man and his salvation.


[1] On the Merits and Remission of Sins, iii. 6, 11, 12; Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, iv. 32; Against Julian, i. 4; On Heresies, 88; and often elsewhere. Jerome found roots for the theory in Origen and Rufinus (Letter 133, 3), but this is a different matter. Compare On Original Sin, 25.

[2] Preface to Book iv. of his work on Jeremiah.

[3] Latin Christianity, i. 166, note 2.

[4] Trois Prem. Siécles, ii. 375.

[5] De Natura Deorum, iii. 36.

[6] History of the Councils of the Church (E.T.), ii. 446, note 3.

[7] Compare the excellent statement in Thomasius' Dogmengeschichte, i. 483.

[8] On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 46; On the Merits and Remission of Sins, iii. 1; Epistle 186, etc.

[9] On Nature and Grace, 1.

[10] Epistle to Demetrias, 16.

[11] Do. 2 and 19.

[12] On the Gift of Perseverance, 53.

[13] On Nature and Grace, 49.

[14] On the Gift of Perseverance, 4; Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, iii. 24; iv. 2 sq.

[15] On the Spirit and the Letter, 4; On Nature and Grace, 53; On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 20, 22, 38; On the Grace of Christ, 2, 3, 8, 31, 42, 45; Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, iv. 11; On Grace and Free Will, 23-26, and often.

[16] On Original Sin, 14.

[17] On Original Sin, 14.

[18] On Original Sin, 14.

[19] The Unfinished Work, iii. 82.

[20] Do. i. 91; compare do. i. 48, 60; ii. 20. "There is nothing of sin in man, if there is nothing of his own will." "There is no original sin in infants at all."

[21] On Original Sin, 30.

[22] On the Grace of Christ, 43.

[23] The Unfinished Work, i. 91; compare 69.

[24] Dr. Matheson finely says (Expositor, i. ix. 21), "There is the same difference between the Chrstian and Pagan idea of prayer as there is between the Christian and Pagan idea of sin. Paganism knows nothing of sin, it knows only sins: it has no conception of the principle of evil, it comprehends only a succession of sinful acts." This is Pelagianism too.

[25] Compare Schaff, Church History, iii. 804; and Thomasius' Dogmengeschichte, i. 487-8.

[26] Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, iii. 25, and iv. at the beginning.

[27] This belongs to the earlier Pelagianism; Julian was ready to admit that death came from Adam, but not sin.


II. The External History of the Pelagian Controversy.

Pelagius seems to have been already somewhat softened by increasing age when he came to Rome about the opening of the fifth century. He was also constitutionally averse to controversy; and although in his zeal for Christian morals, and in his conviction that no man would attempt to do what he was not persuaded he had natural power to perform, he diligently propagated his doctrines privately, he was careful to rouse no opposition, and was content to make what progress he could quietly and without open discussion. His methods of work sufficiently appear in the pages of his "Commentary on the Epistles of Saint Paul," which was written and published during these years, and which exhibits learning and a sober and correct but somewhat shallow exegetical skill. In this work, he manages to give expression to all the main elements of his system, but always introduces them indirectly, not as the true exegesis, but by way of objections to the ordinary teaching, which were in need of discussion. The most important fruit of his residence in Rome was the conversion to his views of the Advocate Coelestius, who brought the courage of youth and the argumentative training of a lawyer to the propagation of the new teaching. It was through him that it first broke out into public controversy, and received its first ecclesiastical examination and rejection. Fleeing from Alaric's second raid on Rome, the two friends landed together in Africa (A.D. 411), whence Pelagius soon afterwards departed for Palestine, leaving the bolder and more contentious [28] Coelestius behind at Carthage. Here Coelestius sought ordination as a presbyter. But the Milanese deacon Paulinus stood forward in accusation of him as a heretic, and the matter was brought before a synod under the presidency of Bishop Aurelius. [29]

Paulinus' charge consisted of seven items, [30] which asserted that Coelestius taught the following heresies: that Adam was made mortal, and would have died, whether he sinned or did not sin; that the sin of Adam injured himself alone, not the human race; that new-born children are in that state in which Adam was before his sin; that the whole human race does not, on the one hand, die on account of the death or the fall of Adam, nor, on the other, rise again on account of the resurrection of Christ; that infants, even though not baptized, have eternal life; that the law leads to the kingdom of heaven in the same way as the gospel; and that, even before the Lord's coming, there had been men without sin. Only two fragments of the proceedings of the synod in investigating this charge have come down to us; [31] but it is easy to see that Coelestius was contumacious, and refused to reject any of the propositions charged against him, except the one which had reference to the salvation of infants that die unbaptized,--the sole one that admitted of sound defence. As touching the transmission of sin, he would only say that it was an open question in the Church, and that he had heard both opinions from Church dignitaries; so that the subject needed investigation, and should not be made the ground for a charge of heresy. The natural result was, that, on refusing to condemn the propositions charged against him, he was himself condemned and excommunicated by the synod. Soon afterwards he sailed to Ephesus, where he obtained the ordination which he sought.

Meanwhile Pelagius was living quietly in Palestine, whither in the summer of 415 a young Spanish presbyter, Paulus Orosius by name, came with letters from Augustin to Jerome, and was invited, near the end of July in that year, to a diocesan synod, presided over by John of Jerusalem. There he was asked about Pelagius and Coelestius, and proceeded to give an account of the condemnation of the latter at the synod of Carthage, and of Augustin's literary refutation of the former. Pelagius was sent for, and the proceedings became an examination into his teachings. The chief matter brought up was his assertion of the possibility of men living sinlessly in this world; but the favour of the bishop towards him, the intemperance of Orosius, and the difficulty of communication between the parties arising from difference of language, combined so to clog proceedings that nothing was done; and the whole matter, as Western in its origin, was referred to the Bishop of Rome for examination and decision. [32]

Soon afterwards two Gallic bishops,--Heros of Arles, and Lazarus of Aix,--who were then in Palestine, lodged a formal accusation against Pelagius with the metropolitan, Eulogius of Cæsarea; and he convened a synod of fourteen bishops which met at Lydda (Diospolis), in December of the same year (415), for the trial of the case. Perhaps no greater ecclesiastical farce was ever enacted than this synod exhibited. [33] When the time arrived, the accusers were prevented from being present by illness, and Pelagius was confronted only by the written accusation. This was both unskilfully drawn, and was written in Latin which the synod did not understand. It was, therefore, not even consecutively read, and was only head by head rendered into Greek by an interpreter. Pelagius began by reading aloud several letters to himself from various men of reputation in the Episcopate,--among them a friendly note from Augustin. Thoroughly acquainted with both Latin and Greek, he was enabled skillfully to thread every difficulty, and pass safely through the ordeal. Jerome called this a "miserable synod," and not unjustly: at the same time it is sufficient to vindicate the honesty and earnestness of the bishops' intentions, that even in such circumstances, and despite the more undeveloped opinions of the East on the questions involved, Pelagius escaped condemnation only by a course of most ingenious disingenuousness, and only at the cost both of disowning Coelestius and his teachings, of which he had been the real father, and of leading the synod to believe that he was anathematizing the very doctrines which he was himself proclaiming. There is really no possibility of doubting, as any one will see who reads the proceedings of the synod, that Pelagius obtained his acquittal here either by a "lying condemnation or a tricky interpretation" [34] of his own teachings; and Augustin is perfectly justified in asserting that the "heresy was not acquitted, but the man who denied the heresy," [35] and who would himself have been anathematized had he not anathematized the heresy.

However obtained, the acquittal of Pelagius was yet an accomplished fact. Neither he nor his friends delayed to make the most widely extended use of their good fortune. Pelagius himself was jubilant. Accounts of the synodal proceedings were sent to the West, not altogether free from uncandid alterations; and Pelagius soon put forth a work In Defence of Free-Will, in which he triumphed in his acquittal and "explained his explanations" at the synod. Nor were the champions of the opposite opinion idle. As soon as the news arrived in North Africa, and before the authentic records of the synod had reached that region, the condemnation of Pelagius and Coelestius was re-affirmed in two provincial synods,--one, consisting of sixty-eight bishops, met at Carthage about midsummer of 416; and the other, consisting of about sixty bishops, met soon afterwards at Mileve (Mila). Thus Palestine and North Africa were arrayed against one another, and it became of great importance to obtain the support of the Patriarchal See of Rome. Both sides made the attempt, but fortune favored the Africans. Each of the North-African synods sent a synodal letter to Innocent I., then Bishop of Rome, engaging his assent to their action: to these, five bishops, Aurelius of Carthage and Augustin among them, added a third "familiar" letter of their own, in which they urged upon Innocent to examine into Pelagius' teaching, and provided him with the material on which he might base a decision. The letters reached Innocent in time for him to take advice of his clergy, and send favorable replies on Jan. 27, 417. In these he expressed his agreement with the African decisions, asserted the necessity of inward grace, rejected the Pelagian theory of infant baptism, and declared Pelagius and Coelestius excommunicated until they should return to orthodoxy. In about six weeks more he was dead: but Zosimus, his successor, was scarcely installed in his place before Coelestius appeared at Rome in person to plead his cause; while shortly afterwards letters arrived from Pelagius addressed to Innocent, and by an artful statement of his belief and a recommendation from Praylus, lately become bishop of Jerusalem in John's stead, attempting to enlist Rome in his favour. Zosimus, who appears to have been a Greek and therefore inclined to make little of the merits of this Western controversy, went over to Coelestius at once, upon his profession of willingness to anathematize all doctrines which the pontifical see had condemned or should condemn; and wrote a sharp and arrogant letter to Africa, proclaiming Coelestius "catholic," and requiring the Africans to appear within two months at Rome to prosecute their charges, or else to abandon them. On the arrival of Pelagius' papers, this letter was followed by another (September, 417), in which Zosimus, with the approbation of the clergy, declared both Pelagius and Coelestius to be orthodox, and severely rebuked the Africans for their hasty judgment. It is difficult to understand Zosimus' action in this matter: neither of the confessions presented by the accused teachers ought to have deceived him, and if he was seizing the occasion to magnify the Roman see, his mistake was dreadful. Late in 417, or early in 418, the African bishops assembled at Carthage, in number more than two hundred, and replied to Zosimus that they had decided that the sentence pronounced against Pelagius and Coelestius should remain in force until they should unequivocally acknowledge that "we are aided by the grace of God, through Christ, not only to know, but to do what is right, in each single act, so that without grace we are unable to have, think, speak, or do anything pertaining to piety." This firmness made Zosimus waver. He answered swellingly but timidly, declaring that he had maturely examined the matter, but it had not been his intention finally to acquit Coelestius; and now he had left all things in the condition in which they were before, but he claimed the right of final judgment to himself. Matters were hastening to a conclusion, however, that would leave him no opportunity to escape from the mortification of an entire change of front. This letter was written on the 21st of March, 418; it was received in Africa on the 29th of April; and on the very next day an imperial decree was issued from Ravenna ordering Pelagius and Coelestius to be banished from Rome, with all who held their opinions; while on the next day, May 1, a plenary council of about two hundred bishops met at Carthage, and in nine canons condemned all the essential features of Pelagianism. Whether this simultaneous action was the result of skillful arrangement, can only be conjectured: its effect was in any case necessarily crushing. There could be no appeal from the civil decision, and it played directly into the hands of the African definition of the faith. The synod's nine canons part naturally into three triads. [36] The first of these deals with the relation of mankind to original sin, and anathematizes in turn those who assert that physical death is a necessity of nature, and not a result of Adam's sin; those who assert that new-born children derive nothing of original sin from Adam to be expiated by the laver of regeneration; and those who assert a distinction between the kingdom of heaven and eternal life, for entrance into the former of which alone baptism is necessary. The second triad deals with the nature of grace, and anathematizes those who assert that grace brings only remission of past sins, not aid in avoiding future ones; those who assert that grace aids us not to sin, only by teaching us what is sinful, not by enabling us to will and do what we know to be right; and those who assert that grace only enables us to do more easily what we should without it still be able to do. The third triad deals with the universal sinfulness of the race, and anathematizes those who assert that the apostles' (1 John i. 8) confession of sin is due only to their humility; those who say that "Forgive us our trespasses" in the Lord's Prayer, is pronounced by the saints, not for themselves, but for the sinners in their company; and those who say that the saints use these words of themselves only out of humility and not truly. Here we see a careful traversing of the whole ground of the controversy, with a conscious reference to the three chief contentions of the Pelagian teachers. [37]

The appeal to the civil power, by whomsoever made, was, of course, indefensible, although it accorded with the opinions of the day, and was entirely approved by Augustin. But it was the ruin of the Pelagian cause. Zosimus found himself forced either to go into banishment with his wards, or to desert their cause. He appears never to have had any personal convictions on the dogmatic points involved in the controversy, and so, all the more readily, yielded to the necessity of the moment. He cited Coelestius to appear before a council for a new examination; but that heresiarch consulted prudence, and withdrew from the city. Zosimus, possibly in the effort to appear a leader in the cause he had opposed, not only condemned and excommunicated the men whom less than six months before he had pronounced "orthodox" after a mature consideration of the matters involved,' but, in obedience to the imperial decree, issued a stringent paper which condemned Pelagius and the Pelagians, and affirmed the African doctrines as to corruption of nature, true grace, and the necessity of baptism. To this he required subscription from all bishops as a test of orthodoxy. Eighteen Italian bishops refused their signature, with Julian of Eclanum, henceforth to be the champion of the Pelagian party, at their head, and were therefore deposed, although several of them afterwards recanted, and were restored. In Julian, the heresy obtained an advocate, who, if aught could have been done for its re-instatement, would surely have proved successful. He was the boldest, the strongest, at once the most acute and the most weighty, of all the disputants of his party. But the ecclesiastical standing of this heresy was already determined. The policy of Zosimus' test act was imposed by imperial authority on North Africa in 419. The exiled bishops were driven from Constantinople by Atticus in 424; and they are said to have been condemned at a Cilician synod in 423, and at an Antiochian one in 424. Thus the East itself was preparing for the final act in the drama. The exiled bishops were with Nestorius at Constantinople in 429; and that patriarch unsuccessfully interceded for them with Coelestine, then Bishop of Rome. The conjunction was ominous. And at the ecumenical synod at Ephesus in 431, we again find the "Coelestians" side by side with Nestorius, sharers in his condemnation.

But Pelagianism did not so die as not to leave a legacy behind it. "Remainders of Pelagianism" [38] soon showed themselves in Southern Gaul, where a body of monastic leaders attempted to find a middle ground on which they could stand, by allowing the Augustinian doctrine of assisting grace, but retaining the Pelagian conception of our self-determination to good. We first hear of them in 428, through letters from two laymen, Prosper and Hilary, to Augustin, as men who accepted original sin and the necessity of grace, but asserted that men began their turning to God, and God helped their beginning. They taught [39] that all men are sinners, and that they derive their sin from Adam; that they can by no means save themselves, but need God's assisting grace; and that this grace is gratuitous in the sense that men cannot really deserve it, and yet that it is not irresistible, nor given always without the occasion of its gift having been determined by men's attitude towards God; so that, though not given on account of the merits of men, it is given according to those merits, actual or foreseen. The leader of this new movement was John Cassian, a pupil of Chrysostom (to whom he attributed all that was good in his life and will), and the fountain-head of Gallic monasticism; and its chief champion at a somewhat later day was Faustus of Rhegium (Riez).

The Augustinian opposition was at first led by the vigorous controversialist, Prosper of Aquitaine, and, in the next century, by the wise, moderate, and good Cæsarius of Arles, who brought the contest to a conclusion in the victory of a softened Augustinianism. Already in 431 a letter was obtained from Pope Coelestine, designed to close the controversy in favor of Augustinianism, and in 496 Pope Gelasius condemned the writings of Faustus in the first index of forbidden books; while, near the end of the first quarter of the sixth century, Pope Hormisdas was appealed to for a renewed condemnation. The end was now in sight. The famous second Synod of Orange met under the presidency of Cæsarius at that ancient town on the 3d of July, 529, and drew up a series of moderate articles which received the ratification of Boniface II. in the following year. In these articles there is affirmed an anxiously guarded Augustinianism, a somewhat weakened Augustinianism, but yet a distinctive Augustinianism; and, so far as a formal condemnation could reach, semi-Pelagianism was suppressed by them in the whole Western Church. But councils and popes can only decree; and Cassian and Vincent and Faustus, despite Cæsarius and Boniface and Gregory, retained an influence among their countrymen which never died away.


[28] On Original Sin, 13.

[29] Early in 412, or, less probably, according to the Ballerini and Hefele 411.

[30] See On Original Sin, 2, 3, 12; On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 23. They are also given by Marius Mercator (Migne, xlviii. 69, 70), and the fifth item (on the salvation of unbaptized infants) omitted,--though apparently by an error.

[31] Preserved by Augustin, On Original Sin, 3, 4.

[32] An account of this synod is given by Orosius himself in his Apology for the Freedom of the Will.

[33] A full account and criticism of the proceedings are given by Augustin in his On the Proceedings of Pelagius.

[34] On Original Sin, 13, at the end.

[35] Augustin's Sermons (Migne, v. 1511).

[36] Compare Canon Bright's Introduction in his Select Anti-Pelagian Treatises, p. xli.

[37] See above, p. xv., and the passages in Augustin cited in note 3.

[38] Prosper's phrase.

[39] Augustin gives their teaching carefully in his On the Predestination of the Saints, 2.


III. Augustin's Part in the Controversy.

Both by nature and by grace, Augustin was formed to be the champion of truth in this controversy. Of a naturally philosophical temperament, he saw into the springs of life with a vividness of mental perception to which most men are strangers; and his own experiences in his long life of resistance to, and then of yielding to, the drawings of God's grace, gave him a clear apprehension of the great evangelic principle that God seeks men, not men God, such as no sophistry could cloud. However much his philosophy or theology might undergo change in other particulars, there was one conviction too deeply imprinted upon his heart ever to fade or alter,--the conviction of the ineffableness of God's grace. Grace,--man's absolute dependence on God as the source of all good,--this was the common, nay, the formative element, in all stages of his doctrinal development, which was marked only by the ever growing consistency with which he built his theology around this central principle. Already in 397,--the year after he became bishop,--we find him enunciating with admirable clearness all the essential elements of his teaching, as he afterwards opposed them to Pelagius. [40] It was inevitable, therefore, that although he was rejoiced when he heard, some years later, of the zealous labours of this pious monk in Rome towards stemming the tide of luxury and sin, and esteemed him for his devout life, and loved him for his Christian activity, he yet was deeply troubled when subsequent rumours reached him that he was "disputing against the grace of God." He tells us over and over again, that this was a thing no pious heart could endure; and we perceive that, from this moment, Augustin was only biding his time, and awaiting a fitting opportunity to join issue with the denier of the Holy of holies of his whole, I will not say theology merely, but life. "Although I was grieved by this," he says, "and it was told me by men whom I believed, I yet desired to have something of such sort from his own lips or in some book of his, so that, if I began to refute it, he would not be able to deny it." [41] Thus he actually excuses himself for not entering into the controversy earlier. When Pelagius came to Africa, then, it was almost as if he had deliberately sought his fate. But circumstances secured a lull before the storm. He visited Hippo; but Augustin was absent, although he did not fail to inform himself on his return that Pelagius while there had not been heard to say "anything at all of this kind." The controversy against the Donatists was now occupying all the energies of the African Church, and Augustin himself was a ruling spirit in the great conference now holding at Carthage with them. While there, he was so immersed in this business, that, although he once or twice saw the face of Pelagius, he had no conversation with him; and although his ears were wounded by a casual remark which he heard, to the effect "that infants were not baptized for remission of sins, but for consecration to Christ," he allowed himself to pass over the matter, "because there was no opportunity to contradict it, and those who said it were not such men as could cause him solicitude for their influence." [42]

It appears from these facts, given us by himself, that Augustin was not only ready for, but was looking for, the coming controversy. It can scarcely have been a surprise to him when Paulinus accused Coelestius (412); and, although he was not a member of the council which condemned him, it was inevitable that he should at once take the leading part in the consequent controversy. Coelestius and his friends did not silently submit to the judgment that had been passed upon their teaching: they could not openly propagate their heresy, but they were diligent in spreading their plaints privately and by subterraneous whispers among the people. [43] This was met by the Catholics in public sermons and familiar colloquies held everywhere. But this wise rule was observed,--to contend against the erroneous teachings, but to keep silence as to the teachers, that so (as Augustin explains [44] ) "the men might rather be brought to see and acknowledge their error through fear of ecclesiastical judgment than be punished by the actual judgment." Augustin was abundant in these oral labours; and many of his sermons directed against Pelagian error have come down to us, although it is often impossible to be sure as to their date. For one of them (170) he took his text from Phil. iii. 6-16, "as touching the righteousness which is by the law blameless; howbeit what things were gain to me, those have I counted loss for Christ." He begins by asking how the apostle could count his blameless conversation according to the righteousness which is from the law as dung and loss, and then proceeds to explain the purpose for which the law was given, our state by nature and under law, and the kind of blamelessness that the law could produce, ending by showing that man can have no righteousness except from God, and no perfect righteousness except in heaven. Three others (174, 175, 176) had as their text 1 Tim. i. 15, 16, and developed its teaching, that the universal sin of the world and its helplessness in sin constituted the necessity of the incarnation; and especially that the necessity of Christ's grace for salvation was just as great for infants as for adults. Much is very forcibly said in these sermons which was afterwards incorporated in his treatises. "There was no reason," he insists, "for the coming of Christ the Lord except to save sinners. Take away diseases, take away wounds, and there is no reason for medicine. If the great Physician came from heaven, a great sick man was lying ill through the whole world. That sick man is the human race" (175, 1). "He who says, I am not a sinner,' or I was not,' is ungrateful to the Saviour. No one of men in that mass of mortals which flows down from Adam, no one at all of men is not sick: no one is healed without the grace of Christ. Why do you ask whether infants are sick from Adam? For they, too, are brought to the church; and, if they cannot run thither on their own feet, they run on the feet of others that they may be healed. Mother Church accommodates others' feet to them so that they may come, others' heart so that they may believe, others' tongue so that they may confess; and, since they are sick by another's sin, so when they are healed they are saved by another's confession in their behalf. Let, then, no one buzz strange doctrines to you. This the Church has always had, has always held; this she has received from the faith of the elders; this she will perseveringly guard until the end. Since the whole have no need of a physician, but only the sick, what need, then, has the infant of Christ, if he is not sick? If he is well, why does he seek the physician through those who love him? If, when infants are brought, they are said to have no sin of inheritance (peccatum propaginis) at all, and yet come to Christ, why is it not said in the church to those that bring them, take these innocents hence; the physician is not needed by the well, but by the sick; Christ came not to call the just, but sinners'? It never has been said, and it never will be said. Let each one therefore, brethren, speak for him who cannot speak for himself. It is much the custom to intrust the inheritance of orphans to the bishops; how much more the grace of infants! The bishop protects the orphan lest he should be oppressed by strangers, his parents being dead. Let him cry out more for the infant who, he fears, will be slain by his parents. Who comes to Christ has something in him to be healed; and he who has not, has no reason for seeking the physician. Let parents choose one of two things: let them either confess that there is sin to be healed in their infants, or let them cease bringing them to the physician. This is nothing else than to wish to bring a well person to the physician. Why do you bring him? To be baptized. Whom? The infant. To whom do you bring him? To Christ. To Him, of course, who came into the world? Certainly, he says. Why did He come into the world? To save sinners. Then he whom you bring has in him that which needs saving?" [45] So again: "He who says that the age of infancy does not need Jesus' salvation, says nothing else than that the Lord Christ is not Jesus to faithful infants; i.e., to infants baptized in Christ. For what is Jesus? Jesus means saviour. He is not Jesus to those whom He does not save, who do not need to be saved. Now, if your hearts can bear that Christ is not Jesus to any of the baptized, I do not know how you can be acknowledged to have sound faith. They are infants, but they are made members of Him. They are infants, but they receive His sacraments. They are infants, but they become partakers of His table, so that they may have life." [46] The preveniency of grace is explicitly asserted in these sermons. In one he says, "Zaccheus was seen, and saw; but unless he had been seen, he would not have seen. For whom He predestinated, them also He called.' In order that we may see, we are seen; that we may love, we are loved. My God, may His pity prevent me!'" [47] And in another, at more length: "His calling has preceded you, so that you may have a good will. Cry out, My God, let Thy mercy prevent me' (Ps. lviii. 11). That you may be, that you may feel, that you may hear, that you may consent, His mercy prevents you. It prevents you in all things; and do you too prevent His judgment in something. In what, do you say? In what? In confessing that you have all these things from God, whatever you have of good; and from yourself whatever you have of evil" (176, 5). "We owe therefore to Him that we are, that we are alive, that we understand: that we are men, that we live well, that we understand aright, we owe to Him. Nothing is ours except the sin that we have. For what have we that we did not receive?" (1 Cor. ix. 7) (176, 6).

It was not long, however, before the controversy was driven out of the region of sermons into that of regular treatises. The occasion for Augustin's first appearance in a written document bearing on the controversy, was given by certain questions which were sent to him for answer by "the tribune and notary" Marcellinus, with whom he had cemented his intimacy at Carthage, the previous year, when this notable official was presiding, by the emperor's orders, over the great conference of the catholics and Donatists. The mere fact that Marcellinus, still at Carthage, where Coelestius had been brought to trial, wrote to Augustin at Hippo for written answers to important questions connected with the Pelagian heresy, speaks volumes for the prominent position he had already assumed in the controversy. The questions that were sent, concerned the connection of death with sin, the transmission of sin, the possibility of a sinless life, and especially infants' need of baptism. [48] Augustin was immersed in abundant labours when they reached him: [49] but he could not resist this appeal, and that the less as the Pelagian controversy had already grown to a place of the first importance in his eyes. The result was his treatise, On the Merits and Remission of Sins and on the Baptism of Infants, consisting of two books, and written in 412. The first book of this work is an argument for original sin, drawn from the universal reign of death in the world (2-8), from the teaching of Rom. v. 12-21 (9-20), and chiefly from the baptism of infants (21-70). [50] It opens by exploding the Pelagian contention that death is of nature, and Adam would have died even had he not sinned, by showing that the penalty threatened to Adam included physical death (Gen. iii. 19), and that it is due to him that we all die (Rom. viii. 10, 11; 1 Cor. xv. 21) (2-8). Then the Pelagian assertion that we are injured in Adam's sin only by its bad example, which we imitate, not by any propagation from it, is tested by an exposition of Rom. v. 12 sq. (9-20). And then the main subject of the book is reached, and the writer sharply presses the Pelagians with the universal and primeval fact of the baptism of infants, as a proof of original sin (21-70). He tracks out all their subterfuges,--showing the absurdity of the assertions that infants are baptized for the remission of sins that they have themselves committed since birth (22), or in order to obtain a higher stage of salvation (23-28), or because of sin committed in some previous state of existence (31-33). Then turning to the positive side, he shows at length that the Scriptures teach that Christ came to save sinners, that baptism is for the remission of sins, and that all that partake of it are confessedly sinners (34 sq.); then he points out that John ii. 7, 8, on which the Pelagians relied, cannot be held to distinguish between ordinary salvation and a higher form, under the name of "the kingdom of God" (58 sq.); and he closes by showing that the very manner in which baptism was administered, with its exorcism and exsufflation, implied the infant to be a sinner (63), and by suggesting that the peculiar helplessness of infancy, so different not only from the earliest age of Adam, but also from that of many young animals, may possibly be itself penal (64-69). The second book treats, with similar fulness, the question of the perfection of human righteousness in this life. After an exordium which speaks of the will and its limitations, and of the need of God's assisting grace (1-6), the writer raises four questions. First, whether it may be said to be possible, by God's grace, for a man to attain a condition of entire sinlessness in this life (7). This he answers in the affirmative. Secondly, he asks, whether any one has ever done this, or may ever be expected to do it, and answers in the negative on the testimony of Scripture (8-25). Thirdly, he asks why not, and replies briefly because men are unwilling, explaining at length what he means by this (26-33). Finally, he inquires whether any man has ever existed, exists now, or will ever exist, entirely without sin,--this question differing from the second inasmuch as that asked after the attainment in this life of a state in which sinning should cease, while this seeks a man who has never been guilty of sin, implying the absence of original as well as of actual sin. After answering this in the negative (34), Augustin discusses anew the question of original sin. Here after expounding from the positive side (35-38) the condition of man in paradise, the nature of his probation, and of the fall and its effects both on him and his posterity, and the kind of redemption that has been provided in the incarnation, he proceeds to answer certain cavils (39 sq.), such as, "Why should children of baptized people need baptism?"--"How can a sin be remitted to the father and held against the child?"--"If physical death comes from Adam, ought we not to be released from it on believing in Christ?"--and concludes with an exhortation to hold fast to the exact truth, turning neither to the right nor left,--neither saying that we have no sin, nor surrendering ourselves to our sin (57 sq.).

After these books were completed, Augustin came into possession of Pelagius' Commentary on Paul's Epistles, which was written while he was living in Rome (before 410), and found it to contain some arguments that he had not treated,--such arguments, he tells us, as he had not imagined could be held by any one. [51] Unwilling to re-open his finished argument, he now began a long supplementary letter to Marcellinus, which he intended to serve as a third and concluding book to his work. He was some time in completing this letter. He had asked to have the former two books returned to him; and it is a curious indication of his overworked state of mind, that he forgot what he wanted with them: [52] he visited Carthage while the letter was in hand, and saw Marcellinus personally; and even after his return to Hippo, it dragged along, amid many distractions, slowly towards completion. [53] Meanwhile, a long letter was written to Honoratus, in which a section on the grace of the New Testament was incorporated. At length the promised supplement was completed. It was professedly a criticism of Pelagius' Commentary, and therefore naturally mentioned his name; but Augustin even goes out of his way to speak as highly of his opponent as he can, [54] --although it is apparent that his esteem is not very high for his strength of mind, and is even less high for the moral quality that led to his odd, oblique way of expressing his opinions. There is even a half sarcasm in the way he speaks of Pelagius' care and circumspection, which was certainly justified by the event. The letter opens by stating and criticising in a very acute and telling dialectic, the new arguments of Pelagius, which were such as the following: "If Adam's sin injured even those who do not sin, Christ's righteousness ought likewise to profit even those who do not believe" (2-4); "No man can transmit what he has not; and hence, if baptism cleanses from sin, the children of baptized parents ought to be free from sin;" "God remits one's own sins, and can scarcely, therefore, impute another's to us; and if the soul is created, it would certainly be unjust to impute Adam's alien sin to it" (5). The stress of the letter, however, is laid upon two contentions,--1. That whatever else may be ambiguous in the Scriptures, they are perfectly clear that no man can have eternal life except in Christ, who came to call sinners to repentance (7); and 2. That original sin in infants has always been, in the Church, one of the fixed facts, to be used as a basis of argument, in order to reach the truth in other matters, and has never itself been called in question before (10-14). At this point, the writer returns to the second and third of the new arguments of Pelagius mentioned above, and discusses them more fully (15-20), closing with a recapitulation of the three great points that had been raised; viz., that both death and sin are derived from Adam's sin by all his posterity; that infants need salvation, and hence baptism; and that no man ever attains in this life such a state of holiness that he cannot truly pray, "Forgive us our trespasses."

Augustin was now to learn that one service often entails another. Marcellinus wrote to say that he was puzzled by what had been said in the second book of this work, as to the possibility of man's attaining to sinlessness in this life, while yet it was asserted that no man ever had attained, or ever would attain, it. How, he asked, can that be said to be possible which is, and which will remain, unexampled? In reply, Augustin wrote, during this same year (412), and sent to his noble friend, another work, which he calls On the Spirit and the Letter, from the prominence which he gives in it to the words of 2 Cor. iii. 6. [55] He did not content himself with a simple, direct answer to Marcellinus' question, but goes at length into a profound disquisition into the roots of the doctrine, and thus gives us, not a mere explanation of a former contention, but a new treatise on a new subject,--the absolute necessity of the grace of God for any good living. He begins by explaining to Marcellinus that he has affirmed the possibility while denying the actuality of a sinless life, on the ground that all things are possible to God,--even the passage of a camel through the eye of a needle, which nevertheless has never occurred (1, 2). For, in speaking of man's perfection, we are speaking really of a work of God,--and one which is none the less His work because it is wrought through the instrumentality of man, and in the use of his free will. The Scriptures, indeed, teach that no man lives without sin, but this is only the proclamation of a matter of fact; and although it is thus contrary to fact and Scripture to assert that men may be found that live sinlessly, yet such an assertion would not be fatal heresy. What is unbearable, is that men should assert it to be possible for man, unaided by God, to attain this perfection. This is to speak against the grace of God: it is to put in man's power what is only possible to the almighty grace of God (3, 4). No doubt, even these men do not, in so many words, exclude the aid of grace in perfecting human life,--they affirm God's help; but they make it consist in His gift to man of a perfectly free will, and in His addition to this of commandments and teachings which make known to him what he is to seek and what to avoid, and so enable him to direct his free will to what is good. What, however, does such a "grace" amount to? (5). Man needs something more than to know the right way: he needs to love it, or he will not walk in it; and all mere teaching, which can do nothing more than bring us knowledge of what we ought to do, is but the letter that killeth. What we need is some inward, Spirit-given aid to the keeping of what by the law we know ought to be kept. Mere knowledge slays: while to lead a holy life is the gift of God,--not only because He has given us will, nor only because He has taught us the right way, but because by the Holy Spirit He sheds love abroad in the hearts of all those whom He has predestinated, and will call and justify and glorify (Rom. viii. 29, 30). To prove this, he states to be the object of the present treatise; and after investigating the meaning of 2 Cor. iii. 6, and showing that "the letter" there means the law as a system of precepts, which reveals sin rather than takes it away, points out the way rather than gives strength to walk in it, and therefore slays the soul by shutting it up under sin,--while "the Spirit" is God's Holy Ghost who is shed abroad in our hearts to give us strength to walk aright,--he undertakes to prove this position from the teachings of the Epistle to the Romans at large. This contention, it will be seen, cut at the very roots of Pelagianism: if all mere teaching slays the soul, as Paul asserts, then all that what they called "grace" could, when alone, do, was to destroy; and the upshot of "helping" man by simply giving him free will, and pointing out the way to him, would be the loss of the whole race. Not that the law is sin: Augustin teaches that it is holy and good, and God's instrument in salvation. Not that free will is done away: it is by free will that men are led into holiness. But the purpose of the law (he teaches) is to make men so feel their lost estate as to seek the help by which alone they may be saved; and will is only then liberated to do good when grace has made it free. "What the law of works enjoins by menace, that the law of faith secures by faith. What the law of works does is to say, Do what I command thee;' but by the law of faith we say to God, Give me what thou commandest.'"(22). [56] In the midst of this argument, Augustin is led to discuss the differentiating characteristics of the Old and New Testaments; and he expounds at length (33-42) the passage in Jer. xxxi. 31-34, showing that, in the prophet's view, the difference between the two covenants is that in the Old, the law is an external thing written on stones; while in the New, it is written internally on the heart, so that men now wish to do what the law prescribes. This writing on the heart is nothing else, he explains, than the shedding abroad by the Holy Spirit of love in our hearts, so that we love God's will, and therefore freely do it. Towards the end of the treatise (50-61), he treats in an absorbingly interesting way of the mutual relations of free will, faith, and grace, contending that all co-exist without the voiding of any. It is by free will that we believe; but it is only as grace moves us, that we are able to use our free will for believing; and it is only after we are thus led by grace to believe, that we obtain all other goods. In prosecuting this analysis, Augustin is led to distinguish very sharply between the faculty and use of free will (58), as well as between ability and volition (53). Faith is an act of the man himself; but only as he is given the power from on high to will to believe, will he believe (57, 60).

By this work, Augustin completed, in his treatment of Pelagianism, the circle of that triad of doctrines which he himself looked upon as most endangered by this heresy, [57] --original sin, the imperfection of human righteousness, the necessity of grace. In his mind, the last was the kernel of the whole controversy; and this was a subject which he could never approach without some heightened fervour. This accounts for the great attractiveness of the present work,--through the whole fabric of which runs the golden thread of the praise of God's ineffable grace. In Canon Bright's opinion, it "perhaps, next to the Confessions,' tells us most of the thoughts of that rich, profound, and affectionate mind' on the soul's relations to its God." [58]

After the publication of these treatises, the controversy certainly did not lull; but it relapsed for nearly three years again, into less public courses. Meanwhile, Augustin was busy, among other most distracting cares (Ep. 145, 1), still defending the grace of God, by letters and sermons. A fair illustration of his state of mind at this time, may be obtained from his letter to Anastasius (145), which assuredly must have been written soon after the treatise On the Spirit and the Letter. Throughout this letter, there are adumbrations of the same train of thought that filled this treatise; and there is one passage which may almost be taken as a summary of it. Augustin is so weary of the vexatious cares that filled his life, that he is ready to long for the everlasting rest, and yet bewails the weakness which allowed the sweetness of external things still to insinuate itself into his heart. Victory over, and emancipation from, this, he asserts, "cannot, without God's grace, be achieved by the human will, which is by no means to be called free so long as it is subject to enslaving lusts." Then he proceeds: "The law, therefore, by teaching and commanding what cannot be fulfilled without grace, demonstrates to man his weakness, in order that the weakness, thus proved, may resort to the Saviour, by whose healing the will may be able to do what it found impossible in its weakness. So, then, the law brings us to faith, faith obtains the Spirit in fuller measure, the Spirit sheds love abroad in us, and love fulfils the law. For this reason the law is called a schoolmaster, under whose threatening and severity whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.' But how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?' Wherefore, that the letter without the Spirit may not kill, the life-giving Spirit is given to those that believe and call upon Him; but the love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us, so that the words of the same apostle, Love is the fulfilling of the law,' may be realized. Thus the law is good to him that uses it lawfully; and he uses it lawfully, who, understanding wherefore it was given, betakes himself, under the pressure of its threatening, to liberating grace. Whoever ungratefully despises this grace by which the ungodly is justified, and trusts in his own strength for fulfilling the law, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish his own righteousness, is not submitting himself to the righteousness of God; and therefore the law is made to him not a help to pardon, but the bond of guilt; not because the law is evil, but because sin,' as it is written, works death to such persons by that which is good.' For by the commandment, he sins more grievously, who, by the commandment, knows how evil are the sins which he commits." Although Augustin states clearly that this letter is written against those "who arrogate too much to the human will, imagining that, the law being given, the will is, of its own strength, sufficient to fulfil the law, though not assisted by any grace imparted by the Holy Ghost, in addition to instruction in the law,"--he refrains still from mentioning the names of the authors of this teaching, evidently out of a lingering tenderness in his treatment of them. This will help us to explain the courtesy of a note which he sent to Pelagius himself at about this time, in reply to a letter he had received some time before from him; of which Pelagius afterwards (at the Synod of Diospolis) made, to say the least of it, an ungenerous use. This note, [59] Augustin tells us, was written with "tempered praises" (wherefrom we see his lessening respect for the man), and so as to admonish Pelagius to think rightly concerning grace,--so far as could be done without raising the dregs of the controversy in a formal note. This he accomplished by praying from the Lord for him, those good things by which he might be good forever, and might live eternally with Him who is eternal; and by asking his prayers in return, that he, too, might be made by the Lord such as he seemed to suppose he already was. How Augustin could really intend these prayers to be understood as an admonition to Pelagius to look to God for what he was seeking to work out for himself, is fully illustrated by the closing words of this almost contemporary letter to Anastasius: "Pray, therefore, for us," he writes, "that we may be righteous,--an attainment wholly beyond a man's reach, unless he know righteousness, and be willing to practise it, but one which is immediately realized when he is perfectly willing; but this cannot be in him unless he is healed by the grace of the Spirit, and aided to be able." The point had already been made in the controversy, that, by the Pelagian doctrine, so much power was attributed to the human will, that no one ought to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

If he was anxious to avoid personal controversy with Pelagius himself in the hope that he might even yet be reclaimed, Augustin was equally anxious to teach the truth on all possible occasions. Pelagius had been intimate, when at Rome, with the pious Paulinus, bishop of Nola; and it was understood that there was some tendency at Nola to follow the new teachings. It was, perhaps, as late as 414, when Augustin made reply in a long letter, [60] to a request of Paulinus' for an exposition of certain difficult Scriptures, which had been sent him about 410. [61] Among them was Rom. xi. 28; and, in explaining it, Augustin did not withhold a tolerably complete account of his doctrine of predestination, involving the essence of his whole teaching as to grace: "For when he had said, according to the election they are beloved for their father's sake,' he added, for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.' You see that those are certainly meant who belong to the number of the predestinated....Many indeed are called, but few chosen;' but those who are elect, these are called according to His purpose;' and it is beyond doubt that in them God's foreknowledge cannot be deceived. These He foreknew and predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the first born among many brethren. But whom He predestinated, them He also called.' This calling is according to His purpose,' this calling is without repentance,'"etc., quoting Rom. v. 28-31. Then continuing, he says, "Those are not in this vocation, who do not persevere unto the end in the faith that worketh by love, although they walk in it a little while....But the reason why some belong to it, and some do not, can easily be hidden, but cannot be unjust. For is there injustice with God? God forbid! For this belongs to those high judgments which, so to say, terrified the wondering apostle to look upon."

Among the most remarkable of the controversial sermons that were preached about this time, especial mention is due to two that were delivered at Carthage, midsummer of 413. The former of these [62] was preached on the festival of John the Baptist's birth (June 24), and naturally took the forerunner for its subject. The nativity of John suggesting the nativity of Christ, the preacher spoke of the marvel of the incarnation. He who was in the beginning, and was the Word of God, and was Himself God, and who made all things, and in whom was life, even this one "came to us. To whom? To the worthy? Nay, but to the unworthy! For Christ died for the ungodly, and for the unworthy, though He was worthy. We indeed were unworthy whom He pitied; but He was worthy who pitied us, to whom we say, For Thy pity's sake, Lord, free us!' Not for the sake of our preceding merits, but for Thy pity's sake, Lord, free us;' and for Thy name's sake be propitious to our sins,' not for our merit's sake....For the merit of sins is, of course, not reward, but punishment." He then dwelt upon the necessity of the incarnation, and the necessity of a mediator between God and "the whole mass of the human race alienated from Him by Adam." Then quoting 1 Cor. iv. 7, he asserts that it is not our varying merits, but God's grace alone, that makes us differ, and that we are all alike, great and small, old and young, saved by one and the same Saviour. "What then, some one says," he continues, "even the infant needs a liberator? Certainly he needs one. And the witness to it is the mother that faithfully runs to church with the child to be baptized. The witness is Mother Church herself, who receives the child for washing, and either for dismissing him [from this life] freed, or nurturing him in piety....Last of all, the tears of his own misery are witness in the child himself....Recognize the misery, extend the help. Let all put on bowels of mercy. By as much as they cannot speak for themselves, by so much more pityingly let us speak for the little ones,"--and then follows a passage calling on the Church to take the grace of infants in their charge as orphans committed to their care, which is in substance repeated from a former sermon. [63] The speaker proceeded to quote Matt. i. 21, and apply it. If Jesus came to save from sins, and infants are brought to Him, it is to confess that they, too, are sinners. Then, shall they be withheld from baptism? "Certainly, if the child could speak for himself, he would repel the voice of opposition, and cry out, Give me Christ's life! In Adam I died: give me Christ's life; in whose sight I am not clean, even if I am an infant whose life has been but one day in the earth.'" "No way can be found," adds the preacher, "of coming into the life of this world except by Adam; no way can be found of escaping punishment in the next world except by Christ. Why do you shut up the one door?" Even John the Baptist himself was born in sin; and absolutely no one can be found who was born apart from sin, until you find one who was born apart from Adam. "By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin, death; and so it passed through upon all men.' If these were my words, could this sentiment be expressed more expressly, more clearly, more fully?"

Three days afterwards, [64] on the invitation of the Bishop of Carthage, Augustin preached a sermon professedly directed against the Pelagians, [65] which takes up the threads hinted at in the former discourse, and develops a full polemic with reference to the baptism of infants. He began, formally enough, with the determination of the question in dispute. The Pelagians concede that infants should be baptized. The only question is, for what are they baptized? We say that they would not otherwise have salvation and eternal life; but they say it is not for salvation, not for eternal life, but for the kingdom of God...."The child, they say, although not baptized, by the desert of his innocence, in that he has no sin at all, either actual or original, either from himself or contracted from Adam, necessarily has salvation and eternal life even if not baptized; but is to be baptized for this reason,--that he may enter into the kingdom of God, i.e., into the kingdom of heaven." He then shows that there is no eternal life outside the kingdom of heaven, no middle place between the right and left hand of the judge at the last day, and that, therefore, to exclude one from the kingdom of God is to consign him to the pains of eternal fire; while, on the other side, no one ascends into heaven unless he has been made a member of Christ, and this can only be by faith,--which, in an infant's case, is professed by another in his stead. He then treats, at length, some of the puzzling questions with which the Pelagians were wont to try the catholics; and then breaking off suddenly, he took a volume in his hands. "I ask you," he said, "to bear with me a little: I will read somewhat. It is St. Cyprian whom I hold in my hand, the ancient bishop of this see. What he thought of the baptism of infants,--nay, what he has shown that the Church always thought,--learn in brief. For it is not enough for them to dispute and argue, I know not what impious novelties: they even try to charge us with asserting something novel. It is on this account that I read here St. Cyprian, in order that you may perceive that the orthodox understanding and catholic sense reside in the words which I have been just now speaking to you. He was asked whether an infant ought to be baptized before he was eight days old, seeing that by the ancient law no infant was allowed to be circumcised unless he was eight days old. A question arose from this as to the day of baptism,--for concerning the origin of sin there was no question; and therefore from this thing of which there was no question, that question that had arisen was settled." And then he read to them the passage out of Cyprian's letter to Fidus, which declared that he, and all the council with him, unanimously thought that infants should be baptized at the earliest possible age, lest they should die in their inherited sin, and so pass into eternal punishment. [66] The sermon closed with a tender warning to the teachers of these strange doctrines: he might call them heretics with truth, but he will not; let the Church seek still their salvation, and not mourn them as dead; let them be exhorted as friends, not striven with as enemies. "They disparage us," he says, "we will bear it; let them not disparage the rule [of faith], let them not disparage the truth; let them not contradict the Church, which labours every day for the remission of infants' original sin. This thing is settled. The errant disputer may be borne with in other questions that have not been thoroughly canvassed, that are not yet settled by the full authority of the Church,--their error should be borne with: it ought not to extend so far, that they endeavour to shake even the very foundation of the Church!" He hints that although the patience hitherto exhibited towards them is "perhaps not blameworthy," yet patience may cease to be a virtue, and become culpable negligence: in the mean time, however, he begs that the catholics should continue amicable, fraternal, placid, loving, long suffering.

Augustin himself gives us a view of the progress of the controversy at this time in a letter written in 414. [67] The Pelagians had everywhere scattered the seeds of their new error; and although some, by his ministry and that of his brother workers, had, "by God's mercy," been cured of their pest, yet they still existed in Africa, especially about Carthage, and were everywhere propagating their opinions in subterraneous whispers, for fear of the judgment of the Church. Wherever they were not refuted, they were seducing others to their following; and they were so spread abroad that he did not know where they would break out next. Nevertheless, he was still unwilling to brand them as heretics, and was more desirous of healing them as sick members of the Church than of cutting them off finally as too diseased for cure. Jerome also tells us that the poison was spreading in both the East and the West, and mentions particularly as seats where it showed itself the islands of Rhodes and Sicily. Of Rhodes we know nothing further; but from Sicily an appeal came to Augustin in 414 from one Hilary, [68] setting forth that there were certain Christians about Syracuse who taught strange doctrines, and beseeching Augustin to help him in dealing with them. The doctrines were enumerated as follows: "They say (1) that man can be without sin, (2) and can easily keep the commandments of God if he will; (3) that an unbaptized infant, if he is cut off by death, cannot justly perish, since he is born without sin; (4) that a rich man that remains in his riches cannot enter the kingdom of God, except he sell all that he has;...(5) that we ought not to swear at all;" (6) and, apparently, that the Church is to be in this world without spot or blemish. Augustin suspected that these Sicilian disturbances were in some way the work of Coelestius, and therefore in his answer [69] informs his correspondent of what had been done at the Synod of Carthage (412) against him. The long letter that he sent back follows the inquiries in the order they were put by Hilary. To the first he replies, in substance, as he had treated the same matter in the second book of the treatise, On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, that it was opposed to Scripture, but was less a heresy than the wholly unbearable opinion that this state of sinlessness could be attained without God's help. "But when they say that free will suffices to man for fulfilling the precepts of the Lord, even though unaided to good works by God's grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit, it is to be altogether anathematized and detested with all execrations. For those who assert this are inwardly alien from God's grace, because being ignorant of God's righteousness, like the Jews of whom the apostle speaks, and wishing to establish their own, they are not subject to God's righteousness, since there is no fulfilment of the law except love; and of course the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, not by ourselves, nor by the force of our own will, but by the Holy Ghost who is given to us." Dealing next with the second point, he drifts into the matter he had more fully developed in his work On the Spirit and the Letter. "Free will avails for God's works," he says, "if it be divinely aided, and this comes by humble seeking and doing; but when deserted by divine aid, no matter how excellent may be its knowledge of the law, it will by no means possess solidity of righteousness, but only the inflation of ungodly pride and deadly arrogance. This is taught us by that same Lord's Prayer; for it would be an empty thing for us to ask God Lead us not into temptation,' if the matter was so placed in our power that we would avail for fulfilling it without any aid from Him. For this free will is free in proportion as it is sound, but it is sound in proportion as it is subject to divine pity and grace. For it faithfully prays, saying, Direct my ways according to Thy word, and let no iniquity reign over me.' For how is that free over which iniquity reigns? But see who it is that is invoked by it, in order that it may not reign over it. For it says not, Direct my ways according to free will because no iniquity shall rule over me,' but Direct my ways according to Thy word, and let no iniquity rule over me.' It is a prayer, not a promise; it is a confession, not a profession; it is a wish for full freedom, not a boast of personal power. For it is not every one who confides in his own power,' but every one who calls on the name of God, that shall be saved.' But how shall they call upon Him,' he says, in whom they have not believed?' Accordingly, then, they who rightly believe, believe in order to call on Him in whom they have believed, and to avail for doing what they receive in the precepts of the law; since what the law commands, faith prays for." "God, therefore, commands continence, and gives continence; He commands by the law, He gives by grace; He commands by the letter, He gives by the spirit: for the law without grace makes the transgression to abound, and the letter without the spirit kills. He commands for this reason,--that we who have endeavoured to do what He commands, and are worn out in our weakness under the law, may know how to ask for the aid of grace; and if we have been able to do any good work, that we may not be ungrateful to Him who aids us." The answer to the third point traverses the ground that was fully covered in the first book of the treatise On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, beginning by opposing the Pelagians to Paul in Rom. v. 12-19: "But when they say that an infant, cut off by death, unbaptized, cannot perish since he is born without sin,--it is not this that the apostle says; and I think that it is better to believe the apostle than them." The fourth and fifth questions were new in this controversy; and it is not certain that they belong properly to it, though the legalistic asceticism of the Pelagian leaders may well have given rise to a demand on all Christians to sell what they had, and give to the poor. This one of the points, Augustin treats at length, pointing out that many of the saints of old were rich, and that the Lord and His apostles always so speak that their counsels avail to the right use, not the destruction, of wealth. Christians ought so to hold their wealth that they are not held by it, and by no means prefer it to Christ. Equal good sense and mildness are shown in his treatment of the question concerning oaths, which he points out were used by the Lord and His apostles, but advises to be used as little as possible lest by the custom of frequent oaths we learn to swear lightly. The question as to the Church, he passes over as having been sufficiently treated in the course of his previous remarks.

To the number of those who had been rescued from Pelagianism by his efforts, Augustin was now to have the pleasure of adding two others, in whom he seems to have taken much delight. Timasius and James were two young men of honorable birth and liberal education, who had, by the exhortation of Pelagius, been moved to give up the hope that they had in this world, and enter upon the service of God in an ascetic life. [70] Naturally, they had turned to him for instruction, and had received a book to which they had given their study. They met somewhere with some of Augustin's writings, however, and were deeply affected by what he said as to grace, and now began to see that the teaching of Pelagius opposed the grace of God by which man becomes a Christian. They gave their book, therefore, to Augustin, saying that it was Pelagius', and asking him for Pelagius' sake, and for the sake of the truth, to answer it. This was done, and the resulting book, On Nature and Grace, sent to the young men, who returned a letter of thanks [71] in which they professed their conversion from their error. In this book, too, which was written in 415, Augustin refrained from mentioning Pelagius by name, [72] feeling it better to spare the man while not sparing his writings. But he tells us, that, on reading the book of Pelagius to which it was an answer, it became clear to him beyond any doubt that his teaching was distinctly anti-Christian; [73] and when speaking of his own book privately to a friend, he allows himself to call it "a considerable book against the heresy of Pelagius, which he had been constrained to write by some brethren whom he had persuaded to adopt his fatal error, denying the grace of Christ." [74] Thus his attitude towards the persons of the new teachers was becoming ever more and more strained, in despite of his full recognition of the excellent motives that might lie behind their "zeal not according to knowledge." This treatise opens with a recognition of the zeal of Pelagius, which, as it burns most ardently against those who, when reproved for sin, take refuge in censuring their nature, Augustin compares with the heathen view as expressed in Sallust's saying, "the human race falsely complains of its own nature," [75] and which he charges with not being according to knowledge, and proposes to oppose by an equal zeal against all attempts to render the cross of Christ of none effect. He then gives a brief but excellent summary of the more important features of the catholic doctrine concerning nature and grace (2-7). Opening the work of Pelagius, which had been placed in his hands, he examines his doctrine of sin, its nature and effects. Pelagius, he points out, draws a distinction, sound enough in itself, between what is "possible" and what is "actual," but applies it unsoundly to sin, when he says that every man has the possibility of being without sin (8-9), and therefore without condemnation. Not so, says Augustin; an infant who dies unbaptized has no possibility of salvation open to him; and the man who has lived and died in a land where it was impossible for him to hear the name of Christ, has had no possibility open to him of becoming righteous by nature and free will. If this be not so, Christ is dead in vain, since all men then might have accomplished their salvation, even if Christ had never died (10). Pelagius, moreover, he shows, exhibits a tendency to deny the sinful character of all sins that are impossible to avoid, and so treats of sins of ignorance as to show that he excuses them (13-19). When he argues that no sin, because it is not a substance, can change nature, which is a substance, Augustin replies that this destroys the Saviour's work,--for how can He save from sins if sins do not corrupt? And, again, if an act cannot injure a substance, how can abstention from food, which is a mere act, kill the body? In the same way sin is not a substance; but God is a substance,--yea, the height of substance, and only true sustenance of the reasonable creature; and the consequence of departure from Him is to the soul what refusal of food is to the body (22). To Pelagius' assertion that sin cannot be punished by more sin, Augustin replies that the apostle thinks differently (Rom. i. 21-31). Then putting his finger on the main point in controversy, he quotes the Scriptures as declaring the present condition of man to be that of spiritual death. "The truth then designates as dead those whom this man declares to be unable to be damaged or corrupted by sin,--because, forsooth, he has discovered sin to be no substance!" (25). It was by free will that man passed into this state of death; but a dead man needs something else to revive him,--he needs nothing less than a Vivifier. But of vivifying grace, Pelagius knew nothing; and by knowing nothing of a Vivifier, he knows nothing of a Saviour; but rather by making nature of itself able to be sinless, he glorifies the Creator at the expense of the Saviour (39). Next is examined Pelagius' contention that many saints are enumerated in the Scriptures as having lived sinlessly in this world. While declining to discuss the question of fact as to the Virgin Mary (42), Augustin opposes to the rest the declaration of John in 1 John i. 8, as final, but still pauses to explain why the Scriptures do not mention the sins of all, and to contend that all who ever were saved under the Old Testament or the New, were saved by the sacrificial death of Christ, and by faith in Him (40-50). Thus we are brought, as Augustin says, to the core of the question, which concerns, not the fact of sinlessness in any man, but man's ability to be sinless. This ability Pelagius affirms of all men, and Augustin denies of all "unless they are justified by the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (51). Thus, the whole discussion is about grace, which Pelagius does not admit in any true sense, but places only in the nature that God has made (52). We are next invited to attend to another distinction of Pelagius', in which he discriminates sharply between the nature that God has made, the crown of which is free will, and the use that man makes of this free will. The endowment of free will is a "capacity;" it is, because given by God in our making, a necessity of nature, and not in man's power to have or not have. It is the right use of it only, which man has in his power. This analysis, Pelagius illustrates at length, by appealing to the difference between the possession and use of the various bodily senses. The ability to see, for instance, he says, is a necessity of our nature; we do not make it, we cannot help having it; it is ours only to use it. Augustin criticises this presentation of the matter with great sharpness (although he is not averse to the analysis itself),--showing the inapplicability of the illustrations used,--for, he asks, is it not possible for us to blind ourselves, and so no longer have the ability to see? and would not many a man like to control the "use" of his "capacity" to hear when a screechy saw is in the neighbourhood? (55); and as well the falsity of the contention illustrated, since Pelagius has ignored the fall, and, even were that not so, has so ignored the need of God's aid for all good, in any state of being, as to deny it (56). Moreover, it is altogether a fallacy, Augustin argues, to contend that men have the "ability" to make every use we can conceive of our faculties. We cannot wish for unhappiness; God cannot deny Himself (57); and just so, in a corrupt nature, the mere possession of a faculty of choice does not imply the ability to use that faculty for not sinning. "Of a man, indeed, who has his legs strong and sound, it may be said admissibly enough, whether he will or not, he has the capacity of walking;' but if his legs be broken, however much he may wish, he has not the capacity.' The nature of which our author speaks is corrupted" (57). What, then, can he mean by saying that, whether we will or not, we have the capacity of not sinning,--a statement so opposite to Paul's in Rom. vii. 15? Some space is next given to an attempted rebuttal by Pelagius of the testimony of Gal. v. 17, on the ground that the "flesh" there does not refer to the baptized (60-70); and then the passages are examined which Pelagius had quoted against Augustin out of earlier writers,--Lactantius (71), Hilary (72), Ambrose (75), John of Constantinople (76), Xystus,--a blunder of Pelagius, who quoted from a Pythagorean philosopher, mistaking him for the Roman bishop Sixtus (57), Jerome (78), and Augustin himself (80). All these writers, Augustin shows, admitted the universal sinfulness of man,--and especially he himself had confessed the necessity of grace in the immediate context of the passage quoted by Pelagius. The treatise closes (82 sq.) with a noble panegyric on that love which God sheds abroad in the heart, by the Holy Ghost, and by which alone we can be made keepers of the law.

The treatise On Nature and Grace was as yet unfinished, when the over-busy [76] scriptorium at Hippo was invaded by another young man seeking instruction. This time it was a zealous young presbyter from the remotest part of Spain, "from the shore of the ocean,"--Paulus Orosius by name, whose pious soul had been afflicted with grievous wounds by the Priscillianist and Origenist heresies that had broken out in his country, and who had come with eager haste to Augustin, on hearing that he could get from him the instruction which he needed for confuting them. Augustin seems to have given him his heart at once; and, feeling too little informed as to the special heresies which he wished to be prepared to controvert, persuaded him to go on to Palestine to be taught by Jerome, and gave him introductions which described him as one "who is in the bond of catholic peace a brother, in point of age a son, and in honour a fellow-presbyter,--a man of quick understanding, ready speech, and burning zeal." His departure to Palestine gave Augustin an opportunity to consult with Jerome on the one point that had been raised in the Pelagian controversy on which he had not been able to see light. The Pelagians had early argued, [77] that, if souls are created anew for men at their birth, it would be unjust in God to impute Adam's sin to them. And Augustin found himself unable either to prove that souls are transmitted (traduced, as the phrase is), or to show that it would not involve God in injustice to make a soul only to make it subject to a sin committed by another. Jerome had already put himself on record as a believer in both original sin and the creation of souls at the time of birth. Augustin feared the logical consequences of this assertion, and yet was unable to refute it. He therefore seized this occasion to send a long treatise on the origin of the soul to his friend, with the request that he would consider the subject anew, and answer his doubts. [78] In this treatise he stated that he was fully persuaded that the soul had fallen into sin, but by no fault of God or of nature, but of its own free will; and asked when could the soul of an infant have contracted the guilt, which, unless the grace of Christ should come to its rescue by baptism, would involve it in condemnation, if God (as Jerome held, and as he was willing to hold with him, if this difficulty could be cleared up) makes each soul for each individual at the time of birth? He professed himself embarrassed on sucha supposition by the penal sufferings of infants, the pains they endured in this life, and much more the danger they are in of eternal damnation, into which they actually go unless saved by baptism. God is good, just, omnipotent: how, then, can we account for the fact that "in Adam all die," if souls are created afresh for each birth? "If new souls are made for men," he affirms, "individually at their birth, I do not see, on the one hand, that they could have any sin while yet in infancy; nor do I believe, on the other hand, that God condemns any soul which He sees to have no sin;" "and yet, whoever says that those children who depart out of this life without partaking of the sacrament of baptism, shall be made alive in Christ, certainly contradicts the apostolic declaration," and "he that is not made alive in Christ must necessarily remain under the condemnation of which the apostle says that by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation." "Wherefore," he adds to his correspondent, "if that opinion of yours does not contradict this firmly grounded article of faith, let it be mine also; but if it does, let it no longer be yours." [79] So far as obtaining light was concerned, Augustin might have spared himself the pain of this composition: Jerome simply answered [80] that he had no leisure to reply to the questions submitted to him. But Orosius' mission to Palestine was big with consequences. Once there, he became the accuser of Pelagius before John of Jerusalem, and the occasion, at least, of the trials of Pelagius in Palestine during the summer and winter of 415 which issued so disastrously, and ushered in a new phase of the conflict.

Meanwhile, however, Augustin was ignorant of what was going on in the East, and had his mind directed again to Sicily. About a year had passed since he had sent thither his long letter to Hilary. Now his conjecture that Coelestius was in some way at the bottom of the Sicilian outbreak, received confirmation from a paper which certain catholic brethren brought out of Sicily, and which was handed to Augustin by two exiled Spanish bishops, Eutropius and Paul. This paper bore the title, Definitions Ascribed to Coelestius, and presented internal evidence, in style and thought, of being correctly so ascribed. [81] It consisted of three parts, in the first of which were collected a series of brief and compressed "definitions," or "ratiocinations" as Augustin calls them, in which the author tries to place the catholics in a logical dilemma, and to force them to admit that man can live in this world without sin. In the second part, he adduced certain passages of Scripture in defence of his doctrine. In the third part, he undertook to deal with the texts that had been quoted against his contention, not, however, by examining into their meaning, or seeking to explain them in the sense of his theory, but simply by matching them with others which he thought made for him. Augustin at once (about the end of 415) wrote a treatise in answer to this, which bears the title of On the Perfection of Man's Righteousness. The distribution of the matter in this work follows that of the treatise to which it is an answer. First of all (1-16), the "ratiocinations" are taken up one by one and briefly answered. As they all concern sin, and have for their object to prove that man cannot be accounted a sinner unless he is able, in his own power, wholly to avoid sin,--that is, to prove that a plenary natural ability is the necessary basis of responsibility,--Augustin argues per contra that man can entail a sinfulness on himself for which and for the deeds of which he remains responsible, though he is no longer able to avoid sin; thus admitting that for the race, plenary ability must stand at the root of sinfulness. Next (17-22) he discusses the passages which Coelestius had advanced in defence of his teachings, viz., (1) passages in which God commands men to be without sin, which Augustin meets by saying that the point is, whether these commands are to be fulfilled without God's aid, in the body of this death, while absent from the Lord (17-20); and (2) passages in which God declares that His commandments are not grievous, which Augustin meets by explaining that all God's commandments are fulfilled only by Love, which finds nothing grievous; and that this love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, without whom we have only fear, to which the commandments are not only grievous, but impossible. Lastly, Augustin patiently follows Coelestius through his odd "oppositions of texts," explaining carefully all that he had adduced, in an orthodox sense (23-42). In closing, he takes up Coelestius' statement, that "it is quite possible for man not to sin even in word, if God so will," pointing out how he avoids saying "if God give him His help," and then proceeds to distinguish carefully between the differing assertions of sinlessness that may be made. To say that any man ever lived, or will live, without needing forgiveness, is to contradict Rom. v. 12, and must imply that he does not need a Saviour, against Matt. ix. 12, 13. To say that after his sins have been forgiven, any one has ever remained without sin, contradicts 1 John i. 8 and Matt. vi. 12. Yet, if God's help be allowed, this contention is not so wicked as the other; and the great heresy is to deny the necessity of God's constant grace, for which we pray when we say, "Lead us not into temptation."

Tidings were now (416) beginning to reach Africa of what was doing in the East. There was diligently circulated everywhere, and came into Augustin's hands, an epistle of Pelagius' own "filled with vanity," in which he boasted that fourteen bishops had approved his assertion that "man can live without sin, and easily keep the commandments if he wishes," and had thus "shut the mouth of opposition in confusion," and "broken up the whole band of wicked conspirators against him." Soon afterwards a copy of an "apologetical paper," in which Pelagius used the authority of the Palestinian bishops against his adversaries, not altogether without disingenuousness, was sent by him to Augustin through the hands of a common acquaintance, Charus by name. It was not accompanied, however, by any letter from Pelagius; and Augustin wisely refrained from making public use of it. Towards midsummer Orosius came with more authentic information, and bearing letters from Jerome and Heros and Lazarus. It was apparently before his coming that a controversial sermon was preached, only a fragment of which has come down to us. [82] So far as we can learn from the extant part, its subject seems to have been the relation of prayer to Pelagianism; and what we have, opens with a striking anecdote: "When these two petitions--Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors,' and Lead us not into temptation'--are objected to the Pelagians, what do you think they reply? I was horrified, my brethren, when I heard it. I did not, indeed, hear it with my own ears; but my holy brother and fellow-bishop Urbanus, who used to be presbyter here, and now is bishop of Sicca," when he was in Rome, and was arguing with one who held these opinions, pressed him with the weight of the Lord's Prayer, and "what do you think he replied to him? We ask God,' he said, not to lead us into temptation, lest we should suffer something that is not in our power,--lest I should be thrown from my horse; lest I should break my leg; lest a robber should slay me, and the like. For these things,' he said, are not in my power; but for overcoming the temptations of my sins, I both have ability if I wish to use it, and am not able to receive God's help.' [83] You see, brethren," the good bishop adds, "how malignant this heresy is: you see how it horrifies all of you. Have a care that you be not taken by it." He then presses the general doctrine of prayer as proving that all good things come from God, whose aid is always necessary to us, and is always attainable by prayer; and closes as follows: "Consider, then, these things, my brethren, when any one comes to you and says to you, What, then, are we to do if we have nothing in our power, unless God gives all things? God will not then crown us, but He will crown Himself.' You already see that this comes from that vein: it is a vein, but it has poison in it; it is stricken by the serpent; it is not sound. For what Satan is doing to-day is seeking to cast out from the Church by the poison of heretics, just as he once cast out from Paradise by the poison of the serpent. Let no one tell you that this one was acquitted by the bishops: there was an acquittal, but it was his confession, so to speak, his amendment, that was acquitted. For what he said before the bishops seemed catholic; but what he wrote in his books, the bishops who pronounced the acquittal were ignorant of. And perchance he was really convinced and amended. For we ought not to despair of the man who perchance preferred to be united to the catholic faith, and fled to its grace and aid. Perchance this was what happened. But, in any event, it was not the heresy that was acquitted, but the man who denied the heresy." [84]

The coming of Orosius must have dispelled any lingering hope that the meaning of the council's finding was that Pelagius had really recanted. Councils were immediately assembled at Carthage and Mileve, and the documents which Orosius had brought were read before them. We know nothing of their proceedings except what we can gather from the letters which they sent [85] to Innocent at Rome, seeking his aid in their condemnation of the heresy now so nearly approved in Palestine. To these two official letters, Augustin, in company with four other bishops, added a third private letter, [86] in which they took care that Innocent should be informed on all the points necessary to his decision. This important letter begins almost abruptly with a characterization of Pelagianism as inimical to the grace of God, and has grace for its subject throughout. It accounts for the action of the Palestinian synod, as growing out of a misunderstanding of Pelagius' words, in which he seemed to acknowledge grace, which these catholic bishops understood naturally to mean that grace of which they read in the Scriptures, and which they were accustomed to preach to their people,--the grace by which we are justified from iniquity, and saved from weakness; while he meant nothing more than that by which we are given free will at our creation. "For if these bishops had understood that he meant only that grace which we have in common with the ungodly and with all, along with whom we are men, while he denied that by which we are Christians and the sons of God, they not only could not have patiently listened to him,--they could not even have borne him before their eyes." The letter then proceeds to point out the difference between grace and natural gifts, and between grace and the law, and to trace out Pelagius' meaning when he speaks of grace, and when he contends that man can be sinless without any really inward aid. It suggests that Pelagius be sent for, and thoroughly examined by Innocent, or that he should be examined by letter or in his writings; and that he be not cleared until he unequivocally confessed the grace of God in the catholic sense, and anathematized the false teachings in the books attributed to him. The book of Pelagius which was answered in the treatise On Nature and Grace was enclosed, with this letter, with the most important passages marked: and it was suggested that more was involved in the matter than the fate of one single man, Pelagius, who, perhaps, was already brought to a better mind; the fate of multitudes already led astray, or yet to be deceived by these false views, was in danger.

At about this same time (417), the tireless bishop sent a short letter [87] to a Hilary, who seems to be Hilary of Norbonne, which is interesting from its undertaking to convey a characterization of Pelagianism to one who was as yet ignorant of it. It thus brings out what Augustin conceived to be its essential features. "An effort has been made," we read, "to raise a certain new heresy, inimical to the grace of Christ, against the Church of Christ. It is not yet openly separated from the Church. It is the heresy of men who dare to attribute so much power to human weakness that they contend that this only belongs to God's grace,--that we are created with free will and the possibility of not sinning, and that we receive God's commandments which are to be fulfilled by us; but, for keeping and fulfilling these commandments, we do not need any divine aid. No doubt, the remission of sins is necessary for us; for we have no power to right what we have done wrong in the past. But for avoiding and overcoming sins in the future, for conquering all temptations with virtue, the human will is sufficient by its natural capacity without any aid of God's grace. And neither do infants need the grace of the Saviour, so as to be liberated by it through His baptism from perdition, seeing that they have contracted no contagion of damnation from Adam." [88] He engages Hilary in the destruction of this heresy, which ought to be "concordantly condemned and anathematized by all who have hope in Christ," as a "pestiferous impiety," and excuses himself for not undertaking its full refutation in a brief letter. A much more important letter was sent off, at about the same time, to John of Jerusalem, who had conducted the first Palestinian examination of Pelagius, and had borne a prominent part in the synod at Diospolis. He sent with it a copy of Pelagius' book which he had examined in his treatise On Nature and Grace, as well as a copy of that reply itself, and asked John to send him an authentic copy of the proceedings at Diospolis. He took this occasion seriously to warn his brother bishop against the wiles of Pelagius, and begged him, if he loved Pelagius, to let men see that he did not so love him as to be deceived by him. He pointed out that in the book sent with the letter, Pelagius called nothing the grace of God except nature; and that he affirmed, and even vehemently contended, that by free will alone, human nature was able to suffice for itself for working righteousness and keeping all God's commandments; whence any one could see that he opposed the grace of God of which the apostles spoke in Rom. vii. 24, 25, and contradicted, as well, all the prayers and benedictions of the Church by which blessings were sought for men from God's grace. "If you love Pelagius, then," he continued, "let him, too, love you as himself,--nay, more than himself; and let him not deceive you. For when you hear him confess the grace of God and the aid of God, you think he means what you mean by it. But let him be openly asked whether he desires that we should pray God that we sin not; whether he proclaims the assisting grace of God, without which we would do much evil; whether he believes that even children who have not yet been able to do good or evil are nevertheless, on account of one man by whom sin entered into the world, sinners in him, and in need of being delivered by the grace of Christ." If he openly denies such things, Augustin would be pleased to hear of it.

