Writings of Augustine. A Treatise on Grace and Free Will.
Augustin and the Pelagian Controversy.
A Treatise on Grace and Free Will.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff,
New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
Extract from Augustin's "Retractations," Book II. Chap. 66,
On the Following Treatise, "de gratia et libero arbitrio."
There are some persons who suppose that the freedom of the will is
denied whenever God's grace is maintained, and who on their side
defend their liberty of will so peremptorily as to deny the grace of
God. This grace, as they assert, is bestowed according to our own
merits. It is in consequence of their opinions that I wrote the book
entitled On Grace and Free Will. This work I addressed to the monks of
Adrumetum,  in whose monastry first arose the controversy on
that subject, and that in such a manner that some of them were obliged
to consult me thereon. The work begins with these words: "With
reference to those persons who so preach the liberty of the human
 Adrumetum, a maritime city of Africa, was the metropolis of the
Province of Byzacium, as Procopius informs us, De Aedificiis
Justiniani VI. It was in a monastery here that the monks resided for
whose instruction Augustin composed the two following treatises,--the
former entitled De Gratiâ et Libero Arbitrio, and the latter De
Correptione et Gratiâ, in the year of Christ 426 or 427. In our
opinion, no later date can be well assigned to these writings,
inasmuch as they are mentioned in The Retractations, which was
published about the year 427; nor can they be placed earlier in date,
because they are in that work mentioned the very last.
Two Letters Written by Augustin to Valentinus and the Monks of
and forwarded  with the Following Treatise.
[The 214th of Augustin's Epistles.]
To my very dear lord and most honoured brother among the members of
Christ, Valentinus, and to the brethren that are with you, Augustin
sends greeting in the Lord.
1. Two young men, Cresconius and Felix, have found their way to us,
and, introducing themselves as belonging to your brotherhood, have
told us that your monastery was disturbed with no small commotion,
because certain amongst you preach grace in such a manner as to deny
that the will of man is free; and maintain--a more serious
matter--that in the day of judgment God will not render to every man
according to his works.  At the same time, they have pointed out
to us, that many of you do not entertain this opinion, but allow that
free will is assisted by the grace of God, so as that we may think and
do aright; so that, when the Lord shall come to render unto every man
according to his works,  He shall find those works of ours good
which God has prepared in order that we may walk in them.  They
who think this think rightly.
2. "I beseech you therefore, brethren," even as the apostle besought
the Corinthians, "by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all
speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you." For,
in the first place, the Lord Jesus, as it is written in the Gospel of
the Apostle John, "came not to condemn the world, but that the world
by Himself might be saved."  Then, afterwards, as the Apostle
Paul writes, "God shall judge the world  when He shall come," as
the whole Church confesses in the Creed, "to judge the quick and the
dead." Now, I would ask, if there is no grace of God, how does He save
the world? and if there is no free will, how does He judge the world?
That book of mine, therefore, or epistle, which the above-mentioned
brethren have brought with them to you, I wish you to understand in
accordance with this faith, so that you may neither deny God's grace,
nor uphold free will in such wise as to separate the latter from the
grace of God, as if without this we could by any means either think or
do anything according to God,--which is quite beyond our power. On
this account, indeed, it is, that the Lord when speaking of the fruits
of righteousness said, "Without me ye can do nothing." 
3. From this you may understand why I wrote the letter which has been
referred to,  to Sixtus, presbyter of the Church at Rome,
against the new Pelagian heretics, who say that the grace of God is
bestowed according to our own merits, so that he who glories has to
glory not in the Lord, but in himself,--that is to say, in man, not in
the Lord. This, however, the apostle forbids in these words: "Let no
man glory in man;"  while in another passage he says, "He that
glorieth let him glory in the Lord."  But these heretics, under
the idea that they are justified by their own selves, just as if God
did not bestow on them this gift, but they themselves obtained it by
themselves, glory of course in themselves, and not in the Lord. Now,
the apostle says to such, "Who maketh thee to differ from another?"
 and this he does on the ground that out of the mass of
perdition which arose from Adam, none but God distinguishes a man to
make him a vessel to honour, and not to dishonour.  Lest,
however, the carnal man in his foolish pride should, on hearing the
question, "Who maketh thee to differ from another?" either in thought
or in word answer and say: My faith, or my prayer, or my righteousness
makes me to differ from other men, the apostle at once adds these
words to the question, and so meets all such notions, saying, "What
hast thou that thou didst not receive? now, if thou didst receive it,
why dost thou glory, as if thou didst not receive it?"  Now,
they boast as if they did not receive their gifts by grace, who think
that they are justified of their own selves, and who, on this account,
glory in themselves, and not in the Lord.
4. Therefore I have in this letter, which has reached you, shown by
passages of Holy Scripture, which you can examine for yourselves, that
our good works and pious prayers and right faith could not possibly
have been in us unless we had received them all from Him, concerning
whom the Apostle James says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift
is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights."  And
so no man can say that it is by the merit of his own works, or by the
merit of his own prayers, or by the merit of his own faith, that God's
grace has been conferred upon him; nor suppose that the doctrine is
true which those heretics hold, that the grace of God is given us in
proportion to our own merit. This is altogether a most erroneous
opinion; not, indeed, because there is no desert, good in pious
persons, or evil in impious ones (for how else shall God judge the
world?),  but because a man is converted by that mercy and grace
of God, of which the Psalmist says, "As for my God, His mercy shall
prevent me;"  so that the unrighteous man is justified, that is,
becomes just instead of impious, and begins to possess that good
desert which God will crown when the world shall be judged.
5. There were many things which I wanted to send you, by the perusal
whereof you would have been able to gain a more exact and full
knowledge of all that has been done by the bishops in their councils
against these Pelagian heretics. But the brethren were in haste who
came to us from your company. By them we have sent you this letter;
which is, however, not an answer to any communication, because, in
truth, they brought us no epistle from your beloved selves. Yet we had
no hesitation in receiving them; for their simple manners proved to us
clearly enough that there could have been nothing unreal or deceptive
in their visit to us. They were, however, in much haste, as wishing to
spend Easter at home with you; and my earnest prayer is, that so
sacred a day may, by the Lord's help, bring peace to you, and not
6. You will, indeed, take the better course (as I earnestly request
you), if you will not refuse to send to me the very person by whom
they say they have been disturbed. For either he does not understand
my book, or else, perhaps, he is himself misunderstood, when he
endeavours to solve and explain a question which is a very difficult
one, and intelligible to few. For it is none other than the question
of God's grace which has caused persons of no understanding to think
that the Apostle Paul prescribes it to us as a rule, "Let us do evil
that good may come."  It is in reference to these that the
Apostle Peter writes in his second Epistle; "Wherefore, beloved,
seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found
of Him in peace, without spot and blameless and account that the
long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother
Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto
you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things: in
which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are
unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures,
unto their own destruction." 
7. Take good heed, then, to these fearful words of the great apostle;
and when you feel that you do not understand, put your faith in the
meanwhile in the inspired word of God, and believe both that man's
will is free, and that there is also God's grace, without whose help
man's free will can neither be turned towards God, nor make any
progress in God. And what you piously believe, that pray that you may
have a wise understanding of. And, indeed, it is for this very
purpose,--that is, that we may have a wise understanding, that there
is a free will. For unless we understood and were wise with a free
will, it would not be enjoined to us in the words of Scripture,
"Understand now, ye simple among the people; and ye fools, at length
be wise."  The very precept and injunction which calls on us to
be intelligent and wise, requires also our obedience; and we could
exercise no obedience without free will. But if it were in our power
to obey this precept to be understanding and wise by free will,
without the help of God's grace, it would be unnecessary to say to
God, "Give me understanding, that I may learn Thy commandments;"
 nor would it have been written in the gospel, "Then opened He
their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures;"
 nor should the Apostle James address us in such words as, "If
any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men
liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  But
the Lord is able to grant, both to you and to us, that we may rejoice
over very speedy tidings of your peace and pious unanimity. I send you
greeting, not in my own name only, but of the brethren also who are
with me; and I ask you to pray for us with one accord and with all
earnestness. The Lord be with you.
 See the Second Letter, ch. 2.
 See Matt. xvi. 17, and Rom. ii. 6.
 See Matt. xvi. 17, and Rom. ii. 6.
 Eph. ii. 10.
 John iii. 17.
 Rom. iii. 6.
 John xv. 5.
 Ep. 194.
 1 Cor. iii. 21.
 1 Cor. i. 31, and 2 Cor. x. 17.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
 Rom. ix. 21.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
 Jas. i. 17.
 Rom. iii. 6.
 Ps. lix. 10.
 Rom. iii. 8.
 2 Pet. iii. 14-16.
 Ps. xciv. 8.
 Ps. cxix. 73.
 Luke xxiv. 45.
 Jas. i. 5.
[The 215th of Augustin's Epistles.]
To my very dear lord and most honoured brother among the members of
Christ, Valentinus, and to the brethren that are with you, Augustin
sends greeting in the Lord.
1. That Cresconius and Felix, and another Felix, the servants of God,
who came to us from your brotherhood, have spent Easter with us is
known to your Love.  We have detained them somewhile longer in
order that they might return to you better instructed against the new
Pelagian heretics, into whose error every one falls who supposes that
it is according to any human merits that the grace of God is given to
us, which alone delivers a man through Jesus Christ our Lord. But he,
too, is no less in error who thinks that, when the Lord shall come to
judgment, a man is not judged according to his works who has been able
to use throughout his life free choice of will. For only infants, who
have not yet done any works of their own, either good or bad, will be
condemned on account of original sin alone, when they have not been
delivered by the Saviour's grace in the laver of regeneration. As for
all others who, in the use of their free will, have added to original
sin, sins of their own commission, but who have not been delivered by
God's grace from the power of darkness and removed into the kingdom of
Christ, they will receive judgment according to the deserts not of
their original sin only, but also of the acts of their own will. The
good, indeed, shall receive their reward according to the merits of
their own good-will, but then they received this very good-will
through the grace of God; and thus is accomplished that sentence of
Scripture, "Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every
soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the
Gentile: but glory, honour, and peace to every man that worketh good;
to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." 
2. Touching the very difficult question of will and grace, I have felt
no need of treating it further in this letter, having given them
another letter also when they were about to return in greater haste. I
have written a book likewise for you,  and if you, by the Lord's
help, read it, and have a lively understanding of it, I think that no
further dissension on this subject will arise among you. They take
with them other documents besides, which, as we supposed, ought to be
sent to you, in order that from these you may ascertain what means the
catholic Church has adopted for repelling, in God's mercy, the poison
of the Pelagian heresy. For the letters to Pope Innocent, Bishop of
Rome, from the Council of the province of Carthage, and from the
Council of Numidia, and one written with exceeding care by five
bishops, and what he wrote back to these three; our letter also to
Pope Zosimus about the African Council, and his answer addressed to
all bishops throughout the world; and a brief constitution, which we
drew up against the error itself at a later plenary Council of all
Africa; and the above-mentioned book of mine, which I have just
written for you,--all these we have both read over with them, while
they were with us, and have now despatched by their hands to you.
3. Furthermore, we have read to them the work of the most blessed
martyr Cyprian on the Lord's Prayer, and have pointed out to them how
He taught that all things pertaining to our morals, which constitute
right living, must be sought from our Father which is in heaven, lest,
by presuming on free will, we fall from divine grace. From the same
treatise we have also shown them how the same glorious martyr has
taught us that it behoves us to pray even for our enemies who have not
yet believed in Christ, that they may believe; which would of course
be all in vain unless the Church believed that even the evil and
unbelieving wills of men might, by the grace of God, be converted to
good. This book of St. Cyprian, however, we have not sent you, because
they told us that you possessed it among yourselves already. My
letter, also, which had been sent to Sixtus, presbyter of the Church
at Rome  and which they brought with them to us, we read over
with them, and pointed out how that it had been written in opposition
to those who say that God's grace is bestowed according to our
merits,--that is to say, in opposition to the same Pelagians.
4. As far, then, as lay in our power, we have used our influence with
them, as both your brethren and our own, with a view to their
persevering in the soundness of the catholic faith, which neither
denies free will whether for an evil or a good life, nor attributes to
it so much power that it can avail anything without God's grace,
whether that it may be changed from evil to good, or that it may
persevere in the pursuit of good, or that it may attain to eternal
good when there is no further fear of failure. To yourselves, too, my
most dearly beloved, I also, in this letter, give the same exhortation
which the apostle addresses to us all, "not to think of yourselves
more highly than you ought to think; but to think soberly, according
as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." 
5. Mark well the counsel which the Holy Ghost gives us by Solomon:
"Make straight paths for thy feet, and order thy ways aright. Turn not
aside to the right hand nor to the left, but turn away thy foot from
the evil way; for the Lord knoweth the ways on the right hand, but
those on the left are perverse. He will make thy ways straight, and
will direct thy steps in peace."  Now consider, my brethren,
that in these words of Holy Scripture, if there were no free will, it
would not be said, "Make straight paths for thy feet, and order thy
ways; turn not aside to the right hand, nor to the left." Nor yet,
were this possible for us to achieve without the grace of God, would
it be afterwards added, "He will make thy ways straight, and will
direct thy steps in peace."
