Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 62.--Prayer to Be Inculcated, Nevertheless.
But I do not think that manner which I have said should be adopted in the preaching of predestination ought to be sufficient for him who speaks to the congregation, except he adds this, or something of this kind, saying, |You, therefore, ought also to hope for that perseverance in obedience from the Father of Lights, from whom cometh down every excellent gift and every perfect gift, and to ask for it in your daily prayers; and in doing this ought to trust that you are not aliens from the predestination of His people, because it is He Himself who bestows even the power of doing this. And far be it from you to despair of yourselves, because you are bidden to have your hope in Him, not in yourselves. For cursed is every one who has hope in man; and it is good rather to trust in the Lord than to trust in man, because blessed are all they that put their trust in Him. Holding this hope, serve the Lord in fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling. Because no one can be certain of the life eternal which God who does not lie has promised to the children of promise before the times of eternity, -- no one, unless that life of his, which is a state of trial upon the earth, is completed. But He will make us to persevere in Himself unto the end of that life, since we daily say to Him, Lead us not into temptation.'| When these things and things of this kind are said, whether to few Christians or to the multitude of the Church, why do we fear to preach the predestination of the saints and the true grace of God, -- that is, the grace which is not given according to our merits, -- as the Holy Scripture declares it? Or, indeed, must it be feared that a man should then despair of himself when his hope is shown to be placed in God, and should not rather despair of himself if he should, in his excess of pride and unhappiness, place it in himself?