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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 5

Early Church Fathers  Index     

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.”

Next: Chapter 6

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