Writings of Augustine. A Treatise on Rebuke and Grace.
Augustin and the Pelagian Controversy.
A Treatise on Rebuke and Grace.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff,
New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
Extract from Augustin's "Retractations," Book II. Chap. 67,
On the Following Treatise, "de correptione et gratia."
I Wrote again to the same persons  another treatise, which I
entitled On Rebuke and Grace, because I had been told that some one
there had said that no man ought to be rebuked for not doing God's
commandments, but that prayer only should be made on his behalf, that
he may do them. This book begins on this wise, "I have read your
letters, dearly beloved brother Valentine."
 Valentine, to wit, and the monks with him who inhabited the
convent at Adrumetum. See above, at the beginning of the preceding
treatise, On Grace and Free Will.
A Treatise on Rebuke and Grace,
by Aurelius Augustin, Bishop of Hippo;
In One Book,
addressed to valentine, and with him to the monks of adrumetum.
a.d. 426 or 427
In the beginning the writer sets forth what is the Catholic faith
concerning law, concerning free will, and concerning grace. He teaches
that the grace of God by Jesus Christ is that by which alone men are
delivered from evil, and without which they do absolutely no good; and
this not only by the fact that it points out what is to be done, but
that it also supplies the means of doing it with love, since God
bestows on men the inspiration of a good will and deed. He teaches
that the rebuke of evil men who have not received this grace is
neither unjust--since they are evil by their own will--nor useless,
although it must be confessed that it is only by God's agency that it
can avail. That perseverance in good is truly a great gift of God, but
that still the rebuke of one who has not persevered must not on that
account be neglected; and that if a man who has not received this gift
should relapse of his own will into sin, he is not only deserving of
rebuke, but if he should continue in evil until his death, he is
moreover worthy of eternal damnation. That it is inscrutable why one
should receive this gift and another should not receive it. That of
those who are predestinated none can perish. And that the
perseverance, which all do not receive who are here called children of
God, is constantly given to all those who are truly children by God's
foreknowledge and predestination. He answers the question which
suggests itself concerning Adam--in what way he sinned by not
persevering, since he did not receive perseverance. He shows that such
assistance was at the first given to him, as that without it he could
not continue if he would, not as that with it it must result that he
would. But that now through Christ is given us not only such help as
that without it we cannot continue even if we will, but moreover such
and so great as that by it we will. He proves that the number of the
predestinated, to whom a gift of this kind is appropriated, is
certain, and can neither be increased nor diminished. And since it is
unknown who belongs to that number, and who does not, that medicinal
rebuke must be applied to all who sin, lest they should either
themselves perish, or be the ruin of others. Finally, he concludes
that neither is rebuke prohibited by grace, nor is grace denied by
Chapter 1 [I.]--Introductory.
I Have read your letter--Valentine, my dearly beloved brother, and you
who are associated with him in the service of God--which your Love
sent by brother Florus and those who came to us with him; and I gave
God thanks that I have known your peace in the Lord and agreement in
the truth and ardour in love, by your discourse delivered to us. But
that an enemy has striven among you to the subversion of some, has, by
the mercy of God and His marvellous goodness in turning his arts to
the advantage  of His servants, rather availed to this result,
that while none of you were cast down for the worse, some were built
up for the better. There is therefore no need to reconsider again and
again all that I have already transmitted to you, sufficiently argued
out in a lengthy treatise;  for your replies indicate how you
have received this. Nevertheless, do not in any wise suppose that,
when once read, it can have become sufficiently well known to you.
Therefore if you desire to have it exceedingly productive, do not
count it a grievance by re-perusal to make it thoroughly familiar; so
that you may most accurately  know what and what kind of
questions they are, for the solution and satisfaction of which there
arises an authority not human but divine, from which we ought not to
depart if we desire to attain to the point whither we are tending.
 Or according to some mss., "progress."
 Treatise on Grace and Free Will, see above.
 Or, "most clearly."
Chapter 2.--The Catholic Faith Concerning Law, Grace, and Free Will.
Now the Lord Himself not only shows us what evil we should shun, and
what good we should do, which is all that the letter of the law is
able to effect; but He moreover helps us that we may shun evil and do
good,  which none can do without the Spirit of grace; and if
this be wanting, the law comes in merely to make us guilty and to slay
us. It is on this account that the apostle says, "The letter killeth,
but the Spirit giveth life."  He, then, who lawfully uses the
law learns therein evil and good, and, not trusting in his own
strength, flees to grace, by the help of which he may shun evil and do
good. But who is there who flees to grace except when "the steps of a
man are ordered by the Lord, and He shall determine his way"? 
And thus also to desire the help of grace is the beginning of grace;
of which, says he, "And I said, Now I have begun; this is the change
of the right hand of the Most High."  It is to be confessed,
therefore, that we have free choice to do both evil and good; but in
doing evil every one is free from righteousness and a servant of sin,
while in doing good no one can be free, unless he have been made free
by Him who said, "If the Son shall make you free, then you shall be
free indeed."  Neither is it thus, that when any one has been
made free from the dominion of sin, he no longer needs the help of his
Deliverer; but rather thus, that hearing from Him, "Without me ye can
do nothing,"  he himself also says to Him, "Be thou my helper!
Forsake me not."  I rejoice that I have found in our brother
Florus also this faith, which without doubt is the true and
prophetical and apostolical and catholic faith; whence those are the
rather to be corrected--whom indeed I now think to have been corrected
by the favour of God--who did not understand him.
 Ps. xxxvii. 27.
 2 Cor. iii. 6.
 Ps. xxxvii. 23.
 Ps. lxxvi. 10.
 John viii. 36.
 John xv. 5.
 Ps. xxvii. 9.
Chapter 3 [II.]--What the Grace of God Through Jesus Christ is.
For the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord must be
apprehended,--as that by which alone men are delivered from evil, and
without which they do absolutely no good thing, whether in thought, or
will and affection, or in action; not only in order that they may
know, by the manifestation of that grace, what should be done, but
moreover in order that, by its enabling, they may do with love what
they know. Certainly the apostle asked for this inspiration of good
will and work on behalf of those to whom he said, "Now we pray to God
that ye do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that ye
should do that which is good."  Who can hear this and not awake
and confess that we have it from the Lord God that we turn aside from
evil and do good?--since the apostle indeed says not, We admonish, we
teach, we exhort, we rebuke; but he says, "We pray to God that ye do
no evil, but that ye should do that which is good."  And yet he
was also in the habit of speaking to them, and doing all those things
which I have mentioned,--he admonished, he taught, he exhorted, he
rebuked. But he knew that all these things which he was doing in the
way of planting and watering openly  were of no avail unless He
who giveth the increase in secret should give heed to his prayer on
their behalf. Because, as the same teacher of the Gentiles says,
"Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but
God that giveth the increase." 
 2 Cor. xiii. 7.
 2 Cor. xiii. 7.
 In aperto.
 1 Cor. iii. 7.
Chapter 4--The Children of God are Led by the Spirit of God.
Let those, therefore, not deceive themselves who ask, "Wherefore is it
preached and prescribed to us that we should turn away from evil and
do good, if it is not we that do this, but `God who worketh in us to
will and to do it'?"  But let them rather understand that if
they are the children of God, they are led by the Spirit of God 
to do that which should be done; and when they have done it, let them
give thanks to Him by whom they act. For they are acted upon that they
may act, not that they may themselves do nothing; and in addition to
this, it is shown them what they ought to do, so that when they have
done it as it ought to be done--that is, with the love and the delight
of righteousness--they may rejoice in having received "the sweetness
which the Lord has given, that their  land should yield her
increase."  But when they do not act, whether by not doing at
all or by not doing from love, let them pray that what as yet they
have not, they may receive. For what shall they have which they shall
not receive? or what have they which they have not received? 
 Phil. ii. 13.
 Rom. viii. 14.
 Some mss. have "his land."
 Ps. lxxxv. 12.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
Chapter 5 [III.]--Rebuke Must Not Be Neglected.
"Then," say they, "let those who are over us only prescribe to us what
we ought to do, and pray for us that we may do it; but let them not
rebuke and censure us if we should not do it." Certainly let all be
done, since the teachers of the churches, the apostles, were in the
habit of doing all,--as well prescribing what things should be done,
as rebuking if they were not done, and praying that they might be
done. The apostle prescribes, saying, "Let all your things be done
with love."  He rebukes, saying, "Now therefore there is utterly
a fault among you, because ye have judgments among yourselves. For why
do ye not rather suffer wrong? Why are ye not rather defrauded? Nay,
ye do wrong and defraud; and that, your brethren. Know ye not that the
unrighteous shall not possess the kingdom of God?"  Let us hear
him also praying: "And the Lord," says he, "multiply you, and make you
to abound in love one towards another and towards all men."  He
prescribes, that love should be maintained; he rebukes, because love
is not maintained; he prays, that love may abound. O man! learn by his
precept what you ought to have; learn by his rebuke that it is by your
own fault that you have it not; learn by his prayer whence you may
receive what you desire to have.
 1 Cor. xvi. 14.
 1 Cor. vi. 7 et seq.
 1 Thess. iii. 12.
Chapter 6 [IV.]--Objections to the Use of Rebuke.
"How," says he,  "is it my fault that I have not what I have not
received from Him, when unless it is given by Him, there is no other
at all whence such and so great a gift can be had?" Suffer me a
little, my brethren, not as against you whose heart is right with God,
but as against those who mind earthly things, or as against those
human modes of thinking themselves, to contend for the truth, of the
heavenly and divine grace. For they who say this are such as in their
wicked works are unwilling to be rebuked by those who proclaim this
grace. "Prescribe to me what I shall do, and if I should do it, give
thanks to God for me who has given me to do it; but if I do it not, I
must not be rebuked, but He must be besought to give what He has not
given; that is, that very believing love of God and of my neighbour by
which His precepts are  observed. Pray, then, for me that I may
receive this, and may by its means do freely and with good will that
which He commands. But I should be justly rebuked if by my own fault I
had it not; that is, if I myself could give it to myself, or could
receive it, and did not do so, or if He should give it and I should be
unwilling to receive it. But since even the will itself is prepared
 by the Lord, why dust thou rebuke me because thou seeest me
unwilling to do His precepts, and dust not rather ask Him Himself to
work in me the will also?"
 i.e. the objecting Pelagian.
 So the mss.; the older editors read fiant, that is, "may be
 Prov. xvi. 1.
Chapter 7 [V.]--The Necessity and Advantage of Rebuke.
To this we answer: Whoever you are that do not the commandments of God
that are already known to you, and do not wish to be rebuked, you must
be rebuked even for that very reason that you do not wish to be
rebuked. For you do not wish that your faults should be pointed out to
you; you do not wish that they should be touched, and that such a
useful pain should be caused you that you may seek the Physician; you
do not desire to be shown to yourself, that, when you see yourself to
be deformed, you may wish for the Reformer, and may supplicate Him
that you may not continue in that repulsiveness. For it is your fault
that you are evil; and it is a greater fault to be unwilling to be
rebuked because you are evil, as if faults should either be praised,
or regarded with indifference so as neither to be praised nor blamed,
or as if, indeed, the dread, or the shame, or the mortification of the
rebuked man were of no avail, or were of any other avail in
healthfully stimulating, except to cause that He who is good may be
besought, and so out of evil men who are rebuked may make good men who
may be praised. For what he who will not be rebuked desires to be done
for him, when he says, "Pray for me rather,"--he must be rebuked for
that very reason that he may himself also do for himself; because that
mortification with which he is dissatisfied with himself when he feels
the sting of rebuke, stirs him up to a desire for more earnest prayer,
 that, by God's mercy, he may be aided by the increase of love,
and cease to do things which are shameful and mortifying, and do
things praiseworthy and gladdening. This is the benefit of rebuke that
is wholesomely applied, sometimes with greater, sometimes with less
severity, in accordance with the diversity of sins; and it is then
wholesome when the supreme Physician looks. For it is of no profit
unless when it makes a man repent of his sin. And who gives this but
He who looked upon the Apostle Peter when he denied,  and made
him weep? Whence also the Apostle Paul, after he said that they were
to be rebuked with moderation who thought otherwise, immediately
added, "Lest perchance God give them repentance, to the acknowledging
of the truth, and they recover themselves out of the snares of the
 Or, "more earnest desire for prayer."
 Luke xxii. 61.
 2 Tim. ii. 25.
Chapter 8.--Further Replies to Those Who Object to Rebuke.
But wherefore do they, who are unwilling be rebuked, say, "Only
prescribe to me, and pray for me that I may do what you prescribe?"
Why do they not rather, in accordance with their own evil inclination,
reject these things also, and say, "I wish you neither to prescribe to
me, nor to pray for me"? For what man is shown to have prayed for
Peter, that God should give him the repentance wherewith he bewailed
the denial of his Lord? What man instructed Paul in the divine
precepts which pertain to the Christian faith? When, therefore, he was
heard preaching the gospel, and saying, "For I certify you, brethren,
that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I
neither received it from man, nor did I learn it, but by the
revelation of Jesus Christ,"  --would it be replied to him: "Why
are you troubling us to receive and to learn from you that which you
have not received nor learnt from man? He who gave to you is able also
to give to us in like manner as to you." Moreover, if they dare not
say this, but suffer the gospel to be preached to them by man,
although it cannot be given to man by man, let them concede also that
they ought to be rebuked by those who are set over them, by whom
Christian grace is preached; although it is not denied that God is
able, even when no man rebukes, to correct whom He will, and to lead
him on to the wholesome mortification of repentance by the most hidden
and mighty power of His medicine. And as we are not to cease from
prayer on behalf of those whom we desire to be corrected,--even
although without any man's prayer on behalf of Peter, the Lord looked
upon him and caused him to bewail his sin,--so we must not neglect
rebuke, although God can make those whom He will to be corrected, even
when not rebuked. But a man then profits by rebuke when He pities and
aids who makes those whom He will to profit even without rebuke. But
wherefore these are called to be reformed in one way, those in another
way, and others in still another way, after different and innumerable
manners, be it far from us to assert that it is the business of the
clay to judge, but of the potter.
 Gal. i. 11.
Chapter 9 [VI]--Why They May Justly Be Rebuked Who Do Not Obey God,
Although They Have Not Yet Received the Grace of Obedience.
"The apostle says," say they, "`For who maketh thee to differ? And
what hast thou that thou hast not received? Now also if thou hast
received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?'
 Why, then, are we rebuked, censured, reproved, accused? What do
we do, we who have not received?" They who say this wish to appear
without blame in respect of their not obeying God, because assuredly
obedience itself is His gift; and that gift must of necessity be in
him in whom dwells love, which without doubt is of God,  and the
Father gives it to His children. "This," say they, "we have not
received. Why, then, are we rebuked, as if we were able to give it to
ourselves, and of our own choice would not give it?" And they do not
observe that, if they are not yet regenerated, the first reason why,
when they are reproached because they are disobedient to God, they
ought to be dissatisfied with themselves is, that God made man upright
from the beginning of the human creation,  and there is no
unrighteousness with God.  And thus the first depravity, whereby
God is not obeyed, is of man, because, falling by his own evil will
from the rectitude in which God at first made him, he became depraved.
Is, then, that depravity not to be rebuked in a man because it is not
peculiar to him who is rebuked, but is common to all? Nay, let that
also be rebuked in individuals, which is common to all. For the
circumstance that none is altogether free from it is no reason why it
should not attach to each man. Those original sins, indeed, are said
to be the sins of others, because individuals derived them from their
parents; but they are not unreasonably said to be our own also,
because in that one, as the apostle says, all have sinned.  Let,
then, the damnable source be rebuked, that from the mortification of
rebuke may spring the will of regeneration,--if, indeed, he who is
rebuked is a child of promise,--in order that, by the noise of the
rebuke sounding and lashing from without, God may by His hidden
inspiration work in him from within to will also. If, however, being
already regenerate and justified, he relapses of his own will into an
evil life, assuredly he cannot say, "I have not received," because of
his own free choice to evil he has lost the grace of God, that he had
received. And if, stung with compunction by rebuke, he wholesomely
bewails, and returns to similar good works, or even better, certainly
here most manifestly appears the advantage of rebuke. But yet for
rebuke by the agency of man to avail, whether it be of love or not,
depends only upon God.
 2 Cor. iv. 7.
 1 John iv. 7.
 Eccles. vii. 30.
 Rom. ix. 14.
 Rom. iii. 23.
Chapter 10--All Perseverance is God's Gift.
Is such an one as is unwilling to be rebuked still able to say, "What
have I done,--I who have not received?" when it appears plainly that
he has received, and by his own fault has lost that which he has
received? "I am able," says he, "I am altogether able,--when you
reprove me for having of my own will relapsed from a good life into a
bad one,--still to say, What have I done,--I who have not received?
For I have received faith, which worketh by love, but I have not
received perseverance therein to the end. Will any one dare to say
that this perseverance is not the gift of God, and that so great a
possession as this is ours in such wise that if any one have it the
apostle could not say to him, `For what hast thou which thou hast not
received?'  since he has this in such a manner as that he has
not received it?" To this, indeed, we are not able to deny, that
perseverance in good, progressing even to the end, is also a great
gift of God; and that it exists not save it come from Him of whom it
is written, "Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights."  But the rebuke of him
who has not persevered must not on that account be neglected, "lest
God perchance give unto him repentance, and he recover from the snares
of the devil;"  since to the usefulness of rebuke the apostle
has subjoined this decision, saying, as I have above mentioned,
"Rebuking with moderation those that think differently, lest at any
time God give them repentance."  For if we should say that such
a perseverance, so laudable and so blessed, is man's in such wise as
that he has it not from God, we first of all make void that which the
Lord says to Peter: "I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not."
 For what did He ask for him, but perseverance to the end? And
assuredly, if a man could have this from man, it should not have been
asked from God. Then when the apostle says, "Now we pray to God that
ye do no evil,"  beyond a doubt he prays to God on their behalf
for perseverance. For certainly he does not "do no evil" who forsakes
good, and, not persevering in good, turns to the evil, from which he
ought to turn aside.  In that place, moreover, where he says, "I
thank my God in every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of
mine for you all making quest with joy for your fellowship  in
the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very
thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until
the day of Jesus Christ,"  --what else does he promise to them
from the mercy of God than perseverance in good to the end? And again
where he says, "Epaphras saluteth you, who is one of you, a servant of
Christ Jesus, always striving for you in prayer, that you may stand
perfect and fulfilled in all the will of God,"  --what is "that
you may stand" but "that you may persevere"? Whence it was said of the
devil, "He stood not in the truth;"  because he was there, but
he did not continue. For assuredly those were already standing in the
faith. And when we pray that he who stands may stand, we do not pray
for anything else than that he may persevere. Jude the apostle, again,
when he says, "Now unto Him that is able to keep you without offence,
and to establish you before the presence of His glory, immaculate in
joy,"  does he not most manifestly show that perseverance in
good unto the end is God's gift? For what but a good perseverance does
He give who preserves without offence that He may place before the
presence of His glory immaculate in joy? What is it, moreover, that we
read in the Acts of the Apostles: "And when the Gentiles heard, they
rejoiced and received the word of the Lord; and as many as were
ordained to eternal life believed"?  Who could be ordained to
eternal life save by the gift of perseverance? And when we read, "He
that shall persevere unto the end shall be saved;"  with what
salvation but eternal? And when, in the Lord's Prayer, we say to God
the Father, "Hallowed be Thy name,"  what do we ask but that His
name may be hallowed in us? And as this is already accomplished by
means of the laver of regeneration, why is it daily asked by
believers, except that we may persevere in that which is already done
in us? For the blessed Cyprian also understands this in this manner,
inasmuch as, in his exposition of the same prayer, he says: "We say,
`Hallowed be Thy name,' not that we wish for God that He may be
hallowed by our prayers, but that we ask of God that His name may be
hallowed in us. But by whom is God hallowed; since He Himself hallows?
Well, because He said, `Be ye holy, since I also am holy;'  we
ask and entreat that we who have been hallowed in baptism may
persevere in that which we have begun to be."  Behold the most
glorious martyr is of this opinion, that what in these words Christ's
faithful people are daily asking is, that they may persevere in that
which they have begun to be. And no one need doubt, but that whosoever
prays from the Lord that he may persevere in good, confesses thereby
that such perseverance is His gift.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
 Jas. i. 17.
 2 Tim. ii. 25.
 2 Tim. ii. 25.
 Luke xxii. 32.
 2 Cor. xiii. 7.
 [The editors have without reason inserted a "not" before
"ought" in this sentence, yielding the sense: "who forsakes good, even
that from which he ought not to turn away;" Erasmus changes the place
of "and," reading: "who forsakes good from which he ought not to turn
aside, and is inclined to evil." The ms. text is entirely
 Many mss. read "communication."
 Phil. i. 3, et seq.
 Col. iv. 12.
 John viii. 24.
 Jude 24.
 Acts xiii. 48.
 Matt. x. 22.
 Matt. vi. 9.
 Nearly all mss.: "even as I am holy."
 Cyprian, Treatise on the Lord's Prayer, ch. 12; see The
Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. v. p. 450.
Chapter 11 [VII.]--They Who Have Not Received the Gift of
Perseverance, and Have Relapsed into Mortal Sin and Have Died Therein,
Must Righteously Be Condemned.
If, then, these things be so, we still rebuke those, and reasonably
rebuke them, who, although they were living well, have not persevered
therein; because they have of their own will been changed from a good
to an evil life, and on that account are worthy of rebuke; and if
rebuke should be of no avail to them, and they should persevere in
their ruined life until death, they are also worthy of divine
condemnation for ever. Neither shall they excuse themselves,
saying,--as now they say, "Wherefore are we rebuked?"--so then,
"Wherefore are we condemned, since indeed, that we might return from
good to evil, we did not receive that perseverance by which we should
abide in good?" They shall by no means deliver themselves by this
excuse from righteous condemnation. For if, according to the word of
truth, no one is delivered from the condemnation which was incurred
through Adam except through the faith of Jesus Christ, and yet from
this condemnation they shall not deliver themselves who shall be able
to say that they have not heard the gospel of Christ, on the ground
that "faith cometh by hearing,"  how much less shall they
deliver themselves who shall say, "We have not received perseverance!"
For the excuse of those who say, "We have not received hearing," seems
more equitable than that of those who say, "We have not received
perseverance;" since it may be said, O man, in that which thou hadst
heard and kept, in that thou mightest persevere if thou wouldest; but
in no wise can it be said, That which thou hadst not heard thou
mightest believe if thou wouldest.
 Rom. x. 17.
Chapter 12.--They Who Have Not Received Perseverance are Not
Distinguished from the Mass of Those that are Lost.
And, consequently, both those who have not heard the gospel, and those
who, having heard it and been changed by it for the better, have not
received perseverance, and those who, having heard the gospel, have
refused to come to Christ, that is, to believe on Him, since He
Himself says, "No man cometh unto me, except it were given him of my
Father,"  and those who by their tender age were unable to
believe, but might be absolved from original sin by the sole laver of
regeneration, and yet have not received this laver, and have perished
in death: are not made to differ from that lump which it is plain is
condemned, as all go from one into condemnation. Some are made to
differ, however, not by their own merits, but by the grace of the
Mediator; that is to say, they are justified freely in the blood of
the second Adam. Therefore, when we hear, "For who maketh thee to
differ? and what hast thou that thou hast not received? Now, if thou
hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received
it?"  we ought to understand that from that mass of perdition
which originated through the first Adam, no one can be made to differ
except he who has this gift, which whosoever has, has received by the
grace of the Saviour. And this apostolical testimony is so great, that
the blessed Cyprian writing to Quirinus put it in the place of a
title, when he says, "That we must boast in nothing, since nothing is
our own." 
 John vi. 65.
 1 Cor iv. 7.
 Cyprian, Testimonies, Book iii. ch. 4; see The Ante-Nicene
Fathers, vol. v. pp. 528 and 533.
Chapter 13.--Election is of Grace, Not of Merit.
Whosoever, then, are made to differ from that original condemnation by
such bounty of divine grace, there is no doubt but that for such it is
provided that they should hear the gospel, and when they hear they
believe, and in the faith which worketh by love they persevere unto
the end; and if, perchance, they deviate from the way, when they are
rebuked they are amended and some of them, although they may not be
rebuked by men, return into the path which they had left; and some who
have received grace in any age whatever are withdrawn from the perils
of this life by swiftness of death. For He worketh all these things in
them who made them vessels of mercy, who also elected them in His Son
before the foundation of the world by the election of grace: "And if
by grace, then is it no more of works, otherwise grace is no more
grace."  For they were not so called as not to be elected, in
respect of which it is said, "For many are called but few are
elected;"  but because they were called according to the
purpose, they are of a certainty also elected by the election, as it
is said, of grace, not of any precedent merits of theirs, because to
them grace is all merit.
