Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 5 [III.]--Rebuke Must Not Be Neglected.
|Then,| say they, |let those who are over us only prescribe to us what we ought to do, and pray for us that we may do it; but let them not rebuke and censure us if we should not do it.| Certainly let all be done, since the teachers of the churches, the apostles, were in the habit of doing all, -- as well prescribing what things should be done, as rebuking if they were not done, and praying that they might be done. The apostle prescribes, saying, |Let all your things be done with love.| He rebukes, saying, |Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye have judgments among yourselves. For why do ye not rather suffer wrong? Why are ye not rather defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong and defraud; and that, your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not possess the kingdom of God?| Let us hear him also praying: |And the Lord,| says he, |multiply you, and make you to abound in love one towards another and towards all men.| He prescribes, that love should be maintained; he rebukes, because love is not maintained; he prays, that love may abound. O man! learn by his precept what you ought to have; learn by his rebuke that it is by your own fault that you have it not; learn by his prayer whence you may receive what you desire to have.