Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 17 [XVI.]--Does Pelagius Designedly Refrain from Openly Saying that All Good Action is from God?
|That we are able to speak,| says he, |is of God; but that we make a good or a bad use of speech is of ourselves.| He, however, who has made the most excellent use of speech does not teach us so. |For,| says He, |it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.| |So, again,| adds Pelagius, |that I may, by applying a general case in illustration, embrace all, -- that we are able to do, say, think, any good thing, comes from Him who has endowed us with this ability, and who also assists it.| Observe how even here he repeats his former meaning -- that of these three, capacity, volition, action, it is only the capacity which receives help. Then, by way of completely stating what he intends to say, he adds: |But that we really do a good thing, or speak a good word, or think a good thought, proceeds from our own selves.| He forgot what he had before said by way of correcting, as it were, his own words; for after saying, |Man is to be praised therefore for his willing and doing a good work,| he at once goes on to modify his statement thus: |Or rather, this praise belongs both to man, and to God who has given him the capacity of this very will and work.| Now what is the reason why he did not remember this admission when giving his examples, so as to say this much at least after quoting them: |That we are able to do, say, think any good thing, comes from Him who has given us this ability, and who also assists it. That, however, we really do a good thing, or speak a good word, or think a good thought, proceeds both from ourselves and from Him!| This, however, he has not said. But, if I am not mistaken, I think I see why he was afraid to do so.