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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 13

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 13 [XII.]—Cœlestius the Bolder Heretic; Pelagius the More Subtle.

You see, indeed, not to mention other points, how that Pelagius pronounced his anathema against those who hold that “Adam’s sin injured only himself, and not the human race; and that infants are at their birth in the same condition in which Adam was before the transgression.” Now what else could the bishops who sat in judgment on him have possibly understood him to mean by this, but that the sin of Adam is transmitted to infants? It was to avoid making such an admission that Cœlestius refused to condemn this statement, which this man on the contrary anathematized. If, therefore, I shall show that he did not really entertain any other opinion concerning infants than that they are born without any contagion of a single sin, what difference will there remain on this question between him and Cœlestius, except this, that the one is more open, the other more reserved; the one more pertinacious, the other more mendacious; or, at any rate, that the one is more candid, the other more astute? For, the one before the church of Carthage refused to condemn what he afterwards in the church at Rome publicly confessed to be a tenet of his own; at the same time professing himself “ready to submit to correction if an error had stolen over him, considering that he was but human;” whereas the other both condemned this dogma as being contrary to the truth lest he should himself be condemned by his catholic judges, and yet kept it in reserve for subsequent defence, so that either his condemnation was a lie, or his interpretation a trick.

Next: Chapter 14

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