Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 4.--Continuation of the Preceding.
But why do we not in opposition to this, rather hear the words, |Who hath first given to Him and it shall be recompensed to him again? since of Him, and through Him, and in Him, are all things.| And from whom, then, is that very beginning of our faith if not from Him? For this is not excepted when other things are spoken of as of Him; but |of Him, and through Him, and in Him, are all things.| But who can say that he who has already begun to believe deserves nothing from Him in whom he has believed? Whence it results that, to him who already deserves, other things are said to be added by a divine retribution, and thus that God's grace is given according to our merits. And this assertion when put before him, Pelagius himself condemned, that he might not be condemned. Whoever, then, wishes on every side to avoid this condemnable opinion, let him understand that what the apostle says is said with entire truthfulness, |Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.| He shows that both are the gifts of God, because he said that both were given. And he does not say, |to believe on Him more fully and perfectly,| but, |to believe on Him.| Neither does he say that he himself had obtained mercy to be more faithful, but |to be faithful,| because he knew that he had not first given the beginning of his faith to God, and had its increase given back to him again by Him; but that he had been made faithful by God, who also had made him an apostle. For the beginnings of his faith are recorded, and they are very well known by being read in the church on an occasion calculated to distinguish them: how, being turned away from the faith which he was destroying, and being vehemently opposed to it, he was suddenly by a more powerful grace converted to it, by the conversion of Him, to whom as One who would do this very thing it was said by the prophet, |Thou wilt turn and quicken us;| so that not only from one who refused to believe he was made a willing believer, but, moreover, from being a persecutor, he suffered persecution in defence of that faith which he persecuted. Because it was given him by Christ |not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.|