6. Decline, therefore, neither to the right hand nor to the left,
although the paths on the right hand are praised, and those on the
left hand are blamed. This is why he added, "Turn away thy foot from
the evil way,"--that is, from the left-hand path. This he makes
manifest in the following words, saying, "For the Lord knoweth the
ways on the right hand; but those on the left are perverse." In those
ways we ought surely to walk which the Lord knows; and it is of these
that we read in the Psalm, "The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous,
but the way of the ungodly shall perish;"  for this way, which
is on the left hand, the Lord does not know. As He will also say at
last to such as are placed on His left hand at the day of judgment: "I
know you not."  Now what is that which He knows not, who knows
all things, both good and evil, in man? But what is the meaning of the
words, "I know you not," unless it be that you are now such as I never
made you? Precisely as that passage runs, which is spoken of the Lord
Jesus Christ, that "He knew no sin."  How knew it not, except
that He had never made it? And, therefore, how is to be understood the
passage, "The ways which are on the right hand the Lord knoweth,"
except in the sense that He made those ways Himself,--even "the paths
of the righteous," which no doubt are "those good works that God," as
the apostle tells us, "hath before ordained that we should walk in
them"?  Whereas the left-hand ways--those perverse paths of the
unrighteous--He truly knows nothing of, because He never made them for
man, but man made them for himself. Wherefore He says, "The perverse
ways of the wicked I utterly abhor; they are on the left hand."
7. But the reply is made: Why did He say, "Turn not aside to the right
hand, nor to the left," when he clearly ought rather to have said,
Keep to the right hand, and turn not off to the left, if the
right-hand paths are good? Why, do we think, except this, that the
paths on the right hand are so good that it is not good to turn off
from them, even to the right? For that man, indeed, is to be
understood as declining to the right who chooses to attribute to
himself, and not to God, even those good works which appertain to
right-hand ways. Hence it was that after saying, "For the Lord knoweth
the ways on the right hand, but those on the left hand are perverse,"
as if the objection were raised to Him, Wherefore, then, do you not
wish us to turn aside to the right? He immediately added as follows:
"He will Himself make thy paths straight, and will direct thy ways in
peace." Understand, therefore, the precept, "Make straight paths for
thy feet, and order thy ways aright," in such a sense as to know that
whenever you do all this, it is the Lord God who enables you to do it.
Then you will not turn off to the right, although you are walking in
right-hand paths, not trusting in your own strength; and He will
Himself be your strength, who will make straight paths for your feet,
and will direct your ways in peace.
8. Wherefore, most dearly beloved, whosoever says, My will suffices
for me to perform good works, declines to the right. But, on the other
hand, they who think that a good way of life should be forsaken, when
they hear God's grace so preached as to lead to the supposition and
belief that it of itself makes men's wills from evil to good, and it
even of itself keeps them what it has made them; and who, as the
result of this opinion, go on to say, "Let us do evil that good may
come,"  --these persons decline to the left. This is the reason
why he said to you, "Turn not aside to the right hand, nor to the
left;" in other words, do not uphold free will in such wise as to
attribute good works to it without the grace of God, nor so defend and
maintain grace as if, by reason of it, you may love evil works in
security and safety,--which may God's grace itself avert from you! Now
it was the words of such as these which the apostle had in view when
he said, "What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin that grace
may abound?"  And to this cavil of erring men, who know nothing
about the grace of God, he returned such an answer as he ought in
these words: "God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any
longer therein?" Nothing could have been said more succinctly, and yet
to the point. For what more useful gift does the grace of God confer
upon us, in this present evil world, than our dying unto sin? Hence he
shows himself ungrateful to grace itself who chooses to live in sin by
reason of that whereby we die unto sin. May God, however, who is rich
in mercy, grant you both to think soundly and wisely, and to continue
perseveringly and progressively to the end in every good determination
and purpose. For yourselves, for us, for all who love you, and for
those who hate you, pray that this gift may be attained,--pray
earnestly and vigilantly in brotherly peace. Live unto God. If I
deserve any favour at your hands, let brother Florus come to me.
 The phrase of Christian salutation, vestra caritas which may be
rendered "your loving or beloved selves;" it is a parallel phrase with
the more familiar one to modern ears, "Your Honour."
 Rom. ii. 8, 9.
 The following treatise is here referred to,--On Grace and Free
 See Epp. 175-177, and 181-183.
 Ep. 194.
 Rom. xii. 3.
 Prov. iv. 26, 27.
 Ps. i. 6.
 Matt. vii. 23.
 2 Cor. v. 21.
 Eph. ii. 10.
 Rom. iii. 8.
 Rom. vi. 1, 2.
A Treatise on Grace and Free Will,
by Aurelius Augustin, Bishop of Hippo;
addressed to Valentinus and the Monks of Adrumetum, and completed in
written in a.d. 426 or a.d. 427
In this treatise Augustin teaches us to beware of maintaining grace by
denying free will, or free will by denying grace; for that it is
evident from the testimony of Scripture that there is in man a free
choice of will; and there are also in the same Scriptures inspired
proofs given of that very grace of God without which we can do nothing
good. Afterwards, in opposition to the Pelagians, he proves that grace
is not bestowed according to our merits. He explains how eternal life,
which is rendered to good works, is really of grace. He then goes on
to show that the grace which is given to us through our Lord Jesus
Christ is neither the knowledge of the law, nor nature, nor simply
remission of sins; but that it is grace that makes us fulfil the law,
and causes nature to be liberated from the dominion of sin. He
demolishes that vain subterfuge of the Pelagians, to the effect that
"grace, although it is not bestowed according to the merits of good
works, is yet given according to the merits of the antecedent
good-will of the man who believes and prays." He incidentally touches
the question, why God commands what He means Himself to give, and
whether He imposes on us any commands which we are unable to perform.
He clearly shows that the love which is indispensable for fulfilling
the commandments is only within us from God Himself. He points out
that God works in men's hearts to incline their wills whithersoever He
willeth, either to good works according to His mercy, or to evil ones
in return for their deserving; His judgment, indeed, being sometimes
manifest, sometimes hidden, but always righteous. Lastly, he teaches
us that a clear example of the gratuitousness of grace, not given in
return for our deserts, is supplied to us in the case of those infants
which are saved, while others perish though their case is identical
with that of the rest.
Chapter 1 [I.]--The Occasion and Argument of This Work.
With reference to those persons who so preach and defend man's free
will, as boldly to deny, and endeavour to do away with, the grace of
God which calls us to Him, and delivers us from our evil deserts, and
by which we obtain the good deserts which lead to everlasting life: we
have already said a good deal in discussion, and committed it to
writing, so far as the Lord has vouchsafed to enable us. But since
there are some persons who so defend God's grace as to deny man's free
will, or who suppose that free will is denied when grace is defended,
I have determined to write somewhat on this point to your Love, 
my brother Valentinus, and the rest of you, who are serving God
together under the impulse of a mutual love. For it has been told me
concerning you, brethren, by some members of your brotherhood who have
visited us, and are the bearers of this communication of ours to you,
that there are dissensions among you on this subject. This, then,
being the case, dearly beloved, that you be not disturbed by the
obscurity of this question, I counsel you first to thank God for such
things as you understand; but as for all which is beyond the reach of
your mind, pray for understanding from the Lord, observing, at the
same time peace and love among yourselves; and until He Himself lead
you to perceive what at present is beyond your comprehension, walk
firmly on the ground of which you are sure. This is the advice of the
Apostle Paul, who, after saying that he was not yet perfect,  a
little later adds, "Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus
minded,"  --meaning perfect to a certain extent, but not having
attained to a perfection sufficient for us; and then immediately adds,
"And if, in any thing, ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even
this unto you. Nevertheless, whereunto we have already attained, let
us walk by the same rule."  For by walking in what we have
attained, we shall be able to advance to what we have not yet
attained,--God revealing it to us if in anything we are otherwise
minded,--provided we do not give up what He has already revealed.
 A form of address, like "your Honour."
 Phil. iii. 12.
 Phil. iii. 15.
 Phil. iii. 16.
Chapter 2 [II.]--He Proves the Existence of Free Will in Man from the
Precepts Addressed to Him by God.
Now He has revealed to us, through His Holy Scriptures, that there is
in a man a free choice of will. But how He has revealed this I do not
recount in human language, but in divine. There is, to begin with, the
fact that God's precepts themselves would be of no use to a man unless
he had free choice of will, so that by performing them he might obtain
the promised rewards. For they are given that no one might be able to
plead the excuse of ignorance, as the Lord says concerning the Jews in
the gospel: "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they would not
have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin."  Of what
sin does He speak but of that great one which He foreknew, while
speaking thus, that they would make their own--that is, the death they
were going to inflict upon Him? For they did not have "no sin" before
Christ came to them in the flesh. The apostle also says: "The wrath of
God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men who hold back the truth in unrighteousness;
because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God
hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him are from the
creation of the world clearly seen--being understood by the things
that are made--even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are
inexcusable."  In what sense does he pronounce them to be
"inexcusable," except with reference to such excuse as human pride is
apt to allege in such words as, "If I had only known, I would have
done it; did I not fail to do it because I was ignorant of it?" or, "I
would do it if I knew how; but I do not know, therefore I do not do
it"? All such excuse is removed from them when the precept is given
them, or the knowledge is made manifest to them how to avoid sin.
 John xv. 22.
 Rom. i. 18-20.
Chapter 3.--Sinners are Convicted When Attempting to Excuse Themselves
by Blaming God, Because They Have Free Will.
There are, however, persons who attempt to find excuse for themselves
even from God. The Apostle James says to such: "Let no man say when he
is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil,
neither tempteth He any man. But every man is tempted when he is drawn
away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it
bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth
death."  Solomon, too, in his book of Proverbs, has this answer
for such as wish to find an excuse for themselves from God Himself:
"The folly of a man spoils his ways; but he blames God in his heart."
 And in the book of Ecclesiasticus we read: "Say not thou, It is
through the Lord that I fell away; for thou oughtest not to do the
things that He hateth: nor do thou say, He hath caused me to err; for
He hath no need of the sinful man. The Lord hateth all abomination,
and they that fear God love it not. He Himself made man from the
beginning, and left him in the hand of His counsel. If thou be
willing, thou shalt keep His commandments, and perform true fidelity.
He hath set fire and water before thee: stretch forth thine hand unto
whether thou wilt. Before man is life and death, and whichsoever
pleaseth him shall be given to him."  Observe how very plainly
is set before our view the free choice of the human will.
 Jas. i. 13-15.
 Prov. xix. 3.
 Ecclus. xv. 11-17.
Chapter 4.--The Divine Commands Which are Most Suited to the Will
Itself Illustrate Its Freedom.
What is the import of the fact that in so many passages God requires
all His commandments to be kept and fulfilled? How does He make this
requisition, if there is no free will? What means "the happy man," of
whom the Psalmist says that "his will has been the law of the Lord"?
 Does he not clearly enough show that a man by his own will
takes his stand in the law of God? Then again, there are so many
commandments which in some way are expressly adapted to the human
will; for instance, there is, "Be not overcome of evil,"  and
others of similar import, such as, "Be not like a horse or a mule,
which have no understanding;"  and, "Reject not the counsels of
thy mother;"  and, "Be not wise in thine own conceit;" 
and, "Despise not the chastening of the Lord;"  and, "Forget not
my law;"  and, "Forbear not to do good to the poor;"  and,
"Devise not evil against thy friend;"  and, "Give no heed to a
worthless woman;"  and, "He is not inclined to understand how to
do good;"  and, "They refused to attend to my counsel;" 
with numberless other passages of the inspired Scriptures of the Old
Testament. And what do they all show us but the free choice of the
human will? So, again, in the evangelical and apostolic books of the
New Testament what other lesson is taught us? As when it is said, "Lay
not up for yourselves treasures upon earth;"  and, "Fear not
them which kill the body;"  and, "If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself;"  and again, "Peace on earth to men of
good will."  So also that the Apostle Paul says: "Let him do
what he willeth; he sinneth not if he marry. Nevertheless, he that
standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power
over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep
his virgin, doeth well."  And so again, "If I do this willingly,
I have a reward;"  while in another passage he says, "Be ye
sober and righteous, and sin not;"  and again, "As ye have a
readiness to will, so also let there be a prompt performance;" 
then he remarks to Timothy about the younger widows, "When they have
begun to wax wanton against Christ, they choose to marry." So in
another passage, "All that will to live godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution;"  while to Timothy himself he says, "Neglect
not the gift that is in thee."  Then to Philemon he addresses
this explanation: "That thy benefit should not be as it were of
necessity, but of thine own will."  Servants also he advises to
obey their masters "with a good will."  In strict accordance
with this, James says: "Do not err, my beloved brethren . . . and have
not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect to persons;"
 and, "Do not speak evil one of another."  So also John in
his Epistle writes, "Do not love the world,"  and other things
of the same import. Now wherever it is said, "Do not do this," and "Do
not do that," and wherever there is any requirement in the divine
admonitions for the work of the will to do anything, or to refrain
from doing anything, there is at once a sufficient proof of free will.
No man, therefore, when he sins, can in his heart blame God for it,
but every man must impute the fault to himself. Nor does it detract at
all from a man's own will when he performs any act in accordance with
God. Indeed, a work is then to be pronounced a good one when a person
does it willingly; then, too, may the reward of a good work be hoped
for from Him concerning whom it is written, "He shall reward every man
according to his works." 
 Ps. i. 2.
 Rom. xii. 1.
 Ps. xxxii. 9.
 Prov. i. 8.
 Prov. iii. 7.
 Prov. iii. 11.
 Prov. iii. 1.
 Prov. iii. 27.
 Prov. iii. 29.
 Prov. v. 2.
 Ps. xxxvi. 3.
 Prov. i. 30.
 Matt. vi. 19.
 Matt. x. 28.
 Matt. xvi. 24.
 Luke ii. 14.
 1 Cor. vii. 36, 37.
 1 Cor. ix. 17.
 1 Cor. xv. 34.
 2 Cor. viii. 11.
 2 Tim. iii. 12.
 1 Tim. iv. 14.
 Philemon 14.
 Eph. vi. 7.
 Jas. i. 16, and ii. 1.
 Jas. iv. 11.
 1 John ii. 15.
 Matt. xvi. 27.
