Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 3.--Sinners are Convicted When Attempting to Excuse Themselves by Blaming God, Because They Have Free Will.
There are, however, persons who attempt to find excuse for themselves even from God. The Apostle James says to such: |Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man. But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.| Solomon, too, in his book of Proverbs, has this answer for such as wish to find an excuse for themselves from God Himself: |The folly of a man spoils his ways; but he blames God in his heart.| And in the book of Ecclesiasticus we read: |Say not thou, It is through the Lord that I fell away; for thou oughtest not to do the things that He hateth: nor do thou say, He hath caused me to err; for He hath no need of the sinful man. The Lord hateth all abomination, and they that fear God love it not. He Himself made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of His counsel. If thou be willing, thou shalt keep His commandments, and perform true fidelity. He hath set fire and water before thee: stretch forth thine hand unto whether thou wilt. Before man is life and death, and whichsoever pleaseth him shall be given to him.| Observe how very plainly is set before our view the free choice of the human will.