Thus we see the great bishop sitting in his library at Hippo, placing his hands on the two ends of the world. That nothing may be lacking to the picture of his universal activity, we have another letter from him, coming from about this same time, that exhibits his care for the individuals who had placed themselves in some sort under his tutelage. Among the refugees from Rome in the terrible times when Alaric was a second time threatening the city, was a family of noble women,--Proba, Juliana, and Demetrias, [89] --grandmother, mother, and daughter,--who, finding an asylum in Africa, gave themselves to God's service, and sought the friendship and counsel of Augustin. In 413 the granddaughter "took the veil" under circumstances that thrilled the Christian world, and brought out letters of congratulation and advice from Augustin and Jerome, and also from Pelagius. This letter of Pelagius seems not to have fallen into Augustin's way until now (416): he was so disturbed by it that he wrote to Juliana a long letter warning her against its evil counsels. [90] It was so shrewdly phrased, that, at first sight, Augustin was himself almost persuaded that it did somehow acknowledge the grace of God; but when he compared it with others of Pelagius' writings, he saw that here, too, he was using ambiguous phrases in a non-natural sense. The object of his letter (in which Alypius is conjoined, as joint author) to Juliana is to warn her and her holy daughter against all opinions that opposed the grace of God, and especially against the covert teaching of the letter of Pelagius to Demetrias. [91] "In this book," he says, "were it lawful for such an one to read it, a virgin of Christ would read that her holiness and all her spiritual riches are to spring from no other source than herself; and thus before she attains to the perfection of blessedness, she would learn--which may God forbid!--to be ungrateful to God." Then, after quoting the words of Pelagius, in which he declares that "earthly riches came from others, but your spiritual riches no one can have conferred on you but yourself; for these, then, you are justly praised, for these you are deservedly to be preferred to others,--for they can exist only from yourself and in yourself," he continues: "Far be it from any virgin to listen to statements like these. Every virgin of Christ understands the innate poverty of the human heart, and therefore declines to be adorned otherwise than by the gifts of her spouse....Let her not listen to him who says, No one can confer them on you but yourself, and they cannot exist except from you and in you:' but to him who says, We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.' And be not surprised that we speak of these things as yours, and not from you; for we speak of daily bread as ours,' but yet add give it to us,' lest it should be thought it was from ourselves." Again, he warns her that grace is not mere knowledge any more than mere nature; and that Pelagius, even when using the word "grace," means no inward or efficient aid, but mere nature or knowledge or forgiveness of past sins; and beseeches her not to forget the God of all grace from whom (Wisdom i. 20, 21) Demetrias had that very virgin continence which was so justly her boast.

With the opening of 417, came the answers from Innocent to the African letters. [92] And although they were marred by much boastful language concerning the dignity of his see, which could not but be distasteful to the Africans, they admirably served their purpose in the satisfactory manner in which they, on the one hand, asserted the necessity of the "daily grace, and help of God," for our good living, and, on the other, determined that the Pelagians had denied this grace, and declared their leaders Pelagius and Coelestius deprived of the communion of the Church until they should "recover their senses from the wiles of the Devil by whom they are held captive according to his will." Augustin may be pardoned for supposing that a condemnation pronounced by two provincial synods in Africa, and heartily concurred in by the Roman bishop, who had already at Jerusalem been recognized as in some sort the fit arbiter of this Western dispute, should settle the matter. If Pelagius had been before jubilant, Augustin found this a suitable time for his rejoicing.

About the same time with Innocent's letters, the official proceedings of the synod of Diospolis at last reached Africa, and Augustin lost no time (early in 417) in publishing a full account and examination of them, thus providing us with that inestimable boon, a full contemporary history of the chief events connected with the controversy up to this time. This treatise, which is addressed to Aurelius, bishop of Carthage, opens with a brief explanation of Augustin's delay heretofore, in discussing Pelagius' defence of himself in Palestine, as due to his not having received the official copy of the Proceedings of the Council at Diospolis (1-2a). Then Augustin proceeds at once to discuss at length the doings of the synod, point by point, following the official record step by step (2b-45). He treats at large here eleven items in the indictment, with Pelagius' answers and the synod's decision, showing that in all of them Pelagius either explained away his heresy, taking advantage of the ignorance of the judges of his books, or else openly repudiated or anathematized it. When the twelfth item of the indictment was reached (41b-43), Augustin shows that the synod was so indignant at its character (it charged Pelagius with teaching that men cannot be sons of God unless they are sinless, and with condoning sins of ignorance, and with asserting that choice is not free if it depends on God's help, and that pardon is given according to merit), that, without waiting for Pelagius' answer, it condemned the statement, and Pelagius at once repudiated and anathematized it (43). How could the synod act in such circumstances, he asks, except by acquitting the man who condemned the heresy? After quoting the final judgment of the synod (44), Augustin briefly characterizes it and its effect (45) as being indeed all that could be asked of the judges, but of no moral weight to those better acquainted than they were with Pelagius' character and writings. In a word, they approved his answers to them, as indeed they ought to have done; but they by no means approved, but both they and he condemned, his heresies as expressed in his writings. To this statement, Augustin appends an account of the origin of Pelagianism, and of his relations to it from the beginning, which has the very highest value as history (46-49); and then speaks of the character and doubtful practices of Pelagius (50-58), returning at the end (59-65) to a thorough canvass of the value of the acquittal which he obtained by such doubtful practices at the synod. He closes with an indignant account of the outrages which the Pelagians had perpetrated on Jerome (66).

This valuable treatise is not, however, the only account of the historical origin of Pelagianism that we have, from Augustin's hands. Soon after the death of Innocent (March 12, 417), he found occasion to write a very long letter [93] to the venerable Paulinus of Nola, in which he summarized both the history of and the arguments against this "worldly philosophy." He begins by saying that he knows Paulinus has loved Pelagius as a servant of God, but is ignorant in what way he now loves him. For he himself not only has loved him, but loves him still, but in different ways. Once he loved him as apparently a brother in the true faith: now he loves him in the longing that God will by His mercy free him from his noxious opinions against God's grace. He is not merely following report in so speaking of him: no doubt report did for a long time represent this of him, but he gave the less heed to it because report is accustomed to lie. But a book of his [94] at last came into his hands, which left no room for doubt, since in it he asserted repeatedly that God's grace consisted of the gift to man of the capacity to will and act, and thus reduced it to what is common to pagans and Christians, to the ungodly and godly, to the faithful and infidels. He then gives a brief account of the measures that had been taken against Pelagius, and passes on to a treatment of the main matters involved in the controversy,--all of which gather around the one magic word of "the grace of God." He argues first that we are all lost,--in one mass and concretion of perdition,--and that God's grace alone makes us to differ. It is therefore folly to talk of deserving the beginnings of grace. Nor can a faithful man say that he merits justification by his faith, although it is given to faith; for at once he hears the words, "what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" and learns that even the deserving faith is the gift of God. But if, peering into God's inscrutable judgments, we go farther, and ask why, from the mass of Adam, all of which undoubtedly has fallen from one into condemnation, this vessel is made for honor, that for dishonor,--we can only say that we do not know more than the fact; and God's reasons are hidden, but His acts are just. Certain it is that Paul teaches that all die in Adam; and that God freely chooses, by a sovereign election, some out of that sinful mass, to eternal life; and that He knew from the beginning to whom He would give this grace, and so the number of the saints has always been fixed, to whom he gives in due time the Holy Ghost. Others, no doubt, are called; but no others are elect, or "called according to his purpose." On no other body of doctrines, can it be possibly explained that some infants die unbaptized, and are lost. Is God unjust to punish innocent children with eternal pains? And are they not innocent if they are not partakers of Adam's sin? And can they be saved from that, save by the undeserved, and that is the gratuitous, grace of God? The account of the Proceedings at the Palestinian synod is then taken up, and Pelagius' position in his latest writings is quoted and examined. "But why say more?" he adds...."Ought they not, since they call themselves Christians, to be more careful than the Jews that they do not stumble at the stone of offence, while they subtly defend nature and free will just like philosophers of this world who vehemently strive to be thought, or to think themselves, to attain for themselves a happy life by the force of their own will? Let them take care, then, that they do not make the cross of Christ of none effect by the wisdom of word (1 Cor. i. 17), and thus stumble at the rock of offence. For human nature, even if it had remained in that integrity in which it was created, could by no means have served its own Creator without His aid. Since then, without God's grace it could not keep the safety it had received, how can it without God's grace repair what it has lost?" With this profound view of the Divine immanence, and of the necessity of His moving grace in all the acts of all his creatures, as over against the heathen-deistic view of Pelagius, Augustin touched in reality the deepest point in the whole controversy, and illustrated the essential harmony of all truth. [95]

The sharpest period of the whole conflict was now drawing on. [96] Innocent's death brought Zosimus to the chair of the Roman See, and the efforts which he made to re-instate Pelagius and Coelestius now began (September, 417). How little the Africans were likely to yield to his remarkable demands, may be seen from a sermon [97] which Augustin preached on the 23d of September, while Zosimus' letter (written on the 21st of September) was on its way to Africa. The preacher took his text from John vi. 54-66. "We hear here," he said, "the true Master, the Divine Redeemer, the human Saviour, commending to us our ransom, His blood. He calls His body food, and His blood drink; and, in commending such food and drink, He says, Unless you eat My flesh, and drink My blood, ye shall have no life in you.' What, then, is this eating and drinking, but to live? Eat life, drink life; you shall have life, and life is whole. This will come,--that is, the body and blood of Christ will be life to every one,--if what is taken visibly in the sacrament is in real truth spiritually eaten and spiritually drunk. But that He might teach us that even to believe in Him is of gift, not of merit, He said, No one comes to Me, except the Father who sent Me draw him.' Draw him, not lead him. This violence is done to the heart, not the flesh. Why do you marvel? Believe, and you come; love, and you are drawn. Think not that this is harsh and injurious violence; it is soft, it is sweet; it is sweetness itself that draws you. Is not the sheep drawn when the succulent herbage is shown to him? And I think that there is no compulsion of the body, but an assembling of the desire. So, too, do you come to Christ; wish not to plan a long journey,--when you believe, then you come. For to Him who is everywhere, one comes by loving, not by taking a voyage. No doubt, if you come not, it is your work; but if you come, it is God's work. And even after you have come, and are walking in the right way, become not proud, lest you perish from it: happy are those that confide in Him,' not in themselves, but in Him. We are saved by grace, not of ourselves: it is the gift of God. Why do I continually say this to you? It is because there are men who are ungrateful to grace, and attribute much to unaided and wounded nature. It is true that man received great powers of free will at his creation; but he lost them by sinning. He has fallen into death; he has been made weak; he has been left half dead in the way, by robbers; the good Samaritan has lifted him up upon his ass, and borne him to the inn. Why should we boast? But I am told that it is enough that sins are remitted in baptism. But does the removal of sin take away weakness too? What! will you not see that after pouring the oil and the wine into the wounds of the man left half dead by the robbers, he must still go to the inn where his weakness may be healed? Nay, so long as we are in this life we bear a fragile body; it is only after we are redeemed from corruption that we shall find no sin, and receive the crown of righteousness. Grace, that was hidden in the Old Testament, is now manifest to the whole world. Even though the Jew may be ignorant of it, why should Christians be enemies of grace? why presumptuous of themselves? why ungrateful to grace? For, why did Christ come? Was not nature already here,--that very nature by the praise of which you are beguiled? Was not the law here? But the apostle says, If righteousness is of the law, then is Christ dead in vain.' What the apostle says of the law, that we say to these men about nature: if righteousness is by nature, then Christ is dead in vain. What then was said of the Jews, this we see repeated in these men. They have a zeal for God: I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and wishing to establish their own, they are not subject to the righteousness of God. My brethren, share my compassion. Where you find such men, wish no concealment; let there be no perverse pity in you: where you find them, wish no concealment at all. Contradict and refute, resist, or persuade them to us. For already two councils have, in this cause, sent letters to the Apostolic See, whence also rescripts have come back. The cause is ended: would that the error might some day end! Therefore we admonish so that they may take notice, we teach so that they may be instructed, we pray so that their way be changed." Here is certainly tenderness to the persons of the teachers of error; readiness to forgive, and readiness to go all proper lengths in recovering them to the truth. But here is also absolute firmness as to the truth itself, and a manifesto as to policy. Certainly, on the lines of the policy here indicated, the Africans fought out the coming campaign. They met in council at the end of this year, or early in the next (418); and formally replied to Zosimus, that the cause had been tried, and was finished, and that the sentence that had been already pronounced against Pelagius and Coelestius should remain in force until they should unequivocally acknowledge that "we are aided by the grace of God through Christ, not only to know, but to do, what is right, and that in each single act; so that without grace we are unable to have, think, speak, or do anything belonging to piety." As we may see Augustin's hand in this, so, doubtless, we may recognize it in that remarkable piece of engineering which crushed Zosimus' plans within the next few months. There is, indeed, no direct proof that it was due to Augustin, or to the Africans under his leading, or to the Africans at all, that the State interfered in the matter; it is even in doubt whether the action of the Empire was put forth as a rescript, or as a self-moved decree: but surely it is difficult to believe that such a coup de théâtrecould have been prepared for Zosimus by chance; and as it is well known, both that Augustin believed in the righteousness of civil penalty for heresy, and invoked it on other occasions, and defended and used it on this, and that he had influential friends at court with whom he was in correspondence, it seems, on internal grounds, altogether probable that he was the Deus ex machinâ who let loose the thunders of ecclesiastical and civil enactment simultaneously on the poor Pope's devoted head.

The "great African Council" met at Carthage, on the 1st of May, 418; and, after its decrees were issued, Augustin remained at Carthage, and watched the effect of the combination of which he was probably one of the moving causes. He had now an opportunity to betake himself once more to his pen. While still at Carthage, at short notice, and in the midst of much distraction, he wrote a large work, in two books which have come down to us under the separate titles of On the Grace of Christ, and On Original Sin, at the instance of another of those ascetic families which formed so marked a feature in those troubled times. Pinianus and Melania, the daughter of Albina, were husband and wife, who, leaving Rome amid the wars with Alaric, had lived in continence in Africa for some time, but now in Palestine had separated, he to become head of a monastery, and she an inmate of a convent. While in Africa, they had lived at Sagaste under the tutelage of Alypius, and in the enjoyment of the friendship and instruction of Augustin. After retiring to Bethlehem, like the other holy ascetics whom he had known in Africa, they kept up their relations with him. Like the others, also, they became acquainted with Pelagius in Palestine, and were well-nigh deceived by him. They wrote to Augustin that they had begged Pelagius to condemn in writing all that had been alleged against him, and that he had replied in the presence of them all, that "he anathematized the man who either thinks or says that the grace of God whereby Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners is not necessary, not only for every hour and for every moment, but also for every act of our lives," and asserted that "those who endeavor to disannul it are worthy of everlasting punishment." [98] Moreover, they wrote that Pelagius had read to them, out of his book that he had sent to Rome, [99] his assertion "that infants ought to be baptized with the same formula of sacramental words as adults." [100] They wrote that they were delighted to hear these words from Pelagius, as they seemed exactly what they had been desirous of hearing; and yet they preferred consulting Augustin about them, before they were fully committed regarding them. [101] It was in answer to this appeal, that the present work was written; the two books of which take up the two points in Pelagius' asseveration,--the theme of the first being "the assistance of the Divine grace towards our justification, by which God co-operates in all things for good to those who love Him, and whom He first loved, giving to them that He may receive from them,"--while the subject of the second is "the sin which by one man has entered the world along with death, and so has passed upon all men." [102]

The first book, On the Grace of Christ, begins by quoting and examining Pelagius' anathema of all those who deny that grace is necessary for every action (2 sq.). Augustin confesses that this would deceive all who were not fortified by knowledge of Pelagius' writings; but asserts that in the light of them it is clear that he means that grace is always necessary, because we need continually to remember the forgiveness of our sins, the example of Christ, the teaching of the law, and the like. Then he enters (4 sq.) upon an examination of Pelagius' scheme of human faculties, and quotes at length his account of them given in his book, In Defence of Free Will, wherein he distinguishes between the possibilitas (posse), voluntas (velle), and actio (esse), and declares that the first only is from God and receives aid from God, while the others are entirely ours, and in our own power. Augustin opposes to this the passage in Phil. ii. 12, 13 (6), and then criticises (7 sq.) Pelagius' ambiguous acknowledgment that God is to be praised for man's good works, "because the capacity for any action on man's part is from God," by which he reduces all grace to the primeval endowment of nature with "capacity" (possibilitas, posse), and the help afforded it by the law and teaching. Augustin points out the difference between law and grace, and the purpose of the former as a pedagogue to the latter (9 sq.), and then refutes Pelagius' further definition of grace as consisting in the promise of future glory and the revelation of wisdom, by an appeal to Paul's thorn in the flesh, and his experience under its discipline (11 sq.). Pelagius' illustrations from our senses, of his theory of natural faculty, are then sharply tested (16); and the criticism on the whole doctrine is then made and pressed (17 sq.), that it makes God equally sharer in our blame for evil acts as in our praise for good ones, since if God does help, and His help is only His gift to us of ability to act in either part, then He has equally helped to the evil deeds as to the good. The assertion that this "capacity of either part" is the fecund root of both good and evil is then criticised (19 sq.), and opposed to Matt. vii. 18, with the result of establishing that we must seek two roots in our dispositions for so diverse results,--covetousness for evil, and love for good,--not a single root for both in nature. Man's "capacity," it is argued, is the root of nothing; but it is capable of both good and evil according to the moving cause, which, in the case of evil, is man-originated, while, in the case of good, it is from God (21). Next, Pelagius' assertion that grace is given according to our merits (23 sq.) is taken up and examined. It is shown, that, despite his anathema, Pelagius holds to this doctrine, and in so extreme a form as explicitly to declare that man comes and cleaves to God by his freedom of will alone, and without God's aid. He shows that the Scriptures teach just the opposite (24-26); and then points out how Pelagius has confounded the functions of knowledge and love (27 sq.), and how he forgets that we cannot have merits until we love God, while John certainly asserts that God loved us first (1 John iv. 10). The representation that what grace does is to render obedience easier (28-30), and the twin view that prayer is only relatively necessary, are next criticised (32). That Pelagius never acknowledges real grace, is then demonstrated by a detailed examination of all that he had written on the subject (31-45). The book closes (46-80) with a full refutation of Pelagius' appeal to Ambrose, as if he supported him; and exhibition of Ambrose's contrary testimony as to grace and its necessity.

The object of the second book--On Original Sin--is to show, that, in spite of Pelagius' admissions as to the baptism of infants, he yet denies that they inherit original sin and contends that they are born free from corruption. The book opens by pointing out that there is no question as to Coelestius' teaching in this matter (2-8), as he at Carthage refused to condemn those who say that Adam's sin injured no one but himself, and that infants are born in the same state that Adam was in before the fall, and openly asserted at Rome that there is no sin ex traduce. As for Pelagius, he is simply more cautious and mendacious than Coelestius: he deceived the Council at Diospolis, but failed to deceive the Romans (5-13), and, as a matter of fact (14-18), teaches exactly what Coelestius does. In support of this assertion, Pelagius' Defence of Free Will is quoted, wherein he asserts that we are born neither good nor bad, "but with a capacity for either," and "as without virtue, so without vice; and previous to the action of our own proper will, that that alone is in man which God has formed" (14). Augustin also quotes Pelagius' explanation of his anathema against those who say Adam's sin injured only himself, as meaning that he has injured man by setting a bad "example," and his even more sinuous explanation of his anathema against those who assert that infants are born in the same condition that Adam was in before he fell, as meaning that they are infants and he was a man! (16-18). With this introduction to them, Augustin next treats of Pelagius' subterfuges (19-25), and then animadverts on the importance of the issue (26-37), pointing out that Pelagianism is not a mere error, but a deadly heresy, and strikes at the very centre of Christianity. A counter argument of the Pelagians is then answered (38-45), "Does not the doctrine of original sin make marriage an evil thing?" No, says Augustin, marriage is ordained by God, and is good; but it is a diseased good, and hence what is born of it is a good nature made by God, but this good nature in a diseased condition,--the result of the Devil's work. Hence, if it be asked why God's gift produces any thing for the Devil to take possession of, it is to be answered that God gives his gifts liberally (Matt. v. 45), and makes men; but the Devil makes these men sinners (46). Finally, as Ambrose had been appealed to in the former book, so at the end of this it is shown that he openly proclaimed the doctrine of original sin, and here too, before Pelagius, condemned Pelagius (47 sq.).

What Augustin means by writing to Pinianus and his family that he was more oppressed by work at Carthage than anywhere else, may perhaps be illustrated from his diligence in preaching while in that capital. He seems to have been almost constantly in the pulpit, during this period "of the sharpest conflict with them," [103] preaching against the Pelagians. There is one series of his sermons, of the exact dates of which we can be pretty sure, which may be adverted to here,--Sermons 151 and 152, preached early in October, 418; Sermon 155 on Oct. 14, 156 on Oct.17, and 26 on Oct. 18; thus following one another almost with the regularity of the days. The first of these was based on Rom. vii. 15-25, which he declares to contain dangerous words if not properly understood; for men are prone to sin, and when they hear the apostle so speaking they do evil, and think they are like him. They are meant to teach us, however, that the life of the just in this body is a war, not yet a triumph: the triumph will come only when death is swallowed up in victory. It would, no doubt, be better not to have an enemy than even to conquer. It would be better not to have evil desires: but we have them; therefore, let us not go after them. If they rebel against us, let us rebel against them; if they fight, let us fight; if they besiege, let us besiege: let us look only to this, that they do not conquer. With some evil desires we are born: others we make, by bad habit. It is on account of those with which we are born, that infants are baptized; that they may be freed from the guilt of inheritance, not from any evil of custom, which, of course, they have not. And it is on account of these, too, that our war must be endless: the concupiscence with which we are born cannot be done away as long as we live; it may be diminished, but not done away. Neither can the law free us, for it only reveals the sin to our greater apprehension. Where, then, is hope, save in the superabundance of grace? The next sermon (152) takes up the words in Rom. viii. 1-4, and points out that the inward aid of the Spirit brings all the help we need. "We, like farmers in the field, work from without: but, if there were no one who worked from within, the seed would not take root in the ground, nor would the sprout arise in the field, nor would the shoot grow strong and become a tree, nor would branches and fruit and leaves be produced. Therefore the apostle distinguishes between the work of the workmen and of the Creator (1 Cor. iii. 6, 7). If God give not the increase, empty is this sound within your ears; but if he gives, it avails somewhat that we plant and water, and our labor is not in vain." He then applies this to the individual, striving against his lusts; warns against Manichean error; and distinguishes between the three laws,--the law of sin, the law of faith, and the law of deeds,--defending the latter, the law of Moses, against the Manicheans; and then he comes to the words of the text, and explains its chief phrases, closing thus: "What other do we read here than that Christ is a sacrifice for sin?...Behold by what sin' he condemned sin: by the sacrifice which he made for sins, he condemned sin. This is the law of the Spirit of life which has freed you from the law of sin and death. For that other law, the law of the letter, the law that commands, is indeed good; the commandment is holy and just and good:' but it was weak by the flesh,' and what it commanded it could not bring about in us. Therefore there is one law, as I began by saying, that reveals sin to you, and another that takes it away: the law of the letter reveals sin, the law of grace takes it away." Sermon 155 covers the same ground, and more, taking the broader text, Rom. viii. 1-11, and fully developing its teaching, especially as discriminating between the law of sin and the law of Moses and the law of faith; the law of Moses being the holy law of God written with His finger on the tables of stone, while the law of the Spirit of life is nothing other than the same law written in the heart, as the prophet (Jer. xxx. 1, 33) clearly declares. So written, it does not terrify from without, but soothes from within. Great care is also taken, lest by such phrases as, "walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh," "who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" a hatred of the body should be begotten. "Thus you shall be freed from the body of this death, not by having no body, but by having another one and dying no more. If, indeed, he had not added, of this death,' perchance an error might have been suggested to the human mind, and it might have been said, You see that God does not wish us to have a body.' But He says, the body of this death.' Take away death, and the body is good. Let our last enemy, death, be taken away, and my dear flesh will be mine for eternity. For no one can ever hate his own flesh.' Although the spirit lusts against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit,' although there is now a battle in this house, yet the husband is seeking by his strife not the ruin of, but concord with, his wife. Far be it, far be it, my brethren, that the spirit should hate the flesh in lusting against it! It hates the vices of the flesh; it hates the wisdom of the flesh; it hates the contention of death. This corruption shall put on incorruption,--this mortal shall put on immortality; it is sown a natural body; it shall rise a spiritual body; and you shall see full and perfect concord,--you shall see the creature praise the Creator." One of the special interests of such passages is to show, that, even at this early date, Augustin was careful to guard his hearers from Manichean error while proclaiming original sin. One of the sermons which, probably, was preached about this time (153), is even entitled, "Against the Manicheans openly, but tacitly against the Pelagians," and bears witness to the early development of the method that he was somewhat later to use effectively against Julian's charges of Manicheanism against the catholics. [104] Three days afterwards, Augustin preached on the next few verses, Rom. viii. 12-17, but can scarcely be said to have risen to the height of its great argument. The greater part of the sermon is occupied with a discussion of the law, why it was given, how it is legitimately used, and its usefulness as a pedagogue to bring us to Christ; then of the need of a mediator; and then, of what it is to live according to the flesh, which includes living according to merely human nature; and the need of mortifying the flesh in this world. All this, of course, gave full opportunity for opposing the leading Pelagian errors; and the sermon is brought to a close by a direct polemic against their assertion that the function of grace is only to make it more easy to do what is right. "With the sail more easily, with the oar with more difficulty: nevertheless even with the oar we can go. On a beast more easily, on foot with more difficulty: nevertheless progress can be made on foot. It is not true! For the true Master who flatters no one, who deceives no one,--the truthful Teacher and very Saviour to whom the most grievous pedagogue has led us,--when he was speaking about good works, i.e., about the fruits of the twigs and branches, did not say, Without me, indeed, you can do something, but you will do it more easily with me;' He did not say, You can make your fruit without me, but more richly with me.' He did not say this! Read what He said: it is the holy gospel,--bow the proud necks! Augustin does not say this: the Lord says it. What says the Lord? Without me you can do nothing!'" On the very next day, he was again in the pulpit, and taking for his text chiefly the ninety-fourth Psalm. [105] The preacher began [106] by quoting the sixth verse, and laying stress on the words "our Maker." No Christian,' he said, doubted that God had made him, and that in such a sense that God created not only the first man, from whom all have descended, but that God to-day creates every man,--as He said to one of His saints, "Before that I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee." At first He created man apart from man; now He creates man from man: nevertheless, whether man apart from man, or man from man, "it is He that made us, and not we ourselves." Nor has He made us and then deserted us; He has not cared to make us, and not cared to keep us. Will He who made us without being asked, desert us when He is besought? But is it not just as foolish to say, as some say or are ready to say, that God made them men, but they make themselves righteous? Why, then, do we pray to God to make us righteous? The first man was created in a nature that was without fault or flaw. He was made righteous: he did not make himself righteous; what he did for himself was to fall and break his righteousness. This God did not do: He permitted it, as if He had said, "Let him desert Me; let him find himself; and let his misery prove that he has no ability without Me." In this way God wished to show man what free will was worth without God. O evil free will without God! Behold, man was made good; and by free will man was made evil! When will the evil man make himself good by free will? When good, he was not able to keep himself good; and now that he is evil, is he to make himself good? Nay, behold, He that made us has also made us "His people" (Ps. xciv. 7). This is a distinguishing gift. Nature is common to all, but grace is not. It is not to be confounded with nature; but if it were, it would still be gratuitous. For certainly no man, before he existed, deserved to come into existence. And yet God has made him, and that not like the beasts or a stock or a stone, but in His own image. Who has given this benefit? He gave it who was in existence: he received it who was not. And only He could do this, who calls the things that are not as though they were: of whom the apostle says that "He chose us before the foundation of the world." We have been made in this world, and yet the world was not when we were chosen. Ineffable! wonderful! They are chosen who are not: neither does He err in choosing, nor choose in vain. He chooses, and has elect whom He is to create to be chosen: He has them in Himself; not indeed in His nature, but in His prescience. Let us not, then, glory in ourselves, or dispute against grace. If we are men, He made us. If we are believers, He made us this too. He who sent the Lamb to be slain has, out of wolves, made us sheep. This is grace. And it is an even greater grace than that grace of nature by which we were all made men.' "I am continually endeavouring to discuss such things as these," said the preacher, "against a new heresy which is attempting to rise; because I wish you to be fixed in the good, untouched by the evil....For, disputing against grace in favor of free will, they became an offence to pious and catholic ears. They began to create horror; they began to be avoided as a fixed pest; it began to be said of them, that they argued against grace. And they found such a device as this: Because I defend man's free will, and say that free will is sufficient in order that I may be righteous,' says one, I do not say that it is without the grace of God.' The ears of the pious are pricked up, and he who hears this, already begins to rejoice: Thanks be to God! He does not defend free will without the grace of God! There is free will, but it avails nothing without the grace of God.' If, then, they do not defend free will without the grace of God, what evil do they say? Expound to us, O teacher, what grace you mean? When I say,' he says, the free will of man, you observe that I say "of man"?' What then? Who created man?' God. Who gave him free will?' God. If, then, God created man, and God gave man free will, whatever man is able to do by free will, to whose grace does he owe it, except to His who made him with free will?' And this is what they think they say so acutely! You see, nevertheless, my brethren, how they preach that general grace by which we were created and by which we are men; and, of course, we are men in common with the ungodly, and are Christians apart from them. It is this grace by which we are Christians, that we wish them to preach, this that we wish them to acknowledge, this that we wish,--of which the apostle says, I do not make void the grace of God, for if righteousness is by the law, Christ is dead in vain.'" Then the true function of the law is explained, as a revealer of our sinfulness, and a pedagogue to lead us to Christ: the Manichean view of the Old Testament law is attacked, but its insufficiency for salvation is pointed out; and so we are brought back to the necessity of grace, which is illustrated from the story of the raising of the dead child in 2 Kings iv. 18-37,--the dead child being Adam; the ineffective staff (by which we ought to walk), the law; but the living prophet, Christ with his grace, which we must preach. "The prophetic staff was not enough for the dead boy: would dead nature itself have been enough? Even this, by which we are made, although we nowhere read of it under this name, we nevertheless, because it is given gratuitously, confess to be grace. But we show to you a greater grace than this, by which we are Christians....This is the grace by Jesus Christ our Lord: it was He that made us,--both before we were at all, it was He that made us, and now, after we are made, it is He that has made us all righteous,--and not we ourselves." There was but one mass of perdition from Adam, to which nothing was due but punishment; and from that mass vessels have been made unto honor. "Rejoice because you have escaped; you have escaped the death that was due,--you have received the life that was not due. But,' you ask, why did He make me unto honor, and another unto dishonor?' Will you who will not hear the apostle saying, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?' hear Augustin?...Do you wish to dispute with me? Nay, wonder with me, and cry out with me, Oh the depth of the riches!' Let us both be afraid,--let us both cry out, Oh the depth of the riches!' Let us both agree in fear, lest we perish in error."

Augustin was not less busy with his pen, during these months, than with his voice. Quite a series of letters belong to the last half of 418, in which he argues to his distant correspondents on the same themes which he was so iterantly trying to make clear to his Carthaginian auditors. One of the most interesting of these was written to a fellow-bishop, Optatus, on the origin of the soul. [107] Optatus, like Jerome, had expressed himself as favoring the theory of a special creation of each at birth; and Augustin, in this letter as in the paper sent to Jerome, lays great stress on so holding our theories on so obscure a matter as to conform to the indubitable fact of the transmission of sin. This fact, such passages as 1 Cor. xv. 21 sq., Rom. v. 12 sq., make certain; and in stating this, Augustin takes the opportunity to outline the chief contents of the catholic faith over against the Pelagian denial of original sin and grace: that all are born under the contagion of death and in the bond of guilt; that there is no deliverance except in the one Mediator, Christ Jesus; that before His coming men received him as promised, now as already come, but with the same faith; that the law was not intended to save, but to shut up under sin and so force us back upon the one Saviour; and that the distribution of grace is sovereign. Augustin pries into God's sovereign counsels somewhat more freely here than is usual with him. "But why those also are created who, the Creator foreknew, would belong to damnation, not to grace, the blessed apostle mentions with as much succinct brevity as great authority. For he says that God, wishing to show His wrath and demonstrate His power,' etc. (Rom. ix. 22). Justly, however, would he seem unjust in forming vessels of wrath for perdition, if the whole mass from Adam were not condemned. That, therefore, they are made on birth vessels of anger, belongs to the punishment due to them; but that they are made by re-birth vessels of mercy, belongs to the grace that is not due to them. God, therefore, shows his wrath,--not, of course, perturbation of mind, such as is called wrath among men, but a just and fixed vengeance....He shows also his power, by which he makes a good use of evil men, and endows them with many natural and temporal goods, and bends their evil to admonition and instruction of the good by comparison with it, so that these may learn from them to give thanks to God that they have been made to differ from them, not by their own deserts which were of like kind in the same mass, but by His pity....But by creating so many to be born who, He foreknew, would not belong to his grace, so that they are more by an incomparable multitude than those whom he deigned to predestinate as children of the promise into the glory of His Kingdom,--He wished to show by this very multitude of the rejected how entirely of no moment it is to the just God what is the multitude of those most justly condemned. And that hence also those who are redeemed from this condemnation may understand, that what they see rendered to so great a part of the mass was the due of the whole of it,--not only of those who add many others to original sin, by the choice of an evil will, but as well of so many children who are snatched from this life without the grace of the Mediator, bound by no bond except that of original sin alone." With respect to the question more immediately concerning which the letter was written, Augustin explains that he is willing to accept the opinion that souls are created for men as they are born, if only it can be made plain that it is consistent with the original sin that the Scriptures so clearly teach. In the paper sent to Jerome, the difficulties of creationism are sufficiently urged; this letter is interesting on account of its statement of some of the difficulties of traducianism also,--thus evidencing Augustin's clear view of the peculiar complexity of the problem, and justifying his attitude of balance and uncertainty between the two theories. The human understanding,' he says, can scarcely comprehend how a soul arises from a parent's soul in the offspring; or is transmitted to the offspring as a candle is lighted from a candle and thence another fire comes into existence without loss to the former one. Is there an incorporeal seed for the soul, which passes, by some hidden and invisible channel of its own, from the father to the mother, when it is conceived in the woman? Or, even more incredible, does it lie enfolded and hidden within the corporeal seed?' He is lost in wonder over the question whether, when conception does not take place, the immortal seed of an immortal soul perishes; or, does the immortality attach itself to it only when it lives? He even expresses the doubt whether traducianism will explain what it is called in to explain, much better than creationism; in any case, who denies that God is the maker of every soul? Isaiah (lvii. 16) says, "I have made every breath;" and the only question that can arise is as to method,--whether He "makes every breath from the one first breath, just as He makes every body of man from the one first body; or whether he makes new bodies indeed, from the one body, but new souls out of nothing." Certainly nothing but Scripture can determine such a question; but where do the Scriptures speak unambiguously upon it? The passages to which the creationists point only affirm the admitted fact that God makes the soul; and the traducianists forget that the word "soul" in the Scriptures is ambiguous, and can mean "man," and even a "dead man." What more can be done, then, than to assert what is certain, viz., that sin is propagated, and leave what is uncertain in the doubt in which God has chosen to place it?

This letter was written not long after the issue of Zosimus' Tractoria, demanding the signature of all to African orthodoxy; and Augustin sends Optatus "copies of the recent letters which have been sent forth from the Roman see, whether specially to the African bishops or generally to all bishops," on the Pelagian controversy, "lest perchance they had not yet reached" his correspondent, who, it is very evident, he was anxious should thoroughly realize "that the authors, or certainly the most energetic and noted teachers," of these new heresies, "had been condemned in the whole Christian world by the vigilance of episcopal councils aided by the Saviour who keeps His Church, as well as by two venerable overseers of the Apostolical see, Pope Innocent and Pope Zosimus, unless they should show repentance by being convinced and reformed." To this zeal we owe it that the letter contains an extract from Zosimus' Tractoria, one of the two brief fragments of that document that have reached our day.

There was another ecclesiastic in Rome, besides Zosimus, who was strongly suspected of favoring the Pelagians,--the presbyter Sixtus, who afterwards became Pope Sixtus III. But when Zosimus sent forth his condemnation of Pelagianism, Sixtus sent also a short letter to Africa addressed to Aurelius of Carthage, which, though brief, indicated a considerable vigor against the heresy which he was commonly believed to have before defended, [108] and which claimed him as its own. [109] Some months afterwards, he sent another similar, but longer, letter to Augustin and Alypius, more fully expounding his rejection of "the fatal dogma" of Pelagius, and his acceptance of "that grace of God freely given by Him to small and great, to which Pelagius' dogma was diametrically opposed." Augustin was overjoyed with these developments. He quickly replied in a short letter [110] in which he expresses the delight he has in learning from Sixtus' own hand that he is not a defender of Pelagius, but a preacher of grace. And close upon the heels of this he sent another much longer letter, [111] in which he discusses the subtler arguments of the Pelagians with an anxious care that seems to bear witness to his desire to confirm and support his correspondent in his new opinions. Both letters testify to Augustin's approval of the persecuting measures which had been instituted by the Roman see in obedience to the emperor; and urge on Sixtus his duty not only to bring the open heretics to deserved punishment, but to track out those who spread their poison secretly, and even to remember those whom he had formerly heard announcing the error before it had been condemned, and who were now silent through fear, and to bring them either to open recantation of their former beliefs, or to punishment. It is pleasanter to recall our thoughts to the dialectic of these letters. The greater part of the second is given to a discussion of the gratuitousness of grace, which, just because grace, is given to no preceding merits. Many subtle objections to this doctrine were brought forward by the Pelagians. They said that "free will was taken away if we asserted that man did not have even a good will without the aid of God;" that we made "God an accepter of persons, if we believed that without any preceding merits He had mercy on whom He would, and whom He would He called, and whom He would He made religious;" that "it was unjust, in one and the same case, to deliver one and punish another;" that, if such a doctrine is preached, "men who do not wish to live rightly and faithfully, will excuse themselves by saying that they have done nothing evil by living ill, since they have not received the grace by which they might live well;" that it is a puzzle "how sin can pass over to the children of the faithful, when it has been remitted to the parents in baptism;" that "children respond truly by the mouth of their sponsors that they believe in remission of sins, but not because sins are remitted to them, but because they believe that sins are remitted in the church or in baptism to those in whom they are found, not to those in whom they do not exist," and consequently they said that "they were unwilling that infants should be so baptized unto remission of sins as if this remission took place in them," for (they contend) "they have no sin; but they are to be baptized, although without sin, with the same rite of baptism through which remission of sins takes place in any that are sinners." This last objection is especially interesting [112] because it furnishes us with the reply which the Pelagians made to the argument that Augustin so strongly pressed against them from the very act and ritual of baptism, as implying remission of sins. [113] His rejoinder to it here is to point to the other parts of the same ritual, and to ask why, then, infants are exorcised and exsufflated in baptism. "For, it cannot be doubted that this is done fictitiously, if the Devil does not rule over them; but if he rules over them, and they are therefore not falsely exorcised and exsufflated, why does that prince of sinners rule over them except because of sin?" On the fundamental matter of the gratuitousness of grace, this letter is very explicit. "If we seek for the deserving of hardening, we shall find it....But if we seek for the deserving of pity, we shall not find it; for there is none, lest grace be made a vanity if it is not given gratis, but rendered to merits. But, should we say that faith preceded and in it there is desert of grace, what desert did man have before faith that he should receive faith? For, what did he have that he did not receive? and if he received it, why does he glory as if he received it not? For as man would not have wisdom, understanding, prudence, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of God, unless he had received (according to the prophet) the spirit of wisdom and understanding, of prudence and fortitude, of knowledge and piety and the fear of God; as he would not have justice, love, continence, except the spirit was received of whom the apostle says, For you did not receive the spirit of fear, but of virtue, and love, and continence:' so he would not have faith unless he received the spirit of faith of whom the same apostle says, Having then the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore spoke," we too believe and therefore speak.' But that He is not received by desert, but by His mercy who has mercy on whom He will, is manifestly shown where he says of himself, I have obtained mercy to be faithful.'" "If we should say that the merit of prayer precedes, that the gift of grace may follow,...even prayer itself is found among the gifts of grace" (Rom. viii. 26). "It remains, then, that faith itself, whence all righteousness takes beginning;...it remains, I say, that even faith itself is not to be attributed to the human will which they extol, nor to any preceding merits, since from it begin whatever good things are merits: but it is to be confessed to be the gratuitous gift of God, since we consider it true grace, that is, without merits, inasmuch as we read in the same epistle, God divides out the measure of faith to each' (Rom. xii. 3). Now, good works are done by man, but faith is wrought in man, and without it these are not done by any man. For all that is not of faith is sin" (Rom. xiv. 23).

By the same messenger who carried this important letter to Sixtus, Augustin sent also a letter to Mercator, [114] an African layman who was then apparently at Rome, but who was afterwards (in 429) to render service by instructing the Emperor Theodosius as to the nature and history of Pelagianism, and so preventing the appeal of the Pelagians to him from being granted. Now he appears as an inquirer: Augustin, while at Carthage, had received a letter from him in which he had consulted him on certain questions that the Pelagians had raised, but in such a manner as to indicate his opposition to them. Press of business had compelled the postponement of the reply until this later date. One of the questions that Mercator had put concerned the Pelagian account of infants sharing in the one baptism unto remission of sins, which we have seen Augustin answering when writing to Sixtus. In this letter he replies: "Let them, then, hear the Lord (John iii. 36). Infants, therefore, who made believers by others, by whom they are brought to baptism, are, of course, unbelievers by others, if they are in the hands of such as do not believe that they should be brought, inasmuch as they believe they are nothing profited; and accordingly, if they believe by believers, and have eternal life, they are unbelievers by unbelievers, and shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on them. For it is not said, it comes on them,' but it abideth on them,' because it was on them from the beginning, and will not be taken from them except by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord....Therefore, when children are baptized, the confession is made that they are believers, and it is not to be doubted that those who are not believers are condemned: let them, then, dare to say now, if they can, that they contract no evil from their origin to be condemned by the just God, and have no contagion of sin." The other matter on which Mercator sought light concerned the statement that universal death proved universal sin: [115] he reported that the Pelagians replied that not even death was universal,--that Enoch, for instance, and Elijah, had not died. Augustin adds those who are to be found living at the second advent, who are not to die, but be "changed;" and replies that Rom. v. 12 is perfectly explicit that there is no death in the world except that which comes from sin, and that God a Saviour, and we cannot at all "deny that He is able to do that, now, in any that he wishes, without death, which we undoubtingly believe is to be done in so many after death." He adds that the difficult question is not why Enoch and Elijah did not die, if death is the punishment of sin; but why, such being the case, the justified ever die; and he refers his correspondent to his book On the Baptism of Infants [116] for a resolution of this greater difficulty.

It was probably at the very end of 418 that Augustin wrote a letter of some length [117] to Asellicus, in reply to one which he had written on "avoiding the deception of Judaism," to the primate of the Bizacene province, and which that ecclesiastic had sent to Augustin for answering. He discusses in this the law of the Old Testament. He opens by pointing out that the apostle forbids Christians to Judaize (Gal. ii. 14-16), and explains that it is not merely the ceremonial law that we may not depend upon, "but also what is said in the law, Thou shalt not covet' (which no one, of course, doubts is to be said to Christians too), does not justify man, except by faith in Jesus Christ and the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord." He then expounds the use of the law: "This, then, is the usefulness of the law: that it shows man to himself, so that he may know his weakness, and see how, by the prohibition, carnal concupiscence is rather increased than healed....The use of the law is, thus, to convince man of his weakness, and force him to implore the medicine of grace that is in Christ." "Since these things are so," he adds, "those who rejoice that they are Israelites after the flesh, and glory in the law apart from the grace of Christ, these are those concerning whom the apostle said that being ignorant of God's righteousness, and wishing to establish their own, they are not subject to God's righteousness;' since he calls God's righteousness' that which is from God to man; and their own,' what they think that the commandments suffice for them to do without the help and gift of Him who gave the law. But they are like those who, while they profess to be Christians, so oppose the grace of Christ, that they suppose that they fulfil the divine commands by human powers, and, wishing to establish their own,' are not subject to the righteousness of God,' and so, not indeed in name, but yet in error, Judaize. This sort of men found heads for themselves in Pelagius and Coelestius, the most acute asserters of this impiety, who by God's recent judgment, through his diligent and faithful servants, have been deprived even of catholic communion, and, on account of an impenitent heart, persist still in their condemnation."

At the beginning of 419, a considerable work was published by Augustin on one of the more remote corollaries which the Pelagians drew from his teachings. It had come to his ears, that they asserted that his doctrine condemned marriage: "if only sinful offspring come from marriage," they asked, "is not marriage itself made a sinful thing?" The book which Augustin composed in answer to this query, he dedicated to, and sent along with an explanatory letter to, the Comes Valerius, a trusted servant of the Emperor Honorius, and one of the most steady opponents at court of the Pelagian heresy. Augustin explains [118] why he has desired to address the book to him: first, because Valerius was a striking example of those continent husbands of which that age furnishes us with many instances, and, therefore, the discussion would have especial interest for him; secondly, because of his eminence as an opponent of Pelagianism; and, thirdly, because Augustin had learned that he had read a Pelagian document in which Augustin was charged with condemning marriage by defending original sin. [119] The book in question is the first book of the treatise On Marriage and Concupiscence. It is, naturally, tinged, or rather stained, with the prevalent ascetic notions of the day. Its doctrine is that marriage is good, and God is the maker of the offspring that comes from it, although now there can be no begetting and hence no birth without sin. Sin made concupiscence, and now concupiscence perpetuates sinners. The specific object of the work, as it states it itself, is "to distinguish between the evil of carnal concupiscence, from which man, who is born therefrom, contracts original sin, and the good of marriage" (I. 1). After a brief introduction, in which he explains why he writes, and why he addresses his book to Valerius (1-2), Augustin points out that conjugal chastity, like its higher sister-grace of continence, is God's gift. Thus copulation, but only for the propagation of children, has divine allowance (3-5). Lust, or "shameful concupiscence," however, he teaches, is not of the essence, but only an accident, of marriage. It did not exist in Eden, although true marriage existed there; but arose from, and therefore only after, sin (6-7). Its addition to marriage does not destroy the good of marriage: it only conditions the character of the offspring (8). Hence it is that the apostle allows marriage, but forbids the "disease of desire" (1 Thess. iv. 3-5); and hence the Old-Testament saints were even permitted more than one wife, because, by multiplying wives, it was not lust, but offspring, that was increased (9-10). Nevertheless, fecundity is not to be thought the only good of marriage: true marriage can exist without offspring, and even without cohabitation (11-13), and cohabitation is now, under the New Testament, no longer a duty as it was under the Old Testament (14-15), but the apostle praises continence above it. We must, then, distinguish between the goods of marriage, and seek the best (16-19). But thus it follows that it is not due to any inherent and necessary evil in marriage, but only to the presence, now, of concupiscence in all cohabitation, that children are born under sin, even the children of the regenerate, just as from the seed of olives only oleasters grow (20-24). And yet again, concupiscence is not itself sin in the regenerate; it is remitted as guilt in baptism: but it is the daughter of sin, and it is the mother of sin, and in the unregenerate it is itself sin, as to yield to it is even to the regenerate (25-39). Finally, as so often, the testimony of Ambrose is appealed to, and it is shown that he too teaches that all born from cohabitation are born guilty (40). In this book, Augustin certainly seems to teach that the bond of connection by which Adam's sin is conveyed to his offspring is not mere descent, or heredity, or mere inclusion in him, in a realistic sense, as partakers of the same numerical nature, but concupiscence. Without concupiscence in the act of generation, the offspring would not be a partaker of Adam's sin. This he had taught also previously, as, e.g., in the treatise On Original Sin, from which a few words may be profitably quoted as succinctly summing up the teaching of this book on the subject: "It is, then, manifest, that that must not be laid to the account of marriage, in the absence of which even marriage would still have existed....Such, however, is the present condition of mortal men, that the connubial intercourse and lust are at the same time in action....Hence it follows that infants, although incapable of sinning, are yet not born without the contagion of sin,...not, indeed, because of what is lawful, but on account of that which is unseemly: for, from what is lawful, nature is born; from what is unseemly, sin" (42).

Towards the end of the same year (419), Augustin was led to take up again the vexed question of the origin of the soul,--both in a new letter to Optatus, [120] by the zeal of the same monk, Renatus, who had formerly brought Optatus' inquiries to his notice,--in an elaborate treatise entitled On the Soul and its Origin, by way of reply to a rash adventure of a young man named Vincentius Victor, who blamed him for his uncertainty on such a subject, and attempted to determine all the puzzles of the question, though, as Augustin insists, on assumptions that were partly Pelagian and partly worse. Optatus had written in the hope that Augustin had heard by this time from Jerome, in reply to the treatise he had sent him on this subject. Augustin, in answering his letter, expresses his sorrow that he has not yet been worthy of an answer from Jerome, although five years had passed away since he wrote, but his continued hope that such an answer will in due time come. For himself, he confesses that he has not yet been able to see how the soul can contract sin from Adam and yet not itself be contracted from Adam; and he regrets that Optatus, although holding that God creates each soul for its birth, has not sent him the proofs on which he depends for that opinion, nor met its obvious difficulties. He rebukes Optatus for confounding the question of whether God makes the soul, with the entirely different one of how he makes it, whether ex propagine or sive propagine. No one doubts that God makes the soul, as no one doubts that He makes the body. But when we consider how he makes it, sobriety and vigilance become necessary lest we should unguardedly fall into the Pelagian heresy. Augustin defends his attitude of uncertainty, and enumerates the points as to which he has no doubt: viz., that the soul is spirit, not body; that it is rational or intellectual; that it is not of the nature of God, but is so far a mortal creature that it is capable of deterioration and of alienation from the life of God, and so far immortal that after this life it lives on in bliss or punishment forever; that it was not incarnated because of, or according to, preceding deserts acquired in a previous existence, yet that it is under the curse of sin which it derives from Adam, and therefore in all cases alike needs redemption in Christ.

The whole subject of the nature and origin of the soul, however, is most fully discussed in the four books which are gathered together under the common title of On the Soul and its Origin. Vincentius Victor was a young layman who had recently been converted from the Rogatian heresy; on being shown by his friend Peter, a presbyter, a small work of Augustin's on the origin of the soul, he expressed surprise that so great a man could profess ignorance on a matter so intimate to his very being, and, receiving encouragement, wrote a book for Peter in which he attacked and tried to solve all the difficulties of the subject. Peter received the work with transports of delighted admiration; but Renatus, happening that way, looked upon it with distrust, and, finding that Augustin was spoken of in it with scant courtesy, felt it his duty to send him a copy of it, which he did in the summer of 419. It was probably not until late in the following autumn that Augustin found time to take up the matter; but then he wrote to Renatus, to Peter, and two books to Victor himself, and it is these four books together which constitute the treatise that has come down to us. The first book is a letter to Renatus, and is introduced by an expression of thanks to him for sending Victor's book, and of kindly feeling towards and appreciation for the high qualities of Victor himself (1-3). Then Victor's errors are pointed out,--as to the nature of the soul (4-9), including certain far-reaching corollaries that flow from these (10-15), as well as, as to the origin of the soul (16-30); and the letter closes with some remarks on the danger of arguing from the silence of Scripture (31), on the self-contradictions of Victor (34), and on the errors that must be avoided in any theory of the origin of the soul that hopes to be acceptable,--to wit, that souls become sinful by an alien original sin, that unbaptized infants need no salvation, that souls sinned in a previous state, and that they are condemned for sins which they have not committed but would have committed had they lived longer. The second book is a letter to Peter, warning him of the responsibility that rests on him as Victor's trusted friend and a clergyman, to correct Victor's errors, and reproving him for the uninstructed delight he had taken in Victor's crudities. It opens by asking Peter what was the occasion of the great joy which Victor's book brought him? could it be that he learned from it, for the first time, the old and primary truths it contained? (2-3); or was it due to the new errors that it proclaimed,--seven of which he enumerates? (4-16). Then, after animadverting on the dilemma in which Victor stood, of either being forced to withdraw his violent assertion of creationism, or else of making God unjust in His dealings with new souls (17), he speaks of Victor's unjustifiable dogmatism in the matter (18-21), and closes with severely solemn words to Peter on his responsibility in the premises (22-23). In the third and fourth books, which are addressed to Victor, the polemic, of course, reaches its height. The third book is entirely taken up with pointing out to Victor, as a father to a son, the errors into which he has fallen, and which, in accordance with his professions of readiness for amendment, he ought to correct. Eleven are enumerated: 1. That the soul was made by God out of Himself (3-7); 2. That God will continuously create souls forever (8); 3. That the soul has desert of good before birth (9); 4. (contradictingly), That the soul has desert of evil before birth (10); 5. That the soul deserved to be sinful before any sin (11); 6. That unbaptized infants are saved (12); 7. That what God predestinates may not occur (13); 8. That Wisd. iv. 1 is spoken of infants (14); 9. That some of the mansions with the Father are outside of God's kingdom (15-17); 10. That the sacrifice of Christ's blood may be offered for the unbaptized (18); 11. That the unbaptized may attain at the resurrection even to the kingdom of heaven (19). The book closes by reminding Victor of his professions of readiness to correct his errors, and warning him against the obstinacy that makes the heretic (20-23). The fourth book deals with the more personal elements of the controversy, and discusses the points in which Victor had expressed dissent from Augustin. It opens with a statement of the two grounds of complaint that Victor had urged against Augustin; viz., that he refused to express a confident opinion as to the origin of the soul, and that he affirmed that the soul was not corporeal, but spirit (1-2). These two complaints are then taken up at length (2-16 and 17-37). To the first, Augustin replies that man's knowledge is at best limited, and often most limited about the things nearest to him; we do not know the constitution of our bodies; and, above most others, this subject of the origin of the soul is one on which no one but God is a competent witness. Who remembers his birth? Who remembers what was before birth? But this is just one of the subjects on which God has not spoken unambiguously in the Scriptures. Would it not be better, then, for Victor to imitate Augustin's cautious ignorance, than that Augustin should imitate Victor's rash assertion of errors? That the soul is not corporeal, Augustin argues (18-35) from the Scriptures and from the phenomena of dreams; and then shows, in opposition to Victor's trichotomy, that the Scriptures teach the identity of "soul" and "spirit" (36-37). The book closes with a renewed enumeration of Victor's eleven errors (38), and a final admonition to his rashness (39). It is pleasant to know that Augustin found in this case, also, that righteousness is the fruit of the faithful wounds of a friend. Victor accepted the rebuke, and professed his better instruction at the hands of his modest but resistless antagonist.

The controversy now entered upon a new stage. Among the evicted bishops of Italy who refused to sign Zosimus' Epistola Tractoria, Julian of Eclanum was easily the first, and at this point he appears as the champion of Pelagianism. It was a sad fate that arrayed this beloved son of his old friend against Augustin, just when there seemed to be reason to hope that the controversy was at an end, and the victory won, and the plaudits of the world were greeting him as the saviour of the Church. [121] But the now fast-aging bishop was to find, that, in this "very confident young man," he had yet to meet the most persistent and most dangerous advocate of the new doctrines that had arisen. Julian had sent, at an earlier period, two letters to Zosimus, one of which has come down to us as a "Confession of Faith," and the other of which attempted to approach Augustinian forms of speech as much as possible; the object of both being to gain standing ground in the Church for the Italian Pelagians. Now he appears as a Pelagian controversialist; and in opposition to the book On Marriage and Concupiscence, which Augustin had sent Valerius, he published an extended work in four thick books addressed to Turbantius. Extracts from the first of these books were sent by some one to Valerius, and were placed by him in the hands of Alypius, who was then in Italy, for transmission to Augustin. Meanwhile, a letter had been sent to Rome by Julian, [122] designed to strengthen the cause of Pelagianism there; and a similar one, in the names of the eighteen Pelagianizing Italian bishops, was addressed to Rufus, bishop of Thessalonica, and representative of the Roman see in that portion of the Eastern Empire which was regarded as ecclesiastically a part of the West, the design of which was to obtain the powerful support of this important magnate, perhaps, also, a refuge from persecution within his jurisdiction. These two letters came into the hands of the new Pope, Boniface, who gave them also to Alypius for transmission to Augustin. Thus provided, Alypius returned to Africa. The tactics of all these writings of Julian were essentially the same; he attempted not so much to defend Pelagianism, as to attack Augustinianism, and thus literally to carry the war into Africa. He insisted that the corruption of nature which Augustin taught was nothing else than Manicheism; that the sovereignty of grace, as taught by him, was only the attribution of "acceptance of persons," and partiality, to God; and that his doctrine of predestination was mere fatalism. He accused the anti-Pelagians of denying the goodness of the nature that God had created, of the marriage that He had ordained, of the law that He had given, of the free will that He had implanted in man, as well as the perfection of His saints. [123] He insisted that this teaching also did dishonour to baptism itself which it professed so to honour, inasmuch as it asserted the continuance of concupiscence after baptism,--and thus taught that baptism does not take away sins, but only shaves them off as one shaves his beard, and leaves the roots whence the sins may grow anew, and need cutting down again. He complained bitterly of the way in which Pelagianism had been condemned,--that bishops had been compelled to sign a definition of dogma, not in council assembled, but sitting at home; and he demanded a rehearing of the whole case before a lawful council, lest the doctrine of the Manichees should be forced upon the acceptance of the world.

Augustin felt a strong desire to see the whole work of Julian against his book On Marriage and Concupiscence before he undertook a reply to the excerpts sent him by Valerius; but he did not feel justified in delaying obedience to that officer's request, and so wrote at once two treatises, one an answer to these excerpts, for the benefit of Valerius, constituting the second book of his On Marriage and Concupiscence; and the other, a far more elaborate examination of the letters sent by Boniface, which bears the title, Against Two Letters of the Pelagians. The purpose of the second book of On Marriage and Concupiscence, Augustin himself states, in its introductory sentences, to be "to reply to the taunts of his adversaries with all the truthfulness and scriptural authority he could command." He begins (2) by identifying the source of the extracts forwarded to him by Valerius, with Julian's work against his first book, and then remarks upon the garbled form in which he is quoted in them (3-6), and passes on to state and refute Julian's charge that the catholics had turned Manicheans (7-9). At this point, the refutation of Julian begins in good earnest, and the method that he proposes to use is stated; viz., to adduce the adverse statements, and refute them one by one (10). Beginning at the beginning, he quotes first the title of the paper sent him, which declares that it is directed against "those who condemn matrimony, and ascribe its fruit to the Devil" (11), which certainly, says Augustin, does not describe him or the catholics. The next twenty chapters (10-30), accordingly, following Julian's order, labour to prove that marriage is good, and ordained by God, but that its good includes fecundity indeed, but not concupiscence, which arose from sin, and contracts sin. It is next argued, that the doctrine of original sin does not imply an evil origin for man (31-51); and in the course of this argument, the following propositions are especially defended: that God makes offspring for good and bad alike, just as He sends the rain and sunshine on just and unjust (31-34); that God makes everything to be found in marriage except its flaw, concupiscence (35-40); that marriage is not the cause of original sin, but only the channel through which it is transmitted (41-47); and that to assert that evil cannot arise from what is good leaves us in the clutches of that very Manicheism which is so unjustly charged against the catholics--for, if evil be not eternal, what else was there from which it could arise but something good? (48-51). In concluding, Augustin recapitulates, and argues especially, that shameful concupiscence is of sin, and the author of sin, and was not in paradise (52-54); that children are made by God, and only marred by the Devil (55); that Julian, in admitting that Christ died for infants, admits that they need salvation (56); that what the Devil makes in children is not a substance, but an injury to a substance (57-58); and that to suppose that concupiscence existed in any form in paradise introduces incongruities in our conception of life in that abode of primeval bliss (59-60).

The long and important treatise, Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, consists of four books, the first of which replies to the letter sent to Rome, and the other three to that sent to Thessalonica. After a short introduction, in which he thanks Boniface for his kindness, and gives reasons why heretical writings should be answered (1-3), Augustin begins at once to rebut the calumnies which the letter before him brings against the catholics (4-28). These are seven in number: 1. That the catholics destroy free will; to which Augustin replies that none are "forced into sin by the necessity of their flesh," but all sin by free will, though no man can have a righteous will save by God's grace, and that it is really the Pelagians that destroy free will by exaggerating it (4-8); 2. That Augustin declares that such marriage as now exists is not of God (9); 3. That sexual desire and intercourse are made a device of the Devil, which is sheer Manicheism (10-11); 4. That the Old-Testament saints are said to have died in sin (12); 5. That Paul and the other apostles are asserted to have been polluted by lust all their days; Augustin's answer to which includes a running commentary on Rom. vii. 7 sq., in which (correcting his older exegesis) he shows that Paul is giving here a transcript of his own experience as a typical Christian (13-24); 6. That Christ is said not to have been free from sin (25); 7. That baptism does not give complete remission of sins, but leaves roots from which they may again grow; to which Augustin replies that baptism does remit all sins, but leaves concupiscence, which, although not sin, is the source of sin (26-28). Next, the positive part of Julian's letter is taken up, and his profession of faith against the catholics examined (29-41). The seven affirmations that Julian makes here are designed as the obverse of the seven charges against the catholics. He believed: 1. That free will is in all by nature, and could not perish by Adam's sin (29); 2. That marriage, as now existent, was ordained by God (30); 3. That sexual impulse and virility are from God (31-35); 4. That men are God's work, and no one is forced to do good or evil unwillingly, but are assisted by grace to good, and incited by the Devil to evil (36-38); 5. That the saints of the Old Testament were perfected in righteousness here, and so passed into eternal life (39); 6. That the grace of Christ (ambiguously meant) is necessary for all, and all children--even those of baptized parents--are to be baptized (40); 7. And that baptism gives full cleansing from all sins; to which Augustin pointedly asks, "What does it do for infants, then?" (41). The book concludes with an answer to Julian's conclusion, in which he demands a general council, and charges the catholics with Manicheism.

The second, third, and fourth books deal with the letter to Rufus in a somewhat similar way, the second and third books being occupied with the calumnies brought against the catholics, and the fourth with the claims made by the Pelagians. The second begins by repelling the charge of Manicheism brought against the catholics (1-4), to which the pointed remark is added, that the Pelagians cannot hope to escape condemnation because they are willing to condemn another heresy; and then defends (with less success) the Roman clergy against the charge of prevarication in their dealing with the Pelagians (5-8), in the course of which all that can be said in defence of Zosimus' wavering policy is said well and strongly. Next the charges against catholic teaching are taken up and answered (9-16), especially the two important accusations that they maintain fate under the name of grace (9-12), and that they make God an "accepter of persons" (13-16). Augustin's replies to these charges are in every way admirable. The charge of "fate" rests solely on the catholic denial that grace is given according to preceding merits; but the Pelagians do not escape the same charge when they acknowledge that the "fates" of baptized and unbaptized infants do differ. It is, in truth, not a question of "fate," but of gratuitous bounty; and "it is not the catholics that assert fate under the name of grace, but the Pelagians that choose to call divine grace by the name of fate'" (12). As to "acceptance of persons," we must define what we mean by that. God certainly does not accept one's "person" above another's; He does not give to one rather than to another because He sees something to please Him in one rather than another: quite the opposite. He gives of His bounty to one while giving all their due to all, as in the parable (Matt. xx. 9 sq.). To ask why He does this, is to ask in vain: the apostle answers by not answering (Rom. ix.); and before the dumb infants, who are yet made to differ, all objection to God is dumb. From this point, the book becomes an examination of the Pelagian doctrine of prevenient merit (17-23), concluding that God gives all by grace from the beginning to the end of every process of doing good. 1. He commands the good; 2. He gives the desire to do it; and, 3. He gives the power to do it: and all, of His gratuitous mercy. The third book continues the discussion of the calumnies of the Pelagians against the catholics, and enumerates and answers six of them: viz., that the catholics teach, 1. That the Old-Testament law was given, not to justify the obedient, but to serve as cause of greater sin (2-3); 2. That baptism does not give entire remission of sins, but the baptized are partly God's and partly the Devil's (4-5); 3. That the Holy Ghost did not assist virtue in the Old Testament (6-13); 4. That the Bible saints were not holy, but only less wicked than others (14-15); 5. That Christ was a sinner by necessity of His flesh (doubtless, Julian's inference from the doctrine of race-sin) (16); 6. That men will begin to fulfil God's commandments only after the resurrection (17-23). Augustin shows that at the basis of all these calumnies lies either misapprehension or misrepresentation; and, in concluding the book, enumerates the three chief points in the Pelagian heresy, with the five claims growing out of them, of which they most boasted, and then elucidates the mutual relations of the three parties, catholics, Pelagians, and Manicheans, with reference to these points, showing that the catholics stand asunder from both the others, and condemn both (24-27). This conclusion is really a preparation for the fourth book, which takes up these five Pelagian claims, and, after showing the catholic position on them all in brief (1-3), discusses them in turn (4-19): viz., the praise of the creature (4-8), the praise of marriage (9), the praise of the law (10-11), the praise of free will (12-16), and the praise of the saints (17-18). At the end, Augustin calls on the Pelagians to cease to oppose the Manicheans, only to fall into as bad heresy as theirs (19); and then, in reply to their accusation that the catholics were proclaiming novel doctrine, he adduces the testimony of Cyprian and Ambrose, both of whom had received Pelagius' praise, on each of the three main points of Pelagianism (20-32), [124] and then closes with the declaration that the "impious and foolish doctrine," as they called it, of the catholics, is immemorial truth (33), and with a denial of the right of the Pelagians to ask for a general council to condemn them (34). All heresies do not need an ecumenical synod for their condemnation; usually it is best to stamp them out locally, and not allow what may be confined to a corner to disturb the whole world.

These books were written late in 420, or early in 421, and Alypius appears to have conveyed them to Italy during the latter year. Before its close, Augustin, having obtained and read the whole of Julian's attack on the first book of his work On Marriage and Concupiscence, wrote out a complete answer to it, [125] --a task that he was all the more anxious to complete, on perceiving that the extracts sent by Valerius were not only all from the first book of Julian's treatise, but were somewhat altered in the extracting. The resulting work, Against Julian, one of the longest that he wrote in the whole course of the Pelagian controversy, shows its author at his best: according to Cardinal Noris's judgment, he appears in it "almost divine," and Augustin himself clearly set great store by it. In the first book of this noble treatise, after professing his continued love for Julian, "whom he was unable not to love, whatever he [Julian] should say against him" (35), he undertakes to show that in affixing the opprobrious name of Manicheans on those who assert original sin, Julian is incriminating many of the most famous fathers, both of the Latin and Greek Churches. In proof of this, he makes appropriate quotations from Irenæus, Cyprian, Reticius, Olympius, Hilary, Ambrose, Gregory Nazianzenus, Basil, John of Constantinople. [126] Then he argues, that, so far from the catholics falling into Manichean heresy, Julian plays, himself, into the hands of the Manicheans in their strife against the catholics, by many unguarded statements, such as, e.g., when he says that an evil thing cannot arise from what is good, that the work of the Devil cannot be suffered to be diffused by means of a work of God, that a root of evil cannot be placed within a gift of God, and the like. The second book advances to greater detail, and adduces the five great arguments which the Pelagians urged against the catholics, in order to test them by the voice of antiquity. These arguments are stated as follows (2): "For you say, That we, by asserting original sin, affirm that the Devil is the maker of infants, condemn marriage, deny that all sins are remitted in baptism, accuse God of the guilt of sin, and produce despair of perfection.' You contend that all these are consequences, if we believe that infants are born bound by the sin of the first man, and are therefore under the Devil unless they are born again in Christ. For, It is the Devil that creates,' you say, if they are created from that wound which the Devil inflicted on the human nature that was made at first.' And marriage is condemned,' you say, if it is to be believed to have something about it whence it produces those worthy of condemnation.' And all sins are not remitted in baptism,' you say, if there remains any evil in baptized couples whence evil offspring are produced.' And how is God,' you ask, not unjust, if He, while remitting their own sins to baptized persons, yet condemns their offspring, inasmuch as, although it is created by Him, it yet ignorantly and involuntarily contracts the sins of others from those very parents to whom they are remitted?' Nor can men believe,' you add, that virtue--to which corruption is to be understood to be contrary--can be perfected, if they cannot believe that it can destroy the inbred vices, although, no doubt, these can scarcely be considered vices, since he does not sin, who is unable to be other than he was created.'" These arguments are then tested, one by one, by the authority of the earlier teachers who were appealed to in the first book, and shown to be condemned by them. The remaining four books follow Julian's four books, argument by argument, refuting him in detail. In the third book it is urged that although God is good, and made man good, and instituted marriage which is, therefore, good, nevertheless concupiscence is evil, and in it the flesh lusts against the spirit. Although chaste spouses use this evil well, continent believers do better in not using it at all. It is pointed out, how far all this is from the madness of the Manicheans, who dream of matter as essentially evil and co-eternal with God; and shown that evil concupiscence sprang from Adam's disobedience and, being transmitted to us, can be removed only by Christ. It is shown, also, that Julian himself confesses lust to be evil, inasmuch as he speaks of remedies against it, wishes it to be bridled, and speaks of the continent waging a glorious warfare. The fourth book follows the second book of Julian's work, and makes two chief contentions: that unbelievers have no true virtues, and that even the heathen recognize concupiscence as evil. It also argues that grace is not given according to merit, and yet is not to be confounded with fate; and explains the text that asserts that God wishes all men to be saved,' in the sense that all men' means all that are to be saved' since none are saved except by His will. [127] The fifth book, in like manner, follows Julian's third book, and treats of such subjects as these: that it is due to sin that any infants are lost; that shame arose in our first parents through sin; that sin can well be the punishment of preceding sin; that concupiscence is always evil, even in those who do not assent to it; that true marriage may exist without intercourse; that the "flesh" of Christ differs from the "sinful flesh" of other men; and the like. In the sixth book, Julian's fourth book is followed, and original sin is proved from the baptism of infants, the teaching of the apostles, and the rites of exorcism and exsufflation incorporated in the form of baptism. Then, by the help of the illustration drawn from the olive and the oleaster, it is explained how Christian parents can produce unregenerate offspring; and the originally voluntary character of sin is asserted, even though it now comes by inheritance.

After the completion of this important work, there succeeded a lull in the controversy, of some years duration; and the calm refutation of Pelagianism and exposition of Christian grace, which Augustin gave in his Enchiridion, [128] might well have seemed to him his closing word on this all-absorbing subject. But he had not yet given the world all he had in treasure for it, and we can rejoice in the chance that five or six years afterwards drew from him a renewed discussion of some of the more important aspects of the doctrine of grace. The circumstances which brought this about are sufficiently interesting in themselves, and open up to us an unwonted view into the monastic life of the times. There was an important monastery at Adrumetum, the metropolitan city of the province of Byzacium, [129] from which a monk named Florus went out on a journey of charity to his native country of Uzalis about 426. On the journey he met with Augustin's letter to Sixtus, [130] in which the doctrines of gratuitous and prevenient grace were expounded. He was much delighted with it, and, procuring a copy, sent it back to his monastery for the edification of his brethren, while he himself went on to Carthage. At the monastery, the letter created great disturbance: without the knowledge of the abbot, Valentinus, it was read aloud to the monks, many of whom were unskilled in theological questions; and some five or more were greatly offended, and declared that free will was destroyed by it. A secret strife arose among the brethren, some taking extreme grounds on both sides. Of all this, Valentinus remained ignorant until the return of Florus, who was attacked as the author of all the trouble, and who felt it his duty to inform the abbot of the state of affairs. Valentinus applied first to the bishop, Evodius, for such instruction as would make Augustin's letter clear to the most simple. Evodius replied, praising their zeal and deprecating their contentiousness, and explaining that Adam had full free will, but that it is now wounded and weak, and Christ's mission was as a physician to cure and recuperate it. "Let them read," is his prescription, "the words of God's elders....And when they do not understand, let them not quickly reprehend, but pray to understand." This did not, however, cure the malecontents, and the holy presbyter Sabrinus was appealed to, and sent a book with clear interpretations. But neither was this satisfactory; and Valentinus, at last, reluctantly consented that Augustin himself should be consulted,--fearing, he says, lest by making inquiries he should seem to waver about the truth. Two members of the community were consequently permitted to journey to Hippo, but they took with them no introduction and no commendation from their abbot. Augustin, nevertheless, received them without hesitation, as they bore themselves with too great simplicity to allow him to suspect them of deception. Now we get a glimpse of life in the great bishop's monastic home. The monks told their story, and were listened to with courtesy and instructed with patience; and, as they were anxious to get home before Easter, they received a letter for Valentinus [131] in which Augustin briefly explains the nature of the misapprehension that had arisen, and points out that both grace and free will must be defended, and neither so exaggerated as to deny the other. The letter of Sixtus, he explains, was written against the Pelagians, who assert that grace is given according to merit, and briefly expounds the true doctrine of grace as necessarily gratuitous and therefore prevenient. When the monks were on the point of starting home, they were joined by a third companion from Adrumetum, and were led to prolong their visit. This gave him the opportunity he craved for their fuller instruction: he read with them and explained to them not only his letter to Sixtus, from which the strife had risen, but much of the chief literature of the Pelagian controversy, [132] copies of which also were made for them to take home with them; and when they were ready to go, he sent by them another and longer letter to Valentinus, and placed in their hands a treatise composed for their especial use, which, moreover, he explained to them. This longer letter is essentially an exhortation "to turn aside neither to the right hand nor to the left,"--neither to the left hand of the Pelagian error of upholding free will in such a manner as to deny grace, nor to the right hand of the equal error of so upholding grace as if we might yield ourselves to evil with impunity. Both grace and free will are to be proclaimed; and it is true both that grace is not given to merits, and that we are to be judged at the last day according to our works. The treatise which Augustin composed for a fuller exposition of these doctrines is the important work On Grace and Free Will. After a brief introduction, explaining the occasion of his writing, and exhorting the monks to humility and teachableness before God's revelations (1), Augustin begins by asserting and proving the two propositions that the Scriptures clearly teach that man has free will (2-5), and, as clearly, the necessity of grace for doing any good (6-9). He then examines the passages which the Pelagians claim as teaching that we must first turn to God, before He visits us with His grace (10-11), and then undertakes to show that grace is not given to merit (12 sq.), appealing especially to Paul's teaching and example, and replying to the assertion that forgiveness is the only grace that is not given according to our merits (15-18), and to the query, "How can eternal life be both of grace and of reward?" (19-21). The nature of grace, what it is, is next explained (22 sq.). It is not the law, which gives only knowledge of sin (22-24), nor nature, which would render Christ's death needless (25), nor mere forgiveness of sins, as the Lord's Prayer (which should be read with Cyprian's comments on it) is enough to show (26). Nor will it do to say that it is given to the merit of a good will, thus distinguishing the good work which is of grace from the good will which precedes grace (27-30); for the Scriptures oppose this, and our prayers for others prove that we expect God to be the first mover, as indeed both Scripture and experience prove that He is. It is next shown that both free will and grace are concerned in the heart's conversion (31-32), and that love is the spring of all good in man (33-40), which, however, we have only because God first loved us (38), and which is certainly greater than knowledge, although the Pelagians admit only the latter to be from God (40). God's sovereign government of men's wills is then proved from Scripture (41-43), and the wholly gratuitous character of grace is illustrated (44), while the only possible theodicy is found in the certainty that the Lord of all the earth will do right. For, though no one knows why He takes one and leaves another, we all know that He hardens judicially and saves graciously,--that He hardens none who do not deserve hardening, but none that He saves deserve to be saved (45). The treatise closes with an exhortation to its prayerful and repeated study (46).

