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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Work on the Proceedings of Pelagius.: Chapter 24

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 24.—Pelagius’ Answer to the Charges Brought Together Under the Seventh Item.

The following, as the proceedings testify, was Pelagius’ own answer to these charges against him: “Concerning a man’s being able indeed to be without sin, we have spoken,” says he, “already; concerning the fact, however, that before the Lord’s coming there were persons without sin, we say now that, previous to Christ’s advent, some men lived holy and righteous lives, according to the teaching of the sacred Scriptures. The rest were not said by me, as even their testimony goes to show, and for them, I p. 194 do not feel that I am responsible. But for the satisfaction of the holy synod, I anathematize those who either now hold, or have ever held, these opinions.” After hearing this answer of his, the synod said: “With regard to these charges aforesaid, Pelagius has in our presence given us sufficient and proper satisfaction, by anathematizing the opinions which were not his.” We see, therefore, and maintain that the most pernicious evils of this heresy have been condemned, not only by Pelagius, but also by the holy bishops who presided over that inquiry:—that “Adam was made mortal;” (and, that the meaning of this statement might be more clearly understood, it was added, “and he would have died whether he had sinned or not sinned;”) that his sin injured only himself and not the human race; that the law, no less than the gospel, leads us to the kingdom of heaven; that new born infants are in the same condition that Adam was before the fall; that the entire human race does not, on the one hand, die through Adam’s death and transgression, nor, on the other hand, does the whole human race rise again through the resurrection of Christ; that infants, even if they die unbaptized, have eternal life; that rich men even if baptized, unless they renounce and give up all, have, whatever good they may seem to have done, nothing of it reckoned to them, neither can they possess the kingdom of God;”—all these opinions, at any rate, were clearly condemned in that ecclesiastical court,—Pelagius pronouncing the anathema, and the bishops the interlocutory sentence.

Next: Chapter 25