 Rom. xi. 6.
 Matt. xx. 16.
Chapter 14.--None of the Elect and Predestinated Can Perish.
Of such says the apostle, "We know that to those that love God He
worketh together all things for good, to them who are called according
to His purpose; because those whom He before foreknew, He also did
predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be
the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did
predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also
justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified."  Of
these no one perishes, because all are elected. And they are elected
because they were called according to the purpose--the purpose,
however, not their own, but God's; of which He elsewhere says, "That
the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works,
but of Him that calleth, it was said unto her that the elder shall
serve the younger."  And in another place he says, "Not
according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace."
 When, therefore, we hear, "Moreover, whom He did predestinate,
them He also called,"  we ought to acknowledge that they were
called according to His purpose; since He thence began, saying, "He
worketh together all things for good to those who are called according
to His purpose," and then added, "Because those whom He before
foreknew, He also did predestinate, to be conformed to the image of
His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren." And to
these promises He added, "Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He
also called." He wishes these, therefore, to be understood whom He
called according to His purpose, lest any among them should be thought
to be called and not elected, on account of that sentence of the
Lord's: "Many the called but few are elected."  For whoever are
elected are without doubt also called; but not whosoever are called
are as a consequence elected. Those, then, are elected, as has often
been said, who are called according to the purpose, who also are
predestinated and foreknown. If any one of these perishes, God is
mistaken; but none of them perishes, because God is not mistaken. If
any one of these perish, God is overcome by human sin; but none of
them perishes, because God is overcome by nothing. Moreover, they are
elected to reign with Christ, not as Judas was elected, to a work for
which he was fitted. Because he was chosen by Him who well knew how to
make use even of wicked men, so that even by his damnable deed that
venerable work, for the sake of which He Himself had come, might be
accomplished. When, therefore, we hear, "Have not I chosen you twelve,
and one of you is a devil?"  we ought to understand that the
rest were elected by mercy, but he by judgment; those to obtain His
kingdom, he to shed His blood!
 Rom. viii. 28 ff.
 Rom. ix. 11.
 2 Tim. i. 9.
 Rom. viii. 29.
 Matt. xx. 16.
 John vi. 70.
Chapter 15.--Perseverance is Given to the End.
Rightly follows the word to the kingdom of the elect: "If God be for
us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but
delivered Him up for us all, how has He not also with Him given us all
things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? God who
justifieth? Who condemneth? Christ who died? yea, rather who rose
again also, who is at the right hand of God, who also soliciteth on
our behalf?"  And of how stedfast a perseverance even to the end
they have received the gift, let them follow on to say: "Who shall
separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress,
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is
written, Because for thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are
accounted as sheep for the slaughter. But in all these things we are
more than conquerors, through Him that hath loved us. For I am
certain, that neither death, nor life, nor angel, nor principality,
nor things present, nor things to come, nor power, 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." 
 Rom. viii. 31 ff.
 Rom. viii. 35 ff.
Chapter 16.--Whosoever Do Not Persevere are Not Distinguished from the
Mass of Perdition by Predestination.
Such as these were they who were signified to Timothy, where, when it
had been said that Hymenæus and Philetus had subverted the faith of
some, it is presently added, "Nevertheless the foundation of God
standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord has known them that are
His."  The faith of these, which worketh by love, either
actually does not fail at all, or, if there are any whose faith fails,
it is restored before their life is ended, and the iniquity which had
intervened is done away, and perseverance even to the end is allotted
to them. But they who are not to persevere, and who shall so fall away
from Christian faith and conduct that the end of this life shall find
them in that case, beyond all doubt are not to be reckoned in the
number of these, even in that season wherein they are living well and
piously. For they are not made to differ from that mass of perdition
by the foreknowledge and predestination of God, and therefore are not
called according to God's purpose, and thus are not elected; but are
called among those of whom it was said, "Many are called," not among
those of whom it was said, "But few are elected." And yet who can deny
that they are elect, since they believe and are baptized, and live
according to God? Manifestly, they are called elect by those who are
ignorant of what they shall be, but not by Him who knew that they
would not have the perseverance which leads the elect forward into the
blessed life, and knows that they so stand, as that He has foreknown
that they will fall.
 2 Tim. ii. 19.
Chapter 17 [VIII.]--Why Perseverance Should Be Given to One and Not
Another is Inscrutable.
Here, if I am asked why God should not have given them perseverance to
whom He gave that love by which they might live Christianly, I answer
that I do not know. For I do not speak arrogantly, but with
acknowledgment of my small measure, when I hear the apostle saying, "O
man, who art thou that repliest against God?"  and, "O the depth
of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are
His judgments, and His ways untraceable!"  So far, therefore, as
He condescends to manifest His judgments to us, let us give thanks;
but so far as He thinks fit to conceal them, let us not murmur against
His counsel, but believe that this also is the most wholesome for us.
But whoever you are that are hostile to His grace, and thus ask, what
do you yourself say? it is well that you do not deny yourself to be a
Christian and boast of being a catholic. If, therefore, you confess
that to persevere to the end in good is God's gift, I think that
equally with me you are ignorant why one man should receive this gift
and another should not receive it; and in this case we are both unable
to penetrate the unsearchable judgments of God. Or if you say that it
pertains to man's free will--which you defend, not in accordance with
God's grace, but in opposition to it--that any one should persevere in
good, or should not persevere, and it is not by the gift of God if he
persevere, but by the performance of human will, why will you strive
against the words of Him who says, "I have prayed for thee, Peter,
that thy faith fail not"?  Will you dare to say that even when
Christ prayed that Peter's faith might not fail, it would still have
failed if Peter had willed it to fail; that is, if he had been
unwilling that it should continue even to the end? As if Peter could
in any measure will otherwise than Christ had asked for him that he
might will. For who does not know that Peter's faith would then have
perished if that will by which he was faithful should fail, and that
it would have continued if that same will should abide? But because
"the will is prepared by the Lord,"  therefore Christ's petition
on his behalf could not be a vain petition. When, then, He prayed that
his faith should not fail, what was it that he asked for, but that in
his faith he should have a most free, strong, invincible, persevering
will! Behold to what an extent the freedom of the will is defended in
accordance with the grace of God, not in opposition to it; because the
human will does not attain grace by freedom, but rather attains
freedom by grace, and a delightful constancy, and an insuperable
fortitude that it may persevere.
 Rom. ix. 20.
 Rom. xi. 33.
 Luke xxii. 32.
 Prov. viii. 35.
Chapter 18.--Some Instances of God's Amazing Judgments.
It is, indeed, to be wondered at, and greatly to be wondered at, that
to some of His own children--whom He has regenerated in Christ--to
whom He has given faith, hope, and love, God does not give
perseverance also, when to children of another He forgives such
wickedness, and, by the bestowal of His grace, makes them His own
children. Who would not wonder at this? Who would not be exceedingly
astonished at this? But, moreover, it is not less marvellous, and
still true, and so manifest that not even the enemies of God's grace
can find any means of denying it, that some children of His friends,
that is, of regenerated and good believers, departing this life as
infants without baptism,--although He certainly might provide the
grace of this laver if He willed, since in His power are all
things,--He alienates from His kingdom into which He introduces their
parents; and some children of His enemies He causes to come into the
hands of Christians, and by means of this laver introduces into the
kingdom, from which their parents are aliens; although, as well to the
former infants there is no evil deserving, as to the latter there is
no good, of their own proper will. Certainly, in this case the
judgments of God, because they are righteous and deep, may neither be
blamed nor penetrated. Among these also is that concerning
perseverance, of which we are now discoursing. Of both, therefore, we
may exclaim, "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of
God! how unsearchable are His judgments!" 
 Rom. xi. 33.
Chapter 19.--God's Ways Past Finding Out.
Nor let us wonder that we cannot trace His unsearchable ways. For, to
say nothing of innumerable other things which are given by the Lord
God to some men, and to others are not given, since with Him is no
respect of persons; such things as are not conferred on the merits of
will, as bodily swiftness, strength, good health, and beauty of body,
marvellous intellects and mental natures capable of many arts, or such
as fall to man's lot from without, such as are wealth, nobility,
honours, and other things of this kind, which it is in the power of
God alone that a man should have; not to dwell even on the baptism of
infants (which none of those objectors can say does not pertain, as
might be said of those other matters, to the kingdom of God), why it
is given to this infant and not given to that, since both of them are
equally in God's power, and without that sacrament none can enter into
the kingdom of God;--to be silent, then, on these matters, or to leave
them on one side, let men consider those very special cases of which
we are treating. For we are discoursing of such as have not
perseverance in goodness, but die in the decline of their good will
from good to evil. Let the objectors answer, if they can, why, when
these were living faithfully and piously, God did not then snatch them
from the perils of this life, "lest wickedness should change their
understanding, and lest deceit should beguile their souls"?  Had
He not this in His power, or was He ignorant of their future
sinfulness? Assuredly, nothing of this kind is said, except most
perversely and insanely. Why, then, did He not do this? Let them reply
who mock at us when in such matters we exclaim, "How inscrutable are
His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"  For either God
giveth this to whom He will, or certainly that Scripture is wrong
which says concerning the immature death of the righteous man, "He was
taken away lest wickedness should change his understanding, or lest
deceit should beguile his soul."  Why, then, does God give this
so great benefit to some, and not give it to others, seeing that in
Him is no unrighteousness  nor acceptance of persons,  and
that it is in His power how long every one may remain in this life,
which is called a trial upon earth?  As, then, they are
constrained to confess that it is God's gift for a man to end this
life of his before it can be changed from good to evil, but they do
not know why it is given to some and not given to others, so let them
confess with us that perseverance in good is God's gift, according to
the Scriptures, from which I have already set down many testimonies;
and let them condescend with us to be ignorant, without a murmur
against God, why it is given to some and not given to others.
 Wisd. iv. 11.
 Rom. xi. 33.
 Wisd. iv. 11.
 Rom. ix. 14.
 Rom. ii. 11.
 Job vii. 1.
Chapter 20 [IX.]--Some are Children of God According to Grace
Temporally Received, Some According to God's Eternal Foreknowledge.
Nor let it disturb us that to some of His children God does not give
this perseverance. Be this far from being so, however, if these were
of those who are predestinated and called according to His
purpose,--who are truly the children of the promise. For the former,
while they live piously, are called children of God; but because they
will live wickedly, and die in that impiety, the foreknowledge of God
does not call them God's children. For they are children of God whom
as yet we have not, and God has already, of whom the Evangelist John
says, "that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation
only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of
God which were scattered abroad;"  and this certainly they were
to become by believing, through the preaching of the gospel. And yet
before this had happened they had already been enrolled as sons of God
with unchangeable stedfastness in the memorial of their Father. And,
again, there are some who are called by us children of God on account
of grace received even in temporal things, yet are not so called by
God; of whom the same John says, "They went out from us, but they were
not of us, because if they had been of us they would, no doubt, have
continued with us."  He does not say, "They went out from us,
but because they did not abide with us they are no longer now of us;"
but he says, "They went out from us, but they were not of us,"--that
is to say, even when they appeared among us, they were not of us. And
as if it were said to him, Whence do you prove this? he says, "Because
if they had been of us, they would assuredly have continued with us."
 It is the word of God's children; John is the speaker, who was
ordained to a chief place among the children of God. When, therefore,
God's children say of those who had not perseverance, "They went out
from us, but they were not of us," and add, "Because if they had been
of us, they would assuredly have continued with us," what else do they
say than that they were not children, even when they were in the
profession and name of children? Not because they simulated
righteousness, but because they did not continue in it. For he does
not say, "For if they had been of us, they would assuredly have
maintained a real and not a feigned righteousness with us;" but he
says, "If they had been of us, they would assuredly have continued
with us." Beyond a doubt, he wished them to continue in goodness.
Therefore they were in goodness; but because they did not abide in
it,--that is, they did not persevere unto the end,--he says, They were
not of us, even when they were with us,--that is, they were not of the
number of children, even when they were in the faith of children;
because they who are truly children are foreknown and predestinated as
conformed to the image of His Son, and are called according to His
purpose, so as to be elected. For the son of promise does not perish,
but the son of perdition. 
 John xi. 51, 52.
 1 John ii. 19.
 Rom. viii. 29.
 John xvii. 12.
Chapter 21.--Who May Be Understood as Given to Christ.
Those, then, were of the multitude of the called, but they were not of
the fewness of the elected. It is not, therefore, to His predestinated
children that God has not given perseverance for they would have it if
they were in that number of children; and what would they have which
they had not received, according to the apostolical and true judgment?
 And thus such children would be given to Christ the Son just as
He Himself says to the Father, "That all that Thou hast given me may
not perish, but have eternal life."  Those, therefore, are
understood to be given to Christ who are ordained to eternal life.
These are they who are predestinated and called according to the
purpose, of whom not one perishes. And therefore none of them ends
this life when he has changed from good to evil, because he is so
ordained, and for that purpose given to Christ, that he may not
perish, but may have eternal life. And again, those whom we call His
enemies, or the infant children of His enemies, whomever of them He
will so regenerate that they may end this life in that faith which
worketh by love, are already, and before this is done, in that
predestination His children, and are given to Christ His Son, that
they may not perish, but have everlasting life.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
 Matt. xx. 16.
Chapter 22.--True Children of God are True Disciples of Christ.
Finally, the Saviour Himself says, "If ye continue in my word, ye are
indeed my disciples."  Is Judas, then, to be reckoned among
them, since he did not continue in His word? Are they to be reckoned
among them of whom the gospel speaks in such wise, where, when the
Lord had commanded His flesh to be eaten and His blood to be drunk,
the Evangelist says, "These things said He in the synagogue as He
taught in Capernaum. Many, therefore, of His disciples, when they had
heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? But Jesus,
knowing in Himself that His disciples were murmuring at it, said to
them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man
ascending where He was before? It is the Spirit that quickeneth, but
the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken unto you are
spirit and life. But there are some of you who believe not. For Jesus
knew from the beginning who were the believing ones, and who should
betray Him; and He said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man cometh
unto me except it were given of my Father. From this time many of His
disciples went away back from Him, and no longer walked with Him."
 Are not these even in the words of the gospel called disciples?
And yet they were not truly disciples, because they did not continue
in His word, according to what He says: "If ye continue in my word,
then are ye indeed my disciples."  Because, therefore, they
possessed not perseverance, as not being truly disciples of Christ, so
they were not truly children of God even when they appeared to be so,
and were so called. We, then, call men elected, and Christ's
disciples, and God's children, because they are to be so called whom,
being regenerated, we see to live piously; but they are then truly
what they are called if they shall abide in that on account of which
they are so called. But if they have not perseverance,--that is, if
they continue not in that which they have begun to be,--they are not
truly called what they are called and are not; for they are not this
in the sight of Him to whom it is known what they are going to
be,--that is to say, from good men, bad men.
 John viii. 31.
 John vi. 59 ff.
 John viii. 31.
Chapter 23.--Those Who are Called According to the Purpose Alone are
For this reason the apostle, when he had said, "We know that to those
who love God He worketh all things together for good,"--knowing that
some love God, and do not continue in that good way unto the
end,--immediately added, "to them who are the called according to His
purpose."  For these in their love for God continue even to the
end; and they who for a season wander from the way return, that they
may continue unto the end what they had begun to be in good. Showing,
however, what it is to be called according to His purpose, he
presently added what I have already quoted above, "Because whom He did
before foreknow, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of
His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.
Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called," to wit,
according to His purpose; "and whom He called, them He also justified;
and whom He justified, them He also glorified."  All those
things are already done: He foreknew, He predestinated, He called, He
justified; because both all are already foreknown and predestinated,
and many are already called and justified; but that which he placed at
the end, "them He also glorified" (if, indeed, that glory is here to
be understood of which the same apostle says, "When Christ your life
shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory"  ),
this is not yet accomplished. Although, also, those two things--that
is, He called, and He justified--have not been effected in all of whom
they are said,--for still, even until the end of the world, there
remain many to be called and justified,--nevertheless, He used verbs
of the past tense, even concerning things future, as if God had
already arranged from eternity that they should come to pass. For this
reason, also, the prophet Isaiah says concerning Him, "Who has made
the things that shall be."  Whosoever, therefore, in God's most
providential ordering, are foreknown, predestinated, called,
justified, glorified,--I say not, even although not yet born again,
but even although not yet born at all, are already children of God,
and absolutely cannot perish. These truly come to Christ, because they
come in such wise as He Himself says, "All that the Father giveth me
shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will not cast out;"
 and a little after He says, "This is the will of the Father who
hath sent me, that of all that He hath given me I shall lose nothing."
 From Him, therefore, is given also perseverance in good even to
the end; for it is not given save to those who shall not perish, since
they who do not persevere shall perish.
 Rom. viii. 28.
 Rom. viii. 29.
 Col. iii. 4.
 Isa. xlv. 11.
 John vi. 37.
 John vi. 39.
Chapter 24.--Even the Sins of the Elect are Turned by God to Their
To such as love Him, God co-worketh with all things for good; so
absolutely all things, that even if any of them go astray, and break
out of the way, even this itself He makes to avail them for good, so
that they return more lowly and more instructed. For they learn that
in the right way  itself they ought to rejoice with trembling;
not with arrogation to themselves of confidence of abiding as if by
their own strength; not with saying, in their abundance, "We shall not
be moved for ever."  For which reason it is said to them, "Serve
the Lord in fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling, lest at any
time the Lord should be angry, and ye perish from the right way."
 For He does not say, "And ye come not into the right way;" but
He says, "Lest ye perish from the right way." And what does this show,
but that those who are already walking in the right way are reminded
to serve God in fear; that is, "not to be high-minded, but to fear"?
 which signifies, that they should not be haughty, but humble.
Whence also He says in another place, "not minding high things, but
consenting with the lowly;"  let them rejoice in God, but with
trembling; glorying in none, since nothing is ours, so that he who
glorieth may glory in the Lord, lest they perish from the right way in
which they have already begun to walk, while they are ascribing to
themselves their very presence in it. These words also the apostle
made use of when he says, "Work out your own salvation with fear and
trembling."  And setting forth why with fear and trembling, he
says, "For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do for
His good pleasure."  For he had not this fear and trembling who
said in his abundance, "I shall not be moved for ever."  But
because he was a child of the promise, not of perdition, he
experienced in God's desertion for a little while what he himself was:
"Lord," said he, "in Thy favour Thou gavest strength to my honour;
Thou turnedst away Thy face from me, and I became troubled." 
Behold how much better instructed, and for this reason also more
humble, he held on his way, at length seeing and confessing that by
His will God had endowed his honour with strength; and this he had
attributed to himself and presumed to be from himself, in such
abundance as God had afforded it, and not from Him who had given it,
and so had said, "I shall not be moved for ever!" Therefore he became
troubled so that he found himself, and being lowly minded learnt not
only of eternal life, but, moreover, of a pious conversation and
perseverance in this life, as that in which hope should be maintained.
This might moreover be the word of the Apostle Peter, because he also
had said in his abundance, "I will lay down my life for Thy sake;"
 attributing to himself, in his eagerness, what was afterwards
to be bestowed on him by his Lord. But the Lord turned away His face
from him, and he became troubled, so that in his fear of dying for Him
he thrice denied Him. But the Lord again turned His face to him, and
washed away his sin with his tears. For what else is, "He turned and
looked upon him,"  but, He restored to him the face which, for a
little while, He had turned away from him? Therefore he had become
troubled; but because he learned not to be confident concerning
himself, even this was of excellent profit to him, by His agency who
co-works for good with all things to those who love Him; because he
had been called according to the purpose, so that no one could pluck
him out of the hand of Christ, to whom he had been given.
 Or, "life."
 Ps. xxx. 6.
 Ps. ii. 11.
 Rom. xi. 20.
 Rom. xii. 16.
 Phil. ii. 12, 13.
 Phil. ii. 13.
 Ps. xxx. 6.
 Ps. xxx. 7.
 John xiii. 37.
 Luke xxii. 61.
Chapter 25.--Therefore Rebuke is to Be Used.
Let no one therefore say that a man must not be rebuked when he
deviates from the right way, but that his return and perseverance must
only be asked for from the Lord for him. Let no considerate and
believing man say this. For if such an one is called according to the
purpose, beyond all doubt God is co-working for good to him even in
the fact of his being rebuked. But since he who rebukes is ignorant
whether he is so called, let him do with love what he knows ought to
be done; for he knows that such an one ought to be rebuked. God will
show either mercy or judgment; mercy, indeed, if he who is rebuked is
"made to differ" by the bestowal of grace from the mass of perdition,
and is not found among the vessels of wrath which are completed for
destruction, but among the vessels of mercy which God has prepared for
glory;  but judgment, if among the former he is condemned, and
is not predestinated among the latter.
 Rom. ix. 22, 23.
Chapter 26 [X.]--Whether Adam Received the Gift of Perseverance.
Here arises another question, not reasonably to be slighted, but to be
approached and solved in the help of the Lord in whose hand are both
we and our discourses.  For I am asked, in respect of this gift
of God which is to persevere in good to the end, what I think of the
first man himself, who assuredly was made upright without any fault.
And I do not say: If he had not perseverance, how was he without
fault, seeing that he was in want of so needful a gift of God? For to
this interrogatory the answer is easy, that he had not perseverance,
because he did not persevere in that goodness in which he was without
sin; for he began to have sin from the point at which he fell; and if
he began, certainly he was without sin before he had begun. For it is
one thing not to have sin, and it is another not to abide in that
goodness in which there is no sin. Because in that very fact, that he
is not said never to have been without sin, but he is said not to have
continued without sin, beyond all doubt it is demonstrated that he was
without sin, seeing that he is blamed for not having continued in that
goodness. But it should rather be asked and discussed with greater
pains in what way we can answer those who say, "If in that uprightness
in which he was made without sin he had perseverance, beyond all doubt
he persevered in it; and if he persevered, he certainly did not sin,
and did not forsake that his uprightness. But that he did sin, and was
a forsaker of goodness, the Truth declares. Therefore he had not
perseverance in that goodness; and if he had it not, he certainly
received it not. For how should he have both received perseverance,
and not have persevered? Further, if he had it not because he did not
receive it, what sin did he commit by not persevering, if he did not
receive perseverance? For it cannot be said that he did not receive
it, for the reason that he was not separated by the bestowal of grace
from the mass of perdition. Because that mass of perdition did not as
yet exist in the human race before he had sinned from whom the
corrupted source was derived."
 Wisd. vii. 16.
Chapter 27.--The Answer.
Wherefore we most wholesomely confess what we most correctly believe,
that the God and Lord of all things, who in His strength created all
things good, and foreknew that evil things would arise out of good,
and knew that it pertained to His most omnipotent goodness even to do
good out of evil things rather than not to allow evil things to be at
all, so ordained the life of angels and men that in it He might first
of all show what their free will was capable of, and then what the
kindness of His grace and the judgment of His righteousness was
capable of. Finally, certain angels, of whom the chief is he who is
called the devil, became by free will outcasts from the Lord God. Yet
although they fled from His goodness, wherein they had been blessed,
they could not flee from His judgment, by which they were made most
wretched. Others, however, by the same free will stood fast in the
truth, and merited the knowledge of that most certain truth that they
should never fall.  For if from the Holy Scriptures we have been
able to attain the knowledge that none of the holy angels shall fall
evermore, how much more have they themselves attained this knowledge
by the truth more sublimely revealed to them! Because to us is
promised a blessed life without end, and equality with the angels,
 from which promise we are certified that when after judgment we
shall have come to that life, we shall not fall from it; but if the
angels are ignorant of this truth concerning themselves, we shall not
be their equals, but more blessed than they. But the Truth has
promised us equality with them. It is certain, then, that they have
known this by sight, which we have known by faith, to wit, that there
shall be now no more any fall of any holy angel. But the devil and his
angels, although they were blessed before they fell, and did not know
that they should fall unto misery,--there was still something which
might be added to their blessedness, if by free will they had stood in
the truth, until they should receive that fulness of the highest
blessing as the reward of that continuance; that is, that by the great
abundance of the love of God, given by the Holy Spirit, they should
absolutely not be able to fall any more, and that they should know
this with complete certainty concerning themselves. They had not this
plenitude of blessedness; but since they were ignorant of their future
misery, they enjoyed a blessedness which was less, indeed, but still
without any defect. For if they had known their future fall and
eternal punishment, they certainly could not have been blessed; since
the fear of so great an evil as this would compel them even then to be
 "Eamque [scil. veritatem] de suo casu nunquam futuro
 Matt. xxii. 30.