The one request that Augustin made, on sending this work to Valentinus, was that Florus, through whom the controversy had arisen, should be sent to him, that he might converse with him and learn whether he had been misunderstood, or himself had misunderstood Augustin. In due time Florus arrived at Hippo, bringing a letter [133] from Valentinus which addresses Augustin as "Lord Pope" (domine papa), thanks him for his "sweet" and "healing" instruction, and introduces Florus as one whose true faith could be confided in. It is very clear, both from Valentinus' letter and from the hints that Augustin gives, that his loving dealing with the monks had borne admirable fruit: "none were cast down for the worse, some were built up for the better." [134] But it was reported to him that some one at the monastery had objected to the doctrine he had taught them, that "no man ought, then, to be rebuked for not keeping God's commandments; but only God should be besought that he might keep them." [135] In other words, it was said that if all good was, in the last resort, from God's grace, man ought not to be blamed for not doing what he could not do, but God ought to be besought to do for man what He alone could do: we ought, in a word, to apply to the source of power. This occasioned the composition of yet another treatise On Rebuke and Grace, [136] the object of which was to explain the relations of grace to human conduct, and especially to make it plain that the sovereignty of God's grace does not supersede our duty to ourselves or our fellow-men. It begins by thanking Valentinus for his letter and for sending Florus (whom Augustin finds well instructed in the truth), thanking God for the good effect of the previous book, and recommending its continued study, and then by briefly expounding the Catholic faith concerning grace, free-will, and the law (1-2). The general proposition that is defended is that the gratuitous sovereignty of God's grace does not supersede human means for obtaining and continuing it (3 sq.). This is shown by the apostle's example, who used all human means for the prosecution of his work, and yet confessed that it was "God that gave the increase" (3). Objections are then answered (4 sq.),--especially the great one that "it is not my fault if I do not do what I have not received grace for doing" (6); to which Augustin replies (7-10), that we deserve rebuke for our very unwillingness to be rebuked, that on the same reasoning the prescription of the law and the preaching of the gospel would be useless, that the apostle's example opposes such a position, and that our consciousness witnesses that we deserve rebuke for not persevering in the right way. From this point an important discussion arises, in this interest, of the gift of perseverance (11-19), and of God's election (20-24); the teaching being that no one is saved who does not persevere, and all that are predestinated or "called according to the purpose" (Augustin's phrase for what we should call "effectual calling") will persevere, and yet that we co-operate by our will in all good deeds, and deserve rebuke if we do not. Whether Adam received the gift of perseverance, and, in general, the difference between the grace given to him (which was that grace by which he could stand) and that now given to God's children (which is that grace by which we are actually made to stand), are next discussed (26-38), with the result of showing the superior greatness of the gifts of grace now to those given before the fall. The necessity of God's mercy at all times, and our constant dependence on it, are next vigorously asserted (39-42); even in the day of judgment, if we are not judged "with mercy" we cannot be saved (41). The treatise is brought to an end by a concluding application of the whole discussion to the special matter in hand, rebuke (43-49). Seeing that rebuke is one of God's means of working out his gracious purposes, it cannot be inconsistent with the sovereignty of that grace; for, of course, God predestinates the means with the end (43). Nor can we know, in our ignorance, whether our rebuke is, in any particular case, to be the means of amendment or the ground of greater condemnation. How dare we, then, withhold it? Let it be, however, graduated to the fault, and let us always remember its purpose (46-48). Above all, let us not dare hold it back, lest we hold back from our brother the means of his recovery, and, as well, disobey the command of God (49).

It was not long afterwards (about 427) when Augustin was called upon to attempt to reclaim a Carthaginian brother, Vitalis by name, who had been brought to trial on the charge of teaching that the beginning of faith was not the gift of God, but the act of man's own free will (ex propria voluntatis). This was essentially the semi-Pelagian position which was subsequently to make so large a figure in history; and Augustin treats it now as necessarily implying the basal idea of Pelagianism. In the important letter which he sent to Vitalis, [137] he first argues that his position is inconsistent with the prayers of the church. He, Augustin, prays that Vitalis may come to the true faith; but does not this prayer ascribe the origination of right faith to God? The Church so prays for all men: the priest at the altar exhorts the people to pray God for unbelievers, that He may convert them to the faith; for catechumens, that He may breathe into them a desire for regeneration; for the faithful, that by His aid they may persevere in what they have begun: will Vitalis refuse to obey these exhortations, because, forsooth, faith is of free will and not of God's gift? Nay, will a Carthaginian scholar array himself against Cyprian's exposition of the Lord's Prayer? for he certainly teaches that we are to ask of God what Vitalis says is to be had of ourselves. We may go farther: it is not Cyprian, but Paul, who says, "Let us pray to God that we do no evil" (2 Cor. xiii. 7); it is the Psalmist who says, "The steps of man are directed by God" (Ps. xxxvi. 23). "If we wish to defend free will, let us not strive against that by which it is made free. For he who strives against grace, by which the will is made free for refusing evil and doing good, wishes his will to remain captive. Tell us, I beg you, how the apostle can say, We give thanks to the Father who made us fit to have our lot with the saints in light, who delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love' (Col. i. 12, 13), if not He, but itself, frees our choice? It is, then, a false rendering of thanks to God, as if He does what He does not do; and he has erred who has said that He makes us fit, etc.' The grace of God,' therefore, does not consist in the nature of free-will, and in law and teaching, as the Pelagian perversity dreams; but it is given for each single act by His will, concerning whom it is written,"--quoting Ps. lxvii. 10. About the middle of the letter, Augustin lays down twelve propositions against the Pelagians, which are important as communicating to us what he thought, at the end of the controversy, were the chief points in dispute. "Since, therefore," he writes, "we are catholic Christians: 1. We know that new-born children have not yet done anything in their own lives, good or evil, neither have they come into the miseries of this life according to the deserts of some previous life, which none of them can have had in their own persons; and yet, because they are born carnally after Adam, they contract the contagion of ancient death, by the first birth, and are not freed from the punishment of eternal death (which is contracted by a just condemnation, passing over from one to all), except they are by grace born again in Christ. 2. We know that the grace of God is given neither to children nor to adults according to our deserts. 3. We know that it is given to adults for each several act. 4. We know that it is not given to all men; and to those to whom it is given, it is not only not given according to the merits of works, but it is not even given to them according to the merits of their will; and this is especially apparent in children. 5. We know that to those to whom it is given, it is given by the gratuitous mercy of God. 6. We know that to those to whom it is not given, it is not given by the just judgment of God. 7. We know that we shall all stand before the tribunal of Christ, and each shall receive according to what he has done through the body,--not according to what he would have done, had he lived longer,--whether good or evil. 8. We know that even children are to receive according to what they have done through the body, whether good or evil. But according to what "they have done" not by their own act, but by the act of those by whose responses for them they are said both to renounce the Devil and to believe in God, wherefore they are counted among the number of the faithful, and have part in the statement of the Lord when He says, "Whosoever shall believe and be baptized, shall be saved." Therefore also, to those who do not receive this sacrament, belongs what follows, "But whosoever shall not have believed, shall be damned" (Mark xvi. 16). Whence these too, as I have said, if they die in that early age, are judged, of course, according to what they have done through the body, i.e., in the time in which they were in the body, when they believe or do not believe by the heart and mouth of their sponsors, when they are baptized or not baptized, when they eat or do not eat the flesh of Christ, when they drink or do not drink His blood,--according to those things, then, which they have done through the body, not according to those which, had they lived longer, they would have done. 9. We know that blessed are the dead that die in the Lord; and that what they would have done had they lived longer, is not imputed to them. 10. We know that those that believe, with their own heart, in the Lord, do so by their own free will and choice. 11. We know that we who already believe act with right faith towards those who do not wish to believe, when we pray to God that they may wish it. 12. We know that for those who have believed out of this number, we both ought and are rightly and truly accustomed to return thanks to God, as for his benefits." Certainly such a body of propositions commends their author to us as Christian both in head and heart: they are admirable in every respect; and even in the matter of the salvation of infants, where he had not yet seen the light of truth, he expresses himself in a way as engaging in its hearty faith in God's goodness as it is honorable in its loyalty to what he believed to be truth and justice. Here his doctrine of the Church ran athwart and clouded his view of the reach of grace; but we seem to see between the lines the promise of the brighter dawn of truth that was yet to come. The rest of the epistle is occupied with an exposition and commendation of these propositions, which ranks with the richest passages of the anti-Pelagian writings, and which breathes everywhere a yearning for his correspondent which we cannot help hoping proved salutary to his faith.

It is not without significance, that the error of Vitalis took a semi-Pelagian form. Pure Pelagianism was by this time no longer a living issue. Augustin was himself, no doubt, not yet done with it. The second book of his treatise On Marriage and Concupiscence, which seems to have been taken to Italy by Alypius, in 421, received at once the attention of Julian, and was elaborately answered by him, during that same year, in eight books addressed to Florus. But Julian was now in Cilicia, and his book was slow in working its way westward. It was found at Rome by Alypius, apparently in 427 or 428, and he at once set about transcribing it for his friend's use. An opportunity arising to send it to Africa before it was finished, he forwarded to Augustin the five books that were ready, with an urgent request that they should receive his immediate attention, and a promise to send the other three as soon as possible. Augustin gives an account of his progress in his reply to them in a letter written to Quodvultdeus, apparently in 428. [138] This deacon was urging Augustin to give the Church a succinct account of all heresies; and Augustin excuses himself from immediately undertaking that task by the press of work on his hands. He was writing his Retractations, and had already finished two books of them, in which he had dealt with two hundred and thirty-two works. His letters and homilies remained and he had given the necessary reading to many of the letters. Also, he tells his correspondent, he was engaged on a reply to the eight books of Julian's new work. Working night and day, he had already completed his response to the first three of Julian's books, and had begun on the fourth while still expecting the arrival of the last three which Alypius had promised to send. If he had completed the answer to the five books of Julian which he already had in hand, before the other three reached him, he might begin the work which Quodvultdeus so earnestly desired him to undertake. In due time, whatever may have been the trials and labours that needed first to be met, the desired treatise On Heresies was written (about 428), and the eighty-eighth chapter of it gives us a welcome compressed account of the Pelagian heresy, which may be accepted as the obverse of the account of catholic truth given in the letter to Vitalis. [139] But the composition of this work was not the only interruption which postponed the completion of the second elaborate work against Julian. It was in the providence of God that the life of this great leader in the battle for grace should be prolonged until he could deal with semi-Pelagianism also. Information as to the rise of this new form of the heresy at Marseilles and elsewhere in Southern Gaul was conveyed to Augustin along with entreaties, that, as "faith's great patron," he would give his aid towards meeting it, by two laymen with whom he had already had correspondence,--Prosper and Hilary. [140] They pointed out [141] the difference between the new party and thorough-going Pelagianism; but, at the same time, the essentially Pelagianizing character of its formative elements. Its representatives were ready, as a rule, to admit that all men were lost in Adam, and no one could recover himself by his own free will, but all needed God's grace for salvation. But they objected to the doctrines of prevenient and of irresistible grace; and asserted that man could initiate the process of salvation by turning first to God, that all men could resist God's grace, and no grace could be given which they could not reject, and especially they denied that the gifts of grace came irrespective of merits, actual or foreseen. They said that what Augustin taught as to the calling of God's elect according to His own purpose was tantamount to fatalism, was contrary to the teaching of the fathers and the true Church doctrine, and, even if true, should not be preached, because of its tendency to drive men into indifference or despair. Hence, Prosper especially desired Augustin to point out the dangerous nature of these views, and to show that prevenient and co-operating grace is not inconsistent with free will, that God's predestination is not founded on foresight of receptivity in its objects, and that the doctrines of grace may be preached without danger to souls.

Augustin's answer to these appeals was a work in two books, On the Predestination of the Saints, the second book of which is usually known under the separate title of The Gift of Perseverance. The former book begins with a careful discrimination of the position of his new opponents: they have made a right beginning in that they believe in original sin, and acknowledge that none are saved from it save by Christ, and that God's grace leads men's wills, and without grace no one can suffice for good deeds. These things will furnish a good starting-point for their progress to an acceptance of predestination also (1-2). The first question that needs discussion in such circumstances is, whether God gives the very beginnings of faith (3 sq.); since they admit that what Augustin had previously urged sufficed to prove that faith was the gift of God so far as that the increase of faith was given by Him, but not so far but that the beginning of faith may be understood to be man's, to which, then, God adds all other gifts (compare 43). Augustin insists that this is no other than the Pelagian assertion of grace according to merit (3), is opposed to Scripture (4-5), and begets arrogant boasting in ourselves (6). He replies to the objection that he had himself once held this view, by confessing it, and explaining that he was converted from it by 1 Cor. iv. 7, as applied by Cyprian (7-8), and expounds that verse as containing in its narrow compass a sufficient answer to the present theories (9-11). He answers, further, the objection that the apostle distinguishes faith from works, and works alone are meant in such passages, by pointing to John vi. 28, and similar statements in Paul (12-16). Then he answers the objection that he himself had previously taught that God acted on foresight of faith, by showing that he was misunderstood (17-18). He next shows that no objection lies against predestination that does not lie with equal force against grace (19-22),--since predestination is nothing but God's foreknowledge of and preparation for grace, and all questions of sovereignty and the like belong to grace. Did God not know to whom he was going to give faith (19)? or did he promise the results of faith, works, without promising the faith without which, as going before, the works were impossible? Would not this place God's fulfilment of his promise out of His power, and make it depend on man (20)? Why are men more willing to trust in their weakness than in God's strength? do they count God's promises more uncertain than their own performance (22)? He next proves the sovereignty of grace, and of predestination, which is but the preparation for grace, by the striking examples of infants, and, above all, of the human nature of Christ (23-31), and then speaks of the twofold calling, one external and one "according to purpose,"--the latter of which is efficacious and sovereign (32-37). In closing, the semi-Pelagian position is carefully defined and refuted as opposed, alike with the grosser Pelagianism, to the Scriptures of both Testaments (38-42).

The purpose of the second book, which has come down to us under the separate title of On the Gift of Perseverance, is to show that that perseverance which endures to the end is as much of God as the beginning of faith, and that no man who has been "called according to God's purpose," and has received this gift, can fall from grace and be lost. The first half of the treatise is devoted to this theme (1-33). It begins by distinguishing between temporary perseverance, which endures for a time, and that which continues to the end (1), and affirms that the latter is certainly a gift of God's grace, and is, therefore, asked from God which would otherwise be but a mocking petition (2-3). This, the Lord's Prayer itself might teach us, as under Cyprian's exposition it does teach us,--each petition being capable of being read as a prayer for perseverance (4-9). Of course, moreover, it cannot be lost, otherwise it would not be "to the end." If man forsakes God, of course it is he that does it, and he is doubtless under continual temptation to do so; but if he abides with God, it is God who secures that, and God is equally able to keep one when drawn to Him, as He is to draw him to Him (10-15). He argues anew at this point, that grace is not according to merit, but always in mercy; and explains and illustrates the unsearchable ways of God in His sovereign but merciful dealing with men (16-25), and closes this part of the treatise by a defence of himself against adverse quotations from his early work on Free Will, which he has already corrected in his Retractations. The second half of the book discusses the objections that were being urged against the preaching of predestination (34-62), as if it opposed and enervated the preaching of the Gospel. He replies that Paul and the apostles, and Cyprian and the fathers, preached both together; that the same objections will lie against the preaching of God's foreknowledge and grace itself, and, indeed, against preaching any of the virtues, as, e.g., obedience, while declaring them God's gifts. He meets the objections in detail, and shows that such preaching is food to the soul, and must not be withheld from men; but explains that it must be given gently, wisely, and prayerfully. The whole treatise ends with an appeal to the prayers of the Church as testifying that all good is from God (63-65), and to the great example of unmerited grace and sovereign predestination in the choice of one human nature without preceding merit, to be united in one person with the Eternal Word,--an illustration of his theme of the gratuitous grace of God which he is never tired of adducing (66-67).

These books were written in 428-429, and after their completion the unfinished work against Julian was resumed. Alypius had sent the remaining three books, and Augustin slowly toiled on to the end of his reply to the sixth book. But he was to be interrupted once more, and this time by the most serious of all interruptions. On the 28th of August, 430, with the Vandals thundering at the gates of Hippo, full of good works and of faith, he turned his face away from the strifes--whether theological or secular--of earth, and entered into rest with the Lord whom he loved. The last work against Julian was already one of the most considerable in size of all his books; but it was never finished, and retains until to-day the significant title of The Unfinished Work. Augustin had hesitated to undertake this work, because he found Julian's arguments too silly either to deserve refutation, or to afford occasion for really edifying discourse. And certainly the result falls below Augustin's usual level, though this is not due, as is so often said, to failing powers and great age; for nothing that he wrote surpasses in mellow beauty and chastened strength the two books, On the Predestination of the Saints, which were written after four books of this work were completed. The plan of the work is to state Julian's arguments in his own words, and follow it with his remarks; thus giving it something of the form of a dialogue. It follows Julian's work, book by book. The first book states and answers certain calumnies which Julian had brought against Augustin and the catholic faith on the ground of their confession of original sin. Julian had argued, that, since God is just, He cannot impute another's sins to innocent infants; since sin is nothing but evil will, there can be no sin in infants who are not yet in the use of their will; and, since the freedom of will that is given to man consists in the capacity of both sinning and not sinning, free will is denied to those who attribute sin to nature. Augustin replies to these arguments, and answers certain objections that are made to his work On Marriage and Concupiscence, and then corrects Julian's false explanations of certain Scriptures from John viii., Rom. vi., vii., and 2 Timothy. The second book is a discussion of Rom. v. 12, which Julian had tried, like the other Pelagians, to explain by the "imitation" of Adam's bad example. The third book examines the abuse by Julian of certain Old-Testament passages--in Deut. xxiv., 2 Kings xiv., Ezek. xviii.--in his effort to show that God does not impute the father's sins to the children; as well as his similar abuse of Heb. xi. The charge of Manicheism, which was so repetitiously brought by Julian against the catholics, is then examined and refuted. The fourth book treats of Julian's strictures on Augustin's On Marriage and Concupiscence ii. 4-11, and proves from 1 John ii. 16 that concupiscence is evil, and not the work of God, but of the Devil. He argues that the shame that accompanies it is due to its sinfulness, and that there was none of it in Christ; also, that infants are born obnoxious to the first sin, and proves the corruption of their origin from Wisd. x. 10, 11. The fifth book defends On Marriage and Concupiscence ii. 12 sq., and argues that a sound nature could not have shame on account of its members, and the need of regeneration for what is generated by means of shameful concupiscence. Then Julian's abuse of 1 Cor. xv., Rom. v., Matt. vii. 17 and 33, with reference to On Marriage and Concupiscence ii. 14, 20, 26, is discussed; and then the origin of evil, and God's treatment of evil in the world. The sixth book traverses Julian's strictures on On Marriage and Concupiscence ii. 34 sq., and argues that human nature was changed for the worse by the sin of Adam, and thus was made not only sinful, but the source of sinners; and that the forces of free will by which man could at first do rightly if he wished, and refrain from sin if he chose, were lost by Adam's sin. He attacks Julian's definition of free will as "the capacity for sinning and not sinning" (possibilitas peccandi et non peccandi); and proves that the evils of this life are the punishment of sin,--including, first of all, physical death. At the end, he treats of 1 Cor. xv. 22.

Although the great preacher of grace was taken away by death before the completion of this book, yet his work was not left incomplete. In the course of the next year (431) the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus condemned Pelagianism for the whole world; and an elaborate treatise against the pure Pelagianism of Julian was already in 430 an anachronism. Semi-Pelagianism was yet to run its course, and to work its way so into the heart of a corrupt church as not to be easily displaced; but Pelagianism was to die with the first generation of its advocates. As we look back now through the almost millennium and a half of years that has intervened since Augustin lived and wrote, it is to his Predestination of the Saints,--a completed, and well-completed, treatise,--and not to The Unfinished Work, that we look as the crown and completion of his labours for grace.


[40] Compare his work written this year, On Several Questions to Simplicianus. For the development of Augustin's theology, see the admirable statement in Neander's Church History, E.T., ii. 625 sq.

[41] On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 46.

[42] On the Merits and Remission of Sins, iii. 12.

[43] Epistle 157, 22.

[44] On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 46.

[45] Sermon 176, 2.

[46] Sermon 174.

[47] Do.

[48] On the Merits and Remission of Sins, iii. 1.

[49] On the Merits and Remission of Sins, i. 1. Compare Epistle 139.

[50] On the prominence of infant baptism in the controversy, and why it was so, see Sermon 165, 7 sq. "What do you say? Just this,' he says, that God creates every man immortal.' Why, then do infant children die? For if I say, Why do adult men die?' you would say to me, They have sinned.' Therefore I do not argue about the adults: I cite infancy as a witness against you," and so on, eloquently developing the argument.

[51] On the Merits and Remission of Sins, iii. 1.

[52] Letter 139, 3.

[53] Letter 140.

[54] See chaps. 1 and 5.

[55] Sermon 163 treats the text similarly.

[56] See this prayer beautifully illustrated from Scripture in On the Merits and Remission of Sins, ii. 5.

[57] See above, p. xv.

[58] As quoted above, p. xx.

[59] Epistle 146. See On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 50, 51, 52.

[60] Epistle 149. See especially 18 sq.

[61] Epistle 121.

[62] Sermon 293.

[63] Sermon 176, 2.

[64] The inscription says, "V Calendus Julii," i.e., June 27; but it also says, "In natalis martyris Guddentis," whose day appears to have been July 18. Some of the martyrologies assign 28th of June to Gaudentius (which some copies read here), but possibly none to Guddene.

[65] Sermon 294.

[66] The passage is quoted at length in On the Merits and Remission of Sins, iii. 10. Compare Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, iv. 23.

[67] Epistle 157, 22.

[68] Epistle 156, among Augustin's Letters.

[69] Epistle, 157, 22.

[70] Epistles 177, 6; and 179, 2.

[71] Epistle 168. On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 48.

[72] On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 47; and Epistle 186, 1.

[73] Compare On Nature and Grace, 7; and Epistle 186, 1.

[74] Epistle 169, 13.

[75] On Nature and Grace, 1. Sallust's Jugurtha, prologue.

[76] For Augustin's press of work just now, see Epistle 169, 1 and 13.

[77] The argument occurs in Pelagius' Commentary on Paul, written before 410, and is already before Augustin in On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, etc., iii. 5.

[78] Epistle 166.

[79] An almost contemporary letter to Oceanus (Epistle 180, written in 416) adverts to the same subject and in the same spirit, showing how much it was in Augustin's thoughts. Compare Epistle 180, 2 and 5.

[80] Epistle 172.

[81] See On the Perfection of Man's Righteousness, 1.

[82] Migne's Edition of Augustin's Works, vol. v. pp. 1719-1723.

[83] Compare the words of Cicero quoted above, p. xiv.

[84] Compare the similar words in Epistle 177, 3, which was written, not only after what had occurred in Palestine was known, but also after the condemnatory decisions of the African synods.

[85] Epistles 175 and 176 in Augustin's Letters.

[86] Epistle 177. The other bishops were Aurelius, Alypius, Evodius, and Possidius.

[87] Epistle 178.

[88] Epistle 179.

[89] See vol. i. of this series, p. 459, and the references there given. Compare Canon Robertson's vivid account of them in his History of the Christian Church, ii. 18, 145.

[90] Epistle 188.

[91] Compare On the Grace of Christ, 40. In the succeeding sections, some of its statements are examined.

[92] Epistles 181, 182, 183, among Augustin's Letters.

[93] Epistle 186, written conjointly with Alypius.

[94] The book given him by Timasius and James, to which On Nature and Grace is a reply.

[95] Compare also Innocent's letter (Epistle 181) to the Carthaginian Council, chap. 4, which also Neander, History of the Christian Church, E.T., ii. 646, quotes in this connection, as showing that Innocent "perceived that this dispute was connected with a different way of regarding the relation of God's providence to creation." As if Augustin did not see this too!

[96] The book addressed to Dardanus, in which the Pelagians are confuted, but not named, belongs about at this time. Compare Retractations, ii. 49.

[97] Sermon 131, preached at Carthage.

[98] On the Grace of Christ, 2.

[99] The so-called Confession of Faith sent to Innocent after the Synod of Diospolis, but which arrived after Innocent's death.

[100] On Original Sin, 1.

[101] Do., 5.

[102] On the Grace of Christ, 55.

[103] On the Gift of Perseverance, 55.

[104] Compare, below, pp. lv-lviii. Neander, in the second volume (E.T.) of his History of the Christian Church, discusses the matter in a very fair spirit.

[105] English version, xcv., see verse 6.

[106] Sermon 26.

[107] Epistle 190.

[108] See Epistle 194, 1.

[109] See Epistle 191, 1.

[110] Epistle 191.

[111] Epistle 194.

[112] It appears to have been first reported to Augustin, by Marius Mercator, in a letter received at Carthage. See Epistle 193, 3.

[113] As, for example, in On the Merits and Remission of Sins, etc., i.

[114] Epistle 193.

[115] Compare On Dulcitius' Eight Questions, 3.

[116] That is, On the Merits and Remission of Sins, etc., ii. 30 sq.

[117] Epistle 196.

[118] On Marriage and Concupiscence, i. 2.

[119] Compare the Benedictine Preface to The Unfinished Work.

[120] Epistle 202, bis. Compare Epistle 190.

[121] Compare Epistle 195.

[122] Julian afterwards repudiated this letter, perhaps because of some falsifications it had suffered; it seems to have been certainly his.

[123] Compare Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, iii. 24: and see above, p. xv.

[124] To wit: Cyprian's testimony on original sin (20-24), on gratuitous grace (25-26), on the imperfection of human righteousness (27-28), and Ambrose's testimony on original sin (29), on gratuitous grace (30), and on the imperfection of human righteousness (31).

[125] Compare Epistle 207, written probably in the latter half of 421.

[126] That is, Chyrsostom.

[127] Compare On Rebuke and Grace, 44, and the footnote there.

[128] See vol. iii. of this series, pp. 227 sq.

[129] Now a portion of Tunis.

[130] Epistle 194.

[131] Epistle 214.

[132] Epistle 215, 2 sq.

[133] Epistle 216.

[134] On Rebuke and Grace, 1.

[135] Retractions, ii. 67. Compare On Rebuke and Grace, 5 sq.

[136] On the importance of this treatise for Augustin's doctrine of predestination, see Wiggers' Augustinianism and Pelagianism, E.T. p. 236, where a sketch of the history of this doctrine in Augustin's writings may be found.

[137] Epistle 217.

[138] Epistle 224.

[139] The account given of Pelagianism is as follows: "They are in such degree enemies of the grace of God, by which we have been predestined into the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ unto Himself (Eph. i. 5), and by which we are delivered from the power of darkness so as to believe in Him, and be translated into His kingdom (Col. i. 13)--wherefore He says, No man comes to Me, except it be given him of My Father' (John vi. 66)--and by which love is shed abroad in our hearts (Rom. v. 5), so that faith may work by love: that they believe that man is able, without it, to keep all the Divine commandments,--whereas, if this were true, it would clearly be an empty thing that the Lord said, Without Me ye can do nothing' (John xv. 5). When Pelagius was at length accused by the brethren, because he attributed nothing to the assistance of God's grace towards the keeping of His commandments, he yielded to their rebuke, so far as not to place this grace above free will, but with faithless cunning to subordinate it, saying that it was given to men for this purpose; viz., that they might be able more easily to fulfil by grace, what they were commanded to do by free will. By saying, that they might be able more easily,' he, of course, wished it to be believed that, although with more difficulty, nevertheless men were able without divine grace to perform the divine commands. But that grace of God, without which we can do nothing good, they say does not exist except in free will, which without any preceding merits our nature received from Him; and that He adds His aid only in that by His law and teaching we may learn what we ought to do, but not in that by the gift of His Spirit we may do what we have learned ought to be done. Accordingly, they confess that knowledge by which ignorance is banished is divinely given to us, but deny that love by which we may live a pious life is given; so that, forsooth, while knowledge, which, without love, puffeth up, is the gift of God, love itself, which edifieth so that knowledge may not puff up, is not the gift of God (1 Cor. viii. 11). They also destroy the prayers which the Church offers, whether for those that are unbelieving and resisting God's teaching, that they may be converted to God; or for the faithful, that faith may be increased in them, and they may persevere in it. For they contend that men do not receive these things from Him, but have them from ourselves, saying, that the grace of God, by which we are freed from impiety, is given according to our merits. Pelagius was compelled, no doubt, to condemn this by his fear of being condemned by the episcopal judgment in Palestine; but he is found to teach it still in his later writings. They also advanced so far as to say that the life of the righteous in this world is without sin, and the Church of Christ is perfected by them in this mortality, to the point of being entirely without spot or wrinkle (Eph. v. 27); as if it were not the Church of Christ, that, in the whole world, cries to God, Forgive us our debts.' They also deny that children, who are carnally born after Adam, contract the contagion of ancient death from their first birth. For they assert that they are born so without any bond of original sin, that there is absolutely nothing that ought to be remitted to them in the second birth, yet they are to be baptized; but for this reason, that, adopted in regeneration, they may be admitted to the kingdom of God, and thus be translated from good into better,--not that they may be washed by that renovation from any evil of the old bond. For although they be not baptized, they promise to them, outside the kingdom of God indeed, but nevertheless, a certain eternal and blessed life of their own. They also say that Adam himself, even had he not sinned, would have died in the body, and that this death would not have come as a desert to a fault, but as a condition of nature. Certain other things also are objected to them, but these are the chief, and also either all, or nearly all, the others may be understood to depend on these."

[140] Compare Epistles 225, 1, and 156. It is, of course, not certain that this is the same Hilary that wrote to Augustin from Sicily, but it seems probable.

[141] In Letters 225 and 226.


IV. The Theology of Grace.

The theology which Augustin opposed, in his anti-Pelagian writings, to the errors of Pelagianism, is, shortly, the theology of grace. Its roots were planted deeply in his own experience, and in the teachings of Scripture, especially of that apostle whom he delights to call "the great preacher of grace," and to follow whom, in his measure, was his greatest desire. The grace of God in Jesus Christ, conveyed to us by the Holy Spirit and evidenced by the love that He sheds abroad in our hearts, is the centre around which this whole side [142] of His system revolves, and the germ out of which it grows. He was the more able to make it thus central because of the harmony of this view of salvation with the general principle of his whole theology, which was theocentric and revolved around his conception of God as the immanent and vital spirit in whom all things live and move and have their being. [143] In like manner, God is the absolute good, and all good is either Himself or from Him; and only as God makes us good, are we able to do anything good.

The necessity of grace to man, Augustin argued from the condition of the race as partakers of Adam's sin. God created man upright, and endowed him with human faculties, including free will; [144] and gave to him freely that grace by which he was able to retain his uprightness. [145] Being thus put on probation, [146] with divine aid to enable him to stand if he chose, Adam used his free choice for sinning, and involved his whole race in his fall. [147] It was on account of this sin that he died physically and spiritually, and this double death passes over from him to us. [148] That all his descendants by ordinary generation are partakers in Adam's guilt and condemnation, Augustin is sure from the teachings of Scripture; and this is the fact of original sin, from which no one generated from Adam is free, and from which no one is freed save as regenerated in Christ. [149] But how we are made partakers of it, he is less certain: sometimes he speaks as if it came by some mysterious unity of the race, so that we were all personally present in the individual Adam, and thus the whole race was the one man that sinned; [150] sometimes he speaks more in the sense of modern realists, as if Adam's sin corrupted the nature, and the nature now corrupts those to whom it is communicated; [151] sometimes he speaks as if it were due to simple heredity; [152] sometimes, again, as if it depended on the presence of shameful concupiscence in the act of procreation, so that the propagation of guilt depends on the propagation of offspring by means of concupiscence. [153] However transmitted, it is yet a fact that sin is propagated, and all mankind became sinners in Adam. The result of this is that we have lost the divine image, though not in such a sense that no lineaments of it remain to us; [154] and, the sinning soul making the flesh corruptible, our whole nature is corrupted, and we are unable to do anything of ourselves truly good. [155] This includes, of course, an injury to our will. Augustin, writing for the popular eye, treats this subject in popular language. But it is clear that he distinguished, in his thinking, between will as a faculty and will in a broader sense. As a mere faculty, will is and always remains an indifferent thing, [156] --after the fall, as before it, continuing poised in indifferency, and ready, like a weathercock, to be turned whithersoever the breeze that blows from the heart ("will," in the broader sense) may direct. [157] It is not the faculty of willing, but the man who makes use of that faculty, that has suffered change from the fall. In paradise man stood in full ability: he had the posse non peccare, but not yet the non posse peccare; [158] that is, he was endowed with a capacity for either part, and possessed the grace of God by which he was able to stand if he would, but also the power of free will by which he might fall if he would. By his fall he has suffered a change, is corrupt, and under the power of Satan; his will (in the broader sense) is now injured, wounded, diseased, enslaved,--although the faculty of will (in the narrow sense) remains indifferent. [159] Augustin's criticism of Pelagius' discrimination [160] of "capacity" (possibilitas, posse), "will" (voluntas, velle), and "act" (actio, esse), does not turn on the discrimination itself, but on the incongruity of placing the power, ability in the mere capacity or possibility, rather than in the living agent who "wills" and "acts." He himself adopts an essentially similar distribution, with only this correction; [161] and thus keeps the faculty of will indifferent, but places the power of using it in the active agent, man. According, then, to the character of this man, will the use of the free will be. If the man be holy he will make a holy use of it, and if he be corrupt he will make a sinful use of it: if he be essentially holy, he cannot (like God Himself) make a sinful use of his will; and if he be enslaved to sin, he cannot make a good use of it. The last is the present condition of men by nature. They have free will; [162] the faculty by which they act remains in indifferency, and they are allowed to use it just as they choose: but such as they cannot desire and therefore cannot choose anything but evil; [163] and therefore they, and therefore their choice, and therefore their willing, is always evil and never good. They are thus the slaves of sin, which they obey; and while their free will avails for sinning, it does not avail for doing any good unless they be first freed by the grace of God. It is undeniable that this view is in consonance with modern psychology: let us once conceive of "the will" as simply the whole man in the attitude of willing, and it is immediately evident, that, however abstractly free the "will" is, it is conditioned and enslaved in all its action by the character of the willing agent: a bad man does not cease to be bad in the act of willing, and a good man remains good even in his acts of choice.

In its nature, grace is assistance, help from God; and all divine aid may be included under the term,--as well what may be called natural, as what may be called spiritual, aid. [164] Spiritual grace includes, no doubt, all external help that God gives man for working out his salvation, such as the law, the preaching of the gospel, the example of Christ, by which we may learn the right way; it includes also forgiveness of sins, by which we are freed from the guilt already incurred; but above all it includes that help which God gives by His Holy Spirit, working within, not without, by which man is enabled to choose and to do what he sees, by the teachings of the law, or by the gospel, or by the natural conscience, to be right. [165] Within this aid are included all those spiritual exercises which we call regeneration, justification, perseverance to the end,--in a word, all the divine assistance by which, in being made Christians, we are made to differ from other men. Augustin is fond of representing this grace as in essence the writing of God's law (or of God's will) on our hearts, so that it appears hereafter as our own desire and wish; and even more prevalently as the shedding abroad of love in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, given to us in Christ Jesus; therefore, as a change of disposition, by which we come to love and freely choose, in co-operation with God's aid, just the things which hitherto we have been unable to choose because in bondage to sin. Grace, thus, does not make void free will: [166] it acts through free will, and acts upon it only by liberating it from its bondage to sin, i.e., by liberating the agent that uses the free will, so that he is no longer enslaved by his fleshly lusts, and is enabled to make use of his free will in choosing the good; and thus it is only by grace that free will is enabled to act in good part. But just because grace changes the disposition, and so enables man, hitherto enslaved to sin, for the first time to desire and use his free will for good, it lies in the very nature of the case that it is prevenient. [167] Also, as the very name imports, it is necessarily gratuitous; [168] since man is enslaved to sin until it is given, all the merits that he can have prior to it are bad merits, and deserve punishment, not gifts of favour. When, then, it is asked, on the ground of what, grace is given, it can only be answered, "on the ground of God's infinite mercy and undeserved favour." [169] There is nothing in man to merit it, and it first gives merit of good to man. All men alike deserve death, and all that comes to them in the way of blessing is necessarily of God's free and unmerited favour. This is equally true of all grace. It is pre-eminently clear of that grace which gives faith, the root of all other graces, which is given of God, not to merits of good-will or incipient turning to Him, but of His sovereign good pleasure. [170] But equally with faith, it is true of all other divine gifts: we may, indeed, speak of "merits of good" as succeeding faith; but as all these merits find their root in faith, they are but "grace on grace," and men need God's mercy always, throughout this life, and even on the judgment day itself, when, if they are judged without mercy, they must be condemned. [171] If we ask, then, why God gives grace, we can only answer that it is of His unspeakable mercy; and if we ask why He gives it to one rather than to another, what can we answer but that it is of His will? The sovereignty of grace results from its very gratuitousness: [172] where none deserve it, it can be given only of the sovereign good pleasure of the great Giver,--and this is necessarily inscrutable, but cannot be unjust. We can faintly perceive, indeed, some reasons why God may be supposed not to have chosen to give His saving grace to all, [173] or even to the most; [174] but we cannot understand why He has chosen to give it to just the individuals to whom He has given it, and to withhold it from just those from whom He has withheld it. Here we are driven to the apostle's cry, "Oh the depth of the riches both of the mercy and the justice of God!" [175]

The effects of grace are according to its nature. Taken as a whole, it is the recreative principle sent forth from God for the recovery of man from his slavery to sin, and for his reformation in the divine image. Considered as to the time of its giving, it is either operating or co-operating grace, i.e., either the grace that first enables the will to choose the good, or the grace that co-operates with the already enabled will to do the good; and it is, therefore, also called either prevenient or subsequent grace. [176] It is not to be conceived of as a series of disconnected divine gifts, but as a constant efflux from God; but we may look upon it in the various steps of its operation in men, as bringing forgiveness of sins, faith, which is the beginning of all good, love to God, progressive power of good working, and perseverance to the end. [177] In any case, and in all its operations alike, just because it is power from on high and the living spring of a new and re-created life, it is irresistible and indefectible. [178] Those on whom the Lord bestows the gift of faith working from within, not from without, of course, have faith, and cannot help believing. Those to whom perseverance to the end is given must persevere to the end. It is not to be objected to this, that many seem to begin well who do not persevere: this also is of God, who has in such cases given great blessings indeed, but not this blessing, of perseverance to the end. Whatever of good men have, that God has given; and what they have not, why, of course, God has not given it. Nor can it be objected, that this leaves all uncertain: it is only unknown to us, but this is not uncertainty; we cannot know that we are to have any gift which God sovereignly gives, of course, until it is given, and we therefore cannot know that we have perseverance unto the end until we actually persevere to the end; [179] but who would call what God does, and knows He is to do, uncertain, and what man is to do certain? Nor will it do to say that thus nothing is left for us to do: no doubt, all things are in God's hands, and we should praise God that this is so, but we must co-operate with Him; and it is just because it is He that is working in us the willing and the doing, that it is worth our while to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. God has not determined the end without determining the appointed means. [180]

Now, Augustin argues, since grace certainly is gratuitous, and given to no preceding merits,--prevenient and antecedent to all good,--and, therefore, sovereign, and bestowed only on those whom God selects for its reception; we must, of course, believe that the eternal God has foreknown all this from the beginning. He would be something less than God, had He not foreknown that He intended to bestow this prevenient, gratuitous, and sovereign grace on some men, and had He not foreknown equally the precise individuals on whom He intended to bestow it. To foreknow is to prepare beforehand. And this is predestination. [181] He argues that there can be no objection to predestination, in itself considered, in the mind of any man who believes in a God: what men object to is the gratuitous and sovereign grace to which no additional difficulty is added by the necessary assumption that it was foreknown and prepared for from eternity. That predestination does not proceed on the foreknowledge of good or of faith, [182] follows from its being nothing more than the foresight and preparation of grace, which, in its very idea, is gratuitous and not according to any merits, sovereign and according only to God's purpose, prevenient and in order to faith and good works. It is the sovereignty of grace, not its foresight or the preparation for it, which places men in God's hands, and suspends salvation absolutely on his unmerited mercy. But just because God is God, of course, no one receives grace who has not been foreknown and afore-selected for the gift; and, as much of course, no one who has been foreknown and afore-selected for it, fails to receive it. Therefore the number of the predestinated is fixed, and fixed by God. [183] Is this fate? Men may call God's grace fate if they choose; but it is not fate, but undeserved love and tender mercy, without which none would be saved. [184] Does it paralyze effort? Only to those who will not strive to obey God because obedience is His gift. Is it unjust? Far from it: shall not God do what He will with His own undeserved favour? It is nothing but gratuitous mercy, sovereignly distributed, and foreseen and provided for from all eternity by Him who has selected us in His Son.

When Augustin comes to speak of the means of grace, i.e., of the channels and circumstances of its conference to men, he approaches the meeting point of two very dissimilar streams of his theology,--his doctrine of grace and his doctrine of the Church,--and he is sadly deflected from the natural course of his theology by the alien influence. He does not, indeed, bind the conference of grace to the means in such a sense that the grace must be given at the exact time of the application of the means. He does not deny that "God is able, even when no man rebukes, to correct whom He will, and to lead him on to the wholesome mortification of repentance by the most hidden and most mighty power of His medicine." [185] Though the Gospel must be known in order that man may be saved [186] (for how shall they believe without a preacher?), yet the preacher is nothing, and the preachment is nothing, but God only that gives the increase. [187] He even has something like a distant glimpse of what has since been called the distinction between the visible and invisible Church,--speaking of men not yet born as among those who are "called according to God's purpose," and, therefore, of the saved who constitute the Church, [188] --asserting that those who are so called, even before they believe, are "already children of God enrolled in the memorial of their Father with unchangeable surety," [189] and, at the same time, allowing that there are many already in the visible Church who are not of it, and who can therefore depart from it. But he teaches that those who are thus lost out of the visible Church are lost because of some fatal flaw in their baptism, or on account of post-baptismal sins; and that those who are of the "called according to the purpose" are predestinated not only to salvation, but to salvation by baptism. Grace is not tied to the means in the sense that it is not conferred save in the means; but it is tied to the means in the sense that it is not conferred without the means. Baptism, for instance, is absolutely necessary for salvation: no exception is allowed except such as save the principle,--baptism of blood (martyrdom), [190] and, somewhat grudgingly, baptism of intention. And baptism, when worthily received, is absolutely efficacious: "if a man were to die immediately after baptism, he would have nothing at all left to hold him liable to punishment." [191] In a word, while there are many baptized who will not be saved, there are none saved who have not been baptized; it is the grace of God that saves, but baptism is a channel of grace without which none receive it. [192]

The saddest corollary that flowed from this doctrine was that by which Augustin was forced to assert that all those who died unbaptized, including infants, are finally lost and depart into eternal punishment. He did not shrink from the inference, although he assigned the place of lightest punishment in hell to those who were guilty of no sin but original sin, but who had departed this life without having washed this away in the "laver of regeneration." This is the dark side of his soteriology; but it should be remembered that it was not his theology of grace, but the universal and traditional belief in the necessity of baptism for remission of sins, which he inherited in common with all of his time, that forced it upon him. The theology of grace was destined in the hands of his successors, who have rejoiced to confess that they were taught by him, to remove this stumbling-block also from Christian teaching; and if not to Augustin, it is to Augustin's theology that the Christian world owes its liberation from so terrible and incredible a tenet. Along with the doctrine of infant damnation, another stumbling-block also, not so much of Augustinian, but of Church theology, has gone. It was not because of his theology of grace, or of his doctrine of predestination, that Augustin taught that comparatively few of the human race are saved. It was, again, because he believed that baptism and incorporation into the visible Church were necessary for salvation. And it is only because of Augustin's theology of grace, which places man in the hands of an all-merciful Saviour and not in the grasp of a human institution, that men can see that in the salvation of all who die in infancy, the invisible Church of God embraces the vast majority of the human race,--saved not by the washing of water administered by the Church, but by the blood of Christ administered by God's own hand outside of the ordinary channels of his grace. We are indeed born in sin, and those that die in infancy are, in Adam, children of wrath even as others; but God's hand is not shortened by the limits of His Church on earth, that it cannot save. In Christ Jesus, all souls are the Lord's, and only the soul that itself sinneth shall die (Ezek. xviii. 1-4); and the only judgment wherewith men shall be judged proceeds on the principle that as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law, and as many as have sinned under law shall be judged by the law (Rev. ii. 12).

Thus, although Augustin's theology had a very strong churchly element within it, it was, on the side that is presented in the controversy against Pelagianism, distinctly anti-ecclesiastical. Its central thought was the absolute dependence of the individual on the grace of God in Jesus Christ. It made everything that concerned salvation to be of God, and traced the source of all good to Him. "Without me ye can do nothing," is the inscription on one side of it; on the other stands written, "All things are yours." Augustin held that he who builds on a human foundation builds on sand, and founded all his hope on the Rock itself. And there also he founded his teaching; as he distrusted man in the matter of salvation, so he distrusted him in the form of theology. No other of the fathers so conscientiously wrought out his theology from the revealed Word; no other of them so sternly excluded human additions. The subjects of which theology treats, he declares, are such as "we could by no means find out unless we believed them on the testimony of Holy Scripture." [193] "Where Scripture gives no certain testimony," he says, "human presumption must beware how it decides in favor of either side." [194] "We must first bend our necks to the authority of Scripture," he insists, "in order that we may arrive at knowledge and understanding through faith." [195] And this was not merely his theory, but his practice. [196] No theology was ever, it may be more broadly asserted, more conscientiously wrought out from the Scriptures. Is it without error? No; but its errors are on the surface, not of the essence. It leads to God, and it came from God; and in the midst of the controversies of so many ages it has shown itself an edifice whose solid core is built out of material "which cannot be shaken." [197]


[142] This is a necessary limitation, for there is another side--a churchly side--of Augustin's theology, which was only laid alongside of, and artificially combined with, his theology of grace. This was the traditional element in his teaching, but was far from the determining or formative element. As Thomasius truly points out (Dogmengeschichte, i. 495), both his experience and the Scriptures stood with him above tradition.

[143] It is only one of the strange assertions in Professor Allen's Continuity of Christian Thought, that he makes "the Augustinian theology rest upon the transcendence of Deity as its controlling principle" (p. 3), which is identified with "a tacit assumption of deism" (p. 171), and explained to include a "localization of God as a physical essence in the infinite remoteness," "separated from the world by infinite reaches of space." As a matter of mere fact, Augustin's conception of God was that of an immanent Spirit, and his tendency was consequently distinctly towards a pantheistic rather than a deistic view of His relation to His creatures. Nor is this true only "at a certain stage of his career" (p. 6), which is but Professor Allen's attempt to reconcile fact with his theory, but of his whole life and all his teaching. He, no doubt, did not so teach the Divine immanence as to make God the author of the form as well as the matter of all acts of His creatures, or to render it impossible for His creatures to turn from Him; this would be to pass the limits that separate the conception of Christian immanence from pure pantheism, and to make God the author of sin, and all His creatures but manifestations of Himself.

[144] On Rebuke and Grace, 27, 28.

[145] On Rebuke and Grace, 29, 31 sq.

[146] On Rebuke and Grace, 28.

[147] On Rebuke and Grace, 28.

[148] On the City of God, xiii. 2, 12, 14; On the Trinity, iv. 13.

[149] On the Merits and Remission of Sins, i. 15, and often.

[150] Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, iv. 7; On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, iii. 14, 15.

[151] On Marriage and Concupiscence, ii. 57; On the City of God, xiv. 1.

[152] Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, iv. 7.

[153] On Original Sin, 42.

[154] Retractations, ii. 24.

[155] Against Julian, iv. 3, 25, 26. Compare Thomasius' Dogmengeschichte, i. 501 and 507.

[156] On the Spirit and the Letter, 58.

[157] On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, ii. 30.

[158] On Rebuke and Grace, 11.

[159] On the Spirit and the Letter, 58.

[160] On the Grace of Christ, 4 sq.

[161] On the Predestination of the Saints, 10.

[162] Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, i. 5. Epistle 215, 4 and often.

[163] Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, i. 7. Compare i. 5, 6.

[164] Sermon 26.

[165] On Nature and Grace, 62. On the Grace of Christ, 13. On Rebuke and Grace, 2 sq.

[166] On the Spirit and Letter, 52; On Grace and Free Will, 1 sq.

[167] On the Spirit and Letter, 60, and often.

[168] On Nature and Grace, 4, and often.

[169] On the Grace of Christ, 27, and often.

[170] On the Grace of Christ, 34, and often.

[171] On Grace and Free Will, 21.

[172] On Grace and Free Will, 30, and often.

[173] On the Gift of Perseverance, 16; Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, ii. 15.

[174] Epistle to Optatus, 190.

[175] On the Predestination of the Saints, 17, 18.

[176] On Grace and Free Will, 17; On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 34, and often.

[177] Compare Thomasius' Dogmengeschichte, i. 510.

[178] On Rebuke and Grace, 40, 45; On the Predestination of the Saints, 13.

[179] On Rebuke and Grace, 40.

[180] On the Gift of Perseverance, 56.

[181] On the Predestination of the Saints, 36 sq.

[182] On the Gift of Perseverance, 41 sq., 47.

[183] On Rebuke and Grace, 39. Compare 14.

[184] On the Gift of Perseverance, 29; Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, ii. 9 sq.

[185] On Rebuke and Grace, 1.

[186] On the Predestination of the Saints, 17, 18; if the gospel is not preached at any given place, it is proof that God has no elect there.

[187] On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, etc., ii. 37.

[188] On Rebuke and Grace, 23.

[189] Do., 20.

[190] On the Soul and its Origin, i. 11; ii. 17.

[191] On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, etc., ii. 46.

[192] On Augustin's teaching as to baptism, see Rev. James Field Spalding's The Teaching and Influence of Augustin, pp. 39 sq.

[193] On the Soul and its Origin, iv. 14.

[194] On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, etc., ii. 59.

[195] On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, i. 29.

[196] Compare On the Spirit and the Letter, 63.

[197] On the subject of this whole section, compare Reuter's Augustinische Studien, which has come to hand only after the whole was already in type, but which in all essential matters--such as the formative principle, the sources, and the main outlines of Augustin's theology--is in substantial agreement with what is here said.




Dedication of Volume I. Of the Edinburgh Edition.

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TO The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop OF Exeter.

My Dear Lord,--I gladly avail myself of your permission to dedicate this volume to you. In the course of a professional life of nearly the third of a century, which has not been idly spent, I have never failed to find pleasure in theological pursuits. In the intervals of most pressing labour, these have often tended to refresh and comfort one's wearied spirit. If this confession of my own experience should have any weight with any one in our sacred calling to combine the hard work which we owe to others while ministering to their wants, with "that diligent attendance to reading" which we require for ourselves, to inform our minds and refresh our spirits, I shall have accomplished my only purpose in making it. Your Lordship, I am sure, will entirely approve of such a combination of employments in your clergy. I well remember your recommendation of theological study to us at the opening of Bishop Phillpott's Library at Truro; and how you counselled us the more earnestly to pursue it, from the danger there is, in these busy times, of merging the acquisition of sacred learning in the active labours of our holy vocation. That the divine blessing may crown the work which you are so diligently prosecuting in the several functions of your high office, is the earnest wish, my dear Lord, of your faithful servant,

Peter Holmes.

Mannamead, Plymouth, March 10, 1872.


Dedication of Volume II. Of the Edinburgh Edition.

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TO The Rev. C. T. Wilkinson, M.A.,

Vicar OF ST. Andrews With Pennycross, Plymouth.

My Dear Vicar,--I have great pleasure in associating your name with my own in this volume. We are officially connected in the sacred ministry of the Church, and I think I may, not unsuitably, extend our relations in this little effort to strengthen the defences of the great doctrine of Grace committed to our care and advocacy. Never was this portion of revealed truth more formidably assailed than at the present day. Rationalism, as its primary dogma, asserts the perfectibility of our nature, out of its own resources; and with a versatility and power of argument and illustration, which gathers help from every quarter in literature and philosophy, it opposes "the truth as it is in Jesus." This truth, which implies, as its cardinal points, the ruin of man's nature in the sin of the first Adam, and its recovery in the obedience of the second Adam, is vindicated with admirable method and convincing force in the Anti-Pelagian treatises of the great Doctor of the Western Church. Some of these treatises appear for the first time in our language in this volume; and you will, I am sure, admire the acuteness with which Saint Augustin tracks out and refutes the sophistries of the rationalists of his own day, as well as the profound knowledge and earnest charity with which he enforces and recommends the Catholic verity.

In identifying you thus far with myself in this undertaking, I not only gratify my own feelings of sincere friendship, but with a confidence which I believe I do not over-estimate, I assume, what I highly prize, your agreement with me in accepting and furthering the principles set forth in this volume.

With sincere sympathy for you in your important work at Plymouth, and best wishes for the divine blessing upon it, believe me, yours very faithfully,

Peter Holmes.

Mannamead, Plymouth, June 24, 1874.


Preface to Volume I. Of the Edinburgh Edition.

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Contents.--§ 1. The Latin Titles of the Treatises contained in this Volume; on the Preface of the Benedictine Edition. § 2. Notice of Pelagius and his Opinions. § 3. Of Coelestius and his Doctrine, in Seven Propositions. § 4. On Augustin as compared with other Doctors of the Church; his Estimate of Pelagius and Coelestius. § 5. The Different Fortunes of these Two Men at First. § 6. St. Jerome differs from St. Augustin as to the Origin of Pelagianism; East and West, their Doctrinal Characteristics--how Agreeing, how Varying. § 7. On the Conduct of Augustin and Pelagius; Partisanship of their Followers and Critics. § 8. Paramount Influence of St. Augustin in Ancient and Modern Times, and in Various Parts of Christendom. § 9. Reason of this Influence; Augustin true to Scripture and Human Experience; in Favourable Contrast to Pelagius as to the Scientific Depth and Accuracy of his Doctrine. § 10. Rationalism and Revelation; Pelagius' Views Isolated and Incoherent; Augustin an Excellent Guide in Scripture Knowledge. § 11. Popularity and Permanence of Pelagianism; Consentient with Man's Natural Feelings; Elevating Influence of Divine Grace, its Ultimate Triumph in Everlasting Glory. § 12. Original Text from which this Translation is made; Works useful in the Pelagian Controversy.

§ 1. The reader has in this volume, translated for the first time in English, five of the fifteen treatises of St. Augustin on the Pelagian heresy. They are here arranged in the same order (the chronological one) in which they are placed in the tenth volume of the Benedictine edition, and are therefore St. Augustin's earliest contributions to the great controversy. These are their Latin titles:

De peccatorum meritis et remissione, et de baptismo parvulorum ad Marcellinum; libri tres, scripti anno Christi 412.

De Spiritu et littera ad eumdem; liber unus, scriptus sub finem anni 412.

De natura et gratia contra Pelagium, ad Timasium et Jacobum; liber unus, scriptus anno Christi 415.

De perfectione justitiæ hominis; [Epistola seu] liber ad Eutropium et Paulum, scriptus circiter finem anni 415.

De gestis Pelagii ad Aurelium episcopum; liber unus, scriptus sub initium anni 417.

The Benedictine editors have enriched their edition with prefaces ("Admonitiones") and critical and explanatory notes, and, above all, with the appropriate extracts from St. Augustin's Retractations, [198] in which we have the author's own final revision and correction of his works. All these have been reproduced in a translated form in this volume; and they will, it is believed, afford the reader sufficient guidance for an intelligent apprehension of at least the special arguments of the several treatises. The Benedictine editors, however, prefixed to this detailed information an elaborate and lengthy preface, in which they reviewed the general history of the Pelagian discussions and their authors, with especial reference to the part which St. Augustin played throughout it. This historical introduction it was at first intended to present to the reader in English at the head of this volume. In consideration, however, of the length of the document, we have so far changed our purpose as to substitute a shorter statement of certain facts and features of the Pelagian controversy, which it is hoped may contribute to a better understanding of the general subject.

§ 2. The Pelagian heresy is so designated after Pelagius, a British monk. (Augustin calls him Brito, so do Prosper and Gennadius; by Orosius he is called Britannicus noster, and by Mercator described as gente Britannus. This wide epithet is somewhat restricted by Jerome, who says of him, Habet progeniem Scotiæ gentis de Britannorum vicinia; leaving it uncertain, however, whether he deemed Scotland his native country, or Ireland. His monastic character is often referred to both by Augustin and other writers, and Pope Zosimus describes him as Laicum virum ad bonam frugem longa erga Deum servitute nitentem. It is, after all, quite uncertain what part of "Britain" gave him birth; among other conjectures, he has been made a native of Wales, attached to a monastery at Bangor, and gifted with the Welsh name of Morgan, of which his usual designation of Pelagius is supposed to be simply the Greek version, Pelagios.) It was at the beginning of the fifth century that he became conspicuous. He then resided at Rome, known by many as an honourable and earnest man, seeking in a corrupt age to reform the morals of society. (In the present volume the reader will not fail to observe the eulogistic language which Augustin often uses of Pelagius; see On the Merits of Sin, iii. 1, 5, 6.) Sundry theological treatises are even attributed to him; among them one On the Trinity, of unquestionable orthodoxy, and showing great ability. Unfavourable reports, however, afterwards began to be circulated, charging him with opening, in fact, entirely new ground in the fields of heresy. During the previous centuries of Christian opinion the speculations of active thinkers had been occupied on Theology properly so called, or the doctrine of God as to His nature and personal attributes, including Christology, which treated of Christ's divine and human natures. This was objective divinity. With Pelagius, however, a fresh class of subjects was forced on men's attention: in his peculiar system of doctrine he deals with what is subjective in man, and reviews the whole of his relation to God. His heresy turns mainly upon two points--the assumed incorruptness of human nature, and the denial of all supernatural influence upon the human will.

§ 3. He had an early associate in Coelestius, a native of Campania, according to some, or as others say, of Ireland or of Scotland. This man, who is said to have been highly connected, began life as an advocate, but, influenced by the advice and example of Pelagius, soon became a monk. He excelled his master in boldness and energy; and thus early precipitated the new doctrine into a formal dogmatism, from which the caution and subtler management of Pelagius might have saved it. In the year A.D. 412 (Pelagius having just left him at Carthage to go to Palestine), Coelestius was accused before the bishop Aurelius of holding and teaching the following opinions:

1. Adam was created mortal, and must have died, even if he had not sinned; 2. Adam's sin injured himself only, and not mankind; 3. Infants are born in the state of Adam before he fell; 4. Mankind neither died in Adam, nor rose again in Christ; 5. The Law, no less than the Gospel, brings men to the kingdom of heaven; 6. There were sinless men before the coming of Christ. [199] What Coelestius thus boldly propounded, he had the courage to maintain. On his refusal to retract, he was excommunicated. He threatened, or perhaps actually though ineffectually made, an appeal to Rome, and afterwards quitted Carthage for Ephesus.

§ 4. Augustin, who had for some time been occupied in the Donatist controversy, had as yet taken no personal part in the proceedings against Coelestius. Soon, however, was his attention directed to the new opinions, and he wrote the first two treatises contained in this volume, in the year when Coelestius was excommunicated. At first he treated Pelagius, as has been said, with deference and forbearance, hoping by courtesy to recall him from danger. But as the heresy developed, Augustin's opposition was more directly and vigorously exhibited. The gospel was being fatally tampered with, in its essential facts of human sin and divine grace; so, in the fulness of his own absolute loyalty to the entire volume of evangelical truth, he concentrated his best efforts in opposition to the now formidable heresy. It is perhaps not too much to say, that St. Augustin, the greatest doctor of the Catholic Church, effected his greatness mainly by his labours against Pelagianism. Other Christian writers besides Augustin have achieved results of decisive influence on the Church and its deposit of the Christian faith. St. Athanasius, "alone against the world," has often been referred to as a splendid instance of what constancy, aided by God's grace and a profound knowledge of theology, could accomplish; St. Cyril of Alexandria, and St. Leo of Rome, might be also quoted as signal proofs of the efficacy of catholic truth in opposition to popular heresy: these men, under God, saved the Creed from the ravages of Arianism, and the subtler injuries of Nestorius and Eutyches. Then, again, in the curious learning of the primitive Irenæus; in the critical skill, and wide knowledge, and indomitable labours of Origen; in the catechetical teaching of the elder Cyril; in the chaste descriptive power of Basil; in the simplicity and self-denial of Ambrose; in the fervid eloquence of the "golden-mouthed" Chrysostom; in the great learning of Jerome; in the scholastic accuracy of Damascene; and in the varied sacred gifts of other Christian worthies, from the impetuous Tertullian and the gentle Cyprian, with all the Gregories of manifold endowments, down to the latest period of patristic wisdom, graced by our own Anselm and the unrivalled preacher Bernard,--in all these converging lines of diverse yet compatible accomplishments, the Church of Christ has found, from age to age, ample reinforcements against the attacks of heretical hostility. And in our great Bishop of Hippo one may trace, operating on various occasions in his various works, the manifold characteristics which we have just enumerated of his brother saints,--with this difference, that in no one of them are found combined the many traits which constitute his greatness. We have here to do only with his anti-Pelagian writings. Upon the whole, perhaps, these exhibit most of his wonderful resources of Christian character. In many respects, one is reminded by him of the great apostle, whom he reverenced, and whose profound doctrines he republished and vindicated. He has himself, in several of his works, especially in his Confessions, admitted us to a view of the sharp convulsions and bitter conflicts through which he passed, before his regeneration, into the Christian life, animated by the free and sovereign grace of God, and adorned with his unflagging energies in works of faith and love. From the depths of his own consciousness he instinctively felt the dangers of Pelagianism, and he put forth his strength, as God enabled him, to meet the evil; and the reader has in this volume samples in great variety of the earnestness of his conflict with the new heresy and its leaders. These leaders he has himself characterized: "Ille [nempe Coelestius] apertior, iste [scilicet Pelagius] occultior fuit; ille pertinacior, iste mendacior; vel certe ille liberior, hic astutior;" [200] and illustrations of the general correctness of this estimate will be forthcoming, especially in the fourth treatise of this volume, where Coelestius is dealt with, and in the fifth, which relates to the subterfuges and pretexts practised by Pelagius in his proceedings in Palestine.

§ 5. The difference in the characters of the two leaders in this heresy contributed to different results in their earlier proceedings. We have seen the disastrous issue to Coelestius at Carthage, from his outspoken and unyielding conduct. The more reserved Pelagius, resorting to a dexterous management of sundry favourable circumstances, obtained a friendly hearing on two public occasions--at Jerusalem, in the summer of A.D. 415, and again at the end of that year, in a council of fourteen bishops, at Diospolis, the ancient Lydda. In the last treatise of this volume, [201] the reader has a characteristic narrative of these events from St. Augustin's own pen. The holy man's disappointment at the untoward results of these two inquiries is apparent; but he struggles to maintain his respect for the bishops concerned in the affair, and comforts himself and all Catholics with the assurance, which he thinks is warranted by the proceedings, that the acquittal obtained by Pelagius, through the concealment of his real opinions, amounted in fact to a condemnation of them. This volume terminates with these transactions in Palestine; so that any remarks on the decline and fall of Pelagianism proper must be postponed to a subsequent volume.

§ 6. St. Jerome as well as St. Augustin engaged in this controversy, and experienced in the East some loss and much danger from the rougher followers of Pelagius. [202] It is not without interest that one observes the difference of view entertained by these eminent men on the general question of the Pelagian heresy. Augustin had but an imperfect acquaintance with either the language or the writings of the Greek Fathers, and had treated the Pelagian opinions as unheard-of novelties. Jerome, however, who had acquired a competent knowledge of the Christian literature of Greece during his long residence in the East, traced these heretical opinions to the school of Origen, for whose memory he entertained but scant respect. There is, no doubt, extravagance in Jerome's censure, but withal a foundation of truth. For from the beginning there was a tendency at least to divergent views between the Eastern and the Western sections of Christendom, on the relation of the human will to the grace of God in the matter of man's conversion and salvation. On the general question, indeed, there was always substantial agreement in the Catholic Church;--man, as he is born into the world, is not in his originally perfect state; in order to be able to live according to his original nature and to do good, he requires an inward change by the almighty power of God. But this general agreement did not hinder specific differences of opinion, which having been developed with considerable regularity, in East and West respectively, admit of some classification. The chief writers of the West, especially Tertullian and Cyprian in the third century, and Hilary of Poitiers and (notably) Ambrose in the fourth century, prominently state the doctrine of man's corruption, and the consequent necessity of a change of his nature by divine grace; whilst the Alexandrian Fathers (especially Clement), and other Orientals (for instance, Chrysostom), laid great stress upon human freedom, and on the indispensable co-operation of this freedom with the grace of God. By the fifth century these tendencies were ready to culminate; they were at length precipitated to a decisive controversy. In the Pelagian system, the liberty which had been claimed for man was pushed to the heretical extreme of independence of God's help; while Augustin, in resisting this heresy, found it hard to keep clear of the other extreme, of the absorption of human responsibility into the divine sovereignty. Our author, no doubt, moves about on the confines of a deep insoluble mystery here; but, upon the whole, it must be apparent to the careful reader how earnestly he tries to maintain and vindicate man's responsibility even amidst the endowments of God's grace.

§ 7. Much has been written on the conduct of the two leading opponents in this controversy. Sides (as usual) have been taken, and extreme opinions of praise and of blame have been freely bestowed on both Augustin and Pelagius. It is impossible, even were it desirable, in this limited space to enter upon a question which, after all, hardly rises above the dignity of mere personalities. The orthodox bishop and the heretical monk have had their share of censure as to their mode of conducting the controversy. Augustin has been taxed with intolerance, Pelagius with duplicity. We are perhaps not in a position to form an impartial judgment on the case. To begin with, the evidence comes all from one side; and then the critics pass their sentence according to the suggestions of modern prejudice, rather than by the test of ancient contemporary facts, motives, and principles of action. A good deal of obloquy has been cast on Augustin, as if he were responsible for the Rescript of Honorius and its penalties; but this is (to say the least) a conclusion which outruns the premises. We need say nothing of the peril which seriously threatened true religion when the half-informed bishops of Palestine, and the vacillating Pope, all gave their hasty and ill-grounded approval to Pelagius, as a justification of Augustin. He deeply felt the seriousness of the crisis, and he unsheathed "the sword of the Spirit," and dealt with it trenchant blows, every one of which struck home with admirable precision; but it is not proved that he ever wielded the civil sword of pains and penalties. Of all theological writers in ancient, medieval, or earlier modern times, it may be fairly maintained that St. Augustin has shown himself the most considerate, courteous, and charitable towards opponents. The reader will trace with some interest the progress of his criticism on Pelagius. From the forbearance and love which he gave him at first, [203] he passes slowly and painfully on to censure and condemnation, but only as he detects stronger and stronger proofs of insincerity and bad faith.

§ 8. But whatever estimate we may form on the score of their personal conduct, there can be no doubt of the bishop's superiority over the monk, when we come to gauge the value of their principles and doctrines, whether tested by Scripture or by the great facts of human nature. Concerning the test of Scripture, our assertion will be denied by no one. No ancient Christian writer approaches near St. Augustin in his general influence on the opinions and belief of the Catholic Church, in its custody and interpretation of Holy Scripture; and there can be no mistake either as to the Church's uniform guardianship of the Augustinian doctrine, taken as a whole, or as to its invariable resistance to the Pelagian system, whenever and however it has been reproduced in the revolutions of human thought. There cannot be found in all ecclesiastical history a more remarkable fact than the deference shown to the great Bishop of Hippo throughout Christendom, on all points of salient interest connected with his name. Whatever basis of doctrine exists in common between the great sections of Catholicism and Protestantism, was laid at first by the genius and piety of St. Augustin. In the conflicts of the early centuries he was usually the champion of Scripture truth against dangerous errors. In the Middle Ages his influence was paramount with the eminent men who built up the scholastic system. In the modern Latin Church he enjoys greater consideration than either Ambrose, or Hilary, or Jerome, or even Gregory the Great; and lastly, and perhaps most strangely, he stands nearest to evangelical Protestantism, and led the van of the great movement in the sixteenth century, which culminated in the Reformation. How unique the influence which directed the minds of Anselm, and Bernard, and Aquinas, and Bonaventure, with no less power than it swayed the thoughts of Luther, and Melanchthon, and Zuingle, and Calvin!

§ 9. The key to this wonderful influence is Augustin's knowledge of Holy Scripture, and its profound suitableness to the facts and experience of our entire nature. Perhaps to no one, not excepting St. Paul himself, has it been ever given so wholly and so deeply to suffer the manifold experiences of the human heart, whether of sorrow and anguish from the tyranny of sin, or of spiritual joy from the precious consolations of the grace of God. Augustin speaks with authority here; he has traversed all the ground of inspired writ, and shown us how true is its portraiture of man's life. And, to pass on to our last point, he has threaded the mazes of human consciousness; and in building up his doctrinal system, has been, in the main, as true to the philosophy of fact as he is to the statements of revelation. He appears in as favourable a contrast to his opponent in his philosophy as in his Scripture exegesis. We cannot, however, in the limits of this Preface, illustrate this criticism with all the adducible proofs; but we may quote one or two weak points which radically compromise Pelagius as to the scientific bearings of his doctrine. By science we mean accurate knowledge, which stands the test of the widest induction of facts. Now, it has been frequently remarked that Pelagius is scientifically defective in the very centre of his doctrine,--on the freedom of the will. His theory, especially in the hands of his vigorous followers, Coelestius and Julianus, [204] ignored the influence of habit on human volition, and the development of habits from action, isolating human acts, making man's power of choice (his liberum arbitrium) a mere natural faculty, of physical, not moral operation. How defective this view is,--how it impoverishes the moral nature of man, strips it of the very elements of its composition, and drops out of consideration the many facts of human life, which interlace themselves in our experience as the very web and woof of moral virtue,--is manifest to the students of Aristotle and Butler. [205] Acts are not mere insulated atoms, merely done, and then done with; but they have a relation to the will, and an influence upon subsequent acts: and so acts generate habits, and habits produce character, the formal cause of man's moral condition. The same defect runs through the Pelagian system. Passing from the subject of human freedom, and the effect of action upon conduct and habit, we come to Pelagius' view of sin. According to him, Adam's transgression consisted in an isolated act of disobedience to God's command; and our sin now consists in the mere repetition and imitation of his offence. There was no "original sin," and consequently no hereditary guilt. Adam stood alone in his transgression, and transmitted no evil taint to his posterity, much less any tendency or predisposition to wrong-doing: there was no doubt a bad example, but against this Pelagius complacently set the happier examples of good and prudent men. Isolation, then, is the principle of Pelagius and his school; organization is the principle of true philosophy, as tested by the experience and observation of mankind.

