Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 6.--Why Pelagius Does Not Speak in His Own Person.
Pray, don't you see how Pelagius has inserted the whole of this paragraph in his writings, not in his own person, but in that of others, knowing so well the novelty of this unheard-of doctrine, which is now beginning to raise its voice against the ancient ingrafted opinion of the Church, that he was ashamed or afraid to acknowledge it himself? And perhaps he does not himself think that a man is born without sin for whom he confesses that baptism to be necessary by which comes the remission of sins; or that the man is condemned without sin who must be reckoned, when unbaptized, in the class of non-believers, since the gospel of course cannot deceive us, when it most clearly asserts, |He that believeth not shall be damned;| or, lastly, that the image of God, when without sin, is not admitted into the kingdom of God, forasmuch as |except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,| -- and so must either be precipitated into eternal death without sin, or, what is still more absurd, must have eternal life outside the kingdom of God; for the Lord, when foretelling what He should say to His people at last, -- |Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world,| -- also clearly indicated what the kingdom was of which He was speaking, by concluding thus: |So these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.| These opinions, then, and others which spring from the central error, I believe so worthy a man, and so good a Christian, does not at all accept, as being too perverse and repugnant to Christian truth. But it is quite possible that he may, by the very arguments of those who deny the transmission of sin, be still so far distressed as to be anxious to hear or know what can be said in reply to them; and on this account he was both unwilling to keep silent the tenets propounded by them who deny the transmission of sin, in order that he might get the question in due time discussed, and, at the same time, declined to report the opinions in his own person, lest he should be supposed to entertain them himself.