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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Book I

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 217

A Treatise on the grace of christ, and on original sin,

by aurelius augustin, bishop of hippo;

In Two Books,

written against pelagius and cœlestius in the year a.d. 418.


Book I.

On the Grace of Christ.

Wherein he shows that Pelagius is disingenuous in his confession of grace, inasmuch as he places grace either in nature and free will, or in law and teaching; and, moreover, asserts that it is merely the “possibility” (as he calls it) of will and action, and not the will and action itself, which is assisted by divine grace; and that this assisting grace, too, is given by God according to men’s merits; whilst he further thinks that they are so assisted for the sole purpose of being able the more easily to fulfil the commandments. Augustin examines those passages of his writings in which he boasted that he had bestowed express commendation on the grace of God, and points out how they can be interpreted as referring to law and teaching,—in other words, to the divine revelation and the example of Christ which are alike included in “the teaching,”—or else to the remission of sins; nor do they afford any evidence whatever that Pelagius really acknowledged Christian grace, in the sense of help rendered for the performance of right action to natural faculty and instruction, by the inspiration of a most glowing and luminous love; and he concludes with a request that Pelagius would seriously listen to Ambrose, whom he is so very fond of quoting, in his excellent eulogy in commendation of the grace of God.

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