Chapter 28.--The First Man Himself Also Might Have Stood by His Free
Thus also He made man with free will; and although ignorant of his
future fall, yet therefore happy, because he thought it was in his own
power both not to die and not to become miserable. And if he had
willed by his own free will to continue in this state of uprightness
and freedom from sin, assuredly without any experience of death and of
unhappiness he would have received by the merit of that continuance
the fulness of blessing with which the holy angels also are blessed;
that is, the impossibility of falling any more, and the knowledge of
this with absolute certainty. For even he himself could not be blessed
although in Paradise, nay, he would not be there, where it would not
become him to be miserable, if the foreknowledge of his fall had made
him wretched with the dread of such a disaster. But because he forsook
God of his free will, he experienced the just judgment of God, that
with his whole race, which being as yet all placed in him had sinned
with him, he should be condemned. For as mary of this race as are
delivered by God's grace are certainly delivered from the condemnation
in which they are already held bound. Whence, even if none should be
delivered, no one could justly blame the judgment of God. That,
therefore, in comparison of those that perish few, but in their
absolute number many, are delivered, is effected by grace,  is
effected freely:  thanks must be given, because it is effected,
so that no one may be lifted up as of his own deservings, but that
every mouth may be stopped,  and he that glorieth may glory in
the Lord. 
 Rom. iii. 19.
 Jer. ix. 24.
Chapter 29 [XI.]--Distinction Between the Grace Given Before and After
What then? Did not Adam have the grace of God? Yes, truly, he had it
largely, but of a different kind. He was placed in the midst of
benefits which he had received from the goodness of his Creator; for
he had not procured those benefits by his own deservings; in which
benefits he suffered absolutely no evil. But saints in this life, to
whom pertains this grace of deliverance, are in the midst of evils out
of which they cry to God, "Deliver us from evil."  He in those
benefits needed not the death of Christ: these, the blood of that Lamb
absolves from guilt, as well inherited as their own. He had no need of
that assistance which they implore when they say, "I see another law
in my members warring against the law of my mind, and making me
captive in the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that
I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of
God through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Because in them the flesh
lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and as
they labour and are imperilled in such a contest, they ask that by the
grace of Christ the strength to fight and to conquer may be given
them. He, however, tempted and disturbed in no such conflict
concerning himself against himself, in that position of blessedness
enjoyed his peace with himself.
 Matt. vi. 13.
 Rom. vii. 23.
Chapter 30.--The Incarnation of the Word.
Hence, although these do not now require a grace more joyous for the
present, they nevertheless need a more powerful grace; and what grace
is more powerful than the only-begotten Son of God, equal to the
Father and co-eternal, made man for them, and, without any sin of His
own, either original or actual, crucified by men who were sinners? And
although He rose again on the third day, never to die any more, He yet
bore death for men and gave life to the dead, so that redeemed by His
blood, having received so great and such a pledge, they could say, "If
God be for us, who is against us? He who spared not His own Son, but
delivered Him up for us all, how has He not with Him also given to us
all things?"  God therefore took upon Him our nature--that is,
the rational soul and flesh of the man Christ--by an undertaking
singularly marvellous, or marvellously singular; so that with no
preceding merits of His own righteousness He might in such wise be the
Son of God from the beginning, in which He had begun to be man, that
He, and the Word which is without beginning, might be one person. For
there is no one blinded by such ignorance of this matter and the Faith
as to dare to say that, although born of the Holy Spirit and the
Virgin Mary the Son of man, yet of His own free will by righteous
living and by doing good works, without sin, He deserved to be the Son
of God; in opposition to the gospel, which says, "The Word was made
flesh."  For where was this made flesh except in the Virginal
womb, whence was the beginning of the man Christ? And, moreover, when
the Virgin asked how that should come to pass which was told her by
the angel, the angel answered, "The Holy Ghost shall come over on to
thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore
that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of
God."  "Therefore," he said; not because of works of which
certainly of a yet unborn infant there are none; but "therefore,"
because "the Holy Ghost shall come over on to thee, and the power of
the Highest shall overshadow thee, that holy thing which shall be born
of thee shall be called the Son of God." That nativity, absolutely
gratuitous, conjoined, in the unity of the person, man to God, flesh
to the Word! Good works followed that nativity; good works did not
merit it. For it was in no wise to be feared that the human nature
taken up by God the Word in that ineffable manner into a unity of
person, would sin by free choice of will, since that taking up itself
was such that the nature of man so taken up by God would admit into
itself no movement of an evil will. Through this Mediator God makes
known that He makes those whom He redeemed by His blood from evil,
everlastingly good; and Him He in such wise assumed that He never
would be evil, and, not being made out of evil, would always be good.
 Rom viii. 31, 32.
 John i. 14.
 Luke i. 35.
 Some editions have, instead of "and not being made," etc.,
"lest being made of evil he should not always be good."
Chapter 31.--The First Man Had Received the Grace Necessary for His
Perseverance, But Its Exercise Was Left in His Free Choice.
The first man had not that grace by which he should never will to be
evil; but assuredly he had that in which if he willed to abide he
would never be evil, and without which, moreover, he could not by free
will be good, but which, nevertheless, by free will he could forsake.
God, therefore, did not will even him to be without His grace, which
He left in his free will; because free will is sufficient for evil,
but is too little  for good, unless it is aided by Omnipotent
Good. And if that man had not forsaken that assistance of his free
will, he would always have been good; but he forsook it, and he was
forsaken. Because such was the nature of the aid, that he could
forsake it when he would, and that he could continue in it if he
would; but not such that it could be brought about that he would. This
first is the grace which was given to the first Adam; but more
powerful than this is that in the second Adam. For the first is that
whereby it is affected that a man may have righteousness if he will;
the second, therefore, can do more than this, since by it it is even
effected that he will, and will so much, and love with such ardour,
that by the will of the Spirit he overcomes the will of the flesh,
that lusteth in opposition to it.  Nor was that, indeed, a small
grace by which was demonstrated even the power of free will, because
man was so assisted that without this assistance he could not continue
in good, but could forsake this assistance if he would. But this
latter grace is by so much the greater, that it is too little for a
man by its means to regain his lost freedom; it is too little,
finally, not to be able without it either to apprehend the good or to
continue in good if he will, unless he is also made to will.
 Some mss. read, "of no avail."
 There are other readings of this passage, but coming to the
same substantial result.
Chapter 32.--The Gifts of Grace Conferred on Adam in Creation.
At that time, therefore, God had given to man a good will, 
because in that will He had made him, since He had made him upright.
He had given help without which he could not continue therein if he
would; but that he should will, He left in his free will. He could
therefore continue if he would, because the help was not wanting
whereby he could, and without which he could not, perseveringly hold
fast the good which he would. But that he willed not to continue is
absolutely the fault of him whose merit it would have been if he had
willed to continue; as the holy angels did, who, while others fell by
free will, themselves by the same free will stood, and deserved to
receive the due reward of this continuance--to wit, such a fulness of
blessing that by it they might have the fullest certainty of always
abiding in it. If, however, this help had been wanting, either to
angel or to man when they were first made, since their nature was not
made such that without the divine help it could abide if it would,
they certainly would not have fallen by their own fault, because the
help would have been wanting without which they could not continue. At
the present time, however, to those to whom such assistance is
wanting, it is the penalty of sin; but to those to whom it is given,
it is given of grace, not of debt; and by so much the more is given
through Jesus Christ our Lord to those to whom it has pleased God to
give it, that not only we have that help without which we cannot
continue even if we will, but, moreover, we have so great and such a
help as to will. Because by this grace of God there is caused in us,
in the reception of good and in the persevering hold of it, not only
to be able to do what we will, but even to will to do what we are
able. But this was not the case in the first man; for the one of these
things was in him, but the other was not. For he did not need grace to
receive good, because he had not yet lost it; but he needed the aid of
grace to continue in it, and without this aid he could not do this at
all; and he had received the ability if he would, but he had not the
will for what he could; for if he had possessed it, he would have
persevered. For he could persevere if he would; but that he would not
was the result of free will, which at that time was in such wise free
that he was capable of willing well and ill. For what shall be more
free than free will, when it shall not be able to serve sin? and this
should be to man also as it was made to the holy angels, the reward of
deserving. But now that good deserving has been lost by sin, in those
who are delivered that has become the gift of grace which would have
been the reward of deserving.
 Some mss. read, "a free will."
Chapter 33 [XII.]--What is the Difference Between the Ability Not to
Sin, to Die, and Forsake Good, and the Inability to Sin, to Die, and
to Forsake Good?
On which account we must consider with diligence and attention in what
respect those pairs differ from one another,--to be able not to sin,
and not to be able to sin; to be able not to die, and not to be able
to die; to be able not to forsake good, and not to be able to forsake
good. For the first man was able not to sin, was able not to die, was
able not to forsake good. Are we to say that he who had such a free
will could not sin? Or that he to whom it was said, "If thou shalt sin
thou shalt die by death," could not die? Or that he could not forsake
good, when he would forsake this by sinning, and so die? Therefore the
first liberty of the will was to be able not to sin, the last will be
much greater, not to be able to sin; the first immortality was to be
able not to die, the last will be much greater, not to be able to die;
the first was the power of perseverance, to be able not to forsake
good--the last will be the felicity of perseverance, not to be able to
forsake good. But because the last blessings will be preferable and
better, were those first ones, therefore, either no blessings at all,
or trifling ones?
Chapter 34.--The Aid Without Which a Thing Does Not Come to Pass, and
the Aid with Which a Thing Comes to Pass.
Moreover, the aids themselves are to be distinguished. The aid without
which a thing does not come to pass is one thing, and the aid by which
a thing comes to pass is another. For without food we cannot live; and
yet although food should be at hand, it would not cause a man to live
who should will to die. Therefore the aid of food is that without
which it does not come to pass that we live, not that by which it
comes to pass that we live. But, indeed, when the blessedness which a
man has not is given him, he becomes at once blessed. For the aid is
not only that without which that does not happen, but also with which
that does happen for the sake of which it is given. Wherefore this is
an assistance both by which it comes to pass, and without which it
does not come to pass; because, on the one hand, if blessedness should
be given to a man, he becomes at once blessed; and, on the other, if
it should never be given he will never be so. But food does not of
necessity cause a man to live, and yet without it he cannot live.
Therefore to the first man, who, in that good in which he had been
made upright, had received the ability not to sin, the ability not to
die, the ability not to forsake that good itself, was given the aid of
perseverance,--not that by which it should be brought about that he
should persevere, but that without which he could not of free will
persevere. But now to the saints predestinated to the kingdom of God
by God's grace, the aid of perseverance that is given is not such as
the former, but such that to them perseverance itself is bestowed; not
only so that without that gift they cannot persevere, but, moreover,
so that by means of this gift they cannot help persevering. For not
only did He say, "Without me ye can do nothing,"  but He also
said, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you
that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should
remain."  By which words He showed that He had given them not
only righteousness, but perseverance therein. For when Christ thus
ordained them that they should go and bring forth fruit, and that
their fruit should remain, who would dare to say, It shall not remain?
Who would dare to say, Perchance it will not remain? "For the gifts
and calling of God are without repentance;"  but the calling is
of those who are called according to the purpose. When Christ
intercedes, therefore, on behalf of these, that their faith should not
fail, doubtless it will not fail unto the end. And thus it shall
persevere even unto the end; nor shall the end of this life find it
anything but continuing.
 John xv. 5.
 John xv. 16.
 Rom. xi. 29.
Chapter 35.--There is a Greater Freedom Now in the Saints Than There
Was Before in Adam.
Certainly a greater liberty is necessary in the face of so many and so
great temptations, which had no existence in Paradise,--a liberty
fortified and confirmed by the gift of perseverance, so that this
world, with all its loves, its fears, its errors, may be overcome: the
martyrdoms of the saints have taught this. In fine, he [Adam], not
only with nobody to make him afraid, but, moreover, in spite of the
authority of God's fear, using free will, did not stand in such a
state of happiness, in such a facility  of [not] sinning. But
these [the saints], I say, not under the fear of the world, but in
spite of the rage of the world lest they should stand, stood firm in
the faith; while he could see the good things present which he was
going to forsake, they could not see the good things future which they
were going to receive. Whence is this, save by the gift of Him from
whom they obtained mercy to be faithful; from whom they received the
spirit, not of fear, whereby they would yield to the persecutors, but
of power, and of love, and of continence, in which they could overcome
all threatenings, all seductions, all torments? To him, therefore,
without any sin, was given the free will with which he was created;
and he made it to serve sin. But although the will of these had been
the servant of sin, it was delivered by Him who said, "If the Son
shall make you free, then shall ye be free indeed."  And by that
grace they receive so great a freedom, that although as long as they
live here they are fighting against sinful lusts, and some sins creep
upon them unawares, on account of which they daily say, "Forgive us
our debts,"  yet they do not any more obey the sin which is unto
death, of which the Apostle John says, "There is a sin unto death: I
do not say that he shall pray for it."  Concerning which sin
(since it is not expressed) many and different notions may be
entertained. I, however, say, that sin is to forsake even unto death
the faith which worketh by love. This sin they no longer serve who are
not in the first condition, as Adam, free; but are freed by the grace
of God through the second Adam, and by that deliverance have that free
will which enables them to serve God, not that by which they may be
made captive by the devil. From being made free from sin they have
become the servants of righteousness,  in which they will stand
till the end, by the gift to them of perseverance from Him who
foreknew them, and predestinated them, and called them according to
His purpose, and justified them, and glorified them, since He has even
already formed those things that are to come which He promised
concerning them. And when He promised, "Abraham believed Him, and it
was counted unto him for righteousness."  For "he gave glory to
God, most fully believing," as it is written, "that what He has
promised He is able also to perform." 
 The original is in tanti peccandi facilitate. Of course, non
must be inserted, but the translator ventures to conjecture facultate
instead of facilitate.
 John viii. 36.
 Matt. vi. 12.
 1 John v. 16.
 Rom. vi. 18.
 Rom. iv. 3, and 20, 21.
 Rom. iv. 3, and 20, 21.
Chapter 36.--God Not Only Foreknows that Men Will Be Good, But Himself
Makes Them So.
It is He Himself, therefore, that makes those men good, to do good
works. For He did not promise them to Abraham because He foreknew that
of themselves they would be good. For if this were the case, what He
promised was not His, but theirs. But it was not thus that Abraham
believed, but "he was not weak in faith, giving glory to God;" and
"most fully believing that what He has promised He is able also to
perform."  He does not say, "What He foreknew, He is able to
promise;" nor "What He foretold, He is able to manifest;" nor "What He
promised, He is able to foreknow:" but "What He promised, He is able
also to do." It is He, therefore, who makes them to persevere in good,
who makes them good. But they who fall and perish have never been in
the number of the predestinated. Although, then, the apostle might be
speaking of all persons regenerated and living piously when he said,
"Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? To his own master he
standeth or falleth;" yet he at once had regard to the predestinated,
and said, "But he shall stand;" and that they might not arrogate this
to themselves, he says, "For God is able to make him stand."  It
is He Himself, therefore, that gives perseverance, who is able to
establish those who stand, so that they may stand fast with the
greatest perseverance; or to restore those who have fallen, for "the
Lord setteth up those who are broken down." 
 Rom. iv. 19.
 Rom. xiv. 4, etc.
 Ps. cxlv. 8.
Chapter 37.--To a Sound Will is Committed the Power of Persevering or
of Not Persevering.
As, therefore, the first man did not receive this gift of God,--that
is, perseverance in good, but it was left in his choice to persevere
or not to persevere, his will had such strength,--inasmuch as it had
been created without any sin, and there was nothing in the way of
concupiscence of himself that withstood it,--that the choice of
persevering could worthily be entrusted to such goodness and to such
facility in living well. But God at the same time foreknew what he
would do in unrighteousness; foreknew, however, but did not compel him
to this; but at the same time He knew what He Himself would do in
righteousness concerning him. But now, since that great freedom has
been lost by the desert of sin, our weakness has remained to be aided
by still greater gifts. For it pleased God, in order most effectually
to quench the pride of human presumption, "that no flesh should glory
in His presence"--that is, "no man."  But whence should flesh
not glory in His presence, save concerning its merits? Which, indeed,
it might have had, but lost; and lost by that very means whereby it
might have had them, that is, by its free will; on account of which
there remains nothing to those who are to be delivered, save the grace
of the Deliverer. Thus, therefore, no flesh glories in His presence.
For the unrighteous do not glory, since they have no ground of glory;
nor the righteous, because they have a ground from Him, and have no
glory of theirs, but Himself, to whom they say, "My glory, and the
lifter up of my head."  And thus it is that what is written
pertains to every man, "that no flesh should glory in His presence."
To the righteous, however, pertains that Scripture: "He that glorieth,
let him glory in the Lord."  For this the apostle most
manifestly showed, when, after saying "that no flesh should glory in
His presence," lest the saints should suppose that they had been left
without any glory, he presently added, "But of Him are ye in Christ
Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and
sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He
that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."  Hence it is that in
this abode of miseries, where trial is the life of man upon the earth,
"strength is made perfect in weakness."  What strength, save
"that he that glorieth should glory in the Lord"?
 1 Cor. i. 29.
 Ps. iii. 3.
 1 Cor. i. 31.
 1 Cor. i. 30.
 2 Cor. xii. 9.
Chapter 38.--What is the Nature of the Gift of Perseverance that is
Now Given to the Saints.
And thus God willed that His saints should not--even concerning
perseverance in goodness itself--glory in their own strength, but in
Himself, who not only gives them aid such as He gave to the first man,
without which they cannot persevere if they will, but causes in them
also the will; that since they will not persevere unless they both can
and will, both the capability and the will to persevere should be
bestowed on them by the liberality of divine grace. Because by the
Holy Spirit their will is so much enkindled that they therefore can,
because they so will; and they therefore so will because God works in
them to will. For if in so much weakness of this life (in which
weakness, however, for the sake of checking pride, strength behoved to
be perfected) their own will should be left to themselves, that they
might, if they willed, continue in the help of God, without which they
could not persevere, and God should not work in them to will, in the
midst of so many and so great weaknesses their will itself would give
way, and they would not be able to persevere, for the reason that
failing from infirmity they would not will, or in the weakness of will
they would not so will that they would be able. Therefore aid is
brought to the infirmity of human will, so that it might be
unchangeably and invincibly  influenced by divine grace; and
thus, although weak, it still might not fail, nor be overcome by any
adversity. Thus it happens that man's will, weak and incapable, in
good as yet small, may persevere by God's strength; while the will of
the first man, strong and healthful, having the power of free choice,
did not persevere in a greater good; because although God's help was
not wanting, without which it could not persevere if it would, yet it
was not such a help as that by which God would work in man to will.
Certainly to the strongest He yielded and permitted to do what He
willed; to those that were weak He has reserved that by His own gift
they should most invincibly will what is good, and most invincibly
refuse to forsake this. Therefore when Christ says, "I have prayed for
thee that thy faith fail not,"  we may understand that it was
said to him who is built upon the rock. And thus the man of God, not
only because he has obtained mercy to be faithful, but also because
faith itself does not fail, if he glories, must glory in the Lord.
 "Insuperabiliter," the reading of the best mss. Some editions
read "inseparabiliter," in a dogmatic interest.
 Luke xxii. 32.
Chapter 39 [XIII.]--The Number of the Predestinated is Certain and
I speak thus of those who are predestinated to the kingdom of God,
whose number is so certain that one can neither be added to them nor
taken from them; not of those who, when He had announced and spoken,
were multiplied beyond number. For they may be said to be called but
not chosen, because they are not called according to the purpose. But
that the number of the elect is certain, and neither to be increased
nor diminished,--although it is signified by John the Baptist when he
says, "Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance: and think
not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for God
is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham,"  to
show that they were in such wise to be cut off if they did not produce
fruit, that the number which was promised to Abraham would not be
wanting,--is yet more plainly declared in the Apocalypse: "Hold fast
that which thou hast, lest another take thy crown."  For if
another would not receive unless one should have lost, the number is
 Matt. iii. 8, 9.
 Rev. iii. 11.
Chapter 40.--No One is Certain and Secure of His Own Predestination
But, moreover, that such things as these are so spoken to saints who
will persevere, as if it were reckoned uncertain whether they will
persevere, is a reason that they ought not otherwise to hear these
things, since it is well for them "not to be high-minded, but to
fear."  For who of the multitude of believers can presume, so
long as he is living in this mortal state, that he is in the number of
the predestinated? Because it is necessary that in this condition that
should be kept hidden; since here we have to beware so much of pride,
that even so great an apostle was buffetted by a messenger of Satan,
lest he should be lifted up.  Hence it was said to the apostles,
"If ye abide in me;"  and this He said who knew for a certainty
that they would abide; and through the prophet, "If ye shall be
willing, and will hear me,"  although He knew in whom He would
work to will also. And many similar things are said. For on account of
the usefulness of this secrecy, lest, perchance, any one should be
lifted up, but that all, even although they are running well, should
fear, in that it is not known who may attain,--on account of the
usefulness of this secrecy, it must be believed that some of the
children of perdition, who have not received the gift of perseverance
to the end, begin to live in the faith which worketh by love, and live
for some time faithfully and righteously, and afterwards fall away,
and are not taken away from this life before this happens to them. If
this had happened to none of these, men would have that very wholesome
fear, by which the sin of presumption is kept down, only so long as
until they should attain to the grace of Christ by which to live
piously, and afterwards would for time to come be secure that they
would never fall away from Him. And such presumption in this condition
of trials is not fitting, where there is so great weakness, that
security may engender pride. Finally, this also shall be the case; but
it shall be at that time, in men also as it already is in the angels,
when there cannot be any pride. Therefore the number of the saints, by
God's grace predestinated to God's kingdom, with the gift of
perseverance to the end bestowed on them, shall be guided thither in
its completeness, and there shall be at length without end preserved
in its fullest completeness, most blessed, the mercy of their Saviour
still cleaving to them, whether in their conversion, in their
conflict, or in their crown!
 Rom. xi. 20.
 2 Cor. xii. 7.
 John xv. 7.
 Isa. i. 19.
Chapter 41.--Even in Judgment God's Mercy Will Be Necessary to Us.
For the Holy Scripture testifies that God's mercy is then also
necessary for them, when the Saint says to his soul concerning the
Lord its God, "Who crowneth thee in mercy and compassion."  The
Apostle James also says: "He shall have judgment without mercy who
hath showed no mercy;"  where he sets forth that even in that
judgment in which the righteous are crowned and the unrighteous are
condemned, some will be judged with mercy, others without mercy. On
which account also the mother of the Maccabees says to her son, "That
in that mercy I may receive thee with thy brethren."  "For when
a righteous king," as it is written, "shall sit on the throne, no evil
thing shall oppose itself to him. Who will boast that he has a pure
heart? or who will boast that he is pure from sin?"  And thus
God's mercy is even then necessary, by which he is made "blessed to
whom the Lord has not imputed sin."  But at that time even mercy
itself shall be allotted in righteous judgment in accordance with the
merits of good works. For when it is said, "Judgment without mercy to
him that hath showed no mercy," it is plainly shown that in those in
whom are found the good works of mercy, judgment shall be executed
with mercy; and thus even that mercy itself shall be returned to the
merits of good works. It is not so now; when not only no good works,
but many bad works precede, His mercy anticipates a man so that he is
delivered from evils,--as well from evils which he has done, as from
those which he would have done if he were not controlled by the grace
of God; and from those, too, which he would have suffered for ever if
he were not plucked from the power of darkness, and transferred into
the kingdom of the Son of God's love.  Nevertheless, since even
that life eternal itself, which, it is certain, is given as due to
good works, is called by so great an apostle the grace of God,
although grace is not rendered to works, but is given freely, it must
be confessed without any doubt, that eternal life is called grace for
the reason that it is rendered to those merits which grace has
conferred upon man. Because that saying is rightly understood which in
the gospel is read, "grace for grace,"  --that is, for those
merits which grace has conferred.
