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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 52

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 234

Chapter 52 [XLVII.]—If Pelagius Agrees with Ambrose, Augustin Has No Controversy with Him.

Inasmuch, however, as the discussion about free will and God’s grace has such difficulty in its distinctions, that when free will is maintained, God’s grace is apparently denied; whilst when God’s grace is asserted, free will is supposed to be done away with,—Pelagius can so involve himself in the shades of this obscurity as to profess agreement with all that we have quoted from St. Ambrose, and declare that such is, and always has been, his opinion also; and endeavour so to explain each, that men may suppose his opinion, to be in fair accord with Ambrose’s. So far therefore, as concerns the questions of God’s help and grace, you are requested to observe the three things which he has distinguished so very plainly, under the terms “ability,” “will,” and “actuality,” that is, “capacity,” “volition,” and “action.” 1913 If, then, he has come round to an agreement with us, then not the “capacity” alone in man, even if he neither wills nor performs the good, but the volition and the action also,—in other words, our willing well and doing well,—things which have no existence in man, except when he has a good will and acts rightly:—if, I repeat, he thus consents to hold with us that even the volition and the action are assisted by God, and so assisted that we can neither will nor do any good thing without such help; if, too, he believes that this is that very grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ which makes us righteous through His righteousness, and not our own, so that our true righteousness is that which we have of Him,—then, so far as I can judge, there will remain no further controversy between us concerning the assistance we have from the grace of God.



See above, ch. 4.

Next: Chapter 53

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