Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 28 [XXV.]--The Disposition of Nearly All Who Go Astray. With Some Heretics Our Business Ought Not to Be Disputation, But Prayer.
Man's proud mind has no relish at all for this; God, however, is great, in persuading even it how to find it all out. We are, indeed, more inclined to seek how best to reply to such arguments as oppose our error, than to experience how salutary would be our condition if we were free from error. We ought, therefore, to encounter all such, not by discussions, but rather by prayers both for them and for ourselves. For we never say to them, what this opponent has opposed to himself, that |sin was necessary in order that there might be a cause for God's mercy.| Would there had never been misery to render that mercy necessary! But the iniquity of sin, -- which is so much the greater in proportion to the ease wherewith man might have avoided sin, whilst no infirmity did as yet beset him, -- has been followed closely up by a most righteous punishment; even that [offending man] should receive in himself a reward in kind of his sin, losing that obedience of his body which had been in some degree put under his own control, which he had despised when it was the right of his Lord. And, inasmuch as we are now born with the self-same law of sin, which in our members resists the law of our mind, we ought never to murmur against God, nor to dispute in opposition to the clearest fact, but to seek and pray for His mercy instead of our punishment.