The GOSPEL TRUTH
AN HISTORICAL PRESENTATION OF
AUGUSTINISM AND PELAGIANISM
G. F. WIGGERS, D. D.
CHAPTER XIII: Theory of Pelagius and his followers respecting grace. Opposite theory of Augustine.
Pelagius had not, at first, fully explained himself respecting grace; and he had no occasion for doing it, while his orthodoxy on the point, was not called in question. In his letter to Demetrias, he had spoken of the aid of God's spirit, or of divine grace, in general, and, (as Augustine afterwards asserted), in an ambiguous generality. But even this keen eyed bishop had found nothing heretical in these expressions, though something contradictory. De Gr. Chr. 37, 40. He, however, made occasional remarks in his book on nature, respecting the nature of grace, which were perhaps partly caused by the offence that some had possibly taken at his opinions on the uncorrupted nature of man. De Gest. 10. He was also sufficiently incited to speak of grace when treating of the nature of man, as we find Augustine, in his earliest works against the Pelagians, referring to some expressions of theirs respecting this subject. But Pelagius must soon have found a more urgent occasion for speaking of grace, as his opposers charged on himself and Caelestius the consequence that, according to their theory of the freedom of the will and of man's ability for good, they could admit of no grace at all; nay, they even attributed to Pelagius the rejection of grace, in their sense, as a position peculiar to him. The first was done, for instance, at the synod of Carthage, in 416; and the last, among other things, at the synod of Diospolis.
Pelagius therefore explained himself more definitely respecting grace, particularly in his book on freewill, now lost, which was written after the synod at Diospolis, and from which Augustine gives extracts in his book on the grace of Christ. By the manner of this explanation, he seemed to frustrate the object of his opponents to make him a heretic in this particular also; but by it, he seemed also to contradict his own positions on freewill and the uncorrupted state of man. In his third book Pelagius says among other things: "The ability of nature" (i.e., freewill, which, as we have before seen, according to Pelagius, was a gift of God), "God always aids by the help of his grace. God aids us by his doctrine and revelation, while he opens the eyes of our heart; while he shows us the future, that we may not be engrossed with the present; while he discloses the snares of the devil; while he illuminates us by the multiform and ineffable gift of heavenly grace. Does he who says this, appear to you to deny grace? Or does he appear to confess both divine grace and the freewill of man?" De Gr. Chr. 4, 7. Even the willing of good, is also there explained as an effect produced by God. 10.
[The passage here referred to is worth quoting, in order to show more fully both the sentiments and the manner of Pelagius. "In another place, to be sure," says Augustine, "after he had been long asserting, that a good will is produced in us, not by God's aid, but from our own selves, he brings up against himself the question from the apostle, and says: How stands that assertion of the apostle--It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do? Then, that he might, as it were, dissolve the opposition which he saw to be so vehemently contrary to his dogma, he went on to say: He operates in us to will what is good, to will what is holy, while, by the greatness of future glory and the promise of rewards, he rouses us, who are devoted to earthly desires, and delighting like dumb beasts in the present; while, by the revelation of wisdom, he rouses our stupid will to the longing desire for God; and while he commends to its all that is good. What is plainer than that he calls the grace by which God works in us to will and to do what is good, nothing else but law and instruction?" This last assertion, Augustine goes on to establish by examining the several parts of what he had thus quoted from Pelagius. In the course of his criticism on the passage, he says, that by grace there is not only suasion but persuasion to all that is good (non solum suadetur omne quod bonum est, verum et persuadetur). Pelagius had only said suadetur. This vital distinction, the crafty are apt to confound; and the undiscriminating, just as apt to overlook. Pelagius did not intend unequivocally to assert anything like what is meant by the work of the Holy Spirit on the heart of man. TR.]
In a letter to Innocent soon after this time, (towards the beginning of 417,) Pelagius says: "Behold, before your blessedness, this epistle clears me, in which we directly and simply say, that we have entire freewill to sin and not to sin, which, in all good works, is always assisted by divine aid. Let them read the letter which we wrote to that holy man, bishop Paulinus, nearly twelve years ago, which perhaps in three hundred lines supports nothing else but the grace and aid of God, and that we can do nothing at all of good without God. Let them also read the one we wrote to the sacred virgin of Christ, Demetrias, in the east, and they will find us so praising the nature of man, as that we may always add the aid of God's grace. Let them likewise read my recent tract which we were lately compelled to put forth on freewill, and they will see how unjustly they glory in defaming us for the denial of grace, who, through nearly the whole text of that work, perfectly and entirely confess both freewill and grace." De Gr. Chr. 31, 35, 37, 41. In his confession of faith, Pelagius says: "We so profess freewill, that we maintain the standing need of God's help."
But how do these assertions of Pelagius agree with his preceding opinions on man's ability for good, and the uncorruptedness of his nature? The contradiction vanishes as soon as we consider the different sense in which Pelagius used the word grace, which is entirely wide of the Augustinian use of it. Such a difference could not possibly escape the acuteness of the bishop of Hippo, who found in it an intentional ambiguity. And in fact, one needs only to read two lines from the work of Pelagius on freewill, according to the fragments which Augustine has preserved, in order to convince him, how different was the Pelagian from the Augustinian grace. For how could Augustine say, with Pelagius, "Our being able to do, say, think all good, is the work of him that has given us this ability, and that aids this ability; but that we do, or speak, or think well, is ours, because we are also able to turn all these to evil." 4.
Pelagius comprehended under grace: 1. The power of doing good (possibilitas boni), and therefore especially freewill itself. "We distinguish three things," says he, in the passage above cited on freewill, "the ability, the willing, and the being (the posse, velle, and esse). The ability we place in nature; the willing, in the will, the being, in the effect. The first, i.e., the ability, pertains properly to God, who has conferred it on his creature; the other two, the willing and the being, are to be referred to man, as they descend from the fountain of the will. Hence in the intention and in the good act, is the praise of man; nay, both of man and of God, who gave the ability for the intention itself and for the act, and who always aids the ability itself by the help of his grace. But that man is able to will and to do, is of God, alone." But in his book on nature, Pelagius had already explained himself as meaning by the grace of God, that our nature has received by creation the ability to abstain from sin, since it is endowed with freewill. De Gest. 10. He therefore used the term grace in this sense, when he conceded in that piece, that man could be without sin only by grace. De Nat. et Gr. 10, 45, sqq. It is not easy to render the sense of the following passage intelligible in a translation: "Quia non peccare nostrum est, possumus peccare et non peccare. Quia vero posse non peccare, nostrum non est; et si voluerimus non posse non peccare, non possumus non posse non peccare." 49. "The possibility of not sinning, is not so much in the power of the will, as in the necessity of nature. Whatever is placed in the necessity of nature, pertains undoubtedly to the author of nature, that is, to God. How, then, can that he considered as spoken of as without the grace of God, which is demonstrated to pertain peculiarly to God?" 51. De Gest, 23. And in this sense, to be sure, he could make grace the requisite for all moral perfection, without infringing on his theory of the good state of human nature. For freedom is indeed indispensable to every good action, and hence to the good deportment of man generally. And again, it is a power which we do not possess from ourselves, but have derived from God, who made us rational men. And hence it is not falsely said, in the letter of the Carthaginian synod to Innocent (Ep. 175): "Pelagius and Caelestius maintain, that the grace of God must be placed in his having so constituted and endowed the nature of man, that it can fulfil the law of God by its own will."
2. Under the term grace, Pelagius included the revelation, the law, and the example of Christ, by which the practice of virtue is made easier for man. In this sense, Pelagius said (De Lib. Arbitrio, in Augustine's De Gr. Chr. 10); "God works in us to will what is good, to will what is holy, while, by the greatness or future glory and the promise of future rewards, he rouses us, who are devoted to earthly desires and delighting like dumb beasts in the present; while, by the revelation of wisdom, he rouses our stupid will to a longing desire for God; and while he commends to us all that is good." In Ep. 175, before cited, it is said: "Pelagius and Caelestius maintain, that even the law belongs to the grace of God, because God," (according to the Septuagint translation of Is. 8:20), "has given it to man as a help." To this point belongs also what Pelagius said in the ninth chapter of his letter to Demetrias: "If even before the law, and long before the coming of our Lord and Savior, some are said to have lived holy and righteous lives, how much more is it to be believed, that we can do this, since the illustration afforded by his advent, as we are now instructed by the grace of Christ (instructi, or according to Augustine's quotation of this passage, De Gr. Christi 38, instaurati, restored), and are regenerated into the better man; and being reconciled and purified by his blood, and incited by his example to the perfection of righteousness, we ought to be better men than they who were before the law; better also than they who were under the law, according to the declaration of the apostle, Sin shall no longer reign over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace." Here Pelagius manifestly refers grace to the teaching and example of Christ. When, in the sequel he speaks of the good of grace (bono gratiae), he comprehends under it, the instructions of scripture. In the treatise De Spir. et Lit. 2, Augustine says, in reference to the Pelagians: "They are most vehemently and strenuously to be resisted, who suppose that, by the mere power of the human will, without God's grace, they can either perfect righteousness, or attain to it by protracted effort. And when they begin to be pressed with the question, how they presume to assert this as taking place without divine aid, they check themselves, nor dare to utter the word, because they see how impious and intolerable it is. But they say, that these things do not take place without divine aid, inasmuch as God has both created man with freewill and, by giving precepts, teaches him how he ought to live; and in this, certainly, he aids, as he removes ignorance by instruction, so that man may know what he ought to avoid and what to seek in his actions; and thus by freewill, which is naturally implanted, entering the way that is pointed out, and by living continently, and justly, and piously, he deserves to attain the blessed and eternal life." Grace, in this sense, Pelagius regarded as necessary in order to be without sin. "No man is without sin, who has not attained the knowledge of law." De Gest. Pel. 1.