§ 10. We have said enough, and we hope not unfairly said it, to show that Pelagius was radically at fault in his deductions, whether tested by divine revelation or human experience. How superior to him in all essential points his great opponent was, will be manifest to the reader of this volume. Not a statement of Scripture, nor a fact of nature, does Augustin find it necessary to soften, or repudiate, or ignore. Hence his writings are valuable in illustrating the harmony between revelation and true philosophy; we have seen how much of his far-seeing and eminent knowledge was owing to his own deep convictions and discoveries of sin and grace; perhaps we shall not be wrong in saying, that even to his opponents is due something of his excellence. There can be no doubt that in Pelagius and Coelestius, and his still more able follower Julianus, of whom we shall hear in a future volume, he had very able opponents--men of earnest character, acute in observation and reasoning, impressed with the truth of their convictions, and deeming it a fit occupation to rationalize the meaning of Scripture in its bearings on human experience. There is a remarkable peculiarity in this respect in the opinions of Pelagius. He accepted the mysteries of theology, properly so called, with the most exemplary orthodoxy. Nothing could be better than his exposition of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. But again we find him hemmed in with a perverse isolation. The doctrine of the Trinity, according to him, stands alone; it sheds no influence on man and his eternal interests; but in the blessed Scripture, as read by Augustin, there is revealed to man a most intimate relation between himself and God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as his Creator, his Redeemer, and his Sanctifier. In Pelagianism, then, we see a disjointed and unconnected theory,--a creed which stands apart from practical life, and is not allowed to shape man's conduct,--a system, in short, which falls to pieces for want of the coherence of the true "analogy of the faith" which worketh by love. By exposing, therefore, this incompatibility in the doctrine of his opponents, Augustin shows how irreconcilable are the deductions of their Rationalism with the statements of Revelation. But Rationalism is not confined to any one period. We live to see a bolder Rationalism, which, unlike Pelagius', is absolutely uncompromising in its aims, and (as must be admitted) more consistent in its method. To institute the supremacy of Reason, it destroys more or less the mysteries of Religion. All the miraculous element of the gospel is discarded; God's personal relation to man in the procedures of grace, and man's to God in the discipline of repentance, faith, and love, are abolished: nay, the Divine Personality itself merges into an impalpable, uninfluential Pantheism; while man's individual responsibility is absorbed into a mythical personification of the race. The only sure escape from such a desolation as this, is to recur to the good old paths of gospel faith--"stare super antiquas vias." Our directory for life's journey through these is furnished to us in Holy Scripture; and if an interpreter is wanted who shall be able by competent knowledge and ample experience to explain to us any difficulties of direction, we know none more suited for the purpose than our St. Augustin.

§ 11. But Rationalism is not always so exaggerated as this: in its ordinary development, indeed, it stops short of open warfare with Revelation, and (at whatever cost of logical consistency) it will accommodate its discussions to the form of Scripture. This adaptation gives it double force: there is its own intrinsic principle of uncontrolled liberty in will and action, and there is "the form of godliness," which has weight with unreflective Christians. Hence Pelagianism was undoubtedly popular: it offered dignity to human nature, and flattered its capacity; and this it did without virulence and with sincerity, under the form of religion. This acquiescence of matter and manner gave it strength in men's sympathies, and has secured for it durability, seeing that there is plenty of it still amongst us; as indeed there always has been, and ever will be, so long as the fatal ambition of Eden (Gen. iii. 5, 6) shall seduce men into a temper of rivalry with God. Writers like Paley (in his Evidences) have treated of the triumph of Christianity over difficulties of every kind. Of all the stumbling-blocks to the holy religion of our blessed Saviour, not one has proved so influential as its doctrine of Grace; the prejudice against it, by what St. Paul calls "the natural man" (1 Cor. ii. 14), is ineradicable--and, it may be added, inevitable: for in his independence and self-sufficiency he cannot admit that in himself he is nothing, but requires external help to rescue him from sin, and through imparted holiness to elevate him to the perfection of the blessed. How great, then, is the benefit which Augustin has accomplished for the gospel, in probing the grounds of this natural prejudice against it, and showing its ultimate untenableness--the moment it is tested on the deeper principles of the divine appreciation! No, the ultimate effect of the doctrine and operation of grace is not to depreciate the true dignity of man. If there be the humbling process first, it is only that out of the humility should emerge the exaltation at last (1 Pet. v. 6). I know nothing in the whole range of practical or theoretical divinity more beautiful than Augustin's analysis of the procedures of grace, in raising man from the depths of his sinful prostration to the heights of his last and eternal elevation in the presence and fellowship of God. The most ambitious, who thinks "man was not made for meanness," might be well content with the noble prospect. But his ambition must submit to the conditions; and his capacity both for the attainment and the fruition of such a destiny is given to him and trained by God Himself. "It is so contrived," says Augustin, "in the discipline of the present life, that the holy Church shall arrive at last at that condition of unspotted purity which all holy men desire; and that it may in the world to come, and in a state unmixed with all soil of evil men, and undisturbed by any law of sin resisting the law of the mind, lead the purest life in a divine eternity....But in whatever place and at what time soever the love which animates the good shall reach that state of absolute perfection which shall admit of no increase, it is certainly not shed abroad in our hearts' by any energies either of the nature or the volition that are within us, but by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us' (Rom. v. 5), and which both helps our infirmity and co-operates with our strength" (On Nature and Grace, chs. 74 and 84).

§ 12. This translation has been made from the (Antwerp) Benedictine edition of the works of St. Augustin, tenth volume, compared with the beautiful reprint by Gaume. (Although left to his own resources in making his version, the Translator has gladly availed himself of the learned aid within his reach. He may mention the Kirchengeschichte both of Gieseler and Neander [Clark's transl. vol. iv.]; Wiggers' Versuch einer pragmatischen Darstellung des Augustinismus und Pelagianismus [1st part]; Shedd's Christian Doctrine; Cunningham's Historical Theology; Short's Bampton Lectures for 1846 [Lect. vii.]; Professor Bright's History of the Church from A.D. 313 to A.D. 451; Bishop Forbes' Explanation of the Thirty-nine Articles [vol. i.]; Canon Robertson's History of the Christian Church, vol. i. pp. 376-392; and especially Professor Mozley's Treatise on the Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination, ch. iii. iv. vi.; and Dr. Philip Schaff's excellent History of the Christian Church [Clark, Edinburgh 1869 [206] ], vol. iii. pp.783-1028; of which work Dr. Dorner's is by no means exaggerated commendation: "It is," says he, "on account of the beauty of its descriptions, the lucid arrangement of its materials, and the moderation of its decisions, a very praiseworthy work" (Dorner's History of Protestant Theology [Clark's translation], vol. ii. p. 449, note 2). This portion of Dr. Schaff's work is an expansion of his able and interesting article on the Pelagian Controversy in the American Bibliotheca Sacra of May 1848.

Peter Holmes.


[198] It is satisfactory to observe how brief and scanty are his "retractations" on the topics treated in the present volume.

[199] Marius Mercator mentions a seventh opinion broached by Coelestius, to the effect that "infants, though they be unbaptized, have everlasting life."

[200] De Peccato originali, [xii.] 13. See below.

[201] [i.e. On the Proceedings of Pelagius.]

[202] See the Proceedings of Pelagius, c. 66.

[203] For some time Augustin abstained from mentioning the name of Pelagius, to save him as much as he could from exposure, and to avoid the irritation which might urge him to heresy from obstinacy. Augustin recognised early enough the motive which influenced Pelagius at first. The latter dreaded the Antinomianism of the day, and concentrated his teaching in a doctrine which was meant as a protest against it. "We would rather not do injustice to our friends," says Augustin, as he praises their "strong and active minds;" and he goes on to commend Pelagius anonymously for "the zeal which he entertains against those who find a defence for their sins in the infirmity of human nature." See the third treatise of this volume, On Nature and Grace, ch. 6, 7.

[204] We make this qualification, because Pelagius himself seems to have recognised to some extent the power of habit and its effect upon the will, in his Letter to Demetrias, 8. See Dr. Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church, vol. iii. p. 804.

[205] Aristotle, Ethic. Nicom. ii. 2, 3, 6; Butler, Analogy, i. 5.

[206] [Revised edition. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1884.]


Preface to Volume II. Of the Edinburgh Edition.

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This volume contains a translation of the three following treatises by St. Augustin on the Pelagian controversy:--

De Gratia Christi, et De Peccato originali contra Pelagium et Coelestium, ad Albinam, Pinianum, et Melaniam; libri duo, scripti anno Christi 418.

De Nuptiis et Concupiscentiâ ad Valerium Comitem; libri duo, scriptus alter circiter initium anni 419; alter anno Christi 420.

De Animâ et ejus origine, contra Vincentium Victorem; libri quatuor, scriptus sub finem anni Christi 419.

These, with the contents of our former volume, comprise eight of the fifteen works contributed by the great author to the defence of the Catholic faith against Pelagius and his most conspicuous followers. The prefaces and chapter headings, which have been, as heretofore, transferred to their proper places in this volume from the Benedictine edition of the original, will afford the reader preliminary help enough, and thus render more than a few general prefatory remarks unnecessary here.

The second book in the first of these treatises adds some facts to the historical information contained in our preceding volume; Pelagius is shown to be at one, in the main, with Coelestius, the bolder but less specious heretic. They were condemned everywhere--even at Rome by Pope Zosimus, who had at first shown some favour to them. These authoritative proceedings against them gave a sensible check to their progress in public; there is, however, reason to believe that the opinions, which the Pelagian teachers had with great industry, and with their varied ability, propounded, had created much interest and even anxiety in private society. The early part of the first of the following treatises throws some light on this point, and on the artful methods by which the heretics sought to maintain and extend their opinions; it affords some evidence also of the widespread influence of St. Augustin. The controversy had engaged the attention of a pious family in Palestine; Pelagius was in the neighbourhood; and when frankly questioned by the friends, he strongly protested his adherence to the doctrine of Grace. "I anathematize," he exclaimed with suspicious promptitude, "the man who holds that the grace of God is not necessary for us at every moment and in every act of our lives: and all who endeavour to disannul it, deserve everlasting punishment." It was an act of astonishing duplicity, which Augustin, to whom the case was referred, soon detected and exposed. It is satisfactory to find that the worthy Christians to whom the Saint addressed his loving labour were confirmed in their simple faith; and in one of the last of his extant letters, towards the close of his days on earth, the venerable St. Jerome, in the course of the following year, united the gratitude of Albina, Pinianus, and Melania, with his own to his renowned brother in the west, whom he saluted as "the restorer of the ancient faith." "Macte virtute," said the venerable man, "in orbe celebraris; et, quod signum majoris est gloriæ, omnes heretici detestantur." [Go on and prosper; the whole world endows thee with its praise, and all heretics with their hatred.]

In the latter part of the first treatise in this volume, one of the most formidable of the Pelagian objections to the Catholic doctrine of original sin is thrown out against marriage: "Surely that could not be a holy state, instituted of God, which produced human beings in sin!" Augustin in a few weighty chapters removes the doubts of his perplexed correspondents, and reserves his strength for the full treatment of the subject in the second treatise, here translated, On Marriage and Concupiscence. It is a noble monument of his firm grasp of Scripture truth, his loyal adherence to its plain meaning, and his delicate and, at the same time, intrepid handling of a subject, which could only be touched by a man whose mind possessed a deep knowledge of human nature--both in its moral and its physiological aspects, and in its relations to God as affected by its creation, its fall, and its redemption.

This treatise introduces us to a change of circumstances. The preceding one was, as we have seen, addressed to a small group of simple believers in sacred truth, who were not personally known to the author, and, though zealous in the maintenance of the faith, occupied only a private place in society; but the present work was written at the urgent request of a nobleman in high office as a minister of state, and well known to the writer. It is pleasant to trace a similar earnestness, in such dissimilar ranks, in the defence of the assailed faith: and it illustrates the wide stretch of mind and comprehensive love of Augustin, that he could so promptly sympathize with the anxieties of all classes and conditions in the Christian life; and, what is more, so administer comfort and conviction out of the treasures of his wisdom, as to settle their doubts and reassure them in faith. Nor does the change end here. Instead of Pelagius and Coelestius, Augustin has in this work to confute the powerful argument of Julianus, bishop of Celanum, the ablest of his Pelagian opponents. This man was really the mainstay of the heresy; he had greater resources of mind and a firmer character than either of his associates;--more candid and sincere than Pelagius, and less ambitious and impatient than Coelestius, he seemed to contend for truth for its own sake, and this disposition found a complete response in the Church's earnest and accomplished champion. Notwithstanding the difficulty and delicacy of the subject, which removes, no doubt, the treatise De Nuptiis et Concupisentiâ out of the category of what is called "general reading," the great author never did a higher service to the faith than when he provided for it this defence of a fundamental point. The venerable Jerome rejoiced at the good service, and longed to embrace his brother Saint from his distant retreat of Bethlehem. "Testem invoco Deum," he wrote to Augustin, and his dear friend and helper Alypius, "quod si posset fieri, assumptis alis columbæ, vestris amplexibus implicarer."

In the last and longest work, translated for this volume, we come upon a change, both of subject and circumstances, as complete as that we have just noticed. Vincentius Victor, whose unsafe opinions are reviewed, was a young African of great ability and rhetorical accomplishment. His fluent tongue had fairly bewitched not only crowds of thoughtless hearers, but staid persons, whose faith should have been proof against a seductive influence which was soon shown to be transient and flimsy. The young disputant seems to have been more of a schismatic in the Donatist party, than a heretic with Pelagius; showy, however, and unstable, and hardly weighing the consequence of his own opinions, he began to air his metaphysics, and soon fell into strange errors about the nature and origin of the human soul. In his youthful arrogance he happened to censure Augustin for his cautious teaching on so profound a subject; kindly does the aged bishop receive the criticism, show its unreasonableness, and point out to his rash assailant some serious errors which he was propounding at random. He also reproves one of Victor's friends, who happened to be a presbyter, for allowing himself to be misled by the young man's eloquent sophistry; and in the latter half of his treatise, with fatherly love and earnestness, he advises Victor to renounce his dangerous errors, some of which were rankly Pelagian, and something worse. The result of Augustin's admonitions--adorned as they were with great depth and width of reflection and knowledge (extending this time even to physical science, on some facts of which he playfully comments with the ease of a modern experimenter), with loving consideration for his opponent's inexperience, kindly deference to his undoubted abilities, and a pious desire to win him over to the cause of truth and godliness--was entirely satisfactory. We find from the Retractations (ii. 56), that Victor in time abjured all his errors, and doubtless, like another Apollos, ably employed his best powers in the service of true religion. This was a real trophy, great among the greatest of Augustin's achievements for faith and charity. For so great a soul to stoop to the level of so captious a spirit, and with industrious love and patience to trace out and refute all its ambitious error, was "a labour of love" indeed. He remembered the wise counsel of the apostle: "Count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother;" and he reaped the victory the Saviour promised: "Thou hast gained thy brother."

The translation, as in the former volume of the Anti-Pelagian writings of our author, has been made from the tenth volume of the Antwerp reprint of the Benedictine edition of St. Augustin's works.

Peter Holmes.

[Volume III. of the Edinburgh edition appeared without dedication or preface, in 1876. It contained translations of Augustin's treatises on Grace and Free-Will, Rebuke and Grace, The Predestination of the Saints, The Gift of Perseverance, and of his work Against Two Letters of the Pelagians. Of these, only the first was from the pen of Dr. Holmes, the rest being the work of Dr. Robert Ernest Wallis, whose name has been accordingly placed on the general titlepage of this revision.--W.]



a treatise on the merits and forgiveness of sins, and on the baptism of infants.


Extract from Augustin's "Retractations,"

Book II. Chap. 23,

On the Following Treatise,

"De Peccatorum Meritis Et Remissione."

------------------------

A Necessity arose which compelled me to write against the new heresy of Pelagius. Our previous opposition to it was confined to sermons and conversations, as occasions suggested, and according to our respective abilities and duties; but it had not yet assumed the shape of a controversy in writing. Certain questions were then submitted to me [by our brethren] at Carthage, to which I was to send them back answers in writing; I accordingly wrote first of all three books, under the title "On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins," in which I mainly discussed the baptism of infants because of original sin, and the grace of God by which we are justified, that is, made righteous; but [I remarked] no man in this life can so keep the commandments which prescribe holiness of life, as to be beyond the necessity of using this prayer for his sins: "Forgive us our trespasses." [207] It is in direct opposition to these principles that they have devised their new heresy. Now throughout these three books I thought it right not to mention any of their names, hoping and desiring that by such reserve they might the more readily be set right; nay more, in the third book (which is really a letter, but reckoned amongst the books, because I wished to connect it with the two previous ones) I actually quoted Pelagius' name with considerable commendation, because his conduct and life were made a good deal of by many persons; and those statements of his which I refuted, he had himself adduced in his writings, not indeed in his own name, but had quoted them as the words of other persons. However, when he was afterwards confirmed in heresy, he defended them with most persistent animosity. Coelestius, indeed, a disciple of his, had already been excommunicated for similar opinions at Carthage, in a council of bishops, at which I was not present. In a certain passage of my second book I used these words: "Upon some there will be bestowed this blessing at the last day, that they shall not perceive the actual suffering of death in the suddenness of the change which shall happen to them;" [208] --reserving the passage for a more careful consideration of the subject; for they will either die, or else by a most rapid transition from this life to death, and then from death to eternal life, as in the twinkling of an eye, they will not undergo the feeling of mortality. This work of mine begins with this sentence: "However absorbing and intense the anxieties and annoyances."


[207] See Matt. vi. 12.

[208] See Book ii. ch. 50.


A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants

by aurelius augustin, bishop of hippo;

In Three Books,

Addressed to Marcellinus, a.d. 412.

------------------------

Book I.

In which he refutes those who maintain, that Adam must have died even if he had never sinned; and that nothing of his sin has been transmitted to his posterity by natural descent. He also shows, that death has not accrued to man by any necessity of his nature, but as the penalty of sin; He then proceeds to prove that in Adam's sin his entire offspring is implicated, showing that infants are baptized for the express purpose of receiving the remission of original sin.


Chapter 1 [I.]--Introductory, in the Shape of an Inscription to His Friend Marcellinus.

Howeverabsorbing and intense the anxieties and annoyances in the whirl and warmth of which we are engaged with sinful men [209] who forsake the law of God,--even though we may well ascribe these very evils to the fault of our own sins,--I am unwilling, and, to say the truth, unable, any longer to remain a debtor, my dearest Marcellinus, [210] to that zealous affection of yours, which only enhances my own grateful and pleasant estimate of yourself. I am under the impulse [of a twofold emotion]: on the one hand, there is that very love which makes us unchangeably one in the one hope of a change for the better; on the other hand, there is the fear of offending God in yourself, who has given you so earnest a desire; in gratifying which I shall be only serving Him who has given it to you. And so strongly has this impulse led and attracted me to solve, to the best of my humble ability, the questions which you have submitted to me in writing, that my mind has gradually admitted this inquiry to an importance transcending that of all others; [and it will now give me no rest] until I accomplish something which shall make it manifest that I have yielded, if not a sufficient, yet at any rate an obedient, compliance with your own kind wish and the desire of those to whom these questions are a source of anxiety.


[209] This is probably an allusion to the Donatists, who were then fiercely assailing the Catholics; [and over the conference between whom and the Catholics, Marcellinus had presided the previous year (411).--W.]

[210] [Flavius Marcellinus, a "tribune and notary," a Christian man of high character and devout mind, who was much interested in theological discussions. He was appointed by Honorius to preside over the commission of inquiry into the disputes between the Catholics and Donatists in 411, and held the famous conference between the parties, that met in Carthage on the 1st, 3d, and 8th of June, 411. He discharged this whole business with singular patience, moderation, and good judgment; which appears to have cemented the intimate friendship between him and Augustin. Augustin's treatise on The Spirit and Letter is also addressed to him, and he undertook the City of God on his suggestion. See below, p. 80.--W.]


Chapter 2 [II.]--If Adam Had Not Sinned, He Would Never Have Died.

They who say that Adam was so formed that he would even without any demerit of sin have died, not as the penalty of sin, but from the necessity of his being, endeavour indeed to refer that passage in the law, which says: "On the day ye eat thereof ye shall surely die," [211] not to the death of the body, but to that death of the soul which takes place in sin. It is the unbelievers who have died this death, to whom the Lord pointed when He said, "Let the dead bury their dead." [212] Now what will be their answer, when we read that God, when reproving and sentencing the first man after his sin, said to him, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return?" [213] For it was not in respect of his soul that he was "dust," but clearly by reason of his body, and it was by the death of the self-same body that he was destined to "return to dust." Still, although it was by reason of his body that he was dust, and although he bare about the natural body in which he was created, he would, if he had not sinned, have been changed into a spiritual body, and would have passed into the incorruptible state, which is promised to the faithful and the saints, without the peril of death. [214] And for this issue we not only are conscious in ourselves of having an earnest desire, but we learn it from the apostle's intimation, when he says: "For in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality may be swallowed up of life." [215] Therefore, if Adam had not sinned, he would not have been divested of his body, but would have been clothed upon with immortality and incorruption, that "mortality might have been swallowed up of life;" that is, that he might have passed from the natural body into the spiritual body.


[211] Gen. ii. 17.

[212] Matt. viii. 22; Luke ix. 60.

[213] Gen. iii. 19.

[214] 1 Cor. xv. 52, 53.

[215] 2 Cor. v. 2-4.


Chapter 3 [III.]--It is One Thing to Be Mortal, Another Thing to Be Subject to Death.

Nor was there any reason to fear that if he had happened to live on here longer in his natural body, he would have been oppressed with old age, and have gradually, by increasing age, arrived at death. For if God granted to the clothes and the shoes of the Israelites that "they waxed not old" during so many years, [216] what wonder if for obedience it had been by the power of the same [God] allowed to man, that although he had a natural and mortal body, he should have in it a certain condition, in which he might grow full of years without decrepitude, and, whenever God pleased, pass from mortality to immortality without the medium of death? For even as this very flesh of ours, which we now possess, is not therefore invulnerable, because it is not necessary that it should be wounded; so also was his not therefore immortal, because there was no necessity for its dying. Such a condition, whilst still in their natural and mortal body, I suppose, was granted even to those who were translated hence without death. [217] For Enoch and Elijah were not reduced to the decrepitude of old age by their long life. But yet I do not believe that they were then changed into that spiritual kind of body, such as is promised in the resurrection, and which the Lord was the first to receive; only they probably do not need those aliments, which by their use minister refreshment to the body; but ever since their translation they so live, as to enjoy such a sufficiency as was provided during the forty days in which Elijah lived on the cruse of water and the cake, without substantial food; [218] or else, if there be any need of such sustenance, they are, it may be, sustained in Paradise in some such way as Adam was, before he brought on himself expulsion therefrom by sinning. And he, as I suppose, was supplied with sustenance against decay from the fruit of the various trees, and from the tree of life with security against old age.


[216] Deut. xxix. 5.

[217] Gen. v. 24; 2 Kings ii. 11.

[218] 1 Kings xix. 8.


Chapter 4 [IV.]--Even Bodily Death is from Sin.

But in addition to the passage where God in punishment said, "Dust thou art, unto dust shalt thou return," [219] --a passage which I cannot understand how any one can apply except to the death of the body,--there are other testimonies likewise, from which it most fully appears that by reason of sin the human race has brought upon itself not spiritual death merely, but the death of the body also. The apostle says to the Romans: "But if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. If therefore the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." [220] I think that so clear and open a sentence as this only requires to be read, and not expounded. The body, says he, is dead, not because of earthly frailty, as being made of the dust of the ground, but because of sin; what more do we want? And he is most careful in his words: he does not say "is mortal," but "dead."


[219] Gen. iii. 19.

[220] Rom. viii. 10, 11.


Chapter 5 [V.] --The Words, Mortale (Capable of Dying), Mortuum (Dead), and Moriturus (Destined to Die).

Now previous to the change into the incorruptible state which is promised in the resurrection of the saints, the body could be mortal (capable of dying), although not destined to die (moriturus); just as our body in its present state can, so to speak, be capable of sickness, although not destined to be sick. For whose is the flesh which is incapable of sickness, even if from some accident it die before it ever is sick? In like manner was man's body then mortal; and this mortality was to have been superseded by an eternal incorruption, if man had persevered in righteousness, that is to say, obedience: but even what was mortal (mortale) was not made dead (mortuum), except on account of sin. For the change which is to come in at the resurrection is, in truth, not only not to have death incidental to it, which has happened through sin, but neither is it to have mortality, [or the very possibility of death,] which the natural body had before it sinned. He does not say: "He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your dead bodies" (although he had previously said, "the body is dead" [221] ); but his words are: "He shall quicken also your mortal bodies;" [222] so that they are not only no longer dead, but no longer mortal [or capable of dying], since the natural is raised spiritual, and this mortal body shall put on immortality, and mortality shall be swallowed up in life. [223]


[221] Rom. viii. 10.

[222] Rom. viii. 11.

[223] 1 Cor. xv. 44, 53, 55.


Chapter 6 [VI.]--How It is that the Body Dead Because of Sin.

One wonders that anything is required clearer than the proof we have given. But we must perhaps be content to hear this clear illustration gainsaid by the contention, that we must understand "the dead body" here [224] in the sense of the passage where it is said, "Mortify your members which are upon the earth." [225] But it is because of righteousness and not because of sin that the body is in this sense mortified; for it is to do the works of righteousness that we mortify our bodies which are upon the earth. Or if they suppose that the phrase, "because of sin," is added, not that we should understand "because sin has been committed," but "in order that sin may not be committed"--as if it were said, "The body indeed is dead, in order to prevent the commission of sin:" what then does he mean in the next clause by adding the words, "because of righteousness," to the statement, "The spirit is life?" [226] For it would have been enough simply to have adjoined "the spirit is life," to have secured that we should supply here too, "in order to prevent the commission of sin;" so that we should thus understand the two propositions to point to one thing--that both "the body is dead," and "the spirit is life," for the one common purpose of "preventing the commission of sin." So likewise if he had merely meant to say, "because of righteousness," in the sense of "for the purpose of doing righteousness," the two clauses might possibly be referred to this one purpose--to the effect, that both "the body is dead," and "the spirit is life," "for the purpose of doing righteousness." But as the passage actually stands, it declares that "the body is dead because of sin," and "the spirit is life because of righteousness," attributing different merits to different things--the demerit of sin to the death of the body, and the merit of righteousness to the life of the spirit. Wherefore if, as no one can doubt, "the spirit is life because of righteousness," that is, as the desert, of righteousness; how ought we, or can we, understand by the statement, "The body is dead because of sin," anything else than that the body is dead as the desert of sin, unless indeed we try to pervert or wrest the plainest sense of Scripture to our own arbitrary will? But besides this, additional light is afforded by the words which follow. For it is with limitation to the present time, when he says, that on the one hand "the body is dead because of sin," since, whilst the body is unrenovated by the resurrection, there remains in it the desert of sin, that is, the necessity of dying; and on the other hand, that "the spirit is life because of righteousness," since, notwithstanding the fact of our being still burdened with "the body of this death," [227] we have already by the renewal which is begun in our inner man, new aspirations [228] after the righteousness of faith. Yet, lest man in his ignorance should fail to entertain hope of the resurrection of the body, he says that the very body which he had just declared to be "dead because of sin" in this world, will in the next world be made alive "because of righteousness,"--and that not only in such a way as to become alive from the dead, but immortal from its mortality.


[224] Rom. viii. 10.

[225] Col. iii. 5.

[226] Rom. viii. 10.

[227] Rom. vii. 24.

[228] Respiramus.


Chapter 7 [VII.]--The Life of the Body the Object of Hope, the Life of the Spirit Being a Prelude to It.

Although I am much afraid that so clear a matter may rather be obscured by exposition, I must yet request your attention to the luminous statement of the apostle. "But if Christ," says he, "be in you, the body indeed is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness." [229] Now this is said, that men may not suppose that they derive no benefit, or but scant benefit, from the grace of Christ, seeing that they must needs die in the body. For they are bound to remember that, although their body still bears that desert of sin, which is irrevocably bound to the condition of death, yet their spirit has already begun to live because of the righteousness of faith, although it had actually become extinct by the death, as it were, of unbelief. No small gift, therefore, he says, must you suppose to have been conferred upon you, by the circumstance that Christ is in you; inasmuch as in the body, which is dead because of sin, your spirit is even now alive because of righteousness; so that therefore you should not despair of the life even of your body. "For if the Spirit of Him that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." [230] How is it that fumes of controversy still darken so clear a light? The apostle distinctly tells you, that although the body is dead because of sin within you, yet even your mortal bodies shall be made alive because of righteousness, because of which even now your spirit is life,--the whole of which process is to be perfected by the grace of Christ, that is, by His Spirit dwelling in you: and men still contradict! He goes on to tell us how it comes to pass that life converts death into itself by mortifying it. "Therefore, brethren," says he, "we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh; for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live." [231] What else does this mean but this: If ye live according to death, ye shall wholly die; but if by living according to life ye mortify death, ye shall wholly live?


[229] Rom. viii. 10.

[230] Rom. viii. 11.

[231] Rom. viii. 12, 13.


Chapter 8 [VIII.]--Bodily Death from Adam's Sin.

When to the like purport he says: "By man came death, by man also the resurrection of the dead," [232] in what other sense can the passage be understood than of the death of the body; for having in view the mention of this, he proceeded to speak of the resurrection of the body, and affirmed it in a most earnest and solemn discourse? In these words, addressed to the Corinthians: "By man came death, and by man came also the resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive," [233] --what other meaning is indeed conveyed than in the verse in which he says to the Romans, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin?" [234] Now they will have it, that the death here meant is the death, not of the body, but of the soul, on the pretence that another thing is spoken of to the Corinthians, where they are quite unable to understand the death of the soul, because the subject there treated is the resurrection of the body, which is the antithesis of the death of the body. The reason, moreover, why only death is here mentioned as caused by man, and not sin also, is because the point of the discourse is not about righteousness, which is the antithesis of sin, but about the resurrection of the body, which is contrasted with the death of the body.


[232] 1 Cor. xv. 21.

[233] 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22.

[234] Rom. v. 12.


Chapter 9 [IX.]--Sin Passes on to All Men by Natural Descent, and Not Merely by Imitation.

You tell me in your letter, that they endeavour to twist into some new sense the passage of the apostle, in which he says: "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;" [235] yet you have not informed me what they suppose to be the meaning of these words. But so far as I have discovered from others, they think that the death which is here mentioned is not the death of the body, which they will not allow Adam to have deserved by his sin, but that of the soul, which takes place in actual sin; and that this actual sin has not been transmitted from the first man to other persons by natural descent, but by imitation. Hence, likewise, they refuse to believe that in infants original sin is remitted through baptism, for they contend that no such original sin exists at all in people by their birth. But if the apostle had wished to assert that sin entered into the world, not by natural descent, but by imitation, he would have mentioned as the first offender, not Adam indeed, but the devil, of whom it is written, [236] that "he sinneth from the beginning;" of whom also we read in the Book of Wisdom: "Nevertheless through the devil's envy death entered into the world." [237] Now, forasmuch as this death came upon men from the devil, not because they were propagated by him, but because they imitated his example, it is immediately added: "And they that do hold of his side do imitate him." [238] Accordingly, the apostle, when mentioning sin and death together, which had passed by natural descent from one upon all men, set him down as the introducer thereof from whom the propagation of the human race took its beginning.


[235] Rom. v. 12.

[236] 1 John iii. 8.

[237] Wisd. ii. 24.

[238] Ver. 25.


Chapter 10.--The Analogy of Grace.

No doubt all they imitate Adam who by disobedience transgress the commandment of God; but he is one thing as an example to those who sin because they choose; and another thing as the progenitor of all who are born with sin. All His saints, also, imitate Christ in the pursuit of righteousness; whence the same apostle, whom we have already quoted, says: "Be ye imitators of me, as I am also of Christ." [239] But besides this imitation, His grace works within us our illumination and justification, by that operation concerning which the same preacher of His [name] says: "Neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase." [240] For by this grace He engrafts into His body even baptized infants, who certainly have not yet become able to imitate any one. As therefore He, in whom all are made alive, besides offering Himself as an example of righteousness to those who imitate Him, gives also to those who believe on Him the hidden grace of His Spirit, which He secretly infuses even into infants; so likewise he, in whom all die, besides being an example for imitation to those who wilfully transgress the commandment of the Lord, depraved also in his own person all who come of his stock by the hidden corruption of his own carnal concupiscence. It is entirely on this account, and for no other reason, that the apostle says: "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so passed upon all men; in which all have sinned." [241] Now if I were to say this, they would raise an objection, and loudly insist that I was incorrect both in expression and sense; for they would perceive no sense in these words when spoken by an ordinary man, except that sense which they refuse to see in the apostle. Since, however, these are the words of him to whose authority and doctrine they submit, they charge us with slowness of understanding, while they endeavour to wrest to some unintelligible sense words which were written in a clear and obvious purport. "By one man," says he, "sin entered into the world, and death by sin." This indicates propagation, not imitation; for if imitation were meant, he would have said, "By the devil." But as no one doubts, he refers to that first man who is called Adam: "And so," says he, "it passed upon all men."


[239] 1 Cor. xi. 1.

[240] 1 Cor. iii. 7.

[241] Rom. v. 12.


Chapter 11 [X.]--Distinction Between Actual and Original Sin. [242]

Again, in the clause which follows, "In which all have sinned," how cautiously, rightly, and unambiguously is the statement expressed! For if you understand that sin to be meant which by one man entered into the world, "In which [sin] all have sinned," it is surely clear enough, that the sins which are peculiar to every man, which they themselves commit and which belong simply to them, mean one thing; and that the one sin, in and by which all have sinned, means another thing; since all were that one man. If, however, it be not the sin, but that one man that is understood, "In which [one man] all have sinned," what again can be plainer than even this clear statement? We read, indeed, of those being justified in Christ who believe in Him, by reason of the secret communion and inspiration of that spiritual grace which makes every one who cleaves to the Lord "one spirit" with Him, [243] although His saints also imitate His example; can I find, however, any similar statement made of those who have imitated His saints? Can any man be said to be justified in Paul or in Peter, or in any one whatever of those excellent men whose authority stands high among the people of God? We are no doubt said to be blessed in Abraham, according to the passage in which it was said to him, "In thee shall all nations be blessed" [244] --for Christ's sake, who is his seed according to the flesh; which is still more clearly expressed in the parallel passage: "In thy seed shall all nations be blessed." I do not believe that any one can find it anywhere stated in the Holy Scriptures, that a man has ever sinned or still sins "in the devil," although all wicked and impious men "imitate" him. The apostle, however, has declared concerning the first man, that "in him all have sinned;" [245] and yet there is still a contest about the propagation of sin, and men oppose to it I know not what nebulous theory of "imitation." [246]


[242] See below, Book iii. c. vii.; also in the De Nuptiis, c. v.; also Epist. 186, and Serm. 165.

[243] 1 Cor. vi. 17.

[244] Gal. iii. 8: comp. Gen. xii. 3, xviii. 18, xxii. 18.

[245] Rom. v. 12.

[246] This was the Pelagian term, expressive of their dogma that original sin stands in the following [or "imitation"] of Adam, instead of being the fault and corruption of the nature of every man who is naturally engendered of Adam's offspring; which doctrine is expressed by Augustin's word, propagatio, "propagation."


Chapter 12.--The Law Could Not Take Away Sin.

Observe also what follows. Having said, "In which all have sinned," he at once added, "For until the law, sin was in the world." [247] This means that sin could not be taken away even by the law, which entered that sin might the more abound, [248] whether it be the law of nature, under which every man when arrived at years of discretion only proceeds to add his own sins to original sin, or that very law which Moses gave to the people. "For if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. [249] But sin is not imputed where there is no law." [250] Now what means the phrase "is not imputed," but "is ignored," or "is not reckoned as sin?" Although the Lord God does not Himself regard it as if it had never been, since it is written: "As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law." [251]


[247] Rom. v. 13.

[248] Rom. v. 20.

[249] Gal. iii. 21, 22.

[250] Rom. v. 13.

[251] Rom. ii. 12.


Chapter 13 [XI.]--Meaning of the Apostle's Phrase "The Reign of Death."

"Nevertheless," says he, "death reigned from Adam even unto Moses," [252] --that is to say, from the first man even to the very law which was promulged by the divine authority, because even it was unable to abolish the reign of death. Now death must be understood "to reign," whenever the guilt of sin [253] so dominates in men that it prevents their attainment of that eternal life which is the only true life, and drags them down even to the second death which is penally eternal. This reign of death is only destroyed in any man by the Saviour's grace, which wrought even in the saints of the olden time, all of whom, though previous to the coming of Christ in the flesh, yet lived in relation to His assisting grace, not to the letter of the law, which only knew how to command, but not to help them. In the Old Testament, indeed, that was hidden (conformably to the perfectly just dispensation of the times) which is now revealed in the New Testament. Therefore "death reigned from Adam unto Moses," in all who were not assisted by the grace of Christ, that in them the kingdom of death might be destroyed, "even in those who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression," [254] that is, who had not yet sinned of their own individual will, as Adam did, but had drawn from him original sin, "who is the figure of him that was to come," [255] because in him was constituted the form of condemnation to his future progeny, who should spring from him by natural descent; so that from one all men were born to a condemnation, from which there is no deliverance but in the Saviour's grace. I am quite aware, indeed, that several Latin copies of the Scriptures read the passage thus: "Death reigned from Adam to Moses over them who have sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression;" [256] but even this version is referred by those who so read it to the very same purport, for they understood those who have sinned in him to have sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression; so that they are created in his likeness, not only as men born of a man, but as sinners born of a sinner, dying ones of a dying one, and condemned ones to a condemned one. However, the Greek copies from which the Latin version was made, have all, without exception or nearly so, the reading which I first adduced.


[252] Rom. v. 14.

[253] Reatus peccati.

[254] Rom. v. 14.

[255] Rom. v. 14.

[256] Comp. Epist. 157, n. 19. [Some few Greek copies have come down to us (e.g. 67**) which omit the "not," but no Latin copy (unless d* be an exception), although other Latin writers (e.g. Ambrosiaster) testify to their former existence.--W.]


Chapter 14.--Superabundance of Grace.

"But," says he, "not as the offence so also is the free gift. For if, through the offence of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by One Man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." [257] Not many more, that is, many more men, for there are not more persons justified than condemned; but it runs, much more hath abounded; inasmuch as, while Adam produced sinners from his one sin, Christ has by His grace procured free forgiveness even for the sins which men have of their own accord added by actual transgression to the original sin in which they were born. This he states more clearly still in the sequel.


[257] Rom. v. 15.


Chapter 15 [XII.]--The One Sin Common to All Men.

But observe more attentively what he says, that "through the offence of one, many are dead." For why should it be on account of the sin of one, and not rather on account of their own sins, if this passage is to be understood of imitation, and not of propagation? [258] But mark what follows: "And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the grace is of many offences unto justification." [259] Now let them tell us, where there is room in these words for imitation. "By one," says he, "to condemnation." By one what except one sin? This, indeed, he clearly implies in the words which he adds: "But the grace is of many offences unto justification." Why, indeed, is the judgment from one offence to condemnation, while the grace is from many offences to justification? If original sin is a nullity, would it not follow, that not only grace withdraws men from many offences to justification, but judgment leads them to condemnation from many offences likewise? For assuredly grace does not condone many offences, without judgment in like manner having many offences to condemn. Else, if men are involved in condemnation because of one offence, on the ground that all the offences which are condemned were committed in imitation of that one offence; there is the same reason why men should also be regarded as withdrawn from one offence unto justification, inasmuch as all the offences which are remitted to the justified were committed in imitation of that one offence. But this most certainly was not the apostle's meaning, when he said: "The judgment, indeed, was from one offence unto condemnation, but the grace was from many offences unto justification." We on our side, indeed, can understand the apostle, and see that judgment is predicated of one offence unto condemnation entirely on the ground that, even if there were in men nothing but original sin, it would be sufficient for their condemnation. For however much heavier will be their condemnation who have added their own sins to the original offence (and it will be the more severe in individual cases, in proportion to the sins of individuals); still, even that sin alone which was originally derived unto men not only excludes from the kingdom of God, which infants are unable to enter (as they themselves allow), unless they have received the grace of Christ before they die, but also alienates from salvation and everlasting life, which cannot be anything else than the kingdom of God, to which fellowship with Christ alone introduces us.


[258] See note to last word of ch. 11.

[259] Rom. v. 16.


Chapter 16 [XIII.]--How Death is by One and Life by One.

And from this we gather that we have derived from Adam, in whom we all have sinned, not all our actual sins, but only original sin; whereas from Christ, in whom we are all justified, we obtain the remission not merely of that original sin, but of the rest of our sins also, which we have added. Hence it runs: "Not as by the one that sinned, so also is the free gift." For the judgment, certainly, from one sin, if it is not remitted--and that the original sin--is capable of drawing us into condemnation; whilst grace conducts us to justification from the remission of many sins,--that is to say, not simply from the original sin, but from all others also whatsoever.


Chapter 17.--Whom Sinners Imitate.

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of righteousness shall reign in life by one, even Jesus Christ." [260] Why did death reign on account of the sin of one, unless it was that men were bound by the chain of death in that one man in whom all men sinned, even though they added no sins of their own? Otherwise it was not on account of the sin of one that death reigned through one; rather it was on account of the manifold offences of many, [operating] through each individual sinner. For if the reason why men have died for the transgression of another be, that they have imitated him by following him as their predecessor in transgression, it must even result, and that "much more," that that one died on account of the transgression of another, whom the devil so preceded in transgression as himself to persuade him to commit the transgression. Adam, however, used no influence to persuade his followers; and the many who are said to have imitated him have, in fact, either not heard of his existence at all or of his having committed any such sin as is ascribed to him, or altogether disbelieve it. How much more correctly, therefore, as I have already remarked, [261] would the apostle have set forth the devil as the author, from which "one" he would say that sin and death had passed upon all, if he had in this passage meant to speak, not of propagation, but of imitation? For there is much stronger reason for saying that Adam is an imitator of the devil, since he had in him an actual instigator to sin; if one may be an imitator even of him who has never used any such persuasion, or of whom he is absolutely ignorant. But what is implied in the clause, "They which receive abundance of grace and righteousness," but that the grace of remission is given not only to that sin in which all have sinned, but to those offences likewise which men have actually committed besides; and that on these [men] so great a righteousness is freely bestowed, that, although Adam gave way to him who persuaded him to sin, they do not yield even to the coercion of the same tempter? Again, what mean the words, "Much more shall they reign in life," when the fact is, that the reign of death drags many more down to eternal punishment, unless we understand those to be really mentioned in both clauses, who pass from Adam to Christ, in other words, from death to life; because in the life eternal they shall reign without end, and thus exceed the reign of death which has prevailed within them only temporarily and with a termination?


[260] Rom. v. 17.

[261] See above, ch. 9.


Chapter 18.--Only Christ Justifies.

"Therefore as by the offence of one upon all men to condemnation, even so by the justification of One upon all men unto justification of life." [262] This "offence of one," if we are bent on "imitation," can only be the devil's offence. Since, however, it is manifestly spoken in reference to Adam and not the devil, it follows that we have no other alternative than to understand the principle of natural propagation, and not that of imitation, to be here implied. [XIV.] Now when he says in reference to Christ, "By the justification of one," he has more expressly stated our doctrine than if he were to say, "By the righteousness of one;" inasmuch as he mentions that justification whereby Christ justifies the ungodly, and which he did not propose as an object of imitation, for He alone is capable of effecting this. Now it was quite competent for the apostle to say, and to say rightly: "Be ye imitators of me, as I also am of Christ;" [263] but he could never say: Be ye justified by me, as I also am by Christ;--since there may be, and indeed actually are and have been, many who were righteous and worthy of imitation; but no one is righteous and a justifier but Christ alone. Whence it is said: "To the man that believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." [264] Now if any man had it in his power confidently to declare, "I justify you," it would necessarily follow that he could also say, "Believe in me." But it has never been in the power of any of the saints of God to say this except the Saint of saints, [265] who said: "Ye believe in God, believe also in me;" [266] so that, inasmuch as it is He that justifies the ungodly, to the man who believes in him that justifieth the ungodly his faith is imputed for righteousness.


[262] Rom. v. 18.

[263] 1 Cor. iv. 16; xi. 1.

[264] Rom. iv. 5.

[265] Sanctus sanctorum.

[266] John xiv. 1.


Chapter 19 [XV.]--Sin is from Natural Descent, as Righteousness is from Regeneration; How "All" Are Sinners Through Adam, and "All" Are Just Through Christ.

Now if it is imitation only that makes men sinners through Adam, why does not imitation likewise alone make men righteous through Christ? "For," he says, "as by the offence of one upon all men to condemnation; even so by the justification of one upon all men unto justification of life." [267] [On the theory of imitation], then, the "one" and the "one," here, must not be regarded as Adam and Christ, but Adam and Abel. For although many sinners have preceded us in the time of this present life, and have been imitated in their sin by those who have sinned at a later date, yet they will have it, that only Adam is mentioned as he in whom all have sinned by imitation, since he was the first of men who sinned. And on the same principle, Abel ought certainly to have been mentioned, as he "in which one" all likewise are justified by imitation, inasmuch as he was himself the first man who lived justly. If, however, it be thought necessary to take into the account some critical period having relation to the beginning of the New Testament, and Christ be taken as the leader of the righteous and the object of their imitation, then Judas, who betrayed Him, ought to be set down as the leader of the class of sinners. Moreover, if Christ alone is He in whom all men are justified, on the ground that it is not simply the imitation of His example which makes men just, but His grace which regenerates men by the Spirit, then also Adam is the only one in whom all have sinned, on the ground that it is not the mere following of his evil example that makes men sinners, but the penalty which generates through the flesh. Hence the terms "all men" and "all men." For not they who are generated through Adam are actually the very same as those who are regenerated through Christ; but yet the language of the apostle is strictly correct, because as none partakes of carnal generation except through Adam, so no one shares in the spiritual except through Christ. For if any could be generated in the flesh, yet not by Adam; and if in like manner any could be generated in the Spirit, and not by Christ; clearly "all" could not be spoken of either in the one class or in the other. But these "all" [268] the apostle afterwards describes as "many;" [269] for obviously, under certain circumstances, the "all" may be but a few. The carnal generation, however, embraces "many," and the spiritual generation also includes "many;" although the "many" of the spiritual are less numerous than the "many" of the carnal. But as the one embraces all men whatever, so the other includes all righteous men; because as in the former case none can be a man without the carnal generation, so in the other class no one can be a righteous man without the spiritual generation; in both instances, therefore, there are "many:" "For as by the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." [270]


[267] Rom. v. 18.

[268] The word is "all" in ver. 18.

[269] See ver. 19.

[270] Rom. v. 19.


Chapter 20.--Original Sin Alone is Contracted by Natural Birth.

"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound." [271] This addition to original sin men now made of their own wilfulness, not through Adam; but even this is done away and remedied by Christ, because "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death" [272] --even that sin which men have not derived from Adam, but have added of their own will--"even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life." [273] There is, however, other righteousness apart from Christ, as there are other sins apart from Adam. Therefore, after saying, "As sin hath reigned unto death," he did not add in the same clause "by one," or "by Adam," because he had already spoken of that sin which was abounding when the law entered, and which, of course, was not original sin, but the sin of man's own wilful commission. But after he has said: "Even so might grace also reign through righteousness unto eternal life," he at once adds, "through Jesus Christ our Lord;" [274] because, whilst by the generation of the flesh only that sin is contracted which is original; yet by the regeneration of the Spirit there is effected the remission not of original sin only, but also of the sins of man's own voluntary and actual commission.


[271] Rom. v. 20.

[272] Rom. v. 21.

[273] Rom. v. 21.

[274] Rom. v. 21.


Chapter 21 [XVI.]--Unbaptized Infants Damned, But Most Lightly; [275] The Penalty of Adam's Sin, the Grace of His Body Lost.

It may therefore be correctly affirmed, that such infants as quit the body without being baptized will be involved in the mildest condemnation of all. That person, therefore, greatly deceives both himself and others, who teaches that they will not be involved in condemnation; whereas the apostle says: "Judgment from one offence to condemnation," [276] and again a little after: "By the offence of one upon all persons to condemnation." [277] When, indeed, Adam sinned by not obeying God, then his body--although it was a natural and mortal body--lost the grace whereby it used in every part of it to be obedient to the soul. Then there arose in men affections common to the brutes which are productive of shame, and which made man ashamed of his own nakedness. [278] Then also, by a certain disease which was conceived in men from a suddenly injected and pestilential corruption, it was brought about that they lost that stability of life in which they were created, and, by reason of the mutations which they experienced in the stages of life, issued at last in death. However many were the years they lived in their subsequent life, yet they began to die on the day when they received the law of death, because they kept verging towards old age. For that possesses not even a moment's stability, but glides away without intermission, which by constant change perceptibly advances to an end which does not produce perfection, but utter exhaustion. Thus, then, was fulfilled what God had spoken: "In the day that ye eat thereof, ye shall surely die." [279] As a consequence, then, of this disobedience of the flesh and this law of sin and death, whoever is born of the flesh has need of spiritual regeneration--not only that he may reach the kingdom of God, but also that he may be freed from the damnation of sin. Hence men are on the one hand born in the flesh liable to sin and death from the first Adam, and on the other hand are born again in baptism associated with the righteousness and eternal life of the second Adam; even as it is written in the book of Ecclesiasticus: "Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die." [280] Now whether it be said of the woman or of Adam, both statements pertain to the first man; since (as we know) the woman is of the man, and the two are one flesh. Whence also it is written: "And they twain shall be one flesh; wherefore," the Lord says, "they are no more twain, but one flesh." [281]


[275] See Augustin's Enchirid. c. 93, and Contra Julianum, v. 11.

[276] Rom. v. 16.

[277] Ver. 18.

[278] Gen. iii. 10.

[279] Gen. ii. 17.

[280] Ecclus. xxv. 24.

[281] Matt. xix. 5, 6.


Chapter 22 [XVII.]--To Infants Personal Sin is Not to Be Attributed.

They, therefore, who say that the reason why infants are baptized, is, that they may have the remission of the sin which they have themselves committed in their life, not what they have derived from Adam, may be refuted without much difficulty. For whenever these persons shall have reflected within themselves a little, uninfluenced by any polemical spirit, on the absurdity of their statement, how unworthy it is, in fact, of serious discussion, they will at once change their opinion. But if they will not do this, we shall not so completely despair of men's common sense, as to have any fears that they will induce others to adopt their views. They are themselves driven to adopt their opinion, if I am not mistaken, by their prejudice for some other theory; and it is because they feel themselves obliged to allow that sins are remitted to the baptized, and are unwilling to allow that the sin was derived from Adam which they admit to be remitted to infants, that they have been obliged to charge infancy itself with actual sin; as if by bringing this charge against infancy a man could become the more secure himself, when accused and unable to answer his assailant! However, let us, as I suggested, pass by such opponents as these; indeed, we require neither words nor quotations of Scripture to prove the sinlessness of infants, so far as their conduct in life is concerned; this life they spend, such is the recency of their birth, within their very selves, since it escapes the cognizance of human perception, which has no data or support whereon to sustain any controversy on the subject.


Chapter 23 [XVIII.]--He Refutes Those Who Allege that Infants are Baptized Not for the Remission of Sins, But for the Obtaining of the Kingdom of Heaven. [282]

But those persons raise a question, and appear to adduce an argument deserving of consideration and discussion, who say that new-born infants receive baptism not for the remission of sin, but that, since their procreation is not spiritual, they may be created in Christ, and become partakers of the kingdom of heaven, and by the same means children and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. And yet, when you ask them, whether those that are not baptized, and are not made joint-heirs with Christ and partakers of the kingdom of heaven, have at any rate the blessing of eternal life in the resurrection of the dead, they are extremely perplexed, and find no way out of their difficulty. For what Christian is there who would allow it to be said, that any one could attain to eternal salvation without being born again in Christ,--[a result] which He meant to be effected through baptism, at the very time when such a sacrament was purposely instituted for regenerating in the hope of eternal salvation? Whence the apostle says: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us by the laver [283] of regeneration." [284] This salvation, however, he says, consists in hope, while we live here below, where he says, "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." [285] Who then could be so bold as to affirm, that without the regeneration of which the apostle speaks, infants could attain to eternal salvation, as if Christ died not for them? For "Christ died for the ungodly." [286] As for them, however, who (as is manifest) never did an ungodly act in all their own life, if also they are not bound by any bond of sin in their original nature, how did He die for them, who died for the ungodly? If they were hurt by no malady of original sin, how is it they are carried to the Physician Christ, for the express purpose of receiving the sacrament of eternal salvation, by the pious anxiety of those who run to Him? Why rather is it not said to them in the Church: Take hence these innocents: "they that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick;"--Christ "came not to call the righteous, but sinners?" [287] There never has been heard, there never is heard, there never will be heard in the Church, such a fiction concerning Christ.


[282] See below, c. 26; also De Peccato orig. c. 19-24; also Serm. 294.

[283] Lavacrum.

[284] Tit. iii. 5.

[285] Rom. viii. 24, 25.

[286] Rom. v. 6.

[287] Luke v. 31, 32.


Chapter 24 [XIX.]--Infants Saved as Sinners.

And let no one suppose that infants ought to be brought to baptism, on the ground that, as they are not sinners, so they are not righteous; how then do some remind us that the Lord commends this tender age as meritorious; saying, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven?" [288] For if this ["of such"] is not said because of likeness in humility (since humility makes [us] children), but because of the laudable life of children, then of course infants must be righteous persons; otherwise, it could not be correctly said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven," for heaven can only belong to the righteous. But perhaps, after all, it is not a right opinion of the meaning of the Lord's words, to make Him commend the life of infants when He says, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven;" inasmuch as that may be their true sense, which makes Christ adduce the tender age of infancy as a likeness of humility. Even so, however, perhaps we must revert to the tenet which I mentioned just now, that infants ought to be baptized, because, although they are not sinners, they are yet not righteous. But when He had said: "I came not to call the righteous," as if responding to this, Whom, then, didst Thou come to call? immediately He goes on to say: "--but sinners to repentance." Therefore it follows, that, however righteous they may be, if also they are not sinners, He came not to call them, who said of Himself: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." They therefore seem, not vainly only, but even wickedly to rush to the baptism of Him who does not invite them,--an opinion which God forbid that we should entertain. He calls them, then, as a Physician who is not needed for those that are whole, but for those that are sick; and who came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Now, inasmuch as infants are not held bound by any sins of their own actual life, it is the guilt of original sin which is healed in them by the grace of Him who saves them by the laver of regeneration.


[288] Matt. xix. 14.


Chapter 25.--Infants are Described as Believers and as Penitents. Sins Alone Separate Between God and Men.

Some one will say: How then are mere infants called to repentance? How can such as they repent of anything? The answer to this is: If they must not be called penitents because they have not the sense of repenting, neither must they be called believers, because they likewise have not the sense of believing. But if they are rightly called believers, [289] because they in a certain sense profess faith by the words of their parents, why are they not also held to be before that penitents when they are shown to renounce the devil and this world by the profession again of the same parents? The whole of this is done in hope, in the strength of the sacrament and of the divine grace which the Lord has bestowed upon the Church. But yet who knows not that the baptized infant fails to be benefited from what he received as a little child, if on coming to years of reason he fails to believe and to abstain from unlawful desires? If, however, the infant departs from the present life after he has received baptism, the guilt in which he was involved by original sin being done away, he shall be made perfect in that light of truth, which, remaining unchangeable for evermore, illumines the justified in the presence of their Creator. For sins alone separate between men and God; and these are done away by Christ's grace, through whom, as Mediator, we are reconciled, when He justifies the ungodly.


[289] See below, c. 26 and 40; also Book iii. c. 2; also Epist. 98, and Serm. 294.


Chapter 26 [XX.]--No One, Except He Be Baptized, Rightly Comes to the Table of the Lord.

Now they take alarm from the statement of the Lord, when He says, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;" [290] because in His own explanation of the passage He affirms, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." [291] And so they try to ascribe to unbaptized infants, by the merit of their innocence, the gift of salvation and eternal life, but at the same time, owing to their being unbaptized, to exclude them from the kingdom of heaven. But how novel and astonishing is such an assumption, as if there could possibly be salvation and eternal life without heirship with Christ, without the kingdom of heaven! Of course they have their refuge, whither to escape and hide themselves, because the Lord does not say, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot have life, but--"he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." If indeed He had said the other, there could have risen not a moment's doubt. Well, then, let us remove the doubt; let us now listen to the Lord, and not to men's notions and conjectures; let us, I say, hear what the Lord says--not indeed concerning the sacrament of the laver, but concerning the sacrament of His own holy table, to which none but a baptized person has a right to approach: "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall have no life in you." [292] What do we want more? What answer to this can be adduced, unless it be by that obstinacy which ever resists the constancy of manifest truth?


[290] John iii. 3.

[291] Ver. 5.

[292] John vi. 53.


Chapter 27.--Infants Must Feed on Christ.

Will, however, any man be so bold as to say that this statement has no relation to infants, and that they can have life in them without partaking of His body and blood--on the ground that He does not say, Except one eat, but "Except ye eat;" as if He were addressing those who were able to hear and to understand, which of course infants cannot do? But he who says this is inattentive; because, unless all are embraced in the statement, that without the body and the blood of the Son of man men cannot have life, it is to no purpose that even the elder age is solicitous of it. For if you attend to the mere words, and not to the meaning, of the Lord as He speaks, this passage may very well seem to have been spoken merely to the people whom He happened at the moment to be addressing; because He does not say, Except one eat; but Except ye eat. What also becomes of the statement which He makes in the same context on this very point: "The bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world?" [293] For, it is according to this statement, that we find that sacrament pertains also to us, who were not in existence at the time the Lord spoke these words; for we cannot possibly say that we do not belong to "the world," for the life of which Christ gave His flesh. Who indeed can doubt that in the term world all persons are indicated who enter the world by being born? For, as He says in another passage, "The children of this world beget and are begotten." [294] From all this it follows, that even for the life of infants was His flesh given, which He gave for the life of the world; and that even they will not have life if they eat not the flesh of the Son of man.


[293] John vi. 51.

[294] Generant et generantur; Luke xx. 34.


Chapter 28.--Baptized Infants, of the Faithful; Unbaptized, of the Lost.

Hence also that other statement: "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; while he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." [295] Now in which of these classes must we place infants--amongst those who believe on the Son, or amongst those who believe not the Son? In neither, say some, because, as they are not yet able to believe, so must they not be deemed unbelievers. This, however, the rule of the Church does not indicate, for it joins baptized infants to the number of the faithful. Now if they who are baptized are, by virtue of the excellence and administration of so great a sacrament, nevertheless reckoned in the number of the faithful, although by their own heart and mouth they do not literally perform what appertains to the action of faith and confession; surely they who have lacked the sacrament must be classed amongst those who do not believe on the Son, and therefore, if they shall depart this life without this grace, they will have to encounter what is written concerning such--they shall not have life, but the wrath of God abideth on them. Whence could this result to those who clearly have no sins of their own, if they are not held to be obnoxious to original sin?


[295] John iii. 35, 36.


Chapter 29 [XXI.]--It is an Inscrutable Mystery Why Some are Saved, and Others Not.

Now there is much significance in that He does not say, "The wrath of God shall come upon him," but "abideth on him." For from this wrath (in which we are all involved under sin, and of which the apostle says, "For we too were once by nature the children of wrath, even as others" [296] ) nothing delivers us but the grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. The reason why this grace comes upon one man and not on another may be hidden, but it cannot be unjust. For "is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid." [297] But we must first bend our necks to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, in order that we may each arrive at knowledge and understanding through faith. For it is not said in vain, "Thy judgments are a great deep." [298] The profundity of this "deep" the apostle, as if with a feeling of dread, notices in that exclamation: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!" He had indeed previously pointed out the meaning of this marvellous depth, when he said: "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all." [299] Then struck, as it were, with a horrible fear of this deep: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and in Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." [300] How utterly insignificant, then, is our faculty for discussing the justice of God's judgments, and for the consideration of His gratuitous grace, which, as men have no prevenient merits for deserving it, cannot be partial or unrighteous, and which does not disturb us when it is bestowed upon unworthy men, as much as when it is denied to those who are equally unworthy!


[296] Eph. ii. 3.

[297] Rom. ix. 14.

[298] Ps. xxxvi. 6.

[299] Rom. xi. 32.

[300] Rom. xi. 33-36.


Chapter 30.--Why One is Baptized and Another Not, Not Otherwise Inscrutable.

Now those very persons, who think it unjust that infants which depart this life without the grace of Christ should be deprived not only of the kingdom of God, into which they themselves admit that none but such as are regenerated through baptism can enter, but also of eternal life and salvation,--when they ask how it can be just that one man should be freed from original sin and another not, although the condition of both of them is the same, might answer their own question, in accordance with their own opinion of how it can be so frequently just and right that one should have baptism administered to him whereby to enter into the kingdom of God, and another not be so favoured, although the case of both is alike. For if the question disturbs him, why, of the two persons, who are both equally sinners by nature, the one is loosed from that bond, on whom baptism is conferred, and the other is not released, on whom such grace is not bestowed; why is he not similarly disturbed by the fact that of two persons, innocent by nature, one receives baptism, whereby he is able to enter into the kingdom of God, and the other does not receive it, so that he is incapable of approaching the kingdom of God? Now in both cases one recurs to the apostle's outburst of wonder "O the depth of the riches!" Again, let me be informed, why out of the body of baptized infants themselves, one is taken away, so that his understanding undergoes no change from a wicked life, [301] and the other survives, destined to become an impious man? Suppose both were carried off, would not both enter the kingdom of heaven? And yet there is no unrighteousness with God. [302] How is it that no one is moved, no one is driven to the expression of wonder amidst such depths, by the circumstance that some children are vexed by the unclean spirit, while others experience no such pollution, and others again, as Jeremiah, are sanctified even in their mother's womb; [303] whereas all men, if there is original sin, are equally guilty; or else equally innocent if there is original sin? Whence this great diversity, except in the fact that God's judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out?


[301] Wisdom iv. 11.

[302] Rom. ix. 14.

[303] Jer. i. 5.


Chapter 31 [XXII.]--He Refutes Those Who Suppose that Souls, on Account of Sins Committed in Another State, are Thrust into Bodies Suited to Their Merits, in Which They are More or Less Tormented.

Perhaps, however, the now exploded and rejected opinion must be resumed, that souls which once sinned in their heavenly abode, descend by stages and degrees to bodies suited to their deserts, and, as a penalty for their previous life, are more or less tormented by corporeal chastisements. To this opinion Holy Scripture indeed presents a most manifest contradiction; for when recommending divine grace, it says: "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth, it was said, The elder shall serve the younger." [304] And yet they who entertain such an opinion are actually unable to escape the perplexities of this question, but, embarrassed and straitened by them, are compelled to exclaim like others, "O the depth!" For whence does it come to pass that a person shall from his earliest boyhood show greater moderation, mental excellence, and temperance, and shall to a great extent conquer lust, shall hate avarice, detest luxury, and rise to a greater eminence and aptitude in the other virtues, and yet live in such a place as to be unable to hear the grace of Christ preached?--for "how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" [305] While another man, although of a slow mind, addicted to lust, and covered with disgrace and crime, shall be so directed as to hear, and believe, and be baptized, and be taken away,--or, if permitted to remain longer here, lead the rest of his life in a manner that shall bring him praise? Now where did these two persons acquire such diverse deserts,--I do not say, that the one should believe and the other not believe, for that is a matter for a man's own will; but that the one should hear in order to believe, and that the other should not hear, for this is not within man's power? Where, I say, did they acquire diverse deserts? If they had indeed passed any part of their life in heaven, so as to be thrust down, or to sink down, to this world, and to tenant such bodily receptacles as are congruous to their own former life, then of course that man ought to be supposed to have led the better life previous to his present mortal body, who did not much deserve to be burdened with it, so as both to have a good disposition, and to be importuned by milder desires which he could easily overcome; and yet he did not deserve to have that grace preached to him whereby alone he could be delivered from the ruin of the second death. Whereas the other, who was hampered with a grosser body, as a penalty--so they suppose--for worse deserts, and was accordingly possessed of obtuser affections, whilst he was in the violent ardour of his lust succumbing to the snares of the flesh, and by his wicked life aggravating his former sins, which had brought him to such a pass, by a still more abandoned course of earthly pleasures,--either heard upon the cross, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise," [306] or else joined himself to some apostle, by whose preaching he became a changed man, and was saved by the washing of regeneration,--so that where sin once abounded, grace did much more abound. I am at a loss to know what answer they can give to this who wish to maintain God's righteousness by human conjectures, and, knowing nothing of the depths of grace, have woven webs of improbable fable.


[304] Rom. ix. 11, 12.

[305] Rom. x. 14.

[306] Luke xxiii. 43.


Chapter 32.--The Case of Certain Idiots and Simpletons.

Now a good deal may be said of men's strange vocations,--either such as we have read about, or have experienced ourselves,--which go to overthrow the opinion of those persons who think that, previous to the possession of their bodies, men's souls passed through certain lives peculiar to themselves, in which they must come to this, and experience in the present life either good or evil, according to the difference of their individual deserts. My anxiety, however, to bring this work to an end does not permit me to dwell longer on these topics. But on one point, which among many I have found to be a very strange one, I will not be silent. If we follow those persons who suppose that souls are oppressed with earthly bodies in a greater or a less degree of grossness, according to the deserts of the life which had been passed in celestial bodies previous to the assumption of the present one, who would not affirm that those had sinned previous to this life with an especial amount of enormity, who deserve so to lose all mental light, that they are born with faculties akin to brute animals,--who are (I will not say most slow in intellect, for this is very commonly said of others also, but) so silly as to make a show of their fatuity for the amusement of clever people, even with idiotic gestures, [307] and whom the vulgar call, by a name, derived from the Greek, Moriones? [308] And yet there was once a certain person of this class, who was so Christian, that although he was patient to the degree of strange folly with any amount of injury to himself, he was yet so impatient of any insult to the name of Christ, or, in his own person, to the religion with which he was imbued, that he could never refrain, whenever his gay and clever audience proceeded to blaspheme the sacred name, as they sometimes would in order to provoke his patience, from pelting them with stones; and on these occasions he would show no favour even to persons of rank. Well, now, such persons are predestinated and brought into being, as I suppose, in order that those who are able should understand that God's grace and the Spirit, "which bloweth where it listeth," [309] does not pass over any kind of capacity in the sons of mercy, nor in like manner does it pass over any kind of capacity in the children of Gehenna, so that "he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." [310] They, however, who affirm that souls severally receive different earthly bodies, more or less gross according to the merits of their former life, and that their abilities as men vary according to the self-same merits, so that some minds are sharper and others more obtuse, and that the grace of God is also dispensed for the liberation of men from their sins according to the deserts of their former existence:--what will they have to say about this man? How will they be able to attribute to him a previous life of so disgraceful a character that he deserved to be born an idiot, and at the same time of so highly meritorious a character as to entitle him to a preference in the award of the grace of Christ over many men of the acutest intellect?


[307] We here follow the reading cerriti; other readings are,--curati (with studied folly), cirrati (with effeminate foppery), and citrati (decking themselves with citrus leaves).

[308] That is, "fools," from the Greek moros

[309] John iii. 8.

[310] 1 Cor. i. 31.


Chapter 33.--Christ is the Saviour and Redeemer Even of Infants.

Let us therefore give in and yield our assent to the authority of Holy Scripture, which knows not how either to be deceived or to deceive; and as we do not believe that men as yet unborn have done any good or evil for raising a difference in their moral deserts, so let us by no means doubt that all men are under sin, which came into the world by one man and has passed through unto all men; and from which nothing frees us but the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [XXIII.] His remedial advent is needed by those that are sick, not by the whole: for He came not to call the righteous, but sinners; and into His kingdom shall enter no one that is not born again of water and the Spirit; nor shall any one attain salvation and eternal life except in His kingdom,--since the man who believes not in the Son, and eats not His flesh, shall not have life, but the wrath of God remains upon him. Now from this sin, from this sickness, from this wrath of God (of which by nature they are children who have original sin, even if they have none of their own on account of their youth), none delivers them, except the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world; [311] except the Physician, who came not for the sake of the sound, but of the sick; except the Saviour, concerning whom it was said to the human race: "Unto you there is born this day a Saviour;" [312] except the Redeemer, by whose blood our debt is blotted out. For who would dare to say that Christ is not the Saviour and Redeemer of infants? But from what does He save them, if there is no malady of original sin within them? From what does He redeem them, if through their origin from the first man they are not sold under sin? Let there be then no eternal salvation promised to infants out of our own opinion, without Christ's baptism; for none is promised in that Holy Scripture which is to be preferred to all human authority and opinion.


[311] John i. 29.

[312] Luke ii. 11.


Chapter 34 [XXIV.]--Baptism is Called Salvation, and the Eucharist, Life, by the Christians of Carthage.

The Christians of Carthage have an excellent name for the sacraments, when they say that baptism is nothing else than "salvation," and the sacrament of the body of Christ nothing else than "life." Whence, however, was this derived, but from that primitive, as I suppose, and apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ maintain it to be an inherent principle, that without baptism and partaking of the supper of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and everlasting life? So much also does Scripture testify, according to the words which we already quoted. For wherein does their opinion, who designate baptism by the term salvation, differ from what is written: "He saved us by the washing of regeneration?" [313] or from Peter's statement: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us?" [314] And what else do they say who call the sacrament of the Lord's Supper life, than that which is written: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven;" [315] and "The bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world;" [316] and "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye shall have no life in you?" [317] If, therefore, as so many and such divine witnesses agree, neither salvation nor eternal life can be hoped for by any man without baptism and the Lord's body and blood, it is vain to promise these blessings to infants without them. Moreover, if it be only sins that separate man from salvation and eternal life, there is nothing else in infants which these sacraments can be the means of removing, but the guilt of sin,--respecting which guilty nature it is written, that "no one is clean, not even if his life be only that of a day." [318] Whence also that exclamation of the Psalmist: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me!" [319] This is either said in the person of our common humanity, or if of himself only David speaks, it does not imply that he was born of fornication, but in lawful wedlock. We therefore ought not to doubt that even for infants yet to be baptized was that precious blood shed, which previous to its actual effusion was so given, and applied in the sacrament, that it was said, "This is my blood, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins." [320] Now they who will not allow that they are under sin, deny that there is any liberation. For what is there that men are liberated from, if they are held to be bound by no bondage of sin?


[313] Tit. iii. 5.

[314] 1 Pet. iii. 21.

[315] John vi. 51.

[316] John vi. 51.

[317] John vi. 53.

[318] Job xiv. 4.

[319] Ps. li. 5.

[320] Matt. xxvi. 28.


Chapter 35.--Unless Infants are Baptized, They Remain in Darkness.

"I am come," says Christ, "a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." [321] Now what does this passage show us, but that every person is in darkness who does not believe on Him, and that it is by believing on Him that he escapes from this permanent state of darkness? What do we understand by the darkness but sin? And whatever else it may embrace in its meaning, at any rate he who believes not in Christ will "abide in darkness,"--which, of course, is a penal state, not, as the darkness of the night, necessary for the refreshment of living beings. [XXV.] So that infants, unless they pass into the number of believers through the sacrament which was divinely instituted for this purpose, will undoubtedly remain in this darkness.


[321] John xii. 46.


Chapter 36.--Infants Not Enlightened as Soon as They are Born.

Some, however, understand that as soon as children are born they are enlightened; and they derive this opinion from the passage: "That was the true Light, which lighteth every one that cometh into the world." [322] Well, if this be the case, it is quite astonishing how it can be that those who are thus enlightened by the only-begotten Son, who was in the beginning the Word with God, and [Himself] God, are not admitted into the kingdom of God, nor are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. For that such an inheritance is not bestowed upon them except through baptism, even they who hold the opinion in question do acknowledge. Then, again, if they are (though already illuminated) thus unfit for entrance into the kingdom of God, they at all events ought gladly to receive the baptism, by which they are fitted for it; but, strange to say, we see how reluctant infants are to submit to baptism, resisting even with strong crying. And this ignorance of theirs we think lightly of at their time of life, so that we fully administer the sacraments, which we know to be serviceable to them, even although they struggle against them. And why, too, does the apostle say, "Be not children in understanding," [323] if their minds have been already enlightened with that true Light, which is the Word of God?


[322] John i. 9.

[323] 1 Cor. xiv. 20.


Chapter 37.--How God Enlightens Every Person.

That statement, therefore, which occurs in the gospel, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every one that cometh into the world," [324] has this meaning, that no man is illuminated except with that Light of the truth, which is God; so that no person must think that he is enlightened by him whom he listens to as a learner, although that instructor happen to be--I will not say, any great man--but even an angel himself. For the word of truth is applied to man externally by the ministry of a bodily voice, but yet "neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." [325] Man indeed hears the speaker, be he man or angel, but in order that he may perceive and know that what is said is true, his mind is internally besprinkled with that light which remains for ever, and which shines even in darkness. But just as the sun is not seen by the blind, though they are clothed as it were with its rays, so is the light of truth not understood by the darkness of folly.


[324] John i. 9.

[325] 1 Cor. iii. 7.


