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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on Nature and Grace.: Chapter 47

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 47 [XL.]—For What Pelagius Thought that Christ is Necessary to Us.

Perhaps, however, he thinks the name of Christ to be necessary on this account, that by His gospel we may learn how we ought to live; but not that we may be also assisted by His grace, in order withal to lead good lives. Well, even this consideration should lead him at least to confess that there is a miserable darkness in the human mind, which knows how it ought to tame a lion, but knows not how to live. To know this, too, is it enough for us to have free will and natural law? This is that wisdom of word, whereby “the cross of Christ is rendered of none effect.” 1244 He, however, who said, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,” 1245 since that cross cannot be made of none effect, in very deed overthrows that wisdom by the foolishness of preaching whereby believers are healed. For if natural capacity, by help of free will, is in itself sufficient both for discovering how one ought to live, and also for leading a holy life, then “Christ died in vain,” 1246 and therefore also “the offence of the cross is ceased.” 1247 Why also may I not myself exclaim?—nay, I will exclaim, and chide them with a Christian’s sorrow,—“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by nature; ye are fallen from grace;” 1248 for, “being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and wishing to establish your own righteousness, you have not submitted yourselves to the righteousness of God.” 1249 For even as “Christ is the end of the law,” so likewise is He the Saviour of man’s corrupted nature, “for righteousness to every one that believeth.” 1250



1 Cor. i. 17.


1 Cor. i. 19.


Gal. ii. 21.


Gal. v. 11.


Gal. v. 4.


Rom. x. 3.


Rom. x. 4.

Next: Chapter 48

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