Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 17 [XII.]--No One Righteous in All Things.
That illustrious testimony of God, therefore, in which Job is commended, is not contrary to the passage in which it is said, |In Thy sight shall no man living be justified;| for it does not lead us to suppose that in him there was nothing at all which might either by himself truly or by the Lord God rightly be blamed, although at the same time he might with no untruth be said to be a righteous man, and a sincere worshipper of God, and one who keeps himself from every evil work. For these are God's words concerning him: |Hast thou diligently considered my servant Job? For there is none like him on the earth, blameless, righteous, a true worshipper of God, who keeps himself from every evil work.| First, he is here praised for his excellence in comparison with all men on earth. He therefore excelled all who were at that time able to be righteous upon earth; and yet, because of this superiority over others in righteousness, he was not therefore altogether without sin. He is next said to be |blameless| -- no one could fairly bring an accusation against him in respect of his life; |righteous| -- he had advanced so greatly in moral probity, that no man could be mentioned on a par with him; |a true worshipper of God| -- because he was a sincere and humble confessor of his own sins; |who keeps himself from every evil work| -- it would have been wonderful if this had extended to every evil word and thought. How great a man indeed Job was, we are not told; but we know that he was a just man; we know, too, that in the endurance of terrible afflictions and trials he was great; and we know that it was not on account of his sins, but for the purpose of demonstrating his righteousness, that he had to bear so much suffering. But the language in which the Lord commends Job might also be applied to him who |delights in the law of God after the inner man, whilst he sees another law in his members warring against the law of his mind;| especially as he says, |The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now, if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.| Observe how he too after the inward man is separate from every evil work, because such work he does not himself effect, but the evil which dwells in his flesh; and yet, since he does not have even that ability to delight in the law of God except from the grace of God, he, as still in want of deliverance, exclaims, |O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? God's grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord!|