Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 3 [III.]--Conjugal Chastity the Gift of God.
That chastity in the married state is God's gift, is shown by the most blessed Paul, when, speaking on this very subject, he says: |But I would that all men were even as I myself: but every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.| Observe, he tells us that this gift is from God; and although he classes it below that continence in which he would have all men to be like himself, he still describes it as a gift of God. Whence we understand that, when these precepts are given to us in order that we should do them, nothing else is stated than that there ought to be within us our own will also for receiving and having them. When, therefore, these are shown to be gifts of God, it is meant that they must be sought from Him if they are not already possessed; and if they are possessed, thanks must be given to Him for the possession; moreover, that our own wills have but small avail for seeking, obtaining, and holding fast these gifts, unless they be assisted by God's grace.