Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 1.--Introduction; The Pelagians Impeach Catholics as Manicheans.
Let me now consider a second letter, not of Julian's alone, but common to him with several bishops, which they sent to Thessalonica; and let me answer it, with God's help, as I best can. And lest this work of mine become longer than the necessity of the subject itself requires, what need is there to refute those things which do not contain the insidious poison of their doctrine, but seem only to plead for the acquiescence of the Eastern bishops for their assistance, or, on behalf of the catholic faith, against the profanity, as they say, of the Manicheans; with no other view except, a horrible heresy being presented to them, whose adversaries they profess themselves to be, to lie hid as the enemies of grace in praise of nature? For who at any time has stirred any question of these matters against them? or what catholic is displeased because they condemn those whom the apostle foretold as departing from the faith, having their conscience seared, forbidding to marry, abstaining from meats that they think unclean, not thinking that all things were created by God? Who at any time constrained them to deny that every creature of God is good, and there is no substance which the supreme God has not made, except God Himself, who was not made by any? It is not such things as these, which it is plain are catholic truths, that are rebuked and condemned in them; because not alone the catholic faith holds in detestation the Manichean impiety as exceedingly foolish and mischievous, but also all heretics who are not Manicheans. Whence even these Pelagians do well to utter an anathema against the Manicheans, and to speak against their errors. But they do two evil things, for which they themselves must also be anathematized -- one, that they impeach catholics under the name of Manicheans, the other, that they themselves also are introducing the heresy of a new error. For they are not therefore sound in the faith because they are not labouring under the disease of the Manicheans. The kind of pestilence is not always one and the same -- as in the bodies, so also in the minds. As, therefore, the physician of the body would not have pronounced a man free from peril of death whom he might have declared free from dropsy, if he had seen him to be sick of some other mortal disease; so truth is not acknowledged in their case because they are not Manicheans, if they are raving in some other kind of perversity. Wherefore what we anathematize with them is one thing, what we anathematize in them is another. For we hold in abhorrence with them what is rightly offensive to them also; just as, nevertheless, we hold in abhorrence in them that for which they themselves are rightly offensive.