In his commentaries on 2 Cor. 3:3, Pelagius distinguishes the law from grace. Here he comprehends under law, the Mosaic law; and under grace, the immediate and the mediate instruction of Jesus. In his commentary on 1 Cor. 12:11, in a still more specific sense, he comprehends under grace the individual miraculous gifts of which the apostle speaks; and on 2 Cor. 3:5, the immediate aid of God, which was afforded to the apostle.
3. As already appears from the quotations, Pelagius comprehended likewise under grace, the forgiveness of sins and future salvation. The Pelagian heresy maintains, that the grace of God consists in our being so made as to be able, by our own will, to abstain from sin, and in God's giving us the help of his law and his commands, and in his pardoning the previous sins of those who return to him. In these particulars alone is the grace of God to be placed, and not in the aid to particular acts. For man can be without sin and fulfil God's command, if he will. De Gest. 35. In his commentary on Rom. 5:6, Pelagius remarks: "The apostle designs to show, that Christ died for the ungodly in order to commend his grace by the contemplation of beneficence." "He confesses," says Augustine, (De Nat. et Gr. 18), "that sins already committed must be divinely expiated, and that prayer must be made to God in order to merit pardon (propter veniam promerendam): for his much praised power of nature and the will of man, as himself confesses, cannot undo what is already done. In this necessity, therefore, nothing is left but for him to pray for pardon." And even in respect to grace in this sense, according to the complaint at Diospolis, Caelestius, in the spirit of the Pelagian theory, would have something meritorious, on man's part, to precede his becoming a participant of the grace. "Pardon is not granted to the penitent [merely] according to the grace and mercy of God, but according to the merits and labor of those who have become worthy of mercy by repentance." De Gest. 18.
According to Augustine, this was the single grace in which the Pelagians admitted nothing meritorious on the part of man. "The Pelagians affirm the grace by which sins are forgiven to man, to be the only grace imparted not according to our merit. But that which is imparted in the end, viz: eternal life, is rendered to our preceding merits." De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 6. According to the spirit of their system, the Pelagians must certainly have made future salvation to depend on man's conduct, and therefore thus far on his merit; and just as certainly must repentance have been with them a condition of the forgiveness of sins; and therefore in grace, even in this sense, there must have been something of merit on the part of the man to whom it should be imparted, if we would be strictly definite in our ideas and not contend about words. Its necessity also, for every one who had sinned, could not have been doubted, according to the Pelagian system.
Baptism, also, by which one receives the forgiveness of sins and the benefits of Christianity in general and of the kingdom of heaven in particular, was regarded by the Pelagians as a grace, and so called by way of eminence. See what has preceded on infant baptism. In this sense, the Pelagians could always say, "We hold the grace of Christ to be necessary for all children and adults." C. d. Epp. Pel. I, 22.
4. Pelagius also used grace for gracious influences, i.e., for God's supernatural influences on the Christian, by which his understanding is enlightened and the practice of virtue is rendered easy to him. To this relate the words already quoted from the work in favor of freewill. "God aids us, in as much as he enlightens us by the manifold and unspeakable gift of heavenly grace." In his commentary on the declaration of the apostle (2 Cor. 3:2), For ye are the epistle of Christ, he gives this explanation to the words: "It is manifest to all, that ye have believed on Christ through our doctrine, the Holy Ghost confirming the power."
Julian also expressed himself respecting grace, in the like manner with Pelagius. For example, he speaks of a grace of God by which the burden of the charge of sins is removed from us. Op. Imp. II. 227. He also admits, that divine grace aids men in his innumerable. III. 106. Among these, he reckons "the giving of precepts, blessing, sanctification, restraint, incitement, and illumination, (praecipere, benedicere, sanctificare, coercere, provocare, illuminare)," and refers these to the doctrines as well as to the mysteries. The passage which Augustine has preserved (I. 94, 95), is especially characteristic, and deserves to be quoted here. "We therefore acknowledge a manifold grace of Christ. Its first gift is, that we are made out of nothing. The second, that we excel living things in the gift of sense; and sentient beings, by reason, which is impressed on the mind, that the image of the Creator may be taught; to the dignity of which, pertains equally the freedom of will that is bestowed. We reckon as proofs of the benefits of grace, the blessings with which it does not cease to distinguish us. Grace sent the law as an aid. It is owing to its office, that the light of reason, which is made dull by evil examples and the practice of vices, excites by various instruction and cherishes by its invitation. It is therefore owing to the plenitude of this grace, i.e., of the divine benevolence, which gave origin to things, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. For as God required from his image a return of love, he openly showed to the uttermost with what inestimable love he had dealt towards us, in order that we might, though late, return love for love to him who, commending his love towards us, spared not his own son, but gave him up for us; promising that if we would, after that, obey his will, he would make us fellow heirs with his only begotten son. This grace, therefore, which not only forgives sins in baptism, but, with this benefit of pardon, also carries forward and adopts and consecrates; this grace, I say, changes the merit of the guilty, but does not originate freewill, which we receive at the very time of our creation, but which we use when we attain the power of discerning between good and evil. Thus we do not deny, that innumerable kinds of divine aid, assist the good will; but not in such a manner, by any of these kinds of aid, that either a liberty of the will, which had before been destroyed, is again produced, or, liberty being excluded, a necessity of either good or evil, can be supposed to rest on any one. But all aid cooperates with freewill."
Here also belongs the passage which Augustine adduces (C. d. Epp. Pel. I. 18) from the letter ascribed to Julian, and which, in the main, is certainly genuine: "We maintain, that man is the work of God, and by his power is no more compelled to good than to evil, but that he does good or evil of his own will; but in a good work, he is always aided by the grace of God; in a bad, he is urged on by the suggestions of the devil."
Julian, therefore, as well as Pelagius, admitted the supernatural influences of grace. They are included among "the innumerable kinds of divine aid" which Julian expressly allows. This Pelagian theory of gracious influences, however, is distinguished from the Augustinian in several essential points.
(a.) According to the Pelagian theory, the operation of grace must be referred, as it would seem, immediately to the understanding of man. The expression, illuminates (dum nos multiformi et ineffabili dono gratiae coelestis illuminat, De Gr. Chr. 7), as well as the phrase, "to open the eyes of our heart" (ib.), leads to this conclusion. But besides this, Pelagius expressly mentions "doctrine and revelation" as the means which divine grace employs. In his letter to Demetrias (31), Pelagius also used the expression "illumination," respecting the reading of the scriptures. It did not escape the penetration of Augustine, that Pelagius adopted merely such a gracious influence on the understanding of man. "But whatever Pelagius in his four books on freewill appears to say for that grace, by which we are so aided as to shun evil and do good, he so says it as in no way to avoid the ambiguity of words which he can so explain to his disciples, that they will believe in no aid of grace by which the ability of nature is assisted, except by the law and doctrine; so that our very prayers, as he most openly affirms in his writings, he believes are to be presented for no other purpose but that doctrine may be opened to us by divine revelation, and not that the mind of man may be aided in order to accomplish, in love and action, what it has already learned should be done." De Gr. Chr. 41. "But we may believe, that whatever little aid Pelagius admits, he places in this, that knowledge is added to us, by the revealing spirit, through instruction (per doctrinam), which we either could not have had or could have had with difficulty through nature." 40. Hence Augustine also says (Haer. 88): "God, according to the principle of the Pelagians, operates only through his law and doctrine, that we should learn what we ought to do and what to hope for, but not also, by the gift of his spirit, that we should practise what we have learned as duty. And on this account they profess, that knowledge is given us by God, by which ignorance is removed; but they deny that love is given us, by which we are to live piously." This influence of grace on the understanding was, however, transferred to the will of man, because, by the clearer knowledge of good, a greater inclination is produced to practise it; and hence Julian could always say, without abandoning the theory of Pelagius, that the will of man is aided by divine help in ways innumerable.
(b.) The Pelagians utterly denied the necessity of gracious influences for the performance of good. They only facilitated the practice of it. Pelagius says, in his letter to Demetrias (29), "James shows how we should resist the devil, by submission to God and by doing his will, that we may also merit divine grace, and the more easily resist the evil spirit by the help of the Holy Ghost." He might here, indeed, be thinking only of the moral influence of instruction; but that Pelagius would not limit the facilitation of the practice of good by grace, to the indirect teaching of the divine spirit through the word, may be seen from a passage quoted by Augustine himself (De Gr. Chr. 7), from the work of Pelagius on freewill. "Here the dullest of men suppose we do injury to divine grace, because we say, it by no means works holiness in us without our will; just as if God had commanded his grace to do something, and not that he affords the aid of his grace to those whom he has commanded, in order that what men are commanded to do by freewill, they may the more easily accomplish by grace. Which grace we confess to be in God's aid, and not, as you suppose, merely in the law." Here "God's aid," which is set in opposition to the law, would have had no meaning at all, if Pelagius had not intended, by it, a supernatural influence of God upon men. Hence, in reference to this passage, it is said, in the letter of Augustine and Alypius to Paulinus: "He appears to believe, that one must concede a superfluous help of grace, so that, even if the help is not granted, we have still a strong and firm freewill for resisting sin." Ep. 186. C. 10. And Augustine is perfectly right in concluding (C. d. Epp. Pel. II. 8), that man can therefore do good, even without grace, "although with more difficulty." Comp. De Gr. Chr. 26 sqq. "The Pelagians are so hostile to divine grace, that they believe man can practise all the divine commands without it, Finally, Pelagius was blamed by the brethren for attributing nothing to the aid of God's grace. According to their censure, he did not set grace before freewill, but, with infidel cunning, behind it; because he said, it is afforded to men in order that, through grace, they may the more easily perform what they are commanded to do through freewill. By his saying that, they can more easily, he meant it to be understood, that men can always fulfil the divine commands without divine grace, though with greater difficulty. But that grace of God, without which we can do nothing, consists, according to their position, only in freewill, which our nature has received from him, without any preceding merit." Aug. Haer. 88. In reference to gracious influences as not being necessary to the performance of good, Caelestius could say, (as quoted by Jerome in his letter to Ctesiphon, Ap. p. 75): "That will is in vain, which needs any other help, But God has given me a freewill, which would not be free, unless I could do what I would;" or, as he expressed himself in his Capitula (De Gest. 18): "The will is not free, if it needs God's help, because it depends on each one's own will, to do or not to do a thing." To this easier attainment of perfection through grace, is to be referred what Augustine quotes from Julian's writings (C. Jul. IV. 3): "When man is divinely aided, he is aided in order to attain perfection. Man is incited to anything laudable, by the impulse of his own generous heart." Comp. Op. Imp. 11. 198, where Augustine says: "To those inquiring of you, why Christ died, provided nature or the law makes men just, you answer, in order that this may be done more easily; as if it might be done, though with more difficulty, either by nature or by the law." Here, at least in part, the supernatural influences of grace are intended, which, according to the Pelagian view, are a consequence of Christ's merits, and are imparted to none but Christians.
