Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
On Marriage and Concupiscence.: Preliminary Notes on the Second Book.
preliminary notes on the second book.
(1) From the Preface of Augustins “Unfinished Work Against Julianus.”
I Wrote a treatise, under the title On Marriage and Concupiscence, and addressed it to the Count Valerius, on learning that he had been informed of the Pelagians that they charge us with condemning marriage. Now in that treatise I showed the distinction, as criticially and accurately as I was able, between the good of marriage and the evil of carnal concupiscence,—an evil which is well used by conjugal chastity. On receiving my treatise, the illustrious man whom I have named sent me in a short paper 2191 a few sentences culled from a work of Julianus, 2192 a Pelagian heretic. In this work he has thought fit to extend to four books his answer to the before-mentioned treatise of mine, which is limited to one book only, On Marriage and Concupiscence. I do not know to whom we were indebted for the said extracts: he confined his selection, evidently on purpose, to the first book of Julianus work. At the request of Valerius, I lost no time in drawing up my answer to the extracts. And thus it happened that I have written a second book also under the same title; and in reply to this Julianus has drawn up to eight books, in excess of his loquacious powers.
(2) From Augustins Epistle to Claudius [CCVII.].
“Whoever has perused this second book of mine, addressed (as the first was) to the Count Valerius, and drawn up (as, indeed, both were) for his use, will have discovered that there are some points in which I have not answered Julianus, but that I meant my work rather for him who made the extracts from that writers books, and who did not arrange them in the order in which he found them. He deemed some considerable alteration necessary in his arrangement, very probably with the view of appropriating by this method as his own the thoughts which evidently were another persons.”p. 283
Book II. 2193
Augustin, in this latter book, refutes sundry sentences which had been culled by some unknown author from the first of four books that Julianus had published in opposition to the former book of his treatise “On Marriage and Concupiscence;” which sentences had been forwarded to him at the instance of the Count Valerius. He vindicates the Catholic doctrine of original sin from his opponents cavils and subtleties, and particularly shows how diverse it is from the infamous heresy of the Manicheans.
[This able and learned man was much the most formidable of the Pelagian writers. Besides this book, Augustin wrote three large works against him, the treatise Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, and the two treatises Against Julian the last of which is usually called The Unfinished Work from the circumstance that Augustin left it incomplete at his death. Julian was a son of a dear friend of Augustin, and was himself much loved by him. He became a “lector” in 404, and was ordained bishop by Innocent I. about 417. Under Zosimus vacillating policy he took strong ground on the Pelagian side, and, refusing to sign Zosimus Tractoria, was exiled with his seventeen fellow-recusants, and passed his long life in vain endeavours to obtain recognition for the Pelagian party. His writings included two letters to Zosimus, a Confession of Faith, the two letters answered in Against Two Letters of the Pelagians (though he seems to have repudiated the former of these), and two large books against Augustin, the first of which was his four books against the first book of the present treatise, against extracts from which the second book was written, whilst Augustins Against Julian, in six books, traverses the whole work. To this second book Julian replied in a rejoinder addressed to Florus, and consisting of eight books. Augustins Unfinished Work is a reply to this. Julians character was as noble as his energy was great and his pen acute. He stands out among his fellow-Pelagians as the sufferer for conscience sake. A full account of his works may be read in the Preface to Augustins Unfinished Work, with which may be compared the article on him in Smith and Waces Dictionary of Christian Biography—W.]283:2193
Written A.D. 420.
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