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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 16

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 16 [XV.]—Pelagius’ Fraudulent and Crafty Excuses.

For what is the significance to the matter with which we now have to do of his answers to his followers, when he tells them that “the reason why he condemned the points which were objected against him, is because he himself maintains that primal sin was injurious not only to the first man, but to the whole human race, not by transmission, but by example;” in other words, not because those who have been propagated from him have derived any fault from him, but because all who afterwards have sinned, have imitated him who committed the first sin? Or when he says that “the reason why infants are not in the same state in which Adam was before the transgression, is because they are not yet able to receive the commandment, whereas he was able; and because they do not yet make use of that choice of a rational will which he certainly made use of, since otherwise no commandment would have been given to him”? How does such an exposition as this of the points alleged against him justify him in thinking that he rightly condemned the propositions, “Adam’s sin injured only himself, and not the whole race of man;” and “infants at their birth are in the self-same state in which Adam was before he sinned;” and that by the said condemnation he is not guilty of deceit in holding such opinions as are found in his subsequent writings, how that “infants are born without any evil or fault, and that there is nothing in them but what God has formed,”—no wound, in short, inflicted by an enemy?

Next: Chapter 17