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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
On Marriage and Concupiscence.: Chapter 44

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 44 [XXVII.]—The Pelagians Argue that If Sin Comes by Birth, All Married People Deserve Condemnation.

What, then, is his object when he inquires of us, “By what means sin may be found in an infant, through the will, or through marriage, or through its parents”? He speaks, indeed, in such a way as if he had an answer to all these questions, and as if by clearing all of sin together he would have nothing remain in the infant whence sin could be found. I beg your attention to his very words: “Through what,” says he, “is sin found in an infant? Through the will? But there has never been one in him? Through marriage? But this appertains to the parents’ work, of whom you had previously declared that in this action they had not sinned; though it appears from your subsequent words that you did not make this concession truly. Marriage, therefore,” he says, “must be condemned, since it furnished the cause of the evil. Yet marriage only indicates the work of personal agents. The parents, therefore, who by their coming together afforded occasion for the sin, are properly dep. 301 serving of the condemnation. It does not then admit of doubt,” says he, “any longer, if we are to follow your opinion, that married persons are handed over to eternal punishment, it being by their means brought about that the devil has come to exercise dominion over men. And what becomes of what you just before had said, that man was the work of God? Because if through their birth it happens that evil is in men, and through the evil that the devil has power over men, so in fact you declare the devil to be the author of men, from whom comes their origin at birth. If, however, you believe that man is made by God, and that husband and wife are innocent, see how impossible is your standpoint, that original sin is derived from them.”

Next: Chapter 45

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