Chapter 38.--What "Lighteth" Means.

But why, after saying, "which lighteth every man," should he add, "that cometh into the world," [326] --the clause which has suggested the opinion that He enlightens the minds of newly-born babes while the birth of their bodies from their mother's womb is still a recent thing? The words, no doubt, are so placed in the Greek, that they may be understood to express that the light itself "cometh into the world." [327] If, nevertheless, the clause must be taken as expressing the man who cometh into this world, I suppose that it is either a simple phrase, like many others one finds in the Scriptures, which may be removed without impairing the general sense; or else, if it is to be regarded as a distinctive addition, it was perhaps inserted in order to distinguish spiritual illumination from that bodily one which enlightens the eyes of the flesh either by means of the luminaries of the sky, or by the lights of ordinary fire. So that he mentioned the inner man as coming into the world, because the outward man is of a corporeal nature, just as this world itself; as if he said, "Which lighteth every man that cometh into the body," in accordance with that which is written: "I obtained a good spirit, and I came in a body undefiled." [328] Or again, the passage, "Which lighteth every one that cometh into the world,"--if it was added for the sake of expressing some distinction,--might perhaps mean: Which lighteth every inner man, because the inner man, when he becomes truly wise, is enlightened only by Him who is the true Light. Or, once more, if the intention was to designate reason herself, which causes the human soul to be called rational (and this reason, although as yet quiet and as it were asleep, for all that lies hidden in infants, innate and, so to speak, implanted), by the term illumination, as if it were the creation of an inner eye, then it cannot be denied that it is made when the soul is created; and there is no absurdity in supposing this to take place when the human being comes into the world. But yet, although his eye is now created, he himself must needs remain in darkness, if he does not believe in Him who said: "I am come a Light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." [329] And that this takes place in the case of infants, through the sacrament of baptism, is not doubted by mother Church, which uses for them the heart and mouth of a mother, that they may be imbued with the sacred mysteries, seeing that they cannot as yet with their own heart "believe unto righteousness," nor with their own mouth make "confession unto salvation." [330] There is not indeed a man among the faithful, who would hesitate to call such infants believers merely from the circumstance that such a designation is derived from the act of believing; for although incapable of such an act themselves, yet others are sponsors for them in the sacraments.


[326] John i. 9.

[327] O [scil. to phos] photizei panta anthropon erchomenon eis ton kosmon.

[328] Wisd. viii. 19, 20.

[329] John xii. 46.

[330] Rom. x. 10.


Chapter 39 [XXVI.]--The Conclusion Drawn, that All are Involved in Original Sin.

It would be tedious, were we fully to discuss, at similar length, every testimony bearing on the question. I suppose it will be the more convenient course simply to collect the passages together which may turn up, or such as shall seem sufficient for manifesting the truth, that the Lord Jesus Christ came in the flesh, and, in the form of a servant, became obedient even to the death of the cross, [331] for no other reason than, by this dispensation of His most merciful grace, to give life to all those to whom, as engrafted members of His body, He becomes Head for laying hold upon the kingdom of heaven: to save, free, redeem, and enlighten them,--who had aforetime been involved in the death, infirmities, servitude, captivity, and darkness of sin, under the dominion of the devil, the author of sin: and thus to become the Mediator between God and man, by whom (after the enmity of our ungodly condition had been terminated by His gracious help) we might be reconciled to God unto eternal life, having been rescued from the eternal death which threatened such as us. When this shall have been made clear by more than sufficient evidence, it will follow that those persons cannot be concerned with that dispensation of Christ which is executed by His humiliation, who have no need of life, and salvation, and deliverance, and redemption, and illumination. And inasmuch as to this belongs baptism, in which we are buried with Christ, in order to be incorporated into Him as His members (that is, as those who believe in Him): it of course follows that baptism is unnecessary for them, who have no need of the benefit of that forgiveness and reconciliation which is acquired through a Mediator. Now, seeing that they admit the necessity of baptizing infants,--finding themselves unable to contravene that authority of the universal Church, which has been unquestionably handed down by the Lord and His apostles,--they cannot avoid the further concession, that infants require the same benefits of the Mediator, in order that, being washed by the sacrament and charity of the faithful, and thereby incorporated into the body of Christ, which is the Church, they may be reconciled to God, and so live in Him, and be saved, and delivered, and redeemed, and enlightened. But from what, if not from death, and the vices, and guilt, and thraldom, and darkness of sin? And, inasmuch as they do not commit any sin in the tender age of infancy by their actual transgression, original sin only is left.


[331] Phil. ii. 8.


Chapter 40 [XXVII.]--A Collection of Scripture Testimonies. From the Gospels.

This reasoning will carry more weight, after I have collected the mass of Scripture testimonies which I have undertaken to adduce. We have already quoted: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." [332] To the same purport [the Lord] says, on entering the home of Zaccheus: "To-day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." [333] The same truth is declared in the parable of the lost sheep and the ninety and nine which were left until the missing one was sought and found; [334] as it is also in the parable of the lost one among the ten silver coins. [335] Whence, as He said, "it behoved that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." [336] Mark likewise, at the end of his Gospel, tells us how that the Lord said: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." [337] Now, who can be unaware that, in the case of infants, being baptized is to believe, and not being baptized is not to believe? From the Gospel of John we have already adduced some passages. However, I must also request your attention to the following: John Baptist says of Christ, "Behold the Lamb of God, Behold Him which taketh away the sin of the world;" [338] and He too says of Himself, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish." [339] Now, inasmuch as infants are only able to become His sheep by baptism, it must needs come to pass that they perish if they are not baptized, because they will not have that eternal life which He gives to His sheep. So in another passage He says: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." [340]


[332] Luke v. 32.

[333] Luke xix. 9, 10.

[334] Luke xv. 4.

[335] Luke xv. 8.

[336] Luke xxiv. 46, 47.

[337] Mark xvi. 15, 16.

[338] John i. 29.

[339] John x. 27, 28.

[340] John xiv. 6.


Chapter 41.--From the First Epistle of Peter.

See with what earnestness the apostles declare this doctrine, when they received it. Peter, in his first Epistle, says: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to His abundant mercy, who hath regenerated us unto the hope of eternal life, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to an inheritance immortal, and undefiled, flourishing, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." [341] And a little afterwards he adds: "May ye be found unto the praise and honour of Jesus Christ: of whom ye were ignorant; but in whom ye believe, though now ye see Him not; and in whom also ye shall rejoice, when ye shall see Him, with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." [342] Again, in another place he says: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." [343] Once more he says: "Christ hath once suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God:" [344] and, after mentioning the fact of eight persons having been saved in Noah's ark, he adds: "And by the like figure baptism saveth you." [345] Now infants are strangers to this salvation and light, and will remain in perdition and darkness, unless they are joined to the people of God by adoption, holding to Christ who suffered the just for the unjust, to bring them unto God.


[341] 1 Pet. i. 3-5.

[342] 1 Pet. i. 7-9.

[343] 1 Pet. ii. 9.

[344] 1 Pet. iii. 18.

[345] 1 Pet. iii. 21.


Chapter 42.--From the First Epistle of John.

Moreover, from John's Epistle I meet with the following words, which seem indispensable to the solution of this question: "But if," says he, "we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." [346] To the like import he says, in another place: "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God, which is greater because He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believed not in the testimony that God testified of His Son. And this is the testimony, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." [347] It seems, then, that it is not only the kingdom of heaven, but life also, which infants are not to have, if they have not the Son, whom they can only have by His baptism. So again he says: "For this cause the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." [348] Therefore infants will have no interest in the manifestation of the Son of God, if He do not in them destroy the works of the devil.


[346] 1 John i. 7.

[347] 1 John v. 9-12.

[348] 1 John iii. 8.


Chapter 43.--From the Epistle to the Romans.

Let me now request your attention to the testimony of the Apostle Paul on this subject. And quotations from him may of course be made more abundantly, because he wrote more epistles, and because it fell to him to recommend the grace of God with especial earnestness, in opposition to those who gloried in their works, and who, ignorant of God's righteousness, and wishing to establish their own, submitted not to the righteousness of God. [349] In his Epistle to the Romans he writes: "The righteousness of God is upon all them that believe; for there is no difference; since all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission [350] of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness; that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." [351] Then in another passage he says: "To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth no sin." [352] And then after no long interval he observes: "Now, it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus Christ our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." [353] Then a little after he writes: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." [354] In another passage he says: "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I know not: for what I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." [355] Let them, who can, say that men are not born in the body of this death, that so they may be able to affirm that they have no need of God's grace through Jesus Christ in order to be delivered from the body of this death. Therefore he adds, a few verses afterwards: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." [356] Let them say, who dare, that Christ must have been born in the likeness of sinful flesh, if we were not born in sinful flesh.


[349] Rom. x. 3.

[350] [This is the reading of the Vulgate, as well as of the Greek; but Augustin, following an Old Latin reading, actually has propositum, instead of remissionem.--W.]

[351] Rom. iii. 22-26.

[352] Rom. iv. 4-8.

[353] Rom. iv. 23-25.

[354] Rom. v. 6.

[355] Rom. vii. 14-25.

[356] Rom. viii. 3.


Chapter 44.--From the Epistles to the Corinthians.

Likewise to the Corinthians he says: "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." [357] Again, in his Second Epistle to these Corinthians: "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if One died for all, then all died: and for all did Christ die, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore, henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from henceforth know we Him so no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the ministry of reconciliation. To what effect? That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and putting on us the ministry of reconciliation. Now then are we ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [358] We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For He saith, I have heard thee in an acceptable time, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)" [359] Now, if infants are not embraced within this reconciliation and salvation, who wants them for the baptism of Christ? But if they are embraced, then are they reckoned as among the dead for whom He died; nor can they be possibly reconciled and saved by Him, unless He remit and impute not unto them their sins.


[357] 1 Cor. xv. 3.

[358] 2 Cor. v. 14-21.

[359] 2 Cor. vi. 1, 2.


Chapter 45.--From the Epistle to the Galatians.

Likewise to the Galatians the apostle writes: "Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world." [360] While in another passage he says to them: "The law was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator belongs not to one party; but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." [361]


[360] Gal. i. 3, 4.

[361] Gal. iii. 19-22.


Chapter 46.--From the Epistle to the Ephesians.

To the Ephesians he addresses words of the same import: "And you when ye were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit of him that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; by whose grace ye are saved." [362] Again, a little afterwards, he says: "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." [363] And again, after a short interval: "At that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now, in Christ Jesus, ye who were sometimes far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having in Himself slain the enmity; and He came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." [364] Then in another passage he thus writes: "As the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." [365] And again: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." [366]


[362] Eph. ii. 1-5.

[363] Eph. ii. 8-10.

[364] Eph. ii. 12-18.

[365] Eph. iv. 21-24.

[366] Eph. iv. 30.


Chapter 47.--From the Epistle to the Colossians.

To the Colossians he addresses these words: "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; in whom we have redemption in the remission of our sins." [367] And again he says: "And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, when ye were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; and putting the flesh off Him, [368] He made a show of principalities and powers, confidently triumphing over them in Himself." [369]


[367] Col. i. 12-14.

[368] Exuens se carnem.

[369] Col. ii. 10-15.


Chapter 48.--From the Epistles to Timothy.

And then to Timothy he says: "This is a faithful saying, [370] and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting." [371] He also says: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all." [372] In his second Epistle to the same Timothy, he says: "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou a fellow-labourer for the gospel, according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; but is now manifested by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." [373]


[370] Humanus sermo.

[371] 1 Tim. i. 15, 16.

[372] 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.

[373] 2 Tim. i. 8-10.


Chapter 49.--From the Epistle to Titus.

Then again he writes to Titus as follows: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." [374] And to the like effect in another passage: "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." [375]


[374] Tit. ii. 13, 14.

[375] Tit. iii. 3-7.


Chapter 50.--From the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Although the authority of the Epistle to the Hebrews is doubted by some, [376] nevertheless, as I find it sometimes thought by persons, who oppose our opinion touching the baptism of infants, to contain evidence in favour of their own views, we shall notice the pointed testimony it bears in our behalf; and I quote it the more confidently, because of the authority of the Eastern Churches, which expressly place it amongst the canonical Scriptures. In its very exordium one thus reads: "God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who, being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." [377] And by and by the writer says: "For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" [378] And again in another passage: "Forasmuch then," says he, "as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." [379] Again, shortly after, he says: "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." [380] And in another place he writes: "Let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." [381] Again he says: "He hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily (as those high priests) to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people's: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself." [382] And once more: "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; (for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world;) but now once, in the end of the world, hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation." [383]


[376] Amongst the Latins, as Jerome tells us in more than one passage (see his Commentaries, on Isa. vi., viii.; on Zech. viii.; on Matt. xxvi.; also, in his Catal. Script. Eccles., c. xvi. [ad Paulum], and lxx. [ad Gaium], etc.). The Greeks, however, held that the epistle was the work of St. Paul. In his Epistle cxxix. [ad Dardanum] he thus writes: "We must admit that the epistle written to the Hebrews is regarded as the Apostle Paul's, not only by the churches of the East, but by all church writers who have from the beginning (retro) written in Greek."--Note of the Benedictine Editor. [See Augustin's City of God, xvi. 22 and Christian Doctrine, ii. (8), 13. The matter is fairly stated by Augustin, after whose day the Epistle was not doubted even in the West.--W.]

[377] Heb. i. 1-3.

[378] Heb. ii. 2, 3.

[379] Heb. ii. 14, 15.

[380] Heb. ii. 17.

[381] Heb. iv. 14, 15.

[382] Heb. vii. 24-27.

[383] Heb. ix. 24-28.


Chapter 51.--From the Apocalypse.

The Revelation of John likewise tells us that in a new song these praises are offered to Christ: "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." [384]


[384] Rev. v. 9.


Chapter 52.--From the Acts of the Apostles.

To the like effect, in the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostle Peter designated the Lord Jesus as "the Author of life," upbraiding the Jews for having put Him to death in these words: "But ye dishonoured and denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you, and ye killed the Author of life." [385] While in another passage he says: "This is the stone which was set at nought by you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." [386] And again, elsewhere: "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, by hanging on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." [387] Once more: "To Him give all the prophets witness, that, through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." [388] Whilst in the same Acts of the Apostles Paul says: "Be it known therefore unto you, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him every one that believeth is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." [389]


[385] Acts iii. 14, 15.

[386] Acts iv. 11, 12.

[387] Acts v. 30, 31.

[388] Acts x. 43.

[389] Acts xiii. 38, 39.


Chapter 53.--The Utility of the Books of the Old Testament.

Under so great a weight of testimony, who would not be oppressed that should dare lift up his voice against the truth of God? And many other testimonies might be found, were it not for my anxiety to bring this tract to an end,--an anxiety which I must not slight. I have deemed it superfluous to quote from the books of the Old Testament, likewise, many attestations to our doctrine in inspired words, since what is concealed in them under the veil of earthly promises is clearly revealed in the preaching of the New Testament. Our Lord Himself briefly demonstrated and defined the use of the Old Testament writings, when He said that it was necessary that what had been written concerning Himself in the Law, and the Prophets, and the Psalms, should be fulfilled, and that this was that Christ must suffer, and rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [390] In agreement with this is that statement of Peter which I have already quoted, how that all the prophets bear witness to Christ, that at His hands every one that believes in Him receives remission of his sins. [391]


[390] See Luke xxiv. 44-47.

[391] Acts x. 43.


Chapter 54.--By the Sacrifices of the Old Testament, Men Were Convinced of Sins and Led to the Saviour.

And yet it is perhaps better to advance a few testimonies out of the Old Testament also, which ought to have a supplementary, or rather a cumulative value. The Lord Himself, speaking by the Psalmist, says: "As for my saints which are upon earth, He hath caused all my purposes to be admired in them." [392] Not their merits, but "my purposes." For what is theirs except that which is afterwards mentioned,--"their weaknesses are multiplied," [393] --above the weakness that they had? Moreover, the law also entered, that the offence might abound. But why does the Psalmist immediately add: "They hastened after?" [394] When their sorrows and infirmities multiplied (that is, when their offence abounded), they then sought the Physician more eagerly, in order that, where sin abounded, grace might much more abound. He then says: "I will not gather their assemblies together [with their offerings] of blood;" for by their many sacrifices of blood, when they gathered their assemblies into the tabernacle at first, and then into the temple, they were rather convicted as sinners than cleansed. I shall no longer, He says, gather their assemblies of blood-offerings together; because there is one blood-shedding given for many, whereby they may be truly cleansed. Then it follows: "Neither will I make mention of their names with my lips," as if they were the names of renewed ones. For these were their names at first: children of the flesh, children of the world, children of wrath, children of the devil, unclean, sinners, impious; but afterwards, children of God,--a new name to the new man, a new song to the singer of what is new, by means of the New Testament. Men must not be ungracious with God's grace, mean with great things; [but be ever rising] from the less to the greater. The cry of the whole Church is, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep." [395] From all the members of Christ the voice is heard: "All we, as sheep, have gone astray; and He hath Himself been delivered up for our sins." [396] The whole of this passage of prophecy is that famous one in Isaiah which was expounded by Philip to the eunuch of Queen Candace, and he believed in Jesus. [397] See how often he commends this very subject, and, as it were, inculcates it again and again on proud and contentious men: "He was a man under misfortune, and one who well knows to bear infirmities; wherefore also He turned away His face, He was dishonoured, and was not much esteemed. He it is that bears our weaknesses, and for us is involved in pains: and we accounted Him to be in pains, and in misfortune, and in punishment. But it was He who was wounded for our sins, was weakened for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His bruise we are healed. All we, as sheep, have gone astray; and the Lord delivered Him up for our sins. And although He was evilly entreated, yet He opened not His mouth: as a sheep was He led to the slaughter, and as a lamb is dumb before the shearer, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away: His generation who shall declare? For His life shall be taken away from the earth, and for the iniquities of my people was He led to death. Therefore I will give the wicked for His burial, and the rich for His death; because He did no iniquity, nor deceit with His mouth. The Lord is pleased to purge Him from misfortune. If you could yourselves have given your soul on account of your sins, ye should see a seed of a long life. And the Lord is pleased to rescue His soul from pains, to show Him light, and to form it through His understanding; to justify the Just One, who serves many well; and He shall Himself bear their sins. Therefore He shall inherit many, and He shall divide the spoils of the mighty; and He was numbered amongst the transgressors; and Himself bare the sins of many, and He was delivered for their iniquities." [398] Consider also that passage of this same prophet which Christ actually declared to be fulfilled in Himself, when He recited it in the synagogue, in discharging the function of the reader: [399] "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me: to preach glad tidings to the poor hath He sent me, that so I may refresh all who are broken-hearted,--to preach deliverance to the captives, and to the blind sight." [400] Let us then all acknowledge Him; nor should there be one exception among persons like ourselves, who wish to cleave to His body, to enter through Him into the sheepfold, and to attain to that life and eternal salvation which He has promised to His own.--Let us, I repeat, all of us acknowledge Him who did no sin, who bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we might live with righteousness separate from sins; by whose scars we are healed, when we were weak [401] --like wandering sheep.


[392] Ps. xvi. 3.

[393] Ps. xvi. 4.

[394] Ps. xvi. 4.

[395] Ps. cxix. 176.

[396] Isa. liii. 6.

[397] Acts viii. 30-37.

[398] Isa. liii. 3-12.

[399] See Luke iv. 16-21.

[400] Isa. lxi. 1.

[401] There seems to be here some omission.--Benedictine Note.


Chapter 55 [XXVIII.]--He Concludes that All Men Need the Death of Christ, that They May Be Saved. Unbaptized Infants Will Be Involved in the Condemnation of the Devil. How All Men Through Adam are Unto Condemnation; And Through Christ Unto Justification. No One is Reconciled with God, Except Through Christ.

In such circumstances, no man of those who have come to Christ by baptism has ever been regarded, according to sound faith and the true doctrine, as excepted from the grace of forgiveness of sins; nor has eternal life been ever thought possible to any man apart from His kingdom. For this [eternal life] is ready to be revealed at the last time, [402] that is, at the resurrection of the dead who are reserved not for that eternal death which is called "the second death," but for the eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promises to His saints and faithful servants. Now none who shall partake of this life shall be made alive except in Christ, even as all die in Adam. [403] For as none whatever, of all those who belong to the generation according to the will of the flesh, die except in Adam, in whom all sinned; so, out of these, none at all who are regenerated by the will of the Spirit are endowed with life except in Christ, in whom all are justified. Because as through one all to condemnation, so through One all to justification. [404] Nor is there any middle place for any man, and so a man can only be with the devil who is not with Christ. Accordingly, also the Lord Himself (wishing to remove from the hearts of wrong-believers [405] that vague and indefinite middle condition, which some would provide for unbaptized infants,--as if, by reason of their innocence, they were embraced in eternal life, but were not, because of their unbaptized state, with Christ in His kingdom) uttered that definitive sentence of His, which shuts their mouths: "He that is not with me is against me." [406] Take then the case of any infant you please: If he is already in Christ, why is he baptized? If, however, as the Truth has it, he is baptized just that he may be with Christ, it certainly follows that he who is not baptized is not with Christ; and because he is not "with" Christ, he is "against" Christ; for He has pronounced His own sentence, which is so explicit that we ought not, and indeed cannot, impair it or change it. And how can he be "against" Christ, if not owing to sin? for it cannot possibly be from his soul or his body, both of these being the creation of God. Now if it be owing to sin, what sin can be found at such an age, except the ancient and original sin? Of course that sinful flesh in which all are born to condemnation is one thing, and that Flesh which was made "after the likeness of sinful flesh," whereby also all are freed from condemnation, is another thing. It is, however, by no means meant to be implied that all who are born in sinful flesh are themselves actually cleansed by that Flesh which is "like" sinful flesh; "for all men have not faith;" [407] but that all who are born from the carnal union are born entirely of sinful flesh, whilst all who are born from the spiritual union are cleansed only by the Flesh which is in the likeness of sinful flesh. In other words, the former class are in Adam unto condemnation, the latter are in Christ unto justification. This is as if we should say, for example, that in such a city there is a certain midwife who delivers all; and in the same place there is an expert teacher who instructs all. By all, in the one case, only those who are born can possibly be understood; by all, in the other, only those who are taught: and it does not follow that all who are born also receive the instruction. But it is obvious to every one, that in the one case it is correctly said, "she delivers all," since without her aid no one is born; and in the other, it is rightly said, "he teaches all," since without his tutoring, no one learns.


[402] 1 Pet. i. 5.

[403] 1 Cor. xv. 22.

[404] Rom. v. 18.

[405] Malè credentium.

[406] Matt. xii. 30.

[407] 2 Thess. iii. 2.


Chapter 56.--No One is Reconciled to God Except Through Christ.

Taking into account all the inspired statements which I have quoted,--whether I regard the value of each passage one by one, or combine their united testimony in an accumulated witness or even include similar passages which I have not adduced,--there can be nothing discovered, but that which the catholic Church holds, in her dutiful vigilance against all profane novelties: that every man is separated from God, except those who are reconciled to God through Christ the Mediator; and that no one can be separated from God, except by sins, which alone cause separation; that there is, therefore, no reconciliation except by the remission of sins, through the one grace of the most merciful Saviour,--through the one sacrifice of the most veritable Priest; and that none who are born of the woman, that trusted the serpent and so was corrupted through desire, [408] are delivered from the body of this death, except by the Son of the virgin who believed the angel and so conceived without desire. [409]


[408] Gen. iii. 6.

[409] Luke i. 38.


Chapter 57 [XXIX.]--The Good of Marriage; Four Different Cases of the Good and the Evil Use of Matrimony.

The good, then, of marriage lies not in the passion of desire, but in a certain legitimate and honourable measure in using that passion, appropriate to the propagation of children, not the gratification of lust. [410] That, therefore, which is disobediently excited in the members of the body of this death, and endeavours to draw into itself our whole fallen soul, (neither arising nor subsiding at the bidding of the mind), is that evil of sin in which every man is born. When, however, it is curbed from unlawful desires, and is permitted only for the orderly propagation and renewal of the human race, this is the good of wedlock, by which man is born in the union that is appointed. Nobody, however, is born again in Christ's body, unless he be previously born in the body of sin. But inasmuch as it is evil to make a bad use of a good thing, so is it good to use well a bad thing. These two ideas therefore of good and evil, and those other two of a good use and an evil use, when they are duly combined together, produce four different conditions:--[1] A man makes a good use of a good thing, when he dedicates his continence to God; [2.] He makes a bad use of a good thing, when he dedicates his continence to an idol; [3.] He makes a bad use of an evil thing, when he loosely gratifies his concupiscence by adultery; [4.] He makes a good use of an evil thing, when he restrains his concupiscence by matrimony. Now, as it is better to make good use of a good thing than to make good rise of an evil thing,--since both are good,--so "he that giveth his virgin in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better." [411] This question, indeed, I have treated at greater length, and more sufficiently, as God enabled me according to my humble abilities, in two works of mine,--one of them, On the Good of Marriage, and the other, On Holy Virginity. They, therefore, who extol the flesh and blood of a sinful creature, to the prejudice of the Redeemer's flesh and blood, must not defend the evil of concupiscence through the good of marriage; nor should they, from whose infant age the Lord has inculcated in us a lesson of humility, [412] be lifted up into pride by the error of others. He only was born without sin whom a virgin conceived without the embrace of a husband,--not by the concupiscence of the flesh, but by the chaste submission of her mind. [413] She alone was able to give birth to One who should heal our wound, who brought forth the germ of a pure offspring without the wound of sin.


[410] [The editions, but apparently no Mss., add here the somewhat sententious words: "Voluntas ista, non voluptas illa, nuptialis est,"--which may, perhaps, be rendered: "Wedded desire is willingness, not wantonness."--W.]

[411] 1 Cor. vii. 38.

[412] Matt. xviii. 4.

[413] Luke i. 34, 38.


Chapter 58 [XXX.]--In What Respect the Pelagians Regarded Baptism as Necessary for Infants.

Let us now examine more carefully, so far as the Lord enables us, that very chapter of the Gospel where He says, "Except a man be born again,--of water and the Spirit,-- he shall not enter into the kingdom of God." [414] If it were not for the authority which this sentence has with them, they would not be of opinion that infants ought to be baptized at all. This is their comment on the passage: "Because He does not say, Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he shall not have salvation or eternal life,' but He merely said, he shall not enter into the kingdom of God,' therefore infants are to be baptized, in order that they may be with Christ in the kingdom of God, where they will not be unless they are baptized. Should infants die, however, even without baptism, they will have salvation and eternal life, seeing that they are bound with no fetter of sin." Now in such a statement as this, the first thing that strikes one is, that they never explain where the justice is of separating from the kingdom of God that "image of God" which has no sin. Next, we ought to see whether the Lord Jesus, the one only good Teacher, has not in this very passage of the Gospel intimated, and indeed shown us, that it only comes to pass through the remission of their sins that baptized persons reach the kingdom of God; although to persons of a right understanding, the words, as they stand in the passage, ought to be sufficiently explicit: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;" [415] and: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." [416] For why should he be born again, unless to be renewed? From what is he to be renewed, if not from some old condition? From what old condition, but that in which "our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed?" [417] Or whence comes it to pass that "the image of God" enters not into the kingdom of God, unless it be that the impediment of sin prevents it? However, let us (as we said before) see, as earnestly and diligently as we are able, what is the entire context of this passage of the Gospel, on the point in question.


[414] John iii. 3, 5.

[415] John iii. 3.

[416] John iii. 5.

[417] Rom. vi. 6.


Chapter 59.--The Context of Their Chief Text.

"Now there was," we read, "a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, [418] even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." [419] Thus far the Lord's discourse wholly relates to the subject of our present inquiry; from this point the sacred historian digresses to another matter.


[418] Num. xxi. 9.

[419] John iii. 1-21.


Chapter 60 [XXXI.]--Christ, the Head and the Body; Owing to the Union of the Natures in the Person of Christ, He Both Remained in Heaven, and Walked About on Earth; How the One Christ Could Ascend to Heaven; The Head, and the Body, the One Christ.

Now when Nicodemus understood not what was being told him, he inquired of the Lord how such things could be. Let us look at what the Lord said to him in answer to his inquiry; for of course, as He deigns to answer the question, How can these things be? He will in fact tell us how spiritual regeneration can come to a man who springs from carnal generation. After noticing briefly the ignorance of one who assumed a superiority over others as a teacher, and having blamed the unbelief of all such, for not accepting His witness to the truth, He went on to inquire and wonder whether, as He had told them about earthly things and they had not believed they would believe heavenly things. He nevertheless pursues the subject, and gives an answer such as others should believe--though these refuse--to the question that he was asked, How these things can be? "No man," says He, "hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." [420] Thus, He says, shall come the spiritual birth,--men, from being earthly, shall become heavenly; and this they can only obtain by being made members of me; so that he may ascend who descended, since no one ascends who did not descend. All, therefore, who have to be changed and raised must meet together in a union with Christ, so that the Christ who descended may ascend, reckoning His body (that is to say, His Church) as nothing else than Himself, because it is of Christ and the Church that this is most truly understood: "And they twain shall be one flesh;" [421] concerning which very subject He expressly said Himself, "So then they are no more twain, but one flesh." [422] To ascend, therefore, they would be wholly unable, since "no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." [423] For although it was on earth that He was made the Son of man, yet He did not deem it unworthy of that divinity, in which, although remaining in heaven, He came down to earth, to designate it by the name of the Son of man, as He dignified His flesh with the name of Son of God: that they might not be regarded as if they were two Christs,--the one God, the other man, [424] --but one and the same God and man,--God, because "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;" [425] and man, inasmuch as "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." [426] By this means--by the difference between His divinity and His humiliation--He remained in heaven as Son of God, and as Son of man walked on earth; whilst, by that unity of His person which made His two natures one Christ, He both walked as Son of God on earth, and at the same time as the very Son of man remained in heaven. Faith, therefore, in more credible things arises from the belief of such things as are more incredible. For if His divine nature, though a far more distant object, and more sublime in its incomparable diversity, had ability so to take upon itself the nature of man on our account as to become one Person, and whilst appearing as Son of man on earth in the weakness of the flesh, was able to remain all the while in heaven in the divinity which partook of the flesh, how much easier for our faith is it to suppose that other men, who are His faithful saints, become one Christ with the Man Christ, so that, when all ascend by His grace and fellowship, the one Christ Himself ascends to heaven who came down from heaven? It is in this sense that the apostle says, "As we have many members in one body, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so likewise is Christ." [427] He did not say, "So also is Christ's"--meaning Christ's body, or Christ's members--but his words are, "So likewise is Christ," thus calling the head and body one Christ.


[420] John iii. 13.

[421] Gen. ii. 24.

[422] Mark x. 8.

[423] John iii. 13.

[424] This was the error which was subsequently condemned in the heresy of Nestorius.

[425] John i. 1.

[426] John 1. 14.

[427] 1 Cor. xii. 12.


Chapter 61 [XXXII.]--The Serpent Lifted Up in the Wilderness Prefigured Christ Suspended on the Cross; Even Infants Themselves Poisoned by the Serpent's Bite.

And since this great and wonderful dignity can only be attained by the remission of sins, He goes on to say, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." [428] We know what at that time happened in the wilderness. Many were dying of the bite of serpents: the people then confessed their sins, and, through Moses, besought the Lord to take away from them this poison; accordingly, Moses, at the Lord's command, lifted up a brazen serpent in the wilderness, and admonished the people that every one who had been serpent-bitten should look upon the uplifted figure. When they did so they were immediately healed. [429] What means the uplifted serpent but the death of Christ, by that mode of expressing a sign, whereby the thing which is effected is signified by that which effects it? Now death came by the serpent, which persuaded man to commit the sin, by which he deserved to die. The Lord, however, transferred to His own flesh not sin, as the poison of the serpent, but He did transfer to it death, that the penalty without the fault might transpire in the likeness of sinful flesh, whence, in the sinful flesh, both the fault might be removed and the penalty. As, therefore, it then came to pass that whoever looked at the raised serpent was both healed of the poison and freed from death, so also now, whosoever is conformed to the likeness of the death of Christ by faith in Him and His baptism, is freed both from sin by justification, and from death by resurrection. For this is what He says: "That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." [430] What necessity then could there be for an infant's being conformed to the death of Christ by baptism, if he were not altogether poisoned by the bite of the serpent?


[428] John iii. 14, 15.

[429] Numb. xxi. 6-9.

[430] John iii. 15.


Chapter 62 [XXXIII.]--No One Can Be Reconciled to God, Except by Christ.

He then proceeds thus, saying: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." [431] Every infant, therefore, was destined to perish, and to lose everlasting life, if through the sacrament of baptism he believed not in the only-begotten Son of God; while nevertheless, He comes not so that he may judge the world, but that the world through Him may be saved. This especially appears in the following clause, wherein He says, "He that believeth in Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." [432] In what class, then, do we place baptized infants but amongst believers, as the authority of the catholic Church everywhere asserts? They belong, therefore, among those who have believed; for this is obtained for them by virtue of the sacrament and the answer of their sponsors. And from this it follows that such as are not baptized are reckoned among those who have not believed. Now if they who are baptized are not condemned, these last, as not being baptized, are condemned. He adds, indeed: "But this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light. [433] Of what does He say, "Light is come into the world," if not of His own advent? and without the sacrament of His advent, how are infants said to be in the light? And why should we not include this fact also in "men's love of darkness," that as they do not themselves believe, so they refuse to think that their infants ought to be baptized, although they are afraid of their incurring the death of the body? "In God," however, he declares are the "works of him wrought, who cometh to the light," [434] because he is quite aware that his justification results from no merits of his own, but from the grace of God. "For it is God," says the apostle, "who worketh in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure." [435] This then is the way in which spiritual regeneration is effected in all who come to Christ from their carnal generation. He explained it Himself, and pointed it out, when He was asked, How these things could be? He left it open to no man to settle such a question by human reasoning, lest infants should be deprived of the grace of the remission of sins. There is no other passage leading to Christ; no man can be reconciled to God, or can come to God otherwise, than through Christ.


[431] John iii. 16.

[432] John iii. 18.

[433] John iii. 19.

[434] John iii. 21.

[435] Phil. ii. 13.


Chapter 63 [XXXIV.]--The Form, or Rite, of Baptism. Exorcism.

What shall I say of the actual form of this sacrament? I only wish some one of those who espouse the contrary side would bring me an infant to be baptized. What does my exorcism work in that babe, if he be not held in the devil's family? The man who brought the infant would certainly have had to act as sponsor for him, for he could not answer for himself. How would it be possible then for him to declare that he renounced the devil, if there was no devil in him? that he was converted to God, if he had never been averted from Him? that he believed, besides other articles, in the forgiveness of sins, if no sins were attributable to him? For my own part, indeed, if I thought that his opinions were opposed to this faith, I could not permit him to bring the infant to the sacraments. Nor can I imagine with what countenance before men, or what mind before God, he can conduct himself in this. But I do not wish to say anything too severe. That a false or fallacious form of baptism should be administered to infants, in which there might be the sound and semblance of something being done, but yet no remission of sins actually ensue, has been seen by some amongst them to be as abominable and hateful a thing as it was possible to mention or conceive. Then, again, in respect of the necessity of baptism to infants, they admit that even infants stand in need of redemption,--a concession which is made in a short treatise written by one of their party,--but yet there is not found in this work any open admission of the forgiveness of a single sin. According, however, to an intimation dropped in your letter to me, they now acknowledge, as you say, that a remission of sins takes place even in infants through baptism. No wonder; for it is impossible that redemption should be understood in any other way. Their own words are these: "It is, however, not originally, but in their own actual life, after they have been born, that they have begun to have sin."


Chapter 64.--A Twofold Mistake Respecting Infants.

You see how great a difference there is amongst those whom I have been opposing at such length and persistency in this work,--one of whom has written the book which contains the points I have refuted to the best of my ability. You see as I was saying, the important difference existing between such of them as maintain that infants are absolutely pure and free from all sin, whether original or actual; and those who suppose that so soon as born infants have contracted actual sins of their own, from which they need cleansing by baptism. The latter class, indeed, by examining the Scriptures, and considering the authority of the whole Church as well as the form of the sacrament itself, have clearly seen that by baptism remission of sins accrues to infants; but they are either unwilling or unable to allow that the sin which infants have is original sin. The former class, however, have clearly seen (as they easily might) that in the very nature of man, which is open to the consideration of all men, the tender age of which we speak could not possibly commit any sin whatever in its own proper conduct; but, to avoid acknowledging original sin, they assert that there is no sin at all in infants. Now in the truths which they thus severally maintain, it so happens that they first of all mutually agree with each other, and subsequently differ from us in material aspect. For if the one party concede to the other that remission of sins takes place in all infants which are baptized, whilst the other concedes to their opponents that infants (as infant nature itself in its silence loudly proclaims) have as yet contracted no sin in their own living, then both sides must agree in conceding to us, that nothing remains but original sin, which can be remitted in baptism to infants.


Chapter 65 [XXXV.]--In Infants There is No Sin of Their Own Commission.

Will this also be questioned, and must we spend time in discussing it, in order to prove and show how that by their own will--without which there can be no sin in their own life--infants could never commit an offence, whom all, for this very reason, are in the habit of calling innocent? Does not their great weakness of mind and body, their great ignorance of things, their utter inability to obey a precept, the absence in them of all perception and impression of law, either natural or written, the complete want of reason to impel them in either direction,--proclaim and demonstrate the point before us by a silent testimony far more expressive than any argument of ours? The very palpableness of the fact must surely go a great way to persuade us of its truth; for there is no place where I do not find traces of what I say, so ubiquitous is the fact of which we are speaking,--clearer, indeed, to perceive than any thing we can say to prove it.


Chapter 66.--Infants' Faults Spring from Their Sheer Ignorance.

I should, however, wish any one who was wise on the point to tell me what sin he has seen or thought of in a new-born infant, for redemption from which he allows baptism to be already necessary; what kind of evil it has in its own proper life committed by its own mind or body. If it should happen to cry and to be wearisome to its elders, I wonder whether my informant would ascribe this to iniquity, and not rather to unhappiness. What, too, would he say to the fact that it is hushed from its very weeping by no appeal to its own reason, and by no prohibition of any one else? This, however, comes from the ignorance in which it is so deeply steeped, by reason of which, too, when it grows stronger, as it very soon does, it strikes its mother in its little passion, and often her very breasts which it sucks when it is hungry. Well, now, these small freaks are not only borne in very young children, but are actually loved,--and this with what affection except that of the flesh, [436] by which we are delighted by a laugh or a joke, seasoned with fun and nonsense by clever persons, although, if it were understood literally, as it is spoken, they would not be laughed with as facetious, but at as simpletons? We see, also, how those simpletons whom the common people call Moriones [437] are used for the amusement of the sane; and that they fetch higher prices than the sane when appraised for the slave market. So great, then, is the influence of mere natural feeling, even over those who are by no means simpletons, in producing amusement at another's misfortune. Now, although a man may be amused by another man's silliness, he would still dislike to be a simpleton himself; and if the father, who gladly enough looks out for, and even provokes, such things from his own prattling boy, were to foreknow that he would, when grown up, turn out a fool, he would without doubt think him more to be grieved for than if he were dead. While, however, hope remains of growth, and the light of intellect is expected to increase with the increase of years, then the insults of young children even to their parents seem not merely not wrong, but even agreeable and pleasant. No prudent man, doubtless, could possibly approve of not only not forbidding in children such conduct in word or deed as this, as soon as they are able to be forbidden, but even of exciting them to it, for the vain amusement of their elders. For as soon as children are of an age to know their father and mother, they dare not use wrong words to either, unless permitted or bidden by either, or both. But such things can only belong to such young children as are just striving to lisp out words, and whose minds are just able to give some sort of motion to their tongue. Let us, however, consider the depth of the ignorance rather of the new-born babes, out of which, as they advance in age, they come to this merely temporary stuttering folly,--on their road, as it were, to knowledge and speech.


[436] Carnali.

[437] See above, ch. 32.


Chapter 67 [XXXVI.]--On the Ignorance of Infants, and Whence It Arises.

Yes, let us consider that darkness of their rational intellect, by reason of which they are even completely ignorant of God, whose sacraments they actually struggle against, while being baptized. Now my inquiry is, When and whence came they to be immersed in this darkness? Is it then the fact that they incurred it all here, and in this their own proper life forgat God through too much negligence, after a life of wisdom and religion in their mother's womb? Let those say so who dare; let them listen to it who wish to; let them believe it who can. I, however, am sure that none whose minds are not blinded by an obstinate adherence to a foregone conclusion can possibly entertain such an opinion. Is there then no evil in ignorance,--nothing which needs to be purged away? What means that prayer "Remember not the sins of my youth and of my ignorance?" [438] For although those sins are more to be condemned which are knowingly committed, yet if there were no sins of ignorance, we should not have read in Scripture what I have quoted, "Remember not the sins of my youth and of my ignorance." Seeing now that the soul of an infant fresh from its mother's womb is still the soul of a human being,--nay, the soul of a rational creature,--not only untaught, but even incapable of instruction, I ask why, or when, or whence, it was plunged into that thick darkness of ignorance in which it lies? If it is man's nature thus to begin, and that nature is not already corrupt, then why was not Adam created thus? Why was he capable of receiving a commandment? and able to give names to his wife, and to all the animal creation? For of her he said, "She shall be called Woman;" [439] and in respect of the rest we read: "Whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." [440] Whereas this one, although he is ignorant where he is, what he is, by whom created, of what parents born, is already guilty of offence, incapable as yet of receiving a commandment, and so completely involved and overwhelmed in a thick cloud of ignorance, that he cannot be aroused out of his sleep, so as to recognize even these facts; but a time must be patiently awaited, until he can shake off this strange intoxication, as it were, (not indeed in a single night, as even the heaviest drunkenness usually can be, but) little by little, through many months, and even years; and until this be accomplished, we have to bear in little children so many things which we punish in older persons, that we cannot enumerate them. Now, as touching this enormous evil of ignorance and weakness, if in this present life infants have contracted it as soon as they were born, where, when, how, have they by the perpetration of some great iniquity become suddenly implicated in such darkness?


[438] Ps. xxiv. 7.

[439] Gen. ii. 23.

[440] Gen. ii. 19.


Chapter 68 [XXXVII.]--If Adam Was Not Created of Such a Character as that in Which We are Born, How is It that Christ, Although Free from Sin, Was Born an Infant and in Weakness?

Some one will ask, If this nature is not pure, but corrupt from its origin, since Adam was not created thus, how is it that Christ, who is far more excellent, and was certainly born without any sin of a virgin, nevertheless appeared in this weakness, and came into the world in infancy? To this question our answer is as follows: Adam was not created in such a state, because, as no sin from a parent preceded him, he was not created in sinful flesh. We, however, are in such a condition, because by reason of his preceding sin we are born in sinful flesh. While Christ was born in such a state, because, in order that He might for sin condemn sin, He assumed the likeness of sinful flesh. [441] The question which we are now discussing is not about Adam in respect of the size of his body, why he was not made an infant but in the perfect greatness of his members. It may indeed be said that the beasts were thus created likewise,--nor was it owing to their sin that their young were born small. Why all this came to pass we are not now asking. But the question before us has regard to the vigor of man's mind and his use of reason, by virtue of which Adam was capable of instruction, and could apprehend God's precept and the law of His commandment, and could easily keep it if he would; whereas man is now born in such a state as to be utterly incapable of doing so, owing to his dreadful ignorance and weakness, not indeed of body, but of mind,--although we must all admit that in every infant there exists a rational soul of the self-same substance (and no other) as that which belonged to the first man. Still this great infirmity of the flesh, clearly, in my opinion, points to a something, whatever it may be, that is penal. It raises the doubt whether, if the first human beings had not sinned, they would have had children who could use neither tongue, nor hands, nor feet. That they should be born children was perhaps necessary, on account of the limited capacity of the womb. But, at the same time, it does not follow, because a rib is a small part of a man's body, that God made an infant wife for the man, and then built her up into a woman. In like manner, God's almighty power was competent to make her children also, as soon as born, grown up at once.


[441] Rom. viii. 3.


Chapter 69 [XXXVIII.]--The Ignorance and the Infirmity of an Infant.

But not to dwell on this, that was at least possible to them which has actually happened to many animals, the young of which are born small, and do not advance in mind (since they have no rational soul) as their bodies grow larger, and yet, even when most diminutive, run about, and recognize their mothers, and require no external help or care when they want to suck, but with remarkable ease discover their mothers' breasts themselves, although these are concealed from ordinary sight. A human being, on the contrary, at his birth is furnished neither with feet fit for walking, nor with hands able even to scratch; and unless their lips were actually applied to the breast by the mother, they would not know where to find it; and even when close to the nipple, they would, notwithstanding their desire for food, be more able to cry than to suck. This utter helplessness of body thus fits in with their infirmity of mind; nor would Christ's flesh have been "in the likeness of sinful flesh," unless that sinful flesh had been such that the rational soul is oppressed by it in the way we have described,--whether this too has been derived from parents, or created in each case for the individual separately, or inspired from above,--concerning which I forbear from inquiring now.


Chapter 70 [XXXIX.]--How Far Sin is Done Away in Infants by Baptism, Also in Adults, and What Advantage Results Therefrom.

In infants it is certain that, by the grace of God, through His baptism who came in the likeness of sinful flesh, it is brought to pass that the sinful flesh is done away. This result, however, is so effected, that the concupiscence which is diffused over and innate in the living flesh itself is not removed all at once, so as to exist in it no longer; but only that that might not be injurious to a man at his death, which was inherent at his birth. For should an infant live after baptism, and arrive at an age capable of obedience to a law, he finds there somewhat to fight against, and, by God's help, to overcome, if he has not received His grace in vain, and if he is not willing to be a reprobate. For not even to those who are of riper years is it given in baptism (except, perhaps, by an unspeakable miracle of the almighty Creator), that the law of sin which is in their members, warring against the law of their mind, should be entirely extinguished, and cease to exist; but that whatever of evil has been done, said, or thought by a man whilst he was servant to a mind subject to its concupiscence, should be abolished, and regarded as if it had never occurred. The concupiscence itself, however, (notwithstanding the loosening of the bond of guilt in which the devil, by it, used to keep the soul, and the destruction of the barrier which separated man from his Maker,) remains in the contest in which we chasten our body and bring it into subjection, whether to be relaxed for lawful and necessary uses, or to be restrained by continence. [442] But inasmuch as the Spirit of God, who knows so much better than we do all the past, and present, and future of the human race, foresaw and foretold that the life of man would be such that "no man living should be justified in God's sight," [443] it happens that through ignorance or infirmity we do not exert all the powers of our will against it, and so yield to it in the commission of sundry unlawful things,--becoming worse in proportion to the greatness and frequency of our surrender; and better, in proportion to its unimportance and infrequency. The investigation, however, of the point in which we are now interested--whether there could possibly be (or whether in fact there is, has been, or ever will be) a man without sin in this present life, except Him who said, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me" [444] --requires a much fuller discussion; and the arrangement of the present treatise is such as to make us postpone the question to the commencement of another book.


[442] 1 Cor. ix. 27.

[443] Ps. cxliii. 2.

[444] John xiv. 30.



Book II.

In which Augustin argues against such as say that in the present life there are, have been, and will be, men who have absolutely no sin at all. He lays down four propositions on this head: and teaches, first, that a man might possibly live in the present life without sin, by the grace of God and his own free will; he next shows that nevertheless in fact there is no man who lives quite free from sin in this life; thirdly, he sets forth the reason of this,--because there is no man who exactly confines his wishes within the limits of the just requirement of each case, which just requirement he either fails to perceive, or is unwilling to carry out in practice; in the fourth place, he proves that there is not, nor has been, nor ever will be, a human being--except the one mediator, Christ--who is free from all sin.


Chapter 1 [I.]--What Has Thus Far Been Dwelt On; And What is to Be Treated in This Book.

We have, my dearest Marcellinus, discussed at sufficient length, I think, in the former book the baptism of infants,--how that it is given to them not only for entrance into the kingdom of God, but also for attaining salvation and eternal life, which none can have without the kingdom of God, or without that union with the Saviour Christ, wherein He has redeemed us by His blood. I undertake in the present book to discuss and explain the question, Whether there lives in this world, or has yet lived, or ever will live, any one without any sin whatever, except "the one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all;" [445] --with as much care and ability as He may Himself vouchsafe to me. And should there occasionally arise in this discussion, either inevitably or casually from the argument, any question about the baptism or the sin of infants, I must neither be surprised nor must I shrink from giving the best answer I can, at such emergencies, to whatever point challenges my attention.


[445] 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.


Chapter 2 [II.]--Some Persons Attribute Too Much to the Freedom of Man's Will; Ignorance and Infirmity.

A solution is extremely necessary of this question about a human life unassailed by any deception or preoccupation of sin, in consequence even of our daily prayers. For there are some persons who presume so much upon the free determination of the human will, as to suppose that it need not sin, and that we require no divine assistance,--attributing to our nature, once for all, this determination of free will. An inevitable consequence of this is, that we ought not to pray "not to enter into temptation,"--that is, not to be overcome of temptation, either when it deceives and surprises us in our ignorance, or when it presses and importunes us in our weakness. Now how hurtful, and how pernicious and contrary to our salvation in Christ, and how violently adverse to the religion itself in which we are instructed, and to the piety whereby we worship God, it cannot but be for us not to beseech the Lord for the attainment of such a benefit, but be rather led to think that petition of the Lord's Prayer, "Lead us not into temptation," [446] a vain and useless insertion,--it is beyond my ability to express in words.


[446] Matt. vi. 13.


Chapter 3 [III.]--In What Way God Commands Nothing Impossible. Works of Mercy, Means of Wiping Out Sins.

Now these people imagine that they are acute (as if none among us knew it) when they say, that "if we have not the will, we commit no sin; nor would God command man to do what was impossible for human volition." But they do not see, that in order to overcome certain things, which are the objects either of an evil desire or an ill-conceived fear, men need the strenuous efforts, and sometimes even all the energies, of the will; and that we should only imperfectly employ these in every instance, He foresaw who willed so true an utterance to be spoken by the prophet: "In Thy sight shall no man living be justified." [447] The Lord, therefore, foreseeing that such would be our character, was pleased to provide and endow with efficacious virtue certain healthful remedies against the guilt and bonds even of sins committed after baptism,--for instance, the works of mercy,--as when he says: "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; give, and it shall be given unto you." [448] For who could quit this life with any hope of obtaining eternal salvation, with that sentence impending: "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all," [449] if there did not soon after follow: "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty: for he shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment?" [450]


[447] Ps. cxliii. 2.

[448] Luke vi. 37, 38.

[449] Jas. ii. 10.

[450] Jas. ii. 12.


Chapter 4 [IV.]--Concupiscence, How Far in Us; The Baptized are Not Injured by Concupiscence, But Only by Consent Therewith.

Concupiscence, therefore, as the law of sin which remains in the members of this body of death, is born with infants. In baptized infants, it is deprived of guilt, is left for the struggle [of life], [451] but pursues with no condemnation, such as die before the struggle. Unbaptized infants it implicates as guilty and as children of wrath, even if they die in infancy, draws into condemnation. In baptized adults, however, endowed with reason, whatever consent their mind gives to this concupiscence for the commission of sin is an act of their own will. After all sins have been blotted out, and that guilt has been cancelled which by nature [452] bound men in a conquered condition, it still remains,--but not to hurt in any way those who yield no consent to it for unlawful deeds,--until death is swallowed up in victory [453] and, in that perfection of peace, nothing is left to be conquered. Such, however, as yield consent to it for the commission of unlawful deeds, it holds as guilty; and unless, through the medicine of repentance, and through works of mercy, by the intercession in our behalf of the heavenly High Priest, they be healed, it conducts us to the second death and utter condemnation. It was on this account that the Lord, when teaching us to pray, advised us, besides other petitions, to say: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into tempation, but deliver us from evil." [454] For evil remains in our flesh, not by reason of the nature in which man was created by God and wisdom, but by reason of that offence into which he fell by his own will, and in which, since its powers are lost, he is not healed with the same facility of will as that with which he was wounded. Of this evil the apostle says: "I know that in my flesh dwelleth no good thing;" [455] and it is likewise to the same evil that he counsels us to give no obedience, when he says: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to obey the lusts thereof." [456] When, therefore, we have by an unlawful inclination of our will yielded consent to these lusts of the flesh, we say, with a view to the cure of this fault, "Forgive us our debts;" [457] and we at the same time apply the remedy of a work of mercy, in that we add, "As we forgive our debtors." That we may not, however, yield such consent, let us pray for assistance, and say, "And lead us not into temptation;"--not that God ever Himself tempts any one with such temptation, "for God is not a tempter to evil, neither tempteth He any man;" [458] but in order that whenever we feel the rising of temptation from our concupiscence, we may not be deserted by His help, in order that thereby we may be able to conquer, and not be carried away by enticement. We then add our request for that which is to be perfected at the last, when mortality shall be swallowed up of life: [459] "But deliver us from evil." [460] For then there will exist no longer a concupiscence which we are bidden to struggle against, and not to consent to. The whole substance, accordingly, of these three petitions may be thus briefly expressed: "Pardon us for those things in which we have been drawn away by concupiscence; help us not to be drawn away by concupiscence; take away concupiscence from us."


[451] See above, Book i. chap. 70 (xxxix.)

[452] Originaliter, i.e. owing to birth-sin.

[453] 1 Cor. xv. 54.

[454] Matt. vi. 12, 13.

[455] Rom. vii. 18.

[456] Rom. vi. 12.

[457] Matt. vi. 12.

[458] Jas. i. 13.

[459] 2 Cor. v. 4.

[460] Matt. vi. 13.


Chapter 5 [V.]--The Will of Man Requires the Help of God.

Now for the commission of sin we get no help from God; but we are not able to do justly, and to fulfil the law of righteousness in every part thereof, except we are helped by God. For as the bodily eye is not helped by the light to turn away therefrom shut or averted, but is helped by it to see, and cannot see at all unless it help it; so God, who is the light of the inner man, helps our mental sight, in order that we may do some good, not according to our own, but according to His righteousness. But if we turn away from Him, it is our own act; we then are wise according to the flesh, we then consent to the concupiscence of the flesh for unlawful deeds. When we turn to Him, therefore, God helps us; when we turn away from Him, He forsakes us. But then He helps us even to turn to Him; and this, certainly, is something that light does not do for the eyes of the body. When, therefore, He commands us in the words, "Turn ye unto me, and I will turn unto you," [461] and we say to Him, "Turn us, O God of our salvation," [462] and again, "Turn us, O God of hosts;" [463] what else do we say than, "Give what Thou commandest?" [464] When He commands us, saying, "Understand now, ye simple among the people," [465] and we say to Him, "Give me understanding, that I may learn Thy commandments;" [466] what else do we say than, "Give what Thou commandest?" When He commands us, saying, "Go not after thy lusts," [467] and we say to Him, "We know that no man can be continent, except God gives it to him;" [468] what else do we say than, "Give what Thou commandest?" When He commands us, saying, "Do justice," [469] and we say, "Teach me Thy judgments, O Lord;" [470] what else do we say than, "Give what Thou commandest?" In like manner, when He says: "Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled," [471] from whom ought we to seek for the meat and drink of righteousness, but from Him who promises His fulness to such as hunger and thirst after it?


[461] Zech. i. 3.

[462] Ps. lxxxv. 4.

[463] Ps. lxxx. 3, 4.

[464] Da quod jubes; see the Confessions, Book x. chap. 26.

[465] Ps. xciv. 8.

[466] Ps. cxix. 73.

[467] Ecclus. xviii. 30.

[468] Wisd. viii. 21.

[469] Isa. lvi. 1.

[470] Ps. cxix. 108.

[471] Matt. v. 6.


Chapter 6.--Wherein the Pharisee Sinned When He Thanked God; To God's Grace Must Be Added the Exertion of Our Own Will.

Let us then drive away from our ears and minds those who say that we ought to accept the determination of our own free will and not pray God to help us not to sin. By such darkness as this even the Pharisee was not blinded; for although he erred in thinking that he needed no addition to his righteousness, and supposed himself to be saturated with abundance of it, he nevertheless gave thanks to God that he was not "like other men, unjust, extortioners, adulterers, or even as the publican; for he fasted twice in the week, he gave tithes of all that he possessed." [472] He wished, indeed, for no addition to his own righteousness; but yet, by giving thanks to God, he confessed that all he had he had received from Him. Notwithstanding, he was not approved, both because he asked for no further food of righteousness, as if he were already filled, and because he arrogantly preferred himself to the publican, who was hungering and thirsting after righteousness. What, then, is to be said of those who, whilst acknowledging that they have no righteousness, or no fulness thereof, yet imagine that it is to be had from themselves alone, not to be besought from their Creator, in whom is its store and its fountain? And yet this is not a question about prayers alone, as if the energy of our will also should not be strenuously added. God is said to be "our Helper;" [473] but nobody can be helped who does not make some effort of his own accord. For God does not work our salvation in us as if he were working in insensate stones, or in creatures in whom nature has placed neither reason nor will. Why, however, He helps one man, but not another; or why one man so much, and another so much; or why one man in one way, and another in another,--He reserves to Himself according to the method of His own most secret justice, and to the excellency of His power.


[472] Luke xviii. 11, 12.

[473] Ps. xl. 17, lxx. 5.


Chapter 7 [VI.]--Four Questions on the Perfection of Righteousness: (1.) Whether a Man Can Be Without Sin in This Life.

Now those who aver that a man can exist in this life without sin, must not be immediately opposed with incautious rashness; for if we should deny the possibility, we should derogate both from the free will of man, who in his wish desires it, and from the power or mercy of God, who by His help effects it. But it is one question, whether he could exist; and another question, whether he does exist. Again, it is one question, if he does not exist when he could exist, why he does not exist; and another question, whether such a man as had never sinned at all, not only is in existence, but also could ever have existed, or can ever exist. Now, if in the order of this fourfold set of interrogative propositions, I were asked, [1st,] Whether it be possible for a man in this life to be without sin? I should allow the possibility, through the grace of God and the man's own free will; not doubting that the free will itself is ascribable to God's grace, in other words, to the gifts of God,--not only as to its existence, but also as to its being good, that is, to its conversion to doing the commandments of God. Thus it is that God's grace not only shows what ought to be done, but also helps to the possibility of doing what it shows. "What indeed have we that we have not received?" [474] Whence also Jeremiah says: "I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man to walk and direct his steps." [475] Accordingly, when in the Psalms one says to God, "Thou hast commanded me to keep Thy precepts diligently," [476] he at once adds not a word of confidence concerning himself but a wish to be able to keep these precepts: "O that my ways," says he, "were directed to keep Thy statutes! Then should I not be ashamed, when I have respect to all Thy commandments? [477] Now who ever wishes for what he has already so in his own power, that he requires no further help for attaining it? To whom, however, he directs his wish,--not to fortune, or fate, or some one else besides God,--he shows with sufficient clearness in the following words, where he says: "Order my steps in Thy word; and let not any iniquity have dominion over me." [478] From the thraldom of this execrable dominion they are liberated, to whom the Lord Jesus gave power to become the sons of God. [479] From so horrible a domination were they to be freed, to whom He says, "If the Son shall make you free, then shall ye be free indeed." [480] From these and many other like testimonies, I cannot doubt that God has laid no impossible command on man; and that, by God's aid and help, nothing is impossible, by which is wrought what He commands. In this way may a man, if he pleases, be without sin by the assistance of God.


[474] 1 Cor. iv. 7.

[475] Jer. x. 23.

[476] Ps. cxix. 4.

[477] Ps. cxix. 5, 6.

[478] Ps. cxix. 133.

[479] John i. 12.

[480] John viii. 36.


Chapter 8 [VII.]--(2) Whether There is in This World a Man Without Sin.

[2nd.] If, however, I am asked the second question which I have suggested,--whether there be a sinless man,--I believe there is not. For I rather believe the Scripture, which says: "Enter not into judgment with Thy servant; for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified." [481] There is therefore need of the mercy of God, which "exceedingly rejoiceth against judgment," [482] and which that man shall not obtain who does not show mercy. [483] And whereas the prophet says, "I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my heart," [484] he yet immediately adds, "For this shall every saint pray unto Thee in an acceptable time." [485] Not indeed every sinner, but "every saint;" for it is the voice of saints which says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." [486] Accordingly we read, in the Apocalypse of the same Apostle, of "the hundred and forty and four thousand" saints, "which were not defiled with women; for they continued virgins: and in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault." [487] "Without fault," indeed, they no doubt are for this reason,--because they truly found fault with themselves; and for this reason, "in their mouth was discovered no guile,"--"because if they said they had no sin, they deceived themselves, and the truth was not in them." [488] Of course, where the truth was not, there would be guile; and when a righteous man begins a statement by accusing himself, he verily utters no falsehood.


[481] Ps. cxliii. 2.

[482] Jas. ii. 13.

[483] Jas. ii. 13.

[484] Ps. xxxii. 5.

[485] Ps. xxxii. 6.

[486] 1 John i. 8.

[487] Rev. xiv. 3-5.

[488] 1 John i. 8.


Chapter 9.--The Beginning of Renewal; Resurrection Called Regeneration; They are the Sons of God Who Lead Lives Suitable to Newness of Life.

And hence in the passage, "Whosoever is born of God doth not sin, and he cannot sin, for His seed remaineth in him," [489] and in every other passage of like import, they much deceive themselves by an inadequate consideration of the Scriptures. For they fail to observe that men severally become sons of God when they begin to live in newness of spirit, and to be renewed as to the inner man after the image of Him that created them. [490] For it is not from the moment of a man's baptism that all his old infirmity is destroyed, but renovation begins with the remission of all his sins, and so far as he who is now wise is spiritually wise. All things else, however, are accomplished in hope, looking forward to their being also realized in fact, [491] even to the renewal of the body itself in that better state of immortality and incorruption with which we shall be clothed at the resurrection of the dead. For this too the Lord calls a regeneration,--though, of course, not such as occurs through baptism, but still a regeneration wherein that which is now begun in the spirit shall be brought to perfection also in the body. "In the regeneration," says He, "when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." [492] For however entire and full be the remission of sins in baptism, nevertheless, if there was wrought by it at once, an entire and full change of the man into his everlasting newness,--I do not mean change in his body, which is now most clearly tending evermore to the old corruption and to death, after which it is to be renewed into a total and true newness,--but, the body being excepted, if in the soul itself, which is the inner man, a perfect renewal was wrought in baptism, the apostle would not say: "Even though our outward man perishes, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." [493] Now, undoubtedly, he who is still renewed day by day is not as yet wholly renewed; and in so far as he is not yet wholly renewed, he is still in his old state. Since, then, men, even after they are baptized, are still in some degree in their old condition, they are on that account also still children of the world; but inasmuch as they are also admitted into a new state, that is to say, by the full and perfect remission of their sins, and in so far as they are spiritually-minded, and behave correspondingly, they are the children of God. Internally we put off the old man and put on the new; for we then and there lay aside lying, and speak truth, and do those other things wherein the apostle makes to consist the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. [494] Now it is men who are already baptized and faithful whom he exhorts to do this,--an exhortation which would be unsuitable to them, if the absolute and perfect change had been already made in their baptism. And yet made it was, since we were then actually saved; for "He saved us by the laver of regeneration." [495] In another passage, however, he tells us how this took place. "Not they only," says he, "but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." [496]


[489] 1 John iii. 9.

[490] See Col. iii. 10.

[491] Donec etiam in re fiant.

[492] Matt. xix. 28.

[493] 2 Cor. iv. 16.

[494] Eph. iv. 24.

[495] Tit. iii. 5.

[496] Rom. viii. 23-25.


Chapter 10 [VIII.]--Perfection, When to Be Realized.

Our full adoption, then, as children, is to happen at the redemption of our body. It is therefore the first-fruits of the Spirit which we now possess, whence we are already really become the children of God; for the rest, indeed, as it is by hope that we are saved and renewed, so are we the children of God. But inasmuch as we are not yet actually saved, we are also not yet fully renewed, nor yet also fully sons of God, but children of the world. We are therefore advancing in renewal and holiness of life,--and it is by this that we are children of God, and by this also we cannot commit sin;--until at last the whole of that by which we are kept as yet children of this world is changed into this;--for it is owing to this that we are as yet able to sin. Hence it comes to pass that "whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;" [497] and as well, "if we were to say that we have no sin, we should deceive ourselves, and the truth would not be in us." [498] There shall be then an end put to that within us which keeps us children of the flesh and of the world; whilst that other shall be perfected which makes us the children of God, and renews us by His Spirit. Accordingly the same John says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be." [499] Now what means this variety in the expressions, "we are," and "we shall be," but this --we are in hope, we shall be in reality? For he goes on to say, "We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." [500] We have therefore even now begun to be like Him, having the first-fruits of the Spirit; but yet we are still unlike Him, by reason of the remainders of the old nature. In as far, then, as we are like Him, in so far are we, by the regenerating Spirit, sons of God; but in as far as we are unlike Him, in so far are we the children of the flesh and of the world. On the one side, we cannot commit sin; but, on the other, if we say that we have no sin, we only deceive ourselves,--until we pass entirely into the adoption, and the sinner be no more, and you look for his place and find it not. [501]


[497] 1 John iii. 9.

[498] 1 John i. 8.

[499] 1 John iii. 2.

[500] 1 John iii. 2.

[501] Ps. xxxvi. 10.


Chapter 11 [IX.]--An Objection of the Pelagians: Why Does Not a Righteous Man Beget a Righteous Man? [502]

In vain, then, do some of them argue: "If a sinner begets a sinner, so that the guilt of original sin must be done away in his infant son by his receiving baptism, in like manner ought a righteous man to beget a righteous son." Just as if a man begat children in the flesh by reason of his righteousness, and not because he is moved thereto by the concupiscence which is in his members, and the law of sin is applied by the law of his mind to the purpose of procreation. His begetting children, therefore, shows that he still retains the old nature among the children of this world; it does not arise from the fact of his promotion to newness of life among the children of God. For "the children of this world beget and are begotten." [503] Hence also what is born of them is like them; for "that which is born of the flesh is flesh." [504] Only the children of God, however, are righteous; but in so far as they are the children of God, they do not carnally beget, because it is of the Spirit, and not of the flesh, that they are themselves begotten. But as many of them as become parents, beget children from the circumstance that they have not yet put off the entire remains of their old nature in exchange for the perfect renovation which awaits them. It follows, therefore, that every son who is born in this old and infirm condition of his father's nature, must needs himself partake of the same old and infirm condition. In order, then, that he may be begotten again, he must also himself be renewed by the Spirit through the remission of sin; and if this change does not take place in him, his righteous father will be of no use to him. For it is by the Spirit that he is righteous, but it is not by the Spirit that he begat his son. On the other hand, if this change does accrue to him, he will not be damaged by an unrighteous father: for it is by the grace of the Spirit that he has passed into the hope of the eternal newness; whereas it is owing to his carnal mind that his father has wholly remained in the old nature.


[502] [See below, c. 25; also De Nuptiis, i. 18; also contra Julianum, vi. 5.]

[503] Luke xx. 34.

[504] John iii. 6.


Chapter 12 [X.]--He Reconciles Some Passages of Scripture.

The statement, therefore, "He that is born of God sinneth not," [505] is not contrary to the passage in which it is declared by those who are born of God, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." [506] For however complete may be a man's present hope, and however real may be his renewal by spiritual regeneration in that part of his nature, he still, for all that, carries about a body which is corrupt, and which presses down his soul; and so long as this is the case, one must distinguish even in the same individual the relation and source of each several action. Now, I suppose it is not easy to find in God's Scripture so weighty a testimony of holiness given of any man as that which is written of His three servants, Noah, Daniel, and Job, whom the Prophet Ezekiel describes as the only men able to be delivered from God's impending wrath. [507] In these three men he no doubt prefigures three classes of mankind to be delivered: in Noah, as I suppose, are represented righteous leaders of nations, by reason of his government of the ark as a type of the Church; in Daniel, men who are righteous in continence; in Job, those who are righteous in wedlock;--to say nothing of any other view of the passage, which it is unnecessary now to consider. It is, at any rate, clear from this testimony of the prophet, and from other inspired statements, how eminent were these worthies in righteousness. Yet no man must be led by their history to say, for instance, that drunkenness is not sin, although so good a man was overtaken by it; for we read that Noah was once drunk, [508] but God forbid that it should be thought that he was an habitual drunkard.


[505] 1 John iii. 9.

[506] 1 John i. 8.

[507] Ezek. xiv. 14.

[508] Gen. ix. 21.


Chapter 13.--A Subterfuge of the Pelagians.

Daniel, indeed, after the prayer which he poured out before God, actually says respecting himself, "Whilst I was praying and confessing my sins, and the sins of my people, before the Lord my God." [509] This is the reason, if I am not mistaken, why in the above-mentioned Prophet Ezekiel a certain most haughty person is asked, "Art thou then wiser than Daniel?" [510] Nor on this point can that be possibly said which some contend for in opposition to the Lord's Prayer: "For although," they say, "that prayer was offered by the apostles, after they became holy and perfect, and had no sin whatever, yet it was not in behalf of their own selves, but of imperfect and still sinful men that they said, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.' They used the word our," they say, "in order to show that in one body are contained both those who still have sins, and themselves, who were already altogether free from sin." Now this certainly cannot be said in the case of Daniel, who (as I suppose) foresaw as a prophet this presumptuous opinion, when he said so often in his prayer, "We have sinned;" and explained to us why he said this, not so as that we should hear from him, Whilst I was praying and confessing the sins of my people to the Lord, my God; nor yet confounding distinction, so as that it would be uncertain whether he had said, on account of the fellowship of one body, While I was confessing our sins to the Lord my God; but he expresses himself in language so distinct and precise, as if he were full of the distinction himself, and wanted above all things to commend it to our notice: "My sins," says he, "and the sins of my people." Who can gainsay such evidence as this, but he who is more pleased to defend what he thinks than to find out what he ought to think?


[509] Dan. ix. 20.

[510] Ezek. xxviii. 3.


Chapter 14. --Job Was Not Without Sin.

But let us see what Job has to say of himself, after God's great testimony of his righteousness. "I know of a truth," he says, "that it is so: for how shall a mortal man be just before the Lord? For if He should enter into judgment with him, he would not be able to obey Him." [511] And shortly afterwards he asks: "Who shall resist His judgment? Even if I should seem righteous, my mouth will speak profanely." [512] And again, further on, he says: "I know He will not leave me unpunished. But since I am ungodly, why have I not died? If I should wash myself with snow, and be purged with clean hands, thou hadst thoroughly stained me with filth." [513] In another of his discourses he says: "For Thou hast written evil things against me, and hast compassed me with the sins of my youth; and Thou hast placed my foot in the stocks. Thou hast watched all my works, and hast inspected the soles of my feet, which wax old like a bottle, or like a moth-eaten garment. For man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of wrath; like a flower that hath bloomed, so doth he fall; he is gone like a shadow, and continueth not. Hast Thou not taken account even of him, and caused him to enter into judgment with Thee? For who is pure from uncleanness? Not even one; even should his life last but a day." [514] Then a little afterwards he says: "Thou hast numbered all my necessities; and not one of my sins hath escaped Thee. Thou hast sealed up my transgressions in a bag, and hast marked whatever I have done unwillingly." [515] See how Job, too, confesses his sins, and says how sure he is that there is none righteous before the Lord. So he is sure of this also, that if we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us. While, therefore, God bestows on him His high testimony of righteousness, according to the standard of human conduct, Job himself, taking his measure from that rule of righteousness, which, as well as he can, he beholds in God, knows of a truth that so it is; and he goes on at once to say, "How shall a mortal man be just before the Lord? For if He should enter into judgment with him, he would not be able to obey Him;" in other words, if, when challenged to judgment, he wished to show that nothing could be found in him which He could condemn, "he would not be able to obey him," since he misses even that obedience which might enable him to obey Him who teaches that sins ought to be confessed. Accordingly [the Lord] rebukes certain men, saying, "Why will ye contend with me in judgment?" [516] This [the Psalmist] averts, saying, "Enter not into judgment with Thy servant; for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified." [517] In accordance with this, Job also asks: "For who shall resist his judgment? Even if I should seem righteous, my mouth will speak profanely;" which means: If, contrary to His judgment, I should call myself righteous, when His perfect rule of righteousness proves me to be unrighteous, then of a truth my mouth would speak profanely, because it would speak against the truth of God.


[511] Job ix. 2, 3.

[512] Job ix. 19, 20.

[513] Job ix. 30.

[514] Job xiii. 26, to xiv. 5.

[515] Job xiv. 16, 17.

[516] Jer. ii. 29.

[517] Ps. cxliii. 2.


Chapter 15.--Carnal Generation Condemned on Account of Original Sin.

