Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 9 [VII.]--His Third Error. (See Above in Book II. 11 [VII.].)
Again, do not, I pray you, believe, say, or teach that |the soul deservedly lost something by the flesh, although it was of good merit previous to the flesh,| if you wish to be a catholic. For the apostle declares that |children who are not yet born, have done neither good nor evil.| How, therefore, could their soul, previous to its participation of flesh, have had anything like good desert, if it had not done any good thing? Will you by any chance venture to assert that it had, previous to the flesh, lived a good life, when you cannot actually prove to us that it even existed at all? How, then, can you say: |You will not allow that the soul contracts health from the sinful flesh; and to this holy state, then, you can see it in due course pass, with the view of amending its condition, through that very flesh by which it had lost merit|? Perhaps you are not aware that these opinions, which attribute to the human soul a good state and a good merit previous to the flesh, have been already condemned by the catholic Church, not only in the case of some ancient heretics, whom I do not here mention, but also more recently in the instance of the Priscillianists.