Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 46 [XXXIX.]--Shall We Follow Scripture, or Add to Its Declarations?
It is, to be sure, a grand sentence with which he concluded this passage, when he says: |What we read, therefore, let us believe; and what we do not read, let us deem it wicked to add; and let it suffice to have said this of all cases.| On the contrary, I for my part say that we ought not to believe even everything that we read, on the sanction of the apostle's advice: |Read all things; hold fast that which is good.| Nor is it wicked to add something which we have not read; for it is in our power to add something which we have bona fideexperienced as witnesses, even if it so happens that we have not read about it. Perhaps he will say in reply: |When I said this, I was treating of the Holy Scriptures.| Oh how I wish that he were never willing to add, I will not say anything but what he reads in the Scriptures, but in opposition to what he reads in them; that he would only faithfully and obediently hear that which is written there: |By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men; in which all have sinned;| and that he would not weaken the grace of the great Physician, -- all by his unwillingness to confess that human nature is corrupted! Oh how I wish that he would, as a Christian, read the sentence, |There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved;| and that he would not so uphold the possibility of human nature, as to believe that man can be saved by free will without that Name!