That Pelagius did not consider gracious influences indispensably necessary to the practice of good, appears from his ascribing real virtue to heathens. "The good of nature is so general among all, that it sometimes shows and manifests itself even among heathen men, who are without any worship at all of [the true] God. For how many philosophers, as we have heard, read, and ourselves have seen, have been chaste, patient, modest, generous, temperate, kind, despising both the honor and the wealth of the world, and not less the lovers of righteousness than of knowledge! Whence, then, in men who are far from God, is that which pleases God? whence, in them, anything good, unless from the good of nature? And, as we see what I have mentioned, either all in one, or severally in different individuals, and as nature is the same in all, so they show, by their mutual example, that all can be in all, which is found either all in all, or each in individuals. If now even men without God [without the aid of God] show how they are made by God, then think what Christians can do, whose nature and life are improved through Christ, and who are also aided by the help of divine grace." Pel. Ep. ad Dem. 3. Comp. Aug. De Gr. Chr. 31. With this, Julian also agrees. According to him, the origin of all virtues lies in the rational soul of man, from which proceed the cardinal virtues of "prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude." C. Jul. IV. 3. How wide Augustine is from this view, and, by his other principles, how wide he must be, we have already seen.
(c.) In close connection with this, stands the principle, that gracious influence is not given for each individual good act. For if grace is not universally necessary for the performance of good, it certainly cannot be needed for the practice of each individual act, but many may be performed without it. Nay, grace may even be confined to those good acts, the performance of which is difficult for the natural powers of the man.
Pelagius, it is true, at the synod of Diospolis, would not acknowledge as his, the proposition, that "God's grace and aid are not given for single acts," but pronounced anathema on him who received it. It may be that Pelagius, at that council, rejected an old and freer opinion. But it is more probable, that he hid himself behind the manifold meaning of the word grace, and comprehended under it freewill; in which sense, Jerome, in his first dialogue against the Pelagians, makes Critobulus, who sustained the part of a Pelagian, assert the aid of grace for each individual act. Under aid, he might comprehend the law and instruction of Christ. In a like sense, he said, in his letter to Innocent, "Freewill is always aided by divine help in all good works." De Gr. Chr. 31. He could also, in a conference with Pinianus, Albina, and Melania, even say, "Anathema be to him who thinks or says, that the grace of God, by which Christ came into the world to save sinners, is not necessary, not only every hour (per singulas horas) or every moment, but also in every act of ours; and let those go to eternal punishments, who strive to remove this doctrine." 2. For here he certainly did not think of including, under the term grace, any supernatural operation of grace, any supplying of ability (subministratio virtutis), in the sense of Augustine; but, as Augustine remarks, either the remission of sins, or the example of Christ. Pelagius could not regard any supernatural influence of grace, as necessary to the performance of each individual good act, because he did not even hold it necessary to the performance of good in general. It is therefore ever the Pelagian position, that "the grace and aid of God are not given for single acts," even when grace is taken for supernatural influence; and Caelestius, as this position was adduced as his, in the tenth charge at the synod of Diospolis, only spoke out more freely, what Pelagius might be loth to say in plain words.
(d.) Pelagius, in his admission of gracious influences, also differed from Augustine by supposing something meritorious on the part of man in the case. The aid of grace, said Pelagius, is bestowed only on those who rightly apply their powers. He did not, therefore, allow grace to precede freewill, but this to precede that. True, at the synod of Diospolis, he even condemned the position, that "the grace of God is given according to our merits." But here, again, he took the term grace in a different sense from that in which Augustine used it; and, indeed, as even his own disciples acknowledged, for freewill itself; in which gracious gift, to be sure, no mention could be made of a merit on the part of man. That Pelagius, as well as Caelestius, made the supernatural influences of grace dependent on the preceding merits of man, we see from several of his own expressions. To this point pertains what he says of such as are not Christians, in his oft-mentioned letter to Innocent, according to the fragments in Aug. De Gr. Chr. 31. "The power of freewill, we affirm to be in all men, Christians, Jews, and gentiles. Freewill is in all equally but in Christians only is it aided by grace. In the others, the goodness in which it was constituted (conditionis bonum), is naked and defenceless. But in these who pertain to Christ, it is fortified by Christ's aid. Those are to be judged and condemned, because, when they have freewill, by which they might come to the faith and merit God's grace, they abuse the liberty granted them. But these are to be rewarded, who, by rightly using freewill, merit (merentur) the grace of the Lord, and keep his commandments." Pelagius does not, indeed, here declare definitely what he comprehends under grace; but the connection shows, that he is speaking of the grace which is given to Christians. Now, as he admitted gracious influences, but regarded them as benefits peculiar to Christianity, (which is not to be overlooked), and as he universally placed the grace of Christ in connection with the merit of man, so, according to his view, those influences must likewise be imparted only according to man's merit. For what is meant of the genus, must also be meant of the species. But Pelagius had also said before, in his letter to Demetrias (C. 29), that, by keeping God's commands, one can merit divine grace, by which he will the more easily resist the evil spirit. And we have already seen, that the divine grace spoken of, must also be referred to supernatural gracious influences, according to Pelagius's own explanation.
Here it may, indeed, be objected that the verb to merit (mereri) was used by the fathers and theological writers of that time, for obtain, successfully to seek (nancisci, feliciter consequi); and that therefore it may have this meaning here. But such a meaning would be entirely opposed to the connection in which the word stands. Pelagius had also said directly, at the synod of Diospolis, (see charge 11): "God gives all spiritual gifts to him who is worthy to receive (donare Deum ei, qui fuerit dignus accipere, omnes gratias)." Julian thought in the like way. "When man is divinely aided, he is aided for the purpose of attaining perfection. The nature of man is good, which deserves the aid of such grace." C. Jul. IV. 3. Concerning this "merit" on the part of man, the Pelagians explained themselves still more precisely, as, according to Augustine's account (De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 14), they would not have "the merit of good deeds," but "the merit of good will," to precede grace. "For they say, although it [grace] is not given according to the merit of good works, because by it (per ipsam) we perform good works, yet it is given according to the merit of good will (secundum merita bonae voluntatis); because, say they, the good will of the person asking, precedes, and this is preceded by the good will of him believing, so that the grace of God in hearing follows according to these merits." It was, therefore, with no injustice, adduced by Augustine as a Pelagian opinion, that grace, (in the Augustinian sense), is bestowed according to man's merit, an opinion which was an abomination to him, and against which he constantly protested with the utmost emphasis. He goes into a minute confutation of this position, in Ep. 194, from which the following remarkable words may here have a place. "Although, therefore, they [the Pelagians] are hostile and bitter against this grace, yet Pelagius, at the ecclesiastical tribunal in Palestine, (for he could not otherwise escape with impunity), anathematized those that say that the grace of God is given according to merit. But even in their subsequent discussions, nothing else is found but that, to merit is awarded the same grace which, in the apostolic epistle to the Romans, is spoken of in the highest commendation in order that its praise might thence, as from the head of the world, be spread through the whole earth: for it is that by which the ungodly is justified, i.e., becomes righteous, who was before ungodly. And so no merits precede in order to the reception of this grace; for not grace but punishment is due to the merits of the ungodly. Nor would this be grace, if it were not given gratuitously but awarded as due. But when they are asked, what grace Pelagius supposed to be given without any preceding merits, when he condemned those who say that the grace of God is given according to our merits, they say, that human nature itself, in which we are made, is grace without any preceding merits. For before we existed, we could not merit anything in order to our existence. This fallacy is spurned from the hearts of Christians. For the apostle does not commend at all that grace by which we are created men, but by which we are justified when we were already bad men. For this is the grace by Jesus Christ our Lord. For Christ did not die for non-entities, that they might be made men; but for sinners, that they might be justified." Ep. 194, c. 3. "You would have it, that in the will of man, the striving for holiness, without God's aid, precedes, which striving God is to aid according to merit, not from grace." C. Jul. IV. 3. "In Rom. 10:3, Paul says: They, being ignorant of God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. And this is just what you do; for you wish to set up your own righteousness, which God is to reward with grace according to merit; nor would you have grace precede, which should cause you to possess righteousness." Op. Imp. I. 141. To this meritoriousness on the part of man, is also to be referred what Augustine says (C. d. Epp. Pel. II. 8), "For they would have it, that the desire of good commences in man from man himself, in order that the grace for performing may follow the merit of this beginning; if indeed they hold to at least this." It was certainly not the intention of Julian to deny the necessity of grace to merely the beginning of a good work and to hold it as indispensable to the completion, as Vossius assumes, in his work (p. 669) already quoted, and as this and other passages (I. 19) from Augustine, would lead us to suppose. For how could so philosophical a mind as Julian's be so inconsistent and so contradict his own theory of the freedom of the will and of the uncorrupted nature of man? Julian undoubtedly intended nothing more than this, that for the attainment of the grace by which good would be more easily performed, the merit of man, in earnestly willing good, and his consequent good purpose and the application of his own power to its performance, are demanded; and this merit must therefore precede that grace. The nature of man is good, said Julian; and it merits the aid of such grace. And in a passage preserved from Julian's writings by Beda (Ap. 118), he says, that the help of the Holy Ghost is imparted when "I our desires and merits precede."
