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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 11

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 11 [X.]—Pelagius’ Definition of How God Helps Us: “He Promises Us Future Glory.”

For in another passage, after asserting at length that it is not by the help of God, but out of our own selves, that a good will is formed within us, he confronted himself with a question out of the apostle’s epistle; and he asked this question: “How will this stand consistently with the apostle’s words, 1803 ‘It is God that worketh in you both to will and to perfect’?” Then, in order to obviate this opposing authority, which he plainly saw to be most thoroughly contrasted with his own dogma, he went on at once to add: “He works in us to will what is good, to will what is holy, when He rouses us from our devotion to earthly desires, and from our love of the present only, after the manner of brute animals, by the magnitude of the future glory and the promise of its rewards; when by revealing wisdom to us He stirs up our sluggish will to a longing after God; when (what you are not afraid to deny in another passage) he persuades us to everything which is good.” Now what can be plainer, than that by the grace whereby God works within us to will what is good, he means nothing else than the law and the teaching? For in the law and the teaching of the holy Scriptures are promised future glory and its great rewards. To the teaching also appertains the revelation of wisdom, whilst it is its further function to direct our thoughts to everything that is good. And if between teaching and persuading (or rather exhorting) there seems to be a difference, yet even this is provided for in the general term “teaching,” which is contained in the several discourses or letters; for the holy Scriptures both teach and exhort, and in the processes of teaching and exhorting there is room likewise for man’s operation. We, however, on our side would fain have him sometime confess that grace, by which not only future glory in all its magnitude is promised, but also is believed in and hoped for; by which wisdom is not only rep. 221 vealed, but also loved; by which everything that is good is not only recommended, but pressed upon us until we accept it. For all men do not possess faith, 1804 who hear the Lord in the Scriptures promising the kingdom of heaven; nor are all men persuaded, who are counselled to come to Him, who says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour.” 1805 They, however, who have faith are the same who are also persuaded to come to Him. This He Himself set forth most plainly, when He said, “No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.” 1806 And some verses afterwards, when speaking of such as believe not, He says, “Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me except it were given unto him of my Father.” 1807 This is the grace which Pelagius ought to acknowledge, if he wishes not only to be called a Christian, but to be one.



Phil. ii. 13.


2 Thess. iii. 2.


Matt. xi. 28.


John vi. 44.


John vi. 65.

Next: Chapter 12