Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 17.--The Exclusion of Boasting.
Accordingly he says, |Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith.| He may either mean, the laudable boasting, which is in the Lord; and that it is excluded, not in the sense that it is driven off so as to pass away, but that it is clearly manifested so as to stand out prominently. Whence certain artificers in silver are called |exclusores.| In this sense it occurs also in that passage in the Psalms: |That they may be excluded, who have been proved with silver,| -- that is, that they may stand out in prominence, who have been tried by the word of God. For in another passage it is said: |The words of the Lord are pure words, as silver which is tried in the fire.| Or if this be not his meaning, he must have wished to mention that vicious boasting which comes of pride -- that is, of those who appear to themselves to lead righteous lives, and boast of their excellence as if they had not received it, -- and further to inform us, that by the law of faith, not by the law of works, this boasting was excluded, in the other sense of shut out and driven away; because by the law of faith every one learns that whatever good life he leads he has from the grace of God, and that from no other source whatever can he obtain the means of becoming perfect in the love of righteousness.