He sets forth that this absolute weakness, or rather condemnation, of carnal generation is from the transgression of original sin, when, treating of his own sins, he shows, as it were, their causes, and says that "man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of wrath." Of what wrath, but of that in which all are, as the apostle says, "by nature," that is, by origin, "children of wrath," [518] inasmuch as they are children of the concupiscence of the flesh and of the world? He further shows that to this same wrath also pertains the death of man. For after saying, "He hath but a short time to live, and is full of wrath," he added, "Like a flower that hath bloomed, so doth he fall; he is gone like a shadow, and continueth not." He then subjoins: "Hast Thou not caused him to enter into judgment with Thee? For who is pure from uncleanness? Not even one; even should his life last but a day." In these words he in fact says, Thou hast thrown upon man, short-lived though he be, the care of entering into judgment with Thee. For how brief soever be his life,--even if it last but a single day,--he could not possibly be clean of filth; and therefore with perfect justice must he come under Thy judgment. Then, when he says again, "Thou hast numbered all my necessities, and not one of my sins hath escaped Thee: Thou hast sealed up my transgressions in a bag, and hast marked whatever I have done unwillingly;" is it not clear enough that even those sins are justly imputed which are not committed through allurement of pleasure, but for the sake of avoiding some trouble, or pain, or death? Now these sins, too, are said to be committed under some necessity, whereas they ought all to be overcome by the love and pleasure of righteousness. Again, what he said in the clause, "Thou hast marked whatever I have done unwillingly," may evidently be connected with the saying: "For what I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that do I." [519]


[518] Eph. ii. 3.

[519] Rom. vii. 15.


Chapter 16--Job Foresaw that Christ Would Come to Suffer; The Way of Humility in Those that are Perfect.

Now it is remarkable [520] that the Lord Himself, after bestowing on Job the testimony which is expressed in Scripture, that is, by the Spirit of God, "In all the things which happened to him he sinned not with his lips before the Lord," [521] did yet afterwards speak to him with a rebuke, as Job himself tells us: "Why do I yet plead, being admonished, and hearing the rebukes of the Lord?" [522] Now no man is justly rebuked unless there be in him something which deserves rebuke. [XI.] And what sort of rebuke is this,--which, moreover, is understood to proceed from the person of Christ our Lord? He re-counts to him all the divine operations of His power, rebuking him under this idea,--that He seems to say to him, "Canst thou effect all these mighty works as I can?" But to what purpose is all this but that Job might understand (for this instruction was divinely inspired into him, that he might foreknow Christ's coming to suffer),--that he might understand how patiently he ought to endure all that he went through, since Christ, although, when He became man for us, He was absolutely without sin, and although as God He possessed so great power, did for all that by no means refuse to obey even to the suffering of death? When Job understood this with a purer intensity of heart, he added to his own answer these words: "I used before now to hear of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but behold now mine eye seeth Thee: therefore I abhor myself and melt away, and account myself but dust and ashes." [523] Why was he thus so deeply displeased with himself? God's work, in that he was man, could not rightly have given him displeasure, since it is even said to God Himself, "Despise not Thou the work of Thine own hands." [524] It was indeed in view of that righteousness, in which he had discovered his own unrighteousness, [525] that he abhorred himself and melted away, and deemed himself dust and ashes,--beholding, as he did in his mind, the righteousness of Christ, in whom there could not possibly be any sin, not only in respect of His divinity, but also of His soul and His flesh. It was also in view of this righteousness which is of God that the Apostle Paul, although as "touching the righteousness which is of the law he was blameless," yet "counted all things" not only as loss, but even as dung. [526]


[520] Quid quod.

[521] Job i. 22.

[522] Job xxxix. 34.

[523] Job xlii. 5, 6.

[524] Ps. cxxxviii. 8.

[525] Qua se noverat injustum. Several Mss. have justum [q. d. "had discovered what his own righteousness was,"--i.e. nothing].

[526] Phil. iii. 6-8.


Chapter 17 [XII.]--No One Righteous in All Things. [527]

That illustrious testimony of God, therefore, in which Job is commended, is not contrary to the passage in which it is said, "In Thy sight shall no man living be justified;" [528] for it does not lead us to suppose that in him there was nothing at all which might either by himself truly or by the Lord God rightly be blamed, although at the same time he might with no untruth be said to be a righteous man, and a sincere worshipper of God, and one who keeps himself from every evil work. For these are God's words concerning him: "Hast thou diligently considered my servant Job? For there is none like him on the earth, blameless, righteous, a true worshipper of God, who keeps himself from every evil work." [529] First, he is here praised for his excellence in comparison with all men on earth. He therefore excelled all who were at that time able to be righteous upon earth; and yet, because of this superiority over others in righteousness, he was not therefore altogether without sin. He is next said to be "blameless"--no one could fairly bring an accusation against him in respect of his life; "righteous"--he had advanced so greatly in moral probity, that no man could be mentioned on a par with him; "a true worshipper of God"--because he was a sincere and humble confessor of his own sins; "who keeps himself from every evil work"--it would have been wonderful if this had extended to every evil word and thought. How great a man indeed Job was, we are not told; but we know that he was a just man; we know, too, that in the endurance of terrible afflictions and trials he was great; and we know that it was not on account of his sins, but for the purpose of demonstrating his righteousness, that he had to bear so much suffering. But the language in which the Lord commends Job might also be applied to him who "delights in the law of God after the inner man, whilst he sees another law in his members warring against the law of his mind;" [530] especially as he says, "The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now, if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." [531] Observe how he too after the inward man is separate from every evil work, because such work he does not himself effect, but the evil which dwells in his flesh; and yet, since he does not have even that ability to delight in the law of God except from the grace of God, he, as still in want of deliverance, exclaims, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? God's grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord!" [532]


[527] See below, chap. 23.

[528] Ps. cxliii. 2.

[529] Job i. 8.

[530] Rom. vii. 22, 23.

[531] Rom. vii. 19, 20.

[532] Rom. vii. 24, 25.


Chapter 18 [XIII.]--Perfect Human Righteousness is Imperfect.

There are then on earth righteous men, there are great men, brave, prudent, chaste, patient, pious, merciful, who endure all kinds of temporal evil with an even mind for righteousness' sake. If, however, there is truth--nay, because there is truth--in these words, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves," [533] and in these, "In Thy sight shall no man living be justified," they are not without sin; nor is there one among them so proud and foolish as not to think that the Lord's Prayer is needful to him, by reason of his manifold sins.


[533] 1 John i. 8.


Chapter 19.--Zacharias and Elisabeth, Sinners.

Now what must we say of Zacharias and Elisabeth, who are often alleged against us in discussions on this question, except that there is clear evidence in the Scripture [534] that Zacharias was a man of eminent righteousness among the chief priests, whose duty it was to offer up the sacrifices of the Old Testament? We also read, however, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in a passage which I have already quoted in my previous book, [535] that Christ was the only High Priest who had no need, as those who were called high priests, to offer daily a sacrifice for his own sins first, and then for the people. "For such a High Priest," it says, "became us, righteous, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins." [536] Amongst the priests here referred to was Zacharias, amongst them was Phinehas, yea, Aaron himself, from whom this priesthood had its beginning, and whatever others there were who lived laudably and righteously in this priesthood; and yet all these were under the necessity, first of all, of offering sacrifice for their own sins,--Christ, of whose future coming they were a type, being the only one who, as an incontaminable priest, had no such necessity.


[534] Luke i. 6-9.

[535] See above, Book i. c. 50.

[536] Heb. vii. 26, 27.


Chapter 20.--Paul Worthy to Be the Prince of the Apostles, and Yet a Sinner.

What commendation, however, is bestowed on Zacharias and Elisabeth which is not comprehended in what the apostle has said about himself before he believed in Christ? He said that, "as touching the righteousness which is in the law, he had been blameless." [537] The same is said also of them: "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." [538] It was because whatever righteousness they had in them was not a pretence before men that it is said accordingly, "They walked before the Lord." But that which is written of Zacharias and his wife in the phrase, in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, the apostle briefly expressed by the words, in the law. For there was not one law for him and another for them previous to the gospel. It was one and the same law which, as we read, was given by Moses to their fathers, and according to which, also, Zacharias was priest, and offered sacrifices in his course. And yet the apostle, who was then endued with the like righteousness, goes on to say: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; for whose sake I have not only thought all things to be only detriments, but I have even counted them as dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made comformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." [539] So far, then, is it from being true that we should, from the words in which Scripture describes them, suppose that Zacharias and Elisabeth had a perfect righteousness without any sin, that we must even regard the apostle himself, according to the selfsame rule, as not perfect, not only in that righteousness of the law which he possessed in common with them, and which he counts as loss and dung in comparison with that most excellent righteousness which is by the faith of Christ, but also in the very gospel itself, wherein he deserved the pre-eminence of his great apostleship. Now I would not venture to say this if I did not deem it very wrong to refuse credence to himself. He extends the passage which we have quoted, and says: "Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect; but I follow after, if I may comprehend that for which also I am apprehended in Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." [540] Here he confesses that he has not yet attained, and is not yet perfect in that plenitude of righteousness which he had longed to obtain in Christ; but that he was as yet pressing towards the mark, and, forgetting what was past, was reaching out to the things which are before him. We are sure, then, that what he says elsewhere is true even of himself: "Although our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." [541] Although he was already a perfect [542] traveller, he had not yet attained the perfect end of his journey. All such he would fain take with him as companions of his course. This he expresses in the words which follow our former quotation: "Let as many, then, of us as are perfect, be thus minded: and if ye be yet of another mind, God will reveal even this also to you. Nevertheless, whereunto we have already attained, let us walk by that rule." [543] This "walk" is not performed with the legs of the body, but with the affections of the soul and the character of the life, so that they who possess righteousness may arrive at perfection, who, advancing in their renewal day by day along the straight path of faith, have by this time become perfect as travellers in the selfsame righteousness.


[537] Phil. iii. 6.

[538] Luke i. 6. [See also his work, De Gratia Christi, 53.]

[539] Phil. iii. 7-11.

[540] Phil. iii. 12-14.

[541] 2 Cor. iv. 16.

[542] [Augustin plays on the word "perfect."--W.]

[543] Phil. iii. 15, 16.


Chapter 21 [XIV.]--All Righteous Men Sinners.

In like manner, all who are described in the Scriptures as exhibiting in their present life good will and the actions of righteousness, and all who have lived like them since, although lacking the same testimony of Scripture; or all who are even now so living, or shall hereafter so live: all these are great, they are all righteous, and they are all really worthy of praise,--yet they are by no means without sin: inasmuch as, on the authority of the same Scriptures which make us believe in their virtues, we believe also that in "God's sight no man living is justified," [544] whence all ask that He will "not enter into judgment with His servants:" [545] and that not only to all the faithful in general, but to each of them in particular, the Lord's Prayer is necessary, which He delivered to His disciples. [546]


[544] Ps. cxliii. 2.

[545] Ps. cxliii. 2.

[546] Matt. vi. 12; Luke xi. 4.


Chapter 22 [XV.]--An Objection of the Pelagians; Perfection is Relative; He is Rightly Said to Be Perfect in Righteousness Who Has Made Much Progress Therein.

"Well, but," they say, "the Lord says, Be ye perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,' [547] --an injunction which He would not have given, if He had known that what He enjoined was impracticable." Now the present question is not whether it be possible for any men, during this present life, to be without sin if they receive that perfection for the purpose; for the question of possibility we have already discussed: [548] --but what we have now to consider is, whether any man in fact achieves perfection. We have, however, already recognised the fact that no man wills as much as the duty demands, as also the testimony of the Scriptures, which we have quoted so largely above, declares. When, indeed, perfection is ascribed to any particular person, we must look carefully at the thing in which it is ascribed. For I have just above quoted a passage of the apostle, wherein he confesses that he was not yet perfect in the attainment of righteousness which he desired; but still he immediately adds, "Let as many of us as are perfect be thus minded." Now he would certainly not have uttered these two sentences if he had not been perfect in one thing, and not in another. For instance, a man may be perfect as a scholar in the pursuit of wisdom: and this could not yet be said of those to whom [the apostle] said, "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye have not been able to bear it, neither are ye yet able;" [549] whereas to those of whom it could be said he says, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect,"--meaning, of course, "perfect pupils" to be understood. It may happen, therefore, as I have said, that a man may be already perfect as a scholar, though not as yet perfect as a teacher of wisdom; may be perfect as a learner, though not as yet perfect as a doer of righteousness; may be perfect as a lover of his enemies, though not as yet perfect in bearing their wrong. [550] Even in the case of him who is so far perfect as to love all men, inasmuch as he has attained even to the love of his enemies, it still remains a question whether he be perfect in that love,--in other words, whether he so loves those whom he loves as is prescribed to be exercised towards those to be loved, by the unchangeable love of truth. Whenever, then, we read in the Scriptures of any man's perfection, it must be carefully considered in what it is asserted, since a man is not therefore to be understood as being entirely without sin because he is described as perfect in some particular thing; although the term may also be employed to show, not, indeed, that there is no longer any point left for a man to reach his way to perfection, but that he has in fact advanced a very great way, and on that account may be deemed worthy of the designation. Thus, a man may be said to be perfect in the science of the law, even if there be still something unknown to him; and in the same manner the apostle called men perfect, to whom he said at the same time, "Yet if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule." [551]


[547] Matt. v. 48.

[548] See above, chap. 7.

[549] 1 Cor. iii. 2.

[550] Ut sufferatis his antithesis here to ut diligat.

[551] Phil. iii. 15.


Chapter 23 [XXI.]--Why God Prescribes What He Knows Cannot Be Observed.

We must not deny that God commands that we ought to be so perfect in doing righteousness, as to have no sin at all. Now that cannot be sin, whatever it may be, unless God has enjoined that it shall not be. Why then, they ask, does He command what He knows no man living will perform? In this manner it may also be asked, Why He commanded the first human beings, who were only two, what He knew they would not obey? For it must not be pretended that He issued that command, that some of us might obey it, if they did not; for, that they should not partake of the fruit of the particular tree, God commanded them, and none besides. Because, as He knew what amount of righteousness they would fail to perform, so did He also know what righteous measures He meant Himself to adopt concerning them. In the same way, then, He orders all men to commit no sin, although He knows beforehand that no man will fulfil the command; in order that He may, in the case of all who impiously and condemnably despise His precepts, Himself do what is just in their condemnation; and, in the case of all who while obediently and piously pressing on in his precepts, though failing to observe to the utmost all things which He has enjoined, do yet forgive others as they wish to to be forgiven themselves, Himself do what is good in their cleansing. For how can forgiveness be bestowed by God's mercy on the forgiving, when there is no sin? or how prohibition fail to be given by the justice of God, when there is sin?


Chapter 24.--An Objection of the Pelagians. The Apostle Paul Was Not Free From Sin So Long as He Lived.

"But see," say they, "how the apostle says, I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished my course: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness;' [552] which he would not have said if he had any sin." It is for them, then, to explain how he could have said this, when there still remained for him to encounter the great conflict, the grievous and excessive weight of that suffering which he had just said awaited him. [553] In order to finish his course, was there yet wanting only a small thing, when that in fact was still left to suffer wherein would be a fiercer and more cruel foe? If, however, he uttered such words of joy feeling sure and secure, because he had been made sure and secure by Him who had revealed to him the imminence of his suffering, then he spoke these words, not in the fulness of realization, but in the firmness of hope, and represents what he foresees is to come as if it had already been done. If, therefore, he had added to those words the further statement, "I have no longer any sin," we must have understood him as even then speaking of a perfection arising from a future prospect, not from an accomplished fact. For his having no sin, which they suppose was completed when he spoke these words, pertained to the finishing of his course; just in the same way as his triumphing over his adversary in the decisive conflict of his suffering had also reference to the finishing of his course, although this they must needs themselves allow remained yet to be effected, when he was speaking these words. The whole of this, therefore, we declare to have been as yet awaiting its accomplishment, at the time when the apostle, with his perfect trust in the promise of God, spoke of it all as having been already realized. For it was in reference to the finishing of his course that he forgave the sins of those who sinned against him, and prayed that his own sins might in like manner be forgiven him; and it was in his most certain confidence in this promise of the Lord, that he believed he should have no sin in that last end, which was still future, even when in his trustfulness he spoke of it as already accomplished. Now, omitting all other considerations, I wonder whether, when he uttered the words in which he is thought to imply that he had no sin, that "thorn of the flesh" had been already removed from him, for the taking away of which he had three times entreated the Lord, and had received this answer: "My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." [554] For bringing so great a man to perfection, it was needful that that "messenger of Satan" should not be taken away by whom he was therefore to be buffeted, "lest he should be unduly exalted by the abundance of his revelations," [555] and is there then any man so bold as either to think or to say, that any one who has to bend beneath the burden of this life is altogether clean from all sin whatever?


[552] 2 Tim. iv. 7.

[553] 2 Tim. iv. 6.

[554] 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9.

[555] 2 Cor. xii. 7.


Chapter 25.--God Punishes Both in Wrath and in Mercy.

Although there are some men who are so eminent in righteousness that God speaks to them out of His cloudy pillar, such as "Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among them that call upon His name," [556] the latter of whom is much praised for his piety and purity in the Scriptures of truth, from his earliest childhood, in which his mother, to accomplish her vow, placed him in God's temple, and devoted him to the Lord as His servant;--yet even of such men it is written, "Thou, O God, wast propitious unto them, though Thou didst punish all their devices." [557] Now the children of wrath God punishes in anger; whereas it is in mercy that He punishes the children of grace; since "whom He loveth He correcteth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." [558] However, there are no punishments, no correction, no scourge of God, but what are owing to sin, except in the case of Him who prepared His back for the smiter, in order that He might experience all things in our likeness without sin, in order that He might be the saintly Priest of saints, making intercession even for saints, who with no sacrifice of truth say each one even for himself, "Forgive us our trespasses, even as we also forgive them that trespass against us." [559] Wherefore even our opponents in this controversy, whilst they are chaste in their life, and commendable in character, and although they do not hesitate to do that which the Lord enjoined on the rich man, who inquired of Him about the attainment of eternal life, after he had told Him, in answer to His first question, that he had already fully kept every commandment in the law,--that "if he wished to be perfect, he must sell all that he had and give to the poor, and transfer his treasure to heaven;" [560] yet they do not in any one instance venture to say that they are without sin. But this, as we believe, they refrain from saying, with deceitful intent; but if they are lying, in this very act they begin either to augment or commit sin.


[556] Ps. xcix. 6.

[557] Ps. xcix. 8.

[558] Prov. iii. 12; Heb. xii. 6.

[559] Matt. vi. 12, 14; Luke xi. 4.

[560] Matt. xix. 12.


Chapter 26 [XVII.] -- (3) [561] Why No One in This Life is Without Sin.

[3d.] [562] Let us now consider the point which I mentioned as our third inquiry. Since by divine grace assisting the human will, man may possibly exist in this life without sin, why does he not? To this question I might very easily and truthfully answer: Because men are unwilling. But if I am asked why they are unwilling, we are drawn into a lengthy statement. And yet, without prejudice to a more careful examination, I may briefly say this much: Men are unwilling to do what is right, either because what is right is unknown to them, or because it is unpleasant to them. For we desire a thing more ardently in proportion to the certainty of our knowledge of its goodness, and the warmth of our delight in it. Ignorance, therefore, and infirmity are faults which impede the will from moving either for doing a good work, or for refraining from an evil one. But that what was hidden may come to light, and what was unpleasant may be made agreeable, is of the grace of God which helps the wills of men; and that they are not helped by it, has its cause likewise in themselves, not in God, whether they be predestinated to condemnation, on account of the iniquity of their pride, or whether they are to be judged and disciplined contrary to their very pride, if they are children of mercy. Accordingly Jeremiah, after saying, "I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, and that it belongeth not to any man to walk and direct his steps," [563] immediately adds, "Correct me, O Lord, but with judgment, and not in Thine anger;" [564] as much as to say, I know that it is for my correction that I am too little assisted by Thee, for my footsteps to be perfectly directed: but yet do not in this so deal with me as Thou dost in Thine anger, when Thou dost determine to condemn the wicked; but as Thou dost in Thy judgment whereby Thou dost teach Thy children not to be proud. Whence in another passage it is said, "And Thy judgments shall help me." [565]


[561] See above, chs. 7 and 8.

[562] See above, chs. 7 and 8.

[563] Jer. x. 23.

[564] Jer. x. 24.

[565] Ps. cxix. 175.


Chapter 27. [566] --The Divine Remedy for Pride.

You cannot therefore attribute to God the cause of any human fault. For of all human offences, the cause is pride. For the conviction and removal of this a great remedy comes from heaven. God in mercy humbles Himself, descends from above, and displays to man, lifted up by pride, pure and manifest grace in very manhood, which He took upon Himself out of vast love for those who partake of it. For, not even did even this One, so conjoined to the Word of God that by that conjunction he became at once the one Son of God and the same One the one Son of man, act by the antecedent merits of His own will. It behoved Him, without doubt, to be one; had there been two, or three, or more, if this could have been done, it would not have come from the pure and simple gift of God, but from man's free will and choice. [567] This, then, is especially commended to us; this, so far as I dare to think, is the divine lesson especially taught and learned in those treasures of wisdom and knowledge which are hidden in Christ. Every one of us, therefore, now knows, now does not know--now rejoices, now does not rejoice--to begin, continue, and complete our good work, in order that he may know that it is due not to his own will, but to the gift of God, that he either knows or rejoices; and thus he is cured of vanity which elated him, and knows how truly it is said not of this earth of ours, but spiritually, "The Lord will give kindness and sweet grace, and our land shall yield her fruit." [568] A good work, moreover, affords greater delight, in proportion as God is more and more loved as the highest unchangeable Good, and as the Author of all good things of every kind whatever. And that God may be loved, "His love is shed abroad in our hearts," not by ourselves, but "by the Holy Ghost that is given unto us." [569]


[566] See below, in ch. 33: also De Naturâ et Gratiâ, 29-32; and De Corrept. et Gratia, 10.

[567] [Augustin appears to say, in this obscure passage, that had there been two persons, instead of two natures only, in our blessed Lord's person, then no doubt salvation would have been due partly to a human cause.--W.]

[568] Ps. lxxxv. 12.

[569] Rom. v. 5.


Chapter 28 [XVIII.]--A Good Will Comes from God.

Men, however, are laboring to find in our own will some good thing of our own,--not given to us by God; but how it is to be found I cannot imagine. The apostle says, when speaking of men's good works, "What hast thou that thou didst not receive? now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" [570] But, besides this, even reason itself, which may be estimated in such things by such as we are, sharply restrains every one of us in our investigations so as that we may not so defend grace as to seem to take away free will, or, on the other hand, so assert free will as to be judged ungrateful to the grace of God, in our arrogant impiety. [571]


[570] 1 Cor. iv. 7.

[571] See De Gratiâ Christi, 52; and De Gratiâ et Libero Arbitrio.


Chapter 29.--A Subterfuge of the Pelagians.

Now, with reference to the passage of the apostle which I have quoted, some would maintain it to mean that "whatever amount of good will a man has, must be attributed to God on this account,--namely, because even this amount could not be in him if he were not a human being. Now, inasmuch as he has from God alone the capacity of being any thing at all, and of being human, why should there not be also attributed to God whatever there is in him of a good will, which could not exist unless he existed in whom it is?" But in this same manner it may also be said that a bad will also may be attributed to God as its author; because even it could not exist in man unless he were a man in whom it existed; but God is the author of his existence as man; and thus also of his bad will, which could have no existence if it had not a man in whom it might exist. But to argue thus is blasphemy.


Chapter 30.--All Will is Either Good, and Then It Loves Righteousness, or Evil, When It Does Not Love Righteousness.

Unless, therefore, we obtain not simply determination of will, which is freely turned in this direction and that, and has its place amongst those natural goods which a bad man may use badly; but also a good will, which has its place among those goods of which it is impossible to make a bad use:--unless the impossibility is given to us from God, I know not how to defend what is said: "What hast thou that thou didst not receive?" For if we have from God a certain free will, which may still be either good or bad; but the good will comes from ourselves; then that which comes from ourselves is better than that which comes from Him. But inasmuch as it is the height of absurdity to say this, they ought to acknowledge that we attain from God even a good will. It would indeed be a strange thing if the will could so stand in some mean as to be neither good nor bad; for we either love righteousness, and it is good, and if we love it more, more good,--if less, it is less good; or if we do not love it at all, it is not good. And who can hesitate to affirm that, when the will loves not righteousness in any way at all, it is not only a bad, but even a wholly depraved will? Since therefore the will is either good or bad, and since of course we have not the bad will from God, it remains that we have of God a good will; else, I am ignorant, since our justification is from it, in what other gift from Him we ought to rejoice. Hence, I suppose, it is written, "The will is prepared of the Lord;" [572] and in the Psalms, "The steps of a man will be rightly ordered by the Lord, and His way will be the choice of his will;" [573] and that which the apostle says, "For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure." [574]


[572] Prov. viii. 35.

[573] Ps. xxxvii. 23.

[574] Phil. ii. 13.


Chapter 31.--Grace is Given to Some Men in Mercy; Is Withheld from Others in Justice and Truth.

Forasmuch then as our turning away from God is our own act, and this is evil will; but our turning to God is not possible, except He rouses and helps us, and this is good will,--what have we that we have not received? But if we received, why do we glory as if we had not received? Therefore, as "he that glorieth must glory in the Lord," [575] it comes from His mercy, not their merit, that God wills to impart this to some, but from His truth that He wills not to impart it to others. For to sinners punishment is justly due, because "the Lord God loveth mercy and truth," [576] and "mercy and truth are met together;" [577] and "all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth." [578] And who can tell the numberless instances in which Holy Scripture combines these two attributes? Sometimes, by a change in the terms, grace is put for mercy, as in the passage, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." [579] Sometimes also judgment occurs instead of truth, as in the passage, "I will sing of mercy and judgment unto Thee, O Lord." [580]


[575] Isa. xlv. 25; Jer. ix. 23, 24; 1 Cor. i. 31.

[576] Ps. lxxxiv. 11.

[577] Ps. lxxxv. 10.

[578] Ps. xxv. 10.

[579] John i. 14.

[580] Ps. ci. 1.


Chapter 32.--God's Sovereignity in His Grace.

As to the reason why He wills to convert some, and to punish others for turning away,--although nobody can justly censure the merciful One in conferring His blessing, nor can any man justly find fault with the truthful One in awarding His punishment (as no one could justly blame Him, in the parable of the labourers, for assigning to some their stipulated hire, and to others unstipulated largess [581] ), yet, after all, the purpose of His more hidden judgment is in His own power. [XIX.] So far as it has been given us, let us have wisdom, and let us understand that the good Lord God sometimes withholds even from His saints either the certain knowledge or the triumphant joy of a good work, just in order that they may discover that it is not from themselves, but from Him that they receive the light which illuminates their darkness, and the sweet grace which causes their land [582] to yield her fruit.


[581] Matt. xx. 1-16.

[582] i.e., the soil of their hearts; see above, at the end of ch. 27.


Chapter 33.--Through Grace We Have Both the Knowledge of Good, and the Delight Which It Affords.

But when we pray Him to give us His help to do and accomplish righteousness, what else do we pray for than that He would open what was hidden, and impart sweetness to that which gave no pleasure? For even this very duty of praying to Him we have learned by His grace, whereas before it was hidden; and by His grace have come to love it, whereas before it gave us no pleasure,--so that "he who glorieth must glory not in himself, but in the Lord." To be lifted up, indeed, to pride, is the result of men's own will, not of the operation of God; for to such a thing God neither urges us nor helps us. There first occurs then in the will of man a certain desire of its own power, to become disobedient through pride. If it were not for this desire, indeed, there would be nothing difficult; and whenever man willed it, he might refuse without difficulty. There ensued, however, out of the penalty which was justly due such a defect, that henceforth it became difficult to be obedient unto righteousness; and unless this defect were overcome by assisting grace, no one would turn to holiness; nor unless it were healed by efficient grace would any one enjoy the peace of righteousness. But whose grace is it that conquers and heals, but His to whom the prayer is directed: "Convert us, O God of our salvation, and turn Thine anger away from us?" [583] And both if He does this, He does it in mercy, so that it is said of Him, "Not according to our sins hath He dealt with us, nor hath He recompensed us according to our iniquities;" [584] and when He refrains from doing this to any, it is in judgment that He refrains. And who shall say to Him, "What hast Thou done?" when with pious mind the saints sing to the praise of His mercy and judgment? Wherefore even in the case of His saints and faithful servants He applies to them a tardier cure in certain of their failings, in order that, while they are involved in these, a less pleasure than is sufficient for the fulfilling of righteousness in all its perfection may be experienced by them at any good they may achieve, whether hidden or manifest; so that in respect of His most perfect rule of equity and truth "no man living can be justified in His sight." [585] He does not in His own self, indeed, wish us to fall under condemnation, but that we should become humble; and He displays to us all the self-same grace of His own. Let us not, however, after we have attained facility in all things, suppose that to be our own which is really His; for that would be an error most antagonistic to religion and piety. Nor let us think that we should, because of His grace, continue in the same sins as of old; but against that very pride, on account of which we are humiliated in them, let us, above all things, both vigilantly strive and ardently pray Him, knowing at the same time that it is by His gift that we have the power thus to strive and thus to pray; so that in every case, while we look not at ourselves, but raise our hearts above, we may render thanks to the Lord our God, and whenever we glory, glory in Him alone.


[583] Ps. lxxxv. 4.

[584] Ps. ciii. 10.

[585] Ps. cxliii. 2.


Chapter 34 [XX.]--(4) That No Man, with the Exception of Christ, Has Ever Lived, or Can Live Without Sin. [586]

[4th.] There now remains our fourth point, after the explanation of which, as God shall help us, this lengthened treatise of ours may at last be brought to an end. It is this: Whether the man who never has had sin or is to have it, not merely is now living as one of the sons of men, but even could ever have existed at any time, or will yet in time to come exist? Now it is altogether most certain that such a man neither does now live, nor has lived, nor ever will live, except the one only Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. We have already said a good deal on this subject in our remarks on the baptism of infants; for if these have no sin, not only are there at present, but also there have been, and there will be, persons innumerable without sin. Now if the point which we treated of under the second head be truly substantiated, that there is in fact no man without sin, [587] then of course not even infants are without sin. From which the conclusion arises, that even supposing a man could possibly exist in the present life so far advanced in virtue as to have reached the perfect fulness of holy living which is absolutely free from sin, he still must have been undoubtedly a sinner previously, and have been converted from the sinful state to this subsequent newness of life. Now when we were discussing the second head, a different question was before us from that which is before us under this fourth head. For then the point we had to consider was, Whether any man in this life could ever attain to such perfection as to be absolutely without sin by the grace of God, by the hearty desire of his own will? whereas the question now proposed in this fourth place is, Whether there be among the sons of men, or could possibly ever have been, or yet ever can be, a man who has not indeed emerged out of sin and attained to perfect righteousness, but has never, at any time whatever, been under the bondage of sin? If, therefore, the remarks are true which we have made at so great length concerning infants, there neither is, has been, nor will be, among the sons of men any such man, except the one Mediator, in whom there accrues to us propitiation and justification through which we have reconciliation with God, by the termination of the enmity produced by our sins. It will therefore be not unsuitable to retrace a few considerations, so far as the present subject seems to require, from the very commencement of the human race, in order that they may inform and strengthen the reader's mind in answer to some objections which may possibly disturb him.


[586] See above, chs. 7, 8, 26.

[587] See above, chs. 8, 9.


Chapter 35 [XXI.]--Adam and Eve; Obedience Most Strongly Enjoined by God on Man.

When the first human beings--the one man Adam, and his wife Eve who came out of him--willed not to obey the commandment which they had received from God, a just and deserved punishment overtook them. The Lord had threatened that, on the day they ate the forbidden fruit, they should surely die. [588] Now, inasmuch as they had received the permission of using for food every tree that grew in Paradise, among which God had planted the tree of life, but had been forbidden to partake of one only tree, which He called the tree of knowledge of good and evil, to signify by this name the consequence of their discovering whether what good they would experience if they kept the prohibition, or what evil if they transgressed it: they are no doubt rightly considered to have abstained from the forbidden food previous to the malignant persuasion of the devil, and to have used all which had been allowed them, and therefore, among all the others, and before all the others, the tree of life. For what could be more absurd than to suppose that they partook of the fruit of other trees, but not of that which had been equally with others granted to them, and which, by its especial virtue, prevented even their animal bodies from undergoing change through the decay of age, and from aging into death, applying this benefit from its own body to the man's body, and in a mystery demonstrating what is conferred by wisdom (which it symbolized) on the rational soul, even that, quickened by its fruit, it should not be changed into the decay and death of iniquity? For of her it is rightly said, "She is a tree of life to them that lay hold of her." [589] Just as the one tree was for the bodily Paradise, the other is for the spiritual; the one affording a vigour to the senses of the outward man, the other to those of the inner man, such as will abide without any change for the worse through time. They therefore served God, since that dutiful obedience was committed to them, by which alone God can be worshipped. And it was not possible more suitably to intimate the inherent importance of obedience, or its sole sufficiency securely to keep the rational creature under the Creator, than by forbidding a tree which was not in itself evil. For God forbid that the Creator of good things, who made all things, "and behold they were very good," [590] should plant anything evil amidst the fertility of even that material Paradise. Still, however, in order that he might show man, to whom submission to such a Master would be very useful, how much good belonged simply to obedience (and this was all that He had demanded of His servant, and this would be of advantage not so much for the lordship of the Master as for the profit of the servant), they were forbidden the use of a tree, which, if it had not been for the prohibition, they might have used without suffering any evil result whatever; and from this circumstance it may be clearly understood, that whatever evil they brought on themselves because they made use of it in spite of the prohibition, the tree did not produce from any noxious or pernicious quality in its fruit, but entirely on account of their violated obedience.


[588] Gen. ii. 17.

[589] Prov. iii. 18.

[590] Gen. i. 31.


Chapter 36 [XXII.]--Man's State Before the Fall.

Before they had thus violated their obedience they were pleasing to God, and God was pleasing to them; and though they carried about an animal body, they yet felt in it no disobedience moving against themselves. This was the righteous appointment, that inasmuch as their soul had received from the Lord the body for its servant, as it itself obeyed the Lord, even so its body should obey Him, and should exhibit a service suitable to the life given it without resistance. Hence "they were both naked, and were not ashamed." [591] It is with a natural instinct of shame that the rational soul is now indeed affected, because in that flesh, over whose service it received the right of power, it can no longer, owing to some indescribable infirmity, prevent the motion of the members thereof, notwithstanding its own unwillingness, nor excite them to motion even when it wishes. Now these members are on this account, in every man of chastity, rightly called "pudenda," [592] because they excite themselves, just as they like, in opposition to the mind which is their master, as if they were their own masters; and the sole authority which the bridle of virtue possesses over them is to check them from approaching impure and unlawful pollutions. Such disobedience of the flesh as this, which lies in the very excitement, even when it is not allowed to take effect, did not exist in the first man and woman whilst they were naked and not ashamed. For not yet had the rational soul, which rules the flesh, developed such a disobedience to its Lord, as by a reciprocity of punishment to bring on itself the rebellion of its own servant the flesh, along with that feeling of confusion and trouble to itself which it certainly failed to inflict upon God by its own disobedience to Him; for God is put to no shame or trouble when we do not obey Him, nor are we able in any wise to lessen His very great power over us; but we are shamed in that the flesh is not submissive to our government,--a result which is brought about by the infirmity which we have earned by sinning, and is called "the sin which dwelleth in our members." [593] But this sin is of such a character that it is the punishment of sin. As soon, indeed, as that transgression was effected, and the disobedient soul turned away from the law of its Lord, then its servant, the body, began to cherish a law of disobedience against it; and then the man and the woman grew ashamed of their nakedness, when they perceived the rebellious motion of the flesh, which they had not felt before, and which perception is called "the opening of their eyes;" [594] for, of course, they did not walk about among the trees with closed eyes. The same thing is said of Hagar: "Her eyes were opened, and she saw a well." [595] Then the man and the woman covered their parts of shame, which God had made for them as members, but they had made parts of shame.


[591] Gen. ii. 25.

[592] i.e. "Parts of shame."

[593] Rom. vii. 17, 23.

[594] Gen. iii. 7.

[595] Gen. xxi. 19.


Chapter 37 [XXIII.]--The Corruption of Nature is by Sin, Its Renovation is by Christ.

From this law of sin is born the flesh of sin, which requires cleansing through the sacrament of Him who came in the likeness of sinful flesh, that the body of sin might be destroyed, which is also called "the body of this death," from which only God's grace delivers wretched man through Jesus Christ our Lord. [596] For this law, the origin of death, passed on from the first pair to their posterity, as is seen in the labour with which all men toil in the earth, and the travail of women in the pains of childbirth. For these sufferings they merited by the sentence of God, when they were convicted of sin; and we see them fulfilled not only in them, but also in their descendants, in some more, in others less, but nevertheless in all. Whereas, however, the primeval righteousness of the first human beings consisted in obeying God, and not having in their members the law of their own concupiscence against the law of their mind; now, since their sin, in our sinful flesh which is born of them, it is obtained by those who obey God, as a great acquisition, that they do not obey the desires of this evil concupiscence, but crucify in themselves the flesh with its affections and lusts, in order that they may be Jesus Christ's, who on His cross symbolized this, and who gave them power through His grace to become the sons of God. For it is not to all men, but to as many as have received Him, that He has given to be born again to God of the Spirit, after they were born to the world by the flesh. Of these indeed it is written: "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God; which were born, not of the flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God." [597]


[596] Rom. vii. 24, 25.

[597] John i. 12, 13.


Chapter 38 [XXIV.]--What Benefit Has Been Conferred on Us by the Incarnation of the Word; Christ's Birth in the Flesh, Wherein It is Like and Wherein Unlike Our Own Birth.

He goes on to add, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;" [598] as much as to say, A great thing indeed has been done among them, even that they are born again to God of God, who had before been born of the flesh to the world, although created by God Himself; but a far more wonderful thing has been done that, although it accrued to them by nature to be born of the flesh, but by the divine goodness to be born of God,--in order that so great a benefit might be imparted to them, He who was in His own nature born of God, vouchsafed in mercy to be also born of the flesh;--no less being meant by the passage, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Hereby, he says in effect, it has been wrought that we who were born of the flesh as flesh, by being afterwards born of the Spirit, may be spirit and dwell in God; because also God, who was born of God, by being afterwards born of the flesh, became flesh, and dwelt among us. For the Word, which became flesh, was in the beginning, and was God with God. [599] But at the same time His participation in our inferior condition, in order to our participation in His higher state, held a kind of medium [600] in His birth of the flesh; so that we indeed were born in sinful flesh, but He was born in the likeness of sinful flesh,--we not only of flesh and blood, but also of the will of man, and of the flesh, but He was born only of flesh and blood, not of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God: we, therefore, to die on account of sin, He, to die on our account without sin. So also, just as His inferior circumstances, into which He descended to us, were not in every particular exactly the same with our inferior circumstances, in which He found us here; so our superior state, into which we ascend to Him, will not be quite the same with His superior state, in which we are there to find Him. For we by His grace are to be made the sons of God, whereas He was evermore by nature the Son of God; we, when we are converted, shall cleave to God, though not as His equals; He never turned from God, and remains ever equal to God; we are partakers of eternal life, He is eternal life. He, therefore, alone having become man, but still continuing to be God, never had any sin, nor did he assume a flesh of sin, though born of a maternal [601] flesh of sin. For what He then took of flesh, He either cleansed in order to take it, or cleansed by taking it. His virgin mother, therefore, whose conception was not according to the law of sinful flesh (in other words, not by the excitement of carnal concupiscence), but who merited by her faith that the holy seed should be framed within her, He formed in order to choose her, and chose in order to be formed from her. How much more needful, then, is it for sinful flesh to be baptized in order to escape the judgment, when the flesh which was untainted by sin was baptized to set an example for imitation?


[598] John i. 14.

[599] John i. 1.

[600] Medietatem.

[601] De maternâ carne peccati, which is the reading of the best and oldest Mss. Another reading has, De naturâ carnis peccati ("of the nature of sinful flesh"); and a third, De materiâ carnis peccati ("of the matter of sinful flesh"). Compare Contr. Julianum, v. 9, and De Gen. ad. Lit. x. 18-20.


Chapter 39 [XXV.]--An Objection of Pelagians.

The answer, which we have already given, [602] to those who say, "If a sinner has begotten a sinner, a righteous man ought also to have begotten a righteous man," we now advance in reply to such as argue that one who is born of a baptized man ought himself to be regarded as already baptized. "For why," they ask, "could he not have been baptized in the loins of his father, when, according to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Levi, [603] was able to pay tithes in the loins of Abraham?" They who propose this argument ought to observe that Levi did not on this account subsequently not pay tithes, because he had paid tithes already in the loins of Abraham, but because he was ordained to the office of the priesthood in order to receive tithes, not to pay them; otherwise neither would his brethren, who all contributed their tithes to him, have been tithed--because they too, whilst in the loins of Abraham, had already paid tithes to Melchisedec.


[602] See above, c. 11.

[603] The allusion is to Heb. vii. 9.


Chapter 40.--An Argument Anticipated.

And let no one contend that the descendants of Abraham might fairly enough have paid tithes, although they had already paid tithes in the loins of their forefather, seeing that paying tithes was an obligation of such a nature as to require constant repetition from each several person, just as the Israelites used to pay such contributions every year all through life to their Levites, to whom were due various tithes from all kinds of produce; whereas baptism is a sacrament of such a nature as is administered once for all, and if one had already received it when in his father, he must be considered as no other than baptized, since he was born of a man who had been himself baptized. Well, whoever thus argues (I will simply say, without discussing the point at length,) should look at circumcision, which was administered once for all, and yet was administered to each person separately and individually. Just as therefore it was necessary in the time of that ancient sacrament for the son of a circumcised man to be himself circumcised, so now the son of one who has been baptized must himself also receive baptism.


Chapter 41.--Children of Believers are Called "Clean" By the Apostle. [604]

The apostle indeed says, "Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy;" [605] and "therefore" they infer "there was no necessity for the children of believers to be baptized." I am surprised at the use of such language by persons who deny that original sin has been transmitted from Adam. For, if they take this passage of the apostle to mean that the children of believers are born in a state of holiness, how is it that even they have no doubt about the necessity of their being baptized? Why, in fine, do they refuse to admit that any original sin is derived from a sinful parent, if some holiness is received from a holy parent? Now it certainly does not contravene our assertion, even if from the faithful "holy" children are propagated, when we hold that unless they are baptized those go into damnation, to whom our opponents themselves shut the kingdom of heaven, although they insist that they are without sin, whether actual or original. [606] Or, if they think it an unbecoming thing for "holy ones" to be damned, how can it be a becoming thing to exclude "holy ones" from the kingdom of God? They should rather pay especial attention to this point, How can something sinful help being derived from sinful parents, if something holy is derived from holy parents, and uncleanness from unclean parents? For the twofold principle was affirmed when he said, "Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy." They should also explain to us how it is right that the holy children of believers and the unclean children of unbelievers are, notwithstanding their different circumstances, equally prohibited from entering the kingdom of God, if they have not been baptized. What avails that sanctity of theirs to the one? Now if they were to maintain that the unclean children of unbelievers are damned, but that the holy children of believers are unable to enter the kingdom of heaven unless they are baptized,--but nevertheless are not damned, because they are "holy,"--that would be some sort of a distinction; but as it is, they equally declare respecting the holy children of holy parents and the unclean offspring of unclean parents, that they are not damned, since they have not any sin; and that they are excluded from the kingdom of God because they are unbaptized. What an absurdity! Who can suppose that such splendid geniuses do not perceive it?


[604] [See Gelasius, in his Treatise against the Pelagians.]

[605] 1 Cor. vii. 14.

[606] See above, Book i. chs. 21-23.


Chapter 42.--Sanctification Manifold; Sacrament of Catechumens.

Our opinions on this point are strictly in unison with the apostle's himself, who said, "From one all to condemnation," and "from one all to justification of life." [607] Now how consistent these statements are with what he elsewhere says, when treating of another point, "Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy," consider a while. [XXVI.] Sanctification is not of merely one measure; for even catechumens, I take it, are sanctified in their own measure by the sign of Christ, and the prayer of imposition of hands; and what they receive is holy, although it is not the body of Christ,--holier than any food which constitutes our ordinary nourishment, because it is a sacrament. [608] However, that very meat and drink, wherewithal the necessities of our present life are sustained, are, according to the same apostle, "sanctified by the word of God and prayer," [609] even the prayer with which we beg that our bodies may be refreshed. Just as therefore this sanctification of our ordinary food does not hinder what enters the mouth from descending into the belly, and being ejected into the draught, [610] and partaking of the corruption into which everything earthly is resolved, whence the Lord exhorts us to labour for the other food which never perishes: [611] so the sanctification of the catechumen, if he is not baptized, does not avail for his entrance into the kingdom of heaven, nor for the remission of his sins. And, by parity of reasoning, that sanctification likewise, of whatever measure it be, which, according to the apostle, is in the children of believers, has nothing whatever to do with the question of baptism and of the origin or the remission of sin. [612] The apostle, in this very passage which has occupied our attention, says that the unbeliever of a married couple is sanctified by a believing partner: "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband. Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy." [613] Now, I should say, there is not a man whose mind is so warped by unbelief, as to suppose that, whatever sense he gives to these words, they can possibly mean that a husband who is not a Christian should not be baptized, because his wife is a Christian, and that he has already obtained remission of his sins, with the certain prospect of entering the kingdom of heaven, because he is described as being sanctified by his wife.


[607] See Rom. v. 18.

[608] Catechumens received the sacramentum salis--salt placed in the mouth--with other rites, such as exorcism and the sign of the cross; the Lord's Prayer and other invocations concluding the ceremony. See Canon 5 of the third Council of Carthage; also Augustin's De Catechiz. Rud. 50; and his Confessions, i. 11, where (speaking of his own catechumenical course) he says: "I was now signed with the sign of His cross, and was seasoned with His salt."

[609] 1 Tim. iv. 5.

[610] Mark vii. 19.

[611] John vi. 27.

[612] See below, Book iii. ch. 21; and his Sermons, xxix. 4.

[613] 1 Cor. vii. 14.


Chapter 43 [XXVII.]--Why the Children of the Baptized Should Be Baptized.

If any man, however, is still perplexed by the question why the children of baptized persons are baptized, let him briefly consider this: Inasmuch as the generation of sinful flesh through the one man, Adam, draws into condemnation all who are born of such generation, so the generation of the Spirit of grace through the one man Jesus Christ, draws to the justification of eternal life all who, because predestinated, partake of this regeneration. But the sacrament of baptism is undoubtedly the sacrament of regenation: Wherefore, as the man who has never lived cannot die, and he who has never died cannot rise again, so he who has never been born cannot be born again. From which the conclusion arises, that no one who has not been born could possibly have been born again in his father. Born again, however, a man must be, after he has been born; because, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" [614] Even an infant, therefore, must be imbued with the sacrament of regeneration, lest without it his would be an unhappy exit out of this life; and this baptism is not administered except for the remission of sins. And so much does Christ show us in this very passage; for when asked, How could such things be? He reminded His questioner of what Moses did when he lifted up the serpent. Inasmuch, then, as infants are by the sacrament of baptism conformed to the death of Christ, it must be admitted that they are also freed from the serpent's poisonous bite, unless we wilfully wander from the rule of the Christian faith. This bite, however, they did not receive in their own actual life, but in him on whom the wound was primarily inflicted.


[614] John iii. 3.


Chapter 44.--An Objection of the Pelagians.

Nor do they fail to see this point, that his own sins are no detriment to the parent after his conversion; they therefore raise the question: "How much more impossible is it that they should be a hinderance to his son?" But they who thus think do not attend to this consideration, that as his own sins are not injurious to the father for the very reason that he is born again of the Spirit, so in the case of his son, unless he be in the same manner born again, the sins which he derived from his father will prove injurious to him. Because even renewed parents beget children, not out of the first-fruits of their renewed condition, but carnally out of the remains of the old nature; and the children who are thus the offspring of their parents' remaining old nature, and are born in sinful flesh, escape from the condemnation which is due to the old man by the sacrament of spiritual regeneration and renewal. Now this is a consideration which, on account of the controversies that have arisen, and may still arise, on this subject, we ought to keep in our view and memory,--that a full and perfect remission of sins takes place only in baptism, that the character of the actual man does not at once undergo a total change, but that the first-fruits of the Spirit in such as walk worthily change the old carnal nature into one of like character by a process of renewal, which increases day by day, until the entire old nature is so renovated that the very weakness of the natural body attains to the strength and incorruptibility of the spiritual body.


Chapter 45 [XXVIII.]--The Law of Sin is Called Sin; How Concupiscence Still Remains After Its Evil Has Been Removed in the Baptized.

This law of sin, however, which the apostle also designates "sin," when he says, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof," [615] does not so remain in the members of those who are born again of water and the Spirit, as if no remission thereof has been made, because there is a full and perfect remission of our sins, all the enmity being slain, which separated us from God; but it remains in our old carnal nature, as if overcome and destroyed, if it does not, by consenting to unlawful objects, somehow revive, and recover its own reign and dominion. There is, however, so clear a distinction to be seen between this old carnal nature, in which the law of sin, or sin, is already repealed, and that life of the Spirit, in the newness of which they who are baptized are through God's grace born again, that the apostle deemed it too little to say of such that they were not in sin; unless he also said that they were not in the flesh itself, even before they departed out of this mortal life. "They that are in the flesh," says he, "cannot please God; but ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." [616] And indeed, as they turn to good account the flesh itself, however corruptible it be, who apply its members to good works, and no longer are in that flesh, since they do not mould their understanding nor their life according to its principles; and as they in like manner make even a good use of death, which is the penalty of the first sin, who encounter it with fortitude and patience for their brethren's sake, and for the faith, and in defence of whatever is true and holy and just,--so also do all "true yokefellows" in the faith turn to good account that very law of sin which still remains, though remitted, in their old carnal nature, who, because they have the new life in Christ, do not permit lust to have dominion over them. And yet these very persons, because they still carry about Adam's old nature, mortally generate children to be immortally regenerated, with that propagation of sin, in which such as are born again are not held bound, and from which such as are born are released by being born again. As long, then, as the law by concupiscence [617] dwells in the members, although it remains, the guilt of it is released; but it is released only to him who has received the sacrament of regeneration, and has already begun to be renewed. But whatsoever is born of the old nature, which still abides with its concupiscence, requires to be born again in order to be healed. Seeing that believing parents, who have been both carnally born and spiritually born again, have themselves begotten children in a carnal manner, how could their children by any possibility, previous to their first birth, have been born again?


[615] Rom. vi. 12.

[616] Rom. viii. 8, 9.

[617] We follow the reading, lex [scil. peccati] concupiscentialiter, etc.


Chapter 46. [618] --Guilt May Be Taken Away But Concupiscence Remain.

You must not be surprised at what I have said, that although the law of sin remains with its concupiscence, the guilt thereof is done away through the grace of the sacrament. For as wicked deeds, and words, and thoughts have already passed away, and cease to exist, so far as regards the mere movements of the mind and the body, and yet their guilt remains after they have passed away and no longer exist, unless it be done away by the remission of sins; so, contrariwise, in this law of concupiscence, which is not yet done away but still remains, its guilt is done away, and continues no longer, since in baptism there takes place a full forgiveness of sins. Indeed, if a man were to quit this present life immediately after his baptism, there would be nothing at all left to hold him liable, inasmuch as all which held him is released. As, on the one hand, therefore, there is nothing strange in the fact that the guilt of past sins of thought, and word, and deed remains before their remission; so, on the other hand, there ought to be nothing to create surprise, that the guilt of remaining concupiscence passes away after the remission of sin.


[618] Compare Augustin's Contra Julianum, vi. c. 22.


Chapter 47 [XXIX.]--All the Predestinated are Saved Through the One Mediator Christ, and by One and the Same Faith.

This being the case, ever since the time when by one man sin thus entered into this world and death by sin, and so it passed through to all men, up to the end of this carnal generation and perishing world, the children of which beget and are begotten, there never has existed, nor ever will exist, a human being of whom, placed in this life of ours, it could be said that he had no sin at all, with the exception of the one Mediator, who reconciles us to our Maker through the forgiveness of sins. Now this same Lord of ours has never yet refused, at any period of the human race, nor to the last judgment will He ever refuse, this His healing to those whom, in His most sure foreknowledge and future loving-kindness, He has predestinated to reign with Himself to life eternal. For, previous to His birth in the flesh, and weakness in suffering, and power in His own resurrection, He instructed all who then lived, in the faith of those then future blessings, that they might inherit everlasting life; whilst those who were alive when all these things were being accomplished in Christ, and who were witnessing the fulfilment of prophecy, He instructed in the faith of these then present blessings; whilst again, those who have since lived, and ourselves who are now alive, and all those who are yet to live, He does not cease to instruct, in the faith of these now past blessings. It is therefore "one faith" which saves all, who after their carnal birth are born again of the Spirit, and it terminates in Him, who came to be judged for us and to die,--the Judge of quick and dead. But the sacraments of this "one faith" are varied from time to time in order to its suitable signification.


Chapter 48.--Christ the Saviour Even of Infants; Christ, When an Infant, Was Free from Ignorance and Mental Weakness.

He is therefore the Saviour at once of infants and of adults, of whom the angel said, "There is born unto you this day a Saviour;" [619] and concerning whom it was declared to the Virgin Mary, [620] "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins," where it is plainly shown that He was called Jesus because of the salvation which He bestows upon us,--Jesus being tantamount to the Latin Salvator, "Saviour." Who then can be so bold as to maintain that the Lord Christ is Jesus only for adults and not for infants also? who came in the likeness of sinful flesh, to destroy the body of sin, with infants' limbs fitted and suitable for no use in the extreme weakness of such body, and His rational soul oppressed with miserable ignorance! Now that such entire ignorance existed, I cannot suppose in the infant in whom the Word was made flesh, that He might dwell among us; nor can I imagine that such weakness of the mental faculty ever existed in the infant Christ which we see in infants generally. For it is owing to such infirmity and ignorance that infants are disturbed with irrational affections, and are restrained by no rational command or government, but by pains and penalties, or the terror of such; so that you can quite see that they are children of that disobedience, which excites itself in the members of our body in opposition to the law of the mind,--and refuses to be still, even when the reason wishes; nay, often is either repressed only by some actual infliction of bodily pain, as for instance by flogging; or is checked only by fear, or by some such mental emotion, but not by any admonishing of the will. Inasmuch, however, as in Him there was the likeness of sinful flesh, He willed to pass through the changes of the various stages of life, beginning even with infancy, so that it would seem as if even His flesh might have arrived at death by the gradual approach of old age, if He had not been killed while young. Nevertheless, the death is inflicted in sinful flesh as the due of disobedience, but in the likeness of sinful flesh it was undergone in voluntary obedience. For when He was on His way to it, and was soon to suffer it, He said, "Behold, the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that all may know that I am doing my Father's will, arise, let us go hence." [621] Having said these words, He went straightway, and encountered His undeserved death, having become obedient even unto death.


[619] Luke ii. 11.

[620] Rather to Joseph, Mary's husband; Matt. i. 21.

[621] John xiv. 30, 31.


Chapter 49 [XXX.]--An Objection of the Pelagians.

They therefore who say, "If through the sin of the first man it was brought about that we must die, by the coming of Christ it should be brought about that, believing in Him, we shall not die;" and they add what they deem a reason, saying, "For the sin of the first transgressor could not possibly have injured us more than the incarnation or redemption of the Saviour has benefited us." But why do they not rather give an attentive ear, and an unhesitating belief, to that which the apostle has stated so unambiguously: "Since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive?" [622] For it is of nothing else than of the resurrection of the body that he was speaking. Having said that the bodily death of all men has come about through one man, he adds the promise that the bodily resurrection of all men to eternal life shall happen through one, even Christ. How can it therefore be that "the one has injured us more by sinning than the other has benefited us by redeeming," when by the sin of the former we die a temporal death, but by the redemption of the latter we rise again not to a temporal, but to a perpetual life? Our body, therefore, is dead because of sin, but Christ's body only died without sin, in order that, having poured out His blood without fault, "the bonds" [623] which contain the register of all faults "might be blotted out," by which they who now believe in Him were formerly held as debtors by the devil. And accordingly He says, "This is my blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." [624]


[622] 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22.

[623] Col. ii. 14. Chirographa, i.e. "handwritings."

[624] Matt. xxvi. 28.


Chapter 50 [XXXI.]--Why It is that Death Itself is Not Abolished, Along with Sin, by Baptism.

He might, however, have also conferred this upon believers, that they should not even experience the death of their body. But if He had done this, there might no doubt have been added a certain felicity to the flesh, but the fortitude of faith would have been diminished; for men have such a fear of death, that they would declare Christians happy, for nothing else than their mere immunity from dying. And no one would, for the sake of that life which is to be so happy after death, hasten to the grace of Christ by the power of his contempt of death itself; but with a view to remove the trouble of death, would rather resort to a more delicate mode of believing in Christ. More grace, therefore, than this has He conferred on those who believe on Him; and a greater gift, undoubtedly, has He vouchsafed to them! What great matter would it have been for a man, on seeing that people did not die when they became believers, himself also to believe that he was not to die? How much greater a thing is it, how much braver, how much more laudable, so to believe, that although one is sure to die, he can still hope to live hereafter for evermore! At last, upon some there will be bestowed this blessing at the last day, that they shall not feel death itself in sudden change, but shall be caught up along with the risen in the clouds to meet Christ in the air, and so shall they ever live with the Lord. [625] And rightly shall it be these who receive this grace, since there will be no posterity after them to be led to believe, not by the hope of what they see not, but by the love of what they see. This faith is weak and nerveless, and must not be called faith at all, inasmuch as faith is thus defined: "Faith is the firmness of those who hope, [626] the clear proof of things which they do not see." [627] Accordingly, in the same Epistle to the Hebrews, where this passage occurs, after enumerating in subsequent sentences certain worthies who pleased God by their faith, he says: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but seeing them afar off, and hailing them, and confessing that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." [628] And then afterwards he concluded his eulogy on faith in these words: "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, did not indeed receive God's promises; for they foresaw better things for us, and that without us they could not themselves become perfect." [629] Now this would be no praise for faith, nor (as I said) would it be faith at all, were men in believing to follow after rewards which they could see,--in other words, if on believers were bestowed the reward of immortality in this present world.


[625] 1 Thess. iv. 17. Compare Retrac. ii. 33 and Letter 193.

[626] Augustin constantly quotes this text with the active participle sperantium, instead of sperandorum. The Greek elpizomenon is not always construed passively in the passage; some regard it as of the middle voice.

[627] Heb. xi. 1.

[628] Heb. xi. 13.

[629] Heb. xi. 39, 40.


Chapter 51.--Why the Devil is Said to Hold the Power and Dominion of Death.

Hence the Lord Himself willed to die, "in order that," as it is written of Him, "through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." [630] From this passage it is shown with sufficient clearness that even the death of the body came about by the instigation and work of the devil,--in a word, from the sin which he persuaded man to commit; nor is there any other reason why he should be said in strictness of truth to hold the power of death. Accordingly, He who died without any sin, original or actual, said in the passage I have already quoted: "Behold, the prince of this world," that is, the devil, who had the power of death, "cometh and findeth nothing in me,"--meaning, he shall find no sin in me, because of which he has caused men to die. As if the question were asked Him: Why then should you die? He says, "That all may know that I am doing the will of my Father, arise, let us go hence;" [631] that is, that I may die, though I have no cause of death from sin under the author of sin, but only from obedience and righteousness, having become obedient unto death. Proof is likewise afforded us by this passage, that the fact of the faithful overcoming the fear of death is a part of the struggle of faith itself; for all struggle would indeed be at an end, if immortality were at once to become the reward of them that believe.


[630] Heb. ii. 14.

[631] John xiv. 30, 31.


Chapter 52 [XXXII.]--Why Christ, After His Resurrection, Withdrew His Presence from the World.

Although, therefore, the Lord wrought many visible miracles in order that faith might sprout at first and be fed by infant nourishment, and grow to its full strength by and by out of this softness (for as faith becomes stronger the less does it seek such help); He nevertheless wished us to wait quietly, without visible inducements, for the promised hope, in order that "the just might live by faith;" [632] and so great was this wish of His, that though He rose from the dead the third day, He did not desire to remain among men, but, after leaving a proof of his resurrection by showing Himself in the flesh to those whom He deigned to have for His witnesses of this event, He ascended into heaven, withdrawing Himself thus from their sight, and conferring no such thing on the flesh of any one of them as He had displayed in His own flesh, in order that they too "might live by faith," and in the present world might wait in patience and without visible inducements for the reward of that righteousness in which men live by faith,--a reward which should hereafter be visibly and openly bestowed. To this signification I believe that passage must be referred which He speaks concerning the Holy Ghost: "He will not come, unless I depart." [633] For this was in fact saying Ye shall not be able to live righteously by faith, which ye shall have as a gift of mine,--that is, from the Holy Ghost,--unless I withdraw from your eyes that which ye now gaze upon, in order that your heart may advance in spiritual growth by fixing its faith on invisible things. This righteousness of faith He constantly commends to them. Speaking of the Holy Ghost, He says, "He shall reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they have not believed on me: of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye shall see me no more." [634] What is that righteousness, whereby men were not to see Him, except that "the just is to live by faith," and that we, not looking at the things which are seen, but at those which are not seen, are to wait in the Spirit for the hope of the righteousness that is by faith?


[632] Hab. ii. 4.

[633] John xvi. 7.

[634] John xvi. 8-10.


Chapter 53 [XXXIII.]--An Objection of the Pelagians.

But those persons who say, "If the death of the body has happened by sin, we of course ought not to die after that remission of sins which the Redeemer has bestowed upon us," do not understand how it is that some things, whose guilt God has cancelled in order that they may not stand in our way after this life, He yet permits to remain for the contest of faith, in order that they may become the means of instructing and exercising those who are advancing in the struggle after holiness. Might not some man, by not understanding this, raise a question and ask, If God has said to man because of his sin, "In the sweat of thy brow thou shall eat thy bread: thorns also and thistles shall the ground bring forth to thee," [635] how comes it to pass that this labour and toil continues since the remission of sins, and that the ground of believers yields them this rough and terrible harvest? Again, since it was said to the woman in consequence of her sin, "In sorrow shall thou bring forth children," [636] how is it that believing women, notwithstanding the remission of their sins, suffer the same pains in the process of parturition? And nevertheless it is an incontestable fact, that by reason of the sin which they had committed, the primeval man and woman heard these sentences pronounced by God, and deserved them; nor does any one resist these words of the sacred volume, which I have quoted about man's labour and woman's travail, unless some one who is utterly hostile to the catholic faith, and an adversary to the inspired writings.


[635] Gen. iii. 18, 19.

[636] Gen. iii. 16.


Chapter 54 [XXXIV.]--Why Punishment is Still Inflicted, After Sin Has Been Forgiven.

But, inasmuch as there are not wanting persons of such character, just as we say in answer to those who raise this question, that those things are punishments of sins before remission, which after remission become contests and exercises of the righteous; so again to such persons as are similarly perplexed about the death of the body, our answer ought to be so drawn as to show both that we acknowledge it to have accrued because of sin, and that we are not discouraged by the punishment of sins having been bequeathed to us for an exercise of discipline, in order that our great fear of it may be overcome by us as we advance in holiness. For if only small virtue accrued to "the faith which worketh by love" in conquering the fear of death, there would be no great glory for the martyrs; nor could the Lord say, "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends;" [637] which John in his epistle expresses in these terms: "As He laid down His life for us, so ought we to lay down our lives for the brethren." [638] In vain, therefore, would commendation be bestowed on the most eminent suffering in encountering or despising death for righteousness' sake, if there were not in death itself a really great and very severe trial. And the man who overcomes the fear of it by his faith, procures a great glory and just recompense for his faith itself. Wherefore it ought to surprise no one, either that the death of the body could not possibly have happened to man unless sin had been previously committed, since it was of this that it was to become the punishment; nor that after the remission of their sins it comes to the faithful, in order that in their triumphing over the fear of it, the fortitude of righteousness may be exercised.


[637] John xv. 13.

[638] 1 John iii. 16.


Chapter 55.--To Recover the Righteousness Which Had Been Lost by Sin, Man Has to Struggle, with Abundant Labour and Sorrow.

The flesh which was originally created was not that sinful flesh in which man refused to maintain his righteousness amidst the delights of Paradise, wherefore God determined that sinful flesh should propagate itself after it had sinned, and struggle for the recovery of holiness, in many toils and troubles. Therefore, after Adam was driven out of Paradise, he had to dwell over against Eden,--that is, over against the garden of delights,--to indicate that it is by labours and sorrows, which are the very contraries of delights, that sinful flesh had to be educated, after it had failed amidst its first pleasures to maintain its holiness, previous to its becoming sinful flesh. As therefore our first parents, by their subsequent return to righteous living, by which they are supposed to have been released from the worst penalty of their sentence through the blood of the Lord, were still not deemed worthy to be recalled to Paradise during their life on earth, so in like manner our sinful flesh, even if a man lead a righteous life in it after the remission of his sins, does not deserve to be immediately exempted from that death which it has derived from its propagation of sin. [639]


[639] See also his treatise, De Naturâ et Gratiâ, ch. xxiii.


Chapter 56.--The Case of David, in Illustration.

Some such thought has occurred to us about the patriarch David, in the Book of Kings. After the prophet was sent to him, and threatened him with the evils which were to arise from the anger of God on account of the sin which he had committed, he obtained pardon by the confession of his sin, and the prophet replied that the shame and crime had been remitted to him; but yet, for all that, the evils with which God had threatened him followed in due course, so that he was brought low by his son. Now why is not an objection at once raised here: "If it was on account of his sin that God threatened him, why, when the sin was forgiven, did He fulfil His threat?" except because, if the cavil had been raised, it would have been most correctly answered, that the remission of the sin was given that the man might not be hindered from gaining the life eternal, but the threatened evil was still carried into effect, in order that the man's piety might be exercised and approved in the lowly condition to which he was reduced. Thus also God has both inflicted on man the death of his body, because of his sin, and, after his sins are forgiven, has not released him in order that he may be exercised in righteousness.


Chapter 57 [XXXV.]--Turn to Neither Hand.

Let us hold fast, then, the confession of this faith, without faltering or failure. One alone is there who was born without sin, in the likeness of sinful flesh, who lived without sin amid the sins of others, and who died without sin on account of our sins. "Let us turn neither to the right hand nor to the left." [640] For to turn to the right hand is to deceive oneself, by saying that we are without sin; and to turn to the left is to surrender oneself to one's sins with a sort of impunity, in I know not how perverse and depraved a recklessness. "God indeed knoweth the ways on the right hand," [641] even He who alone is without sin, and is able to blot out our sins; "but the ways on the left hand are perverse," [642] in friendship with sins. Of such inflexibility were those youths of twenty years, [643] who foretokened in figure God's new people; they entered the land of promise; they, it is said, turned neither to the right hand nor to the left. [644] Now this age of twenty is not to be compared with the age of children's innocence, but if I mistake not, this number is the shadow and echo of a mystery. For the Old Testament has its excellence in the five books of Moses, while the New Testament is most refulgent in the authority of the four Gospels. These numbers, when multiplied together, reach to the number twenty: four times five, or five times four, are twenty. Such a people (as I have already said), instructed in the kingdom of heaven by the two Testaments--the Old and the New--turning neither to the right hand, in a proud assumption of righteousness, nor to the left hand, in a reckless delight in sin, shall enter into the land of promise, where we shall have no longer either to pray that sins may be forgiven to us, or to fear that they may be punished in us, having been freed from them all by that Redeemer, who, not being "sold under sin," [645] "hath redeemed Israel out of all his iniquities," [646] whether committed in the actual life, or derived from the original transgression.


[640] Prov. iv. 27.

[641] Same verse [in the Latin and Septuagint; the clause does not occur in the Hebrew].

[642] [See the last note.]

[643] Num. xiv. 29, 31.

[644] Josh. xxiii. 6, 8.

[645] Rom. vii. 14.

[646] Ps. xxv. 22.


Chapter 58 [XXXVI.]--"Likeness of Sinful Flesh" Implies the Reality.

It is no small concession to the authority and truthfulness of the inspired pages which those persons have made, who, although unwilling to admit openly in their writings that remission of sins is necessary for infants, have yet confessed that they need redemption. Nothing that they have said differs indeed from another word, even that which is derived from Christian instruction. Whilst by those who faithfully read, faithfully hear, and faithfully hold fast the Holy Scriptures, it cannot be doubted that from that flesh, which first became sinful flesh by the choice of sin, and which has been subsequently transmitted to all through successive generations, there has been propagated a sinful flesh, with the single exception of that "likeness of sinful flesh," [647] --which likeness, however, there could not have been, had there not been also the reality of sinful flesh.


[647] Rom. viii. 3.


Chapter 59.--Whether the Soul is Propagated; On Obscure Points, Concerning Which the Scriptures Give Us No Assistance, We Must Be on Our Guard Against Forming Hasty Judgments and Opinions; The Scriptures are Clear Enough on Those Subjects Which are Necessary to Salvation.

Concerning the soul, indeed, the question arises, whether it, too, is propagated in the same way [as the flesh,] and bound by the same guilt, which is forgiven to it--for we cannot say that it is only the flesh of the infant, and not his soul also, which requires the help of a Saviour and Redeemer, or that the latter must not be included in that thanksgiving in the Psalms, where we read and repeat, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction." [648] Or if it be not likewise propagated, we may ask, whether, by the very fact of its being mingled with and weighed down by the sinful flesh, it still has need of the remission of its own sin, and of a redemption of its own, God being judge, in the height of His foreknowledge, [649] what infants do not deserve [650] to be absolved from that guilt, even before they are born, or have in any instance ever done anything good or evil. The question also arises, how God (even if He does not create souls by natural propagation) can yet not be the Author of that very guilt, on account of which redemption by the sacrament is necessary to the infant's soul. The subject is a wide and important one, [651] and requires another treatise. The discussion, however, so far as I can judge, ought to be conducted with temper and moderation, so as to deserve the praise of cautious inquiry, rather than the censure of headstrong assertion. For whenever a question arises on an unusually obscure subject, on which no assistance can be rendered by clear and certain proofs of the Holy Scriptures, the presumption of man ought to restrain itself; nor should it attempt anything definite by leaning to either side. But if I must indeed be ignorant concerning any points of this sort, as to how they can be explained and proved, this much I should still believe, that from this very circumstance the Holy Scriptures would possess a most clear authority, whenever a point arose which no man could be ignorant of, without imperilling the salvation which has been promised him. You have now before you, [my dear Marcellinus,] this treatise, worked out to the best of my ability. I only wish that its value equalled its length; for its length I might probably be able to justify, only I should fear that, by adding the justification, I should stretch the prolixity beyond your endurance.


[648] Ps. ciii. 2-4.

[649] We follow the reading, per summam præscientiam.

[650] Non mereantur.

[651] He treats it in his Epistle, 166; in his work, De Animâ et ejus Origine; and in his De Libero Arbitrio, 42.



Book III.

In the Shape of a Letter Addressed to the Same Marcellinus.

In which Augustin refutes some errors of Pelagius on the question of the merits of sins and the baptism of infants--being sundry arguments of his which he had interspersed among his expositions of Saint Paul, in opposition to original sin.

To his beloved son Marcellinus, Augustin, bishop and servant of Christ and of the servants of Christ, sendeth greeting in the Lord.


Chapter 1 [I.]--Pelagius Esteemed a Holy Man; His Expositions on Saint Paul.

The questions which you proposed that I should write to you about, in opposition to those persons who say that Adam would have died even if he had not sinned, and that nothing of his sin has passed to his posterity by natural transmission; and especially on the subject of the baptism of infants, which the universal Church, with most pious and maternal care, maintains in constant celebration; and whether in this life there are, or have been, or ever will be, children of men without any sin at all--I have already discussed in two lengthy books. And I venture to think that if in them I have not met all the points which perplex all men's minds on such matters (an achievement which, I apprehend,--nay, which I have no doubt,--lies beyond the power either of myself, or of any other person), I have at all events prepared something in the shape of a firm ground on which those who defend the faith delivered to us by our fathers, against the novel opinions of its opponents, may at any time take their stand, not unarmed for the contest. However, within the last few days I have read some writings by Pelagius,--a holy man, as I am told, who has made no small progress in the Christian life,--containing some very brief expository notes on the epistles of the Apostle Paul; [652] and therein I found, on coming to the passage where the apostle says, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so it passed upon all men," [653] an argument which is used by those who say that infants are not burdened with original sin. Now I confess that I have not refuted this argument in my lengthy treatise, because it did not indeed once occur to me that anybody was capable of thinking such sentiments. Being, however, unwilling to add to that work, which I had concluded, I have thought it right to insert in this epistle both the argument itself in the very words in which I read it, and the answer which it seems to me proper to give to it.


[652] [This commentary is also made known to us by Marius Mercator's Commonitoria, cap. 2, and has been preserved for us among the works of Jerome (Vallarsius' ed., tom. xi.), although probably not without alterations. It seems to have been composed before A.D. 410, at Rome.--W.]

[653] Rom. v. 12.


Chapter 2 [II.]--Pelagius' Objection; Infants Reckoned Among the Number of Believers and the Faithful.

