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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Work on the Proceedings of Pelagius.: Chapter 42

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 42 [XVIII.]—The Twelfth Item in the Accusation. Other Heads of Cœlestius’ Doctrine Abjured by Pelagius.

For it was objected that in the sixth chapter of Cœlestius’ work there was laid down this position: “Men cannot be called sons of God, unless they have become entirely free from all sin.” It follows from this statement, that not even the Apostle Paul is a child of God, since he said: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.” 1741 In the seventh chapter he makes this statement: “Forgetfulness and ignorance have no connection with sin, as they do not happen through the will, but through necessity;” although David says: “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my sins of ignorance;” 1742 although too, in the law, sacrifices are offered for ignorance, as if for sin. 1743 In his tenth chapter he says: “Our will is free, if it needs the help of God; inasmuch as every one in the possession of his proper will has either something to do or to abstain from doing.” In the twelfth he says: “Our victory comes not from God’s help, but from our own free will.” And this is a conclusion which he was said to draw in the following terms: “The victory is ours, seeing that we took up arms of our own will; just as, on the other hand, being conquered is our own, since it was of our own will that we neglected to arm ourselves.” And, after quoting the phrase of the Apostle Peter, “partakers of the divine nature,” 1744 he is said to have made out of it this argument: “Now if our spirit or soul is unable to be without sin, then even God is subject to sin, since this part of Him, that is to say, the soul, is exposed to sin.” In his thirteenth chapter he says: “That pardon is not given to penitents according to the grace and mercy of God, but according to their own merits and effort, since through repentance they have been worthy of mercy.”



Phil. iii. 12.


Ps. xxv. 7.


See Lev. iv.


2 Pet. i. 4.

Next: Chapter 43

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