Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 50 [XLIII.]--God Commands No Impossibilities.
What he says, however, is true enough, |that God is as good as just, and made man such that he was quite able to live without the evil of sin, if only he had been willing.| For who does not know that man was made whole and faultless, and endowed with a free will and a free ability to lead a holy life? Our present inquiry, however, is about the man whom |the thieves| left half dead on the road, and who, being disabled and pierced through with heavy wounds, is not so able to mount up to the heights of righteousness as he was able to descend therefrom; who, moreover, if he is now in |the inn,| is in process of cure. God therefore does not command impossibilities; but in His command He counsels you both to do what you can for yourself, and to ask His aid in what you cannot do. Now, we should see whence comes the possibility, and whence the impossibility. This man says: |That proceeds not from a man's will which he can do by nature.| I say: A man is not righteous by his will if he can be by nature. He will, however, be able to accomplish by remedial aid what he is rendered incapable of doing by his flaw.