Chapter 5.--He Shows that Ignorance Affords No Such Excuse as Shall
Free the Offender from Punishment; But that to Sin with Knowledge is a
Graver Thing Than to Sin in Ignorance.
The excuse such as men are in the habit of alleging from ignorance is
taken away from those persons who know God's commandments. But neither
will those be without punishment who know not the law of God. "For as
many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as
many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law."  Now
the apostle does not appear to me to have said this as if he meant
that they would have to suffer something worse who in their sins are
ignorant of the law than they who know it. [III.] It is seemingly
worse, no doubt, "to perish" than "to be judged;" but inasmuch as he
was speaking of the Gentiles and of the Jews when he used these words,
because the former were without the law, but the latter had received
the law, who can venture to say that the Jews who sin in the law will
not perish, since they refused to believe in Christ, when it was of
them that the apostle said, "They shall be judged by the law"? For
without faith in Christ no man can be delivered; and therefore they
will be so judged that they perish. If, indeed, the condition of those
who are ignorant of the law of God is worse than the condition of
those who know it, how can that be true which the Lord says in the
gospel: "The servant who knows not his lord's will, and commits things
worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes; whereas the
servant who knows his lord's will, and commits things worthy of
stripes, shall be beaten with many stripes"?  Observe how
clearly He here shows that it is a graver matter for a man to sin with
knowledge than in ignorance. And yet we must not on this account
betake ourselves for refuge to the shades of ignorance, with the view
of finding our excuse therein. It is one thing to be ignorant, and
another thing to be unwilling to know. For the will is at fault in the
case of the man of whom it is said, "He is not inclined to understand,
so as to do good."  But even the ignorance, which is not theirs
who refuse to know, but theirs who are, as it were, simply ignorant,
does not so far excuse any one as to exempt him from the punishment of
eternal fire, though his failure to believe has been the result of his
not having at all heard what he should believe; but probably only so
far as to mitigate his punishment. For it was not said without reason:
"Pour out Thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known Thee;" 
nor again according to what the apostle says: "When He shall come from
heaven in a flame of fire to take vengeance on them that know not
God."  But yet in order that we may have that knowledge that
will prevent our saying, each one of us, "I did not know," "I did not
hear," "I did not understand;" the human will is summoned, in such
words as these: "Wish not to be as the horse or as the mule, which
have no understanding;"  although it may show itself even worse,
of which it is written, "A stubborn servant will not be reproved by
words; for even if he understand, yet he will not obey."  But
when a man says, "I cannot do what I am commanded, because I am
mastered by my concupiscence," he has no longer any excuse to plead
from ignorance, nor reason to blame God in his heart, but he
recognises and laments his own evil in himself; and still to such an
one the apostle says: "Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with
good;"  and of course the very fact that the injunction,
"Consent not to be overcome," is addressed to him, undoubtedly summons
the determination of his will. For to consent and to refuse are
functions proper to will.
 Rom. ii. 12.
 Luke xii. 47, 48.
 Ps. xxxvi. 3.
 Ps. lxix. 6.
 2 Thess. i. 7, 8.
 Ps. xxxii. 9.
 Prov. xxix. 19.
 Rom. xii. 21.
Chapter 6 [IV.]--God's Grace to Be Maintained Against the Pelagians;
The Pelagian Heresy Not an Old One.
It is, however, to be feared lest all these and similar testimonies of
Holy Scripture (and undoubtedly there are a great many of them), in
the maintenance of free will, be understood in such a way as to leave
no room for God's assistance and grace in leading a godly life and a
good conversation, to which the eternal reward is due; and lest poor
wretched man, when he leads a good life and performs good works (or
rather thinks that he leads a good life and performs good works),
should dare to glory in himself and not in the Lord, and to put his
hope of righteous living in himself alone; so as to be followed by the
prophet Jeremiah's malediction when he says, "Cursed is the man who
has hope in man, and maketh strong the flesh of his arm, and whose
heart departeth from the Lord."  Understand, my brethren, I pray
you, this passage of the prophet. Because the prophet did not say,
"Cursed is the man who has hope in his own self," it might seem to
some that the passage, "Cursed is the man who has hope in man," was
spoken to prevent man having hope in any other man but himself. In
order, therefore, to show that his admonition to man was not to have
hope in himself, after saying, "Cursed is the man who has hope in
man," he immediately added, "And maketh strong the flesh of his arm."
He used the word "arm" to designate power in operation. By the term
"flesh," however, must be understood human frailty. And therefore he
makes strong the flesh of his arm who supposes that a power which is
frail and weak (that is, human) is sufficient for him to perform good
works, and therefore puts not his hope in God for help. This is the
reason why he subjoined the further clause, "And whose heart departeth
from the Lord." Of this character is the Pelagian heresy, which is not
an ancient one, but has only lately come into existence. Against this
system of error there was first a good deal of discussion; then, as
the ultimate resource, it was referred to sundry episcopal councils,
the proceedings of which, not, indeed, in every instance, but in some,
I have despatched to you for your perusal. In order, then, to our
performance of good works, let us not have hope in man, making strong
the flesh of our arm; nor let our heart ever depart from the Lord, but
let it say to him, "Be Thou my helper; forsake me not, nor despise me,
O God of my salvation." 
 Jer. xvii. 5.
 Ps. xxvii. 9.
Chapter 7.--Grace is Necessary Along with Free Will to Lead a Good
Therefore, my dearly beloved, as we have now proved by our former
testimonies from Holy Scripture that there is in man a free
determination of will for living rightly and acting rightly; so now
let us see what are the divine testimonies concerning the grace of
God, without which we are not able to do any good thing. And first of
all, I will say something about the very profession which you make in
your brotherhood. Now your society, in which you are leading lives of
continence, could not hold together unless you despised conjugal
pleasure. Well, the Lord was one day conversing on this very topic,
when His disciples remarked to Him, "If such be the case of a man with
his wife, it is not good to marry." He then answered them, "All men
cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given."  And
was it not to Timothy's free will that the apostle appealed, when he
exhorted him in these words: "Keep thyself continent"?  He also
explained the power of the will in this matter when He said, "Having
no necessity, but possessing power over his own will, to keep his
virgin."  And yet "all men do not receive this saying, except
those to whom the power is given." Now they to whom this is not given
either are unwilling or do not fulfil what they will; whereas they to
whom it is given so will as to accomplish what they will. In order,
therefore, that this saying, which is not received by all men, may yet
be received by some, there are both the gift of God and free will.
 Matt. xix. 10.
 1 Tim. v. 22.
 1 Cor. vii. 37.
Chapter 8.--Conjugal Chastity is Itself the Gift of God.
It is concerning conjugal chastity itself that the apostle treats,
when he says, "Let him do what he will, he sinneth not if he marry;"
 and yet this too is God's gift, for the Scripture says, "It is
by the Lord that the woman is joined to her husband." Accordingly the
teacher of the Gentiles, in one of his discourses, commends both
conjugal chastity, whereby adulteries are prevented, and the still
more perfect continence which foregoes all cohabitation, and shows how
both one and the other are severally the gift of God. Writing to the
Corinthians, he admonished married persons not to defraud each other;
and then, after his admonition to these, he added: "But I could wish
that all men were even as I am myself,"  --meaning, of course,
that he abstained from all cohabitation; and then proceeded to say:
"But every man hath his own gift of God, one after this manner, and
another after that."  Now, do the many precepts which are
written in the law of God, forbidding all fornication and adultery,
indicate anything else than free will? Surely such precepts would not
be given unless a man had a will of his own, wherewith to obey the
divine commandments. And yet it is God's gift which is indispensable
for the observance of the precepts of chastity. Accordingly, it is
said in the Book of Wisdom: "When I knew that no one could be
continent, except God gives it, then this became a point of wisdom to
know whose gift it was."  "Every man," however, "is tempted when
he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed"  not to observe
and keep these holy precepts of chastity. If he should say in respect
of these commandments, "I wish to keep them, but am mastered by my
concupiscence," then the Scripture responds to his free will, as I
have already said: "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
good."  In order, however, that this victory may be gained,
grace renders its help; and were not this help given, then the law
would be nothing but the strength of sin. For concupiscence is
increased and receives greater energies from the prohibition of the
law, unless the spirit of grace helps. This explains the statement of
the great Teacher of the Gentiles, when he says, "The sting of death
is sin, and the strength of sin is the law."  See, then, I pray
you, whence originates this confession of weakness, when a man says,
"I desire to keep what the law commands, but am overcome by the
strength of my concupiscence." And when his will is addressed, and it
is said, "Be not overcome of evil," of what avail is anything but the
succour of God's grace to the accomplishment of the precept? This the
apostle himself afterwards stated; for after saying "The strength of
sin is the law," he immediately subjoined, "But thanks be to God, who
giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ."  It
follows, then, that the victory in which sin is vanquished is nothing
else than the gift of God, who in this contest helps free will.
 1 Cor. vii. 36.
 1 Cor. vii. 7.
 1 Cor. vii. 7.
 Wisd. viii. 21.
 Jas. i. 14.
 Rom. xii. 21.
 1 Cor. xv. 56.
 1 Cor. xv. 57.
Chapter 9.--Entering into Temptation. Prayer is a Proof of Grace.
Wherefore, our Heavenly Master also says: "Watch and pray, that ye
enter not into temptation."  Let every man, therefore, when
fighting against his own concupiscence, pray that he enter not into
temptation; that is, that he be not drawn aside and enticed by it. But
he does not enter into temptation if he conquers his evil
concupiscence by good will. And yet the determination of the human
will is insufficient, unless the Lord grant it victory in answer to
prayer that it enter not into temptation. What, indeed, affords
clearer evidence of the grace of God than the acceptance of prayer in
any petition? If our Saviour had only said, "Watch that ye enter not
into temptation," He would appear to have done nothing further than
admonish man's will; but since He added the words, "and pray," He
showed that God helps us not to enter into temptation. It is to the
free will of man that the words are addressed: "My son, remove not
thyself from the chastening of the Lord."  And the Lord said: "I
have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith fail not."  So that
a man is assisted by grace, in order that his will may not be
 Matt. xxvi. 41.
 Prov. iii. 11.
 Luke xxii. 32.
Chapter 10 [V.]--Free Will and God's Grace are Simultaneously
When God says, "Turn ye unto me, and I will turn unto you,"  one
of these clauses--that which invites our return to God--evidently
belongs to our will; while the other, which promises His return to us,
belongs to His grace. Here, possibly, the Pelagians think they have a
justification for their opinion which they so prominently advance,
that God's grace is given according to our merits. In the East,
indeed, that is to say, in the province of Palestine, in which is the
city of Jerusalem, Pelagius, when examined in person by the bishop,
 did not venture to affirm this. For it happened that among the
objections which were brought up against him, this in particular was
objected, that he maintained that the grace of God was given according
to our merits,--an opinion which was so diverse from catholic
doctrine, and so hostile to the grace of Christ, that unless he had
anathematized it, as laid to his charge, he himself must have been
anathematized on its account. He pronounced, indeed, the required
anathema upon the dogma, but how insincerely his later books plainly
show; for in them he maintains absolutely no other opinion than that
the grace of God is given according to our merits. Such passages do
they collect out of the Scriptures,--like the one which I just now
quoted, "Turn ye unto me, and I will turn unto you,"--as if it were
owing to the merit of our turning to God that His grace were given us,
wherein He Himself even turns unto us. Now the persons who hold this
opinion fail to observe that, unless our turning to God were itself
God's gift, it would not be said to Him in prayer, "Turn us again, O
God of hosts;"  and, "Thou, O God, wilt turn and quicken us;"
 and again, "Turn us, O God of our salvation,"  --with
other passages of similar import, too numerous to mention here. For,
with respect to our coming unto Christ, what else does it mean than
our being turned to Him by believing? And yet He says: "No man can
come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." 
 Zech. i. 3.
 See On the Proceedings of Pelagius, above, ch. xiv. (30-37).
 Ps. lxxx. 7.
 Ps. lxxxv. 6.
 Ps. lxxxv. 4.
 John vi. 65.
Chapter 11.--Other Passages of Scripture Which the Pelagians Abuse.
Then, again, there is the Scripture contained in the second book of
the Chronicles: "The Lord is with you when ye are with Him: and if ye
shall seek Him ye shall find Him; but if ye forsake Him, He also will
forsake you."  This passage, no doubt, clearly manifests the
choice of the will. But they who maintain that God's grace is given
according to our merits, receive these testimonies of Scripture in
such a manner as to believe that our merit lies in the circumstance of
our "being with God," while His grace is given according to this
merit, so that He too may be with us. In like manner, that our merit
lies in the fact of "our seeking God," and then His grace is given
according to this merit, in order that we may find Him." Again, there
is a passage in the first book of the same Chronicles which declares
the choice of the will: "And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God
of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing
mind, for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the
imaginations of the thoughts; if thou seek Him, He will be found of
thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever." 
But these people find some room for human merit in the clause, "If
thou seek Him," and then the grace is thought to be given according to
this merit in what is said in the ensuing words, "He will be found of
thee." And so they labour with all their might to show that God's
grace is given according to our merits,--in other words, that grace is
not grace. For, as the apostle most expressly says, to them who
receive reward according to merit "the recompense is not reckoned of
grace but of debt." 
 2 Chron. xv. 2.
 1 Chron. xxviii. 9.
 Rom. iv. 4.
Chapter 12.--He Proves Out of St. Paul that Grace is Not Given
According to Men's Merits.
Now there was, no doubt, a decided merit in the Apostle Paul, but it
was an evil one, while he persecuted the Church, and he says of it: "I
am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church
of God."  And it was while he had this evil merit that a good
one was rendered to him instead of the evil; and, therefore, he went
on at once to say, "But by the grace of God I am what I am." 
