Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 41.--Further Apostolic Testimonies.
And again, the same apostle says to the same people, in his second Epistle: |When I had come to Troas for the gospel of Christ, and a door had been opened unto me in the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus, my brother: but, making my farewell to them, I went away into Macedonia.| To whom did he bid farewell but to those who had believed, -- to wit, in whose hearts the door was opened for his preaching of the gospel? But attend to what he adds, saying, |Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place: because we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them who are saved, and in them who perish: to some, indeed, we are the savour of death unto death, but to some the savour of life unto life.| See concerning what this most zealous soldier and invincible defender of grace gives thanks. See concerning what he gives thanks, -- that the apostles are a sweet savour of Christ unto God, both in those who are saved by His grace, and in those who perish by His judgment. But in order that those who little understand these things may be less enraged, he himself gives a warning when he adds the words: |And who is sufficient for these things?| But let us return to the opening of the door by which the apostle signified the beginning of faith in his hearers. For what is the meaning of, |Withal praying also for us that God would open unto us a door of the word,| unless it is a most manifest demonstration that even the very beginning of faith is the gift of God? For it would not be sought for from Him in prayer, unless it were believed to be given by Him. This gift of heavenly grace had descended to that seller of purple for whom, as Scripture says in the Acts of the Apostles, |The Lord opened her heart, and she gave heed unto the things which were said by Paul;| for she was so called that she might believe. Because God does what He will in the hearts of men, either by assistance or by judgment; so that, even through their means, may be fulfilled what His hand and counsel have predestinated to be done.