Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 13 [X]--His Seventh Error. (See Above in Book II. 13 [IX.].)
If you wish to be a catholic, do not venture to believe, to say, or to teach that |they whom the Lord has predestinated for baptism can be snatched away from his predestination, or die before that has been accomplished in them which the Almighty has predestined.| There is in such a dogma more power than I can tell assigned to chances in opposition to the power of God, by the occurrence of which casualties that which He has predestinated is not permitted to come to pass. It is hardly necessary to spend time or earnest words in cautioning the man who takes up with this error against the absolute vortex of confusion into which it will absorb him, when I shall sufficiently meet the case if I briefly warn the prudent man who is ready to receive correction against the threatening mischief. Now these are your words: |We say that some such method as this must be had recourse to in the case of infants who, being predestinated for baptism, are yet, by the failing of this life, hurried away before they are born again in Christ.| Is it then really true that any who have been predestinated to baptism are forestalled before they come to it by the failing of this life? And could God predestinate anything which He either in His foreknowledge saw would not come to pass, or in ignorance knew not that it could not come to pass, either to the frustration of His purpose or the discredit of His foreknowledge? You see how many weighty remarks might be made on this subject; but I am restrained by the fact of having treated on it a little while ago, so that I content myself with this brief and passing admonition.