Then, in order to exhibit also his free will, he added in the next
clause, "And His grace within me was not in vain, but I have laboured
more abundantly than they all." This free will of man he appeals to in
the case of others also, as when he says to them, "We beseech you that
ye receive not the grace of God in vain."  Now, how could he so
enjoin them, if they received God's grace in such a manner as to lose
their own will? Nevertheless, lest the will itself should be deemed
capable of doing any good thing without the grace of God, after
saying, "His grace within me was not in vain, but I have laboured more
abundantly than they all," he immediately added the qualifying clause,
"Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."  In other
words, Not I alone, but the grace of God with me. And thus, neither
was it the grace of God alone, nor was it he himself alone, but it was
the grace of God with him. For his call, however, from heaven and his
conversion by that great and most effectual call, God's grace was
alone, because his merits, though great, were yet evil. Then, to quote
one passage more, he says to Timothy: "But be thou a co-labourer with
the gospel, according to the power of God, who saveth us and calleth
us with His holy calling,--not according to our works but according to
His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus." 
Then, elsewhere, he enumerates his merits, and gives us this
description of their evil character: "For we ourselves also were
formerly foolish, unbelieving, deceived, serving divers lusts and
pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one
another."  Nothing, to be sure, but punishment was due to such a
course of evil desert! God, however, who returns good for evil by His
grace, which is not given according to our merits, enabled the apostle
to conclude his statement and say: "But when the kindness and love of
our Saviour God shone upon us,--not of works of righteousness which we
have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the laver of
regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost, whom He shed upon us
abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by
His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal
 1 Cor. xv. 9.
 1 Cor. xv. 10.
 2 Cor. vi. 1.
 1 Cor. xv. 10.
 2 Tim. i. 8, 9.
 Titus iii. 3.
 Titus iii. 4-7.
Chapter 13 [VI.]--The Grace of God is Not Given According to Merit,
But Itself Makes All Good Desert.
From these and similar passages of Scripture, we gather the proof that
God's grace is not given according to our merits. The truth is, we see
that it is given not only where there are no good, but even where
there are many evil merits preceding: and we see it so given daily.
But it is plain that when it has been given, also our good merits
begin to be,--yet only by means of it; for, were that only to withdraw
itself, man falls, not raised up, but precipitated by free will.
Wherefore no man ought, even when he begins to possess good merits, to
attribute them to himself, but to God, who is thus addressed by the
Psalmist: "Be Thou my helper, forsake me not."  By saying,
"Forsake me not," he shows that if he were to be forsaken, he is
unable of himself to do any good thing. Wherefore also he says: "I
said in my abundance, I shall never be moved,"  for he thought
that he had such an abundance of good to call his own that he would
not be moved. But in order that he might be taught whose that was, of
which he had begun to boast as if it were his own, he was admonished
by the gradual desertion of God's grace, and says: "O Lord, in Thy
good pleasure Thou didst add strength to my beauty. Thou didst,
however, turn away Thy face, and then I was troubled and distressed."
 Thus, it is necessary for a man that he should be not only
justified when unrighteous by the grace of God,--that is, be changed
from unholiness to righteousness,--when he is requited with good for
his evil; but that, even after he has become justified by faith, grace
should accompany him on his way, and he should lean upon it, lest he
fall. On this account it is written concerning the Church herself in
the book of Canticles: "Who is this that cometh up in white raiment,
leaning upon her kinsman?"  Made white is she who by herself
alone could not be white. And by whom has she been made white except
by Him who says by the prophet, "Though your sins be as purple, I will
make them white as snow"?  At the time, then, that she was made
white, she deserved nothing good; but now that she is made white, she
walketh well;--but it is only by her continuing ever to lean upon Him
by whom she was made white. Wherefore, Jesus Himself, on whom she
leans that was made white, said to His disciples, "Without me ye can
do nothing." 
 Ps. xxvii. 9.
 Ps. xxx. 6.
 Ps. xxx. 7.
 Cant. viii. 5.
 Isa. i. 18.
 John xv. 5.
Chapter 14.--Paul First Received Grace that He Might Win the Crown.
Let us return now to the Apostle Paul, who, as we have found, obtained
God's grace, who recompenses good for evil, without any good merits of
his own, but rather with many evil merits. Let us see what he says
when his final sufferings were approaching, writing to Timothy: "I am
now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I
have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the
faith."  He enumerates these as, of course, now his good merits;
so that, as after his evil merits he obtained grace, so now, after his
good merits, he might receive the crown. Observe, therefore, what
follows: "There is henceforth laid up for me," he says, "a crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at
that day."  Now, to whom should the righteous Judge award the
crown, except to him on whom the merciful Father had bestowed grace?
And how could the crown be one "of righteousness," unless the grace
had preceded which "justifieth the ungodly"? How, moreover, could
these things now be awarded as of debt, unless the other had been
before given as a free gift?
 2 Tim. iv. 6, 7.
 2 Tim. iv. 8.
Chapter 15.--The Pelagians Profess that the Only Grace Which is Not
Given According to Our Merits is that of the Forgiveness of Sins.
When, however, the Pelagians say that the only grace which is not
given according to our merits is that whereby his sins are forgiven to
man, but that that which is given in the end, that is, eternal life,
is rendered to our preceding merits: they must not be allowed to go
without an answer. If, indeed, they so understand our merits as to
acknowledge them, too, to be the gifts of God, then their opinion
would not deserve reprobation. But inasmuch as they so preach human
merits as to declare that a man has them of his own self, then most
rightly the apostle replies: "Who maketh thee to differ from another?
And what hast thou, that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst
receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?"
 To a man who holds such views, it is perfect truth to say: It
is His own gifts that God crowns, not your merits,--if, at least, your
merits are of your own self, not of Him. If, indeed, they are such,
they are evil; and God does not crown them; but if they are good, they
are God's gifts, because, as the Apostle James says, "Every good gift
and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father
of lights."  In accordance with which John also, the Lord's
forerunner, declares: "A man can receive nothing except it be given
him from heaven"  --from heaven, of course, because from thence
came also the Holy Ghost, when Jesus ascended up on high, led
captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.  If, then, your good
merits are God's gifts, God does not crown your merits as your merits,
but as His own gifts.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
 Jas. i. 17.
 John iii. 27.
 See Ps. lxviii. 18, and Eph. iv. 8.
Chapter 16 [VII.]--Paul Fought, But God Gave the Victory: He Ran, But
God Showed Mercy.
Let us, therefore, consider those very merits of the Apostle Paul
which he said the Righteous Judge would recompense with the crown of
righteousness; and let us see whether these merits of his were really
his own--I mean, whether they were obtained by him of himself, or were
the gifts of God. "I have fought," says he, "the good fight; I have
finished my course; I have kept the faith."  Now, in the first
place, these good works were nothing, unless they had been preceded by
good thoughts. Observe, therefore, what he says concerning these very
thoughts. His words, when writing to the Corinthians, are: "Not that
we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but
our sufficiency is of God."  Then let us look at each several
merit. "I have fought the good fight." Well, now, I want to know by
what power he fought. Was it by a power which he possessed of himself,
or by strength given to him from above? It is impossible to suppose
that so great a teacher as the apostle was ignorant of the law of God,
which proclaims the following in Deuteronomy: "Say not in thine heart,
My own strength and energy of hand hath wrought for me this great
power; but thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, how it is He that
giveth thee strength to acquire such power."  And what avails
"the good fight," unless followed by victory? And who gives the
victory but He of whom the apostle says himself, "Thanks be to God,
who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"?  Then,
in another passage, having quoted from the Psalm these words: "Because
for Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep
for slaughter,"  he went on to declare: "Nay, in all these
things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us." 
Not by ourselves, therefore, is the victory accomplished, but by Him
who hath loved us. In the second clause he says, "I have finished my
course." Now, who is it that says this, but he who declares in another
passage, "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that
runneth, but of God that showeth mercy."  And this sentence can
by no means be transposed, so that it could be said: It is not of God,
who showeth mercy, but of the man who willeth and runneth. If any
person be bold enough to express the matter thus, he shows himself
most plainly to be at issue with the apostle.
 2 Tim. iv. 7.
 2 Cor. iii. 5.
 Deut. viii. 17.
 1 Cor. xv. 57.
 Ps. xliv. 22.
 Rom. viii. 37.
 Rom. ix. 16.
Chapter 17.--The Faith that He Kept Was the Free Gift of God.
His last clause runs thus: "I have kept the faith." But he who says
this is the same who declares in another passage, "I have obtained
mercy that I might be faithful."  He does not say, "I obtained
mercy because I was faithful," but "in order that I might be
faithful," thus showing that even faith itself cannot be had without
God's mercy, and that it is the gift of God. This he very expressly
teaches us when he says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and
that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."  They might
possibly say, "We received grace because we believed;" as if they
would attribute the faith to themselves, and the grace to God.
Therefore, the apostle having said, "Ye are saved through faith,"
added," And that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God." And
again, lest they should say they deserved so great a gift by their
works, he immediately added, "Not of works, lest any man should
boast."  Not that he denied good works, or emptied them of their
value, when he says that God renders to every man according to his
works;  but because works proceed from faith, and not faith from
works. Therefore it is from Him that we have works of righteousness,
from whom comes also faith itself, concerning which it is written,
"The just shall live by faith." 
 1 Cor. vii. 25.
 Eph. ii. 8.
 Eph. ii. 9.
 Rom. ii. 6.
 Habak. ii. 4.
Chapter 18.--Faith Without Good Works is Not Sufficient for Salvation.
Unintelligent persons, however, with regard to the apostle's
statement: "We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the
works of the law,"  have thought him to mean that faith suffices
to a man, even if he lead a bad life, and has no good works.
Impossible is it that such a character should be deemed "a vessel of
election" by the apostle, who, after declaring that "in Christ Jesus
neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision," 
adds at once, "but faith which worketh by love." It is such faith
which severs God's faithful from unclean demons,--for even these
"believe and tremble,"  as the Apostle James says; but they do
not do well. Therefore they possess not the faith by which the just
man lives,--the faith which works by love in such wise, that God
recompenses it according to its works with eternal life. But inasmuch
as we have even our good works from God, from whom likewise comes our
faith and our love, therefore the selfsame great teacher of the
Gentiles has designated "eternal life" itself as His gracious "gift."
 Rom. iii. 28.
 Gal. v. 6.
 Jas. ii. 19.
 Rom. vi. 23.
Chapter 19 [VIII.]--How is Eternal Life Both a Reward for Service and
a Free Gift of Grace?
And hence there arises no small question, which must be solved by the
Lord's gift. If eternal life is rendered to good works, as the
Scripture most openly declares: "Then He shall reward every man
according to his works:"  how can eternal life be a matter of
grace, seeing that grace is not rendered to works, but is given
gratuitously, as the apostle himself tells us: "To him that worketh is
the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt;"  and again:
"There is a remnant saved according to the election of grace;" with
these words immediately subjoined: "And if of grace, then is it no
more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace"?  How, then, is
eternal life by grace, when it is received from works? Does the
apostle perchance not say that eternal life is a grace? Nay, he has so
called it, with a clearness which none can possibly gainsay. It
requires no acute intellect, but only an attentive reader, to discover
this. For after saying, "The wages of sin is death," he at once added,
"The grace of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
 Matt. xvi. 27.
 Rom. iv. 4.
 Rom. xi. 5, 6.
 Rom. vi. 23.
Chapter 20.--The Question Answered. Justification is Grace Simply and
Entirely, Eternal Life is Reward and Grace.
This question, then, seems to me to be by no means capable of
solution, unless we understand that even those good works of ours,
which are recompensed with eternal life, belong to the grace of God,
because of what is said by the Lord Jesus: "Without me ye can do
nothing."  And the apostle himself, after saying, "By grace are
ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of
God: not of works, lest any man should boast;"  saw, of course,
the possibility that men would think from this statement that good
works are not necessary to those who believe, but that faith alone
suffices for them; and again, the possibility of men's boasting of
their good works, as if they were of themselves capable of performing
them. To meet, therefore, these opinions on both sides, he immediately
added, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good
works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
 What is the purport of his saying, "Not of works, lest any man
should boast," while commending the grace of God? And then why does he
afterwards, when giving a reason for using such words, say, "For we
are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works"? Why,
therefore, does it run, "Not of works, lest any man should boast"?
Now, hear and understand. "Not of works" is spoken of the works which
you suppose have their origin in yourself alone; but you have to think
of works for which God has moulded (that is, has formed and created)
you. For of these he says, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus unto good works." Now he does not here speak of that creation
which made us human beings, but of that in reference to which one said
who was already in full manhood, "Create in me a clean heart, O God;"
 concerning which also the apostle says, "Therefore, if any man
be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God." 
We are framed, therefore, that is, formed and created, "in the good
works which" we have not ourselves prepared, but "God hath before
ordained that we should walk in them." It follows, then, dearly
beloved, beyond all doubt, that as your good life is nothing else than
God's grace, so also the eternal life which is the recompense of a
good life is the grace of God; moreover it is given gratuitously, even
as that is given gratuitously to which it is given. But that to which
it is given is solely and simply grace; this therefore is also that
which is given to it, because it is its reward;--grace is for grace,
as if remuneration for righteousness; in order that it may be true,
because it is true, that God "shall reward every man according to his
 John xv. 5.
 Eph. ii. 8, 9.
 Eph. ii. 10.
 Ps. li. 12.
 2 Cor. v. 17, 18.
 Matt. xvi. 27; Ps. lxii. 12; Rev. xxii. 12.
Chapter 21 [IX.]--Eternal Life is "Grace for Grace."