In these terms, then, the argument is stated:--"But they who deny the transmission of sin endeavour to impugn it thus: If (say they) Adam's sin injured even those who do not sin, therefore Christ's righteousness also profits even those who do not believe; because In like manner, nay, much more,' he says, are men saved by one, than they had previously perished by one.'" Now to this argument, I repeat, I advanced no reply in the two books which I previously addressed to you; nor, indeed, had I proposed to myself such a task. But now I beg you first of all to observe, when they say, "If Adam's sin injures even those who do not sin, then Christ's righteousness also profits even those who do not believe," how absurd and false they judge it to be, that the righteousness of Christ should profit even those who do not believe; and that thence they think to put together such an argument as this: That no more could the first man's sin possibly do injury to infants who commit no sin, than the righteousness of Christ can benefit any who do not believe. Let them therefore tell us what is the benefit of Christ's righteousness to baptized infants; let them by all means tell us what they mean. For of course, since they do not forget that they are Christians themselves, they have no doubt that there is some benefit. But whatever be this benefit, it is incapable (as they themselves assert) of benefiting those who do not believe. Whence they are compelled to class baptized infants in the number of believers, and to assent to the authority of the Holy Universal Church, which does not account those unworthy of the name of believers, to whom the righteousness of Christ could be, according to them, of no use except as believers. As, therefore, by the answer of those, through whose agency they are born again, the Spirit of righteousness transfers to them that faith which, of their own will, they could not yet have; so the sinful flesh of those, through whose agency they are born, transfers to them that injury, which they have not yet contracted in their own life. And even as the Spirit of life regenerates them in Christ as believers, so also the body of death had generated them in Adam as sinners. The one generation is carnal, the other Spiritual; the one makes children of the flesh, the other children of the Spirit; the one children of death, the other children of the resurrection; the one the children of the world, the other the children of God; the one children of wrath, the other children of mercy; and thus the one binds them under original sin, the other liberates them from the bond of every sin.


Chapter 3.--Pelagius Makes God Unjust.

We are driven at last to yield our assent on divine authority to that which we are unable to investigate with even the clearest intellect. It is well that they remind us themselves that Christ's righteousness is unable to profit any but believers, while they yet allow that it somewhat profits infants; according to this (as we have already said) they must, without evasion, find room for baptized infants among the number of believers. Consequently, if they are not baptized, they will have to rank amongst those who do not believe; and therefore they will not even have life, but "the wrath of God abideth on them," inasmuch as "he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him;" [654] and they are under judgment, since "he that believeth not is condemned already;" [655] and they shall be condemned, since "he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." [656] Let them, now, then see to it with what justice they can hold or strive to maintain that human beings have no part in eternal life, but in the wrath of God, and incur the divine judgment and condemnation, who are without sin; if, that is, as they cannot have any actual sin, so also they have within them no original sin.


[654] John iii. 36.

[655] John iii. 18.

[656] Mark xvi. 16.


Chapter 4.

To the other points which Pelagius makes them urge who argue against original sin, I have already, I think, sufficiently and clearly replied in the two former books of my lengthy treatise. Now if my reply should seem to any persons to be brief or obscure, I beg their pardon, and request the favour of their coming to terms with those who perhaps censure my treatise, not for being too brief, but rather as being too long; whilst any who still do not understand the points which I cannot help thinking I have explained as clearly as the nature of the subject allowed me, shall certainly hear no blame or reproach from me for indifference, or want of understanding me. [657] I would rather that they should pray God to give them intelligence.


[657] [Or, "because they lack my own faculty of understanding the subject."].


Chapter 5 [III.]--Pelagius Praised by Some; Arguments Against Original Sin Proposed by Pelagius in His Commentary.

But we must not indeed omit to observe that this good and praiseworthy man (as they who know him describe him to be) has not advanced this argument against the natural transmission of sin in his own person, but has reproduced what is alleged by those persons who disapprove of the doctrine, and this, not merely so far as I have just quoted and confuted the allegation, but also as to those other points on which I have now further undertaken to furnish a reply. Now, after saying, "If (they say) Adam's sin injured even those who do not sin, therefore Christ's righteousness also profits even those who do not believe,"--which sentence, you will perceive from what I have said in answer to it, is not only not repugnant to what we hold, but even reminds us what we ought to hold,--he at once goes on to add, "Then they contend, if baptism cleanses away that old sin, those children who are born of two baptized parents must needs be free from this sin, for they could not have transmitted to their children what they did not possess themselves. Besides," says he, "if the soul is not of transmission, but only the flesh, then only the latter has the transmission of sin, and it alone deserves punishment; for they allege that it would be unjust for the soul, which is only now born, and comes not of the lump of Adam, to bear the burden of so old an alien sin. They say, likewise," says Pelagius, "that it cannot by any means be conceded that God, who remits to a man his own sins, should impute to him another's."


Chapter 6.--Why Pelagius Does Not Speak in His Own Person.

Pray, don't you see how Pelagius has inserted the whole of this paragraph in his writings, not in his own person, but in that of others, knowing so well the novelty of this unheard-of doctrine, which is now beginning to raise its voice against the ancient ingrafted opinion of the Church, that he was ashamed or afraid to acknowledge it himself? And perhaps he does not himself think that a man is born without sin for whom he confesses that baptism to be necessary by which comes the remission of sins; or that the man is condemned without sin who must be reckoned, when unbaptized, in the class of non-believers, since the gospel of course cannot deceive us, when it most clearly asserts, "He that believeth not shall be damned;" [658] or, lastly, that the image of God, when without sin, is not admitted into the kingdom of God, forasmuch as "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," [659] --and so must either be precipitated into eternal death without sin, or, what is still more absurd, must have eternal life outside the kingdom of God; for the Lord, when foretelling what He should say to His people at last,--"Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world," [660] --also clearly indicated what the kingdom was of which He was speaking, by concluding thus: "So these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal." [661] These opinions, then, and others which spring from the central error, I believe so worthy a man, and so good a Christian, does not at all accept, as being too perverse and repugnant to Christian truth. But it is quite possible that he may, by the very arguments of those who deny the transmission of sin, be still so far distressed as to be anxious to hear or know what can be said in reply to them; and on this account he was both unwilling to keep silent the tenets propounded by them who deny the transmission of sin, in order that he might get the question in due time discussed, and, at the same time, declined to report the opinions in his own person, lest he should be supposed to entertain them himself.


[658] Mark xvi. 16.

[659] John iii. 5.

[660] Matt. xxv. 34.

[661] Matt. xxv. 46.


Chapter 7 [IV.]--Proof of Original Sin in Infants.

Now, although I may not be able myself to refute the arguments of these men, I yet see how necessary it is to adhere closely to the clearest statements of the Scriptures, in order that the obscure passages may be explained by help of these, or, if the mind be as yet unequal to either perceiving them when explained, or investigating them whilst abstruse, let them be believed without misgiving. But what can be plainer than the many weighty testimonies of the divine declarations, which afford to us the clearest proof possible that without union with Christ there is no man who can attain to eternal life and salvation; and that no man can unjustly be damned,--that is, separated from that life and salvation,--by the judgment of God? The inevitable conclusion from these truths is this, that, as nothing else is effected when infants are baptized except that they are incorporated into the church, in other words, that they are united with the body and members of Christ, unless this benefit has been bestowed upon them, they are manifestly in danger of [662] damnation. Damned, however, they could not be if they really had no sin. Now, since their tender age could not possibly have contracted sin in its own life, it remains for us, even if we are as yet unable to understand, at least to believe that infants inherit original sin.


[662] Pertinere ad.


Chapter 8.--Jesus is the Saviour Even of Infants.

And therefore, if there is an ambiguity in the apostle's words when he says, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so it passed upon all men;" [663] and if it is possible for them to be drawn aside, and applied to some other sense,--is there anything ambiguous in this statement: "Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God?" [664] Is this, again, ambiguous: "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins?" [665] Is there any doubt of what this means: "The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick?" [666] --that is, Jesus is not needed by those who have no sin, but by those who are to be saved from sin. Is there anything, again, ambiguous in this: "Except men eat the flesh of the Son of man," that is, become partakers of His body, "they shall not have life?" [667] By these and similar statements, which I now pass over, --absolutely clear in the light of God, and absolutely certain by His authority,--does not truth proclaim without ambiguity, that unbaptized infants not only cannot enter into the kingdom of God, but cannot have everlasting life, except in the body of Christ, in order that they may be incorporated into which they are washed in the sacrament of baptism? Does not truth, without any dubiety, testify that for no other reason are they carried by pious hands to Jesus (that is, to Christ, the Saviour and Physician), than that they may be healed of the plague of their sin by the medicine of His sacraments? Why then do we delay so to understand the apostle's very words, of which we perhaps used to have some doubt, that they may agree with these statements of which we can have no manner of doubt?


[663] Rom. v. 12.

[664] John iii. 5.

[665] Matt. i. 21.

[666] Matt. ix. 12.

[667] See John vi. 53.


Chapter 9.--The Ambiguity of "Adam is the Figure of Him to Come."

To me, however, no doubt presents itself about the whole of this passage, in which the apostle speaks of the condemnation of many through the sin of one, and the justification of many through the righteousness of One, except as to the words, "Adam is the figure of Him that was to come." [668] For this phrase in reality not only suits the sense which understands that Adam's posterity were to be born of the same form as himself along with sin, but the words are also capable of being drawn out into several distinct meanings. For we have ourselves perhaps actually contended for various senses from the words in question at different times, [669] and very likely we shall propound yet another view, which, however, will not be incompatible with the sense here mentioned; and even Pelagius has not always expounded the passage in one way. All the rest, however, of the passage in which these doubtful words occur, if its statements are carefully examined and treated, as I have tried my best to do in the first book of this treatise, will not (in spite of the obscurity of style necessarily engendered by the subject itself) fail to show the incompatibility of any other meaning than that which has secured the adhesion of the universal Church from the earliest times--that believing infants have obtained through the baptism of Christ the remission of original sin.


[668] "Adam formam futuri;" see Rom. v. 14.

[669] Comp. above, Book i. c. 13; Epist. 157; De Nuptiis, ii. 44; and Contra Julianum, vi. 8.


Chapter 10 [V.]--He Shows that Cyprian Had Not Doubted the Original Sin of Infants.

Accordingly, it is not without reason that the blessed Cyprian [670] carefully shows how from the very first the Church has held this as a well understood article of faith. When he was asserting the fitness of infants only just born to receive Christ's baptism, on a certain occasion when he was consulted whether this ought to be administered before the eighth day, he endeavoured, as far as he could, to prove that they were perfect, [671] lest any one should suppose, from the number of the days (because it was on the eighth day that infants were before circumcised), that they so far lacked perfection. However, after bestowing upon them the full support of his argument, he still confessed that they were not free from original sin; because if he had denied this, he would have removed all reason for the very baptism which he was maintaining their fitness to receive. You can, if you wish, read for yourself the epistle of the illustrious martyr On the Baptism of Little Children; for it cannot fail to be within reach at Carthage. But I have deemed it right to transcribe some few statements of it into this letter of mine, so far as applies to the question before us; and I pray you to mark them carefully. "Now with respect," says he, "to the case of infants, whom you declared it would be improper to baptize if presented within the second and third day after their birth, since that due regard ought to be paid to the law of circumcision of old, so that you thought that the infant should not be baptized and sanctified before the eighth day after its birth,--a far different view has been formed of the question in our council. Not a man there assented to what you thought ought to be done; but the whole of us rather determined that to no one born of men ought God's mercy and grace to be denied. For since the Lord in His gospel says, The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them,' [672] so far as in us lies, not a soul ought, if possible, to be lost." You observe how in these words he supposes that it is fraught with ruin and death, not only to the flesh, but also to the soul, for one to depart this life without that saving sacrament. Wherefore, if he said nothing else, it was competent to us to conclude from his words that without sin the soul could not perish. See, however, what (when he shortly afterwards maintains the innocence of infants) he at the same time allows concerning them in the plainest terms: "But if," says he, "anything could hinder men from the attainment of grace, then their heavier sins might rather hinder those who have reached the stages of adults, and advanced life, and old age. Since, however, remission of sins is given even to the greatest sinners after they have believed, however much they have previously sinned against God, and since nobody is forbidden baptism and grace, how much more ought an infant not to be forbidden who newborn has done no sin, except that from having been born carnally after Adam he has contracted from his very birth the contagion of the primeval death! How, too, does this fact contribute in itself the more easily to their reception of the forgiveness of sins, that the remission which they have is not of their own sins, but of those of another!"


[670] See Cyprian's Epistle, 64 (ad Fidum): also Augustin, Epist. 166; De Nuptis, ii. 49; Contra Julianum, ii. 5; Ad Bonifacium, iv. 3; Sermons, 294.

[671] The word implies "of ripe age;" i.e., for "baptism."

[672] Luke ix. 56.


Chapter 11.--The Ancients Assumed Original Sin.

You see with what confidence this great man expresses himself after the ancient and undoubted rule of faith. In advancing such very certain statements, his object was by help of these firm conclusions to prove the uncertain point which had been submitted to him by his correspondent, and concerning which he informs him that a decree of a council had been passed, to the effect that, if an infant were brought even before the eighth day after his birth, no one should hesitate to baptize him. Now it was not then determined or confirmed by the council that infants were held bound by original sin as if it were new, or as if it were attacked by the opposition of some one; but when another controversy was being conducted, and the question was discussed, in reference to the law of the circumcision of the flesh, whether they ought to be baptized before the eighth day. None agreed with the person who denied this; because it was not an open question admitting of discussion, but was fixed and unassailable, that the soul would forfeit eternal salvation if it ended this life without obtaining the sacrament of baptism: but at the same time infants fresh from the womb were held to be affected only by the guilt of original sin. On this account, although remission of sins was easier in their case, because the sins were derived from another, it was nevertheless indispensable. It was on sure grounds like these that the uncertain question of the eighth day was solved, and the council decided that after a man was born, not a day ought to be lost in rendering him that succour which should prevent his perishing for ever. When also a reason was given for the circumcision of the flesh as being itself a shadow of what was to be, its purport was not that we should understand that baptism ought to be administered on the eighth day after birth, but rather that we are spiritually circumcised in the resurrection of Christ, who rose from the dead on the third day, indeed, after His passion, but among the days of the week, by which time is counted, on the eighth, that is, on the first day after the Sabbath.


Chapter 12 [VI.]--The Universal Consensus Respecting Original Sin.

And now, again, with a strange boldness in new controversy, certain persons are endeavouring to make us uncertain on a point which our forefathers used to bring forward as most certainly fixed, whenever they would solve such questions as seemed uncertain to some. When this controversy, indeed, first began, I am unable to say; but one thing I know, that even the holy Jerome, who is in our own day renowned for great industry and learning in ecclesiastical literature, for the solution of sundry questions treated in his writings, makes use of the same most certain assumption without exhibition of proofs. For instance, in his commentary on the prophet Jonah, when he comes to the passage where the infants were mentioned as chastened by the fast, he says: [673] "The greatest age comes first, and then all the rest is pervaded down to the least. [674] For there is no man without sin, whether the span of his age be but that of a single day, or he reckon many years to his life. For if the very stars are unclean in the sight of God, [675] how much more is a worm and corruption, such as are they who are held subject to the sin of the offending Adam?" If, indeed, we could readily interrogate this most learned man, how many authors who have treated of the divine Scriptures. in both languages, [676] and have written on Christian controversies, would he mention to us, who have never held any other opinion since the Church of Christ was founded,--who neither received any other from their forefathers, nor handed down any other to their posterity? My own reading, indeed, has been far more limited, but yet I do not recollect ever having heard of any other doctrine on this point from Christians, who accept the two Testaments, whether established in the Catholic Church, or in any heretical or schismatic body whatever. I do not remember, I say, that I have at any time found any other doctrine in such writers as have contributed anything to literature of this kind, whether they have followed the canonical Scriptures, or have supposed that they have followed them, or had wished to be so supposed. From what quarter this question has suddenly come upon us I know not. A short time ago, [677] in a passing conversation with certain persons while we were at Carthage, my ears were suddenly offended with such a proposition as this: "That infants are not baptized for the purpose of receiving remission of sin, but that they may be sanctified in Christ." Although I was much disturbed by so novel an opinion, still, as there was no opportunity afforded me for gainsaying it, and as its propounders were not persons whose influence gave me anxiety, I readily let the subject slip into neglect and oblivion. And lo! it is now maintained with burning zeal against the Church; lo! it is committed to our permanent notice by writing; nay, the matter is brought to such a pitch of distracting influence, that we are even consulted on it by our brethren; and we are actually obliged to oppose its progress both by disputation and by writing.


[673] St. Jerome, on Jon. iii.

[674] Ver. 3.

[675] Job xxv. 4.

[676] Or "who have treated of both languages of the divine Scriptures."

[677] Probably in the year 411, when a conference was held at Carthage with the Donatists. Augustin says that he then saw Pelagius; see his work, De Gestis Pelagii, c. 46.


Chapter 13 [VII.]--The Error of Jovinianus Did Not Extend So Far.

A few years ago there lived at Rome one Jovinian, [678] who is said to have persuaded nuns of even advanced age to marry,--not, indeed, by seduction, as if he wanted to make any of them his wife, but by contending that virgins who dedicated themselves to the ascetic life had no more merit before God than believing wives. It never entered his mind, however, along with this conceit, to venture to affirm that children of men are born without original sin. If, indeed, he had added such an opinion, the women might have more readily consented to marry, to give birth to such pure offspring. When this man's writings (for he dared to write) were by the brethren forwarded to Jerome to refute, he not only discovered no such error in them, but, while looking out his conceits for refutation, he found among other passages this very clear testimony to the doctrine of man's original sin, from which Jerome indeed felt satisfied of the man's belief of that doctrine. [679] These are his words when treating of it: "He who says that he abides in Christ, ought himself also to walk even as He walked. [680] We give our opponent the option to choose which alternative he likes. Does he abide in Christ, or does he not? If he does, then, let him walk like Christ. If, however, it is a rash thing to undertake to resemble the excellences of Christ, he abides not in Christ, because he walks not as Christ did. He did no sin, neither was any guile found in His mouth; [681] who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; and as a lamb before its shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth; [682] to whom the prince of this world came, and found nothing in Him; [683] whom, though He had done no sin, God made sin for us. [684] We, however, according to the Epistle of James, all commit many sins; [685] and none of us is pure from uncleanness, even if his life should be but of one day. [686] For who shall boast that he has a clean heart? Or who shall be confident that he is pure from sins? We are held guilty according to the likeness of Adam's transgression. Accordingly David also says: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.'" [687]


[678] [This "Christian Epicurus," as he is called by the intemperate zeal of the asceticism of his day, was condemned as a heretic by councils at Rome and Milan in 390. According to Jerome, who wrote a book against him, he not only opposed asceticism, but also contended for the essential equality of all sins and of the punishments and rewards of the next world, and for the sinlessness of those baptized by the Spirit.--W.]

[679] See Jerome's work Against Jovinian, ii. near the beginning.

[680] John ii. 6.

[681] Isa. liii. 9.

[682] Isa. liii. 7.

[683] John xiv. 30.

[684] 2 Cor. v. 21.

[685] Jas. iii. 2.

[686] Job xiv. 5.

[687] Ps. li. 5.


Chapter 14.--The Opinions of All Controversialists Whatever are Not, However, Canonical Authority; Original Sin, How Another's; We Were All One Man in Adam.

I have not quoted these words as if we might rely upon the opinions of every disputant as on canonical authority; but I have done it, that it may be seen how, from the beginning down to the present age, which has given birth to this novel opinion, the doctrine of original sin has been guarded with the utmost constancy as a part of the Church's faith, so that it is usually adduced as most certain ground whereon to refute other opinions when false, instead of being itself exposed to refutation by any one as false. Moreover, in the sacred books of the canon, the authority of this doctrine is vigorously asserted in the clearest and fullest way. The apostle exclaims: "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so it passed upon all men, in which all have sinned. [688] Now from these words it cannot certainly be said, that Adam's sin has injured even those who commit no sin, for the Scripture says, "In which all have sinned." Nor, indeed, are those sins of infancy so said to be another's, as if they did not belong to the infants at all, inasmuch as all then sinned in Adam, when in his nature, by virtue of that innate power whereby he was able to produce them, they were all as yet the one Adam; but they are called another's, [689] because as yet they were not living their own lives, but the life of the one man contained whatsoever was in his future posterity.


[688] Rom. v. 12.

[689] Aliena.


Chapter 15 [VIII.]--We All Sinned Adam's Sin.

"It is," they say, "by no means conceded that God who remits to a man his own sins imputes to him another's." He remits, indeed, but it is to those regenerated by the Spirit, not to those generated by the flesh; but He imputes to a man no longer the sins of another, but only his own. They were no doubt the sins of another, whilst as yet they were not in existence who bore them when propagated; but now the sins belong to them by carnal generation, to whom they have not yet been remitted by spiritual regeneration.


Chapter 16.--Origin of Errors; A Simile Sought from the Foreskin of the Circumcised, and from the Chaff of Wheat.

"But surely," say they, "if baptism cleanses the primeval sin, they who are born of two baptized parents ought to be free from this sin; for these could not have transmitted to their children that thing which they did not themselves possess." Now observe whence error usually thrives: it is when persons are able to start subjects which they are not able to understand. For before what audience, and in what words, can I explain how it is that sinful mortal beginnings bring no obstacle to those who have inaugurated other, immortal, beginnings, and at the same time prove an obstacle to those whom those very persons, against whom it was not an obstacle, have begotten out of the self-same sinful beginnings? How can a man understand these things, whose labouring mind is impeded both by its own prejudiced opinions and by the chain of its own stolid obstinacy? If indeed I had undertaken my cause in opposition to those who either altogether forbid the baptism of infants, or else contend that it is superfluous to baptize them alleging that as they are born of believing parents, they must needs enjoy the merit of their parents; then it would have been my duty to have roused myself perhaps to greater labour and effort for the purpose of refuting their opinion. In that case, if I encountered a difficulty before obtuse and contentious men in refuting error and inculcating truth, owing to the obscurity which besets the nature of the subject, I should probably resort to such illustrations as were palpable and at hand; and I should in my turn ask them some questions,--how, for instance, if they were puzzled to know in what way sin, after being cleansed by baptism, still remained in those who were begotten of baptized parents, they would explain how it is that the foreskin, after being removed by circumcision, should still remain in the sons of the circumcised? or again, how it happens that the chaff which is winnowed off so carefully by human labour still keeps its place in the grain which springs from the winnowed wheat?


Chapter 17 [IX.]--Christians Do Not Always Beget Christian, Nor the Pure, Pure Children.

With these and such like palpable arguments, should I endeavour, as I best could, to convince those persons who believed that sacraments of cleansing were superfluously applied to the children of the cleansed, how right is the judgment of baptizing the infants of baptized parents, and how it may happen that to a man who has within him the twofold seed--of death in the flesh, and of immortality in the spirit--that may prove no obstacle, regenerated as he is by the Spirit, which is an obstacle to his son, who is generated by the flesh; and that that may be cleansed in the one by remission, which in the other still requires cleansing by like remission, just as in the case supposed of circumcision, and as in the case of the winnowing and thrashing. But now, when we are contending with those who allow that the children of the baptized ought to be baptized, we may much more conveniently conduct our discussion, and can say: You who assert that the children of such persons as have been cleansed from the pollution of sin ought to have been born without sin, why do you not perceive that by the same rule you might just as well say that the children of Christian parents ought to have been born Christians? Why, therefore, do you rather maintain that they ought to become Christians? Was there not in their parents, to whom it is said, "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?" [690] a Christian body? Perhaps you suppose that a Christian body may be born of Christian parents, without having received a Christian soul? Well, this would render the case much more wonderful still. For you would think of the soul one of two things as you pleased,--because, of course, you hold with the apostle, that before birth it had done nothing good or evil: [691] --either that it was derived by transmission, and just as the body of Christians is Christian, so should also their soul be Christian; or else that it was created by Christ, either in the Christian body, or for the sake of the Christian body, and it ought therefore to have been created or given in a Christian condition. Unless perchance you shall pretend that, although Christian parents had it in their power to beget a Christian body, yet Christ Himself was not able to produce a Christian soul. Believe then the truth, and see that, as it has been possible (as you yourselves admit) for one who is not a Christian to be born of Christian parents, for one who is not a member of Christ to be born of members of Christ, and (that we may answer all, who, however falsely, are yet in some sense possessed with a sense of religion) for a man who is not consecrated to be born of parents who are consecrated; so also it is quite possible for one who is not cleansed to be born of parents who are cleansed. Now what account will you give us, of why from Christian parents is born one who is not a Christian, unless it be that not generation, but regeneration makes Christians? Resolve therefore your own question with a like reason, that cleansing from sin comes to no one by being born, but to all by being born again. And thus any child who is born of parents who are cleansed, because born again, must himself be born again, in order that he too may be cleansed. For it has been quite possible for parents to transmit to their children that which they did not possess themselves,--thus resembling not only the wheat which yielded the chaff, and the circumcised the foreskin, but also the instance which you yourselves adduce, even that of believers who convey unbelief to their posterity; which, however, does not accrue to the faithful as regenerated by the Spirit, but it is owing to the fault of the mortal seed by which they have been born of the flesh. For in respect of the infants whom you judge it necessary to make believers by the sacrament of the faithful you do not deny that they were born in unbelief although of believing parents.


[690] 1 Cor. vi. 15.

[691] Rom. ix. 11.


Chapter 18 [X.]--Is the Soul Derived by Natural Propagation?

Well, but "if the soul is not propagated, but the flesh alone, then the latter alone has propagation of sin, and it alone deserves punishment:" this is what they think, saying "that it is unjust that the soul which is only recently produced, and that not out of Adam's substance, should bear the sin of another committed so long ago." Now observe, I pray you, how the circumspect Pelagius felt the question about the soul to be a very difficult one, and acted accordingly,--for the words which I have just quoted are copied from his book. He does not say absolutely, "Because the soul is not propagated," but hypothetically, If the soul is not propagated, rightly determining on so obscure a subject (on which we can find in Holy Scriptures no certain and obvious testimonies, or with very great difficulty discover any) to speak with hesitation rather than with confidence. Wherefore I too, on my side, answer this proposition with no hasty assertion: If the soul is not propagated, where is the justice that, what has been but recently created and is quite free from the contagion of sin, should be compelled in infants to endure the passions and other torments of the flesh, and, what is more terrible still, even the attacks of evil spirits? For never does the flesh so suffer anything of this kind that the living and feeling soul does not rather undergo the punishment. If this, indeed, is shown to be just, it may be shown, on the same terms, with what justice original sin comes to exist in our sinful flesh, to be subsequently cleansed by the sacrament of baptism and God's gracious mercy. If the former point cannot be shown, I imagine that the latter point is equally incapable of demonstration. We must therefore either bear with both positions in silence, and remember that we are human, or else we must prepare, at some other time, another work on the soul, if it shall appear necessary, discussing the whole question with caution and sobriety.


Chapter 19 [XI.]--Sin and Death in Adam, Righteousness and Life in Christ.

What the apostle says: "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so it passed upon all men, in which all have sinned;" [692] we must, however, for the present so accept as not to seem rashly and foolishly to oppose the many great passages of Holy Scripture, which teach us that no man can obtain eternal life without that union with Christ which is effected in Him and with Him, when we are imbued with His sacraments and incorporated with the members of His body. Now this statement which the apostle addresses to the Romans, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so it passed upon all men, in which all have sinned," tallies in sense with his words to the Corinthians: "Since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." [693] For nobody doubts that the subject here referred to is the death of the body, because the apostle was with much earnestness dwelling on the resurrection of the body; and he seems to be silent here about sin for this reason, namely, because the question was not about righteousness. Both points are mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans, and both points are, at very great length, insisted on by the apostle,--sin in Adam, righteousness in Christ; and death in Adam, life in Christ. However, as I have observed already, I have thoroughly examined and opened, in the first book of this treatise, all these words of the apostle's argument, as far as I was able, and as much as seemed necessary.


[692] Rom. v. 12.

[693] 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22.


Chapter 20.--The Sting of Death, What?

But even in the passage to the Corinthians, where he had been treating fully of the resurrection, the apostle concludes his statement in such a way as not to permit us to doubt that the death of the body is the result of sin. For after he had said, "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality: so when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal immortality, then," he added, "shall be brought to pass the saying which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" and at last he subjoined these words: "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law." [694] Now, because (as the apostle's words most plainly declare) death shall then be swallowed up in victory when this corruptible and mortal shall have put on incorruption and immortality,--that is, when "God shall quicken even our mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in us,"--it manifestly follows that the sting of the body of this death, which is the contrary of the resurrection of the body, is sin. The sting, however, is that by which death was made, and not that which death made, since it is by sin that we die, and not by death that we sin. It is therefore called "the sting of death" on the principle which originated the phrase "the tree of life,"--not because the life of man produced it, but because by it the life of man was made. In like manner "the tree of knowledge" was that whereby man's knowledge was made, not that which man made by his knowledge. So also "the sting of death" is that by which death was produced, not that which death made. We similarly use the expression "the cup of death," since by it some one has died, or might die,--not meaning, of course, a cup made by a dying or dead man. [695] The sting of death is therefore sin, because by the puncture of sin the human race has been slain. Why ask further: the death of what,--whether of the soul, or of the body? Whether the first which we are all of us now dying, or the second which the wicked hereafter shall die? There is no occasion for plying the question so curiously; there is no room for subterfuge. The words in which the apostle expresses the case answer the questions: "When this mortal," says he, "shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law." He was treating of the resurrection of the body, wherein death shall be swallowed up in victory, when this mortal shall have put on immortality. Then over death itself shall be raised the shout of triumph, when at the resurrection of the body it shall be swallowed up in victory; then shall be said to it, "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" To the death of the body, therefore, is this said. For victorious immortality shall swallow it up, when this mortal shall put on immortality. I repeat it, to the death of the body shall it be said, "Where is thy victory?"--that victory in which thou didst conquer all, so that even the Son of God engaged in conflict with thee, and by not shrinking but grappling with thee overcame. In these that die thou hast conquered; but thou art thyself conquered in these that rise again. Thy victory was but temporal, in which thou didst swallow up the bodies of them that die. Our victory will abide eternal, in which thou art swallowed up in the bodies of them that rise again. "Where is thy sting?"--that is, the sin wherewithal we are punctured and poisoned, so that thou didst fix thyself in our very bodies, and for so long a time didst hold them in possession. "The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law." We all sinned in one, so that we all die in one; we received the law, not by amendment according to its precepts to put an end to sin, but by transgression to increase it. For "the law entered that sin might abound;" [696] and "the Scripture hath concluded all under sin;" [697] but "thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," [698] in order that "where sin abounded, grace might much more abound;" [699] and "that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe;" [700] and that we might overcome death by a deathless resurrection, and sin, "the sting" thereof, by a free justification.


[694] 1 Cor. xv. 53-56.

[695] [This is only one of many examples of the care with which Augustin, writing for the popular eye, illustrates his exegetical points. "Of death" he thus shows is genitive of the object, not of the subject; giving to the phrase the meaning of "the sting which slays man."--W.]

[696] Rom. v. 20.

[697] Gal. iii. 22.

[698] 1 Cor. xv. 57.

[699] Rom. v. 20.

[700] Gal. iii. 22.


Chapter 21 [XII.]--The Precept About Touching the Menstruous Woman Not to Be Figuratively Understood; The Necessity of the Sacraments.

Let no one, then, on this subject be either deceived or a deceiver. The manifest sense of Holy Scripture which we have considered, removes all obscurities. Even as death is in this our mortal body derived from the beginning, so from the beginning has sin been drawn into this sinful flesh of ours, for the cure of which, both as it is derived by propagation and augmented by wilful transgression, as well as for the quickening of our flesh itself, our Physician came in the likeness of sinful flesh, who is not needed by the sound, but only by the sick,--and who came not to call the righteous, but sinners. [701] Therefore the saying of the apostle, when advising believers not to separate themselves from unbelieving partners: "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy," [702] must be either so understood as both we ourselves elsewhere, [703] and as Pelagius in his notes on this same Epistle to the Corinthians, [704] has expounded it, according to the purport of the passages already mentioned, that sometimes wives gained husbands to Christ, and sometimes husbands converted wives, whilst the Christian will of even one of the parents prevailed towards making their children Christians; or else (as the apostle's words seem rather to indicate, and to a certain degree compel us) some particular sanctification is to be here understood, by which an unbelieving husband or wife was sanctified by the believing partner, and by which the children of the believing parents were sanctified,--whether it was that the husband or the wife, during the woman's menstruation, abstained from cohabiting, having learned that duty in the law (for Ezekiel classes this amongst the precepts which were not to be taken in a metaphorical sense [705] ), or on account of some other voluntary sanctification which is not there expressly prescribed,--a sprinkling of holiness arising out of the close ties of married life and children. Nevertheless, whatever be the sanctification meant, this must be steadily held: that there is no other valid means of making Christians and remitting sins, except by men becoming believers through the sacrament according to the institution of Christ and the Church. For neither are unbelieving husbands and wives, notwithstanding their intimate union with holy and righteous spouses, cleansed of the sin which separates men from the kingdom of God and drives them into condemnation, nor are the children who are born of parents, however just and holy, absolved from the guilt of original sin, unless they have been baptized into Christ; and in behalf of these our plea should be the more earnest, the less able they are to urge one themselves.


[701] Mark ii. 17.

[702] 1 Cor. vii. 14.

[703] See Augustin's work On the Sermon on the Mount, i. 16.

[704] See the Commentaries on St. Paul in Jerome's works, vol. xi. (Vallarsius), the work of either Pelagius or one of his followers.

[705] Ezek. xviii. 6.


Chapter 22 [XIII.]--We Ought to Be Anxious to Secure the Baptism of Infants.

For this is the point aimed at by the controversy, against the novelty of which we have to struggle by the aid of ancient truth: that it is clearly altogether superfluous for infants to be baptized. Not that this opinion is avowed in so many words, lest so firmly established a custom of the Church should be unable to endure its assailants. But if we are taught to render help to orphans, how much more ought we to labour in behalf of those children who, though under the protection of parents, will still be left more destitute and wretched than orphans, should that grace of Christ be denied them, which they are all unable to demand for themselves?


Chapter 23.--Epilogue.

As for what they say, that some men, by the use of their reason, have lived, and do live, in this world without sin, we should wish that it were true, we should strive to make it true, we should pray that it be true; but, at the same time, we should confess that it is not yet true. For to those who wish and strive and worthily pray for this result, whatever sins remain in them are daily remitted because we sincerely pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." [706] Whosoever shall deny that this prayer is in this life necessary for every righteous man who knows and does the will of God, except the one Saint of saints, greatly errs, and is utterly incapable of pleasing Him whom he praises. Moreover, if he supposes himself to be such a character, "he deceives himself, and the truth is not in him," [707] --for no other reason than that he thinks what is false. That Physician, then, who is not needed by the sound, but by the sick, knows how to heal us, and by healing to perfect us unto eternal life; and He does not in this world take away death, although inflicted because of sin, from those whose sins He remits, in order that they may enter on their conflict, and overcome the fear of death with full sincerity of faith. In some cases, too, He declines to help even His righteous servants, so long as they are capable of still higher elevation, to the attainment of a perfect righteousness, in order that (while in His sight no man living is justified [708] ) we may always feel it to be our duty to give Him thanks for mercifully bearing with us, and so, by holy humility, be healed of that first cause of all our failings, even the swellings of pride. This letter, as my intention first sketched it, was to have been a short one; it has grown into a lengthy book. Would that it were as perfect as it has at last become complete!


[706] Matt. vi. 12.

[707] 1 John i. 8.

[708] Ps. cxliii. 2.





a treatise on the spirit and the letter.


Extract from Augustin's "Retractations,"

Book II. Chap. 37,

On the Following Treatise,

"De spiritu et littera."

------------------------

The person [709] to whom I had addressed the three books entitled De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione, in which I carefully discussed also the baptism of infants, informed me, when acknowledging my communication, that he was much distrurbed because I declared it to be possible that a man might be without sin, if he wanted not the will, by the help of God, although no man either had lived, was living, or would live in this life so perfect in righteousness. He asked how I could say that it was possible of which no example could be adduced. Owing to this inquiry on the part of this person, I wrote the treatise entitled De Spiritu et Littera, in which I considered at large the apostle's statement, "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." [710] In this work, so far as God enabled me, I earnestly disputed with those who oppose that grace of God which justifies the servances of the Jews, who abstain from sundry meats and drinks in accordance with their ancient law, I mentioned the "ceremonies of certain meats" [quarumdam escarum cerimoniæ] [711] --a phrase which, though not used in Holy Scriptures, seemed to me very convenient, because I remembered that cerimoniæ is tantamount to carimoniæ, as if from carere, to be without, and expresses the abstinence of the worshippers from certain things. If however, there is any other derivation of the word, which is inconsistent with the true religion, I meant no refernce whatever to it; I confined my use to the sense above indicated. This work of mine begins thus: "After reading the short treatise which I lately drew up for you, my beloved son Marcellinus," etc.


[709] The Tribune Marcellinus with whose name are connected many other treatises of Augustin. In this work the author informs us that the occasion of its composition was furnished by this person, who mooted an inquiry touching a statement in the preceding books Concerning the Merits and the Remission of Sins. Those books, as we have already indicated, were published A.D., 412. Now in the Retractations there is placed after these very books the present work Concerning the Spirit and the Letter,--not indeed, immediately next, but in the fourth place after,--so that it was written, no doubt, about the end of the same year, A.D. 412, some time previous to the death of Marcellinus, who was killed in the month or September of the following year, 413. This present work is also mentioned in the book On Faith and Works, c. 14; and in that On Christian Doctrine, iii. 33. Compare the notes on p. 15 and p. 130.

[710] 2 Cor. iii. 6.

[711] See chap. 36 [xxi.].


A Treatise on the spirit and the letter,

by aurelius augustin, bishop of hippo;

In One Book,

Addressed to Marcellinus, a.d. 412.

------------------------

Marcellinus, in a letter to Augustin, had expressed some surprise at having read, in the preceding work, of the possibility being allowed of a man continuing if he willed it, by God's help, without sin in the present life, although not a single human example anywhere of such perfect righteousness has ever existed. Augustin takes the opportunity of discussing, in opposition to the Pelagians, the subject of the aid of God's grace; and he shows that the divine help to the working of righteousness by us does not lie in the fact of God's having given us a law which is full of good and holy precepts; but in the fact that our will itself, without which we can do nothing good, is assisted and elevated by the Spirit of grace being imparted to us, without the aid of which the teaching of the law is "the letter that killeth," because instead of justifying the ungodly, it rather holds them guilty of transgression. He begins to treat of the question proposed to him at the commencement of this work, and returns to it towards its conclusion; he shows that, as all allow, many things are possible with God's help, of which there occurs indeed no example; and then concludes that, although a perfect righteousness is unexampled among men, it is for all that not impossible.


Chapter 1 [I.] --The Occasion of Writing This Work; A Thing May Be Capable of Being Done, and Yet May Never Be Done.

After reading the short treatises which I lately drew up for you, my beloved son Marcellinus, about the baptism of infants, and the perfection of man's righteousness,--how that no one in this life seems either to have attained or to be likely to attain to it, except only the Mediator, who bore humanity in the likeness of sinful flesh, without any sin whatever,--you wrote me in answer that you were embarrassed by the point which I advanced in the second book, [712] that it was possible for a man to be without sin, if he wanted not the will, and was assisted by the aid of God; and yet that except One in whom "all shall be made alive," [713] no one has ever lived or will live by whom this perfection has been attained whilst living here. It appeared to you absurd to say that anything was possible of which no example ever occurred,--although I suppose you would not hesitate to admit that no camel ever passed through a needle's eye, [714] and yet He said that even this was possible with God; you may read, too, that twelve thousand legions [715] of angels could possibly have fought for Christ and rescued Him from suffering, but in fact did not; you may read that it was possible for the nations to be exterminated at once out of the land which was given to the children of Israel, [716] and yet that God willed it to be gradually effected. [717] And one may meet with a thousand other incidents, the past or the future possibility of which we might readily admit, and yet be unable to produce any proofs of their having ever really happened. Accordingly, it would not be right for us to deny the possibility of a man's living without sin, on the ground that amongst men none can be found except Him who is in His nature not man only, but also God, in whom we could prove such perfection of character to have existed.


[712] On the Merits of Sins, etc., ii. 6, 7, 20.

[713] 1 Cor. xv. 22.

[714] Matt. xix. 24, 26.

[715] Matt. xxvi. 53, but observe the "thousand" inserted.

[716] Deut. xxxi. 3.

[717] Judg. ii. 3.


Chapter 2 [II.]--The Examples Apposite.

Here, perhaps, you will say to me in answer, that the things which I have instanced as not having been realized, although capable of realization, are divine works; whereas a man's being without sin falls in the range of a man's own work,--that being indeed his very noblest work which effects a full and perfect righteousness complete in every part; and therefore that it is incredible that no man has ever existed, or is existing, or will exist in this life, who has achieved such a work, if the achievement is possible for a human being. But then you ought to reflect that, although this great work, no doubt, belongs to human agency to accomplish, yet it is also a divine gift, and therefore, not doubt that it is a divine work; "for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." [718]


[718] Phil. ii. 13.


Chapter 3.--Theirs is Comparatively a Harmless Error, Who Say that a Man Lives Here Without Sin.

They therefore are not a very dangerous set of persons and they ought to be urged to show, if they are able, that they are themselves such, who hold that man lives or has lived here without any sin whatever. There are indeed passages of Scripture, in which I apprehend it is definitely stated that no man who lives on earth, although enjoying freedom of will, can be found without sin; as, for instance, the place where it is written, "Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified." [719] If, however, anybody shall have succeeded in showing that this text and the other similar ones ought to be taken in a different sense from their obvious one, and shall have proved that some man or men have spent a sinless life on earth,--whoever does not, not merely refrain from much opposing him, but also does not rejoice with him to the full, is afflicted by extraordinary goads of envy. Moreover, if there neither is, has been, nor will be any man endowed with such perfection of purity (which I am more inclined to believe), and yet it is firmly set forth and thought there is or has been, or is to be,--so far as I can judge, no great error is made, and certainly not a dangerous one, when a man is thus carried away by a certain benevolent feeling; provided that he who thinks so much of another, does not think himself to be such a being, unless he has ascertained that he really and clearly is such.


[719] Ps. cxliii. 2.


Chapter 4.--Theirs is a Much More Serious Error, Requiring a Very Vigorous Refutation, Who Deny God's Grace to Be Necessary.

They, however, must be resisted with the utmost ardor and vigor who suppose that without God's help, the mere power of the human will in itself, can either perfect righteousness, or advance steadily towards it; and when they begin to be hard pressed about their presumption in asserting that this result can be reached without the divine assistance, they check themselves, and do not venture to utter such an opinion, because they see how impious and insufferable it is. But they allege that such attainments are not made without God's help on this account, namely, because God both created man with the free choice of his will, and, by giving him commandments, teaches him, Himself, how man ought to live; and indeed assists him, in that He takes away his ignorance by instructing him in the knowledge of what he ought to avoid and to desire in his actions: and thus, by means of the free-will naturally implanted within him, he enters on the way which is pointed out to him, and by persevering in a just and pious course of life, deserves to attain to the blessedness of eternal life.


Chapter 5 [III.]--True Grace is the Gift of the Holy Ghost, Which Kindles in the Soul the Joy and Love of Goodness.

We, however, on our side affirm that the human will is so divinely aided in the pursuit of righteousness, that (in addition to man's being created with a free-will, and in addition to the teaching by which he is instructed how he ought to live) he receives the Holy Ghost, by whom there is formed in his mind a delight in, and a love of, that supreme and unchangeable good which is God, even now while he is still "walking by faith" and not yet "by sight;" [720] in order that by this gift to him of the earnest, as it were, of the free gift, he may conceive an ardent desire to cleave to his Maker, and may burn to enter upon the participation in that true light, that it may go well with him from Him to whom he owes his existence. A man's free-will, indeed, avails for nothing except to sin, if he knows not the way of truth; and even after his duty and his proper aim shall begin to become known to him, unless he also take delight in and feel a love for it, he neither does his duty, nor sets about it, nor lives rightly. Now, in order that such a course may engage our affections, God's "love is shed abroad in our hearts," not through the free-will which arises from ourselves, but "through the Holy Ghost, which is given to us." [721]


[720] 2 Cor. v. 7.

[721] Rom. v. 5.


Chapter 6 [IV.]--The Teaching of Law Without the Life-Giving Spirit is "The Letter that Killeth."

For that teaching which brings to us the command to live in chastity and righteousness is "the letter that killeth," unless accompanied with "the spirit that giveth life." For that is not the sole meaning of the passage, "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life," [722] which merely prescribes that we should not take in the literal sense any figurative phrase which in the proper meaning of its words would produce only nonsense, but should consider what else it signifies, nourishing the inner man by our spiritual intelligence, since "being carnally-minded is death, whilst to be spiritually-minded is life and peace." [723] If, for instance, a man were to take in a literal and carnal sense much that is written in the Song of Solomon, he would minister not to the fruit of a luminous charity, but to the feeling of a libidinous desire. Therefore, the apostle is not to be confined to the limited application just mentioned, when he says, "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life;" [724] but this is also (and indeed especially) equivalent to what he says elsewhere in the plainest words: "I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet;" [725] and again, immediately after: "Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me." [726] Now from this you may see what is meant by "the letter that killeth." There is, of course, nothing said figuratively which is not to be accepted in its plain sense, when it is said, "Thou shall not covet;" but this is a very plain and salutary precept, and any man who shall fulfil it will have no sin at all. The apostle, indeed, purposely selected this general precept, in which he embraced everything, as if this were the voice of the law, prohibiting us from all sin, when he says, "Thou shalt not covet;" for there is no sin committed except by evil concupiscence; so that the law which prohibits this is a good and praiseworthy law. But, when the Holy Ghost withholds His help, which inspires us with a good desire instead of this evil desire (in other words, diffuses love in our hearts), that law, however good in itself, only augments the evil desire by forbidding it. Just as the rush of water which flows incessantly in a particular direction, becomes more violent when it meets with any impediment, and when it has overcome the stoppage, falls in a greater bulk, and with increased impetuosity hurries forward in its downward course. In some strange way the very object which we covet becomes all the more pleasant when it is forbidden. And this is the sin which by the commandment deceives and by it slays, whenever transgression is actually added, which occurs not where there is no law. [727]


[722] 2 Cor. iii. 6.

[723] Rom. viii. 6.

[724] 2 Cor. iii. 6.

[725] Rom. vii. 7.

[726] Rom. vii. 11.

[727] Rom. iv. 15.


Chapter 7 [V.]--What is Proposed to Be Here Treated.

We will, however, consider, if you please, the whole of this passage of the apostle and thoroughly handle it, as the Lord shall enable us. For I want, if possible, to prove that the apostle's words, "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life," do not refer to figurative phrases,--although even in this sense a suitable signification might be obtained from them,--but rather plainly to the law, which forbids whatever is evil. When I shall have proved this, it will more manifestly appear that to lead a holy life is the gift of God,--not only because God has given a free-will to man, without which there is no living ill or well; nor only because He has given him a commandment to teach him how he ought to live; but because through the Holy Ghost He sheds love abroad in the hearts [728] of those whom he foreknew, in order to predestinate them; whom He predestinated, that He might call them; whom He called, that he might justify them; and whom he justified, that He might glorify them. [729] When this point also shall be cleared, you will, I think, see how vain it is to say that those things only are unexampled possibilities, which are the works of God,--such as the passage of the camel through the needle's eye, which we have already referred to, and other similar cases, which to us no doubt are impossible, but easy enough to God; and that man's righteousness is not to be counted in this class of things, on the ground of its being properly man's work, not God's; although there is no reason for supposing, without an example, that his perfection exists, even if it is possible. That these assertions are vain will be clear enough, after it has been also plainly shown that even man's righteousness must be attributed to the operation of God, although not taking place without man's will; and we therefore cannot deny that his perfection is possible even in this life, because all things are possible with God, [730] --both those which He accomplishes of His own sole will, and those which He appoints to be done with the cooperation with Himself of His creature's will. Accordingly, whatever of such things He does not effect is no doubt without an example in the way of accomplished facts, although with God it possesses both in His power the cause of its possibility, and in His wisdom the reason of its unreality. And should this cause be hidden from man, let him not forget that he is a man; nor charge God with folly simply because he cannot fully comprehend His wisdom.


[728] Rom. vii. 7.

[729] Rom. viii. 29, 30.

[730] Mark x. 27.


Chapter 8.--Romans Interprets Corinthians.

Attend, then, carefully, to the apostle while in his Epistle to the Romans he explains and clearly enough shows that what he wrote to the Corinthians, "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life," [731] must be understood in the sense which we have already indicated,--that the letter of the law, which teaches us not to commit sin, kills, if the life-giving spirit be absent, forasmuch as it causes sin to be known rather than avoided, and therefore to be increased rather than diminished, because to an evil concupiscense there is now added the transgression of the law.


[731] 2 Cor. iii. 6.


Chapter 9 [VI].--Through the Law Sin Has Abounded.

The apostle, then, wishing to commend the grace which has come to all nations through Jesus Christ, lest the Jews should extol themselves at the expense of the other peoples on account of their having received the law, first says that sin and death came on the human race through one man, and that righteousness and eternal life came also through one, expressly mentioning Adam as the former, and Christ as the latter; and then says that "the law, however, entered, that the offence might abound: but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." [732] Then, proposing a question for himself to answer, he adds, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid." [733] He saw, indeed, that a perverse use might be made by perverse men of what he had said: "The law entered, that the offence might abound: but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,"--as if he had said that sin had been of advantage by reason of the abundance of grace. Rejecting this, he answers his question with a "God forbid!" and at once adds: "How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" [734] as much as to say, When grace has brought it to pass that we should die unto sin, what else shall we be doing, if we continue to live in it, than showing ourselves ungrateful to grace? The man who extols the virtue of a medicine does not contend that the diseases and wounds of which the medicine cures him are of advantage to him; on the contrary, in proportion to the praise lavished on the remedy are the blame and horror which are felt of the diseases and wounds healed by the much-extolled medicine. In like manner, the commendation and praise of grace are vituperation and condemnation of offences. For there was need to prove to man how corruptly weak he was, so that against his iniquity, the holy law brought him no help towards good, but rather increased than diminished his iniquity; seeing that the law entered, that the offence might abound; that being thus convicted and confounded, he might see not only that he needed a physician, but also God as his helper so to direct his steps that sin should not rule over him, and he might be healed by betaking himself to the help of the divine mercy; and in this way, where sin abounded grace might much more abound,--not through the merit of the sinner, but by the intervention of his Helper.


[732] Rom. v. 20, 21.

[733] Rom. vi. 1. 2.

[734] Rom. vi. 2.


Chapter 10.--Christ the True Healer.

Accordingly, the apostle shows that the same medicine was mystically set forth in the passion and resurrection of Christ, when he says, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is justified from sin. Now, if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." [735] Now it is plain enough that here by the mystery of the Lord's death and resurrection is figured the death of our old sinful life, and the rising of the new; and that here is shown forth the abolition of iniquity and the renewal of righteousness. Whence then arises this vast benefit to man through the letter of the law, except it be through the faith of Jesus Christ?


[735] Rom. vi. 3-11.


Chapter 11 [VII.]--From What Fountain Good Works Flow.

This holy meditation preserves "the children of men, who put their trust under the shadow of God's wings," [736] so that they are "drunken with the fatness of His house, and drink of the full stream of His pleasure. For with Him is the fountain of life, and in His light shall they see light. For He extendeth His mercy to them that know Him, and His righteousness to the upright in heart." [737] He does not, indeed, extend His mercy to them because they know Him, but that they may know Him; nor is it because they are upright in heart, but that they may become so, that He extends to them His righteousness, whereby He justifies the ungodly. [738] This meditation does not elevate with pride: this sin arises when any man has too much confidence in himself, and makes himself the chief end of living. Impelled by this vain feeling, he departs from that fountain of life, from the draughts of which alone is imbibed the holiness which is itself the good life,--and from that unchanging light, by sharing in which the reasonable soul is in a certain sense inflamed, and becomes itself a created and reflected luminary; even as "John was a burning and a shining light," [739] who notwithstanding acknowledged the source of his own illumination in the words, "Of His fulness have all we received." [740] Whose, I would ask, but His, of course, in comparison with whom John indeed was no light at all? For "that was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." [741] Therefore, in the same psalm, after saying, "Extend Thy mercy to them that know Thee, and Thy righteousness to the upright in heart," [742] he adds, "Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hands of sinners move me. There have fallen all the workers of iniquity: they are cast out, and are not able to stand." [743] Since by that impiety which leads each to attribute to himself the excellence which is God's, he is cast out into his own native darkness, in which consist the works of iniquity. For it is manifestly these works which he does, and for the achievement of such alone is he naturally fit. The works of righteousness he never does, except as he receives ability from that fountain and that light, where the life is that wants for nothing, and where is "no variableness, nor the shadow of turning." [744]


[736] Ps. xxxvi. 7.

[737] Ps. xxxvi. 8-10.

[738] Rom. iv. 5.

[739] John v. 35.

[740] John i. 16.

[741] John i. 9.

[742] Ps. xxxvi. 10.

[743] Ps. xxxvi. 11, 12.

[744] Jas. i. 17.


Chapter 12.--Paul, Whence So Called; Bravely Contends for Grace.

Accordingly Paul, who, although he was formerly called Saul, [745] chose this new designation, for no other reason, as it seems to me, than because he would show himself little, [746] --the "least of the apostles," [747] --contends with much courage and earnestness against the proud and arrogant, and such as plume themselves on their own works, in order that he may commend the grace of God. This grace, indeed, appeared more obvious and manifest in his case, inasmuch as, while he was pursuing such vehement measures of persecution against the Church of God as made him worthy of the greatest punishment, he found mercy instead of condemnation, and instead of punishment obtained grace. Very properly, therefore, does he lift voice and hand in defence of grace, and care not for the envy either of those who understood not a subject too profound and abstruse for them, or of those who perversely misinterpreted his own sound words; whilst at the same time he unfalteringly preaches that gift of God, whereby alone salvation accrues to those who are the children of the promise, children of the divine goodness, children of grace and mercy, children of the new covenant. In the salutation with which he begins every epistle, he prays: "Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ;" [748] whilst this forms almost the only topic discussed for the Romans, and it is plied with so much persistence and variety of argument, as fairly to fatigue the reader's attention, yet with a fatigue so useful and salutary, that it rather exercises than breaks the faculties of the inner man.


[745] Acts. xiii. 9.

[746] See Augustin's Confessions, viii. 4.

[747] 1 Cor. xv. 9.

[748] See Rom. i. 7, 1 Cor. i. 3, and Gal. i. 3.


Chapter 13 [VIII.]--Keeping the Law; The Jews' Glorying; The Fear of Punishment; The Circumcision of the Heart.

Then comes what I mentioned above; then he shows what the Jew is, and says that he is called a Jew, but by no means fulfils what he promises to do. "But if," says he, "thou callest thyself a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest His will, and triest the things that are different, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou art thyself a guide of the blind, a light of them that are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore who teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. Circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law; but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore, if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." [749] Here he plainly showed in what sense he said, "Thou makest thy boast of God." For undoubtedly if one who was truly a Jew made his boast of God in the way which grace demands (which is bestowed not for merit of works, but gratuitously), then his praise would be of God, and not of men. But they, in fact, were making their boast of God, as if they alone had deserved to receive His law, as the Psalmist said: "He did not the like to any nation, nor His judgments has He displayed to them." [750] And yet, they thought they were fulfilling the law of God by their righteousness, when they were rather breakers of it all the while! Accordingly, it "wrought wrath" [751] upon them, and sin abounded, committed as it was by them who knew the law. For whoever did even what the law commanded, without the assistance of the Spirit of grace, acted through fear of punishment, not from love of righteousness, and hence in the sight of God that was not in the will, which in the sight of men appeared in the work; and such doers of the law were held rather guilty of that which God knew they would have preferred to commit, if only it had been possible with impunity. He calls, however, "the circumcision of the heart" the will that is pure from all unlawful desire; which comes not from the letter, inculcating and threatening, but from the Spirit, assisting and healing. Such doers of the law have their praise therefore, not of men but of God, who by His grace provides the grounds on which they receive praise, of whom it is said, "My soul shall make her boast of the Lord;" [752] and to whom it is said, "My praise shall be of Thee:" [753] but those are not such who would have God praised because they are men; but themselves, because they are righteous.


[749] Rom. ii. 17-29.

[750] Ps. cxlvii. 20.

[751] Rom. iv. 15.

[752] Ps. xxxiv. 2.

[753] Ps. xxii. 25


Chapter 14.--In What Respect the Pelagians Acknowledge God as the Author of Our Justification.

"But," say they, "we do praise God as the Author of our righteousness, in that He gave the law, by the teaching of which we have learned how we ought to live." But they give no heed to what they read: "By the law there shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God." [754] This may indeed be possible before men, but not before Him who looks into our very heart and inmost will, where He sees that, although the man who fears the law keeps a certain precept, he would nevertheless rather do another thing if he were permitted. And lest any one should suppose that, in the passage just quoted from him, the apostle had meant to say that none are justified by that law, which contains many precepts, under the figure of the ancient sacraments, and among them that circumcision of the flesh itself, which infants were commanded to receive on the eighth day after birth; he immediately adds what law he meant, and says, "For by the law is the knowledge of sin." [755] He refers then to that law of which he afterwards declares, "I had not known sin but by the law; for I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." [756] For what means this but that "by the law comes the knowledge of sin?"


[754] Rom. iii. 20.

[755] Rom. iii. 20.

[756] Rom. vii. 7.


Chapter 15 [IX.]--The Righteousness of God Manifested by the Law and the Prophets.

Here, perhaps, it may be said by that presumption of man, which is ignorant of the righteousness of God, and wishes to establish one of its own, that the apostle quite properly said, "For by the law shall no man be justified," [757] inasmuch as the law merely shows what one ought to do, and what one ought to guard against, in order that what the law thus points out may be accomplished by the will, and so man be justified, not indeed by the power of the law, but by his free determination. But I ask your attention, O man, to what follows. "But now the righteousness of God," says he, "without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets." [758] Does this then sound a light thing in deaf ears? He says, "The righteousness of God is manifested." Now this righteousness they are ignorant of, who wish to establish one of their own; they will not submit themselves to it. [759] His words are, "The righteousness of God is manifested:" he does not say, the righteousness of man, or the righteousness of his own will, but the "righteousness of God,"--not that whereby He is Himself righteous, but that with which He endows man when He justifies the ungodly. This is witnessed by the law and the prophets; in other words, the law and the prophets each afford it testimony. The law, indeed, by issuing its commands and threats, and by justifying no man, sufficiently shows that it is by God's gift, through the help of the Spirit, that a man is justified; and the prophets, because it was what they predicted that Christ at His coming accomplished. Accordingly he advances a step further, and adds, "But righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ," [760] that is by the faith wherewith one believes in Christ for just as there is not meant the faith with which Christ Himself believes, so also there is not meant the righteousness whereby God is Himself righteous. Both no doubt are ours, but yet they are called God's, and Christ's, because it is by their bounty that these gifts are bestowed upon us. The righteousness of God then is without the law, but not manifested without the law; for if it were manifested without the law, how could it be witnessed by the law? That righteousness of God, however, is without the law, which God by the Spirit of grace bestows on the believer without the help of the law,--that is, when not helped by the law. When, indeed, He by the law discovers to a man his weakness, it is in order that by faith he may flee for refuge to His mercy, and be healed. And thus concerning His wisdom we are told, that "she carries law and mercy upon her tongue," [761] --the "law," whereby she may convict the proud, the "mercy," wherewith she may justify the humbled. "The righteousness of God," then, "by faith of Jesus Christ, is unto all that believe; for there is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" [762] --not of their own glory. For what have they, which they have not received? Now if they received it, why do they glory as if they had not received it? [763] Well, then, they come short of the glory of God; now observe what follows: "Being justified freely by His grace." [764] It is not, therefore, by the law, nor is it by their own will, that they are justified; but they are justified freely by His grace,--not that it is wrought without our will; but our will is by the law shown to be weak, that grace may heal its infirmity; and that our healed will may fulfil the law, not by compact under the law, nor yet in the absence of law.


[757] Rom. iii. 20.

[758] Rom. iii. 21.

[759] Rom. x. 3.

[760] Rom. iii. 22.

[761] Prov. iii. 16.

[762] Rom. iii. 22, 23.

[763] 1 Cor. iv. 7.

[764] Rom. iii. 24.


Chapter 16 [X.]--How the Law Was Not Made for a Righteous Man.

Because "for a righteous man the law was not made;" [765] and yet "the law is good, if a man use it lawfully." [766] Now by connecting together these two seemingly contrary statements, the apostle warns and urges his reader to sift the question and solve it too. For how can it be that "the law is good, if a man use it lawfully," if what follows is also true: "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man?" [767] For who but a righteous man lawfully uses the law? Yet it is not for him that it is made, but for the unrighteous. Must then the unrighteous man, in order that he may be justified,--that is, become a righteous man,--lawfully use the law, to lead him, as by the schoolmaster's hand, [768] to that grace by which alone he can fulfil what the law commands? Now it is freely that he is justified thereby,--that is, on account of no antecedent merits of his own works; "otherwise grace is no more grace," [769] since it is bestowed on us, not because we have done good works, but that we may be able to do them,--in other words, not because we have fulfilled the law, but in order that we may be able to fulfil the law. Now He said, "I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil it," [770] of whom it was said, "We have seen His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." [771] This is the glory which is meant in the words, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" [772] and this the grace of which he speaks in the next verse, "Being justified freely by His grace." [773] The unrighteous man therefore lawfully uses the law, that he may become righteous; but when he has become so, he must no longer use it as a chariot, for he has arrived at his journey's end,--or rather (that I may employ the apostle's own simile, which has been already mentioned) as a schoolmaster, seeing that he is now fully learned. How then is the law not made for a righteous man, if it is necessary for the righteous man too, not that he may be brought as an unrighteous man to the grace that justifies, but that he may use it lawfully, now that he is righteous? Does not the case perhaps stand thus,--nay, not perhaps, but rather certainly,--that the man who is become righteous thus lawfully uses the law, when he applies it to alarm the unrighteous, so that whenever the disease of some unusual desire begins in them, too, to be augmented by the incentive of the law's prohibition and an increased amount of transgression, they may in faith flee for refuge to the grace that justifies, and becoming delighted with the sweet pleasures of holiness, may escape the penalty of the law's menacing letter through the spirit's soothing gift? In this way the two statements will not be contrary, nor will they be repugnant to each other: even the righteous man may lawfully use a good law, and yet the law be not made for the righteous man; for it is not by the law that he becomes righteous, but by the law of faith, which led him to believe that no other resource was possible to his weakness for fulfilling the precepts which "the law of works" [774] commanded, except to be assisted by the grace of God.


[765] 1 Tim. i. 8.

[766] 1 Tim. i. 9.

[767] 1 Tim. i. 9.

[768] Gal. iii. 24.

[769] Rom. xi. 6.

[770] Matt. v. 17.

[771] John i. 14.

[772] Rom. iii. 23.

[773] Rom. iii. 24.

[774] Rom. iii. 27.


Chapter 17.--The Exclusion of Boasting.

Accordingly he says, "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith." [775] He may either mean, the laudable boasting, which is in the Lord; and that it is excluded, not in the sense that it is driven off so as to pass away, but that it is clearly manifested so as to stand out prominently. Whence certain artificers in silver are called "exclusores." [776] In this sense it occurs also in that passage in the Psalms: "That they may be excluded, who have been proved with silver," [777] --that is, that they may stand out in prominence, who have been tried by the word of God. For in another passage it is said: "The words of the Lord are pure words, as silver which is tried in the fire." [778] Or if this be not his meaning, he must have wished to mention that vicious boasting which comes of pride--that is, of those who appear to themselves to lead righteous lives, and boast of their excellence as if they had not received it,--and further to inform us, that by the law of faith, not by the law of works, this boasting was excluded, in the other sense of shut out and driven away; because by the law of faith every one learns that whatever good life he leads he has from the grace of God, and that from no other source whatever can he obtain the means of becoming perfect in the love of righteousness.


[775] Rom. iii. 27.

[776] [The allusion appears to be to the special workmen engaged in producing hammered or beaten (repoussé) work. For other special classes of silver workers, see Guhl and Koner: The Life of the Greeks and Romans, p. 449.--W.]

[777] Ps. lxviii. 30.

[778] Ps. xii. 6.


Chapter 18 [XI.]--Piety is Wisdom; That is Called the Righteousness of God, Which He Produces.

Now, this meditation makes a man godly, and this godliness is true wisdom. By godliness I mean that which the Greeks designate theosebeia,--that very virtue which is commended to man in the passage of Job, where it is said to him, "Behold, godliness is wisdom." [779] Now if the word theosebeia be interpreted according to its derivation, it might be called "the worship of God;" [780] and in this worship the essential point is, that the soul be not ungrateful to Him. Whence it is that in the most true and excellent sacrifice we are admonished to "give thanks unto our Lord God." [781] Ungrateful however, our soul would be, were it to attribute to itself that which it received from God, especially the righteousness, with the works of which (the especial property, as it were, of itself, and produced, so to speak, by the soul itself for itself) it is not puffed up in a vulgar pride, as it might be with riches, or beauty of limb, or eloquence, or those other accomplishments, external or internal, bodily or mental, which wicked men too are in the habit of possessing, but, if I may say so, in a wise complacency, as of things which constitute in an especial manner the good works of the good. It is owing to this sin of vulgar pride that even some great men have drifted from the sure anchorage of the divine nature, and have floated down into the shame of idolatry. Whence the apostle again in the same epistle, wherein he so firmly maintains the principle of grace, after saying that he was a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, and professing himself ready, so far as to him pertained, to preach the gospel even to those who lived in Rome, adds: "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." [782] This is the righteousness of God, which was veiled in the Old Testament, and is revealed in the New; and it is called the righteousness of God, because by His bestowal of it He makes us righteous, just as we read that "salvation is the Lord's," [783] because He makes us safe. And this is the faith "from which" and "to which" it is revealed,--from the faith of them who preach it, to the faith of those who obey it. By this faith of Jesus Christ--that is, the faith which Christ has given to us--we believe it is from God that we now have, and shall have more and more, the ability of living righteously; wherefore we give Him thanks with that dutiful worship with which He only is to be worshipped.


[779] Job xxviii. 28.

[780] Cultus Dei is Augustin's Latin expression for the synonym.

[781] One of the suffrages of the Sursum Corda in the Communion Service [preserved also in the English service, which reads as follows: "Priest. Lift up your hearts. Answer. We lift them up to the Lord. Priest. Let us give thanks unto our Lord God. Answer. It is meet and right so to do."--W.]

[782] Rom. i. 14-17.

[783] Ps. iii. 8.


Chapter 19 [XII]--The Knowledge of God Through the Creation.

And then the apostle very properly turns from this point to describe with detestation those men who, light-minded and puffed up by the sin which I have mentioned in the preceding chapter, have been carried away of their own conceit, as it were, through empty space where they could find no resting-place, only to fall shattered to pieces against the vain figments of their idols, as against stones. For, after he had commended the piety of that faith, whereby, being justified, we must needs be pleasing to God, he proceeds to call our attention to what we ought to abominate as the opposite. "For the wrath of God," says he, "is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them: for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him are clearly seen from the creation of the world, being understood through the things that are made, even His eternal power and divinity; so that they are without excuse: because, knowing God, they yet glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; and they changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to four footed beasts, and to creeping things." [784] Observe, he does not say that they were ignorant of the truth, but that they held down the truth in unrighteousness. For it occurred to him, that he would inquire whence the knowledge of the truth could be obtained by those to whom God had not given the law; and he was not silent on the source whence they could have obtained it: for he declares that it was through the visible works of creation that they arrived at the knowledge of the invisible attributes of the Creator. And, in very deed, as they continued to possess great faculties for searching, so they were able to find. Wherein then lay their impiety? Because "when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, nor gave Him thanks, but became vain in their imaginations." Vanity is a disease especially of those who mislead themselves, and "think themselves to be something, when they are nothing." [785] Such men, indeed, darken themselves in that swelling pride, the foot of which the holy singer prays that it may not come against him, [786] after saying, "In Thy light shall we see light;" [787] from which very light of unchanging truth they turn aside, and "their foolish heart is darkened." [788] For theirs was not a wise heart, even though they knew God; but it was foolish rather, because they did not glorify Him as God, or give Him thanks; for "He said unto man, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom." [789] So by this conduct, while "professing themselves to be wise" (which can only be understood to mean that they attributed this to themselves), "they became fools." [790]


[784] Rom. i. 18-23.

[785] Gal. vi. 3.

[786] Ps. xxxvi. 11.

[787] Ps. xxxvi. 9.

[788] Rom. i. 21.

[789] Job xxviii. 28.

[790] Rom. i. 22.


Chapter 20.--The Law Without Grace.

Now why need I speak of what follows? For why it was that by this their impiety those men--I mean those who could have known the Creator through the creature--fell (since "God resisteth the proud" [791] ) and whither they plunged, is better shown in the sequel of this epistle than we can here mention. For in this letter of mine we have not undertaken to expound this epistle, but only mainly on its authority, to demonstrate, so far as we are able, that we are assisted by divine aid towards the achievement of righteousness,--not merely because God has given us a law full of good and holy precepts, but because our very will without which we cannot do any good thing, is assisted and elevated by the importation of the Spirit of grace, without which help mere teaching is "the letter that killeth," [792] forasmuch as it rather holds them guilty of transgression, than justifies the ungodly. Now just as those who come to know the Creator through the creature received no benefit towards salvation, from their knowledge,--because "though they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, nor gave Him thanks, although professing themselves to be wise;" [793] --so also they who know from the law how man ought to live, are not made righteous by their knowledge, because, "going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." [794]


[791] Jas. iv. 6.

[792] 2 Cor. iii. 6.

[793] Rom. i. 21.

[794] Rom. x. 3.


Chapter 21 [XIII.]--The Law of Works and the Law of Faith.

The law, then, of deeds, that is, the law of works, whereby this boasting is not excluded, and the law of faith, by which it is excluded, differ from each other; and this difference it is worth our while to consider, if so be we are able to observe and discern it. Hastily, indeed, one might say that the law of works lay in Judaism, and the law of faith in Christianity; forasmuch as circumcision and the other works prescribed by the law are just those which the Christian system no longer retains. But there is a fallacy in this distinction, the greatness of which I have for some time been endeavoring to expose; and to such as are acute in appreciating distinctions, especially to yourself and those like you, I have possibly succeeded in my effort. Since, however, the subject is an important one, it will not be unsuitable, if with a view to its illustration, we linger over the many testimonies which again and again meet our view. Now, the apostle says that that law by which no man is justified, [795] entered in that the offence might abound, [796] and yet in order to save it from the aspersions of the ignorant and the accusations of the impious, he defends this very law in such words as these: "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin but by the law: for I had not known concupiscence, except the law had said, Thou shall not covet. But sin, taking occasion, wrought, by the commandment, in me all manner of concupiscence." [797] He says also: "The law indeed is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good; but sin, that it might appear sin, worked death in me by that which is good." [798] It is therefore the very letter that kills which says, "Thou shalt not covet," and it is of this that he speaks in a passage which I have before referred to: "By the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ upon all them that believe; for there is no difference: seeing that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God: being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare His righteousness at this time; that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." [799] And then he adds the passage which is now under consideration: "Where, then, is your boasting? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith." [800] And so it is the very law of works itself which says, "Thou shalt not covet;" because thereby comes the knowledge of sin. Now I wish to know, if anybody will dare to tell me, whether the law of faith does not say to us, "Thou shalt not covet"? For if it does not say so to us, what reason is there why we, who are placed under it, should not sin in safety and with impunity? Indeed, this is just what those people thought the apostle meant, of whom he writes: "Even as some affirm that we say, Let us do evil, that good may come; whose damnation is just." [801] If, on the contrary, it too says to us, "Thou shall not covet" (even as numerous passages in the gospels and epistles so often testify and urge), then why is not this law also called the law of works? For it by no means follows that, because it retains not the "works" of the ancient sacraments,--even circumcision and the other ceremonies,--it therefore has no "works" in its own sacraments, which are adapted to the present age; unless, indeed, the question was about sacramental works, when mention was made of the law, just because by it is the knowledge of sin, and therefore nobody is justified by it, so that it is not by it that boasting is excluded, but by the law of faith, whereby the just man lives. But is there not by it too the knowledge of sin, when even it says, "Thou shall not covet?"


[795] Rom. iii. 20.

[796] Rom. v. 20.

[797] Rom. vii. 7, 8.

[798] Rom. vii. 12, 13.

[799] Rom. iii. 20-26.

[800] Rom. iii. 27.

[801] Rom. iii. 8.


Chapter 22.--No Man Justified by Works.