 Ps. ciii. 4.
 Jas. ii. 13.
 2 Macc. vii. 29.
 Prov. xx. 8.
 Ps. xxxii. 2.
 Col. i. 13.
 John i. 16.
Chapter 42.--The Reprobate are to Be Punished for Merits of a
But those who do not belong to this number of the predestinated,
whom--whether that they have not yet any free choice of their will, or
with a choice of will truly free, because freed by grace itself--the
grace of God brings to His kingdom,--those, then, who do not belong to
that most certain and blessed number, are most righteously judged
according to their deservings. For either they lie under the sin which
they have inherited by original generation, and depart hence with that
inherited debt which is not put away by regeneration, or by their free
will have added other sins besides; their will, I say, free, but not
freed,--free from righteousness, but enslaved to sin, by which they
are tossed about by divers mischievous lusts, some more evil, some
less, but all evil; and they must be adjudged to diverse punishments,
according to that very diversity. Or they receive the grace of God,
but they are only for a season, and do not persevere; they forsake and
are forsaken. For by their free will, as they have not received the
gift of perseverance, they are sent away by the righteous and hidden
judgment of God.
Chapter 43 [XIV.]--Rebuke and Grace Do Not Set Aside One Another.
Let men then suffer themselves to be rebuked when they sin, and not
conclude against grace from the rebuke itself, nor from grace against
rebuke; because both the righteous penalty of sin is due, and
righteous rebuke belongs to it, if it is medicinally applied, even
although the salvation of the ailing man is uncertain; so that if he
who is rebuked belongs to the number of the predestinated, rebuke may
be to him a wholesome medicine; and if he does not belong to that
number, rebuke may be to him a penal infliction. Under that very
uncertainty, therefore, it must of love be applied, although its
result is unknown; and prayer must be made on his behalf to whom it is
applied, that he may be healed. But when men either come or return
into the way of righteousness by means of rebuke, who is it that
worketh salvation in their hearts but that God who giveth the
increase, whoever plants and waters, and whoever labours on the fields
or shrubs,--that God whom no man's will resists when He wills to give
salvation? For so to will or not to will is in the power of Him who
willeth or willeth not, as not to hinder the divine will nor overcome
the divine power. For even concerning those who do what He wills not,
He Himself does what He will.
Chapter 44.--In What Way God Wills All Men to Be Saved.
And what is written, that "He wills all men to be saved,"  while
yet all men are not saved, may be understood in many ways, some of
which I have mentioned in other writings  of mine; but here I
will say one thing: "He wills all men to be saved," is so said that
all the predestinated may be understood by it, because every kind of
men is among them. Just as it was said to the Pharisees, "Ye tithe
every herb;"  where the expression is only to be understood of
every herb that they had, for they did not tithe every herb which was
found throughout the whole earth. According to the same manner of
speaking, it was said, "Even as I also please all men in all things."
 For did he who said this please also the multitude of his
persecutors? But he pleased every kind of men that assembled in the
Church of Christ, whether they were already established therein, or
were to be introduced into it.
 1 Tim. ii. 4.
 Enchirid, c. 103; City of God, xxii. 1, 2. Against Julian, iv.
 Luke xi. 42.
 1 Cor. x. 33.
Chapter 45.--Scriptural Instances Wherein It is Proved that God Has
Men's Wills More in His Power Than They Themselves Have.
It is not, then, to be doubted that men's wills cannot, so as to
prevent His doing what he wills, withstand the will of God, "who hath
done all things whatsoever He pleased in heaven and in earth," 
and who also "has done those things that are to come;"  since He
does even concerning the wills themselves of men what He will, when He
will. Unless, perchance (to mention some things among many), when God
willed to give the kingdom to Saul, it was so in the power of the
Israelites, as it certainly was placed in their will, either to
subject themselves or not to the man in question, that they could even
prevail to withstand God. God, however, did not do this, save by the
will of the men themselves, because he beyond doubt had the most
omnipotent power of inclining men's hearts whither it pleased Him. For
thus it is written: "And Samuel sent the people away, and every one
went away unto his own place. And Saul went away to his house in
Gibeah: and there went away with Saul mighty men, whose hearts the
Lord touched. And pestilent children said, Who shall save us? This
man? And they despised him, and brought him no presents."  Will
any one say that any of those whose hearts the Lord touched to go with
Saul would not have gone with him, or that any of those pestilent
fellows, whose hearts He did not touch to do this, would have gone? Of
David also, whom the Lord ordained to the kingdom in a more prosperous
succession, we read thus: "And David continued to increase, and was
magnified, and the Lord was with him."  This having been
premised, it is said a little afterwards, "And the Spirit clothed
Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said, We are thine, O David, and
we will be with thee, O son of Jesse: Peace, peace be unto thee, and
peace be to thy helpers; because the Lord has helped thee." 
Could he withstand the will of God, and not rather do the will of Him
who wrought in his heart by His Spirit, with which he was clothed, to
will, speak, and do thus? Moreover, a little afterwards the same
Scripture says, "All these warlike men, setting the battle in array,
came with a peaceful heart to Hebron to establish David over all
Israel."  By their own will, certainly, they appointed David
king. Who cannot see this? Who can deny it? For they did not do it
under constraint or without good-will, since they did it with a
peaceful heart. And yet He wrought this in them who worketh what He
will in the hearts of men. For which reason the Scripture premised,
"And David continued to increase, and was magnified, and the Lord
Omnipotent was with him." And thus the Lord Omnipotent, who was with
him, induced these men to appoint him king. And how did He induce
them? Did He constrain thereto by any bodily fetters? He wrought
within; He held their hearts; He stirred their hearts, and drew them
by their own wills, which He Himself wrought in them. If, then, when
God wills to set up kings in the earth, He has the wills of men more
in His power than they themselves have, who else causes rebuke to be
wholesome and correction to result in the heart of him that is
rebuked, that he may be established in the kingdom of heaven?
 Ps. cxxxv. 6.
 Isa. xlv. 11.
 1 Sam. x. 25 ff.
 1 Chron. xi. 9.
 1 Chron. xii. 18.
 1 Chron. xii. 38.
Chapter 46 [XV.]--Rebuke Must Be Varied According to the Variety of
Faults. There is No Punishment in the Church Greater Than
Therefore, let brethren who are subject be rebuked by those who are
set over them, with rebukes that spring from love, varied according to
the diversity of faults, whether smaller or greater. Because that very
penalty that is called condemnation,  which episcopal judgment
inflicts, than which there is no greater punishment in the Church,
may, if God will, result and be of advantage for most wholesome
rebuke. For we know not what may happen on the coming day; nor must
any one be despaired of before the end of this life; nor can God be
contradicted, that He may not look down and give repentance, and
receive the sacrifice of a troubled spirit and a contrite heart, and
absolve from the guilt of condemnation, however just, and so Himself
not condemn the condemned person. Yet the necessity of the pastoral
office requires, in order that the terrible contagion may not creep
through the many, that the diseased sheep should be separated from the
sound ones; perchance, by that very separation, to be healed by Him to
whom nothing is impossible. For as we know not who belongs to the
number of the predestinated, we ought in such wise to be influenced by
the affection of love as to will all men to be saved. For this is the
case when we endeavour to lead every individual to that point where
they may meet with those agencies by which we may prevail, to the
accomplishment of the result, that being justified by faith they may
have peace with God,  --which peace, moreover, the apostle
announced when he said, "Therefore, we discharge an embassage for
Christ, as though God were exhorting by us, we pray you in Christ's
stead to be reconciled to God."  For what is "to be reconciled"
to Him but to have peace with Him? For the sake of which peace,
moreover, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said to His disciples, "Into
whatsoever house ye enter first, say, Peace be to this house; and if
the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it; but if not,
it shall return to you again."  When they preach the gospel of
this peace of whom it is predicted, "How beautiful are the feet of
those that publish peace, that announce good things!"  to us,
indeed, every one then begins to be a son of peace who obeys and
believes this gospel, and who, being justified by faith, has begun to
have peace towards God; but, according to God's predestination, he was
already a son of peace. For it was not said, Upon whomsoever your
peace shall rest, he shall become a son of peace; but Christ says, "If
the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon that house."
Already, therefore, and before the announcement of that peace to him,
the son of peace was there, as he had been known and foreknown,
by--not the evangelist, but--God. For we need not fear lest we should
lose it, if in our ignorance he to whom we preach is not a son of
peace, for it will return to us again--that is, that preaching will
profit us, and not him; but if the peace proclaimed shall rest upon
him, it will profit both us and him.
 Query, Excommunication?
 Rom. v. 1.
 2 Cor. v. 20.
 Luke x. 5, 6.
 Isa. lii. 7.
Chapter 47.--Another Interpretation of the Apostolic Passage, "Who
Will Have All Men to Be Saved."
That, therefore, in our ignorance of who shall be saved, God commands
us to will that all to whom we preach this peace may be saved, and
Himself works this in us by diffusing that love in our hearts by the
Holy Spirit who is given to us,--may also thus be understood, that God
wills all men to be saved, because He makes us to will this; just as
"He sent the Spirit of His Son, crying, Abba, Father;"  that is,
making us to cry, Abba, Father. Because, concerning that same Spirit,
He says in another place, "We have received the Spirit of adoption, in
whom we cry, Abba, Father!"  We therefore cry, but He is said to
cry who makes us to cry. If, then, Scripture rightly said that the
Spirit was crying by whom we are made to cry, it rightly also says
that God wills, when by Him we are made to will. And thus, because by
rebuke we ought to do nothing save to avoid departure from that peace
which is towards God, or to induce return to it of him who had
departed, let us do in hope what we do. If he whom we rebuke is a son
of peace, our peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return
to us again.
 Gal. iv. 6.
 Rom. viii. 15.
Chapter 48.--The Purpose of Rebuke.
Although, therefore, even while the faith of some is subverted, the
foundation of God standeth sure, since the Lord knoweth them that are
His, still, we ought not on that account to be indolent and negligent
in rebuking those who should be rebuked. For not for nothing was it
said, "Evil communications corrupt good manners;"  and, "The
weak brother shall perish in thy knowledge, on account of whom Christ
died."  Let us not, in opposition to these precepts, and to a
wholesome fear, pretend to argue, saying, "Well, let evil
communications corrupt good manners, and let the weak brother perish.
What is that to us? The foundation of God standeth sure, and no one
perishes but the son of perdition." [XVI.] Be it far from us to babble
in this wise, and think that we ought to be secure in this negligence.
For it is true that no one perishes except the son of perdition, but
God says by the mouth of the prophet Ezekiel:  "He shall surely
die in his sin, but his blood will I require at the hand of the
 1 Cor. xv. 33.
 1 Cor. viii. 11.
 Ezek. iii. 18.
Hence, as far as concerns us, who are not able to distinguish those
who are predestinated from those who are not, we ought on this very
account to will all men to be saved. Severe rebuke should be
medicinally applied to all by us that they perish not themselves, or
that they may not be the means of destroying others. It belongs to
God, however, to make that rebuke useful to them whom He Himself has
foreknown and predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son.
For, if at any time we abstain from rebuking, for fear lest by rebuke
a man should perish, why do we not also rebuke, for fear lest a man
should rather perish by our withholding it? For we have no greater
bowels of love than the blessed apostle who says, "Rebuke those that
are unruly; comfort the feeble-minded; support the weak; be patient
towards all men. See that none render to any man evil for evil."
 Where it is to be understood that evil is then rather rendered
for evil when one who ought to be rebuked is not rebuked, but by a
wicked dissimulation is neglected. He says, moreover, "Them that sin
rebuke before all, that others also may fear;"  which must be
received concerning those sins which are not concealed, lest he be
thought to have spoken in opposition to the word of the Lord. For He
says, "If thy brother shall sin against thee, rebuke him between thee
and him."  Notwithstanding, He Himself carries out the severity
of rebuke to the extent of saying, "If he will not hear the Church,
let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican."  And who
has more loved the weak than He who became weak for us all, and of
that very weakness was crucified for us all? And since these things
are so, grace neither restrains rebuke, nor does rebuke restrain
grace; and on this account righteousness is so to be prescribed that
we may ask in faithful prayer, that, by God's grace, what is
prescribed may be done; and both of these things are in such wise to
be done that righteous rebuke may not be neglected. But let all these
things be done with love, since love both does not sin, and does cover
the multitude of sins.
 1 Thess. v. 14.
 1 Tim. v. 20.
 Matt. xviii. 15.
 Matt. xviii. 17.
A Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints.
by Aurelius Augustin, Bishop of Hippo;
The First Book, 
addressed to Prosper and Hilary. 
a.d. 428 or 429
Wherein the truth of predestination and grace is defended against the
semi-Pelagians,--those people to wit, who by no means withdraw
altogether from the Pelagian heresy, in that they contend that the
beginning of salvation and of faith is of ourselves; so that in
virtue, as it were, of this precedent merit, the other good gifts of
God are attained. Augustin shows that not only the increase, but the
very beginning also of faith is in God's gift. On this matter he does
not disavow that he once thought differently, and that in some small
works, written before his episcopate, he was in error, as in that
exposition, which they object to him, of propositions from the epistle
to the Romans. But he points out that he was subsequently convinced
chiefly by this testimony, "but what hast thou that thou hast not
received?" which he proves is to be taken as a testimony concerning
faith itself also. He says that faith is to be counted among other
works, which the apostle denies to anticipate God's grace when He
says, "not of works." He declares that the hardness of the heart is
taken away by grace, and that all come to Christ who are taught to
come by the Father; but that those whom He teaches, He teaches in
mercy, while those whom He teaches not, in judgment He teaches not.
That the passage from his hundred and second epistle, Question 2,
"concerning the time of the Christian religion" which is alleged by
the semi-Pelagians, may rightly be explained without detriment to the
doctrine of grace and predestination. He teaches what is the
difference between grace and predestination. Further, he says that God
in his predestination foreknew what he had purposed to do. He marvels
greatly that the adversaries of predestination, who are said to be
unwilling to be dependent on the uncertainty of God's will, prefer
rather to trust themselves to their own weakness than to the strength
of God's promise. He clearly points out that they abuse this
authority, "If thou believest, thou shalt be saved." That the truth of
grace and perseverance shines forth in the case of infants that are
saved, who are distinguished by no merits of their own from others who
perish. For that there is no difference between them arising from the
foreknowledge of merits which they would have had if they had lived
longer. That testimony is wrongfully rejected by the adversaries as
being uncanonical, which he adduced for the purpose of this
discussion, "he was taken away lest wickedness," etc. That the most
illustrious instance of predestination and grace is the Saviour
Himself, in whom a man obtained the privilege of being the Saviour and
the Only-begotten Son of God, through being assumed into oneness of
person by the Word co-eternal with the Father, on account of no
precedent merits, either of works or of faith. That the predestinated
are called by some certain calling peculiar to the elect, and that
they have been elected before the foundation of the world; not because
they were foreknown as men who would believe and would be holy, but in
order that by means of that very election of grace they might be such,
Chapter 1 [I.]--Introduction.
We know that in the Epistle to the Philippians the apostle said, "To
write the same things to you to me indeed is not grievous but for you
it is safe;"  yet the same apostle writing to the Galatians when
he saw that he had done enough among them of what he regarded as being
needful for them, by the ministry of his preaching, said, "For the
rest let no man cause me labour,"  or as it is read in many
codices, "Let no one be troublesome to me." But although I confess
that it causes me trouble that the divine word in which the grace of
God is preached (which is absolutely no grace if it is given according
to our merits), great and manifest as it is, is not yielded to,
nevertheless my dearest sons, Prosper and Hilary, your zeal and
brotherly affection--which makes you so reluctant to see any of the
brethren in error, as to wish that, after so many books and letters of
mine on this subject, I should write again from here--I love more than
I can tell, although I do not dare to say that I love it as much as I
ought. Wherefore, behold, I write to you again. And although not with
you, yet through you I am still doing what I thought I had done
 Phil. iii. 1.
 Gal. vi. 17.
Chapter 2.--To What Extent the Massilians  Withdraw from the
For on consideration of your letters, I seem to see that those
brethren on whose behalf you exhibit a pious care that they may not
hold the poetical opinion in which it is affirmed, "Every one is a
hope for himself,"  and so fall under that condemnation which
is, not poetically, but prophetically, declared, "Cursed is every man
that hath hope in man,"  must be treated in that way wherein the
apostle dealt with those to whom he said, "And if in anything ye be
otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you."  For as
yet they are in darkness on the question concerning the predestination
of the saints, but they have that whence, "if in anything they are
otherwise minded, God will reveal even this unto them," if they are
walking in that to which they have attained. For which reason the
apostle, when he had said, "If ye are in anything otherwise minded,
God shall reveal even this unto you," says, "Nevertheless whereunto we
have attained, let us walk in the same."  And those brethren of
ours, on whose behalf your pious love is solicitous, have attained
with Christ's Church to the belief that the human race is born
obnoxious to the sin of the first man, and that none can be delivered
from that evil save by the righteousness of the Second Man. Moreover,
they have attained to the confession that men's wills are anticipated
by God's grace; and to the agreement that no one can suffice to
himself either for beginning or for completing any good work. These
things, therefore, unto which they have attained, being held fast,
abundantly distinguish them from the error of the Pelagians. Further,
if they walk in them, and beseech Him who giveth understanding, if in
anything concerning predestination they are otherwise minded, He will
reveal even this unto them. Yet let us also spend upon them the
influence of our love, and the ministry of our discourse, according to
His gift, whom we have asked that in these letters we might say what
should be suitable  and profitable to them. For whence do we
know whether by this our service, wherein we are serving them in the
free love of Christ, our God may not perchance will to effect that
 [The party which Augustin is here opposing had its chief centre
in Marseilles, and hence is called "Massilians." Prosper in his letter
called them reliquiæ Pelagianorum, i.e., "the remnants of the
Pelagians." They are now most commonly called "Semi-Pelagians."--W.]
 Virg. Æneid, xi. 309.
 Jer. xvii. 5.
 Phil. iii. 15.
 Phil. iii. 16.
 Some mss. read aperta, scil. "plain."
Chapter 3 [II.]--Even the Beginning of Faith is of God's Gift.
Therefore I ought first to show that the faith by which we are
Christians is the gift of God, if I can do that more thoroughly than I
have already done in so many and so large volumes. But I see that I
must now reply to those who say that the divine testimonies which I
have adduced concerning this matter are of avail for this purpose, to
assure us that we have faith itself of ourselves, but that its
increase is of God; as if faith were not given to us by Him, but were
only increased in us by Him, on the ground of the merit of its having
begun from us. Thus there is here no departure from that opinion which
Pelagius himself was constrained to condemn in the judgment of the
bishops of Palestine, as is testified in the same Proceedings, "That
the grace of God is given according to our merits,"  if it is
not of God's grace that we begin to believe, but rather that on
account of this beginning an addition is made to us of a more full and
perfect belief; and so we first give the beginning of our faith to
God, that His supplement may also be given to us again, and whatever
else we faithfully ask.
 On the Proceedings of Peliagus, ch. 30.
Chapter 4.--Continuation of the Preceding.
But why do we not in opposition to this, rather hear the words, "Who
hath first given to Him and it shall be recompensed to him again?
since of Him, and through Him, and in Him, are all things."  And
from whom, then, is that very beginning of our faith if not from Him?
For this is not excepted when other things are spoken of as of Him;
but "of Him, and through Him, and in Him, are all things." But who can
say that he who has already begun to believe deserves nothing from Him
in whom he has believed? Whence it results that, to him who already
deserves, other things are said to be added by a divine retribution,
and thus that God's grace is given according to our merits. And this
assertion when put before him, Pelagius himself condemned, that he
might not be condemned. Whoever, then, wishes on every side to avoid
this condemnable opinion, let him understand that what the apostle
says is said with entire truthfulness, "Unto you it is given in the
behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for
His sake."  He shows that both are the gifts of God, because he
said that both were given. And he does not say, "to believe on Him
more fully and perfectly," but, "to believe on Him." Neither does he
say that he himself had obtained mercy to be more faithful, but "to be
faithful,"  because he knew that he had not first given the
beginning of his faith to God, and had its increase given back to him
again by Him; but that he had been made faithful by God, who also had
made him an apostle. For the beginnings of his faith are recorded, and
they are very well known by being read in the church on an occasion
calculated to distinguish them:  how, being turned away from the
faith which he was destroying, and being vehemently opposed to it, he
was suddenly by a more powerful grace converted to it, by the
conversion of Him, to whom as One who would do this very thing it was
said by the prophet, "Thou wilt turn and quicken us;"  so that
not only from one who refused to believe he was made a willing
believer, but, moreover, from being a persecutor, he suffered
persecution in defence of that faith which he persecuted. Because it
was given him by Christ "not only to believe on Him, but also to
suffer for His sake."
 Rom. xi. 35.
 Phil. i. 29.
 1 Cor. vii. 25.
 The Acts of the Apostles were read during Easter.
 Ps. lxxxv. 6.
Chapter 5.--To Believe is to Think with Assent.
And, therefore, commending that grace which is not given according to
any merits, but is the cause of all good merits, he says, "Not that we
are sufficient to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency
is of God."  Let them give attention to this, and well weigh
these words, who think that the beginning of faith is of ourselves,
and the supplement of faith is of God. For who cannot see that
thinking is prior to believing? For no one believes anything unless he
has first thought that it is to be believed. For however suddenly,
however rapidly, some thoughts fly before the will to believe, and
this presently follows in such wise as to attend them, as it were, in
closest conjunction, it is yet necessary that everything which is
believed should be believed after thought has preceded; although even
belief itself is nothing else than to think with assent. For it is not
every one who thinks that believes, since many think in order that
they may not believe; but everybody who believes, thinks,--both thinks
in believing and believes in thinking. Therefore in what pertains to
religion and piety (of which the apostle was speaking), if we are not
capable of thinking anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is
of God, we are certainly not capable of believing anything as of
ourselves, since we cannot do this without thinking; but our
sufficiency, by which we begin to believe, is of God. Wherefore, as no
one is sufficient for himself, for the beginning or the completion of
any good work whatever,--and this those brethren of yours, as what you
have written intimates, already agree to be true, whence, as well in
the beginning as in the carrying out of every good work, our
sufficiency is of God,--so no one is sufficient for himself, either to
begin or to perfect faith; but our sufficiency is of God. Because if
faith is not a matter of thought, it is of no account; and we are not
sufficient to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is
 2 Cor. iii. 5.
Chapter 6.--Presumption and Arrogance to Be Avoided.
Care must be taken, brethren, beloved of God, that a man do not lift
himself up in opposition to God, when he says that he does what God
has promised. Was not the faith of the nations promised to Abraham,
"and he, giving glory to God, most fully believed that what He
promised He is able also to perform"?  He therefore makes the
faith of the nations, who is able to do what He has promised. Further,
if God works our faith, acting in a wonderful manner in our hearts so
that we believe, is there any reason to fear that He cannot do the
whole; and does man on that account arrogate to himself its first
elements, that he may merit to receive its last from God? Consider if
in such a way any other result be gained than that the grace of God is
given in some way or other, according to our merit, and so grace is no
more grace. For on this principle it is rendered as debt, it is not
given gratuitously; for it is due to the believer that his faith
itself should be increased by the Lord, and that the increased faith
should be the wages of the faith begun; nor is it observed when this
is said, that this wage is assigned to believers, not of grace, but of
debt. And I do not at all see why the whole should not be attributed
to man,--as he who could originate for himself what he had not
previously, can himself increase what he had originated,--except that
it is impossible to withstand the most manifest divine testimony by
which faith, whence piety takes its beginning, is shown also to be the
gift of God: such as is that testimony that "God hath dealt to every
man the measure of faith;"  and that one, "Peace be to the
brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus
Christ,"  and other similar passages. Man, therefore, unwilling
to resist such clear testimonies as these, and yet desiring himself to
have the merit of believing, compounds as it were with God to claim a
portion of faith for himself, and to leave a portion for Him; and,
what is still more arrogant, he takes the first portion for himself
and gives the subsequent to Him; and so in that which he says belongs
to both, he makes himself the first, and God the second!
 Rom. iv. 20.
 Rom. xii. 3.
 Eph. vi. 23.
Chapter 7 [III.]--Augustin Confesses that He Had Formerly Been in
Error Concerning the Grace of God.
