Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 12 [XI.]--In Our Discussions About Grace, We Do Not Speak of that Which Relates to the Constitution of Our Nature, But to Its Restoration.
I confess to your love, that when I read those words I was filled with a sudden joy, because he did not deny the grace of God by which alone a man can be justified; for it is this which I mainly detest and dread in discussions of this kind. But when I went on to read the rest, I began to have my suspicions, first of all, from the similes he employs. For he says: |If I were to say, man is able to dispute; a bird is able to fly; a hare is able to run; without mentioning at the same time the instruments by which these acts can be accomplished -- that is, the tongue, the wings, and the legs; should I then have denied the conditions of the various offices, when I acknowledged the very offices themselves?| It is at once apparent that he has here instanced such things as are by nature efficient; for the members of the bodily structure which are here mentioned are created with natures of such a kind -- the tongue, the wings, the legs. He has not here posited any such thing as we wish to have understood by grace, without which no man is justified; for this is a topic which is concerned about the cure, not the constitution, of natural functions. Entertaining, then, some apprehensions, I proceeded to read all the rest, and I soon found that my suspicions had not been unfounded.