Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 33 [XVIII.]--Though God Makes Us, We Perish Unless He Re-makes Us in Christ.
From this most true and firmly-established principle of the apostolic and catholic faith the writer before us departs in company with the Pelagians. He will not have it that men are born under the dominion of the devil, lest infants be carried to Christ to be delivered from the power of darkness, and to be translated into His kingdom. Thus he becomes the accuser of the Church which is spread over the world; into this Church everywhere infants, when to be baptized, are first exorcised, for no other reason than that the prince of this world may be cast out of them. For by him must they be necessarily possessed, as vessels of wrath, since they are born of Adam, unless they be born again in Christ, and transferred through grace as vessels of mercy into His kingdom. In his attack, however, upon this most firmly-established truth, he would avoid the appearance of an assault upon the entire Church of Christ. Accordingly, he limits his appeal to me alone, and in the tone of reproof and admonition he says: |But God made even you, though it must be confessed that a serious error has infected you.| Well now, I thankfully acknowledge that God did make even me; and still I must have perished with the vessels of wrath, if He had only made me of Adam, and had not re-made me in Christ. Possessed, however, as this man is with the heresy of Pelagius, he does not believe this: if, indeed, he persists in so great an error to the very end, then not he, but catholics, will be able to see the character and extent of the error which has not simply infected, but absolutely destroyed him.