It was not thus that that pious and humble teacher thought--I speak of
the most blessed Cyprian--when he said "that we must boast in nothing,
since nothing is our own."  And in order to show this, he
appealed to the apostle as a witness, where he said, "For what hast
thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received it, why
boastest thou as if thou hadst not received it?"  And it was
chiefly by this testimony that I myself also was convinced when I was
in a similar error, thinking that faith whereby we believe on God is
not God's gift, but that it is in us from ourselves, and that by it we
obtain the gifts of God, whereby we may live temperately and
righteously and piously in this world. For I did not think that faith
was preceded by God's grace, so that by its means would be given to us
what we might profitably ask, except that we could not believe if the
proclamation of the truth did not precede; but that we should consent
when the gospel was preached to us I thought was our own doing, and
came to us from ourselves. And this my error is sufficiently indicated
in some small works of mine written before my episcopate. Among these
is that which you have mentioned in your letters  wherein is an
exposition of certain propositions from the Epistle to the Romans.
Eventually, when I was retracting all my small works, and was
committing that retractation to writing, of which task I had already
completed two books before I had taken up your more lengthy
letters,--when in the first volume I had reached the retractation of
this book, I then spoke thus:--"Also discussing, I say, `what God
could have chosen in him who was as yet unborn, whom He said that the
elder should serve; and what in the same elder, equally as yet unborn,
He could have rejected; concerning whom, on this account, the
prophetic testimony is recorded, although declared long subsequently,
"Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated,"'  I carried out my
reasoning to the point of saying: `God did not therefore choose the
works of any one in foreknowledge of what He Himself would give them,
but he chose the faith, in the foreknowledge that He would choose that
very person whom He foreknew would believe on Him,--to whom He would
give the Holy Spirit, so that by doing good works he might obtain
eternal life also.' I had not yet very carefully sought, nor had I as
yet found, what is the nature of the election of grace, of which the
apostle says, `A remnant are saved according to the election of
grace.'  Which assuredly is not grace if any merits precede it;
lest what is now given, not according to grace, but according to debt,
be rather paid to merits than freely given. And what I next subjoined:
`For the same apostle says, "The same God which worketh all in all;"
 but it was never said, God believeth all in all;' and then
added, `Therefore what we believe is our own, but what good thing we
do is of Him who giveth the Holy Spirit to them that believe:' I
certainly could not have said, had I already known that faith itself
also is found among those gifts of God which are given by the same
Spirit. Both, therefore, are ours on account of the choice of the
will, and yet both are given by the spirit of faith and love. For
faith is not alone but as it is written, `Love with faith, from God
the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.'  And what I said a
little after, `For it is ours to believe and to will, but it is His to
give to those who believe and will, the power of doing good works
through the Holy Spirit, by whom love is shed abroad in our
hearts,'--is true indeed; but by the same rule both are also God's,
because God prepares the will; and both are ours too, because they are
only brought about with our good wills. And thus what I subsequently
said also: `Because we are not able to will unless we are called; and
when, after our calling, we would will, our willing is not
sufficiently nor our running, unless God gives strength to us that
run, and leads us whither He calls us;' and thereupon added: `It is
plain, therefore, that it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that
runneth, but of God that showeth mercy, that we do good works'--this
is absolutely most true. But I discovered little concerning the
calling itself, which is according to God's purpose; for not such is
the calling of all that are called, but only of the elect. Therefore
what I said a little afterwards: `For as in those whom God elects it
is not works but faith that begins the merit so as to do good works by
the gift of God, so in those whom He condemns, unbelief and impiety
begin the merit of punishment, so that even by way of punishment
itself they do evil works'--I spoke most truly. But that even the
merit itself of faith was God's gift, I neither thought of inquiring
into, nor did I say. And in another place I say: `For whom He has
mercy upon, He makes to do good works, and whom He hardeneth He leaves
to do evil works; but that mercy is bestowed upon the preceding merit
of faith, and that hardening is applied to preceding iniquity.' And
this indeed is true; but it should further have been asked, whether
even the merit of faith does not come from God's mercy,--that is,
whether that mercy is manifested in man only because he is a believer,
or whether it is also manifested that he may be a believer? For we
read in the apostle's words: `I obtained mercy to be a believer.'
 He does not say, `Because I was a believer.' Therefore although
it is given to the believer, yet it has been given also that he may be
a believer. Therefore also, in another place in the same book I most
truly said: `Because, if it is of God's mercy, and not of works, that
we are even called that we may believe and it is granted to us who
believe to do good works, that mercy must not be grudged to the
heathen;'--although I there discoursed less carefully about that
calling which is given according to God's purpose." 
 Cyprian, Testimonies to Quirinus, Book iii. ch. 4; The
Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. v. p. 528.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
 Hilary's Letter, No. 226 in the collection of Augustin's
 Mal. i. 2, 3. Cf. Rom. ix. 13.
 Rom. xi. 5.
 1 Cor. xii. 6.
 Eph. vi. 23.
 1 Cor. vii. 25.
 Retractations, Book i. ch. 23, Nos. 3, 4.
Chapter 8 [IV.]--What Augustin Wrote to Simplicianus, the Successor of
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
You see plainly what was at that time my opinion concerning faith and
works, although I was labouring in commending God's grace; and in this
opinion I see that those brethren of ours now are, because they have
not been as careful to make progress with me in my writings as they
were in reading them. For if they had been so careful, they would have
found that question solved in accordance with the truth of the divine
Scriptures in the first book of the two which I wrote in the very
beginning of my episcopate to Simplicianus, of blessed memory, Bishop
of the Church of Milan, and successor to St. Ambrose. Unless,
perchance, they may not have known these books; in which case, take
care that they do know them. Of this first of those two books, I first
spoke in the second book of the Retractations; and what I said is as
follows: "Of the books, I say, on which, as a bishop, I have laboured,
the first two are addressed to Simplicianus, president of the Church
of Milan, who succeeded the most blessed Ambrose, concerning divers
questions, two of which I gathered into the first book from the
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans. The former of them is about
what is written: `What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? By no
means;'  as far as the passage where he says, `Who shall deliver
me from the body of this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ
our Lord.'  And therein I have expounded those words of the
apostle: `The law is spiritual; but I am carnal,'  and others in
which the flesh is declared to be in conflict against the Spirit in
such a way as if a man were there described as still under law, and
not yet established under grace. For, long afterwards, I perceived
that those words might even be (and probably were) the utterance of a
spiritual man. The latter question in this book is gathered from that
passage where the apostle says, `And not only this, but when Rebecca
also had conceived by one act of intercourse, even by our father
Isaac,'  as far as that place where he says, `Except the Lord of
Sabaoth had left us a seed, we should be as Sodoma, and should have
been like unto Gomorrah.'  In the solution of this question I
laboured indeed on behalf of the free choice of the human will, but
God's grace overcame, and I could only reach that point where the
apostle is perceived to have said with the most evident truth, `For
who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou hast not
received? Now, if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if
thou receivedst it not?'  And this the martyr Cyprian was also
desirous of setting forth when he compressed the whole of it in that
title: `That we must boast in nothing, since nothing is our own.'"
 This is why I previously said that it was chiefly by this
apostolic testimony that I myself had been convinced, when I thought
otherwise concerning this matter; and this God revealed to me as I
sought to solve this question when I was writing, as I said, to the
Bishop Simplicianus. This testimony, therefore, of the apostle, when
for the sake of repressing man's conceit he said, "For what hast thou
which thou hast not received?"  does not allow any believer to
say, I have faith which I received not. All the arrogance of this
answer is absolutely repressed by these apostolic words. Moreover, it
cannot even be said, "Although I have not a perfected faith, yet I
have its beginning, whereby I first of all believed in Christ."
Because here also is answered: "But what hast thou that thou hast not
received? Now, if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if
thou receivedst it not?"
 Rom. vii. 7.
 Rom. vii. 24.
 Rom. vii. 14.
 Rom. ix. 10.
 Rom. ix. 29.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
 Cypr. Test. Book iii. ch. 4; see The Ante-Nicene Fathers, p
528. Augustin's Retractations, II. i. 1.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
Chapter 9 [V.]--The Purpose of the Apostle in These Words.
The notion, however, which they entertain, "that these words, `What
hast thou that thou hast not received?' cannot be said of this faith,
because it has remained in the same nature, although corrupted, which
at first was endowed with health and perfection,"  is perceived
to have no force for the purpose that they desire if it be considered
why the apostle said these words. For he was concerned that no one
should glory in man, because dissensions had sprung up among the
Corinthian Christians, so that every one was saying, "I, indeed, am of
Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, and another, I am of Cephas;"
 and thence he went on to say: "God hath chosen the foolish
things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak
things of the world to confound the strong things; and God hath chosen
the ignoble things of the world, and contemptible things, and those
things which are not, to make of no account things which are; that no
flesh should glory before God."  Here the intention of the
apostle is of a certainty sufficiently plain against the pride of man,
that no one should glory in man; and thus, no one should glory in
himself. Finally, when he had said "that no flesh should glory before
God," in order to show in what man ought to glory, he immediately
added, "But it is of Him that ye are in Christ Jesus, who is made unto
us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
redemption: that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him
glory in the Lord."  Thence that intention of his progressed,
till afterwards rebuking them he says, "For ye are yet carnal; for
whereas there are among you envying and contention, are ye not carnal,
and walk according to man? For while one saith I am of Paul, and
another, I am of Apollos, are ye not men? What, then, is Apollos, and
what Paul? Ministers by whom you believed; and to every one as the
Lord has given. I have planted, and Apollos watered; but God gave the
increase. Therefore, neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that
watereth, but God that giveth the increase."  Do you not see
that the sole purpose of the apostle is that man may be humbled, and
God alone exalted? Since in all those things, indeed, which are
planted and watered, he says that not even are the planter and the
waterer anything, but God who giveth the increase: and the very fact,
also, that one plants and another waters he attributes not to
themselves, but to God, when he says, "To every one as the Lord hath
given; I have planted, Apollos watered." Hence, therefore, persisting
in the same intention he comes to the point of saying, "Therefore let
no man glory in man,"  for he had already said, "He that
glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." After these and some other
matters which are associated therewith, that same intention of his is
carried on in the words: "And these things, brethren, I have in a
figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes, that ye
might learn in us that no one of you should be puffed up for one
against another above that which is written. For who maketh thee to
differ? And what hast thou which thou hast not received? Now, if thou
hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou receivedst it not?"
 See Epistle of Hilary (Augustin's Epistles, 226).
 1 Cor. i. 12.
 1 Cor. i. 27.
 1 Cor. i. 30.
 1 Cor. iii. 3 ff.
 1 Cor. iii. 21.
 1 Cor. iv. 6.
Chapter 10.--It is God's Grace Which Specially Distinguishes One Man
In this the apostle's most evident intention, in which he speaks
against human pride, so that none should glory in man but in God, it
is too absurd, as I think, to suppose God's natural gifts, whether
man's entire and perfected nature itself as it was bestowed on him in
his first state, or the remains, whatever they may be, of his degraded
nature. For is it by such gifts as these, which are common to all men,
that men are distinguished from men? But here he first said, "For who
maketh thee to differ?" and then added, "And what hast thou that thou
hast not received?" Because a man, puffed up against another, might
say, "My faith makes me to differ," or "My righteousness," or anything
else of the kind. In reply to such notions, the good teacher says,
"But what hast thou that thou hast not received?" And from whom but
from Him who maketh thee to differ from another, on whom He bestowed
not what He bestowed on thee? "Now if," says he, "thou hast received
it, why dost thou glory as if thou receivedst it not?" Is he
concerned, I ask, about anything else save that he who glorieth should
glory in the Lord? But nothing is so opposed to this feeling as for
any one to glory concerning his own merits in such a way as if he
himself had made them for himself, and not the grace of God,--a grace,
however, which makes the good to differ from the wicked, and is not
common to the good and the wicked. Let the grace, therefore, whereby
we are living and reasonable creatures, and are distinguished from
cattle, be attributed to nature; let that grace also by which, among
men themselves, the handsome are made to differ from the ill-formed,
or the intelligent from the stupid, or anything of that kind, be
ascribed to nature. But he whom the apostle was rebuking did not puff
himself up as contrasted with cattle, nor as contrasted with any other
man, in respect of any natural endowment which might be found even in
the worst of men. But he ascribed to himself, and not to God, some
good gift which pertained to a holy life, and was puffed up therewith
when he deserved to hear the rebuke, "Who hath made thee to differ?
and what hast thou that thou receivedst not?" For though the capacity
to have faith is of nature, is it also of nature to have it? "For all
men have not faith,"  although all men have the capacity to have
faith. But the apostle does not say, "And what hast thou capacity to
have, the capacity to have which thou receivedst not?" but he says,
"And what hast thou which thou receivedst not?" Accordingly, the
capacity to have faith,  as the capacity to have love, belongs
to men's nature; but to have faith, even as to have love, belongs to
the grace of believers. That nature, therefore, in which is given to
us the capacity of having faith, does not distinguish man from man,
but faith itself makes the believer to differ from the unbeliever. And
thus, when it is said, "For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast
thou that thou receivedst not?" if any one dare to say, "I have faith
of myself, I did not, therefore, receive it," he directly contradicts
this most manifest truth,--not because it is not in the choice of
man's will to believe or not to believe, but because in the elect the
will is prepared by the Lord. Thus, moreover, the passage, "For who
maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou receivedst not?"
refers to that very faith which is in the will of man.
 2 Thess. iii. 2.
 Thence says Bernard, in his treatise On Grace and Free Will,
ch. i.: "God is the author of salvation. Free will is only capable of
it." Comp. On the Calling of the Gentiles, Book ii. ch. 2, and
Fulgentius, On the Incarnation and Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
chs. 22, 23, and 24.
Chapter 11 [VI.]--That Some Men are Elected is of God's Mercy.
"Many hear the word of truth; but some believe, while others
contradict. Therefore, the former will to believe; the latter do not
will." Who does not know this? Who can deny this? But since in some
the will is prepared by the Lord, in others it is not prepared, we
must assuredly be able to distinguish what comes from God's mercy, and
what from His judgment. "What Israel sought for," says the apostle,
"he hath not obtained, but the election hath obtained it; and the rest
were blinded, as it is written, God gave to them the spirit of
compunction,--eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should
not hear, even to this day. And David said, Let their table be made a
snare, a retribution, and a stumblingblock to them; let their eyes be
darkened, that they may not see; and bow down their back always."
 Here is mercy and judgment,--mercy towards the election which
has obtained the righteousness of God, but judgment to the rest which
have been blinded. And yet the former, because they willed, 
believed; the latter, because they did not will believed not.
Therefore mercy and judgment were manifested in the very wills
themselves. Certainly such an election is of grace, not at all of
merits. For he had before said, "So, therefore, even at this present
time, the remnant has been saved by the election of grace. And if by
grace, now it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace."
 Therefore the election obtained what it obtained gratuitously;
there preceded none of those things which they might first give, and
it should be given to them again. He saved them for nothing. But to
the rest who were blinded, as is there plainly declared, it was done
in recompense. "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth." 
But His ways are unsearchable. Therefore the mercy by which He freely
delivers, and the truth by which He righteously judges, are equally
 Rom. xi. 7.
 According to the Vatican mss. is read, "The former who willed,"
and below, "The latter who willed not."
 Rom. xi. 5.
 Ps. xxv. 10.
Chapter 12 [VII.]--Why the Apostle Said that We are Justified by Faith
and Not by Works.
But perhaps it may be said: "The apostle distinguishes faith from
works; he says, indeed, that grace is not of works, but he does not
say that it is not of faith." This, indeed, is true. But Jesus says
that faith itself also is the work of God, and commands us to work it.
For the Jews said to Him, "What shall we do that we may work the work
of God? Jesus answered, and said unto them, This is the work of God,
that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent."  The apostle,
therefore, distinguishes faith from works, just as Judah is
distinguished from Israel in the two kingdoms of the Hebrews, although
Judah is Israel itself. And he says that a man is justified by faith
and not by works, because faith itself is first given, from which may
be obtained other things which are specially characterized as works,
in which a man may live righteously. For he himself also says, "By
grace ye are saved through faith; and this not of yourselves; but it
is the gift of God,"  --that is to say, "And in saying `through
faith,' even faith itself is not of yourselves, but is God's gift."
"Not of works," he says, "lest any man should be lifted up." For it is
often said, "He deserved to believe, because he was a good man even
before he believed." Which may be said of Cornelius  since his
alms were accepted and his prayers heard before he had believed on
Christ; and yet without some faith he neither gave alms nor prayed.
For how did he call on him on whom he had not believed? But if he
could have been saved without the faith of Christ the Apostle Peter
would not have been sent as an architect to build him up; although,
"Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it."
 And we are told, Faith is of ourselves; other things which
pertain to works of righteousness are of the Lord; as if faith did not
belong to the building,--as if, I say, the foundation did not belong
to the building. But if this primarily and especially belongs to it,
he labours in vain who seeks to build up the faith by preaching,
unless the Lord in His mercy builds it up from within. Whatever,
therefore, of good works Cornelius performed, as well before he
believed in Christ as when he believed and after he had believed, are
all to be ascribed to God, lest, perchance any man be lifted up.
 John vi. 28.
 Eph. ii. 8.
 Acts x.
 Ps. cxxvii. 1.
Chapter 13 [VIII.]--The Effect of Divine Grace.
Accordingly, our only Master and Lord Himself, when He had said what I
have above mentioned,--"This is the work of God, that ye believe on
Him whom He hath sent,"--says a little afterwards in that same
discourse of His, "I said unto you that ye also have seen me and have
not believed. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me." 
What is the meaning of "shall come to me," but, "shall believe in me"?
But it is the Father's gift that this may be the case. Moreover, a
little after He says, "Murmur not among yourselves. No one can come to
me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise
him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall
be all teachable  of God. Every man that hath heard of the
Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me."  What is the meaning
of, "Every man that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned,
cometh unto me," except that there is none who hears from the Father,
and learns, who cometh not to me? For if every one who has heard from
the Father, and has learned, comes, certainly every one who does not
come has not heard from the Father; for if he had heard and learned,
he would come. For no one has heard and learned, and has not come; but
every one, as the Truth declares, who has heard from the Father, and
has learned, comes. Far removed from the senses of the flesh is this
teaching in which the Father is heard, and teaches to come to the Son.
Engaged herein is also the Son Himself, because He is His Word by
which He thus teaches; and He does not do this through the ear of the
flesh, but of the heart. Herein engaged, also, at the same time, is
the Spirit of the Father and of the Son; and He, too, teaches, and
does not teach separately, since we have learned that the workings of
the Trinity are inseparable. And that is certainly the same Holy
Spirit of whom the apostle says, "We, however, having the same Spirit
of faith."  But this is especially attributed to the Father, for
the reason that of Him is begotten the Only Begotten, and from Him
proceeds the Holy Spirit, of which it would be tedious to argue more
elaborately; and I think that my work in fifteen books on the Trinity
which God is, has already reached you. Very far removed, I say, from
the senses of the flesh is this instruction wherein God is heard and
teaches. We see that many come to the Son because we see that many
believe on Christ, but when and how they have heard this from the
Father, and have learned, we see not. It is true that that grace is
exceedingly secret, but who doubts that it is grace? This grace,
therefore, which is hiddenly bestowed in human hearts by the Divine
gift, is rejected by no hard heart, because it is given for the sake
of first taking away the hardness of the heart. When, therefore, the
Father is heard within, and teaches, so that a man comes to the Son,
He takes away the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh, as in the
declaration of the prophet He has promised. Because He thus makes them
children and vessels of mercy which He has prepared for glory.
 John vi. 36.
 Or, "docile towards God."
 John vi. 43 ff.
 2 Cor. iv. 13.
Chapter 14.--Why the Father Does Not Teach All that They May Come to
Why, then, does He not teach all that they may come to Christ, except
because all whom He teaches, He teaches in mercy, while those whom He
teaches not, in judgment He teaches not? Since, "On whom He will He
has mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth."  But He has mercy
when He gives good things. He hardens when He recompenses what is
deserved. Or if, as some would prefer to distinguish them, those words
also are his to whom the apostle says, "Thou sayest then unto me," so
that he may be regarded as having said, "Therefore hath He mercy on
whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth," as well as those which
follow,--to wit, "What is it that is still complained of? for who
resists His will?" does the apostle answer, "O man, what thou hast
said is false?" No; but he says, "O man, who art thou that repliest
against God? Doth the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast
thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same
lump?"  and what follows, which you very well know. And yet in a
certain sense the Father teaches all men to come to His Son. For it
was not in vain that it was written in the prophets, "And they shall
all be teachable of God."  And when He too had premised this
testimony, He added, "Every man, therefore, who has heard of the
Father, and has learned, cometh to me." As, therefore, we speak justly
when we say concerning any teacher of literature who is alone in a
city, He teaches literature here to everybody,--not that all men
learn, but that there is none who learns literature there who does not
learn from him,--so we justly say, God teaches all men to come to
Christ, not because all come, but because none comes in any other way.
And why He does not teach all men the apostle explained, as far as he
judged that it was to be explained, because, "willing to show His
wrath, and to exhibit His power, He endured with much patience the
vessels of wrath which were perfected for destruction; and that He
might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which
He has prepared for glory."  Hence it is that the "word of the
cross is foolishness to them that perish; but unto them that are saved
it is the power of God."  God teaches all such to come to
Christ, for He wills all such to be saved, and to come to the
knowledge of the truth. And if He had willed to teach even those to
whom the word of the cross is foolishness to come to Christ, beyond
all doubt these also would have come. For He neither deceives nor is
deceived when He says, "Everyone that hath heard of the Father, and
hath learned, cometh to me." Away, then, with the thought that any one
cometh not, who has heard of the Father and has learned.
 Rom. ix. 18.
 Rom. ix. 18, ff.
 John vi. 45.
 Rom. ix. 22.
 1 Cor. i. 18.
Chapter 15.--It is Believers that are Taught of God.
"Why," say they, "does He not teach all men?" If we should say that
they whom He does not teach are unwilling to learn, we shall be met
with the answer: And what becomes of what is said to Him, "O God, Thou
wilt turn us again, and quicken us"?  Or if God does not make
men willing who were not willing, on what principle does the Church
pray, according to the Lord's commandment, for her persecutors? For
thus also the blessed Cyprian  would have it to be understood
that we say, "Thy will be done, as in heaven so in earth,"--that is,
as in those who have already believed, and who are, as it were,
heaven, so also in those who do not believe, and on this account are
still the earth. What, then, do we pray for on behalf of those who are
unwilling to believe, except that God would work in them to will also?
Certainly the apostle says, "Brethren, my heart's good will, indeed,
and my prayer to God for them, is for their salvation."  He
prays for those who do not believe,--for what, except that they may
believe? For in no other way do they obtain salvation. If, then, the
faith of the petitioners precede the grace of God, does the faith of
them on whose behalf prayer is made that they may believe precede the
grace of God?--since this is the very thing that is besought for them,
that on them that believe not--that is, who have not faith--faith
itself may be bestowed? When, therefore, the gospel is preached, some
believe, some believe not; but they who believe at the voice of the
preacher from without, hear of the Father from within, and learn;
while they who do not believe, hear outwardly, but inwardly do not
hear nor learn;--that is to say, to the former it is given to believe;
to the latter it is not given. Because "no man," says He, "cometh to
me, except the Father which sent me draw him."  And this is more
plainly said afterwards. For after a little time, when He was speaking
of eating his flesh and drinking His blood, and some even of His
disciples said, "This is a hard saying, who can hear it? Jesus,
knowing in Himself that His disciples murmured at this, said unto
them, Doth this offend you?"  And a little after He said, "The
words that I have spoken unto you are spirit and life; but there are
some among you which believe not."  And immediately the
evangelist says, "For Jesus knew from the beginning who were the
believers, and who should betray Him; and He said, Therefore said I
unto you, that no man can come unto me except it were given him of my
Father." Therefore, to be drawn to Christ by the Father, and to hear
and learn of the Father in order to come to Christ, is nothing else
than to receive from the Father the gift by which to believe in
Christ. For it was not the hearers of the gospel that were
distinguished from those who did not hear, but the believers from
those who did not believe, by Him who said, "No man cometh to me
except it were given him of my Father."
 Ps. lxxx. 7.