(e) The Pelagian theory of gracious influences, must also have differed from the Augustinian, in denying them to be irresistible, and defending the free exercise of man's own power. A grace which man cannot resist, they called "fate under the name of grace." In the Pelagian letter which Augustine refutes in his second book against the two letters of the Pelagians, it is said, (C. 5): "Under the name of grace, they [Augustine and his adherents) maintain fate when they say, that unless God inspires the desire of good, even of imperfect good, into unwilling and resisting man, he can neither turn away from evil nor lay hold on good. We acknowledge baptism to be necessary for every age, and that grace aids the good purpose of every one, but not that it implants the love of virtue in him while resisting, for there is no accepting of persons with God." Against this objection, as if Augustine's grace were fate of a respect of persons, Augustine defended himself at length, in the sequel. "The dullest of men," says Pelagius, "suppose we do injury to divine grace, because we say it by no means works sanctification in us without our will, as if God, commanded his grace to do something, and did not even afford the aid of his grace to those whom he commands." Pelagius De Lib. Arb. in Aug. De Gr. Chr. 7.
In these various senses in which Pelagius and his disciples used the word grace, if the different meanings are not distinguished, they will seem, in particular expressions, to contradict their doctrine of original sin and of freewill. But by thus distinguishing, there is not only no contradiction, but the latter become all the more lucid.
The Pelagian theory of grace, then may be reduced more precisely even than was done by the Pelagians and by Augustine, to the following propositions.
1. Freewill is a gracious gift of God by which man is in a condition to do good from his own power, without special divine aid. This, according to a later technical expression, may be called "creating grace (gratia creans)." Grace in the wider sense.
2. This gracious gift, all men possess, Christians, Jews, and heathen. But that man may the more easily perform good, he gave him the law, by which knowledge is more easily gained, and the reasons why he should do thus and not otherwise, become the more manifest to him. For this purpose, he gave him the instructions and example of Jesus, and for this he aids Christians further by supernatural influence. This is influence, "cooperating grace;" grace in the more restricted and the most restricted sense.
3. He, to whom this grace is imparted, can do more than they who do not receive it. By it, he more easily reaches a higher step than he would have reached by his own power. On this account, the Christian can attain a higher degree of moral perfection, than one who is not a Christian.
4. The supernatural influence of gracious operations, however, is imparted only to him who merits it by the faithful application of his own power.
5. The supernatural operations of grace, do not relate immediately to the will of man, but to his understanding. This becomes enlightened by those operations; and thus also the will is indirectly inclined to do what the understanding has perceived as good.
6. These gracious operations do not put forth their influence in an irresistible manner, (this would be determinism); but the man can resist them. There is therefore no "irresistible grace."
7. It is also grace, that God remits to the sinner the punishment of his past transgressions. And so is baptism to be called grace, by which Christians become partakers of the benefits of Christianity and a higher salvation.
This Pelagian theory of grace, will now appear still plainer by the opposite Augustinian theory, in which we shall everywhere see the reverse of Pelagianism.
AUGUSTINE'S THEORY OF GRACE.
As Pelagius and his disciples were led to their theory of grace by their idea of freewill and the uncorrupted state of man after the fall, so Augustine, by admitting a radical corruption of human nature, through which man's freewill is lost and he can will and do nothing but evil, would naturally be brought to a theory of grace conformable to this doctrine. And so indeed we find the fact. By the fall, man lost all freedom of will. Thereupon, original sin followed as a punishment, and was transferred as a punishment to all posterity, so that all men are under the curse and the righteous judgment of condemnation. Consequently, grace must do all, if man is to be freed from this punishment, and is to will and do good.
Augustine could have no objection, indeed, to the Pelagians using the word grace in the wider sense. Himself admitted various operations of God's grace, in as much as the scriptures speak of a manifold grace. 1 Pet. 4:10; Op. Imp. II. 120. And it was not to be denied, that man's existing as a living, sentient, and rational being, may be termed grace. Ep. 177. C. 7. And according to Augustine, it was entirely right and agreeable to his system, as will more fully appear in the sequel, that the pardon of sin and eternal salvation, should be considered as the grace of God. "Grace aids in both ways, as it pardons the evil we have done and helps us to turn from evil and do good." Op. Imp. II. 227. "Without the grace of Christ, no one is freed from the condemnation which he has either derived from him in whom we have all sinned, or has since added by his own trespasses." De Perf. Just. Hom. 19. Comp. De Gen. ad Lit. IX. 18, where he explains himself, in a most remarkable manner, concerning the relation between providence and that grace by which the sinner is saved. He there says, that "God has in himself the hidden causes of certain acts, which he has not implanted in the things he has made; and these causes he puts in operation, not in that work of providence by which he makes natures to exist, but in that by which he manages as he will the natures that he constituted as he chose. And there is the grace by which sinners are saved. For as it respects nature, depraved by its own bad will, it has of itself no return, except by God's grace, whereby it is aided and restored. Nor need men despair on account of that declaration, Prov. 2:19. None who walk in it, shall return. For it was spoken of the burden of their iniquity, so that whoever returns, should attribute his return, not to himself, but to the grace of God, not of works, lest there should be boasting. Eph. 2:9. Therefore the apostle speaks (Eph. 3:9) of the mystery of this grace as hidden, (not in this world, in which are hidden the causal reasons of all things which arise naturally, as Levi was hid in the loins of Abraham), but in God, who created all things," etc. "If our good life is nothing else but the grace of God, without doubt eternal life, which is given as the reward of this good life, is also God's grace, and is itself given gratuitously, because that to which it is awarded, is given gratuitously. So that this which is awarded, is only grace for grace," etc. De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 8; Comp. C. Jul. IV. 3. And Augustine had no objection to make to the declaration of Paul. `By grace are ye saved;' where Pelagius, however, would always be thinking of something meritorious on the part of men, which consisted in the application of their powers to the performance of good. Ep. 194. C. 3. Eternal life was with him at once a reward and grace; or, as will hereafter appear, the good works of men were the effects of grace; properly grace for grace. De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 8, 9. He further agreed with Pelagius in this, that baptism is a grace; nay, with him, this must have been the more so, the greater his idea of its effects. "They [children] are regenerated in Christ by grace." Ep. 217. C. 5. It was previously, however, a common mode of speech, in the ancient African church, emphatically to call baptism, grace. By this mode of speech, one is reminded of Cyprian's book `On the Grace of God.' Augustine also used such language, when he inquired of Ambrose, what he should particularly read in the Bible in order properly to prepare himself for receiving the divine grace. Conff IX. 5. The law was also with him, in a certain sense, an aid of grace. Ep. 157. c. 2. "The letter [of the law] is an aid to the elect, because by commands and not by help, it admonishes the weak to flee to the spirit of grace." Op. Imp. 1. 94. But Augustine could no longer speak of freewill as a gracious gift of God, for with him it was a lost good. And besides, he believed, that, according to the scripture use of language, and especially that of Paul, grace must be used in respect to the supernatural operations of God's spirit on men. Ep. 177. C. 8; De Praed, Sanct. 5. This he considered as grace in the appropriate sense. C. d. Epp. Pel. IV. 5. He also called it "spiritual grace." De Pec. Mer. 1. 10. Nay, Augustine even distinguished between grace before the fall, and grace after the fall. But the precise point of difference in which Pelagianism varied from Augustinism, and must vary, lay in the different ideas which Pelagius and Augustine had of grace, as a supernatural operation of God upon men in their present state. Such a point of variance is indicated by Augustine himself (De Gr. Chr. 30), where he shows the difference of views on both sides. "The grace by which we are justified, i.e., by which the love of God is poured forth into our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us, I have never found from Pelagius and Caelestius in their writings, so far as I have been able to read; and yet this must be acknowledged." With Augustine, it was a communication of power (subministratio virtutis) for avoiding sin (2); a "communication of the spirit, and hidden compassion" (Ep. 177. C. 7); a "bidden inspiration of God." Ep. 217. C. 6. In this connection, he used the expression, "infused spirit of grace" (De Spir. et Lit. 36), like the idiom, Christ confers love by breathing into. He calls it the "inspiration of faith and of the fear of God" (Ep. 194. C. 6); "inspiration of love by the Holy Ghost." De Gr. Chr. 39. This grace must precede, before the grace of the remission of sins can follow. "We acknowledge," says he to Julian, (Op. Imp. I. 140), "grace without merit, which not only remits sins to man, but produces righteousness in human nature by the Holy Ghost." "The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, is to be understood, (by which alone men are freed from evil, and without which they perform absolutely nothing good, whether in thinking, willing, loving, or doing), not only that, by its indication, they may know what is to be done, but also, by its aid, may with love perform what they know. For, this inspiration of good will and of action, the apostle implored for those to whom he said, But we pray God, that ye may do no evil, but that ye may do what is good." De Cor. et Gr. 2. He defines this grace, in opposition to Pelagianism, as "an aid for doing well, added to nature and to instruction, by the inspiration of the most burning and luminous charity." De Gr. Chr. 35.
