Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 2.--To What Extent the Massilians Withdraw from the Pelagians.
For on consideration of your letters, I seem to see that those brethren on whose behalf you exhibit a pious care that they may not hold the poetical opinion in which it is affirmed, |Every one is a hope for himself,| and so fall under that condemnation which is, not poetically, but prophetically, declared, |Cursed is every man that hath hope in man,| must be treated in that way wherein the apostle dealt with those to whom he said, |And if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.| For as yet they are in darkness on the question concerning the predestination of the saints, but they have that whence, |if in anything they are otherwise minded, God will reveal even this unto them,| if they are walking in that to which they have attained. For which reason the apostle, when he had said, |If ye are in anything otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you,| says, |Nevertheless whereunto we have attained, let us walk in the same.| And those brethren of ours, on whose behalf your pious love is solicitous, have attained with Christ's Church to the belief that the human race is born obnoxious to the sin of the first man, and that none can be delivered from that evil save by the righteousness of the Second Man. Moreover, they have attained to the confession that men's wills are anticipated by God's grace; and to the agreement that no one can suffice to himself either for beginning or for completing any good work. These things, therefore, unto which they have attained, being held fast, abundantly distinguish them from the error of the Pelagians. Further, if they walk in them, and beseech Him who giveth understanding, if in anything concerning predestination they are otherwise minded, He will reveal even this unto them. Yet let us also spend upon them the influence of our love, and the ministry of our discourse, according to His gift, whom we have asked that in these letters we might say what should be suitable and profitable to them. For whence do we know whether by this our service, wherein we are serving them in the free love of Christ, our God may not perchance will to effect that purpose?