Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter XX.--(43.) No Man is Assisted Unless He Does Himself Also Work. Our Course is a Constant Progress.
But what is the import of the last statement which he has made: |If any one say, May it possibly be that a man sin not even in word?' then the answer,| says he, |which must be given is, Quite possible, if God so will; and God does so will, therefore it is possible.'| See how unwilling he was to say, |If God give His help, then it would be possible;| and yet the Psalmist thus addresses God: |Be Thou my helper, forsake me not;| where of course help is not sought for procuring bodily advantages and avoiding bodily evils, but for practising and fulfilling righteousness. Hence it is that we say: |Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.| Now no man is assisted unless he also himself does something; assisted, however, he is, if he prays, if he believes, if he is |called according to God's purpose;| for |whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.| We run, therefore, whenever we make advance; and our wholeness runs with us in our advance (just as a sore is said to run when the wound is in process of a sound and careful treatment), in order that we may be in every respect perfect, without any infirmity of sin whatever, -- a result which God not only wishes, but even causes and helps us to accomplish. And this God's grace does, in co-operation with ourselves, through Jesus Christ our Lord, as well by commandments, sacraments, and examples, as by His Holy Spirit also; through whom there is hiddenly shed abroad in our hearts that love, |which maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered,| until wholeness and salvation be perfected in us, and God be manifested to us as He will be seen in His eternal truth.