Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 3.--God is Besought for It, Because It is His Gift.
But why is that perseverance asked for from God if it is not given by God? Is that, too, a mocking petition, when that is asked from Him which it is known that He does not give, but, though He gives it not, is in man's power; just as that giving of thanks is a mockery, if thanks are given to God for that which He did not give nor do? But what I have said there, I say also here again: |Be not deceived,| says the apostle, |God is not mocked.| O man, God is a witness not only of your words, but also of your thoughts. If you ask anything in truth and faith of one who is so rich, believe that you receive from Him from whom you ask, what you ask. Abstain from honouring Him with your lips and extolling yourself over Him in your heart, by believing that you have from yourself what you are pretending to beseech from Him. Is not this perseverance, perchance, asked for from Him? He who says this is not to be rebuked by any arguments, but must be overwhelmed with the prayers of the saints. Is there any of these who does not ask for himself from God that he may persevere in Him, when in that very prayer which is called the Lord's -- because the Lord taught it -- when it is prayed by the saints, scarcely anything else is understood to be prayed for but perseverance?