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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Predestination of the...: Chapter 29

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 29.—God’s True Grace Could Be Defended Even If There Were No Original Sin, as Pelagius Maintains.

But God’s grace, that is, true grace without merits, is maintained, even if infants, when baptized, according to the view of the Pelagians, are not plucked out of the power of darkness, because they are held guilty of no sin, as the Pelagians think, but are only transferred into the Lord’s kingdom: for even thus, without any good merits, the kingdom is given to those to whom it is given; and without any evil merits it is not given to them to whom it is not given. And this we are in the habit of saying in opposition to the same Pelagians, when they object to us that we attribute God’s grace to fate, when we say that it is given not in respect to our merits. For they themselves rather attribute God’s grace to fate in the case of infants, if they say that when there is no merit it is fate. 3619 Certainly, even according to the Pelagians themselves, no merits can be found in infants to cause that some of them should be admitted into the kingdom, and others should be alienated from the kingdom. But now, just as in order to show that God’s grace is not given according to our merits, I preferred to maintain this truth in accordance with both opinions,—both in accordance with our own, to wit, who say that infants are bound by original sin, and according to that of the Pelagians, who deny that there is original sin, and yet I cannot on that account doubt that infants have what He can pardon them who saves His people from their sins: so in the third book on Free Will, according to both views, I have withstood the Manicheans, whether ignorance and difficulty be punishments or elements of nature without which no man is born; and yet I hold one of these views. There, moreover, it is sufficiently evidently declared by me, that that is not the nature of man as he was ordained, but his punishment as condemned.



See above, Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, Book ii. chs. 11, 12.

Next: Chapter 30

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