Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 56.--The Pelagians Allow that Christ Died Even for Infants; Julianus Slays Himself with His Own Sword.
But whatever opinion he may entertain about the shame-causing concupiscence of the flesh, I must request your attention to what he has said respecting infants (and it is in their behalf that we labour), as to their being supposed to need a Saviour, if they are not to die without salvation. I repeat his words once more: |You assert,| says he to me, |that they, indeed, who have not been ever born might possibly have been good; those, however, who have peopled the world, and for whom Christ died, you decide to be the work of the devil, born in a disordered state, and guilty from the very beginning.| Would that he only solved the entire controversy as he unties the knot of this question! For will he pretend to say that he merely spoke of adults in this passage? Why, the subject in hand is about infants, about human beings at their birth; and it is about these that he raises odium against us, because they are defined by us as guilty from the very first, because we declare them to be guilty, since Christ died for them. And why did Christ die for them if they are not guilty? It is entirely from them, yes, from them, we shall find the reason, wherefore he thought odium should be raised against me. He asks: |How are infants guilty, for whom Christ died?| We answer: Nay, how are infants not guilty, since Christ died for them? This dispute wants a judge to determine it. Let Christ be the Judge, and let Him tell us what is the object which has profited by His death? |This is my blood,| He says, |which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins.| Let the apostle, too, be His assessor in the judgment; since even in the apostle it is Christ Himself that speaks. Speaking of God the Father, he exclaims: |He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all!| I suppose that he describes Christ as so delivered up for us all, that infants in this matter are not separated from ourselves. But what need is there to dwell on this point, out of which even he no longer raises a contest? For the truth is, he not only confesses that Christ died even for infants, but he also reproves us out of this admission, because we say that these same infants are guilty for whom Christ died. Now, then, let the apostle, who says that Christ was delivered up for us all, also tell us why Christ was delivered up for us. |He was delivered,| says he, |for our offences, and rose again for our justification.| If, therefore, as even this man both confesses and professes, both admits and objects, infants, too, are included amongst those for whom Christ was delivered up; and if it was for our sins that Christ was delivered up, even infants, of course, must have original sins, for whom Christ was delivered up; He must have something in them to heal, who (as Himself affirms) is not needed as a Physician by the whole, but by the sick; He must have a reason for saving them, seeing that He came into the world, as the Apostle Paul says, |to save sinners;| He must have something in them to remit, who testifies that He shed His blood |for the remission of sins;| He must have good reason for seeking them out, who |came,| as He says, |to seek and to save that which was lost;| the Son of man must find in them something to destroy, who came for the express purpose, as the Apostle John says, |that He might destroy the works of the devil.| Now to this salvation of infants He must be an enemy, who asserts their innocence, in such a way as to deny them the medicine which is required by the hurt and wounded.