Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 24.--Pelagius' Long Residence at Rome.
The truth indeed is, that in the book of his faith which he sent to Rome with this very letter to the before-mentioned Pope Innocent, to whom also he had written the letter, he only the more evidently exposed himself by his efforts at concealment. He says: |We hold one baptism, which we say ought to be administered in the same sacramental words in the case of infants as in the case of adults.| He did not, however, say, |in the same sacrament| (although if he had so said, there would still have been ambiguity), but |in the same sacramental words,| -- as if remission of sins in infants were declared by the sound of the words, and not wrought by the effect of the acts. For the time, indeed, he seemed to say what was agreeable with the catholic faith; but he had it not in his power permanently to deceive that see. Subsequent to the rescript of the African Council, into which province this pestilent doctrine had stealthily made its way -- without, however, spreading widely or sinking deeply -- other opinions also of this man were by the industry of some faithful brethren discovered and brought to light at Rome, where he had dwelt for a very long while, and had already engaged in sundry discourses and controversies. In order to procure the condemnation of these opinions, Pope Zosimus, as you may read, annexed them to his letter, which he wrote for publication throughout the catholic world. Among these statements, Pelagius, pretending to expound the Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Romans, argues in these words: |If Adam's sin injured those who have not sinned, then also Christ's righteousness profits those who do not believe.| He says other things, too, of the same purport; but they have all been refuted and answered by me with the Lord's help in the books which I wrote, On the Baptism of Infants. But he had not the courage to make those objectionable statements in his own person in the fore-mentioned so-called exposition. This particular one, however, having been enunciated in a place where he was so well known, his words and their meaning could not be disguised. In those books, from the first of which I have already before quoted, he treats this point without any suppression of his views. With all the energy of which he is capable, he most plainly asserts that human nature in infants cannot in any wise be supposed to be corrupted by propagation; and by claiming salvation for them as their due, he does despite to the Saviour.