All Coptic Links - Coptic Directory - Orthodox Church Directory The Agbeya - The Coptic Book of Prayers (English Agbiya + Arabic Agpeya) English Bible + Holy Bible in other languages - Arabic, French, Ethiopian Amharic Holy Bible, ArabicBible, Enjeel Saint Takla dot org - Main page - English Photo and Image Gallery: Jesus - Mary - Saints - St. Takla - Church - Priests - Bible - Activities - pictures and Icons.. Download and listen to Hymns - Carols - Midnight Praise (Tasbeha) - Midis - Videos - Liturgies - Masses - Sermons - Online Streaming   Coptic Church Website Logo of Saint Takla Haymanot the Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox Website - Alexandria - Egypt - موقع الأنبا تكلا هيمانوت القبطي الأرثوذكسي FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions and Answers - Coptic and Christan Q&A - Faith, Creed, Site, Youth, Family, Holy Bible Contact Us - Address - Map - Online Support Send a free Christian and Coptic Greeting Cards to your friends موقع الكنيسة القبطية باللغة العربية - الموقع العربي StTaklaorg Site News and Updates Downloads.. Winamp Skins - Coptic fonts - Agbeya - Software - Freeware - Icons - Gallery - Mp3s Feedback - Submit URL - ideas - Suggestions.. Kids' Corner - Coloring - Songs - Games - Stories Free Coptic Books - Christian Arabic Books, Orthodox English Books  

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Spirit and the Letter.: Extract from Augustin’s Retractations.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 80

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 cerimoniæ711 —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.



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.


2 Cor. iii. 6.


See chap. 36 [xxi.].

Next: Argument.

Send this page to a friend

St. Takla Church - Main Index111111111 - Commentary on the New Testament by Matthew Henry تفسير العهد القديم - متى هنرى

Like & share

© Saint Takla Haymanout Website: Coptic Orthodox Church - Alexandria, Egypt / URL: / Contact us at