 Cypr. Treatise on the Lord's Prayer.
 Rom. x. 1.
 John vi. 44.
 John vi. 60 ff.
 John vi. 63 ff.
Chapter 16.--Why the Gift of Faith is Not Given to All.
Faith, then, as well in its beginning as in its completion, is God's
gift; and let no one have any doubt whatever, unless he desires to
resist the plainest sacred writings, that this gift is given to some,
while to some it is not given. But why it is not given to all ought
not to disturb the believer, who believes that from one all have gone
into a condemnation, which undoubtedly is most righteous; so that even
if none were delivered therefrom, there would be no just cause for
finding fault with God. Whence it is plain that it is a great grace
for many to be delivered, and to acknowledge in those that are not
delivered what would be due to themselves; so that he that glorieth
may glory not in his own merits, which he sees to be equalled in those
that are condemned, but in the Lord. But why He delivers one rather
than another,--"His judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past
finding out."  For it is better in this case for us to hear or
to say, "O man, who art thou that repliest against God?"  than
to dare to speak as if we could know what He has chosen to be kept
secret. Since, moreover, He could not will anything unrighteous.
 Rom. xi. 33.
 Rom. ix. 20.
Chapter 17 [IX.]--His Argument in His Letter Against Porphyry, as to
Why the Gospel Came So Late into the World.
But that which you remember my saying in a certain small treatise of
mine against Porphyry, under the title of The Time of the Christian
Religion, I so said for the sake of escaping this more careful and
elaborate argument about grace; although its meaning, which could be
unfolded elsewhere or by others, was not wholly omitted, although I
had been unwilling in that place to explain it. For, among other
matters, I spoke thus in answer to the question proposed, why it was
after so long a time that Christ came: "Accordingly, I say, since they
do not object to Christ that all do not follow His teaching (for even
they themselves feel that this could not be objected at all with any
justice, either to the wisdom of the philosophers or even to the deity
of their own gods), what will they reply, if--leaving out of the
question that depth of God's wisdom and knowledge where perchance some
other divine plan is far more secretly hidden, without prejudging also
other causes, which cannot be traced out by the wise--we say to them
only this, for the sake of brevity in the arguing of this question,
that Christ willed to appear to men, and that His doctrine should be
preached among them, at that time when He knew, and at that place
where He knew, that there were some who would believe on Him. For at
those times, and in those places, at which His gospel was not
preached, He foreknew that all would be in His preaching such as, not
indeed all, but many were in His bodily presence, who would not
believe on Him, even when the dead were raised by Him; such as we see
many now, who, although the declarations of the prophets concerning
Him are fulfilled by such manifestations, are still unwilling to
believe, and prefer to resist by human astuteness, rather than yield
to divine authority so clear and perspicuous, and so lofty, and
sublimely made known, so long as the human understanding is small and
weak in its approach to divine truth. What wonder is it, then, if
Christ knew the world in former ages to be so full of unbelievers,
that He should reasonably refuse to appear, or to be preached to them,
who, as He foreknew, would believe neither His words nor His miracles?
For it is not incredible that all at that time were such as from His
coming even to the present time we marvel that so many have been and
are. And yet from the beginning of the human race, sometimes more
hiddenly, sometimes more evidently, even as to Divine Providence the
times seemed to be fitting, there has neither been a failure of
prophecy, nor were there wanting those who believed on Him; as well
from Adam to Moses, as in the people of Israel itself which by a
certain special mystery was a prophetic people; and in other nations
before He had come in the flesh. For as some are mentioned in the
sacred Hebrew books, as early as the time of Abraham,--neither of his
fleshly race nor of the people of Israel nor of the foreign society
among the people of Israel,--who were, nevertheless, sharers in their
sacrament, why may we not believe that there were others elsewhere
among other people, here and there, although we do not read any
mention of them in the same authorities? Thus the salvation of this
religion, by which only true one true salvation is truly promised,
never failed him who was worthy of it; and whoever it failed was not
worthy of it. And from the very beginning of the propagation of man,
even to the end, the gospel is preached, to some for a reward, to some
for judgment; and thus also those to whom the faith was not announced
at all were foreknown as those who would not believe; and those to
whom it was announced, although they were not such as would believe,
are set forth as an example for the former; while those to whom it is
announced who should believe, are prepared for the kingdom of heaven,
and the company of the holy angels." 
 Augustin's Epistles, 102, chs. 14, 15.
Chapter 18.--The Preceding Argument Applied to the Present Time.
Do you not see that my desire was, without any prejudgment of the
hidden counsel of God, and of other reasons, to say what might seem
sufficient about Christ's foreknowledge, to convince the unbelief of
the pagans who had brought forward this question? For what is more
true than that Christ foreknew who should believe on Him, and at what
times and places they should believe? But whether by the preaching of
Christ to themselves by themselves they were to have faith, or whether
they would receive it by God's gift,--that is, whether God only
foreknew them, or also predestinated them, I did not at that time
think it necessary to inquire or to discuss. Therefore what I said,
"that Christ willed to appear to men at that time, and that His
doctrine should be preached among them when He knew, and where He
knew, that there were those who would believe on Him," may also thus
be said, "That Christ willed to appear to men at that time, and that
His gospel should be preached among those, whom He knew, and where He
knew, that there were those who had been elected in Himself before the
foundation of the world." But since, if it were so said, it would make
the reader desirous of asking about those things which now by the
warning of Pelagian errors must of necessity be discussed with greater
copiousness and care, it seemed to me that what at that time was
sufficient should be briefly said, leaving to one side, as I said, the
depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God, and without prejudging other
reasons, concerning which I thought that we might more fittingly
argue, not then, but at some other time.
Chapter 19 [X]--In What Respects Predestination and Grace Differ.
Moreover, that which I said, "That the salvation of this religion has
never been lacking to him who was worthy of it, and that he to whom it
was lacking was not worthy,"--if it be discussed and it be asked
whence any man can be worthy, there are not wanting those who say--by
human will. But we say, by divine grace or predestination. Further,
between grace and predestination there is only this difference, that
predestination is the preparation for grace, while grace is the
donation itself. When, therefore the apostle says, "Not of works, lest
any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus in good works,"  it is grace; but what follows--"which God
hath prepared that we should walk in them"--is predestination, which
cannot exist without foreknowledge, although foreknowledge may exist
without predestination; because God foreknew by predestination those
things which He was about to do, whence it was said, "He made those
things that shall be."  Moreover, He is able to foreknow even
those things which He does not Himself do,--as all sins whatever.
Because, although there are some which are in such wise sins as that
they are also the penalties of sins, whence it is said, "God gave them
over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not
convenient,"  it is not in such a case the sin that is God's,
but the judgment. Therefore God's predestination of good is, as I have
said, the preparation of grace; which grace is the effect of that
predestination. Therefore when God promised to Abraham in his seed the
faith of the nations, saying, "I have established thee a father of
many nations,"  whence the apostle says, "Therefore it is of
faith, that the promise, according to grace, might be established to
all the seed,"  He promised not from the power of our will but
from His own predestination. For He promised what He Himself would do,
not what men would do. Because, although men do those good things
which pertain to God's worship, He Himself makes them to do what He
has commanded; it is not they that cause Him to do what He has
promised. Otherwise the fulfilment of God's promises would not be in
the power of God, but in that of men; and thus what was promised by
God to Abraham would be given to Abraham by men themselves. Abraham,
however, did not believe thus, but "he believed, giving glory to God,
that what He promised He is able also to do."  He does not say,
"to foretell"--he does not say, "to foreknow;" for He can foretell and
foreknow the doings of strangers also; but he says, "He is able also
to do;" and thus he is speaking not of the doings of others, but of
 Eph. ii. 9, 10.
 Isa. xlv. 11.
 Rom. i. 28.
 Gen. xvii. 5.
 Rom. iv. 16.
 Rom. iv. 21.
Chapter 20.--Did God Promise the Good Works of the Nations and Not
Their Faith, to Abraham?
Did God, perchance, promise to Abraham in his seed the good works of
the nations, so as to promise that which He Himself does, but did not
promise the faith of the Gentiles, which men do for themselves; but so
as to promise what He Himself does, did He foreknow that men would
effect that faith? The apostle, indeed, does not speak thus, because
God promised children to Abraham, who should follow the footsteps of
his faith, as he very plainly says. But if He promised the works, and
not the faith of the Gentiles certainly since they are not good works
unless they are of faith (for "the righteous lives of faith," 
and, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin,"  and, "Without faith
it is impossible to please"  ), it is nevertheless in man's
power that God should fulfil what He has promised. For unless man
should do what without the gift of God pertains to man, he will not
cause God to give,--that is, unless man have faith of himself. God
does not fulfil what He has promised, that works of righteousness
should be given by God. And thus that God should be able to fulfil His
promises is not in God's power, but man's. And if truth and piety do
not forbid our believing this, let us believe with Abraham, that what
He has promised He is able also to perform. But He promised children
to Abraham; and this men cannot be unless they have faith, therefore
He gives faith also.
 Hab. ii. 4.
 Rom. xiv. 23.
 Heb. xi. 6.
Chapter 21.--It is to Be Wondered at that Men Should Rather Trust to
Their Own Weakness Than to God's Strength.
Certainly, when the apostle says, "Therefore it is of faith that the
promise may be sure according to grace,"  I marvel that men
would rather entrust themselves to their own weakness, than to the
strength of God's promise. But sayest thou, God's will concerning
myself is to me uncertain? What then? Is thine own will concerning
thyself certain to thee? and dost thou not fear,--"Let him that
thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall"?  Since, then, both
are uncertain, why does not man commit his faith, hope, and love to
the stronger will rather than to the weaker?
 Rom. iv. 16.
 1 Cor. x. 12.
Chapter 22.--God's Promise is Sure.
"But," say they, "when it is said, `If thou believest, thou shalt be
saved,' one of these things is required; the other is offered. What is
required is in man's power; what is offered is in God's."  Why
are not both in God's, as well what He commands as what He offers? For
He is asked to give what He commands. Believers ask that their faith
may be increased; they ask on behalf of those who do not believe, that
faith may be given to them; therefore both in its increase and in its
beginnings, faith is the gift of God. But it is said thus: "If thou
believest, thou shalt be saved," in the same way that it is said, "If
by the Spirit ye shall mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live."
 For in this case also, of these two things one is required, the
other is offered. It is said, "If by the Spirit ye shall mortify the
deeds of the flesh, ye shall live." Therefore, that we mortify the
deeds of the flesh is required, but that we may live is offered. Is
it, then, fitting for us to say, that to mortify the deeds of the
flesh is not a gift of God, and not to confess it to be a gift of God,
because we hear it required of us, with the offer of life as a reward
if we shall do it? Away with this being approved by the partakers and
champions of grace! This is the condemnable error of the Pelagians,
whose mouths the apostle immediately stopped when he added, "For as
many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God;"
 lest we should believe that we mortify the deeds of the flesh,
not by God's Spirit, but by our own. And of this Spirit of God,
moreover, he was speaking in that place where he says, "But all these
worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing unto every man
what is his own, as He will;"  and among all these things, as
you know, he also named faith. As, therefore, although it is the gift
of God to mortify the deeds of the flesh, yet it is required of us,
and life is set before us as a reward; so also faith is the gift of
God, although when it is said, "If thou believest, thou shalt be
saved," faith is required of us, and salvation is proposed to us as a
reward. For these things are both commanded us, and are shown to be
God's gifts, in order that we may understand both that we do them, and
that God makes us to do them, as He most plainly says by the prophet
Ezekiel. For what is plainer than when He says, "I will cause you to
do"?  Give heed to that passage of Scripture, and you will see
that God promises that He will make them to do those things which He
commands to be done. He truly is not silent as to the merits but as to
the evil deeds, of those to whom He shows that He is returning good
for evil, by the very fact that He causeth them thenceforth to have
good works, in causing them to do the divine commands.
 See Hilary's Letter in Augustin's Letters, 226, ch. 2.
 Rom. viii. 13.
 Rom. viii. 14.
 1 Cor. xii. 11.
 Ezek. xxxvi. 27.
Chapter 23 [XII.]--Remarkable Illustrations of Grace and
Predestination in Infants, and in Christ.
But all this reasoning, whereby we maintain that the grace of God
through Jesus Christ our Lord is truly grace, that is, is not given
according to our merits, although it is most manifestly asserted by
the witness of the divine declarations, yet, among those who think
that they are withheld from all zeal for piety unless they can
attribute to themselves something, which they first give that it may
be recompensed to them again, involves somewhat of a difficulty in
respect of the condition of grown-up people, who are already
exercising the choice of will. But when we come to the case of
infants, and to the Mediator between God and man Himself, the man
Christ Jesus, there is wanting all assertion of human merits that
precede the grace of God, because the former are not distinguished
from others by any preceding good merits that they should belong to
the Deliverer of men; any more than He Himself being Himself a man,
was made the Deliverer of men by virtue of any precedent human merits.
Chapter 24.--That No One is Judged According to What He Would Have
Done If He Had Lived Longer.
For who can hear that infants, baptized in the condition of mere
infancy, are said to depart from this life by reason of their future
merits, and that others not baptized are said to die in the same age
because their future merits are foreknown,--but as evil; so that God
rewards or condemns in them not their good or evil life, but no life
at all?  The apostle, indeed, fixed a limit which man's
incautious suspicion, to speak gently, ought not to transgress, for he
says, "We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ; that
every one may receive according to the things which he has done by
means of the body, whether it be good or evil."  "Has done," he
said; and he did not add, "or would have done." But I know not whence
this thought should have entered the minds of such men, that infants'
future merits (which shall not be) should be punished or honoured. But
why is it said that a man is to be judged according to those things
which he has done by means of the body, when many things are done by
the mind alone, and not by the body, nor by any member of the body;
and for the most part things of such importance, that a most righteous
punishment would be due to such thought, such as,--to say nothing of
others,--that "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God"?
 What, then, is the meaning of, "According to those things that
he hath done by means of the body," except according to those things
which he has done during that time in which he was in the body, so
that we may understand "by means of the body" as meaning "throughout
the season of bodily life"? But after the body, no one will be in the
body except at the last resurrection,--not for the purpose of
establishing any claims of merit, but for the sake of receiving
recompenses for good merits, and enduring punishments for evil merits.
But in this intermediate period between the putting off and the taking
again of the body, the souls are either tormented or they are in
repose, according to those things which they have done during the
period of the bodily life. And to this period of the bodily life
moreover pertains, what the Pelagians deny, but Christ's Church
confesses, original sin; and according to whether this is by God's
grace loosed, or by God's judgment not loosed, when infants die, they
pass, on the one hand, by the merit of regeneration from evil to good,
or on the other, by the merit of their origin from evil to evil. The
catholic faith acknowledges this, and even some heretics, without any
contradiction, agree to this. But in the height of wonder and
astonishment I am unable to discover whence men, whose intelligence
your letters show to be by no means contemptible, could entertain the
opinion that any one should be judged not according to the merits that
he had as long as he was in the body, but according to the merits
which he would have had if he had lived longer in the body; and I
should not dare to believe that there were such men, if I could
venture to disbelieve you. But I hope that God will interpose, so that
when they are admonished they may at once perceive, that if those sins
which, as is said, would have been, can rightly be punished by God's
judgment in those who are not baptized, they may alo be rightly
remitted by God's grace in those who are baptized. For whoever says
that future sins can only be punished by God's judgment, but cannot be
pardoned by God's mercy, ought to consider how great a wrong he is
doing to God and His grace; as if future sin could be foreknown, and
could not be foregone.  And if this is absurd, it is the greater
reason that help should be afforded to those who would be sinners if
they lived longer, when they die in early life, by means of that laver
wherein sins are washed away.
 See Prosper's Letter in Augustin's Letters, 225, ch. 5.
 2 Cor. v. 10.
 Ps. xiv. 1.
 Prænosci possit, nec possit ignosci.
Chapter 25 [XIII.]--Possibly the Baptized Infants Would Have Repented
If They Had Lived, and the Unbaptized Not.
But if, perchance, they say that sins are re-remitted to penitents,
and that those who die in infancy are not baptized because they are
foreknown as not such as would repent if they should live, while God
has foreknown that those who are baptized and die in infancy would
have repented if they had lived, let them observe and see that if it
be so it is not in this case original sins which are punished in
infants that die without baptism, but what would have been the sins of
each one had he lived; and also in baptized infants, that it is not
original sins that are washed away, but their own future sins if they
should live, since they could not sin except in more mature age; but
that some were foreseen as such as would repent, and others as such as
would not repent, therefore some were baptized, and others departed
from this life without baptism. If the Pelagians should dare to say
this, by their denial of original sin they would thus be relieved of
the necessity of seeking, on behalf of infants outside of the kingdom
of God, for some place of I know not what happiness of their own;
especially since they are convinced that they cannot have eternal life
because they have not eaten the flesh nor drank the blood of Christ;
and because in them who have no sin at all, baptism, which is given
for the remission of sins, is falsified. For they would go on to say
that there is no original sin, but that those who as infants are
released are either baptized or not baptized according to their future
merits if they should live, and that according to their future merits
they either receive or do not receive the body and blood of Christ,
without which they absolutely cannot have life; and are baptized for
the true remission of sins although they derived no sins from Adam,
because the sins are remitted unto them concerning which God foreknew
that they would repent. Thus with the greatest ease they would plead
and would win their cause, in which they deny that there is any
original sin, and contend that the grace of God is only given
according to our merits. But that the future merits of men, which
merits will never come into existence are beyond all doubt no merits
at all, it is certainly most easy to see: for this reason even the
Pelagians were not able to say this; and much rather these ought not
to say it. For it cannot be said with what pain I find that they who
with us on catholic authority condemn the error of those heretics,
have not seen this, which the Pelagians themselves have seen to be
most false and absurd.
Chapter 26 [XIV]--Reference to Cyprian's Treatise "On the Mortality."
Cyprian wrote a work On the Mortality,  known with approval to
many and almost all who love ecclesiastical literature, wherein he
says that death is not only not disadvantageous to believers, but that
it is even found to be advantageous, because it withdraws men from the
risks of sinning, and establishes them in a security of not sinning.
But wherein is the advantage of this, if even future sins which have
not been committed are punished? Yet he argues most copiously and well
that the risks of sinning are not wanting in this life, and that they
do not continue after this life is done; where also he adduces that
testimony from the book of Wisdom: "He was taken away, lest wickedness
should alter his understanding."  And this was also adduced by
me, though you said that those brethren of yours had rejected it on
the ground of its not having been brought forward from a canonical
book; as if, even setting aside the attestation of this book, the
thing itself were not clear which I wished to be taught therefrom. For
what Christian would dare to deny that the righteous man, if he should
be prematurely laid hold of by death, will be in repose? Let who will,
say this, and what man of sound faith will think that he can withstand
it? Moreover, if he should say that the righteous man, if he should
depart from his righteousness in which he has long lived, and should
die in that impiety after having lived in it, I say not a year, but
one day, will go hence into the punishment due to the wicked, his
righteousness having no power in the future to avail him,--will any
believer contradict this evident truth? Further, if we are asked
whether, if he had died then at the time that he was righteous, he
would have incurred punishment or repose, shall we hesitate to answer,
repose? This is the whole reason why it is said,--whoever says
it,--"He was taken away lest wickedness should alter his
understanding." For it was said in reference to the risks of this
life, not with reference to the foreknowledge of God, who foreknew
that which was to be, not that which was not to be--that is, that He
would bestow on him an untimely death in order that he might be
withdrawn from the uncertainty of temptations; not that he would sin,
since he was not to remain in temptation. Because, concerning this
life, we read in the book of Job, "Is not the life of man upon earth a
temptation?"  But why it should be granted to some to be taken
away from the perils of this life while they are righteous, while
others who are righteous until they fall from righteousness are kept
in the same risks in a more lengthened life,--who has known the mind
of the Lord? And yet it is permitted to be understood from this, that
even those righteous people who maintain good and pious characters,
even to the maturity of old age and to the last day of this life, must
not glory in their own merits, but in the Lord, since He who took away
the righteous man from the shortness of life, lest wickedness should
alter his understanding, Himself guards the righteous man in any
length of life, that wickedness may not alter his understanding. But
why He should have kept the righteous man here to fall, when He might
have withdrawn him before,--His judgments, although absolutely
righteous, are yet unsearchable.
 Cyprian, Works in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. v. p. 469.
 Wisd. iv. 11.
 Job vii. 1.
Chapter 27.--The Book of Wisdom Obtains in the Church the Authority of
And since these things are so, the judgment of the book of Wisdom
ought not to be repudiated, since for so long a course of years that
book has deserved to be read in the Church of Christ from the station
of the readers of the Church of Christ, and to be heard by all
Christians, from bishops downwards, even to the lowest lay believers,
penitents, and catechumens, with the veneration paid to divine
authority. For assuredly, if, from those who have been before me in
commenting on the divine Scriptures, I should bring forward a defence
of this judgment, which we are now called upon to defend more
carefully and copiously than usual against the new error of the
Pelagians,--that is, that God's grace is not given according to our
merits, and that it is given freely to whom it is given, because it is
neither of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that
showeth mercy; but that by righteous judgment it is not given to whom
it is not given, because there is no unrighteousness with God;--if,
therefore, I should put forth a defence of this opinion from catholic
commentators on the divine oracles who have preceded us, assuredly
these brethren for whose sake I am now discoursing would acquiesce,
for this you have intimated in your letters. What need is there, then,
for us to look into the writings of those who, before this heresy
sprang up, had no necessity to be conversant in a question so
difficult of solution as this, which beyond a doubt they would have
done if they had been compelled to answer such things? Whence it arose
that they touched upon what they thought of God's grace briefly in
some passages of their writings, and cursorily; but on those matters
which they argued against the enemies of the Church, and in
exhortations to every virtue by which to serve the living and true God
for the purpose of attaining eternal life and true happiness, they
dwelt at length. But the grace of God, what it could do, shows itself
artlessly by its frequent mention in prayers; for what God commands to
be done would not be asked for from God, unless it could be given by
Him that it should be done.
Chapter 28.--Cyprian's Treatise "On the Mortality."
But if any wish to be instructed in the opinions of those who have
handled the subject, it behoves them to prefer to all commentators the
book of Wisdom, where it is read, "He was taken away, that wickedness
should not alter his understanding;" because illustrious commentators,
even in the times nearest to the apostles, preferred it to themselves,
seeing that when they made use of it for a testimony they believed
that they were making use of nothing but a divine testimony; and
certainly it appears that the most blessed Cyprian, in order to
commend the advantage of an earlier death, contended that those who
end this life, wherein sin is possible, are taken away from the risks
of sins. In the same treatise, among other things, he says, "Why, when
you are about to be with Christ, and are secure of the divine promise,
do you not embrace being called to Christ, and rejoice that you are
free from the devil?"  And in another place he says, "Boys
escape the peril of their unstable age."  And again, in another
place, he says, "Why do we not hasten and run, that we may see our
country, that we may hail our relatives? A great number of those who
are dear to us are expecting us there,--a dense and abundant crowd of
parents, brethren, sons, are longing for us; already secure of their
own safety, but still anxious about our salvation."  By these
and such like sentiments, that teacher sufficiently and plainly
testifies, in the clearest light of the catholic faith, that perils of
sin and trials are to be feared even until the putting off of this
body, but that afterwards no one shall suffer any such things. And
even if he did not testify thus, when could any manner of Christian be
in doubt on this matter? How, then, should it not have been of
advantage to a man who has lapsed, and who finishes his life
wretchedly in that same state of lapse, and passes into the punishment
due to such as he,--how, I say, should it not have been of the
greatest and highest advantage to such an one to be snatched by death
from this sphere of temptations before his fall?
 Cyprian, On the Mortality, as above.
 Cyprian, On the Mortality, as above.
 Cyprian, On the Mortality, as above.
