Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 18.--How the Apostle Said that He Did the Evil that He Would Not.
Or by chance do we fear what follows, |For that which I do I know not, for what I will I do not, but what I hate that I do,| lest perhaps from these words some one should suspect that the apostle is consenting to the evil works of the concupiscence of the flesh? But we must consider what he adds: |But if I do that which I will not, I consent to the law that it is good.| For he says that he rather consents to the law than to the concupiscence of the flesh. For this he calls by the name of sin. Therefore he said that he acted and laboured not with the desire of consenting and fulfilling, but from the impulse of lusting itself. Hence, then, he says, |I consent to the law that it is good.| I consent because I do not will what it does not will. Afterwards he says, |Now, then, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.| What does he mean by |now then,| but, now at length, under the grace which has delivered the delight of my will from the consent of lust? For, |it is not I that do it,| cannot be better understood than that he does not consent to set forth his members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. For if he lusts and consents and acts, how can he be said not to do the thing himself, even although he may grieve that he does it, and deeply groan at being overcome?