Often and gladly, and sometimes with a charm of ravishing eloquence, (because here his religious heart spoke out,) are depicted, by Augustine, this work of Deity in men, and its mysteriousness. But the most remarkable of all, is a passage in which he at the same time declares the relation of the gracious operations of God in respect to the relation of the Three Persons in the work. "For," says Augustine, "if every one that has heard and learned of the Father, comes [to the Son], certainly every one who does not come, has not heard of the Father nor learned; for if he had heard and learned, he would come. For no one has heard and learned, and not come; but every one, as saith the Word, who hath heard and learned, cometh. Widely removed from the senses of the flesh, is this school in which the Father is heard and teaches, in order that men should come to the Son. There is also the Son himself; for he is his word, by which, he thus teaches. Nor does he do this with the ear of the flesh, but of the heart. At the same time, there is also the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. For neither does he not teach, nor teach separately: for we have learned, that the works of the Trinity, are inseparable. But this is especially attributed to the Father, because the Only Begotten is begotten by him, and from him proceeds the Holy Ghost. We see many come to the Son, because we see many believe on Christ; but where and how they heard and have learned this from the Father, we see not. Doubtless this grace is secret; but that it is grace, who should doubt?" De Praed. Sanct. 8.
Concerning this grace, Augustine taught the following things:
1. Faith, as well in respect to its beginning as its progress and its completion, is a work of the preceding grace; that faith which he regarded is the source of all good acts, and which has as its consequence the love without which nothing good can be done, and with which nothing bad can be done.
This is universally maintained by Augustine in his writings against the Pelagians. Earlier, he had had the semi-pelagian view on this point. In De Praed. Sanct. 3, and De Dono Persev. 20, Augustine grants, that at a former period, he was himself in error, and held faith in God, or the assent which we give to the preaching of the gospel not as a gift from him, but as something which we ourselves produce, by which we obtain God's grace to live devoutly and righteously; but that he had been taught something better, especially by the words of Paul, 1 Cor. 4:7; But what hast thou that thou hast not received? But if thou hast received it, why dost thou boast, as if thou hadst not received it? After the beginning of his episcopate, as his first book to Simplicianus shows, he learned to see, that even the beginning of faith, is a gift of God. During the contests with the Pelagians, Augustine fully professed this opinion: "Although faith obtains the grace for doing well, yet certainly by no faith have we deserved to have faith itself; but in giving us that by which we obey the Lord, his compassion precedes us." De Gest. 14. "Faith is not possessed by all who hear the Lord, through the scriptures, promising the kingdom of heaven; and all are not persuaded who are counselled to come unto him. But who do possess faith, and who are persuaded to come to him, he has himself sufficiently shown, where he says, No one cometh unto me except the Father that hath sent me, draw him." De Gr. Chr. 10. "The law says truly, Whosoever keepeth my commandments shall live by them. But in order to his keeping them and living by them, it is not the law, which commands it, that is necessary, but the faith which obtains this." C. d. Epp. Pel. IV. 5. That faith is a work of grace, he endeavors to prove at length from scripture, in his book De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 7. 14. "God works in a wonderful manner in our hearts, in order that we should believe." De Praed. Sanct. 2. "Faith, begun and completed, is a gift of God." 9. "Faith, both in its progress and in its beginning, is a work of grace." 11. Comp. Ep. 194. c. 3, 4, where it is also shown, that even prayer is an effect of faith, and therefore also of grace. In reference to this letter, Augustine says, in one of the following letters (Ep. 214), "I have proved in this letter, by passages of scripture, that our good works as well as our devout prayers and right faith, could in no wise be in us, if we did not receive this from him of whom the apostle James says: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights."
Since therefore Augustine considered faith as an effect of grace, he must likewise have considered salvation, a consequence of faith, to be a gift of grace.
But we should be cautious of transferring the Lutheran doctrine of faith, to the Augustinian theory. This was unknown to him as well as to his whole age. Faith with him was the holding as true the phenomena in the life of Jesus. This needs no proof, since the whole of his writings declare it. See especially De Fide et Operibus composed about the year 413, and founded. Ben. P. VI. A principal proof passage is also found in his work De Pec. Orig. 24. "Christian truth," says he, "does not doubt, that without faith in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ, even the ancient saints, could not, in order to their being righteous, he purified from sins and justified through God's grace. Even their hearts were purified by the same faith in the Mediator, and love was poured into them." Comp. De Spir. et Lit. 31. In C. d. Epp. Pel. III. 5, Augustine says that "the catholic faith" does not distinguish the righteous from the unrighteous by the law of works, but by the law of faith itself; and that whoever does not hold the right and "catholic faith," passes from this life into perdition. Faith (fides, ______) was therefore with him exclusively the historical belief. The passages which are commonly adduced for a more limited and definite idea, afford, when more closely examined, no other sense.
It was not easy to treat of faith without also mentioning justification. This, however, was only done incidentally; and this doctrine no more than that of faith, (as might indeed be expected from the state of the controversy), became a subject of minute examination. Nevertheless, thus much is certain, that Augustine believed justification to be obtained through faith, since grace justifies only through faith. De Spir. et Lit. 13, 29.
But it may not be unimportant, on account of several passages already quoted and others yet to be quoted from the writings of Augustine, here just to remark, that he did not admit this doctrine in the more limited sense of the Lutheran system. For although he sometimes took it, with the Pelagians, for the forgiveness of sins, yet he also, at the same time, regarded it in the sense of making just. Consequently he included sanctification under it. In opposition to Julian, who had explained justification (Rom. 5:1) as "the pardon of sins," he says, "God justifies the ungodly person not merely by pardoning the evil he commits, but also by imparting love, that he may turn from evil and do good through the Holy Ghost." Op. Imp. II. 165. Comp. C. Jul. 11. S. "God justifies the wicked," says he to him. "By Jesus Christ, he spiritually heals the sick or resuscitates the dead." De Nat. et Gr. 26. By justified, he therefore meant as much as rendered just; from an ungodly, one is made a righteous person. De Spir. et Lit. 26. "We are justified by the grace of God, that is we are caused to be just (justi efficimur)." Retractt. II. 33.
The Pelagians also took the expression justification for making just, and called God the author of our justification. But they referred this, as appears from the exhibition already made of their system, at least in part, to the natural effect of the law, of which God is the author (De Spir. et Lit. 8); while Augustine on the contrary, referred the sanctification of man only to the power of gracious influence. He refers the justification of believers (De Pec. Mer. I. 10), to "the secret communication and inspiration of spiritual grace;" and the act of justifying as performed, to the outpouring of the love of God into our hearts by the Holy Ghost. De Gr. Chr. 30.
Faith therefore--to return to the point from which we have digressed--was with Augustine the effect of God's preceding grace. But as he took this in the historical sense, and as with him "to believe" was the same as "to believe what is spoken to be true" (De Spir. et Lit. 31), or, as he elsewhere expressly signified, "to think with assent" (De Praed. Sanct. 2), therefore, also,
2. He must have admitted a supernatural influence of grace on the understanding or the intellect of man. Whether he thought of this connection, cannot be determined, but it may well be doubted, as he does not appear to have obtained clear views of the nature of the faith which he adopted, and he did not make it an object of close investigation. Enough, that he everywhere joyfully allowed and taught, that the supernatural influence of grace was needful to obtaining the true knowledge of good. "The grace of Christ produces internally our illumination and justification," said he. De Pec. Mer. I. 9. "To come to the knowledge of good, which was hidden, is the grace of God." II. 17. The certain knowledge of right conduct, is sometimes wanting even to saints, in order that they may see, that the light by which their darkness is illuminated, comes not from themselves, but from him. II. 19. "No man can know what ought to be done, unless God give it him." Ep. 188. Still more clearly does he explain himself (Ep. 214) to the Adrumetian monks. "If it could take place through freewill, without the aid of divine grace, that we should understand and be wise, it would not be said to God, Grant me understanding, that I may learn thy commands," etc.
Augustine, however, did not confine the influence of grace to the supernatural illumination of the understanding, but adopted a supernatural and immediate effect of it on the will of man. He taught, that,
3. By preceding grace, not only is the understanding enlightened, but the good will is also first produced in man: by its supernatural and immediate inward operation, man first obtains the power to will good. The goodwill itself, with him, was nothing else but love; which love, as we have seen, he explained as a consequence of faith, and "which we have from God and not from ourselves, as that scripture testifies which says: Love is from God, and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God." De Gr. el Chr. 21. He held this love as the necessary condition and mother of all good. 26.
[But if Augustine thus held to holy love as absolutely essential to the first good act in man, and the mother of all good, how could he, at the same time, hold to an act of holy faith as preceding this love, and as obtaining from God the gift of love? If such is our author's meaning, it is of importance to inquire a little more minutely into Augustine's views respecting the grand question of faith and love, and how man comes to the first exercise of these graces. And this inquiry is here rendered the more needful by the suggestion above made in respect to Augustine's ignorance of the nature of that faith to which he held, and his not having made it an object of close investigation.
How far Augustine was in fact ignorant of the nature of faith, and especially of the relations between faith and love, and also what he believed concerning them, will be shown in the most sure and speedy manner by suffering him to speak for himself. The reader will soon see whether he regarded any faith as holy which does not itself imply love; or any faith, which is not thus holy, as the condition of obtaining love.
In his treatise `On Faith and Works' (14), he thus proceeds in an argument on his general subject: "When, therefore, the apostle said, that he concluded a man is justified by faith without works of law, he did not do this in order that precepts and works of righteousness should be despised in consequence of faith professed, but that every one may know that he can be justified by faith, though works of law have not preceded. Since, therefore, this opinion" (that faith dissolves the obligation to good works) "had then arisen, other apostolical epistles, those of Peter, John, James, and Jude, in a special manner direct the attention against it and urgently maintain, that faith without works profits nothing; just as even Paul himself has defined, not any kind whatever of faith by which one may believe in God, but that, saving and plainly evangelical faith, the works of which proceed from love: And faith, he says, which works by love. Hence that faith which seems to some sufficient for salvation, he thus asserts to profit nothing, when he says: Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. But where believing love operates, there is doubtless right living."
