Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 22.--Further References to Cyprian.
For he says also this in the epistle whose title is inscribed, |On the Mortality:| |The kingdom of God, beloved brethren, is beginning to be at hand; the reward of life, and the rejoicing of eternal salvation and perpetual gladness, and the possession formerly lost of Paradise, are now coming with the passing away of the world.| This again, in the same epistle, he says: |Let us greet the day which assigns each of us to his own home, which snatches us hence and sets us free from the snares of the world, and restores us to Paradise and the kingdom.| Moreover, he says in the epistle concerning Patience: |Let the judgment of God be pondered, which, even in the beginning of the world and of the human race, Adam, forgetful of the commandment and a transgressor of the law that had been given, received. Then we shall know how patient in this life we ought to be, who are born in such a state that we labour here with afflictions and contests. Because, says He, thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which alone I had charged thee that thou shouldest not eat, cursed shall be the ground in all thy works: in sorrow and in groaning shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it give forth to thee, and thou shall eat the food of the field. In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat thy bread, till thou return unto the ground from which thou wast taken: for earth thou art, and unto earth shalt thou go.' We are all tied and bound with the chain of this sentence until, death being destroyed, we depart from this world.| And, moreover, in the same epistle he says: |For, since in that first transgression of the commandment strength of body departed with immortality, and weakness came on with death, and strength cannot be received unless when immortality also has been received, it behoves us in this bodily frailty and weakness always to struggle and fight; and this struggle and encounter cannot be sustained but by the strength of patience.|