Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 23
Chapter 23 [XXI.]—What He Means by Our Birth to an “Uncertain” Life.
Certain brethren, however, afterwards failed not to remind us that Pelagius possibly expressed himself in this way, because on this question he is represented as having his answer ready for all inquirers, to this effect: “As for infants who die unbaptized, I know indeed whither they go not; yet whither they go, I know not;” that is, I know they do not go into the kingdom of heaven. But as to whither they go, he was (and for the matter of that, still is 1948 ) in the habit of saying that he knew not, because he dared not say that those went to eternal death, who he was persuaded had never committed sin in this life, and whom he would not admit to have inherited original sin. Consequently those very words of his which were forwarded to Rome to secure his absolute acquittal, are so steeped in ambiguity that they afford a shelter for their doctrine, out of which may sally forth an heretical sense to entrap the unwary straggler; for when no one p. 244 is at hand who can give the answer, any solitary man may find himself weak.
Dicebat, aut dicit. These two latter words are not superfluous, as some have thought; they intimate that Pelagius still clave to his error.
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