The following passage is designed to show, that grace must precede both faith and prayer. "If we inquire for the desert of mercy, we find it not, for there is none. For if we say, that faith precedes, in which there should be the desert of grace, what merit had the man before faith, in order to his receiving faith? If we say the merit of prayer precedes, that he may obtain the gift of grace, even prayer itself is found among the gifts of grace. For, says the teacher of the gentiles, we knew not what to pray for as we ought, but the spirit itself intercedeth for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. But what is his interceding, except that he causes us to intercede? For, to intercede with groans, is a most certain indication of one in need. But we are to believe the Holy Ghost in need of nothing. But he is thus said to intercede, because he makes us intercede, and inspires us with the affection of interceding and groaning: like what is said in the gospel, It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. For neither does this take place respecting us as though we did nothing. The aid of the Holy Spirit, therefore, is so expressed, that he may be said to do what he causes us to do." Ep. 194. c. 4.
In regard to the nature and effects of a merely historical faith, the following are still more specific. "This faith, which works by love, is the faith which distinguishes those who trust in God, from foul demons; for they, the apostle James says, believe and tremble, but they do not perform good works. Therefore they have not this faith by which the just man lives, i.e., which works by love." De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 7. The next passage is the one in which Augustine speaks expressly of faith as a belief of historic facts, and will be found to possess a twofold interest. "Now attend to that which I have proposed to discuss, viz., whether faith is in our power? that faith by which we believe God, or believe in God, as Abraham believed, and it was counted to him for righteousness. See, now, whether any one believes if he is unwilling (si noluerit)? or does not believe if he is willing (si voluerit)? If this is absurd, then truly faith is in our power; for what is it to believe, unless to consent that what is said is true? and consent certainly belongs to one willing. Since therefore faith is in our power, as every one believes when he will, and when he believes, he believes while willing (volens credit), we should inquire, or rather should recollect, what faith the apostle would commend so earnestly? for it is not good to believe every sort of thing. No doubt, that faith is commended by the apostle by which we believe in God. But there is still a further distinction to be made. For they who are under the law, moved by the fear of punishment, strive to work a righteousness of their own, and hence do not work the righteousness of God. They, therefore believe; for if they did not believe at all, they certainly would not fear the punishment of the law. But this faith the apostle does not commend. That fear therefore is servile; and so, although it believes in the Lord, it does not delight in righteousness, but fears damnation. But the children cry Abba Father," etc. De Spir. et Lit. 31, 32.
Here is surely no lack of discrimination between an affectionate, confiding faith, and that which is merely speculative, or which is servile. Nor does love here follow as a consequence of this faith, but enters into its living essence. Still it is true, that Augustine frequently speaks of love, or the good will, as being obtained from God in consequence of the faith with which it is sought. And he even speaks in the following strain of faith as meriting something. "We cannot deny, nay, we most gratefully confess, that faith merits the grace of performing good works. And we wish those brethren of ours who boast so much of their good works, had this faith, by which they would obtain the love that alone performs works truly good." But it may be questioned whether Augustine really designed to teach anything more than what has before been stated of his belief, viz., that God rewards grace by grace--to the prayer of him that exercises something of "that spirit of faith," of which he often speaks, God will give more grace, by which he will perform good works. Augustine, however, it must be confessed, has not always spoken with that precision on this matter, which would sufficiently guard each separate passage from a different interpretation. And it may furthermore be true, that he considered faith as taking the precedence of love in the order of nature though not of time, so that while true faith never exists without love, it may yet be the foundation of love; and in this sense, love be its consequence.
And now, in view of what has here and elsewhere been adduced, what shall we say of Augustine's ignorance and want of attention to the nature of that faith which he professed? The amount of the facts appears to me to be simply this, that so far as the above topics are concerned, Augustine had come to a very clear view of the nature and relations of saving faith; while at the same time his views, like those of the fathers in general, were indefinite and unsettled on the nature and relations of faith touching many of those grand points which first came up in earnest debate in the time of Luther. Nor can we expect to find any doctrine well settled in the views of men, and the language respecting it definite, till it has been long and warmly debated. Augustine discussed, to very good purpose for himself as well as subsequent ages, the connection between faith and love, and the doctrine of faith too in some of its more immediate relations to the repenting sinner--his free pardon, through faith, of all sins then past, for instance--while the need and reception of an equally free pardon of subsequent sins in the believer, was at best but more dimly and transiently seen. And I may just add, that it was in sequence of this dimness that the floodgates were left wide open to errors and papal impositions, such as the merits of holy faith itself and of repentance in those who have once believed--and then, penances, and purgatory, and popish pardons, all for doing away the sins committed after baptism. A pity truly would it be if the Lutheran, or any other church of the Reformation, had not better views of faith, in many of its relations, than are to be found in any period of the church from the time of the apostles down to that grand era of its more ample discussion by Luther and the Reformers. This early and lasting defect in doctrinal knowledge, is nearly if not quite the saddest, in its results, of any ever found in the Christian church.
Still Augustine should have the full credit of all he did see in regard to this grand doctrine. Nor in fact did those founders of the Lutheran church consider Augustine at all so ignorant of their darling doctrine of faith as Dr. W. seems to suppose him. They continually adduce his authority in support of their positions, and especially on some of the chief points now just considered. Take, for instance, the following sentence from their grand "standard," the Augsburg Confession, Art. 20. In support of the view of faith there given, they say: "Augustine in speaking of the word faith, admonishes the reader that in scripture this word does not signify mere knowledge, such as wicked men possess, but that confidence or trust by which alarmed sinners are comforted and lifted up." We now return to our author. TR.]
As here is a grand distinction between Augustinism and Pelagianism, Augustine is very particular in the discrimination of this doctrine, that the good will of man is originated by the immediate and supernatural influence of divine grace. Some of the most important passages ought not here to be passed by.
"We say, that the human will is so aided by God to the practice of righteousness that, besides his being created as man, with the free exercise of will, and besides instruction by which he is directed how to live, he receives the Holy Spirit, by which there is produced in his mind the enjoyment and love of that supreme and incommunicable good which is God, even now while as yet he walks by faith and not by sight; so that by this pledge as it were of a free gift, he burns to cleave fast to the Creator, and longs to arrive at the participation of that true light, that it may be well with him from the Author of his being. For freewill avails nothing except to sin, if the way of truth is concealed; and when that which is to be done and how it is to be attempted, begins not to be bid, unless it also delights and is loved, it is not done; it is not begun; there is no holy living. But that it may be loved, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, not by freewill which arises from ourselves, but by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." De Spir. et Lit. 3. Without the life-giving spirit, the instruction of law is a dead letter. 4. "This is the righteousness which God not only teaches by the precept of law, but also gives by the gift of the spirit." "But we wish him [Pelagius] at length to confess that grace by which the greatness of future glory is not only promised but is also believed in and hoped for; and by which wisdom is not merely revealed, but also loved; and which is not only suasive, but also persuasive to that which is good." De Gr. Chr. 10. "By this grace, it comes to pass, not only that we know what we ought to do, but that we do what we know; not only that we believe what is to be loved, but also that we love what we believe, If this grace is to be called instruction (doctrina), let it be called so in such a sense that God may be regarded as infusing it more deeply and internally with an ineffable sweetness, not only by those who plant and water externally, but also by himself who secretly gives his increase, so that he not only shows the truth but also imparts love." 12, 13. After speaking of God's turning the heart of the Assyrian king in the time of Esther, he says, "Let them therefore read and understand, let them examine and confess, that, not by law, and instruction from without, but by an internal and secret, a wonderful and ineffable power, God produces in the hearts of men, not only true revelations, but also good volitions (bonas voluntates)." 24. "Not only has God given our ability (posse nostrum) and aids it, but he also works in us to will and to do. Not as though we do not will and do not do; but because, without his aid, we neither will nor do anything good." 25. "And what the law commands, is not performed unless by his aiding, inspiring and giving, who commands; to whom the church prays that believers may persevere and advance and be perfected, and to whom she also prays that unbelievers may begin to believe." Op. Imp. VI. 41. But when good is performed through fear of punishment and not from love of righteousness, the good is not rightly performed, nor is that done in the heart which appears to be done in the act, as the man would prefer not to do it, if he could with impunity. Therefore the blessing of sweetness (benedictio dulcedinis, Ps. 21:3), is God's grace, by which it comes to pass in us, that we are delighted and we desire, that is, we love what is commanded us; in which, if God does not precede us, not only is it not done, but it is not begun by us." C. d. Epp. Pel. II. 9. "For how is there a good purpose of man, without the Lord's first having compassion on him, since it is the good will itself which is prepared by the Lord? But in all which any one does according to God, his compassion precedes him." IV. 6. Comp. Ep. 177. c. 7; 217. c. 6. In the last passage, it is said, that the good will is prepared by grace. "Grace precedes man's will, and does not follow it, that is, it is not given to us because we will it, but by it God causes us to will." 5. "No human merit precedes God's grace; but grace itself deserves to be increased, so that, being increased, it may deserve to be perfected, the will accompanying and not leading; following like a servant, and not going before." Ep. 186. c. 3. "If grace does not precede and produce the will, but only cooperates with the will already existing, how could the apostle's declaration be true, God worketh in you to will?" Op. Imp. I. 95. "The pious will indeed obtain a reward according to the merit of their good will; but the good will itself, they have obtained by the grace of God." Ep. 215. "By the grace of God, it comes to pass that the man has a good will, who before had a bad will. By this it comes to pass also, that the will already good, is increased and becomes great, so that it can fulfil God's commands," etc. De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 15. "When the man is aided by God, he is not only aided in order to obtain perfection, but, as the apostle says, he that hath begun the good carrieth it on to perfection." C. Jul. IV. 3. "In the elect, the will is prepared by the Lord." De Praed. Sanct. 5. "Grace takes the lead in man, so that he loves God; by which love, he performs good." Op. Imp. It. 131.
