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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on Nature and Grace.: Chapter 44

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 44.—Pelagius Argues that Abel Was Sinless.

This, however, even he probably observed, and therefore he went on to say: “But, granted that it has sometimes abstained, in a numerous crowd, from narrating the sins of all; still, in the very beginning of the world, when there were only four persons in existence, what reason (asks he) have we to give why it chose not to mention the sins of all? Was it in consideration of the vast multitude, which had not yet come into existence? or because, having mentioned only the sins of those who had transgressed, it was unable to record any of him who had not yet committed sin?” And then he proceeds to add some words, in which he unfolds this idea with a fuller and more explicit illustration. “It is certain,” says he, “that in the earliest age Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel their sons, are mentioned as being the only four persons then in being. Eve sinned,—the Scripture distinctly says so much; Adam also transgressed, as the same Scripture does not fail to inform us; whilst it affords us an equally clear testimony that Cain also sinned: and of all these it not only mentions the sins, but also indicates the character of their sins. Now if Abel had likewise sinned, Scripture would without doubt have said so. But it has not said so, therefore he committed no sin; nay, it even shows him to have been righteous. What we read, therefore, let us believe; and what we do not read, let us deem it wicked to add.”

Next: Chapter 45

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