What the difference between them is, I will briefly explain. What the law of works enjoins by menace, that the law of faith secures by faith. The one says, "Thou shalt not covet;" [802] the other says, "When I perceived that nobody could be continent, except God gave it to him; and that this was the very point of wisdom, to know whose gift she was; I approached unto the Lord, and I besought Him." [803] This indeed is the very wisdom which is called piety, in which is worshipped "the Father of lights, from whom is every best giving and perfect gift." [804] This worship, however, consists in the sacrifice of praise and giving of thanks, so that the worshipper of God boasts not in himself, but in Him. [805] Accordingly, by the law of works, God says to us, Do what I command thee; but by the law of faith we say to God, Give me what Thou commandest. Now this is the reason why the law gives its command,--to admonish us what faith ought to do, that is, that he to whom the command is given, if he is as yet unable to perform it, may know what to ask for; but if he has at once the ability, and complies with the command, he ought also to be aware from whose gift the ability comes. "For we have received not the spirit of this world," says again that most constant preacher of grace, "but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." [806] What, however, "is the spirit of this world," but the spirit of pride? By it their foolish heart is darkened, who, although knowing God, glorified Him not as God, by giving Him thanks. [807] Moreover, it is really by this same spirit that they too are deceived, who, while ignorant of the righteousness of God, and wishing to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to God's righteousness. [808] It appears to me, therefore, that he is much more "a child of faith" who has learned from what source to hope for what he has not yet, than he who attributes to himself whatever he has; although, no doubt, to both of these must be preferred the man who both has, and at the same time knows from whom he has it, if nevertheless he does not believe himself to be what he has not yet attained to. Let him not fall into the mistake of the Pharisee, who, while thanking God for what he possessed, yet failed to ask for any further gift, just as if he stood in want of nothing for the increase or perfection of his righteousness. [809] Now, having duly considered and weighed all these circumstances and testimonies, we conclude that a man is not justified by the precepts of a holy life, but by faith in Jesus Christ,--in a word, not by the law of works, but by the law of faith; not by the letter, but by the spirit; not by the merits of deeds, but by free grace.


[802] Ex. xx. 17.

[803] Wisdom viii. 21.

[804] Jas. i. 17.

[805] 2 Cor. x. 17.

[806] 1 Cor. ii. 12.

[807] Rom. i. 21.

[808] Rom. x. 3.

[809] Luke xviii. 11, 12.


Chapter 23 [XIV.]--How the Decalogue Kills, If Grace Be Not Present.

Although, therefore, the apostle seems to reprove and correct those who were being persuaded to be circumcised, in such terms as to designate by the word "law" circumcision itself and other similar legal observances, which are now rejected as shadows of a future substance by Christians who yet hold what those shadows figuratively promised; he at the same time nevertheless would have it to be clearly understood that the law, by which he says no man is justified, lies not merely in those sacramental institutions which contained promissory figures, but also in those works by which whosoever has done them lives holily, and amongst which occurs this prohibition: "Thou shalt not covet." Now, to make our statement all the clearer, let us look at the Decalogue itself. It is certain, then, that Moses on the mount received the law, that he might deliver it to the people, written on tables of stone by the finger of God. It is summed up in these ten commandments, in which there is no precept about circumcision, nor anything concerning those animal sacrifices which have ceased to be offered by Christians. Well, now, I should like to be told what there is in these ten commandments, except the observance of the Sabbath, which ought not to be kept by a Christian,--whether it prohibit the making and worshipping of idols and of any other gods than the one true God, or the taking of God's name in vain; or prescribe honour to parents; or give warning against fornication, murder, theft, false witness, adultery, or coveting other men's property? Which of these commandments would any one say that the Christian ought not to keep? Is it possible to contend that it is not the law which was written on those two tables that the apostle describes as "the letter that killeth," but the law of circumcision and the other sacred rites which are now abolished? But then how can we think so, when in the law occurs this precept, "Thou shall not covet," by which very commandment, notwithstanding its being holy, just, and good, "sin," says the apostle, "deceived me, and by it slew me?" [810] What else can this be than "the letter" that "killeth"?


[810] See Rom. vii. 7-12.


Chapter 24.--The Passage in Corinthians.

In the passage where he speaks to the Corinthians about the letter that kills, and the spirit that gives life, he expresses himself more clearly, but he does not mean even there any other "letter" to be understood than the Decalogue itself, which was written on the two tables. For these are His words: "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who hath made us fit, as ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more shall the ministration of righteousness abound in glory. [811] A good deal might be said about these words; but perhaps we shall have a more fitting opportunity at some future time. At present, however, I beg you to observe how he speaks of the letter that killeth, and contrasts therewith the spirit that giveth life. Now this must certainly be "the ministration of death written and engraven in stones," and "the ministration of condemnation," since the law entered that sin might abound. [812] But the commandments themselves are so useful and salutary to the doer of them, that no one could have life unless he kept them. Well, then, is it owing to the one precept about the Sabbath-day, which is included in it, that the Decalogue is called "the letter that killeth?" Because, forsooth, every man that still observes that day in its literal appointment is carnally wise, but to be carnally wise is nothing else than death? And must the other nine commandments, which are rightly observed in their literal form, not be regarded as belonging to the law of works by which none is justified, but to the law of faith whereby the just man lives? Who can possibly entertain so absurd an opinion as to suppose that "the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones," is not said equally of all the ten commandments, but only of the solitary one touching the Sabbath-day? In which class do we place that which is thus spoken of: "The law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression?" [813] and again thus: "Until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law?" [814] and also that which we have already so often quoted: "By the law is the knowledge of sin?" [815] and especially the passage in which the apostle has more clearly expressed the question of which we are treating: "I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet?" [816]


[811] 2 Cor. iii. 3-9.

[812] Rom. v. 20.

[813] Rom. iv. 15.

[814] Rom. v. 13.

[815] Rom. iii. 20.

[816] Rom. vii. 7.


Chapter 25.--The Passage in Romans.

Now carefully consider this entire passage, and see whether it says anything about circumcision, or the Sabbath, or anything else pertaining to a foreshadowing sacrament. Does not its whole scope amount to this, that the letter which forbids sin fails to give man life, but rather "killeth," by increasing concupiscence, and aggravating sinfulness by transgression, unless indeed grace liberates us by the law of faith, which is in Christ Jesus, when His love is "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us?" [817] The apostle having used these words: "That we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter," [818] goes on to inquire, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay; I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, worked death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual; whereas I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. But then it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing. To will, indeed, is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now, if I do that which I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, through Jesus Christ out Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." [819]


[817] Rom. v. 5.

[818] Rom. vii. 6.

[819] Rom. vii. 7-25.


Chapter 26.--No Fruit Good Except It Grow from the Root of Love.

It is evident, then, that the oldness of the letter, in the absence of the newness of the spirit, instead of freeing us from sin, rather makes us guilty by the knowledge of sin. Whence it is written in another part of Scripture, "He that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow," [820] --not that the law is itself evil, but because the commandment has its good in the demonstration of the letter, not in the assistance of the spirit; and if this commandment is kept from the fear of punishment and not from the love of righteousness, it is servilely kept, not freely, and therefore it is not kept at all. For no fruit is good which does not grow from the root of love. If, however, that faith be present which worketh by love, [821] then one begins to delight in the law of God after the inward man, [822] and this delight is the gift of the spirit, not of the letter; even though there is another law in our members still warring against the law of the mind, until the old state is changed, and passes into that newness which increases from day to day in the inward man, whilst the grace of God is liberating us from the body of this death through Jesus Christ our Lord.


[820] Eccles. i. 18.

[821] Gal. v. 6.

[822] Rom. vii. 22.


Chapter 27 [XV.]--Grace, Concealed in the Old Testament, is Revealed in the New.

This grace hid itself under a veil in the Old Testament, but it has been revealed in the New Testament according to the most perfectly ordered dispensation of the ages, forasmuch as God knew how to dispose all things. And perhaps it is a part of this hiding of grace, that in the Decalogue, which was given on Mount Sinai, only the portion which relates to the Sabbath was hidden under a prefiguring precept. The Sabbath is a day of sanctification; and it is not without significance that, among all the works which God accomplished, the first sound of sanctification was heard on the day when He rested from all His labours. On this, indeed, we must not now enlarge. But at the same time I deem it to be enough for the point now in question, that it was not for nothing that the nation was commanded on that day to abstain from all servile work, by which sin is signified; but because not to commit sin belongs to sanctification, that is, to God's gift through the Holy Spirit. And this precept alone among the others, was placed in the law, which was written on the two tables of stone, in a prefiguring shadow, under which the Jews observe the Sabbath, that by this very circumstance it might be signified that it was then the time for concealing the grace, which had to be revealed in the New Testament by the death of Christ,--the rending, as it were, of the veil. [823] "For when," says the apostle, "it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away." [824]


[823] Matt. xxvii. 51.

[824] 2 Cor. iii. 16.


Chapter 28 [XVI]--Why the Holy Ghost is Called the Finger of God.

"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." [825] Now this Spirit of God, by whose gift we are justified, whence it comes to pass that we delight not to sin,--in which is liberty; even as, when we are without this Spirit, we delight to sin,--in which is slavery, from the works of which we must abstain;--this Holy Spirit, through whom love is shed abroad in our hearts, which is the fulfilment of the law, is designated in the gospel as "the finger of God." [826] Is it not because those very tables of the law were written by the finger of God, that the Spirit of God by whom we are sanctified is also the finger of God, in order that, living by faith, we may do good works through love? Who is not touched by this congruity, and at the same time diversity? For as fifty days are reckoned from the celebration of the Passover (which was ordered by Moses to be offered by slaying the typical lamb, [827] to signify, indeed, the future death of the Lord) to the day when Moses received the law written on the tables of stone by the finger of God, [828] so, in like manner, from the death and resurrection of Him who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, [829] there were fifty complete days up to the time when the finger of God--that is, the Holy Spirit--gathered together in one [830] perfect company those who believed.


[825] 2 Cor. iii. 17.

[826] Luke xi. 20.

[827] Ex. xii. 3.

[828] Ex. xxxi. 18.

[829] Isa. liii. 7.

[830] Acts ii. 2.


Chapter 29 [XVII.]--A Comparison of the Law of Moses and of the New Law.

Now, amidst this admirable correspondence, there is at least this very considerable diversity in the cases, in that the people in the earlier instance were deterred by a horrible dread from approaching the place where the law was given; whereas in the other case the Holy Ghost came upon them who were gathered together in expectation of His promised gift. There it was on tables of stone that the finger of God operated; here it was on the hearts of men. There the law was given outwardly, so that the unrighteous might be terrified; [831] here it was given inwardly, so that they might be justified. [832] For this, "Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment,"--such, of course, as was written on those tables,--"it is briefly comprehended," says he, "in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." [833] Now this was not written on the tables of stone, but "is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us." [834] God's law, therefore, is love. "To it the carnal mind is not subject, neither indeed can be;" [835] but when the works of love are written on tables to alarm the carnal mind, there arises the law of works and "the letter which killeth" the transgressor; but when love itself is shed abroad in the hearts of believers, then we have the law of faith, and the spirit which gives life to him that loves.


[831] Ex. xix. 12, 16.

[832] Acts ii. 1-47.

[833] Rom. xiii. 9, 10.

[834] Rom. v. 5.

[835] Rom. viii. 7.


Chapter 30.--The New Law Written Within.

Now, observe how consonant this diversity is with those words of the apostle which I quoted not long ago in another connection, and which I postponed for a more careful consideration afterwards: "Forasmuch," says he, "as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." [836] See how he shows that the one is written without man, that it may alarm him from without; the other within man himself, that it may justify him from within. He speaks of the "fleshy tables of the heart," not of the carnal mind, but of a living agent possessing sensation, in comparison with a stone, which is senseless. The assertion which he subsequently makes,--that "the children of Israel could not look stedfastly on the end of the face of Moses," and that he accordingly spoke to them through a veil, [837] --signifies that the letter of the law justifies no man, but that rather a veil is placed on the reading of the Old Testament, until it shall be turned to Christ, and the veil be removed;--in other words, until it shall be turned to grace, and be understood that from Him accrues to us the justification, whereby we do what He commands. And He commands, in order that, because we lack in ourselves, we may flee to Him for refuge. Accordingly, after most guardedly saying, "Such trust have we through Christ to God-ward," [838] the apostle immediately goes on to add the statement which underlies our subject, to prevent our confidence being attributed to any strength of our own. He says: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us fit to be ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." [839]


[836] 2 Cor. iii. 3.

[837] 2 Cor. iii. 13.

[838] 2 Cor. iii. 4.

[839] 2 Cor. iii. 5, 6.


Chapter 31 [XVIII.]--The Old Law Ministers Death; The New, Righteousness.

Now, since, as he says in another passage, "the law was added because of transgression," [840] meaning the law which is written externally to man, he therefore designates it both as "the ministration of death," [841] and "the ministration of condemnation;" [842] but the other, that is, the law of the New Testament, he calls "the ministration of the Spirit" [843] and "the ministration of righteousness," [844] because through the Spirit we work righteousness, and are delivered from the condemnation due to transgression. The one, therefore, vanishes away, the other abides; for the terrifying schoolmaster will be dispensed with, when love has succeeded to fear. Now "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." [845] But that this ministration is vouchsafed to us, not on account of our deserving, but from His mercy, the apostle thus declares: "Seeing then that we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, let us faint not; but let us renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor adulterating the word of God with deceit." [846] By this "craftiness" and "deceitfulness" he would have us understand the hypocrisy with which the arrogant would fain be supposed to be righteous. Whence in the psalm, which the apostle cites in testimony of this grace of God, it is said, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin, and in whose mouth is no guile." [847] This is the confession of lowly saints, who do not boast to be what they are not. Then, in a passage which follows not long after, the apostle writes thus: "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." [848] This is the knowledge of His glory, whereby we know that He is the light which illumines our darkness. And I beg you to observe how he inculcates this very point: "We have," says he, "this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." [849] When further on he commends in glowing terms this same grace, in the Lord Jesus Christ, until he comes to that vestment of the righteousness of faith, "clothed with which we cannot be found naked," and whilst longing for which "we groan, being burdened" with mortality, "earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from Heaven," "that mortality might be swallowed up of life;" [850] --observe what he says: "Now He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit;" [851] and after a little he thus briefly draws the conclusion of the matter: "That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." [852] This is not the righteousness whereby God is Himself righteous, but that whereby we are made righteous by Him.


[840] Gal. iii. 19.

[841] 2 Cor. iii. 7.

[842] 2 Cor. iii. 9.

[843] 2 Cor. iii. 8.

[844] 2 Cor. iii. 9.

[845] 2 Cor. iii. 17.

[846] 2 Cor. iv. 1, 2.

[847] Ps. xxxii. 2.

[848] 2 Cor. iv. 5, 6.

[849] 2 Cor. iv. 7.

[850] See 2 Cor. v. 1-4.

[851] 2 Cor. v. 5.

[852] 2 Cor. v. 21.


Chapter 32 [XIX.]--The Christian Faith Touching the Assistance of Grace.

Let no Christian then stray from this faith, which alone is the Christian one; nor let any one, when he has been made to feel ashamed to say that we become righteous through our own selves, without the grace of God working this in us,--because he sees, when such an allegation is made, how unable pious believers are to endure it,--resort to any subterfuge on this point, by affirming that the reason why we cannot become righteous without the operation of God's grace is this, that He gave the law, He instituted its teaching, He commanded its precepts of good. For there is no doubt that, without His assisting grace, the law is "the letter which killeth;" but when the life-giving spirit is present, the law causes that to be loved as written within, which it once caused to be feared as written without.


Chapter 33.--The Prophecy of Jeremiah Concerning the New Testament.

Observe this also in that testimony which was given by the prophet on this subject in the clearest way: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will consummate a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. Because they continued not in my covenant, I also have rejected them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." [853] What say we to this? One nowhere, or hardly anywhere, except in this passage of the prophet, finds in the Old Testament Scriptures any mention so made of the New Testament as to indicate it by its very name. It is no doubt often referred to and foretold as about to be given, but not so plainly as to have its very name mentioned. Consider then carefully, what difference God has testified as existing between the two testaments--the old covenant and the new.


[853] Jer. xxxi. 31-34.


Chapter 34.--The Law; Grace.

After saying, "Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt," observe what He adds: "Because they continued not in my covenant." He reckons it as their own fault that they did not continue in God's covenant, lest the law, which they received at that time, should seem to be deserving of blame. For it was the very law that Christ "came not to destroy, but to fulfil." [854] Nevertheless, it is not by that law that the ungodly are made righteous, but by grace; and this change is effected by the life-giving Spirit, without whom the letter kills. "For if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." [855] Out of this promise, that is, out of the kindness of God, the law is fulfilled, which without the said promise only makes men transgressors, either by the actual commission of some sinful deed, if the flame of concupiscence have greater power than even the restraints of fear, or at least by their mere will, if the fear of punishment transcend the pleasure of lust. In what he says, "The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe," it is the benefit of this "conclusion" itself which is asserted. For what purposes "hath it concluded," except as it is expressed in the next sentence: "Before, indeed, faith came, we were kept under the law, concluded for the faith which was afterwards revealed?" [856] The law was therefore given, in order that grace might be sought; grace was given, in order that the law might be fulfilled. Now it was not through any fault of its own that the law was not fulfilled, but by the fault of the carnal mind; and this fault was to be demonstrated by the law, and healed by grace. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." [857] Accordingly, in the passage which we cited from the prophet, he says, "I will consummate a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah," [858] --and what means I will consummate but I will fulfil?--"not, according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt." [859]


[854] Matt. v. 17.

[855] Gal. iii. 21, 22.

[856] Gal. iii. 23.

[857] Rom. viii. 3, 4.

[858] Jer. xxxi. 31.

[859] Jer. xxxi. 32.


Chapter 35 [XX.]--The Old Law; The New Law.

The one was therefore old, because the other is new. But whence comes it that one is old and the other new, when the same law, which said in the Old Testament, "Thou shalt not covet," [860] is fulfilled by the New Testament? "Because," says the prophet, "they continued not in my covenant, I have also rejected them, saith the Lord." [861] It is then on account of the offence of the old man, which was by no means healed by the letter which commanded and threatened, that it is called the old covenant; whereas the other is called the new covenant, because of the newness of the spirit, which heals the new man of the fault of the old. Then consider what follows, and see in how clear a light the fact is placed, that men who bare faith are unwilling to trust in themselves: "Because," says he, "this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts." [862] See how similarly the apostle states it in the passage we have already quoted: "Not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart," [863] because "not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God." [864] And I apprehend that the apostle in this passage had no other reason for mentioning "the New Testament" ("who hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit"), than because he had an eye to the words of the prophet, when he said "Not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart," inasmuch as in the prophet it runs: "I will write it in their hearts." [865]


[860] Ex. xx. 17.

[861] Jer. xxxi. 32.

[862] Jer. xxxi. 33.

[863] 2 Cor. iii. 3.

[864] 2 Cor. iii. 3.

[865] Jer. xxxi. 33.


Chapter 36 [XXI.]--The Law Written in Our Hearts.

What then is God's law written by God Himself in the hearts of men, but the very presence of the Holy Spirit, who is "the finger of God," and by whose presence is shed abroad in our hearts the love which is the fulfilling of the law, [866] and the end of the commandment? [867] Now the promises of the Old Testament are earthly; and yet (with the exception of the sacramental ordinances which were the shadow of things to come, such as circumcision, the Sabbath and other observances of days, and the ceremonies of certain meats, [868] and the complicated ritual of sacrifices and sacred things which suited "the oldness" of the carnal law and its slavish yoke) it contains such precepts of righteousness as we are even now taught to observe, which were especially expressly drawn out on the two tables without figure or shadow: for instance, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," "Thou shalt do no murder," "Thou shalt not covet," [869] "and whatsoever other commandment is briefly comprehended in the saying, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself." [870] Nevertheless, whereas as in the said Testament earthly and temporal promises are, as I have said, recited, and these are goods of this corruptible flesh (although they prefigure those heavenly and everlasting blessings which belong to the New Testament), what is now promised is a good for the heart itself, a good for the mind, a good of the spirit, that is, an intellectual good; since it is said, "I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their hearts will I write them," [871] --by which He signified that men would not fear the law which alarmed them externally, but would love the very righteousness of the law which dwelt inwardly in their hearts.


[866] Rom. xiii. 10.

[867] 1 Tim. i. 5.

[868] See Retractations, ii. 37, printed at the head of this treatise.

[869] Ex. xx. 13, 14, 17.

[870] Rom. xiii. 9.

[871] Jer. xxxi. 33.


Chapter 37 [XXII.]--The Eternal Reward.

He then went on to state the reward: "I will be their God, and they shall be my people." [872] This corresponds to the Psalmist's words to God: "It is good for me to hold me fast by God." [873] "I will be," says God, "their God, and they shall be my people." What is better than this good, what happier than this happiness,--to live to God, to live from God, with whom is the fountain of life, and in whose light we shall see light? [874] Of this life the Lord Himself speaks in these words: "This is life eternal that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent," [875] --that is, "Thee and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent," the one true God. For no less than this did Himself promise to those who love Him: "He that loveth me, keepeth my commandments; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him" [876] --in the form, no doubt, of God, wherein He is equal to the Father; not in the form of a servant, for in this He will display Himself even to the wicked also. Then, however, shall that come to pass which is written, "Let the ungodly man be taken away, that he see not the glory of the Lord." [877] Then also shall "the wicked go into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal." [878] Now this eternal life, as I have just mentioned, has been defined to be, that they may know the one true God. [879] Accordingly John again says: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." [880] This likeness begins even now to be reformed in us, while the inward man is being renewed from day to day, according to the image of Him that created him. [881]


[872] Jer. xxxi. 33.

[873] Ps. lxxiii. 28.

[874] Ps. xxxvi. 9.

[875] John xvii. 3.

[876] John xiv. 21.

[877] Isa. xxvi. 10.

[878] Matt. xxv. 46.

[879] John xvii. 3.

[880] 1 John iii. 2.

[881] Col. iii. 10.


Chapter 38 [XXIII.]--The Re-Formation Which is Now Being Effected, Compared with the Perfection of the Life to Come.

But what is this change, and how great, in comparison with the perfect eminence which is then to be realized? The apostle applies some sort of illustration, derived from well-known things, to these indescribable things, comparing the period of childhood with the age of manhood. "When I was a child," says he, "I used to speak as a child, to understand as a child, to think as a child; but when I became a man, I put aside childish things." [882] He then immediately explains why he said this in these words: "For now we see by means of a mirror, darkly but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." [883]


[882] 1 Cor. xiii. 11.

[883] 1 Cor. xiii. 12.


Chapter 39 [XXIV]--The Eternal Reward Which is Specially Declared in the New Testament, Foretold by the Prophet.

Accordingly, in our prophet likewise, whose testimony we are dealing with, this is added, that in God is the reward, in Him the end, in Him the perfection of happiness, in Him the sum of the blessed and eternal life. For after saying, "I will be their God, and they shall be my people," he at once adds, "And they shall no more teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least even unto the greatest of them." [884] Now, the present is certainly the time of the New Testament, the promise of which is given by the prophet in the words which we have quoted from his prophecy. Why then does each man still say even now to his neighbour and his brother, "Know the Lord?" Or is it not perhaps meant that this is everywhere said when the gospel is preached, and when this is its very proclamation? For on what ground does the apostle call himself "a teacher of the Gentiles," [885] if it be not that what he himself implies in the following passage becomes realized: "How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" [886] Since, then, this preaching is now everywhere spreading, in what way is it the time of the New Testament of which the prophet spoke in the words, "And they shall not every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them," [887] unless it be that he has included in his prophetic forecast the eternal reward of the said New Testament, by promising us the most blessed contemplation of God Himself?


[884] Jer. xxxi. 34.

[885] 1 Tim. ii. 7.

[886] Rom. x. 14.

[887] Jer. xxxi. 34.


Chapter 40.--How that is to Be the Reward of All; The Apostle Earnestly Defends Grace.

What then is the import of the "All, from the least unto the greatest of them," but all that belong spiritually to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah,--that is, to the children of Isaac, to the seed of Abraham? For such is the promise, wherein it was said to him, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called; for they which are the children of the flesh are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac, (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth,) it was said unto her, "The elder shall serve the younger." [888] This is the house of Israel, or rather the house of Judah, on account of Christ, who came of the tribe of Judah. This is the house of the children of promise,--not by reason of their own merits, but of the kindness of God. For God promises what He Himself performs: He does not Himself promise, and another perform; which would no longer be promising, but prophesying. Hence it is "not of works, but of Him that calleth," [889] lest the result should be their own, not God's; lest the reward should be ascribed not to His grace, but to their due; and so grace should be no longer grace which was so earnestly defended and maintained by him who, though the least of the apostles, laboured more abundantly than all the rest,--yet not himself, but the grace of God that was with him. [890] "They shall all know me," [891] He says,--"All," the house of Israel and house of Judah. "All," however, "are not Israel which are of Israel," [892] but they only to whom it is said in "the psalm concerning the morning aid" [893] (that is, concerning the new refreshing light, meaning that of the new testament), "All ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him; and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel." [894] All the seed, without exception, even the entire seed of the promise and of the called, but only of those who are the called according to His purpose. [895] "For whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified." [896] "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed: not to that only which is of the law,"--that is, which comes from the Old Testament into the New,--"but to that also which is of faith," which was indeed prior to the law, even "the faith of Abraham,"--meaning those who imitate the faith of Abraham,--"who is the father of us all; as it is written, I have made thee the father of many nations." [897] Now all these predestinated, called, justified, glorified ones, shall know God by the grace of the new testament, from the least to the greatest of them.


[888] Rom. ix. 7-12.

[889] Rom. ix. 11.

[890] 1 Cor. xv. 9, 10.

[891] Jer. xxxi. 34.

[892] Rom. ix. 6.

[893] See title of Ps. xxii. (xxi. Sept.) in the Sept. and Latin.

[894] Ps. xxii. 23.

[895] Rom. viii. 28.

[896] Rom. viii. 30.

[897] Rom. iv. 16, 17.


Chapter 41.--The Law Written in the Heart, and the Reward of the Eternal Contemplation of God, Belong to the New Covenant; Who Among the Saints are the Least and the Greatest.

As then the law of works, which was written on the tables of stone, and its reward, the land of promise, which the house of the carnal Israel after their liberation from Egypt received, belonged to the old testament, so the law of faith, written on the heart, and its reward, the beatific vision which the house of the spiritual Israel, when delivered from the present world, shall perceive, belong to the new testament. Then shall come to pass what the apostle describes: "Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away," [898] --even that imperfect knowledge of "the child" [899] in which this present life is passed, and which is but "in part," "by means of a mirror darkly." [900] Because of this, indeed, "prophecy" is necessary, for still to the past succeeds the future; and because of this, too, "tongues" are required,--that is, a multiplicity of expressions, since it is by different ones that different things are suggested to him who does not as yet contemplate with a perfectly purified mind the everlasting light of transparent truth. "When that, however, which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away," [901] then, what appeared to the flesh in assumed flesh shall display Itself as It is in Itself to all who love It; then, there shall be eternal life for us to know the one very God; [902] then shall we be like Him, [903] because "we shall then know, even as we are known;" [904] then "they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least unto the greatest of them." [905] Now this may be understood in several ways: Either, that in that life the saints shall differ one from another in glory, as star from star. It matters not how the expression runs,--whether (as in the passage before us) it be, "From the least unto the greatest of them," or the other way, From the greatest unto the least. And, in like manner, it matters not even if we understand "the least" to mean those who simply believe, and "the greatest" those who have been further able to understand--so far as may be in this world--the light which is incorporeal and unchangeable. Or, "the least" may mean those who are later in time; whilst by "the greatest" He may have intended to indicate those who were prior in time. For they are all to receive the promised vision of God hereafter, since it was for us that they foresaw the future which would be better than their present, that they without us should not arrive at complete perfection. [906] And so the earlier are found to be the lesser, because they were less deferred in time; as in the case of the gospel "penny a day," which is given for an illustration. [907] This penny they are the first to receive who came last into the vineyard. Or, "the least and the greatest" ought perhaps to be taken in some other sense, which at present does not occur to my mind.


[898] 1 Cor. xiii. 8.

[899] Ib. ver. 11.

[900] Ib. ver. 12.

[901] 1 Cor. xiii. 10.

[902] John xvii. 3.

[903] 1 John iii. 2.

[904] 1 Cor. xiii. 12.

[905] Jer. xxxi. 34.

[906] Heb. xi. 40.

[907] Matt. xx. 8.


Chapter 42 [XXV.]--Difference Between the Old and the New Testaments.

I beg of you, however, carefully to observe, as far as you can, what I am endeavouring to prove with so much effort. When the prophet promised a new covenant, not according to the covenant which had been formerly made with the people of Israel when liberated from Egypt, he said nothing about a change in the sacrifices or any sacred ordinances, although such change, too, was without doubt to follow, as we see in fact that it did follow, even as the same prophetic scripture testifies in many other passages; but he simply called attention to this difference, that God would impress His laws on the mind of those who belonged to this covenant, and would write them in their hearts, [908] whence the apostle drew his conclusion,--"not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart;" [909] and that the eternal recompense of this righteousness was not the land out of which were driven the Amorites and Hittites, and other nations who dwelt there, [910] but God Himself, "to whom it is good to hold fast," [911] in order that God's good that they love, may be the God Himself whom they love, between whom and men nothing but sin produces separation; and this is remitted only by grace. Accordingly, after saying, "For all shall know me, from the least to the greatest of them," He instantly added, "For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." [912] By the law of works, then, the Lord says, "Thou shalt not covet:" [913] but by the law of faith He says, "Without me ye can do nothing;" [914] for He was treating of good works, even the fruit of the vine-branches. It is therefore apparent what difference there is between the old covenant and the new,--that in the former the law is written on tables, while in the latter on hearts; so that what in the one alarms from without, in the other delights from within; and in the former man becomes a transgressor through the letter that kills, in the other a lover through the life-giving spirit. We must therefore avoid saying, that the way in which God assists us to work righteousness, and "works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure," [915] is by externally addressing to our faculties precepts of holiness; for He gives His increase internally, [916] by shedding love abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us." [917]


[908] Jer. xxxi. 32, 33.

[909] 2 Cor. iii. 3.

[910] Josh. xii.

[911] Ps. lxxiii. 28.

[912] Jer. xxxi. 34.

[913] Ex. xx. 17.

[914] John xv. 5.

[915] Phil. ii. 13.

[916] 1 Cor. iii. 7.

[917] Rom. v. 5.


Chapter 43 [XXVI.]--A Question Touching the Passage in the Apostle About the Gentiles Who are Said to Do by Nature the Law's Commands, Which They are Also Said to Have Written on Their Hearts.

Now we must see in what sense it is that the apostle says, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves, which show the work of the law written in their hearts," [918] lest there should seem to be no certain difference in the new testament, in that the Lord promised that He would write His laws in the hearts of His people, inasmuch as the Gentiles have this done for them naturally. This question therefore has to be sifted, arising as it does as one of no inconsiderable importance. For some one may say, "If God distinguishes the new testament from the old by this circumstance, that in the old He wrote His law on tables, but in the new He wrote them on men's hearts, by what are the faithful of the new testament discriminated from the Gentiles, which have the work of the law written on their hearts, whereby they do by nature the things of the law, [919] as if, forsooth, they were better than the ancient people, which received the law on tables, and before the new people, which has that conferred on it by the new testament which nature has already bestowed on them?"


[918] Rom. ii. 14, 15.

[919] Rom. ii. 14.


Chapter 44.--The Answer Is, that the Passage Must Be Understood of the Faithful of the New Covenant.

Has the apostle perhaps mentioned those Gentiles as having the law written in their hearts who belong to the new testament? We must look at the previous context. First, then, referring to the gospel, he says, "It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." [920] Then he goes on to speak of the ungodly, who by reason of their pride profit not by the knowledge of God, since they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful. [921] He then passes to those who think and do the very things which they condemn,--having in view, no doubt, the Jews, who made their boast of God's law, but as yet not mentioning them expressly by name; and then he says, "Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile: but glory, honour, and peace, to every soul that doeth good; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." [922] Who they are that are treated of in these words, he goes on to tell us: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law," [923] and so forth in the passage which I have quoted already. Evidently, therefore, no others are here signified under the name of Gentiles than those whom he had before designated by the name of "Greek" when he said, "To the Jew first, and also to the Greek." [924] Since then the gospel is "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and, also to the Greek;" [925] and since "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, are upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek: but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that doeth good; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek;" since, moreover, the Greek is indicated by the term "Gentiles" who do by nature the things contained in the law, and which have the work of the law written in their hearts: it follows that such Gentiles as have the law written in their hearts belong to the gospel, since to them, on their believing, it is the power of God unto salvation. To what Gentiles, however, would he promise glory, and honour, and peace, in their doing good works, if living without the grace of the gospel? Since there is no respect of persons with God, [926] and since it is not the hearers of the law, but the doers thereof, that are justified, [927] it follows that any man of any nation, whether Jew or Greek, who shall believe, will equally have salvation under the gospel. "For there is no difference," as he says afterwards; "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God: being justified freely by His grace." [928] How then could he say that any Gentile person, who was a doer of the law, was justified without the Saviour's grace?


[920] Rom. i. 16, 17.

[921] Rom. i. 21.

[922] Rom. ii. 8-13.

[923] Rom. ii. 14.

[924] Rom. i. 16.

[925] Rom. i. 16.

[926] Rom. ii. 11.

[927] Rom. ii. 13.

[928] Rom. iii. 22-24.


Chapter 45.--It is Not by Their Works, But by Grace, that the Doers of the Law are Justified; God's Saints and God's Name Hallowed in Different Senses.

Now he could not mean to contradict himself in saying, "The doers of the law shall be justified," [929] as if their justification came through their works, and not through grace; since he declares that a man is justified freely by His grace without the works of the law, [930] intending by the term "freely" nothing else than that works do not precede justification. For in another passage he expressly says, "If by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace." [931] But the statement that "the doers of the law shall be justified" [932] must be so understood, as that we may know that they are not otherwise doers of the law, unless they be justified, so that justification does not subsequently accrue to them as doers of the law, but justification precedes them as doers of the law. For what else does the phrase "being justified" signify than being made righteous,--by Him, of course, who justifies the ungodly man, that he may become a godly one instead? For if we were to express a certain fact by saying, "The men will be liberated," the phrase would of course be understood as asserting that the liberation would accrue to those who were men already; but if we were to say, The men will be created, we should certainly not be understood as asserting that the creation would happen to those who were already in existence, but that they became men by the creation itself. If in like manner it were said, The doers of the law shall be honoured, we should only interpret the statement correctly if we supposed that the honour was to accrue to those who were already doers of the law: but when the allegation is, "The doers of the law shall be justified," what else does it mean than that the just shall be justified? for of course the doers of the law are just persons. And thus it amounts to the same thing as if it were said, The doers of the law shall be created,--not those who were so already, but that they may become such; in order that the Jews who were hearers of the law might hereby understand that they wanted the grace of the Justifier, in order to be able to become its doers also. Or else the term "They shall be justified" is used in the sense of, They shall be deemed, or reckoned as just, as it is predicated of a certain man in the Gospel, "But he, willing to justify himself," [933] --meaning that he wished to be thought and accounted just. In like manner, we attach one meaning to the statement, "God sanctifies His saints," and another to the words, "Sanctified be Thy name;" [934] for in the former case we suppose the words to mean that He makes those to be saints who were not saints before, and in the latter, that the prayer would have that which is always holy in itself be also regarded as holy by men,--in a word, be feared with a hallowed awe.


[929] Rom. ii. 13.

[930] Rom. iii. 24, 28.

[931] Rom. xi. 6.

[932] Rom. ii. 13.

[933] Luke x. 29.

[934] Matt. vi. 9.


Chapter 46.--How the Passage of the Law Agrees with that of the Prophet.

If therefore the apostle, when he mentioned that the Gentiles do by nature the things contained in the law, and have the work of the law written in their hearts, [935] intended those to be understood who believed in Christ,--who do not come to the faith like the Jews, through a precedent law,--there is no good reason why we should endeavour to distinguish them from those to whom the Lord by the prophet promises the new covenant, telling them that He will write His laws in their hearts, [936] inasmuch as they too, by the grafting which he says had been made of the wild olive, belong to the self-same olive-tree, [937] --in other words, to the same people of God. There is therefore a good agreement of this passage of the apostle with the words of the prophet so that belonging to the new testament means having the law of God not written on tables, but on the heart,--that is, embracing the righteousness of the law with innermost affection, where faith works by love. [938] Because it is by faith that God justifies the Gentiles; and the Scripture foreseeing this, preached the gospel before to Abraham, saying, "In thy seed shall all nations be blessed," [939] in order that by this grace of promise the wild olive might be grafted into the good olive, and believing Gentiles might be made children of Abraham, "in Abraham's seed, which is Christ," [940] by following the faith of him who, without receiving the law written on tables, and not yet possessing even circumcision, "believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." [941] Now what the apostle attributed to Gentiles of this character,--how that "they have the work of the law written in their hearts;" [942] must be some such thing as what he says to the Corinthians: "not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." [943] For thus do they become of the house of Israel, when their uncircumcision is accounted circumcision, by the fact that they do not exhibit the righteousness of the law by the excision of the flesh, but keep it by the charity of the heart. "If," says he, "the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?" [944] And therefore in the house of the true Israel, in which is no guile, [945] they are partakers of the new testament, since God puts His laws into their mind, and writes them in their hearts with his own finger, the Holy Ghost, by whom is shed abroad in them the love [946] which is the" fulfilling of the law." [947]


[935] Rom. ii. 14, 15.

[936] Jer. xxxii. 32.

[937] Rom. xi. 24.

[938] Gal. v. 6.

[939] Gal. iii. 8; Gen. xxii. 18.

[940] Gal. iii. 16.

[941] Gen. xv. 6; Rom. iv. 2.

[942] Rom. ii. 15.

[943] 2 Cor. iii. 3.

[944] Rom. ii. 26.

[945] See John i. 47.

[946] Rom. v. 5.

[947] Rom. xiii. 10.


Chapter 47 [XXVII.]--The Law "Being Done by Nature" Means, Done by Nature as Restored by Grace.

Nor ought it to disturb us that the apostle described them as doing that which is contained in the law "by nature,"--not by the Spirit of God, not by faith, not by grace. For it is the Spirit of grace that does it, in order to restore in us the image of God, in which we were naturally created. [948] Sin, indeed, is contrary to nature, and it is grace that heals it,--on which account the prayer is offered to God, "Be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee." [949] Therefore it is by nature that men do the things which are contained in the law; [950] for they who do not, fail to do so by reason of their sinful defect. In consequence of this sinfulness, the law of God is erased out of their hearts; and therefore, when, the sin being healed, it is written there, the prescriptions of the law are done "by nature,"--not that by nature grace is denied, but rather by grace nature is repaired. For "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men; in which all have sinned;" [951] wherefore "there is no difference: they all come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace." [952] By this grace there is written on the renewed inner man that righteousness which sin had blotted out; and this mercy comes upon the human race through our Lord Jesus Christ. "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." [953]


[948] Gen. i. 27.

[949] Ps. xli. 4.

[950] Rom. ii. 14.

[951] Rom. v. 12.

[952] Rom. iii. 22-24.

[953] 1 Tim. ii. 5.


Chapter 48.--The Image of God is Not Wholly Blotted Out in These Unbelievers; Venial Sins.

According to some, however, they who do by nature the things contained in the law must not be regarded as yet in the number of those whom Christ's grace justifies, but rather as among those some of whose actions (although they are those of ungodly men, who do not truly and rightly worship the true God) we not only cannot blame, but even justly and rightly praise, since they have been done--so far as we read, or know, or hear--according to the rule of righteousness; though at the same time, were we to discuss the question with what motive they are done, they would hardly be found to be such as deserve the praise and defence which are due to righteous conduct. [XXVIII.] Still, since God's image has not been so completely erased in the soul of man by the stain of earthly affections, as to have left remaining there not even the merest lineaments of it whence it might be justly said that man, even in the ungodliness of his life, does, or appreciates, some things contained in the law; if this is what is meant by the statement that "the Gentiles, which have not the law" (that is, the law of God), "do by nature the things contained in the law," [954] and that men of this character "are a law to themselves," and "show the work of the law written in their hearts,"--that is to say, what was impressed on their hearts when they were created in the image of God has not been wholly blotted out:--even in this view of the subject, that wide difference will not be disturbed, which separates the new covenant from the old, and which lies in the fact that by the new covenant the law of God is written in the hearts of believers, whereas in the old it was inscribed on tables of stone. For this writing in the heart is effected by renovation, although it had not been completely blotted out by the old nature. For just as that image of God is renewed in the mind of believers by the new testament, which impiety had not quite abolished (for there had remained undoubtedly that which the soul of man cannot be except it be rational), so also the law of God, which had not been wholly blotted out there by unrighteousness, is certainly written thereon, renewed by grace. Now in the Jews the law which was written on tables could not effect this new inscription, which is justification, but only transgression. For they too were men, and there was inherent in them that power of nature, which enables the rational soul both to perceive and do what is lawful; but the godliness which transfers to another life happy and immortal has "a spotless law, converting souls," [955] so that by the light thereof they may be renewed, and that be accomplished in them which is written, "There has been manifested over us, O Lord, the light of Thy countenance." [956] Turned away from which, they have deserved to grow old, whilst they are incapable of renovation except by the grace of Christ,--in other words, without the intercession of the Mediator; there being "one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all." [957] Should those be strangers to His grace of whom we are treating, and who (after the manner of which we have spoken with sufficient fulness already) "do by nature the things contained in the law," [958] of what use will be their "excusing thoughts" to them "in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men," [959] unless it be perhaps to procure for them a milder punishment? For as, on the one hand, there are certain venial sins which do not hinder the righteous man from the attainment of eternal life, and which are unavoidable in this life, so, on the other hand, there are some good works which are of no avail to an ungodly man towards the attainment of everlasting life, although it would be very difficult to find the life of any very bad man whatever entirely without them. But inasmuch as in the kingdom of God the saints differ in glory as one star does from another, [960] so likewise, in the condemnation of everlasting punishment, it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that other city; [961] whilst some men will be twofold more the children of hell than others. [962] Thus in the judgment of God not even this fact will be without its influence,--that one man will have sinned more, or less, than another, even when both are involved in the ungodliness that is worthy of damnation.


[954] Rom. ii. 14.

[955] Ps. xix. 7.

[956] Ps. iv. 6.

[957] 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.

[958] Rom. ii. 14.

[959] Rom. ii. 15, 16.

[960] 1 Cor. xv. 41.

[961] Luke x. 12.

[962] Matt. xxiii. 15.


Chapter 49.--The Grace Promised by the Prophet for the New Covenant.

What then could the apostle have meant to imply by,--after checking the boasting of the Jews, by telling them that "not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified," [963] --immediately afterwards speaking of them "which, having not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law," [964] if in this description not they are to be understood who belong to the Mediator's grace, but rather they who, while not worshipping the true God with true godliness, do yet exhibit some good works in the general course of their ungodly lives? Or did the apostle perhaps deem it probable, because he had previously said that "with God there is no respect of persons," [965] and had afterwards said that "God is not the God of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles," [966] --that even such scanty little works of the law, as are suggested by nature, were not discovered in such as received not the law, except as the result of the remains of the image of God; which He does not disdain when they believe in Him, with whom there is no respect of persons? But whichever of these views is accepted, it is evident that the grace of God was promised to the new testament even by the prophet, and that this grace was definitively announced to take this shape,--God's laws were to be written in men's hearts; and they were to arrive at such a knowledge of God, that they were not each one to teach his neighbour and brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all were to know Him, from the least to the greatest of them. [967] This is the gift of the Holy Ghost, by which love is shed abroad in our hearts, [968] --not, indeed, any kind of love, but the love of God, "out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith," [969] by means of which the just man, while living in this pilgrim state, is led on, after the stages of "the glass," and "the enigma," and "what is in part," to the actual vision, that, face to face, he may know even as he is known. [970] For one thing has he required of the Lord, and that he still seeks after, that he may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, in order to behold the pleasantness of the Lord. [971]


[963] Rom. ii. 13.

[964] Rom. ii. 14.

[965] Rom. ii. 11.

[966] Rom. iii. 29.

[967] Jer. xxxi. 33, 34.

[968] Rom. v. 5.

[969] 1 Tim. i. 5.

[970] 1 Cor. xiii. 12.

[971] Ps. xxvii. 4.


Chapter 50 [XXIX.]--Righteousness is the Gift of God.

Let no man therefore boast of that which he seems to possess, as if he had not received it; [972] nor let him think that he has received it merely because the external letter of the law has been either exhibited to him to read, or sounded in his ear for him to hear. For "if righteousness is by the law, then Christ has died in vain." [973] Seeing, however, that if He has not died in vain, He has ascended up on high, and has led captivity captive, and has given gifts to men, [974] it follows that whosoever has, has from this source. But whosoever denies that he has from Him, either has not, or is in great danger of being deprived of what he has. [975] "For it is one God which justifies the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith;" [976] in which clauses there is no real difference in the sense, as if the phrase "by faith" meant one thing, and "through faith" another, but only a variety of expression. For in one passage, when speaking of the Gentiles,--that is, of the uncircumcision,--he says, "The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen by faith;" [977] and again, in another, when speaking of the circumcision, to which he himself belonged, he says, "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed in Jesus Christ." [978] Observe, he says that both the uncircumcision are justified by faith, and the circumcision through faith, if, indeed, the circumcision keep the righteousness of faith. For the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith, [979] --by obtaining it of God, not by assuming it of themselves. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. And why? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works [980] --in other words, working it out as it were by themselves, not believing that it is God who works within them. "For it is God which worketh in us both to will and to do of His own good pleasure." [981] And hereby "they stumbled at the stumbling-stone." [982] For what he said, "not by faith, but as it were by works," [983] he most clearly explained in the following words: "They, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." [984] Then are we still in doubt what are those works of the law by which a man is not justified, if he believes them to be his own works, as it were, without the help and gift of God, which is "by the faith of Jesus Christ?" And do we suppose that they are circumcision and the other like ordinances, because some such things in other passages are read concerning these sacramental rites too? In this place, however, it is certainly not circumcision which they wanted to establish as their own righteousness, because God established this by prescribing it Himself. Nor is it possible for us to understand this statement, of those works concerning which the Lord says to them, "Ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition;" [985] because, as the apostle says, Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness." [986] He did not say, Which followed after their own traditions, framing them and relying on them. This then is the sole distinction, that the very precept, "Thou shalt not covet," [987] and God's other good and holy commandments, they attributed to themselves; whereas, that man may keep them, God must work in him through faith in Jesus Christ, who is "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." [988] That is to say, every one who is incorporated into Him and made a member of His body, is able, by His giving the increase within, to work righteousness. It is of such a man's works that Christ Himself has said, "Without me ye can do nothing." [989]


[972] 1 Cor. iv. 7.

[973] Gal. ii. 21.

[974] Ps. lxviii. 18; Eph. iv. 8.

[975] Luke viii. 18; xix. 26.

[976] Rom. iii. 30.

[977] Gal. iii. 8.

[978] Gal. ii. 15, 16. [The discussion turns on the difference in the Latin prepositions ex and per, representing the Greek ek and dia.--W.]

[979] Rom. ix. 30.

[980] Rom. ix. 31, 32.

[981] Phil. ii. 13.

[982] Rom. ix. 32.

[983] Rom. ix. 32.

[984] Rom. x. 3, 4.

[985] Mark vii. 9.

[986] Rom. ix. 31.

[987] Ex. xx. 17.

[988] Rom. x. 4.

[989] John xv. 5.


Chapter 51.--Faith the Ground of All Righteousness.

The righteousness of the law is proposed in these terms,--that whosoever shall do it shall live in it; and the purpose is, that when each has discovered his own weakness, he may not by his own strength, nor by the letter of the law (which cannot be done), but by faith, conciliating the Justifier, attain, and do, and live in it. For the work in which he who does it shall live, is not done except by one who is justified. His justification, however, is obtained by faith; and concerning faith it is written, "Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring down Christ therefrom;) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is (says he), the word of faith which we preach: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." [990] As far as he is saved, so far is he righteous. For by this faith we believe that God will raise even us from the dead,--even now in the spirit, that we may in this present world live soberly, righteously, and godly in the renewal of His grace; and by and by in our flesh, which shall rise again to immortality, which indeed is the reward of the Spirit, who precedes it by a resurrection which is appropriate to Himself,--that is, by justification. "For we are buried with Christ by baptism unto death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." [991] By faith, therefore, in Jesus Christ we obtain salvation,--both in so far as it is begun within us in reality, and in so far as its perfection is waited for in hope; "for whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." [992] "How abundant," says the Psalmist, "is the multitude of Thy goodness, O Lord, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee, and hast perfected for them that hope in Thee!" [993] By the law we fear God; by faith we hope in God: but from those who fear punishment grace is hidden. And the soul which labours under this fear, since it has not conquered its evil concupiscence, and from which this fear, like a harsh master, has not departed,--let it flee by faith for refuge to the mercy of God, that He may give it what He commands, and may, by inspiring into it the sweetness of His grace through His Holy Spirit, cause the soul to delight more in what He teaches it, than it delights in what opposes His instruction. In this manner it is that the great abundance of His sweetness,--that is, the law of faith,--His love which is in our hearts, and shed abroad, is perfected in them that hope in Him, that good may be wrought by the soul, healed not by the fear of punishment, but by the love of righteousness.


[990] Rom. x. 6-9.

[991] Rom. vi. 4.

[992] Rom. x. 13; Joel ii. 32.

[993] Ps. xxxi. 19.


Chapter 52 [XXX.]--Grace Establishes Free Will.

Do we then by grace make void free will? God forbid! Nay, rather we establish free will. For even as the law by faith, so free will by grace, is not made void, but established. [994] For neither is the law fulfilled except by free will; but by the law is the knowledge of sin, by faith the acquisition of grace against sin, by grace the healing of the soul from the disease of sin, by the health of the soul freedom of will, by free will the love of righteousness, by love of righteousness the accomplishment of the law. Accordingly, as the law is not made void, but is established through faith, since faith procures grace whereby the law is fulfilled; so free will is not made void through grace, but is established, since grace cures the will whereby righteousness is freely loved. Now all the stages which I have here connected together in their successive links, have severally their proper voices in the sacred Scriptures. The law says: "Thou shall not covet." [995] Faith says: "Heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee." [996] Grace says: "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." [997] Health says: "O Lord my God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me." [998] Free will says: "I will freely sacrifice unto Thee." [999] Love of righteousness says: "Transgressors told me pleasant tales, but not according to Thy law, O Lord." [1000] How is it then that miserable men dare to be proud, either of their free will, before they are freed, or of their own strength, if they have been freed? They do not observe that in the very mention of free will they pronounce the name of liberty. But "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." [1001] If, therefore, they are the slaves of sin, why do they boast of free will? For by what a man is overcome, to the same is he delivered as a slave. [1002] But if they have been freed, why do they vaunt themselves as if it were by their own doing, and boast, as if they had not received? Or are they free in such sort that they do not choose to have Him for their Lord who says to them: "Without me ye can do nothing;" [1003] and "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed?" [1004]


[994] Rom. iii. 31.

[995] Ex. xx. 17.

[996] Ps. xli. 4.

[997] John v. 14.

[998] Ps. xxx. 2.

[999] Ps. liv. 6.

[1000] Ps. cxix. 85.

[1001] 2 Cor. iii. 17.

[1002] 2 Pet. ii. 19.

[1003] John xv. 5.

[1004] John viii. 36.


Chapter 53 [XXXI.]--Volition and Ability.

Some one will ask whether the faith itself, in which seems to be the beginning either of salvation, or of that series leading to salvation which I have just mentioned, is placed in our power. We shall see more easily, if we first examine with some care what "our power" means. Since, then, there are two things,--will and ability; it follows that not every one that has the will has therefore the ability also, nor has every one that possesses the ability the will also; for as we sometimes will what we cannot do, so also we sometimes can do what we do not will. From the words themselves when sufficiently considered, we shall detect, in the very ring of the terms, the derivation of volition from willingness, and of ability from ableness. [1005] Therefore, even as the man who wishes has volition, so also the man who can has ability. But in order that a thing may be done by ability, the volition must be present. For no man is usually said to do a thing with ability if he did it unwillingly. Although, at the same time, if we observe more precisely, even what a man is compelled to do unwillingly, he does, if he does it, by his volition; only he is said to be an unwilling agent, or to act against his will, because he would prefer some other thing. He is compelled, indeed, by some unfortunate influence, to do what he does under compulsion, wishing to escape it or to remove it out of his way. For if his volition be so strong that he prefers not doing this to not suffering that, then beyond doubt he resists the compelling influence, and does it not. And accordingly, if he does it, it is not with a full and free will, but yet it is not without will that he does it; and inasmuch as the volition is followed by its effect, we cannot say that he lacked the ability to do it. If, indeed, he willed to do it, yielding to compulsion, but could not, although we should allow that a coerced will was present, we should yet say that ability was absent. But when he did not do the thing because he was unwilling, then of course the ability was present, but the volition was absent, since he did it not, by his resistance to the compelling influence. Hence it is that even they who compel, or who persuade, are accustomed to say, Why don't you do what you have in your ability, in order to avoid this evil? While they who are utterly unable to do what they are compelled to do, because they are supposed to be able usually answer by excusing themselves, and say, I would do it if it were in my ability. What then do we ask more, since we call that ability when to the volition is added the faculty of doing? Accordingly, every one is said to have that in his ability which he does if he likes, and does not if he dislikes.


[1005] [That is, in the Latin, "voluntas" (choice, will, volition) comes from velle (to wish, desire, determine), and "potestas" (power, ability) from "posse" (to be able).--W.]


Chapter 54.--Whether Faith Be in a Man's Own Power.

Attend now to the point which we have laid down for discussion: whether faith is in our own power? We now speak of that faith which we employ when we believe anything, not that which we give when we make a promise; for this too is called faith. [1006] We use the word in one sense when we say, "He had no faith in me," and in another sense when we say, "He did not keep faith with me." The one phrase means, "He did not believe what I said;" the other, "He did not do what he promised." According to the faith by which we believe, we are faithful to God; but according to that whereby a thing is brought to pass which is promised, God Himself even is faithful to us; for the apostle declares, "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able." [1007] Well, now, the former is the faith about which we inquire, Whether it be in our power? even the faith by which we believe God, or believe on God. For of this it is written, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." [1008] And again, "To him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." [1009] Consider now whether anybody believes, if he be unwilling; or whether he believes not, if he shall have willed it. Such a position, indeed, is absurd (for what is believing but consenting to the truth of what is said? and this consent is certainly voluntary): faith, therefore, is in our own power. But, as the apostle says: "There is no power but comes from God," [1010] what reason then is there why it may not be said to us even of this: "What hast thou which thou hast not received?" [1011] --for it is God who gave us even to believe. Nowhere, however, in Holy Scripture do we find such an assertion as, There is no volition but comes from God. And rightly is it not so written, because it is not true: otherwise God would be the author even of sins (which Heaven forbid!), if there were no volition except what comes from Him; inasmuch as an evil volition alone is already a sin, even if the effect be wanting,--in other words, if it has not ability. But when the evil volition receives ability to accomplish its intention, this proceeds from the judgment of God, with whom there is no unrighteousness. [1012] He indeed punishes after this manner; nor is His chastisement unjust because it is secret. The ungodly man, however, is not aware that he is being punished, except when he unwillingly discovers by an open penalty how much evil he has willingly committed. This is just what the apostle says of certain men: "God hath given them up to the evil desires of their own hearts, . . .to do those things that are not convenient." [1013] Accordingly, the Lord also said to Pilate: "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." [1014] But still, when the ability is given, surely no necessity is imposed. Therefore, although David had received ability to kill Saul, he preferred sparing to striking him. [1015] Whence we understand that bad men receive ability for the condemnation of their depraved will, while good men receive ability for trying of their good will.


[1006] [That is, in Latin, faith ("fides") is both active and passive, and means both trust and trustworthiness, both faith and faithfulness. This is also true in English, as Augustin's own examples illustrate--W.]

[1007] 1 Cor. x. 13.

[1008] Rom. iv. 3; comp. Gen. xv. 6.

[1009] Rom. iv. 5.

[1010] Rom. xiii. 1.

[1011] 1 Cor. iv. 7.

[1012] Rom. ix. 14.

[1013] Rom. i. 24, 28.

[1014] John xix. 11.

[1015] 1 Sam. xxiv. 7, and xxvi. 9.


Chapter 55 [XXXII.]--What Faith is Laudable.

Since faith, then, is in our power, inasmuch as every one believes when he likes, and, when he believes, believes voluntarily; our next inquiry, which we must conduct with care, is, What faith it is which the apostle commends with so much earnestness? For indiscriminate faith is not good. Accordingly we find this caution: "Brethren, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God." [1016] Nor must the clause in commendation of love, that it "believeth all things," [1017] be so understood as if we should detract from the love of any one, if he refuses to believe at once what he hears. For the same love admonishes us that we ought not readily to believe anything evil about a brother; and when anything of the kind is said of him, does it not judge it to be more suitable to its character not to believe? Lastly, the same love, "which believeth all things," does not believe every spirit. Accordingly, charity believes all things no doubt, but it believes in God. Observe, it is not said, Believes in all things. It cannot therefore be doubted that the faith which is commended by the apostle is the faith whereby we believe in God. [1018]


[1016] 1 John iv. 1.

[1017] 1 Cor. xiii. 7.

[1018] Rom. iv. 3.


Chapter 56.--The Faith of Those Who are Under the Law Different from the Faith of Others.

But there is yet another distinction to be observed,--since they who are under the law both attempt to work their own righteousness through fear of punishment, and fail to do God's righteousness, because this is accomplished by the love to which only what is lawful is pleasing, and never by the fear which is forced to have in its work the thing which is lawful, although it has something else in its will which would prefer, if it were only possible, that to be lawful which is not lawful. These persons also believe in God; for if they had no faith in Him at all, neither would they of course have any dread of the penalty of His law. This, however, is not the faith which the apostle commends. He says: "Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." [1019] The fear, then, of which we speak is slavish; and therefore, even though there be in it a belief in the Lord, yet righteousness is not loved by it, but condemnation is feared. God's children, however, exclaim, "Abba, Father,"--one of which words they of the circumcision utter; the other, they of the uncircumcision,--the Jew first, and then the Greek; [1020] since there is "one God, which justifieth the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith." [1021] When indeed they utter this call, they seek something; and what do they seek, but that which they hunger and thirst after? And what else is this but that which is said of them, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled?" [1022] Let, then, those who are under the law pass over hither, and become sons instead of slaves; and yet not so as to cease to be slaves, but so as, while they are sons, still to serve their Lord and Father freely. For even this have they received; for the Only-begotten "gave them power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name;" [1023] and He advised them to ask, to seek, and to knock, in order to receive, to find, and to have the gate opened to them, [1024] adding by way of rebuke, the words : "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" [1025] When, therefore, that strength of sin, the law, [1026] inflamed the sting of death, even sin, to take occasion and by the commandment work all manner of concupiscence in them, [1027] of whom were they to ask for the gift of continence but of Him who knows how to give good gifts to His children? Perhaps, however, a man, in his folly, is unaware that no one can be continent except God give him the gift. To know this, indeed, he requires Wisdom herself. [1028] Why, then, does he not listen to the Spirit of his Father, speaking through Christ's apostle, or even Christ Himself, who says in His gospel, "Seek and ye shall find;" [1029] and who also says to us, speaking by His apostle: "If any one of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given to him. Let him, however, ask in faith, nothing wavering?" [1030] This is the faith by which the just man lives; [1031] this is the faith whereby he believes on Him who justifies the ungodly; [1032] this is the faith through which boasting is excluded, [1033] either by the retreat of that with which we become self-inflated, or by the rising of that with which we glory in the Lord. This, again, is the faith by which we procure that largess of the Spirit, of which it is said: "We indeed through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." [1034] But this admits of the further question, Whether he meant by "the hope of righteousness" that by which righteousness hopes, or that whereby righteousness is itself hoped for? For the just man, who lives by faith, hopes undoubtedly for eternal life; and the faith likewise, which hungers and thirsts for righteousness, makes progress therein by the renewal of the inward man day by day, [1035] and hopes to be satiated therewith in that eternal life, where shall be realized that which is said of God by the psalm: "Who satisfieth thy desire with good things." [1036] This, moreover, is the faith whereby they are saved to whom it is said: "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." [1037] This, in short, is the faith which works not by fear, but by love; [1038] not by dreading punishment, but by loving righteousness. Whence, therefore, arises this love,--that is to say, this charity,--by which faith works, if not from the source whence faith itself obtained it? For it would not be within us, to what extent soever it is in us, if it were not diffused in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us. [1039] Now "the love of God" is said to be shed abroad in our hearts, not because He loves us, but because He makes us lovers of Himself; just as "the righteousness of God" [1040] is used in the sense of our being made righteous by His gift; and "the salvation of the Lord," [1041] in that we are saved by Him; and "the faith of Jesus Christ," [1042] because He makes us believers in Him. This is that righteousness of God, which He not only teaches us by the precept of His law, but also bestows upon us by the gift of His Spirit.


[1019] Rom. viii. 15.

[1020] Rom. ii. 9.

[1021] Rom. iii. 30.

[1022] Matt. v. 6.

[1023] John i. 12.

[1024] See Matt. vii. 7.

[1025] Matt. vii. 11.

[1026] 1 Cor. xv. 56.

[1027] Rom. vii. 8.

[1028] Wisd. viii. 21.

[1029] Matt. vii. 7.

[1030] Jas. i. 5, 6.

[1031] Rom. i. 17.

[1032] Rom. iv. 5.

[1033] Rom. iii. 27.

[1034] Gal. v. 5.

[1035] 2 Cor. iv. 16.

[1036] Ps. ciii. 5.

[1037] Eph. ii. 8-10.

[1038] Gal. v. 6.

[1039] Rom. v. 5.

[1040] Rom. iii. 21.

[1041] Ps. iii. 8.

[1042] Gal. ii. 16.


Chapter 57 [XXXIII.]--Whence Comes the Will to Believe?

But it remains for us briefly to inquire, Whether the will by which we believe be itself the gift of God, or whether it arise from that free will which is naturally implanted in us? If we say that it is not the gift of God, we must then incur the fear of supposing that we have discovered some answer to the apostle's reproachful appeal: "What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" [1043] --even some such an answer as this: "See, we have the will to believe, which we did not receive. See in what we glory,--even in what we did not receive!" If, however, we were to say that this kind of will is nothing but the gift of God, we should then have to fear lest unbelieving and ungodly men might not unreasonably seem to have some fair excuse for their unbelief, in the fact that God has refused to give them this will. Now this that the apostle says, "It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure," [1044] belongs already to that grace which faith secures, in order that good works may be within the reach of man,--even the good works which faith achieves through the love which is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost which is given to us. If we believe that we may attain this grace (and of course believe voluntarily), then the question arises whence we have this will?--if from nature, why it is not at everybody's command, since the same God made all men? if from God's gift, then again, why is not the gift open to all, since "He will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth?" [1045]


[1043] 1 Cor. iv. 7.

[1044] Phil. ii. 13.

[1045] 1 Tim. ii. 4.


Chapter 58.--The Free Will of Man is an Intermediate Power.

Let us then, first of all, lay down this proposition, and see whether it satisfies the question before us: that free will, naturally assigned by the Creator to our rational soul, is such a neutral [1046] power, as can either incline towards faith, or turn towards unbelief. Consequently a man cannot be said to have even that will with which he believes in God, without having received it; since this rises at the call of God out of the free will which he received naturally when he was created. God no doubt wishes all men to be saved [1047] and to come into the knowledge of the truth; but yet not so as to take away from them free will, for the good or the evil use of which they may be most righteously judged. This being the case, unbelievers indeed do contrary to the will of God when they do not believe His gospel; nevertheless they do not therefore overcome His will, but rob their own selves of the great, nay, the very greatest, good, and implicate themselves in penalties of punishment, destined to experience the power of Him in punishments whose mercy in His gifts they despised. Thus God's will is for ever invincible; but it would be vanquished, unless it devised what to do with such as despised it, or if these despises could in any way escape from the retribution which He has appointed for such as they. Suppose a master, for example, who should say to his servants, I wish you to labour in my vineyard, and, after your work is done, to feast and take your rest but who, at the same time, should require any who refused to work to grind in the mill ever after. Whoever neglected such a command would evidently act contrary to the master's will; but he would do more than that,--he would vanquish that will, if he also escaped the mill. This, however, cannot possibly happen under the government of God. Whence it is written, "God hath spoken once,"--that is, irrevocably,--although the passage may refer also to His one only Word. [1048] He then adds what it is which He had irrevocably uttered, saying: "Twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God. Also unto Thee, O Lord, doth mercy belong: because Thou wilt render to every man according to his work." [1049] He therefore will be guilty unto condemnation under God's power, who shall think too contemptuously of His mercy to believe in Him. But whosoever shall put his trust in Him, and yield himself up to Him, for the forgiveness of all his sins, for the cure of all his corruption, and for the kindling and illumination of his soul by His warmth and light, shall have good works by his grace; and by them [1050] he shall be even in his body redeemed from the corruption of death, crowned, satisfied with blessings,--not temporal, but eternal,--above what we can ask or understand.


[1046] ["Media vis," a "midway power," as Dr. Bright translates it; i.e., it is indifferent in itself, and neither good nor bad, but may be used for either.--W.]

[1047] 1 Tim. ii. 4.

[1048] John i. 1.

[1049] Ps. lxii. 11, 12.

[1050] Ex quibus.


Chapter 59.--Mercy and Pity in the Judgment of God.

This is the order observed in the psalm, where it is said: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His recompenses; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercy; who satisfieth thy desire with good things." [1051] And lest by any chance these great blessings should be despaired of under the deformity of our old, that is, mortal condition, the Psalmist at once says, "Thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle's;" [1052] as much as to say, All that you have heard belongs to the new man and to the new covenant. Now let us consider together briefly these things, and with delight contemplate the praise of mercy, that is, of the grace of God. "Bless the Lord, O my soul," he says, "and forget not all His recompenses." Observe, he does not say blessings, but recompenses; [1053] because He recompenses evil with good. "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities:" this is done in the sacrament of baptism. "Who healeth all thy diseases:" this is effected by the believer in the present life, while the flesh so lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, that we do not the things we would; [1054] whilst also another law in our members wars against the law of our mind; [1055] whilst to will is present indeed to us but not how to perform that which is good. [1056] These are the diseases of a man's old nature which, however, if we only advance with persevering purpose, are healed by the growth of the new nature day by day, by the faith which operates through love. [1057] "Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;" this will take place at the resurrection of the dead in the last day. "Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercy;" this shall be accomplished in the day of judgment; for when the righteous King shall sit upon His throne to render to every man according to his works, who shall then boast of having a pure heart? or who shall glory of being clean from sin? It was therefore necessary to mention God's loving-kindness and tender mercy there, where one might expect debts to be demanded and deserts recompensed so strictly as to leave no room for mercy. He crowns, therefore, with loving-kindness and tender mercy; but even so according to works. For he shall be separated to the right hand, to whom, it is said, "I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat." [1058] There will, however, be also "judgment without mercy;" but it will be for him "that hath not showed mercy." [1059] But "blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy" [1060] of God. Then, as soon as those on the left hand shall have gone into eternal fire, the righteous, too, shall go into everlasting life, [1061] because He says: "This is life eternal, that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." [1062] And with this knowledge, this vision, this contemplation, shall the desire of their soul be satisfied; for it shall be enough for it to have this and nothing else,--there being nothing more for it to desire, to aspire to, or to require. It was with a craving after this full joy that his heart glowed who said to the Lord Christ, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us;" and to whom the answer was returned, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." [1063] Because He is Himself the eternal life, in order that men may know the one true God, Thee and whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ. If, however, he that has seen the Son has also seen the Father, then assuredly he who sees the Father and the Son sees also the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son. So we do not take away free will, whilst our soul blesses the Lord and forgets not all His recompenses; [1064] nor does it, in ignorance of God's righteousness, wish to set up one of its own; [1065] but it believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, [1066] and until it arrives at sight, it lives by faith,--even the faith which works by love. [1067] And this love is shed abroad in our hearts, not by the sufficiency of our own will, nor by the letter of the law, but by the Holy Ghost who has been given to us. [1068]


[1051] Ps. ciii. 2-5.

[1052] Ps. ciii. 5.

[1053] Non tributiones, sed retributiones.

[1054] Gal. v. 17.

[1055] Rom. vii. 23.

[1056] Rom. vii. 18.

[1057] Gal. v. 6.

[1058] Matt. xxv. 35.

[1059] Jas. ii. 13.

[1060] Matt. v. 7.

[1061] Matt. xxv. 46.

[1062] John xvii. 3.

[1063] John xiv. 8, 9.

[1064] Ps. ciii. 2.

[1065] Rom. x. 3.

[1066] Rom. iv. 5.

[1067] Gal. v. 6.

[1068] Rom. v. 5.


Chapter 60 [XXXIV.]--The Will to Believe is from God.

Let this discussion suffice, if it satisfactorily meets the question we had to solve. It may be, however, objected in reply, that we must take heed lest some one should suppose that the sin would have to be imputed to God which is committed by free will, if in the passage where it is asked, "What hast thou which thou didst not receive?" [1069] the very will by which we believe is reckoned as a gift of God, because it arises out of the free will which we received at our creation. Let the objector, however, attentively observe that this will is to be ascribed to the divine gift, not merely because it arises from our free will, which was created naturally with us; but also because God acts upon us by the incentives of our perceptions, to will and to believe, either externally by evangelical exhortations, where even the commands of the law also do something, if they so far admonish a man of his infirmity that he betakes himself to the grace that justifies by believing; or internally, where no man has in his own control what shall enter into his thoughts, although it appertains to his own will to consent or to dissent. Since God, therefore, in such ways acts upon the reasonable soul in order that it may believe in Him (and certainly there is no ability whatever in free will to believe, unless there be persuasion or summons towards some one in whom to believe), it surely follows that it is God who both works in man the willing to believe, and in all things prevents us with His mercy. To yield our consent, indeed, to God's summons, or to withhold it, is (as I have said) the function of our own will. And this not only does not invalidate what is said, "For what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" [1070] but it really confirms it. For the soul cannot receive and possess these gifts, which are here referred to, except by yielding its consent. And thus whatever it possesses, and whatever it receives, is from God; and yet the act of receiving and having belongs, of course, to the receiver and possessor. Now, should any man be for constraining us to examine into this profound mystery, why this person is so persuaded as to yield, and that person is not, there are only two things occurring to me, which I should like to advance as my answer: "O the depth of the riches!" [1071] and "Is there unrighteousness with God?" [1072] If the man is displeased with such an answer, he must seek more learned disputants; but let him beware lest he find presumptuous ones.


[1069] 1 Cor. iv. 7.

[1070] 1 Cor. iv. 7.

[1071] Rom. xi. 33.

[1072] Rom. ix. 14.


Chapter 61 [XXXV.]--Conclusion of the Work.

Let us at last bring our book to an end. I hardly know whether we have accomplished our purpose at all by our great prolixity. It is not in respect of you, [my Marcellinus,] that I have this misgiving, for I know your faith; but with reference to the minds of those for whose sake you wished me to write,--who so much in opposition to my opinion, but (to speak mildly, and not to mention Him who spoke in His apostles) certainly against not only the opinion of the great Apostle Paul, but also his strong, earnest, and vigilant conflict, prefer maintaining their own views with tenacity to listening to him, when he "beseeches them by the mercies of God," and tells them, "through the grace of God which was given to him, not to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God had dealt to every man the measure of faith." [1073]


[1073] Rom. xii. 1, 3.


Chapter 62.--He Returns to the Question Which Marcellinus Had Proposed to Him.

But I beg of you to advert to the question which you proposed to me, and to what we have made out of it in the lengthy process of this discussion. You were perplexed how I could have said that it was possible for a man to be without sin, if his will were not wanting, by the help of God's aid, although no man in the present life had ever lived, was living, or would live, of such perfect righteousness. Now, in the books which I formerly addressed to you, I set forth this very question. I said: "If I were asked whether it be possible for a man to be without sin in this life, I should allow the possibility, by the grace of God, and his own free will; for I should have no doubt that the free will itself is of God's grace,--that is, has its place among the gifts of God,--not only as to its existence, but also in respect of its goodness; that is, that it applies itself to doing the commandments of God. And so, God's grace not only shows what ought to be done, but also helps to the possibility of doing what it shows." [1074] You seemed to think it absurd, that a thing which was possible should be unexampled. Hence arose the subject treated of in this book; and thus did it devolve on me to show that a thing was possible although no example of it could be found. We accordingly adduced certain cases out of the gospel and of the law, at the beginning of this work,--such as the passing of a camel through the eye of a needle; [1075] and the twelve thousand legions of angels, who could fight for Christ, if He pleased; [1076] and those nations which God said He could have exterminated at once from the face of Hi