Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 32 [XIII.]--The Inscrutability of God's Free Purposes.
But now, since we are now treating of the gift of perseverance, why is it that aid is afforded to the person about to die who is not baptized, while to the baptized person about to fall, aid is not afforded, so as to die before? Unless, perchance, we shall still listen to that absurdity by which it is said that it is of no advantage to any one to die before his fall, because he will be judged according to those actions which God foreknew that he would have done if he had lived. Who can hear with patience this perversity, so violently opposed to the soundness of the faith? Who can bear it? And yet they are driven to say this who do not confess that God's grace is not bestowed in respect of our deservings. They, however, who will not say that any one who has died is judged according to those things which God foreknew that he would have done if he had lived, considering with how manifest a falsehood and how great an absurdity this would be said, have no further reason to say, what the Church condemned in the Pelagians, and caused to be condemned by Pelagius himself, -- that the grace of God, namely, is given according to our merits, -- when they see some infants not regenerated taken from this life to eternal death, and others regenerated, to eternal life; and those themselves that are regenerated, some going hence, persevering even to the end, and others kept in this life even until they fall, who certainly would not have fallen if they had departed hence before their lapse; and again some falling, but not departing from this life until they return, who certainly would have perished if they had departed before their return.