Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 33 [XXXI.]--Pelagius Professes Nothing on the Subject of Grace Which May Not Be Understood of the Law and Teaching.
|See,| he says, |how this epistle will clear me before your Blessedness; for in it we clearly and simply declare, that we possess a free will which is unimpaired for sinning and for not sinning; and this free will is in all good works always assisted by divine help.| Now you perceive, by the understanding which the Lord has given you, that these words of his are inadequate to solve the question. For it is still open to us to inquire what the help is by which he would say that the free will is assisted; lest perchance he should, as is usual with him, maintain that law and teaching are meant. If, indeed, you were to ask him why he used the word |always,| he might answer: Because it is written, And in His law will he meditate day and night.| Then, after interposing a statement about the condition of man, and his natural capacity for sinning and not sinning, he added the following words: |Now this power of free will we declare to reside generally in all alike -- in Christians, in Jews, and in Gentiles. In all men free will exists equally by nature, but in Christians alone is it assisted by grace.| We again ask: |By what grace?| And again he might answer: |By the law and the Christian teaching.|