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Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine

Chapter 8 [VI.]--Victor's Second Error. (See Above in Book I. 26 [XVI.].)

Do not, I pray you, believe, say, or teach that |Thus is God ever giving souls through infinite time, just as He who gives is Himself ever existent,| if you wish to be a catholic. For a time will come when God will not give souls, although He will not therefore Himself cease to exist. Your phrase, |is ever giving,| might be understood |to give without cessation,| so long as men are born and get offspring, even as it is said of certain men that they are |ever learning, and never coming to the knowledge of the truth.| For this term |ever| is not in this passage taken to mean |never ceasing to learn,| inasmuch as they do cease to learn when they have ceased to exist in this body, or have begun to suffer the fiery pains of hell. You, however, did not allow your word to be understood in this sense when you said |is ever giving,| since you thought that it must be applied to infinite time. And even this was a small matter; for, as if you had been asked to explain your phrase, |ever giving,| more explicitly, you went on to say, |just as He is Himself ever existent who gives.| This assertion the sound and catholic faith utterly condemns. For be it far from us to believe that God is ever giving souls, just as He is Himself, who gives them, ever existent. He is Himself ever existent in such a sense as never to cease to exist; souls, however, He will not be ever giving; but He will beyond doubt cease to give them when the age of generation ceases, and children are no longer born to whom they are to be given.
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