Chapter 29.--God's Dealing Does Not Depend Upon Any Contingent Merits
And thus, unless we indulge in reckless disputation, the entire
question is concluded concerning him who is taken away lest wickedness
should alter his understanding. And the book of Wisdom, which for such
a series of years has deserved to be read in Christ's Church, and in
which this is read, ought not to suffer injustice because it
withstands those who are mistaken on behalf of men's merit, so as to
come in opposition to the most manifest grace of God: and this grace
chiefly appears in infants, and while some of these baptized, and some
not baptized, come to the end of this life, they sufficiently point to
God's mercy and His judgment,--His mercy, indeed, gratuitous, His
judgment, of debt. For if men should be judged according to the merits
of their life, which merits they have been prevented by death from
actually having, but would have had if they had lived, it would be of
no advantage to him who is taken away lest wickedness should alter his
understanding; it would be of no advantage to those who die in a state
of lapse if they should die before. And this no Christian will venture
to say. Wherefore our brethren, who with us on behalf of the catholic
faith assail the pest of the Pelagian error, ought not to such an
extent to favour the Pelagian opinion, wherein they conceive that
God's grace is given according to our merits, as to endeavour (which
they cannot dare) to invalidate a true sentiment, plainly and from
ancient times Christian,--"He was taken away, lest wickedness should
alter his understanding;" and to build up that which we should think,
I do not say, no one would believe, but no one would dream,--to wit,
that any deceased person would be judged according to those things
which he would have done if he had lived for a more lengthened period.
Surely thus what we say manifests itself clearly to be
incontestable,--that the grace of God is not given according to our
merits; so that ingenious men who contradict this truth are
constrained to say things which must be rejected from the ears and
from the thoughts of all men.
Chapter 30 [XV.]--The Most Illustrious Instance of Predestination is
Moreover, the most illustrious Light of predestination and grace is
the Saviour Himself,--the Mediator Himself between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus. And, pray, by what preceding merits of its own,
whether of works or of faith, did the human nature which is in Him
procure for itself that it should be this? Let this have an answer, I
beg. That man, whence did He deserve this--to be assumed by the Word
co-eternal with the Father into unity of person, and be the
only-begotten Son of God? Was it because any kind of goodness in Him
preceded? What did He do before? What did He believe? What did He ask,
that He should attain to this unspeakable excellence? Was it not by
the act and the assumption of the Word that that man, from the time He
began to be, began to be the only Son of God? Did not that woman, full
of grace, conceive the only Son of God? Was He not born the only Son
of God, of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,--not of the lust of
the flesh, but by God's peculiar gift? Was it to be feared that as age
matured this man, He would sin of free will? Or was the will in Him
not free on that account? and was it not so much the more free in
proportion to the greater impossibility of His becoming the servant of
sin? Certainly, in Him human nature--that is to say, our
nature--specially received all those specially admirable gifts, and
any others that may most truly be said to be peculiar to Him, by
virtue of no preceding merits of its own. Let a man here answer to God
if he dare, and say, Why was it not I also? And if he should hear, "O
man, who art thou that repliest against God?"  let him not at
this point restrain himself, but increase his impudence and say, "How
is it that I hear, Who art thou, O man? since I am what I hear,--that
is, a man, and He of whom I speak is but the same? Why should not I
also be what He is? For it is by grace that He is such and so great;
why is grace different when nature is common? Assuredly, there is no
respect of persons with God." I say, not what Christian man, but what
madman will say this?
 Rom. ix. 10.
Chapter 31.--Christ Predestinated to Be the Son of God.
Therefore in Him who is our Head let there appear to be the very
fountain of grace, whence, according to the measure of every man, He
diffuses Himself through all His members. It is by that grace that
every man from the beginning of his faith becomes a Christian, by
which grace that one man from His beginning became Christ. Of the same
Spirit also the former is born again of which the latter was born. By
the same Spirit is effected in us the remission of sins, by which
Spirit it was effected that He should have no sin. God certainly
foreknew that He would do these things. This, therefore, is that same
predestination of the saints which most especially shone forth in the
Saint of saints; and who is there of those who rightly understand the
declarations of the truth that can deny this predestination? For we
have learned that the Lord of glory Himself was predestinated in so
far as the man was made the Son of God. The teacher of the Gentiles
exclaims, in the beginning of his epistles, "Paul, a servant of Jesus
Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God
(which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures)
concerning His Son, which was made of the seed of David according to
the flesh, who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to
the Spirit of sanctification by the resurrection of the dead." 
Therefore Jesus was predestinated, so that He who was to be the Son of
David according to the flesh should yet be in power the Son of God,
according to the Spirit of sanctification, because He was born of the
Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. This is that ineffably
accomplished sole taking up of man by God the Word, so that He might
truly and properly be called at the same time the Son of God and the
Son of man,--Son of man on account of the man taken up, and the Son of
God on account of the God only-begotten who took Him up, so that a
Trinity and not a Quaternity might be believed in. Such a transporting
of human nature was predestinated, so great, so lofty, and so sublime
that there was no exalting it more highly,--just as on our behalf that
divinity had no possibility of more humbly putting itself off, than by
the assumption of man's nature with the weakness of the flesh, even to
the death of the cross. As, therefore, that one man was predestinated
to be our Head, so we being many are predestinated to be His members.
Here let human merits which have perished through Adam keep silence,
and let that grace of God reign which reigns through Jesus Christ our
Lord, the only Son of God, the one Lord. Let whoever can find in our
Head the merits which preceded that peculiar generation, seek in us
His members for those merits which preceded our manifold regeneration.
For that generation was not recompensed to Christ, but given; that He
should be born, namely, of the Spirit and the Virgin, separate from
all entanglement of sin. Thus also our being born again of water and
the Spirit is not recompensed to us for any merit, but freely given;
and if faith has brought us to the laver of regeneration, we ought not
therefore to suppose that we have first given anything, so that the
regeneration of salvation should be recompensed to us again; because
He made us to believe in Christ, who made for us a Christ on whom we
believe. He makes in men the beginning and the completion of the faith
in Jesus who made the man Jesus the beginner and finisher of faith;
 for thus, as you know, He is called in the epistle which is
addressed to the Hebrews.
 Rom. i. 1 ff.
 Heb. xii. 2.
Chapter 32 [XVI.]--The Twofold Calling.
God indeed calls many predestinated children of His, to make them
members of His only predestinated Son,--not with that calling with
which they were called who would not come to the marriage, since with
that calling were called also the Jews, to whom Christ crucified is an
offence, and the Gentiles, to whom Christ crucified is foolishness;
but with that calling He calls the predestinated which the apostle
distinguished when he said that he preached Christ, the wisdom of God
and the power of God, to them that were called, Jews as well as
Greeks. For thus he says "But unto them which are called,"  in
order to show that there were some who were not called; knowing that
there is a certain sure calling of those who are called according to
God's purpose, whom He has foreknown and predestinated before to be
conformed to the image of His Son. And it was this calling he meant
when he said, "Not of works, but of Him that calleth; it was said unto
her, That the elder shall serve the younger."  Did he say, "Not
of works, but of him that believeth"? Rather, he actually took this
away from man, that he might give the whole to God. Therefore he said,
"But of Him that calleth,"--not with any sort of calling whatever, but
with that calling wherewith a man is made a believer.
 1 Cor. i. 24.
 Rom. ix. 12.
Chapter 33.--It is in the Power of Evil Men to Sin; But to Do This or
That by Means of that Wickedness is in God's Power Alone.
Moreover, it was this that he had in view when he said, "The gifts and
calling of God are without repentance."  And in that saying also
consider for a little what was its purport. For when he had said, "For
I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,
that ye may not be wise in yourselves, that blindness in part is
happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and
so all Israel should be saved; as it is written, There shall come out
of Sion one who shall deliver, and turn away impiety from Jacob: and
this is the covenant to them from me, when I shall take away their
sins;"  he immediately added, what is to be very carefully
understood, "As concerning the gospel, indeed, they are enemies for
your sakes: but as concerning the election, they are beloved for their
fathers' sakes."  What is the meaning of, "as concerning the
gospel, indeed, they are enemies for your sake," but that their enmity
wherewith they put Christ to death was, without doubt, as we see, an
advantage to the gospel? And he shows that this came about by God's
ordering, who knew how to make a good use even of evil things; not
that the vessels of wrath might be of advantage to Him, but that by
His own good use of them they might be of advantage to the vessels of
mercy. For what could be said more plainly than what is actually said,
"As concerning the gospel, indeed, they are enemies for your sakes"?
It is, therefore, in the power of the wicked to sin; but that in
sinning they should do this or that by that wickedness is not in their
power, but in God's, who divides the darkness and regulates it; so
that hence even what they do contrary to God's will is not fulfilled
except it be God's will. We read in the Acts of the Apostles that when
the apostles had been sent away by the Jews, and had come to their own
friends, and shown them what great things the priests and elders said
to them, they all with one consent lifted up their voices to the Lord
and said, "Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and
the sea, and all things that are therein; who, by the mouth of our
father David, thy holy servant, hast said, Why did the heathen rage,
and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up,
and the princes were gathered together against the Lord, and against
His Christ. For in truth, there have assembled together in this city
against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, Herod and
Pilate, and the people of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and counsel
predestinated to be done."  See what is said: "As concerning the
gospel, indeed, they are enemies for your sakes." Because God's hand
and counsel predestinated such things to be done by the hostile Jews
as were necessary for the gospel, for our sakes. But what is it that
follows? "But as concerning the election, they are beloved for their
fathers' sakes." For are those enemies who perished in their enmity
and those of the same people who still perish in their opposition to
Christ,--are those chosen and beloved? Away with the thought! Who is
so utterly foolish as to say this? But both expressions, although
contrary to one another--that is, "enemies" and "beloved"--are
appropriate, though not to the same men, yet to the same Jewish
people, and to the same carnal seed of lsrael, of whom some belonged
to the falling away, and some to the blessing of Israel himself. For
the apostle previously explained this meaning more clearly when he
said, "That which lsrael wrought for, he hath not obtained; but the
election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded?"  Yet in
both cases it was the very same Israel. Where, therefore, we hear,
"Israel hath not obtained," or, "The rest were blinded," there are to
be understood the enemies for our sakes; but where we hear, "that the
election hath obtained it," there are to be understood the beloved for
their father's sakes, to which fathers those things were assuredly
promised; because "the promises were made to Abraham and his seed,"
 whence also in that olive-tree is grafted the wild olive-tree
of the Gentiles. Now subsequently we certainly ought to fall in with
the election, of which he says that it is according to grace, not
according to debt, because "there was made a remnant by the election
of grace"  This election obtained it, the rest being blinded. As
concerning this election, the Israelites were beloved for the sake of
their fathers. For they were not called with that calling of which it
is said, "Many are called," but with that whereby the chosen are
called. Whence also after he had said, "But as concerning the
election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes," he went on to add
those words whence this discussion arose: "For the gifts and calling
of God are without repentance,"--that is, they are firmly established
without change. Those who belong to this calling are all teachable by
God; nor can any of them say, "I believed in order to being thus
called," because the mercy of God anticipated him, because he was so
called in order that he might believe. For all who are teachable of
God come to the Son because they have heard and learned from the
Father through the Son, who most clearly says, "Every one who has
heard of the Father, and has learned, cometh unto me."  But of
such as these none perishes, because "of all that the Father hath
given Him, He will lose none."  Whoever, therefore, is of these
does not perish at all; nor was any who perishes ever of these. For
which reason it is said, "They went out from among us, but they were
not of us; for if they had been of us, they would certainly have
continued with us." 
 Rom. xi. 29.
 Rom. xi. 25 ff.
 Rom. xi. 28.
 Acts iv. 24 ff.
 Rom. xi. 7.
 Gal. iii. 16.
 Rom. xi. 5.
 John vi. 45.
 John vi. 39.
 John ii. 19.
Chapter 34 [XVII.]--The Special Calling of the Elect is Not Because
They Have Believed, But in Order that They May Believe.
Let us, then, understand the calling whereby they become elected,--not
those who are elected because they have believed, but who are elected
that they may believe. For the Lord Himself also sufficiently explains
this calling when He says, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen
you."  For if they had been elected because they had believed,
they themselves would certainly have first chosen Him by believing in
Him, so that they should deserve to be elected. But He takes away this
supposition altogether when He says, "Ye have not chosen me, but I
have chosen you." And yet they themselves, beyond a doubt, chose Him
when they believed on Him. Whence it is not for any other reason that
He says, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," than because
they did not choose Him that He should choose them, but He chose them
that they might choose Him; because His mercy preceded them according
to grace, not according to debt. Therefore He chose them out of the
world while He was wearing flesh, but as those who were already chosen
in Himself before the foundation of the world. This is the changeless
truth concerning predestination and grace. For what is it that the
apostle says, "As He hath chosen us in Himself before the foundation
of the world"?  And assuredly, if this were said because God
foreknew that they would believe, not because He Himself would make
them believers, the Son is speaking against such a foreknowledge as
that when He says, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you;"
when God should rather have foreknown this very thing, that they
themselves would have chosen Him, so that they might deserve to be
chosen by Him. Therefore they were elected before the foundation of
the world with that predestination in which God foreknew what He
Himself would do; but they were elected out of the world with that
calling whereby God fulfilled that which He predestinated. For whom He
predestinated, them He also called, with that calling, to wit, which
is according to the purpose. Not others, therefore, but those whom He
predestinated, them He also called; nor others, but those whom He so
called, them He also justified; nor others, but those whom He
predestinated, called, and justified, them He also glorified;
assuredly to that end which has no end. Therefore God elected
believers; but He chose them that they might be so, not because they
were already so. The Apostle James says: "Has not God chosen the poor
in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath
promised to them that love Him?"  By choosing them, therefore;
He makes them rich in faith, as He makes them heirs of the kingdom;
because He is rightly said to choose that in them, in order to make
which in them He chose them. I ask, who can hear the Lord saying, "Ye
have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," and can dare to say that
men believe in order to be elected, when they are rather elected to
believe; lest against the judgment of truth they be found to have
first chosen Christ to whom Christ says, "Ye have not chosen me, but I
have chosen you"? 
 John xv. 16.
 Eph. i. 4.
 Jas. ii. 5.
 John xvi. 16.
Chapter 35 [XVIII.]--Election is for the Purpose of Holiness.
Who can hear the apostle saying, "Blessed be the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us in all spiritual blessing in
the heavens in Christ; as He has chosen us in Him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without spot in
His sight; in love predestinating us to the adoption of children by
Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will,
wherein He hath shown us favour in His beloved Son; in whom we have
redemption through His blood, the remission of sins according to the
riches of His grace, which hath abounded to us in all wisdom and
prudence; that He might show to us the mystery of His will according
to His good pleasure, which He hath purposed in Himself, in the
dispensation of the fulness of times, to restore all things in Christ,
which are in heaven, and in the earth, in Him: in whom also we have
obtained a share, being predestinated according to the purpose; who
worketh all things according to the counsel of His will, that we
should be to the praise of his glory;"  --who, I say, can hear
these words with attention and intelligence, and can venture to have
any doubt concerning a truth so clear as this which we are defending?
God chose Christ's members in Him before the foundation of the world;
and how should He choose those who as yet did not exist, except by
predestinating them? Therefore He chose us by predestinating us. Would
he choose the unholy and the unclean? Now if the question be proposed,
whether He would choose such, or rather the holy and unstained, who
can ask which of these he may answer, and not give his opinion at once
in favour of the holy and pure?
 Eph. i. 3 ff.
Chapter 36.--God Chose the Righteous; Not Those Whom He Foresaw as
Being of Themselves, But Those Whom He Predestinated for the Purpose
of Making So.
"Therefore," says the Pelagian, "He foreknew who would be holy and
immaculate by the choice of free will, and on that account elected
them before the foundation of the world in that same foreknowledge of
His in which He foreknew that they would be such. Therefore He elected
them," says he, "before they existed, predestinating them to be
children whom He foreknew to be holy and immaculate. Certainly He did
not make them so; nor did He foresee that He would make them so, but
that they would be so." Let us, then, look into the words of the
apostle and see whether He chose us before the foundation of the world
because we were going to be holy and immaculate, or in order that we
might be so. "Blessed," says he, "be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us in all spiritual blessing in the
heavens in Christ; even as He hath chosen us in Himself before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted." 
Not, then, because we were to be so, but that we might be so.
Assuredly it is certain,--assuredly it is manifest. Certainly we were
to be such for the reason that He has chosen us, predestinating us to
be such by His grace. Therefore "He blessed us with spiritual blessing
in the heavens in Christ Jesus, even as He chose us in Him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and immaculate in His
sight, in order that we might not in so great a benefit of grace glory
concerning the good pleasure of our will. "In which," says he, "He
hath shown us favour in His beloved Son,"--in which, certainly, His
own will, He hath shown us favour. Thus, it is said, He hath shown us
grace by grace, even as it is said, He has made us righteous by
righteousness. "In whom," he says, "we have redemption through His
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace,
which has abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence; that he might
show to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure."
In this mystery of His will, He placed the riches of His grace,
according to His good pleasure, not according to ours, which could not
possibly be good unless He Himself, according to His own good
pleasure, should aid it to become so. But when he had said, "According
to His good pleasure," he added, "which He purposed in Him," that is,
in His beloved Son, "in the dispensation of the fulness of times to
restore all things in Christ, which are in heaven, and which are in
earth, in Him: in whom also we too have obtained a lot, being
predestinated according to His purpose who worketh all things
according to the counsel of His will; that we should be to the praise
of His glory."
 Eph. i. 3.
Chapter 37.--We Were Elected and Predestinated, Not Because We Were
Going to Be Holy, But in Order that We Might Be So.
It would be too tedious to argue about the several points. But you see
without doubt, you see with what evidence of apostolic declaration
this grace is defended, in opposition to which human merits are set
up, as if man should first give something for it to be recompensed to
him again. Therefore God chose us in Christ before the foundation of
the world, predestinating us to the adoption of children, not because
we were going to be of ourselves holy and immaculate, but He chose and
predestinated us that we might be so. Moreover, He did this according
to the good pleasure of His will, so that nobody might glory
concerning his own will, but about God's will towards himself. He did
this according to the riches of His grace, according to His good-will,
which He purposed in His beloved Son; in whom we have obtained a
share, being predestinated according to the purpose, not ours, but
His, who worketh all things to such an extent as that He worketh in us
to will also. Moreover, He worketh according to the counsel of His
will, that we may be to the praise of His glory.  For this
reason it is that we cry that no one should glory in man, and, thus,
not in himself; but whoever glorieth let him glory in the Lord, that
he may be for the praise of His glory. Because He Himself worketh
according to His purpose that we may be to the praise of His glory,
and, of course, holy and immaculate, for which purpose He called us,
predestinating us before the foundation of the world. Out of this, His
purpose, is that special calling of the elect for whom He co-worketh
with all things for good, because they are called according to His
purpose, and "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
 Phil. ii. 13.
 Rom. xi. 29.
Chapter 38 [XIX.]--What is the View of the Pelagians, and What of the
Semi-Pelagians, Concerning Predestination.
But these brethren of ours, about whom and on whose behalf we are now
discoursing, say, perhaps, that the Pelagians are refuted by this
apostolical testimony in which it is said that we are chosen in Christ
and predestinated before the foundation of the world, in order that we
should be holy and immaculate in His sight in love. For they think
that "having received God's commands we are of ourselves by the choice
of our free will made holy and immaculate in His sight in love; and
since God foresaw that this would be the case," they say, "He
therefore chose and predestinated us in Christ before the foundation
of the world." Although the apostle says that it was not because He
foreknew that we should be such, but in order that we might be such by
the same election of His grace, by which He showed us favour in His
beloved Son. When, therefore, He predestinated us, He foreknew His own
work by which He makes us holy and immaculate. Whence the Pelagian
error is rightly refuted by this testimony. "But we say," say they,
"that God did not foreknow anything as ours except that faith by which
we begin to believe, and that He chose and predestinated us before the
foundation of the world, in order that we might be holy and immaculate
by His grace and by His work." But let them also hear in this
testimony the words where he says, "We have obtained a lot, being
predestinated according to His purpose who worketh all things." 
He, therefore, worketh the beginning of our belief who worketh all
things; because faith itself does not precede that calling of which it
is said: "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance;"
 and of which it is said: "Not of works, but of Him that
calleth"  (although He might have said, "of Him that
believeth"); and the election which the Lord signified when He said:
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you."  For He chose
us, not because we believed, but that we might believe, lest we should
be said first to have chosen Him, and so His word be false (which be
it far from us to think possible), "Ye have not chosen me, but I have
chosen you." Neither are we called because we believed, but that we
may believe; and by that calling which is without repentance it is
effected and carried through that we should believe. But all the many
things which we have said concerning this matter need not to be
 Eph. i. 11.
 Rom. xi. 29.
 Rom. ix. 12.
 John xv. 16.
Chapter 39--The Beginning of Faith is God's Gift.
Finally, also, in what follows this testimony, the apostle gives
thanks to God on behalf of those who have believed;--not, certainly,
because the gospel has been declared to them, but because they have
believed. For he says, "In whom also after ye had heard the word of
truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, after that ye
believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the
pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased
possession unto the praise of His glory. Wherefore I also, after I had
heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and with reference to all the
saints, cease not to give thanks for you."  Their faith was new
and recent on the preaching of the gospel to them, which faith when he
hears of, the apostle gives thanks to God on their behalf. If he were
to give thanks to man for that which he might either think or know
that man had not given, it would be called a flattery or a mockery,
rather than a giving of thanks. "Do not err, for God is not mocked;"
 for His gift is also the beginning of faith, unless the
apostolic giving of thanks be rightly judged to be either mistaken or
fallacious. What then? Does that not appear as the beginning of the
faith of the Thessalonians, for which, nevertheless, the same apostle
gives thanks to God when he says, "For this cause also we thank God
without ceasing, because when ye had received from us the word of the
hearing of God, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in
truth the word of God, which effectually worketh in you and which ye
believed"?  What is that for which he here gives thanks to God?
Assuredly it is a vain and idle thing if He to whom he gives thanks
did not Himself do the thing. But, since this is not a vain and idle
thing, certainly God, to whom he gave thanks concerning this work,
Himself did it; that when they had received the word of the hearing of
God, they received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth
the word of God. God, therefore, worketh in the hearts of men with
that calling according to His purpose, of which we have spoken a great
deal, that they should not hear the gospel in vain, but when they
heard it, should be converted and believe, receiving it not as the
word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God.
 Eph. i. 13 ff.
 Gal. vi. 7.
 1 Thess. ii. 13.
Chapter 40 [XX.]--Apostolic Testimony to the Beginning of Faith Being
Moreover, we are admonished that the beginning of men's faith is God's
gift, since the apostle signifies this when, in the Epistle to the
Colossians, he says, "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same in
giving of thanks. Withal praying also for us that God would open unto
us the door of His word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which
also I am in bonds, that I may so make it manifest as I ought to
speak."  How is the door of His word opened, except when the
sense of the hearer is opened so that he may believe, and, having made
a beginning of faith, may admit those things which are declared and
reasoned, for the purpose of building up wholesome doctrine, lest, by
a heart closed through unbelief, he reject and repel those things
which are spoken? Whence, also, he says to the Corinthians: "But I
will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and evident door is
opened unto me, and there are many adversaries."  What else can
be understood here, save that, when the gospel had been first of all
preached there by him, many had believed, and there had appeared many
adversaries of the same faith, in accordance with that saying of the
Lord, "No one cometh unto me, unless it were given him of my Father;"
 and, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom
of heaven, but to them it is not given"?  Therefore, there is an
open door in those to whom it is given, but there are many adversaries
among those to whom it is not given.
 Col. iv. 2 ff.
 1 Cor. xvi. 8.
 John vi. 66.
 Luke viii. 10.
Chapter 41.--Further Apostolic Testimonies.
And again, the same apostle says to the same people, in his second
Epistle: "When I had come to Troas for the gospel of Christ, and a
door had been opened unto me in the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit,
because I found not Titus, my brother: but, making my farewell to
them, I went away into Macedonia."  To whom did he bid farewell
but to those who had believed,--to wit, in whose hearts the door was
opened for his preaching of the gospel? But attend to what he adds,
saying, "Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph in
Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every
place: because we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them who
are saved, and in them who perish: to some, indeed, we are the savour
of death unto death, but to some the savour of life unto life." 
See concerning what this most zealous soldier and invincible defender
of grace gives thanks. See concerning what he gives thanks,--that the
apostles are a sweet savour of Christ unto God, both in those who are
saved by His grace, and in those who perish by His judgment. But in
order that those who little understand these things may be less
enraged, he himself gives a warning when he adds the words: "And who
is sufficient for these things?"  But let us return to the
opening of the door by which the apostle signified the beginning of
faith in his hearers. For what is the meaning of, "Withal praying also
for us that God would open unto us a door of the word,"  unless
it is a most manifest demonstration that even the very beginning of
faith is the gift of God? For it would not be sought for from Him in
prayer, unless it were believed to be given by Him. This gift of
heavenly grace had descended to that seller of purple  for whom,
as Scripture says in the Acts of the Apostles, "The Lord opened her
heart, and she gave heed unto the things which were said by Paul;" for
she was so called that she might believe. Because God does what He
will in the hearts of men, either by assistance or by judgment; so
that, even through their means, may be fulfilled what His hand and
counsel have predestinated to be done.