Perhaps you ask whether we ever read in the Sacred Scriptures of
"grace for grace." Well you possess the Gospel according to John,
which is perfectly clear in its very great light. Here John the
Baptist says of Christ: "Of His fulness have we all received, even
grace for grace."  So that out of His fulness we have received,
according to our humble measure, our particles of ability as it were
for leading good lives--"according as God hath dealt to every man his
measure of faith;"  because "every man hath his proper gift of
God; one after this manner, and another after that."  And this
is grace. But, over and above this, we shall also receive "grace for
grace," when we shall have awarded to us eternal life, of which the
apostle said: "The grace of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
our Lord,"  having just said that "the wages of sin is death."
Deservedly did he call it "wages," because everlasting death is
awarded as its proper due to diabolical service. Now, when it was in
his power to say, and rightly to say: "But the wages of righteousness
is eternal life," he yet preferred to say: "The grace of God is
eternal life;" in order that we may hence understand that God does
not, for any merits of our own, but from His own divine compassion,
prolong our existence to everlasting life. Even as the Psalmist says
to his soul, "Who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion." 
Well, now, is not a crown given as the reward of good deeds? It is,
however, only because He works good works in good men, of whom it is
said, "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His
good pleasure,"  that the Psalm has it, as just now quoted: "He
crowneth thee with mercy and compassion," since it is through His
mercy that we perform the good deeds to which the crown is awarded. It
is not, however, to be for a moment supposed, because he said, "It is
God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his own good
pleasure," that free will is taken away. If this, indeed, had been his
meaning, he would not have said just before, "Work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling."  For when the command is
given "to work," their free will is addressed; and when it is added,
"with fear and trembling," they are warned against boasting of their
good deeds as if they were their own, by attributing to themselves the
performance of anything good. It is pretty much as if the apostle had
this question put to him: "Why did you use the phrase, `with fear and
trembling'?" And as if he answered the inquiry of his examiners by
telling them, "For it is God which worketh in you." Because if you
fear and tremble, you do not boast of your good works--as if they were
your own, since it is God who works within you.
 John i. 16.
 Rom. xii. 3.
 1 Cor. vii. 7.
 Rom. vi. 23.
 Ps. ciii. 4.
 Phil. ii. 13.
 Phil. ii. 12.
Chapter 22 [X.]--Who is the Transgressor of the Law? The Oldness of
Its Letter. The Newness of Its Spirit.
Therefore, brethren, you ought by free will not do evil but do good;
this, indeed, is the lesson taught us in the law of God, in the Holy
Scriptures--both Old and New. Let us, however, read, and by the Lord's
help understand, what the apostle tells us: "Because by the deeds of
the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight; for by the law
is the knowledge of sin."  Observe, he says "the knowledge," not
"the destruction," of sin. But when a man knows sin, and grace does
not help him to avoid what he knows, undoubtedly the law works wrath.
And this the apostle explicitly says in another passage. His words
are: "The law worketh wrath."  The reason of this statement lies
in the fact that God's wrath is greater in the case of the
transgressor who by the law knows sin, and yet commits it; such a man
is thus a transgressor of the law, even as the apostle says in another
sentence, "For where no law is, there is no transgression."  It
is in accordance with this principle that he elsewhere says, "That we
may serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter;"
 wishing the law to be here understood by "the oldness of the
letter," and what else by "newness of spirit" than grace? Then, that
it might not be thought that he had brought any accusation, or
suggested any blame, against the law, he immediately takes himself to
task with this inquiry: "What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? God
forbid." He then adds the statement: "Nay, I had not known sin but by
the law;"  which is of the same import as the passage above
quoted: "By the law is the knowledge of sin."  Then: "For I had
not known lust," he says, "except the law had said, `Thou shalt not
covet.'  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in
me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For
I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin
revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life,
I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment,
deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy; and the
commandment holy, just, and good. Was, then, that which is good made
death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, worked
death in me by that which is good,--in order that the sinner, or
 the sin, might by the commandment become beyond measure."
 And to the Galatians he writes: "Knowing that a man is not
justified by the works of the law, except through faith in Jesus
Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be
justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for
by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." 
 Rom. iii. 20.
 Rom. iv. 15.
 Rom. iv. 15.
 Rom. vii. 6.
 Rom. vii. 6, 7.
 Rom. iii. 20.
 Ex. xx. 17.
 Ut fiat supra modum peccator, aut peccatum, etc. [This odd
reading probably arose from mistaking the Greek article he for the
disjunctive particle e. It occurs frequently in Augustin.--W.]
 Rom. vii. 7-13.
 Gal. ii. 16.
Chapter 23 [XI.]--The Pelagians Maintain that the Law is the Grace of
God Which Helps Us Not to Sin.
Why, therefore, do those very vain and perverse Pelagians say that the
law is the grace of God by which we are helped not to sin? Do they
not, by making such an allegation, unhappily and beyond all doubt
contradict the great apostle? He, indeed, says, that by the law sin
received strength against man; and that man, by the commandment,
although it be holy, and just, and good, nevertheless dies, and that
death works in him through that which is good, from which death there
is no deliverance unless the Spirit quickens him, whom the letter had
killed,--as he says in another passage, "The letter killeth, but the
Spirit giveth life."  And yet these obstinate persons, blind to
God's light, and deaf to His voice, maintain that the letter which
kills gives life, and thus gainsay the quickening Spirit. "Therefore,
brethren" (that I may warn you with better effect in the words of the
apostle himself), "we are debtors not to the flesh, to live after the
flesh; for if ye live after the flesh ye shall die; but if ye through
the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."  I
have said this to deter your free will from evil, and to exhort it to
good by apostolic words; but yet you must not therefore glory in
man,--that is to say, in your own selves,--and not in the Lord, when
you live not after the flesh, but through the Spirit mortify the deeds
of the flesh. For in order that they to whom the apostle addressed
this language might not exalt themselves, thinking that they were
themselves able of their own spirit to do such good works as these,
and not by the Spirit of God, after saying to them, "If ye through the
Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live," he at once
added, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons
of God."  When, therefore, you by the Spirit mortify the deeds
of the flesh, that you may have life, glorify Him, praise Him, give
thanks to Him by whose Spirit you are so led as to be able to do such
things as show you to be the children of God; "for as many as are led
by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
 2 Cor. iii. 6.
 Rom. viii. 12-13.
 Rom. viii. 14.
Chapter 24 [XII.]--Who May Be Said to Wish to Establish Their Own
Righteousness. "God's Righteousness," So Called, Which Man Has from
As many, therefore, as are led by their own spirit, trusting in their
own virtue, with the addition merely of the law's assistance, without
the help of grace, are not the sons of God. Such are they of whom the
same apostle speaks as "being ignorant of God's righteousness, and
wishing to establish their own righteousness, who have not submitted
themselves to the righteousness of God."  He said this of the
Jews, who in their self-assumption rejected grace, and therefore did
not believe in Christ. Their own righteousness, indeed, he says, they
wish to establish; and this righteousness is of the law,--not that the
law was established by themselves, but that they had constituted their
righteousness in the law which is of God, when they supposed
themselves able to fulfil that law by their own strength, ignorant of
God's righteousness,--not indeed that by which God is Himself
righteous, but that which man has from God. And that you may know that
he designated as theirs the righteousness which is of the law, and as
God's that which man receives from God, hear what he says in another
passage, when speaking of Christ: "For whose sake I counted all things
not only as loss, but I deemed them to be dung, that I might win
Christ, and be found in Him--not having my own righteousness, which is
of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, which is of
God."  Now what does he mean by "not having my own
righteousness, which is of the law," when the law is really not his at
all, but God's,--except this, that he called it his own righteousness,
although it was of the law, because he thought he could fulfil the law
by his own will, without the aid of grace which is through faith in
Christ? Wherefore, after saying, "Not having my own righteousness,
which is of the law," he immediately subjoined, "But that which is
through the faith of Christ, which is of God." This is what they were
ignorant of, of whom he says, "Being ignorant of God's
righteousness,"--that is, the righteousness which is of God (for it is
given not by the letter, which kills, but by the life-giving Spirit),
"and wishing to establish their own righteousness," which he expressly
described as the righteousness of the law, when he said, "Not having
my own righteousness, which is of the law;" they were not subject to
the righteousness of God,--in other words, they submitted not
themselves to the grace of God. For they were under the law, not under
grace, and therefore sin had dominion over them, from which a man is
not freed by the law, but by grace. On which account he elsewhere
says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you; because ye are not
under the law, but under grace."  Not that the law is evil; but
because they are under its power, whom it makes guilty by imposing
commandments, not by aiding. It is by grace that any one is a doer of
the law; and without this grace, he who is placed under the law will
be only a hearer of the law. To such persons he addresses these words:
"Ye who are justified by the law are fallen from grace." 
 Rom. x. 3.
 Phil. iii. 8, 9.
 Rom. vi. 14.
 Gal. v. 4.
Chapter 25 [XIII.]--As The Law is Not, So Neither is Our Nature Itself
that Grace by Which We are Christians.
Now who can be so insensible to the words of the apostle, who so
foolishly, nay, so insanely ignorant of the purport of his statement,
as to venture to affirm that the law is grace, when he who knew very
well what he was saying emphatically declares, "Ye who are justified
by the law are fallen from grace"? Well, but if the law is not grace,
seeing that in order that the law itself may be kept, it is not the
law, but only grace which can give help, will not nature at any rate
be grace? For this, too, the Pelagians have been bold enough to aver,
that grace is the nature in which we were created, so as to possess a
rational mind, by which we are enabled to understand,--formed as we
are in the image of God, so as to have dominion over the fish of the
sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that
creepeth upon the earth. This, however, is not the grace which the
apostle commends to us through the faith of Jesus Christ. For it is
certain that we possess this nature in common with ungodly men and
unbelievers; whereas the grace which comes through the faith of Jesus
Christ belongs only to them to whom the faith itself appertains. "For
all men have not faith."  Now, as the apostle, with perfect
truth, says to those who by wishing to be justified by the law have
fallen from grace, "If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is
dead in vain;"  so likewise, to those who think that the grace
which he commends and faith in Christ receives, is nature, the same
language is with the same degree of truth applicable: if righteousness
come from nature, then Christ is dead in vain. But the law was in
existence up to that time, and it did not justify; and nature existed
too, but it did not justify. It was not, then, in vain that Christ
died, in order that the law might be fulfilled through Him who said,
"I am come not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it;"  and that
our nature, which was lost through Adam, might through Him be
recovered, who said that "He was come to seek and to save that which
was lost;"  in whose coming the old fathers likewise who loved
 2 Thess. iii. 2.
 Gal. ii. 21.
 Matt. v. 17.
 Matt. xviii. 11; Luke xix. 10.
Chapter 26.--The Pelagians Contend that the Grace, Which is Neither
the Law Nor Nature, Avails Only to the Remission of Past Sins, But Not
to the Avoidance of Future Ones.
They also maintain that God's grace, which is given through the faith
of Jesus Christ, and which is neither the law nor nature, avails only
for the remission of sins that have been committed, and not for the
shunning of future ones, or the subjugation of those which are now
assailing us. Now if all this were true, surely after offering the
petition of the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive
our debtors," we could hardly go on and say, "And lead us not into
temptation."  The former petition we present that our sins may
be forgiven; the latter, that they may be avoided or subdued,--a
favour which we should by no means beg of our Father who is in heaven
if we were able to accomplish it by the virtue of our human will. Now
I strongly advise and earnestly require your Love  to read
attentively the book of the blessed Cyprian which he wrote On the
Lord's Prayer. As far as the Lord shall assist you, understand it, and
commit it to memory. In this work you will see how he so appeals to
the free will of those whom he edifies in his treatise, as to show
them, that whatever they have to fulfil in the law, they must ask for
in the prayer. But this, of course, would be utterly empty if the
human will were sufficient for the performance without the help of
 Matt. vi. 12, 13.
 Caritatem vestram, a phrase of the same sort as our common
address, "your Honour."
Chapter 27 [XIV.]--Grace Effects the Fulfilment of the Law, the
Deliverance of Nature, and the Suppression of Sin's Dominion.
It has, however, been shown to demonstration that instead of really
maintaining free will, they have only inflated a theory of it, which,
having no stability, has fallen to the ground. Neither the knowledge
of God's law, nor nature, nor the mere remission of sins is that grace
which is given to us through our Lord Jesus Christ; but it is this
very grace which accomplishes the fulfilment of the law, and the
liberation of nature, and the removal of the dominion of sin. Being,
therefore, convicted on these points, they resort to another
expedient, and endeavour to show in some way or other that the grace
of God is given us according to our merits. For they say: "Granted
that it is not given to us according to the merits of good works,
inasmuch as it is through it that we do any good thing, still it is
given to us according to the merits of a good will; for," say they,
"the good will of him who prays precedes his prayer, even as the will
of the believer preceded his faith, so that according to these merits
the grace of God who hears, follows."
Chapter 28.--Faith is the Gift of God.
I have already discussed  the point concerning faith, that is,
concerning the will of him who believes, even so far as to show that
it appertains to grace,--so that the apostle did not tell us, "I have
obtained mercy because I was faithful;" but he said, "I have obtained
mercy in order to be faithful."  And there are many other
passages of similar import,--among them that in which he bids us
"think soberly, according as God hath dealt out to every man the
proportion of faith;"  and that which I have already quoted: "By
grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is
the gift of God;"  and again another in the same Epistle to the
Ephesians: "Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God
the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ;"  and to the same effect
that passage in which he says, "For unto you it is given in the behalf
of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His
sake."  Both alike are therefore due to the grace of God,--the
faith of those who believe, and the patience of those who suffer,
because the apostle spoke of both as given. Then, again, there is the
passage, especially noticeable, in which he says, "We, having the same
spirit of faith,"  for his phrase is not "the knowledge of
faith," but "the spirit of faith;" and he expressed himself thus in
order that we might understand how that faith is given to us, even
when it is not sought, so that other blessings may be granted to it at
its request. For "how," says he, "shall they call upon Him in whom
they have not believed?"  The spirit of grace, therefore, causes
us to have faith, in order that through faith we may, on praying for
it, obtain the ability to do what we are commanded. On this account
the apostle himself constantly puts faith before the law; since we are
not able to do what the law commands unless we obtain the strength to
do it by the prayer of faith.
