Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 9.--Entering into Temptation. Prayer is a Proof of Grace.
Wherefore, our Heavenly Master also says: |Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.| Let every man, therefore, when fighting against his own concupiscence, pray that he enter not into temptation; that is, that he be not drawn aside and enticed by it. But he does not enter into temptation if he conquers his evil concupiscence by good will. And yet the determination of the human will is insufficient, unless the Lord grant it victory in answer to prayer that it enter not into temptation. What, indeed, affords clearer evidence of the grace of God than the acceptance of prayer in any petition? If our Saviour had only said, |Watch that ye enter not into temptation,| He would appear to have done nothing further than admonish man's will; but since He added the words, |and pray,| He showed that God helps us not to enter into temptation. It is to the free will of man that the words are addressed: |My son, remove not thyself from the chastening of the Lord.| And the Lord said: |I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith fail not.| So that a man is assisted by grace, in order that his will may not be uselessly commanded.