Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 9.--The Third Item in the Accusation; And Pelagius' Answer.
Another statement was read which Pelagius had placed in his book, to this effect: |In the day of judgment no forbearance will be shown to the ungodly and the sinners, but they will be consumed in eternal fires.| This induced the brethren to regard the statement as open to the objection, that it seemed so worded as to imply that all sinners whatever were to be punished with an eternal punishment, without excepting even those who hold Christ as their foundation, although |they build thereupon wood, hay, stubble,| concerning whom the apostle writes: |If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he shall himself be saved, yet so as by fire.| When, however, Pelagius responded that |he had made his assertion in accordance with the Gospel, in which it is written concerning sinners, These shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into life eternal,'| it was impossible for Christian judges to be dissatisfied with a sentence which is written in the Gospel, and was spoken by the Lord; especially as they knew not what there was in the words taken from Pelagius' book which could so disturb the brethren, who were accustomed to hear his discussions and those of his followers. Since also they were absent who presented the indictment against Pelagius to the holy bishop Eulogius, there was no one to urge him that he ought to distinguish, by some exception, between those sinners who are to be saved by fire, and those who are to be punished with everlasting perdition. If, indeed, the judges had come to understand by these means the reason why the objection had been made to his statement, had he then refused to allow the distinction, he would have been justly open to blame.