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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise Against Two Letters of the...: Chapter 11

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 11 [VI.]—The Purpose of the Pelagians in Praising the Innocence of Conjugal Intercourse.

Yet what it is they wish, what they purpose, to what result they are striving to bring the matter, the words that are added by that writer declare, when he asserts that I say, “that therefore they who are born innocent are guilty, and that it is the work of the devil, not of God, that they are born of this diabolical intercourse.” Since, therefore, I neither say that this intercourse of husband and wife is diabolical, especially in the case of believers, which is effected for the sake of generating children who are afterwards to be regenerated; nor that any men are made by the devil, but, in so far as they are men, by God; and nevertheless that even of believing husband and wife are born guilty persons (as if a wild olive were produced from an olive), 2549 on account of original sin, and on this account they are under the devil unless they are born again in Christ, because the devil is the author of the fault, not of the nature: what, on the other hand, are they labouring to bring about who say that infants inherit no original sin, and therefore are not under the devil, except that that grace of God in infants may be made of no effect, by which He has plucked us out, as the apostle says, from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love? 2550 [VII.] When, indeed, they deny that infants are in the power of darkness even before the help of the Lord the deliverer, they are in such wise praising in them the Creator’s work as to destroy the mercy of the Redeemer. And because I confess this both in grown-up people and in infants, he says that this is without any ambiguity Manicheism, although it is the most ancient catholic dogma by which the new heretical dogma of these men is overturned.



On Marriage and Concupiscence, i. 37.


1 Cor. i. 13.

Next: Chapter 12