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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Soul and its Origin.: Chapter 33

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 33.—Augustin Has No Objection to the Opinion About the Propagation of Souls Being Refuted, and that About Their Insufflation Being Maintained.

As for the opinion, that new souls are created by inbreathing without being propagated, we certainly do not in the least object to its maintenance,—only let it be by persons who have succeeded in discovering some new evidence, either in the canonical Scriptures, in the shape of unambiguous testimony towards the solution of a most knotty question, or else in their own reasonings, such as shall not be opposed to catholic truth, but not by such persons as this man has shown himself to be. Unable to find anything worth saying, and at the same time unwilling to suspend his disputatious propensity, without measuring his strength at all, in order to avoid saying nothing, he boldly affirmed that “the soul deserved to be polluted by the flesh,” and that “the soul deserved to become sinful;” though previous to its incarnation he was unable to discover any merit in it, whether good or evil. Moreover, that “in infants departing from the body without baptism original sin may be remitted, and that the sacrifice of Christ’s body must be offered for them,” who have not been incorporated into Christ through His sacraments in His Church, and that “they, quitting this present life without the laver of regeneration, not only can go to rest, but can even attain to the kingdom of heaven.” He has propounded a good many other absurdities, which it would be evidently tedious to collect together, and to consider in this treatise. If the doctrine of the propagation of souls is false, may its refutation not be the work of such disputants; and may the defence of the rival principle of the insufflation of new souls in every creative act, proceed from better hands.

Next: Chapter 34

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