Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 41 [XXVI.]--The Pelagians Argue that Original Sin Cannot Come Through Marriage If Marriage is Good.
After this he proceeds with the following words: |Certainly if evil is contracted from marriage, it may be blamed, nay, cannot be excused; and you place under the devil's power its work and fruit, because everything which is the cause of evil is itself without good. The human being, however, who is born of wedlock owes his origin not to the reproaches of wedlock, but to its seminal elements: the cause of these, however, lies in the condition of bodies; and whosoever makes a bad use of these bodies, deals a blow at the good desert thereof, not at their nature. It is therefore clear,| argues he, |that the good is not the cause of the evil. If, therefore,| he continues, |original evil is derived even from marriage, the cause of the evil is the compact of marriage; and that must needs be evil by which and from which the evil fruit has made its appearance; even as the Lord says in the Gospel: A tree is known by its fruits.' How then,| he asks, |do you think yourself worthy of attention, when you say that marriage is good, and yet declare that nothing but evil proceeds from it? It is evident, then, that marriages are guilty, since original sin is deduced from them; and they are indefensible, too, unless their fruit be proved innocent. But they are defended, and pronounced good; therefore their fruit is proved to be innocent.|