 See above, ch. vii. (16, 17, 18).
 1 Cor. vii. 25.
 Rom. xii. 3.
 Eph. ii. 8.
 Eph. vi. 23.
 Phil. i. 29.
 2 Cor. iv. 13.
 Rom. x. 14.
Chapter 29.--God is Able to Convert Opposing Wills, and to Take Away
from the Heart Its Hardness.
Now if faith is simply of free will, and is not given by God, why do
we pray for those who will not believe, that they may believe? This it
would be absolutely useless to do, unless we believe, with perfect
propriety, that Almighty God is able to turn to belief wills that are
perverse and opposed to faith. Man's free will is addressed when it is
said, "Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts."
 But if God were not able to remove from the human heart even
its obstinacy and hardness, He would not say, through the prophet, "I
will take from them their heart of stone, and will give them a heart
of flesh."  That all this was foretold in reference to the New
Testament is shown clearly enough by the apostle when he says, "Ye are
our epistle, . . . written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the
living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the
heart."  We must not, of course, suppose that such a phrase as
this is used as if those might live in a fleshly  way who ought
to live spiritually; but inasmuch as a stone has no feeling, with
which man's hard heart is compared, what was there left Him to compare
man's intelligent heart with but the flesh, which possesses feeling?
For this is what is said by the prophet Ezekiel: "I will give them
another heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take
the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of
flesh; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances,
and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God,
saith the Lord."  Now can we possibly, without extreme
absurdity, maintain that there previously existed in any man the good
merit of a good will, to entitle him to the removal of his stony
heart, when all the while this very heart of stone signifies nothing
else than a will of the hardest kind and such as is absolutely
inflexible against God? For where a good will precedes, there is, of
course, no longer a heart of stone.
 Ps. xcv. 7, 8.
 Ezek. xi. 19.
 2 Cor. iii. 2, 3.
 [That is, "carnally," the Latin phrase in 2 Cor. iii. 3 being
capable alike of the literal and metaphorical sense of "fleshly."--W.]
 Ezek. xi. 19, 20.
Chapter 30.--The Grace by Which the Stony Heart is Removed is Not
Preceded by Good Deserts, But by Evil Ones.
In another passage, also, by the same prophet, God, in the clearest
language, shows us that it is not owing to any good merits on the part
of men, but for His own name's sake, that He does these things. This
is His language: "This I do, O house of Israel,  but for mine
holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye
went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the
heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen
shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be
sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among
the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you
into your own land. Then will I sprinkle you with clean water, and ye
shall be clean: from all your own filthiness, and from all your idols
will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit
will I put within you; and the stony heart shall be taken away out of
your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my
Spirit within you, and will cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye
shall keep my judgments, and do them."  Now who is so blind as
not to see, and who so stone-like as not to feel, that this grace is
not given according to the merits of a good will, when the Lord
declares and testifies, "It is I, O house of Israel, who do this, but
for my holy name's sake"? Now why did He say "It is I that do it, but
for my holy name's sake," were it not that they should not think that
it was owing to their own good merits that these things were
happening, as the Pelagians hesitate not unblushingly to say? But
there were not only no good merits of theirs, but the Lord shows that
evil ones actually preceded; for He says, "But for my holy name's
sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen." Who can fail to
observe how dreadful is the evil of profaning the Lord's own holy
name? And yet, for the sake of this very name of mine, says He, which
ye have profaned, I, even I, will make you good, but not for your own
sakes; and, as He adds, "I will sanctify my great name, which was
profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of
them." He says that He sanctifies His name, which He had already
declared to be holy. Therefore, this is just what we pray for in the
Lord's Prayer--"Hallowed be Thy name."  We ask for the hallowing
among men of that which is in itself undoubtedly always holy. Then it
follows, "And the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the
Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you." Although, then, He is
Himself always holy, He is, nevertheless, sanctified in those on whom
He bestows His grace, by taking from them that stony heart by which
they profaned the name of the Lord.
 In several editions and mss. there is inserted here the phrase
"not for your sakes."
 Ezek. xxxvi. 22-27.
 Matt. vi. 9. [The word-play is significant in the Latin: "He
says that he sanctifies (sanctificare) His name which He had already
declared to be Holy (sanctum)." This is, therefore, what we pray for
in the Lord's Prayer when we say, "Hallowed (sanctificatur) be thy
Chapter 31 [XV.]--Free Will Has Its Function in the Heart's
Conversion; But Grace Too Has Its.
Lest, however, it should be thought that men themselves in this matter
do nothing by free will, it is said in the Psalm, "Harden not your
hearts;"  and in Ezekiel himself, "Cast away from you all your
transgressions, which ye have impiously committed against me; and make
you a new heart and a new spirit; and keep all my commandments. For
why will ye die, O house of Israel, saith the Lord? for I have no
pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: and turn
ye, and live."  We should remember that it is He who says, "Turn
ye and live," to whom it is said in prayer, "Turn us again, O God."
 We should remember that He says, "Cast away from you all your
transgressions," when it is even He who justifies the ungodly. We
should remember that He says, "Make you a new heart and a new spirit,"
who also promises, "I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will
I put within you."  How is it, then, that He who says, "Make
you," also says, "I will give you"? Why does He command, if He is to
give? Why does He give if man is to make, except it be that He gives
what He commands when He helps him to obey whom He commands? There is,
however, always within us a free will,--but it is not always good; for
it is either free from righteousness when it serves sin,--and then it
is evil,--or else it is free from sin when it serves
righteousness,--and then it is good. But the grace of God is always
good; and by it it comes to pass that a man is of a good will, though
he was before of an evil one. By it also it comes to pass that the
very good will, which has now begun to be, is enlarged, and made so
great that it is able to fulfil the divine commandments which it shall
wish, when it shall once firmly and perfectly wish. This is the
purport of what the Scripture says: "If thou wilt, thou shalt keep the
commandments;"  so that the man who wills but is not able knows
that he does not yet fully will, and prays that he may have so great a
will that it may suffice for keeping the commandments. And thus,
indeed, he receives assistance to perform what he is commanded. Then
is the will of use when we have ability; just as ability is also then
of use when we have the will. For what does it profit us if we will
what we are unable to do, or else do not will what we are able to do?
 Ps. xcv. 8.
 Ezek. xviii. 31, 32.
 Ps. lxxx. 3.
 Ezek. xxxvi. 26.
 Ecclus. xv. 15.
Chapter 32 [XVI.]--In What Sense It is Rightly Said That, If We Like,
We May Keep God's Commandments.
The Pelagians think that they know something great when they assert
that "God would not command what He knew could not be done by man."
Who can be ignorant of this? But God commands some things which we
cannot do, in order that we may know what we ought to ask of Him. For
this is faith itself, which obtains by prayer what the law commands.
He, indeed, who said, "If thou wilt, thou shalt keep the
commandments," did in the same book of Ecclesiasticus afterwards say,
"Who shall give a watch before my mouth, and a seal of wisdom upon my
lips, that I fall not suddenly thereby, and that my tongue destroy me
not."  Now he had certainly heard and received these
commandments: "Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking
guile."  Forasmuch, then, as what he said is true: "If thou
wilt, thou shalt keep the commandments," why does he want a watch to
be given before his mouth, like him who says in the Psalm, "Set a
watch, O Lord, before my mouth"?  Why is he not satisfied with
God's commandment and his own will; since, if he has the will, he
shall keep the commandments? How many of God's commandments are
directed against pride! He is quite aware of them; if he will, he may
keep them. Why, therefore, does he shortly afterwards say, "O God,
Father and God of my life, give me not a proud look"?  The law
had long ago said to him, "Thou shalt not covet;"  let him then
only will, and do what he is bidden, because, if he has the will, he
shall keep the commandments. Why, therefore, does he afterwards say,
"Turn away from me concupiscence"?  Against luxury, too, how
many commandments has God enjoined! Let a man observe them; because,
if he will, he may keep the commandments. But what means that cry to
God, "Let not the greediness of the belly nor lust of the flesh take
hold on me!"?  Now, if we were to put this question to him
personally, he would very rightly answer us and say, From that prayer
of mine, in which I offer this particular petition to God, you may
understand in what sense I said, "If thou wilt, thou mayest keep the
commandments." For it is certain that we keep the commandments if we
will; but because the will is prepared by the Lord, we must ask of Him
for such a force of will as suffices to make us act by the willing. It
is certain that it is we that will when we will, but it is He who
makes us will what is good, of whom it is said (as he has just now
expressed it), "The will is prepared by the Lord."  Of the same
Lord it is said, "The steps of a man are ordered by the Lord, and his
way doth He will."  Of the same Lord again it is said, "It is
God who worketh in you, even to will!"  It is certain that it is
we that act when we act; but it is He who makes us act, by applying
efficacious powers to our will, who has said, "I will make you to walk
in my statutes, and to observe my judgments, and to do them." 
When he says, "I will make you . . . to do them," what else does He
say in fact than, "I will take away from you your heart of stone,"
 from which used to arise your inability to act, "and I will
give you a heart of flesh,"  in order that you may act? And what
does this promise amount to but this: I will remove your hard heart,
out of which you did not act, and I will give you an obedient heart,
out of which you shall act? It is He who causes us to act, to whom the
human suppliant says, "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth." 
That is to say: Make or enable me, O Lord, to set a watch before my
mouth,--a benefit which he had already obtained from God who thus
described its influence: "I set a watch upon my mouth." 
 Ecclus. xxii. 27.
 Ps. xxxiv. 13.
 Ps. cxli. 3.
 Ecclus. xxiii. 4.
 Ex. xx. 17.
 Ecclus. xxiii. 5.
 Ecclus. xxiii. 6.
 Prov. viii. 35.
 Ps. xxxvii. 23.
 Phil. ii. 13.
 Ezek. xxxvi. 27.
 Ezek. xi. 19, and xxxvi. 26.
 Ezek. xxxvi. 26.
 Ps. cxli. 3.
 Ps. xxxix. 1.
Chapter 33 [XVII.]--A Good Will May Be Small and Weak; An Ample Will,
Great Love. Operating and Co-operating Grace.
He, therefore, who wishes to do God's commandment, but is unable,
already possesses a good will, but as yet a small and weak one; he
will, however, become able when he shall have acquired a great and
robust will. When the martyrs did the great commandments which they
obeyed, they acted by a great will,--that is, with great love. Of this
love the Lord Himself thus speaks: "Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  In
accordance with this, the apostle also says, "He that loveth his
neighbour hath fulfilled the law. For this: Thou shalt not commit
adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not
covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly
comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love
is the fulfilling of the law."  This love the Apostle Peter did
not yet possess, when he for fear thrice denied the Lord. 
"There is no fear in love," says the Evangelist John in his first
Epistle, "but perfect love casteth out fear."  But yet, however
small and imperfect his love was, it was not wholly wanting when he
said to the Lord, "I will lay down my life for Thy sake;"  for
he supposed himself able to effect what he felt himself willing to do.
And who was it that had begun to give him his love, however small, but
He who prepares the will, and perfects by His co-operation what He
initiates by His operation? Forasmuch as in beginning He works in us
that we may have the will, and in perfecting works with us when we
have the will.  On which account the apostle says, "I am
confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in
you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."  He
operates, therefore, without us, in order that we may will; but when
we will, and so will that we may act, He co-operates with us. We can,
however, ourselves do nothing to effect good works of piety without
Him either working that we may will, or co-working when we will. Now,
concerning His working that we may will, it is said: "It is God which
worketh in you, even to will."  While of His co-working with us,
when we will and act by willing, the apostle says, "We know that in
all things there is co-working for good to them that love God." 
What does this phrase, "all things," mean, but the terrible and cruel
sufferings which affect our condition? That burden, indeed, of Christ,
which is heavy for our infirmity, becomes light to love. For to such
did the Lord say that His burden was light,  as Peter was when
he suffered for Christ, not as he was when he denied Him.
 John xv. 13.
 Lev. xix. 18.
 Rom. xiii. 8-10.
 Matt. xxvi. 69-75.
 1 John iv. 18.
 John xiii. 37.
 Compare Art. X. of the Church of England.
 Phil. i. 6.
 Phil. ii. 13.
 Rom. viii. 28. The Latin indefinite passive co-operatur invited
this turn in the usage of the passage.
 Matt. xi. 30.
Chapter 34.--The Apostle's Eulogy of Love. Correction to Be
Administered with Love.
This charity, that is, this will glowing with intensest love, the
apostle eulogizes with these words: "Who shall separate us from the
love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or
famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? (As it is written, For
Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for
the slaughter.) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors,
through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things
to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able
to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
Lord."  And in another passage he says, "And yet I show unto you
a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of
angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a
tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and
understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all
faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am
nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though
I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me
nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love
vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself
unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no
evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth
all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
things. Love never faileth."  And a little afterwards he says,
"And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of
these is love. Follow after love."  He also says to the
Galatians, "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use
not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one
another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  This is the same in
effect as what he writes to the Romans: "He that loveth another hath
fulfilled the law."  In like manner he says to the Colossians,
"And above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of
perfectness."  And to Timothy he writes, "Now the end of the
commandment is love;" and he goes on to describe the quality of this
grace, saying, "Out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of
faith unfeigned."  Moreover, when he says to the Corinthians,
"Let all your things be done with love,"  he shows plainly
enough that even those chastisements which are deemed sharp and bitter
by those who are corrected thereby, are to be administered with love.
