Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 19.--What It is to Accomplish What is Good.
And now does not what follows most plainly show whence he spoke? |For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing|? For if he had not explained what he said by the addition of |that is, in my flesh,| it might, perchance, be otherwise understood, when he said, |in me.| And therefore he repeats and urges the same thing in another form: |For to will is present with me, but to perform that which is good is not.| For this is to perform that which is good, that a man should not even lust. For the good is incomplete when one lusts, even although a man does not consent to the evil of lust. |For the good that I would,| says he, |I do not; but the evil that I would not, that I do. Now, if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.| This he repeated impressively, and as it were to stir up the most slothful from slumber: |I find then that the law,| said he, |is for me wishing to do good, since evil is present with me.| The law, then, is for one who would do good, but evil is present from lust, though he does not consent to this who says, |It is no longer I that do it.|