This is the preceding grace (gratia praeveniens) of Augustine, which, as we have already seen, he also referred to faith, in opposition to the cooperating grace of the Pelagians; or the operating grace (gratia operans) of Augustine. For preceding grace, he also employed the expression antecedent grace (gratia antecedens). Ep. 217. C. 7.
4. Grace--so the bishop of Hippo further taught--is the necessary condition to the performance of each good act, and is afforded for each individual good act in particular, Augustine compares God's grace to a light. De Pec. Mer. II. 5. As the bodily eye cannot see without light, so God, who is the light of the inner man, aids our spirit to perform good, not after our own righteousness, but his. Hence even the regenerate (perfectissime justificatus) needs, in order to a holy life, the continual and divine aid of the eternal light of righteousness, as Augustine expresses himself. De Nat. et Gr. 26. "Whatever is not of faith, is sin; and faith works by love. And according to this, every one, (who desires truly to confess the grace or God, by which the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us), so confesses as not in the least to doubt that without it there can be nothing good as pertaining to piety and true righteousness." De Gr. Chr. 26. "The grace or aid of God is afforded for every individual act, and we are swayed (regimur) by God, when we do right." De Gest. Pel. 14. That God's grace is given for separate acts, is also denoted by Augustine as being a catholic doctrine, in his letter to Vitalis. Ep. 217. "God does much good in man which man does not do; but man does nothing which God does not cause him to do. For if without him we can do nothing, we can in fact no more begin than we can accomplish without him. In reference to beginning, it is said, His compassion will precede me; and in reference to accomplishing, His compassion will follow me." C. d. Epp. Pel. II. 9.
The will of man is aided to every good act and word, and to every good thought, by the grace of God." II. 5. "The soul lives from God, when it lives well; for it cannot live well, if God does not work in it what is good." De Civ. Dei, XIII. 2. "It is true, that we act when we do act; but he [God] causes us to act by affording most efficacious strength to the will." De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 16.
[Augustine was far enough from denying that our actions and volitions are really our own, in distinction from our being passive instruments by which the divine spirit acts. Nor did he place the main difficulty with fallen man, in our not being able to do right if we will. Hear what he has to say on this topic in the chapter just referred to. "The Pelagians think they know some great thing, when they say, God would not command what he knew could not be done by man. Who does not know this? But he commands some things which we cannot do, whereby we know what we ought to ask of him. For it is faith which obtains by prayer what the law commands. For true it is, that we keep the commandments if we will (si volumus); but as the will is prepared of the Lord, we must seek of him that we may will as much as is sufficient in order to our doing by volition (ut volendo faciamus). Certain it is, that we will, when we do will; but he causes as to will good, of whom it is said, It is God that worketh in you to will and to do. Certain it is, that we do when we do, etc. Whoever therefore wills to do God's command and cannot, has already the good will, but it is as yet small and weak; but he will be able when he shall have it great and strong. For when the martyrs performed those great commands, they performed them certainly by a great will, that is, by great love." De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 16, 17.
Here, again, we see, that "the good will" is the same as holy love, We see also, that whoever wills at all to keep God's commands, has already this love in some degree. Of course Augustine did not suppose saving faith, by which we pray for the good will, to commence before love in the order of time; but by this love, this "spirit of faith," in a small degree, we can obtain of God a larger, degree for the performance of any good works--just as was stated while on the nature of faith. See also in that connection a further illustration of Augustine's views respecting our ability to do if we will or believe if we will. The great difficulty, in his view, is further back--to gain the will to believe, or to do. Still, one would like to know from Augustine how it is, that he does not consider God as commanding what he knows we cannot do, nor even properly pray for, before he gives us this love in any degree, i.e., before regeneration. Perhaps he has left nothing to pour light on this obscure spot in his theory, and by which he can be defended from the charge of inconsistency.
Since writing the above, I have met with the following passage which amply confirms the view I have given of his theory in respect to the simultaneous commencement of faith and love, and also of our entire impotence even to pray for the gift of love, until God gives at least a little love, though it affords us no clue to the sense in which he would suppose God does not command what he knows we cannot do. "Whatever a man thinks he does well, if it is done without love, it is by no means done well. These commands of love, therefore, would in vain be given to men, not having the free decision of will. But as they are given in both the old and new law, whence to men is the love of God and of their neighbor, unless from God himself? For if not from God, but from men, the Pelagians have conquered; but if from God, we have conquered the Pelagians. Let, then, the apostle John sit as judge between us, and say to us, Beloved, let us love one another. When, at these words of John, they begin to erect themselves and to say, How is this commanded to us, unless we have power of ourselves to love one another! the same John immediately continues, confounding them and saying, Because love is of God. It is not therefore of ourselves, but of God. Why, then, is it said, Let us love one another, because love is of God, unless that freewill is admonished to seek the gift of God? Which freewill, indeed, would be admonished entirely without its fruit, unless it first received something of love, in order to seek the addition of what should be needful to its fulfilling what was commanded." De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 18. In what sense, then, (if in any at all), could Augustine say, that God commands an impenitent sinner to love him? or even to pray, aright for grace to love him? and yet, that God does not command what he knows the sinner cannot do? His supposed change of views, is here, perhaps, the more rational conclusion. TR.]
"And victorious love sometimes fails for a good work even in saints, in order that they may see that it comes from God." De Pec. Mer. II. 19. "No one, except by the grace of Christ, can have the free exercise of will for doing the good which he wills, or for not doing the evil which he hates. Not as though his will were dragged to good, as it is dragged like a captive to evil; but as freed from captivity, it is led by the freeborn sweetness of love, not by the servile bitterness of fear." Op. Imp. III. 112. The grace of Christ overcomes the frailty of the flesh, which here still remains for conflict. By the pledge of the spirit, we obtain strength to strive and to conquer. II. 137, 140.
Repentance also, (which Augustine did not confine to sorrow at baptism, but which he considered as a satisfaction for sins by way of punishment received), he explained as a gift of grace, although done by the will of man. Op. Imp. IV. 126. See Münscher's Handbuch der Dogmengesch. B. IV. §127.
[As an explanation and a proof of the rather startling assertion in the above parenthesis, we may take the following sentence from one of Augustine's sermons. "It is not enough to reform the morals and abandon evil deeds, unless satisfaction be also made to God for what has been committed, by the grief of penitence, by the groan of humility, by the sacrifice of contrite heart, with alms cooperating." Sermo 351, Opp. V. p. 1362. TR.]
Therefore the willing, as well as the ability and the performance, Augustine regarded as the supernatural effect of grace. Compare the fifth canon of the Carthaginian council, in the twelfth chapter, and the letter mentioned, in the eleventh chapter, as sent to Zosimus by the Africans of that council. "If Pelagius agrees with us, that not only the ability in man, but also the will and the performance, are aided by God, so that without this aid we will and do nothing right, and that it is by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in which he makes us righteous by his righteousness and not ours, so that this is truly our righteousness which comes from him, no controversy, as I believe, will remain between us, in respect to the aid of God's grace." De Gr. Chr. 47. "That we should will, therefore, God works without us; but when we will, and so will as to do, God cooperates with us. Still, without him either working in us to will, or working with us when we will, we can avail nothing to good works of piety." De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 17.
Augustine therefore distinguished grace operating from grace cooperating (cooperans). The first he referred to the willing; the last to the doing. For the first, he adduced Phil. 2:13; for the last, Rom. 8:28. "The Holy Ghost helps our weakness and cooperates to our health." De Nat. et Gr. 60. Cooperating grace, Augustine also called accompanying grace (consequens), because it works jointly with the will already produced by antecedent grace. C. d. Epp. Pel. VI. 6. And he called it subsequent (subsequens) grace, because it follows the good will which is produced by preceding grace. "Subsequent grace, indeed, aids the good purpose of man but it would not itself exist, if grace did not precede." II. 10.
This aid of God to each individual good act of man, Jerome also maintains clearly enough, in his dialogues against the Pelagians. In his third dialogue, he makes his Atticus say: "By this long discussion, it is shown, that the Lord aids and helps, in individual acts, by his grade, by which he has given us freewill."
5. In bestowing grace, God has no respect to the worthiness of man--nay, according to Augustine's theory, man can have no worthiness at all--but God here acts after his own freewill. By what reasons of propriety he is influenced, it is not for us to decide.