Accordingly, in another passage, after saying, "Warn them that are
unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward
all men," he immediately added, "See that none render evil for evil
unto any man."  Therefore, even when the unruly are corrected,
it is not rendering evil for evil, but contrariwise, good. However,
what but love worketh all these things?
 Rom. viii. 35-39.
 1 Cor. xii. 31, xiii. 8.
 1 Cor. xiii. 13, and xiv. 1.
 Gal. v. 13, 14, and Lev. xix. 18.
 Rom. xiii. 8.
 Col. iii. 14.
 1 Tim. i. 5.
 1 Cor. xvi. 14.
 1 Thess. v. 14, 15.
Chapter 35.--Commendations of Love.
The Apostle Peter, likewise, says, "And, above all things, have
fervent love among yourselves: for love shall cover the multitude of
sins."  The Apostle James also says, "If ye fulfil the royal
law, according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself, ye do well."  So also the Apostle John says, "He that
loveth his brother abideth in the right;"  again, in another
passage, "Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he
that loveth not his brother; for this is the message which we have
heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." 
Then he says again, "This is His commandment, that we should believe
on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another." 
Once more: "And this commandment have we from Him that he who loveth
God love his brother also."  Then shortly afterwards he adds,
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God,
and keep His commandments; for this is the love of God, that we keep
His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." 
While, in his second Epistle, it is written, "Not as though I wrote a
new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning,
that we love one another." 
 1 Pet. iv. 8.
 Jas. ii. 8.
 1 John ii. 10.
 1 John iii. 10, 11.
 1 John iii. 23.
 1 John iv. 21.
 1 John v. 2, 3.
 2 John ver. 5.
Chapter 36.--Love Commended by Our Lord Himself.
Moreover, the Lord Jesus Himself teaches us that the whole law and the
prophets hang upon the two precepts of love to God and love to our
neighbour. Concerning these two commandments the following is written
in the Gospel according to St. Mark: "And one of the scribes came, and
having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that He had
answered them well, asked Him: Which is the first commandment of all?
And Jesus answered him: The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O
Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
mind, and with all thy strength.  This is the first commandment.
And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these."
 Also, in the Gospel according to St. John, He says, "A new
commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved
you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye
are my disciples, if ye have love to one another." 
 Deut. vi. 4, 5.
 Lev. xix. 18.
 Mark xii. 28-31.
 John xiii. 34, 35.
Chapter 37 [XVIII.]--The Love Which Fulfils the Commandments is Not of
Ourselves, But of God.
All these commandments, however, respecting love or charity 
(which are so great, and such that whatever action a man may think he
does well is by no means well done if done without love) would be
given to men in vain if they had not free choice of will. But
forasmuch as these precepts are given in the law, both old and new
(although in the new came the grace which was promised in the old, but
the law without grace is the letter which killeth, but in grace the
Spirit which giveth life), from what source is there in men the love
of God and of one's neighbour but from God Himself? For indeed, if it
be not of God but of men, the Pelagians have gained the victory; but
if it come from God, then we have vanquished the Pelagians. Let, then,
the Apostle John sit in judgment between us; and let him say to us,
"Beloved, let us love one another."  Now, when they begin to
extol themselves on these words of John, and to ask why this precept
is addressed to us at all if we have not of our own selves to love one
another, the same apostle proceeds at once, to their confusion, to
add, "For love is of God."  It is not of ourselves, therefore,
but it is of God. Wherefore, then, is it said, "Let us love one
another, for love is of God," unless it be as a precept to our free
will, admonishing it to seek the gift of God? Now, this would be
indeed a thoroughly fruitless admonition if the will did not
previously receive some donation of love, which might seek to be
enlarged so as to fulfil whatever command was laid upon it. When it is
said, "Let us love one another," it is law; when it is said, "For love
is of God," it is grace. For God's "wisdom carries law and mercy upon
her tongue."  Accordingly, it is written in the Psalm, "For He
who gave the law will give blessings." 
 ["Love or charity," the disjunctive being intended to identify,
not distinguish, the two. The word amor is distinguishable from the
pair (dilectio and charitas) here used, though even this must not be
pressed too far. See Augustin's City of God, xiv. 7.--W.]
 1 John iv. 7.
 1 John iv. 7.
 Prov. iii. 16.
 Ps. lxxxiv. 6.
Chapter 38.--We Would Not Love God Unless He First Loved Us. The
Apostles Chose Christ Because They Were Chosen; They Were Not Chosen
Because They Chose Christ.
Let no one, then, deceive you, my brethren, for we should not love God
unless He first loved us. John again gives us the plainest proof of
this when he says, "We love Him because He first loved us." 
Grace makes us lovers of the law; but the law itself, without grace,
makes us nothing but breakers of the law. And nothing else than this
is shown us by the words of our Lord when He says to His disciples, Ye
have not chosen me, but I have chosen you."  For if we first
loved Him, in order that by this merit He might love us, then we first
chose Him that we might deserve to be chosen by Him. He, however, who
is the Truth says otherwise, and flatly contradicts this vain conceit
of men. "You have not chosen me," He says. If, therefore, you have not
chosen me, undoubtedly you have not loved me (for how could they
choose one whom they did not love?). "But I," says He, "have chosen
you." And then could they possibly help choosing Him afterwards, and
preferring Him to all the blessings of this world? But it was because
they had been chosen, that they chose Him; not because they chose Him
that they were chosen. There could be no merit in men's choice of
Christ, if it were not that God's grace was prevenient in His choosing
them. Whence the Apostle Paul pronounces in the Thessalonians this
benediction: "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one
toward another, and toward all men."  This benediction to love
one another He gave us, who had also given us a law that we should
love each other. Then, in another passage addressed to the same
church, seeing that there now existed in some of its members the
disposition which he had wished them to cultivate, he says, "We are
bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because
that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of
you all toward each other aboundeth."  This he said lest they
should make a boast of the great good which they were enjoying from
God, as if they had it of their own mere selves. Because, then, your
faith has so great a growth (this is the purport of his words), and
the love of every one of you all toward each other so greatly abounds,
we ought to thank God concerning you, but not to praise you, as if you
possessed these gifts of yourselves.
 1 John iv. 19.
 John xv. 16.
 1 Thess. iii. 12.
 2 Thess. i. 3.
Chapter 39.--The Spirit of Fear a Great Gift of God.
The apostle also says to Timothy, "For God hath not given to us the
spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
 Now in respect of this passage of the apostle, we must be on
our guard against supposing that we have not received the spirit of
the fear of God, which is undoubtedly a great gift of God, and
concerning which the prophet Isaiah says, "The Spirit of the Lord
shall rest upon thee, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the
spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety, the
spirit of the fear of the Lord."  It is not the fear with which
Peter denied Christ that we have received the spirit of, but that fear
concerning which Christ Himself says, "Fear Him who hath power to
destroy both soul and body in hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him."
 This, indeed, He said, lest we should deny Him from the same
fear which shook Peter; for such cowardice he plainly wished to be
removed from us when He, in the preceding passage, said, "Be not
afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that
they can do."  It is not of this fear that we have received the
spirit, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. And of this
spirit the same Apostle Paul discourses to the Romans: "We glory in
tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience,
experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because
the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which
is given unto us."  Not by ourselves, therefore, but by the Holy
Ghost which is given to us, does it come to pass that, through that
very love, which he shows us to be the gift of God, tribulation does
not do away with patience, but rather produces it. Again, he says to
the Ephesians, "Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith." 
Great blessings these! Let him tell us, however, whence they come.
"From God the Father," says he immediately afterwards, "and the Lord
Jesus Christ."  These great blessings, therefore, are nothing
else than God's gifts to us.
 2 Tim. i. 7.
 Isa. xi. 2.
 Luke xii. 5.
 Luke xii. 4.
 Rom. v. 3, 4, 5.
 Eph. vi. 23.
 John i. 5.
Chapter 40 [XIX.]--The Ignorance of the Pelagians in Maintaining that
the Knowledge of the Law Comes from God, But that Love Comes from
It is no wonder that light shineth in darkness, and the darkness
comprehendeth it not.  In John's Epistle the Light declares,
"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we
should be called the sons of God."  And in the Pelagian writings
the darkness says, "Love comes to us of our own selves." Now, if they
only possessed the true, that is, Christian love, they would also know
whence they obtained possession of it; even as the apostle knew when
he said, "But we have received not the spirit of the world, but the
Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely
given to us of God."  John says, "God is love."  And thus
the Pelagians affirm that they actually have God Himself, not from
God, but from their own selves! and although they allow that we have
the knowledge of the law from God, they will yet have it that love is
from our very selves. Nor do they listen to the apostle when he says,
"Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth."  Now what can be more
absurd, nay, what more insane and more alien from the very sacredness
of love itself, than to maintain that from God proceeds the knowledge
which, apart from love, puffs us up, while the love which prevents the
possibility of this inflation of knowledge springs from ourselves? And
again, when the apostle speaks of "the love of Christ as surpassing
knowledge,"  what can be more insane than to suppose that the
knowledge which must be subordinated to love comes from God, while the
love which surpasses knowledge comes from man? The true faith,
however, and sound doctrine declare that both graces are from God; the
Scripture says, "From His face cometh knowledge and understanding;"
 and another Scripture says, "Love is of God."  We read of
"the Spirit of wisdom and understanding."  Also of "the Spirit
of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  But love is a
greater gift than knowledge; for whenever a man has the gift of
knowledge, love is necessary by the side of it, that he be not puffed
up. For "love envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."
 John i. 5.
 1 John iii. 1.
 1 Cor. ii. 12.
 1 John iv. 16.
 1 Cor. viii. 1.
 Eph. iii. 19.
 Prov. ii. 6.
 1 John iv. 7.
 Isa. xi. 2.
 2 Tim. i. 7.
 1 Cor. xiii. 4.
Chapter 41 [XX.]--The Wills of Men are So Much in the Power of God,
that He Can Turn Them Whithersoever It Pleases Him.
I think I have now discussed the point fully enough in opposition to
those who vehemently oppose the grace of God, by which, however, the
human will is not taken away, but changed from bad to good, and
assisted when it is good. I think, too, that I have so discussed the
subject, that it is not so much I myself as the inspired Scripture
which has spoken to you, in the clearest testimonies of truth; and if
this divine record be looked into carefully, it shows us that not only
men's good wills, which God Himself converts from bad ones, and, when
converted by Him, directs to good actions and to eternal life, but
also those which follow the world are so entirely at the disposal of
God, that He turns them whithersoever He wills, and whensoever He
wills,--to bestow kindness on some, and to heap punishment on others,
as He Himself judges right by a counsel most secret to Himself,
indeed, but beyond all doubt most righteous. For we find that some
sins are even the punishment of other sins, as are those "vessels of
wrath" which the apostle describes as "fitted to destruction;" 
as is also that hardening of Pharaoh, the purpose of which is said to
be to set forth in him the power of God;  as, again, is the
flight of the Israelites from the face of the enemy before the city of
Ai, for fear arose in their heart so that they fled, and this was done
that their sin might be punished in the way it was right that it
should be; by reason of which the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun,
"The children of Israel shall not be able to stand before the face of
their enemies."  What is the meaning of, "They shall not be able
to stand"? Now, why did they not stand by free will, but, with a will
perplexed by fear, took to flight, were it not that God has the
lordship even over men's wills, and when He is angry turns to fear
whomsoever He pleases? Was it not of their own will that the enemies
of the children of Israel fought against the people of God, as led by
Joshua, the son of Nun? And yet the Scripture says, "It was of the
Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in
battle, that they might be exterminated."  And was it not
likewise of his own will that the wicked son of Gera cursed King
David? And yet what says David, full of true, and deep, and pious
wisdom? What did he say to him who wanted to smite the reviler?
"What," said he, "have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? Let him
alone and let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse
David. Who, then, shall say, Wherefore hast thou done so?"  And
then the inspired Scripture, as if it would confirm the king's
profound utterance by repeating it once more, tells us: "And David
said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came
forth from my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more may this
Benjamite do it! Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath
bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on my humiliation, and
will requite me good for his cursing this day."  Now what
prudent reader will fail to understand in what way the Lord bade this
profane man to curse David? It was not by a command that He bade him,
in which case his obedience would be praiseworthy; but He inclined the
man's will, which had become debased by his own perverseness, to
commit this sin, by His own just and secret judgment. Therefore it is
said, "The Lord said unto him." Now if this person had obeyed a
command of God, he would have deserved to be praised rather than
punished, as we know he was afterwards punished for this sin. Nor is
the reason an obscure one why the Lord told him after this manner to
curse David. "It may be," said the humbled king, "that the Lord will
look on my humiliation, and will requite me good for his cursing this
day." See, then, what proof we have here that God uses the hearts of
even wicked men for the praise and assistance of the good. Thus did He
make use of Judas when betraying Christ; thus did He make use of the
Jews when they crucified Christ. And how vast the blessings which from
these instances He has bestowed upon the nations that should believe
in Him! He also uses our worst enemy, the devil himself, but in the
best way, to exercise and try the faith and piety of good men,--not
for Himself indeed, who knows all things before they come to pass, but
for our sakes, for whom it was necessary that such a discipline should
be gone through with us. Did not Absalom choose by his own will the
counsel which was detrimental to him? And yet the reason of his doing
so was that the Lord had heard his father's prayer that it might be
so. Wherefore the Scripture says that "the Lord appointed to defeat
the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might
bring all evils upon Absalom."  It called Ahithophel's counsel
"good," because it was for the moment of advantage to his purpose. It
was in favour of the son against his father, against whom he had
rebelled; and it might have crushed him, had not the Lord defeated the
counsel which Ahithophel had given, by acting on the heart of Absalom
so that he rejected this counsel, and chose another which was not
expedient for him.