"The Holy Spirit bloweth where it listeth, and follows not merits but itself produces merit. For God's grace can by no means exist, if it is not in every way gratuitous." De Pec. Orig. 24. "What is the merit of man before grace, by which grace is awarded to him, since mere grace produces all our good desert in us, and God, when he crowns our merit, crowns nothing but his own gift?" Ep. 194, c. 5. "Even the very name of grace and import of it, are taken away, if it is not imparted gratuitously, and he who is worthy receives it. And has not the apostle so described grace as to show, that it is so called because it is given gratuitously? Rom. 11:6; 4:4. Grace, therefore, is given to the unworthy, as debt is paid to the deserving. But he, who has given to the unworthy what they did not have, causes them to have what he will reward them for as worthy." De Gest. 14. "It belongs to faith, to believe in Christ. And no one can come to him, that is, believe in him, unless it is given unto him. No one, therefore, can have a righteous will, unless, without any preceding merits, he receives true, that is, gratuitous grace from above." C. d. Epp. Pel. I. 3. "We do not unjustly pronounce anathema on the Pelagians, who are so hostile to grace, as to maintain, that it is not bestowed gratuitously, but according to merit, so that grace is no more grace; and who attribute so much to freewill as to maintain that, by the right use of it, man merits grace; whereas it is by grace that he is first able rightly to use freewill, which grace is not imparted according to desert, but is given by the free mercy of God." I. 24. "But what avails it to them that, by the praises of freewill, they even maintain, that grace aids the good purpose of every one? This might, without scruple, he received as spoken in a catholic way, if they did not place merit in the good purpose, to which merit the reward is rendered according to debt, and not according to grace. But they should see and acknowledge, that even the good purpose, which accompanying grace aids, could not be in man, if grace did not precede." IV. 6. "Good works follow grace, and do not precede it; for grace causes us to do them; and we do not set up our own righteousness, but the righteousness of God is in us, that is, the righteousness which he gives." Op. Imp. I. 141. "Grace, which makes good men out of bad, is not debt." I. 133. Not only no "good deserts," but even "bad deserts," precede grace. De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 14. "Grace is not given according to the merits of the recipients, but according to the good pleasure of his will, that he who boasts should not boast of himself, but of the Lord." De Dono. Pers. 12. "To those to whom grace, is given, it is given by the gratuitous mercy of God." Ep. 217, C. 5. "What has the apostle here taught us, (Rom. 9:14, 15), unless that it pertains, not to the merits of men, but to the mercy of God, that any one, from that mass of the first man to which death is due, is freed; and thus there is no unrighteousness with God; for he is not unjust, either in remitting or in exacting what is due. And where punishment might be justly inflicted, pardon (indulgentia) is grace. And hence it still more evidently appears, how great is the benefit to him who is freed from deserved punishment and gratuitously justified, while another, equally guilty, is punished without the unrighteousness of him that punishes." Ep. 186, C. 6. "Why God aids this man, and not that; one more, another less; one in this way, another in that; he knows the righteous but hidden reasons; and in this consists the sovereignty of his power." De Pec. Mer. II. 5. "God could also incline the will of the evil to good. Why then has he not done it? Because he has not chosen to. Why he has not chosen to, rests with him." De Gen. ad Lit. XI. 10, "Why this man believes, and that does not, when both hear the same things, and if a miracle is wrought before their eyes, both see the same, this is a depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God whose judgments are inscrutable, and with whom there is no unrighteousness when he has mercy on whom he will, and hardens whom he will; nor are those judgments unjust because they are hidden." Ep. 194, C. 3.
6. This aid of grace is irresistible, and is afforded to man notwithstanding his resistance.
"The hearing of the divine call, is produced by divine grace itself, in him who before resisted; and then the love of virtue is kindled in him when he no longer resists." C. d. Epp. Pel. IV. 6. This grace, which is secretly imparted to human hearts, by divine bounty, is rejected by no hard heart. For it is indeed given for the very purpose that the previous hardness of the heart may be removed. When, therefore, the Father is internally heard and teaches, in order that men should come to the Son, he takes away the stony heart and gives the heart of flesh." De Praed. Sanct. 8. Divine grace operates on the will of man in a manner not to be avoided nor resisted (indeclinabiliter et insuperabiliter). "The strongest man [Adam] God left to do what he would; but for the weak, he has provided that they should, by his gift, most invincibly will what is good, and most invincibly refuse to desert it." De Cor. et Gr. 12. "It is not to be doubted, that human wills cannot resist God's will." 14.
[This passage does not relate so much to gracious influence, as to that by which God sways the hearts of men in general, in the course of his providence. The whole sentence reads thus: "It is not therefore to be doubted, that human wills cannot resist God's will, that he should not do what he will, who has done whatsoever he would in heaven and on earth, and who has even done (fecit) those things which are future; since indeed concerning the very wills of men, he does what he will and when he will." Augustine then goes on to illustrate his meaning by the cases of Saul and of David whom God placed successively on the throne by moving the hearts of the people to prefer them. "And how did he move them? Did he bind them by any corporeal hands? He acted internally, held their hearts, moved their hearts, and drew them by the wills which he produced in them. If, therefore, when the Lord wills to establish kings on the earth, he has the wills of men more in his power than themselves have their own wills, who else causes the salutary chastisement to take place, and the correction in the chastised heart, that it may be established in the celestial kingdom?" Nor is it merely in respect to things lawful, that Augustine supposes God to move the hearts of men in general. He also moves them to sinful acts, in some sense, as Augustine occasionally affirms in pretty strong terms. After quoting the passage of scripture respecting the Lord's stirring up the spirit of the Philistines and of the Arabians to devastate the land of Judah, Augustine says: "It is here shown, that God excites enemies to devastate those lands which he judges worthy of such punishment. But did the Philistines and Arabians come to devastate the land of Judea, without their own will? or did they so come by their will as that it is falsely written, that the Lord stirred up their spirit to do this? Nay, each is true. The Lord stirred up their spirit; and yet they came of their own accord. For the Omnipotent produces in the hearts of men even the motion of their will, that he may do by them what he wills to do by them." And after adducing a variety of other like facts from scripture, he says, "By these and other testimonies of the divine annunciations, all of which it would be tedious to recount, it is sufficiently manifest, as I think, that God works in the hearts of men to incline their wills to whatever he pleases, whether to good on the ground of his mercy, or to evil on the ground of their deserts, according to his own judgment, which is sometimes manifest and sometimes concealed, but yet always just." De Gr. et Lib. Arb. 21. Still, Augustine elsewhere makes a most important distinction between the manner in which God acts on the hearts of men in the two cases. "Nor does God harden by imparting wickedness (impertiendo malitiam), but by not imparting mercy." Ep. 194, C. 3. We are not, however, to suppose, that he held to a mere negation of influence of all kinds; at least he did not so believe when writing the last passage but one, for he there adds, that "if God is able, whether by angels either good or bad, or in any other way, to operate even in the hearts of the wicked, on account of their deserts, (whose wickedness he has not himself produced, but it was either originally derived from Adam or increased by their own will), what wonder is it if he, who changes hearts themselves from bad to good, works in those hearts of the elect, their good?"-TR.]
But it was only in the sequel of the controversy that the Augustinian theory of grace was so far perfected, that its author adopted an irresistibleness of grace, an impartation of it to men notwithstanding their resistance. We need only recollect the passage already quoted, on the doctrine of freewill, from Augustine's first work against the Pelagians. De Pec. Mer. If. 5. How could the sentiment there assumed, that he only is aided by God, who spontaneously undertakes something, because God does not work our cure in us as in senseless stones, or as in those in whose nature reason and will are not implanted--how could this sentiment, I say, be brought into unison with the doctrine of irresistible grace? "The consenting to the calling of God or the dissenting from it," which Augustine attributed to man's own will (De Spir. et Lit. 34), could hardly agree with irresistible grace. He here speaks like a semi-pelagian, and still earlier, in his writings against the Manichaeans, as we have already seen, he explains himself almost like Pelagius, in respect to freedom. Augustine's convictions, in this particular: may therefore be divided into three periods. The first when he defended freewill against the Manichaeans. Here he must have conceived of the relation of freedom to grace, in the Pelagian way, however more highly he then thought of the influence of grace. The second, when he came forward in his first productions against the Pelagians. Here, however severely he expressed himself respecting the loss of freedom, he regarded the relation of freedom to grace, in the semi-pelagian way; for he could not otherwise have ascribed to the will itself the power of receiving or of resisting grace. The last, after his system had reached its full result in the progress of the controversy with the Pelagians. Now he adopted "irresistible grace."
This position, that grace is imparted to man notwithstanding his resistance, is also entirely in the spirit of the Augustinian system. For if man is so corrupt by nature that he can will only evil, this bad will must first struggle in opposition before grace can transform it to a good will. And as soon as the predestination theory was to be defended, an irresistible grace was to be assumed. Both doctrines, therefore, Augustine placed in connection, in the passage quoted from De Praed. Sanct. 8.
He could not, however, endure it, when his opponents, particularly Julian, reproached him with teaching, that man is compelled to will good. If he is compelled, he does not will, said Augustine. Op. Imp. 1. 101. But still the bishop of Hippo could not deny that, according to his system, the willing of good is produced by grace, in opposition to the will of the man, and that therefore the man is actually compelled, in this case, to will good. For "the grace of God makes one, not willing, to be willing." III. 122. But there is no contradiction in this doctrine in itself. According to Augustine's view, the effect of grace consists in this, that the bad will ceases and a good will comes in its place. Between the compulsion and the good will, there is therefore only an apparent contradiction, since the compulsion precedes, and the good will follows as an effect.
7. To this was further added, (according to the canons of the general synod at Carthage, already quoted), the position that even those to whom gracious influences are imparted, are not without sin; so that they, too, have still always occasion to pray, Forgive us our sins. Concupiscence remains in them, which, according to Augustine, although not imputed to the converted, is always something evil. And he did not pronounce them free from the sins of ignorance, inadvertency, and weakness. De Cor. et Gr. 12. He therefore distinguished between a greater and a less righteousness (justitia major and justitia minor). That perfect righteousness by which we love God with the whole heart, and our neighbors as ourselves, will be gained only in the future life. But this imperfect righteousness by which he lives who is justified by faith, and does not (willfully) sin, is to be gained in this life. De Spir. et Lit. 36. Some "venial sins, without which this life is not passed, do not exclude the righteous from eternal life." 38. But the elect commit no deadly sins. Among deadly sins, Augustine comprehended those sins by which one would abandon faith till death. De Cor. et Gr. 12. The most perfect love is found in no man while on earth; and hence there are none just upon earth. Ep. 167. c. 4. But on the question, why grace still suffers sin in the elect, he answered, that this is done for their discipline, that they may not become proud. De Pec. Mer. II. 17.
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