 Rom. ix. 22.
 See Ex. vii. 3, and x. 1.
 See Josh. vii. 4, 12.
 Josh. xi. 20.
 2 Sam. xvi. 9, 10.
 2 Sam. xvi. 11, 12.
 2 Sam. xvii. 14.
Chapter 42 [XXI]--God Does Whatsoever He Wills in the Hearts of Even
Who can help trembling at those judgments of God by which He does in
the hearts of even wicked men whatsoever He wills, at the same time
rendering to them according to their deeds? Rehoboam, the son of
Solomon, rejected the salutary counsel of the old men, not to deal
harshly with the people, and preferred listening to the words of the
young men of his own age, by returning a rough answer to those to whom
he should have spoken gently. Now whence arose such conduct, except
from his own will? Upon this, however, the ten tribes of Israel
revolted from him, and chose for themselves another king, even
Jeroboam, that the will of God in His anger might be accomplished
which He had predicted would come to pass.  For what says the
Scripture? "The king hearkened not unto the people; for the turning
was from the Lord, that He might perform His saying, which the Lord
spake to Ahijah the Shilonite concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat."
 All this, indeed, was done by the will of man, although the
turning was from the Lord. Read the books of the Chronicles, and you
will find the following passage in the second book: "Moreover, the
Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of
the Arabians, that were neighbours to the Ethiopians; and they came up
to the land of Judah, and ravaged it, and carried away all the
substance which was found in the king's house."  Here it is
shown that God stirs up enemies to devastate the countries which He
adjudges deserving of such chastisement. Still, did these Philistines
and Arabians invade the land of Judah to waste it with no will of
their own? Or were their movements so directed by their own will that
the Scripture lies which tells us that "the Lord stirred up their
spirit" to do all this? Both statements to be sure are true, because
they both came by their own will, and yet the Lord stirred up their
spirit; and this may also with equal truth be stated the other way:
The Lord both stirred up their spirit, and yet they came of their own
will. For the Almighty sets in motion even in the innermost hearts of
men the movement of their will, so that He does through their agency
whatsoever He wishes to perform through them,--even He who knows not
how to will anything in unrighteousness. What, again, is the purport
of that which the man of God said to King Amaziah: "Let not the army
of Israel go with thee; for the Lord is not with Israel, even with all
the children of Ephraim: for if thou shalt think to obtain with these,
the Lord shall put thee to flight before thine enemies: for God hath
power either to strengthen or to put to flight"?  Now, how does
the power of God help some in war by giving them confidence, and put
others to flight by injecting fear into them, except it be that He who
has made all things according to His own will, in heaven and on earth,
 also works in the hearts of men? We read also what Joash, king
of Israel, said when he sent a message to Amaziah, king of Judah, who
wanted to fight with him. After certain other words, he added, "Now
tarry at home; why dost thou challenge me to thine hurt, that thou
shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee?"  Then the
Scripture has added this sequel: "But Amaziah would not hear; for it
came of God, that he might be delivered into their hands, because they
sought after the gods of Edom."  Behold, now, how God, wishing
to punish the sin of idolatry, wrought this in this man's heart, with
whom He was indeed justly angry, not to listen to sound advice, but to
despise it, and go to the battle, in which he with his army was
routed. God says by the prophet Ezekiel, "If the prophet be deceived
when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet: I
will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst
of my people Israel."  Then there is the book of Esther, who was
a woman of the people of Israel, and in the land of their captivity
became the wife of the foreign King Ahasuerus. In this book it is
written, that, being driven by necessity to interpose in behalf of her
people, whom the king had ordered to be slain in every part of his
dominions, she prayed to the Lord. So strongly was she urged by the
necessity of the case, that she even ventured into the royal presence
without the king's command, and contrary to her own custom. Now
observe what the Scripture says: "He looked at her like a bull in the
vehemence of his indignation; and the queen was afraid, and her colour
changed as she fainted; and she bowed herself upon the head of her
delicate maiden which went before her. But God turned the king, and
transformed his indignation into gentleness."  The Scripture
says in the Proverbs of Solomon, "Even as the rush of water, so is the
heart of a king in God's hand; He will turn it in whatever way He
shall choose."  Again, in the 104th Psalm, in reference to the
Egyptians, one reads what God did to them: "And He turned their heart
to hate His people, to deal subtilly with His servants." 
Observe, likewise, what is written in the letters of the apostles. In
the Epistle of Paul, the Apostle, to the Romans occur these words:
"Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their
own hearts;"  and a little afterwards: "For this cause God gave
them up unto vile affections;"  again, in the next passage: "And
even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave
them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not
convenient."  So also in his second Epistle to the
Thessalonians, the apostle says of sundry persons, "Inasmuch as they
received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved;
therefore also God shall send them strong delusion, that they should
believe a lie; that they all might be judged who believed not the
truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 
 1 Kings xii. 8-14.
 1 Kings xii. 15.
 2 Chron. xxi. 16, 17.
 2 Chron. xxv. 7, 8.
 Ps. cxxxv. 6.
 2 Kings xiv. 10.
 2 Chron. xxv. 20.
 Ezek. xiv. 9.
 Esther v. (according to the Sept.).
 Prov. xxi. 1.
 Ps. cv. 25.
 Rom. i. 24.
 Rom. i. 26.
 Rom. i. 28.
 2 Thess. ii. 10-12.
Chapter 43.--God Operates on Men's Hearts to Incline Their Wills
Whithersoever He Pleases.
From these statements of the inspired word, and from similar passages
which it would take too long to quote in full, it is, I think,
sufficiently clear that God works in the hearts of men to incline
their wills whithersoever He wills, whether to good deeds according to
His mercy, or to evil after their own deserts; His own judgment being
sometimes manifest, sometimes secret, but always righteous. This ought
to be the fixed and immoveable conviction of your heart, that there is
no unrighteousness with God. Therefore, whenever you read in the
Scriptures of Truth, that men are led aside, or that their hearts are
blunted and hardened by God, never doubt that some ill deserts of
their own have first occurred, so that they justly suffer these
things. Thus you will not run counter to that proverb of Solomon: "The
foolishness of a man perverteth his ways, yet he blameth God in his
heart."  Grace, however, is not bestowed according to men's
deserts; otherwise grace would be no longer grace.  For grace is
so designated because it is given gratuitously.  Now if God is
able, either through the agency of angels (whether good ones or evil),
or in any other way whatever, to operate in the hearts even of the
wicked, in return for their deserts,--whose wickedness was not made by
Him, but was either derived originally from Adam, or increased by
their own will,--what is there to wonder at if, through the Holy
Spirit, He works good in the hearts of the elect, who has wrought it
that their hearts become good instead of evil?
 Prov. xix. 3.
 Rom. xi. 6.
 Latin, gratis.
Chapter 44 [XXII.]--Gratuitous Grace Exemplified in Infants.
Men, however, may suppose that there are certain good deserts which
they think are precedent to justification through God's grace; all the
while failing to see, when they express such an opinion, that they do
nothing else than deny grace. But, as I have already remarked, let
them suppose what they like respecting the case of adults, in the case
of infants, at any rate, the Pelagians find no means of answering the
difficulty. For these in receiving grace have no will; from the
influence of which they can pretend to any precedent merit. We see,
moreover, how they cry and struggle when they are baptized, and feel
the divine sacraments. Such conduct would, of course, be charged
against them as a great impiety, if they already had free will in use;
and notwithstanding this, grace cleaves to them even in their
resisting struggles. But most certainly there is no prevenient merit,
otherwise the grace would be no longer grace. Sometimes, too, this
grace is bestowed upon the children of unbelievers, when they happen
by some means or other to fall, by reason of God's secret providence,
into the hands of pious persons; but, on the other hand, the children
of believers fail to obtain grace, some hindrance occurring to prevent
the approach of help to rescue them in their danger. These things, no
doubt, happen through the secret providence of God, whose judgments
are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out. These are the words
of the apostle; and you should observe what he had previously said, to
lead him to add such a remark. He was discoursing about the Jews and
Gentiles, when he wrote to the Romans--themselves Gentiles--to this
effect: "For as ye, in times past, have not believed God, yet have now
obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not
believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy; for God
hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon
all."  Now, after he had thought upon what he said, full of
wonder at the certain truth of his own assertion, indeed, but
astonished at its great depth, how God concluded all in unbelief that
He might have mercy upon all,--as if doing evil that good might
come,--he at once exclaimed, and said, "O the depth of the riches both
of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His
judgments, and His ways past finding out!"  Perverse men, who do
not reflect upon these unsearchable judgments and untraceable ways,
indeed, but are ever prone to censure, being unable to understand,
have supposed the apostle to say, and censoriously gloried over him
for saying, "Let us do evil, that good may come!" God forbid that the
apostle should say so! But men, without understanding, have thought
that this was in fact said, when they heard these words of the
apostle: "Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound;
but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."  But grace,
indeed, effects this purpose--that good works should now be wrought by
those who previously did evil; not that they should persevere in evil
courses and suppose that they are recompensed with good. Their
language, therefore, ought not to be: "Let us do evil, that good may
come;" but: "We have done evil, and good has come; let us henceforth
do good, that in the future world we may receive good for good, who in
the present life are receiving good for evil." Wherefore it is written
in the Psalm, "I will sing of mercy and judgment unto Thee, O Lord."
 When the Son of man, therefore, first came into the world, it
was not to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be
saved.  And this dispensation was for mercy; by and by, however,
He will come for judgment--to judge the quick and the dead. And yet
even in this present time salvation itself does not eventuate without
judgment--although it be a hidden one; therefore He says, "For
judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not may see,
and that they which see may be made blind." 
 Rom. xi. 30-32.
 Rom. xi. 33.
 Rom. v. 20.
 Ps. ci. 1.
 John iii. 17.
 John ix. 39.
Chapter 45 [XXIII]--The Reason Why One Person is Assisted by Grace,
and Another is Not Helped, Must Be Referred to the Secret Judgments of
You must refer the matter, then, to the hidden determinations of God,
when you see, in one and the same condition, such as all infants
unquestionably have,--who derive their hereditary evil from
Adam,--that one is assisted so as to be baptized, and another is not
assisted, so that he dies in his very bondage; and again, that one
baptized person is left and forsaken in his present life, who God
foreknew would be ungodly, while another baptized person is taken away
from this life, "lest that wickedness should alter his understanding;"
 and be sure that you do not in such cases ascribe
unrighteousness or unwisdom to God, in whom is the very fountain of
righteousness and wisdom, but, as I have exhorted you from the
commencement of this treatise, "whereto you have already attained,
walk therein,"  and "even this shall God reveal unto you,"
 --if not in this life, yet certainly in the next, "for there is
nothing covered that shall not be revealed."  When, therefore,
you hear the Lord say, "I the Lord have deceived that prophet," 
and likewise what the apostle says: "He hath mercy on whom He will
have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth,"  believe that, in
the case of him whom He permits to be deceived and hardened, his evil
deeds have deserved the judgment; whilst in the case of him to whom He
shows mercy, you should loyally and unhesitatingly recognise the grace
of the God who "rendereth not evil for evil; but contrariwise
blessing."  Nor should you take away from Pharaoh free will,
because in several passages God says, "I have hardened Pharaoh;" or,"
I have hardened or I will harden Pharaoh's heart;"  for it does
not by any means follow that Pharaoh did not, on this account, harden
his own heart. For this, too, is said of him, after the removal of the
fly-plague from the Egyptians, in these words of the Scripture: "And
Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the
people go."  Thus it was that both God hardened him by His just
judgment, and Pharaoh by his own free will. Be ye then well assured
that your labour will never be in vain, if, setting before you a good
purpose, you persevere in it to the last. For God, who fails to
render, according to their deeds, only to those whom He liberates,
will then "recompense every man according to his works."  God
will, therefore, certainly recompense both evil for evil, because He
is just; and good for evil, because He is good; and good for good,
because He is good and just; only, evil for good He will never
recompense, because He is not unjust. He will, therefore, recompense
evil for evil--punishment for unrighteousness; and He will recompense
good for evil--grace for unrighteousness; and He will recompense good
for good--grace for grace.
 Wisd. iv. 11.
 Phil iii. 16.
 Phil. iii. 15.
 Matt. x. 26.
 Ezek. xiv. 9.
 Rom. ix. 18.
 1 Pet. iii. 9.
 See Ex. iv. 21, vii. 3, xiv. 4.
 Ex. viii. 32.
 Matt. xvi. 27.
Chapter 46 [XXIV.]--Understanding and Wisdom Must Be Sought from God.
Peruse attentively this treatise, and if you understand it, give God
the praise; but where you fail to understand it, pray for
understanding, for God will give you understanding. Remember what the
Scriptures say: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given
to him."  Wisdom itself cometh down from above, as the Apostle
James himself tells us.  There is, however, another wisdom,
which you must repel from you, and pray against its remaining in you;
this the same apostle expressed his detestation of when he said, "But
if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, . . . this is not
the wisdom which descendeth from above, but is earthly, sensual,
devilish. For wherever there is envying and strife, there is also
confusion, and every evil work. But the wisdom which is from above is
first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of
mercy and good works, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
 What blessing, then, will that man not have who has prayed for
this wisdom and obtained it of the Lord? And from this you may
understand what grace is; because if this wisdom were of ourselves, it
would not be from above; nor would it be an object to be asked for of
the God who created us. Brethren, pray ye for us also, that we may
live "soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking
for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ,"  to whom belong the honour, and the
glory, and the kingdom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever
and ever. Amen.
 Jas. i. 5.
 Jas. i. 17, and iii. 17.
 Jas. iii. 14-17.
 Titus ii. 12.
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