 2 Cor. ii. 12, 13.
 2 Cor. ii. 14 ff.
 2 Cor. ii. 16.
 Col. iv. 3.
 Acts xvi. 14.
Chapter 42.--Old Testament Testimonies.
Therefore also it is in vain that objectors have alleged, that what we
have proved by Scripture testimony from the books of Kings and
Chronicles is not pertinent to the subject of which we are
discoursing:  such, for instance, as that when God wills that to
be done which ought only to be done by the willing men, their hearts
are inclined to will this,--inclined, that is to say, by His power,
who, in a marvellous and ineffable manner, worketh in us also to will.
What else is this than to say nothing, and yet to contradict? Unless
perchance, they have given some reason to you for the view that they
have taken, which reason you have preferred to say nothing about in
your letters. But what that reason can be I do not know. Whether,
possibly, since we have shown that God has so acted on the hearts of
men, and has induced the wills of those whom He pleased to this point,
that Saul or David should be established as king,--do they not think
that these instances are appropriate to this subject, because to reign
in this world temporally is not the same thing as to reign eternally
with God? And so do they suppose that God inclines the wills of those
whom He pleases to the attainment of earthly kingdoms, but does not
incline them to the attainment of a heavenly kingdom? But I think that
it was in reference to the kingdom of heaven, and not to an earthly
kingdom, that it was said, "Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies;"
 or, "The steps of a man are ordered by the Lord, and He will
will His way;"  or, "The will is prepared by the Lord;" 
or, "Let our Lord be with us as with our fathers; let Him not forsake
us, nor turn Himself away from us; let Him incline our hearts unto
Him, that we may walk in all His ways;"  or, "I will give them a
heart to know me, and ears that hear;"  or, "I will give them
another heart, and a new spirit will I give them."  Let them
also hear this, "I will give my Spirit within you, and I will cause
you to walk in my righteousness; and ye shall observe my judgments,
and do them."  Let them hear, "Man's goings are directed by the
Lord, and how can a man understand His ways?"  Let them hear,
"Every man seemeth right to himself, but the Lord directeth the
hearts."  Let them hear, "As many as were ordained to eternal
life believed."  Let them hear these passages, and whatever
others of the kind I have not mentioned in which God is declared to
prepare and to convert men's wills, even for the kingdom of heaven and
for eternal life. And consider what sort of a thing it is to believe
that God worketh men's wills for the foundation of earthly kingdoms,
but that men work their own wills for the attainment of the kingdom of
 Hilary's Letter in Augustin's Letters, 226, sec. 7.
 Ps. cxix. 36.
 Ps. xxxvii. 23.
 Prov. viii. [see LXX.].
 1 Kings viii. 57.
 Baruch ii. 31.
 Ezek. xi. 19.
 Ezek. xxxvi. 27.
 Prov. xx. 24.
 Prov. xxi. 2.
 Acts xiii. 48.
Chapter 43 [XXI.]--Conclusion.
I have said a great deal, and, perchance, I could long ago have
persuaded you what I wished, and am still speaking this to such
intelligent minds as if they were obtuse, to whom even what is too
much is not enough. But let them pardon me, for a new question has
compelled me to this. Because, although in my former little treatises
I had proved by sufficiently appropriate proofs that faith also was
the gift of God, there was found this ground of contradiction, viz.,
that those testimonies were good for this purpose, to show that the
increase of faith was God's gift, but that the beginning of faith,
whereby a man first of all believes in Christ, is of the man himself,
and is not the gift of God,--but that God requires this, so that when
it has preceded, other gifts may follow, as it were on the ground of
this merit, and these are the gifts of God; and that none of them is
given freely, although in them God's grace is declared, which is not
grace except as being gratuitous. And you see how absurd all this is.
Wherefore I determined, as far as I could, to set forth that this very
beginning also is God's gift. And if I have done this at a greater
length than perhaps those on whose account I did it might wish, I am
prepared to be reproached for it by them, so long as they nevertheless
confess that, although at greater length than they wished, although
with the disgust and weariness of those that understand, I have done
what I have done: that is, I have taught that even the beginning of
faith, as continence, patience, righteousness, piety, and the rest,
concerning which there is no dispute with them, is God's gift. Let
this, therefore, be the end of this treatise, lest too great length in
this one may give offence.
 This Treatise is the first portion of a work, of which the
following, On the Gift of Perseverance, is the second.
A Treatise on the Gift of Perseverance.
by Aurelius Augustin, Bishop of Hippo;
Being the Second Book,
Of the Treatise "On the Predestination of the Saints."
addressed to Prosper and Hilary.
a.d. 428 or 429
In the first part of the book he proves that the perseverance by which
a man perseveres in Christ to the end is God's gift; for that it is a
mockery to ask of God that which is not believed to be given by God.
Moreover, that in the Lord's prayer scarcely anything is asked for but
perseverance, according to the exposition of the martyr Cyprian, by
which exposition the enemies to this grace were convicted before they
were born. He teaches that the grace of perseverance is not given
according to the merits of the receivers, but to some it is given by
God's mercy; to others it is not given, by His righteous judgment.
That it is inscrutable why, of adults, one rather than another should
be called; just as, moreover, of two infants it is inscrutable why the
one should be taken, the other left. But that it is still more
inscrutable why, of two pious persons, to one it should be given to
persevere, to the other it should not be given; but that this is most
certain, that the former is of the predestinated, the latter is not.
He observes that the mystery of predestination is set forth in our
Lord's words concerning the people of Tyre and Sidon, who would have
repented if the same miracles had been done among them which had been
done in Chorazin. He shows that the case of infants is of force to
confirm the truth of predestination and grace in older people; and he
answers the passage of his third book on free will, unsoundly alleged
on this point by his adversaries. Subsequently, in the second part of
this work, he rebuts what they say,--to wit, that the definition of
predestination is opposed to the usefulness of exhortation and rebuke.
He asserts, on the other hand, that it is advantageous to preach
predestination, so that man may not glory in himself, but in the Lord.
As to the objections, however, which they make against predestination,
he shows that the same objections may be twisted in no unlike manner
either against God's foreknowledge or against that grace which they
all agree to be necessary for other good things (with the exception of
the beginning of faith and the completion of perseverance). For that
the predestination of the saints is nothing else than God's
foreknowledge and preparation for His benefits, by which whoever are
delivered are most certainly delivered. But he bids that
predestination should be preached in a harmonious manner, and not in
such a way as to seem to an unskilful multitude as if it were
disproved by its very preaching. Lastly, he commends to us Jesus
Christ, as placed before our eyes, as the most eminent instance of
 [In some editions and in many mss. the title is, On the Benefit
of Perseverance, and the book is so cited by Remigius, Florus (or
Bede), Hincmar, and others. Probably neither title is authentic.
Prosper speaks of it to Hilary as if it simply bore the name of the
second book of the Predestination of the Saints. "In the books," he
writes, "of Bishop Augustin, of blessed memory, which bear the title,
On the Predestination of the Saints."--W.]
Chapter 1 [I.]--Of the Nature of the Perseverance Here Discoursed of.
I Have now to consider the subject of perseverance with greater care;
for in the former book also I said some things on this subject when I
was discussing the beginning of faith. I assert, therefore, that the
perseverance by which we persevere in Christ even to the end is the
gift of God; and I call that the end by which is finished that life
wherein alone there is peril of falling. Therefore it is uncertain
whether any one has received this gift so long as he is still alive.
For if he fall before he dies, he is, of course, said not to have
persevered; and most truly is it said. How, then, should he be said to
have received or to have had perseverance who has not persevered? For
if any one have continence, and fall away from that virtue and become
incontinent,--or, in like manner, if he have righteousness, if
patience, if even faith, and fall away, he is rightly said to have had
these virtues and to have them no longer; for he was continent, or he
was righteous, or he was patient, or he was believing, as long as he
was so; but when he ceased to be so, he no longer is what he was. But
how should he who has not persevered have ever been persevering, since
it is only by persevering that any one shows himself persevering,--and
this he has not done? But lest any one should object to this, and say,
If from the time at which any one became a believer he has lived--for
the sake of argument--ten years, and in the midst of them has fallen
from the faith, has he not persevered for five years? I am not
contending about words. If it be thought that this also should be
called perseverance, as it were for so long as it lasts, assuredly he
is not to be said to have had in any degree that perseverance of which
we are now discoursing, by which one perseveres in Christ even to the
end. And the believer of one year, or of a period as much shorter as
may be conceived of, if he has lived faithfully until he died, has
rather had this perseverance than the believer of many years'
standing, if a little time before his death he has fallen away from
the stedfastness of his faith.
Chapter 2 [II.]--Faith is the Beginning of a Christian Man. Martyrdom
for Christ's Sake is His Best Ending.
This matter being settled, let us see whether this perseverance, of
which it was said, "He that persevereth unto the end, the same shall
be saved,"  is a gift of God. And if it be not, how is that
saying of the apostle true: "Unto you it is given in the behalf of
Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake"?
 Of these things, certainly, one has respect to the beginning,
the other to the end. Yet each is the gift of God, because both are
said to be given; as, also, I have already said above. For what is
more truly the beginning for a Christian than to believe in Christ?
What end is better than to suffer for Christ? But so far as pertains
to believing in Christ, whatever kind of contradiction has been
discovered, that not the beginning but the increase of faith should be
called God's gift,--to this opinion, by God's gift, I have answered
enough, and more than enough. But what reason can be given why
perseverance to the end should not be given in Christ to him to whom
it is given to suffer for Christ, or, to speak more distinctly, to
whom it is given to die for Christ? For the Apostle Peter, showing
that this is the gift of God, says, "It is better, if the will of God
be so, to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing."  When he
says, "If the will of God be so," he shows that this is divinely
given, and yet not to all saints, to suffer for Christ's sake. For
certainly those whom the will of God does not will to attain to the
experience and the glory of suffering, do not fail to attain to the
kingdom of God if they persevere in Christ to the end. But who can say
that this perseverance is not given to those who die in Christ from
any weakness of body, or by any kind of accident, although a far more
difficult perseverance is given to those by whom even death itself is
undergone for Christ's sake? Because perseverance is much more
difficult when the persecutor is engaged in preventing a man's
perseverance; and therefore he is sustained in his perseverance unto
death. Hence it is more difficult to have the former
perseverance,--easier to have the latter; but to Him to whom nothing
is difficult it is easy to give both. For God has promised this,
saying, "I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart
from me."  And what else is this than, "Such and so great shall
be my fear that I will put into their hearts that they will
perseveringly cleave to me"?
 Matt. x. 22.
 Phil. ii. 29.
 1 Pet. iii. 17.
 Jer. xxxii. 40.
Chapter 3.--God is Besought for It, Because It is His Gift.
But why is that perseverance asked for from God if it is not given by
God? Is that, too, a mocking petition, when that is asked from Him
which it is known that He does not give, but, though He gives it not,
is in man's power; just as that giving of thanks is a mockery, if
thanks are given to God for that which He did not give nor do? But
what I have said there,  I say also here again: "Be not
deceived," says the apostle, "God is not mocked."  O man, God is
a witness not only of your words, but also of your thoughts. If you
ask anything in truth and faith of one who is so rich, believe that
you receive from Him from whom you ask, what you ask. Abstain from
honouring Him with your lips and extolling yourself over Him in your
heart, by believing that you have from yourself what you are
pretending to beseech from Him. Is not this perseverance, perchance,
asked for from Him? He who says this is not to be rebuked by any
arguments, but must be overwhelmed  with the prayers of the
saints. Is there any of these who does not ask for himself from God
that he may persevere in Him, when in that very prayer which is called
the Lord's--because the Lord taught it--when it is prayed by the
saints, scarcely anything else is understood to be prayed for but
 On the Predestination of the Saints, above, ch. 39.
 Gal. vi. 6.
 Some editions read "recalled."
Chapter 4.--Three Leading Points of the Pelagian Doctrine.
Read with a little more attention its exposition in the treatise of
the blessed martyr Cyprian, which he wrote concerning this matter, the
title of which is, On the Lord's Prayer; and see how many years ago,
and what sort of an antidote was prepared against those poisons which
the Pelagians were one day to use. For there are three points, as you
know, which the catholic Church chiefly maintains against them. One of
these is, that the grace of God is not given according to our merits;
because even every one of the merits of the righteous is God's gift,
and is conferred by God's grace. The second is, that no one lives in
this corruptible body, however righteous he may be, without sins of
some kind. The third is, that man is born obnoxious to the first man's
sin, and bound by the chain of condemnation, unless the guilt which is
contracted by generation be loosed by regeneration. Of these three
points, that which I have placed last is the only one that is not
treated of in the above-named book of the glorious martyr; but of the
two others the discourse there is of such perspicuity, that the
above-named heretics, modern enemies of the grace of Christ, are found
to have been convicted long before they were born. Among these merits
of the saints, then, which are no merits unless they are the gifts of
God, he says that perseverance also is God's gift, in these words: "We
say, `Hallowed be Thy name;' not that we ask for God that He may be
hallowed by our prayers, but that we beseech of Him that His name may
be hallowed in us. But by whom is God sanctified, since He Himself
sanctifies? Well, because He says, Be ye holy because I also am holy,
we ask and entreat that we, who were sanctified in baptism, may
persevere in that which we have begun to be."  And a little
after, still arguing about that self-same matter, and teaching that we
entreat perseverance from the Lord, which we could in no wise rightly
and truly do unless it were His gift, he says: "We pray that this
sanctification may abide in us; and because our Lord and Judge warns
the man that was healed and quickened by Him to sin no more, lest a
worse thing happen unto him, we make this supplication in our constant
prayers; we ask this, day and night, that the sanctification and
quickening which is received from the grace of God may be preserved by
His protection."  That teacher, therefore, understands that we
are asking from Him for perseverance in sanctification, that is, that
we should persevere in sanctification, when we who are sanctified say,
"Hallowed be Thy name." For what else is it to ask for what we have
already received, than that it be given to us also not to cease from
its possession? As, therefore, the saint, when he asks God that he may
be holy, is certainly asking that he may continue to be holy, so
certainly the chaste person also, when he asks that he may be chaste,
the continent that he may be continent, the righteous that he may be
righteous, the pious that he may be pious, and the like,--which
things, against the Pelagians, we maintain to be God's gifts,--are
asking, without doubt, that they may persevere in those good things
which they have acknowledged that they have received. And if they
receive this, assuredly they also receive perseverance itself, the
great gift of God, whereby His other gifts are preserved.
 Cyprian, On the Lord's Prayer; see The Ante-Nicene Fathers,
vol. v. p. 450.
 Cyprian, On the Lord's Prayer, as above.
Chapter 5.--The Second Petition in the Lord's Prayer.
What, when we say, "Thy kingdom come," do we ask else, but that that
should also come to us which we do not doubt will come to all saints?
And therefore here also, what do they who are already holy pray for,
save that they may persevere in that holiness which has been given
them? For no otherwise will the kingdom of God come to them; which it
is certain will come not to others, but to those who persevere to the
Chapter 6 [III.]--The Third Petition. How Heaven and Earth are
Understood in the Lord's Prayer.
The third petition is, "Thy will be done in heaven and in earth;" or,
as it is read in many codices, and is more frequently made use of by
petitioners, "As in heaven, so also in earth," which many people
understand, "As the holy angels, so also may we do thy will." That
teacher and martyr will have heaven and earth, however, to be
understood as spirit and flesh, and says that we pray that we may do
the will of God with the full concord of both. He saw in these words
also another meaning, congruous to the soundest faith, of which
meaning I have already spoken above,--to wit, that for unbelievers,
who are as yet earth, bearing in their first birth only the earthly
man, believers are understood to pray, who, being clothed with the
heavenly man, are not unreasonably called by the name of heaven; where
he plainly shows that the beginning of faith also is God's gift, since
the holy Church prays not only for believers, that faith may be
increased or may continue in them, but, moreover, for unbelievers,
that they may begin to have what they have not had at all, and against
which, besides, they were indulging hostile feelings. Now, however, I
am arguing not concerning the beginning of faith, of which I have
already spoken much in the former book, but of that perseverance which
must be had even to the end,--which assuredly even the saints, who do
the will of God, seek when they say in prayer, "Thy will be done."
For, since it is already done in them, why do they still ask that it
may be done, except that they may persevere in that which they have
begun to be? Nevertheless, it may here be said that the saints do not
ask that the will of God may be done in heaven, but that it may be
done in earth as in heaven,--that is to say, that earth may imitate
heaven, that is, that man may imitate the angel, or that an unbeliever
may imitate a believer; and thus that the saints are asking that that
may be which is not yet, not that that which is may continue. For, by
whatever holiness men may be distinguished, they are not yet equal to
the angels of God; not yet, therefore, is the will of God done in them
as it is in heaven. And if this be so, in that portion indeed in which
we ask that men from unbelievers may become believers, it is not
perseverance, but beginning, that seems to be asked for; but in that
in which we ask that men may be made equal to the angels of God in
doing God's will,--where the saints pray for this, they are found to
be praying for perseverance; since no one attains to that highest
blessedness which is in the kingdom, unless he shall persevere unto
the end in that holiness which he has received on earth.
Chapter 7 [IV.]--The Fourth Petition.
The fourth petition is, "Give us this day our daily bread," 
where the blessed Cyprian shows how here also perseverance is
understood to be asked for. Because he says, among other things, "And
we ask that this bread should be given to us daily, that we who are in
Christ, and daily receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may
not by the interposition of some heinous sin be separated from
Christ's body by being withheld from communicating and prevented from
partaking of the heavenly bread."  These words of the holy man
of God indicate that the saints ask for perseverance directly from
God, when with this intention they say, "Give us this day our daily
bread," that they may not be separated from Christ's body, but may
continue in that holiness in which they allow no crime by which they
may deserve to be separated from it.
 Matt. vi. 11.
 Cyprian, On the Lord 's Prayer, as above.
Chapter 8 [V.]--The Fifth Petition. It is an Error of the Pelagians
that the Righteous are Free from Sin.
In the fifth sentence of the prayer we say, "Forgive us our debts, as
we also forgive our debtors,"  in which petition alone
perseverance is not found to be asked for. For the sins which we ask
to be forgiven us are past, but perseverance, which saves us for
eternity, is indeed necessary for the time of this life; but not for
the time which is past, but for that which remains even to its end.
Yet it is worth the labour to consider for a little, how even already
in this petition the heretics who were to arise long after were
transfixed by the tongue of Cyprian, as if by the most invincible dart
of truth. For the Pelagians dare to say even this: that the righteous
man in this life has no sin at all, and that in such men there is even
at the present time a Church not having spot or wrinkle or any such
thing,  which is the one and only bride of Christ; as if she
were not His bride who throughout the whole earth says what she has
learnt from Him, "Forgive us our debts." But observe how the most
glorious Cyprian destroys these. For when he was expounding that very
clause of the Lord's Prayer, he says among other things: "And how
necessarily, how providently, and salutarily are we admonished that we
are sinners, since we are compelled to entreat for our sins; and while
pardon is asked for from God, the soul recalls its own consciousness.
Lest any one should flatter himself that he is innocent, and by
exalting himself should more deeply perish, he is instructed and
taught that he sins daily, in that he is bidden daily to entreat for
his sins. Thus, moreover, John also in his Epistle warns  us,
and says,  `If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.'"  And the rest, which it would be
long to insert in this place.
 Matt. vi. 12.
 Eph. v. 27.
 "Potens" or "ponens" are different readings.
 1 John i. 8.
 Cyprian, as above.
Chapter 9.--When Perseverance is Granted to a Person, He Cannot But
Now, moreover, when the saints say, "Lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil,"  what do they pray for but that they may
persevere in holiness? For, assuredly, when that gift of God is
granted to them,--which is sufficiently plainly shown to be God's
gift, since it is asked of Him,--that gift of God, then, being granted
to them that they may not be led into temptation, none of the saints
fails to keep his perseverance in holiness even to the end. For there
is not any one who ceases to persevere in the Christian purpose unless
he is first of all led into temptation. If, therefore, it be granted
to him according to his prayer that he may not be led, certainly by
the gift of God he persists in that sanctification which by the gift
of God he has received.
 Matt. vi. 13.
Chapter 10 [VI.]--The Gift of Perseverance Can Be Obtained by Prayer.
But you write that "these brethren will not have this perseverance so
preached as that it cannot be obtained by prayer or lost by
obstinacy."  In this they are little careful in considering what
they say. For we are speaking of that perseverance whereby one
perseveres unto the end, and if this is given, one does persevere unto
the end; but if one does not persevere unto the end, it is not given,
which I have already sufficiently discussed above. Let not men say,
then, that perseverance is given to any one to the end, except when
the end itself has come, and he to whom it has been given has been
found to have persevered unto the end. Certainly, we say that one whom
we have known to be chaste is chaste, whether he should continue or
not in the same chastity; and if he should have any other divine
endowment which may be kept and lost, we say that he has it as long as
he has it; and if he should lose it, we say that he had it. But since
no one has perseverance to the end except he who does persevere to the
end, many people may have it, but none can lose it. For it is not to
be feared that perchance when a man has persevered unto the end, some
evil will may arise in him, so that he does not persevere unto the
end. This gift of God, therefore, may be obtained by prayer, but when
it has been given, it cannot be lost by contumacy. For when any one
has persevered unto the end, he neither can lose this gift, nor others
which he could lose before the end. How, then, can that be lost,
whereby it is brought about that even that which could be lost is not
 Hilary's Letter in Augustin's Letters, 226, ch. 3.
Chapter 11.--Effect of Prayer for Perseverance.
But, lest perchance it be said that perseverance even to the end is
not indeed lost when it has once been given,--that is, when a man has
persevered unto the end,--but that it is lost, in some sense, when a
man by contumacy so acts that he is not able to attain to it; just as
we say that a man who has not persevered unto the end has lost eternal
life or the kingdom of God, not because he had already received and
actually had it, but because he would have received and had it if he
had persevered;--let us lay aside controversies of words, and say that
some things even which are not possessed, but are hoped to be
possessed, may be lost. Let any one who dares, tell me whether God
cannot give what He has commanded to be asked from Him. Certainly he
who affirms this, I say not is a fool, but he is mad. But God
commanded that His saints should say to Him in prayer, "Lead us not
into temptation." Whoever, therefore, is heard when he asks this, is
not led into the temptation of contumacy, whereby he could or would be
worthy to lose perseverance in holiness.
Chapter 12.--Of His Own Will a Man Forsakes God, So that He is
Deservedly Forsaken of Him.
But, on the other hand, "of his own will a man forsakes God, so as to
be deservedly forsaken by God." Who would deny this? But it is for
that reason we ask not to be led into temptation, so that this may not
happen. And if we are heard, certainly it does not happen, because God
does not allow it to happen. For nothing comes to pass except what
either He Himself does, or Himself allows to be done. Therefore He is
powerful both to turn wills from evil to good, and to convert those
that are inclined to fall, or to direct them into a way pleasing to
Himself. For to Him it is not said in vain, "O God, Thou shalt turn
again and quicken us;"  it is not vainly said, "Give not my foot
to be moved;"  it is not vainly said, "Give me not over, O Lord,
from my desire to the sinner;"  finally, not to mention many
passages, since probably more may occur to you, it is not vainly said,
"Lead us not into temptation."  For whoever is not led into
temptation, certainly is not led into the temptation of his own evil
will; and he who is not led into the temptation of his own evil will,
is absolutely led into no temptation. For "every one is tempted," as
it is written, "when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed;"
 "but God tempteth no man,"  --that is to say, with a
hurtful temptation. For temptation is moreover beneficial by which we
are not deceived or overwhelmed, but proved, according to that which
is said, "Prove me, O Lord, and try me."  Therefore, with that
hurtful temptation which the apostle signifies when he says, "Lest by
some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain,"
 "God tempteth no man," as I have said,--that is, He brings or
leads no one into temptation. For to be tempted and not to be led into
temptation is not evil,--nay, it is even good; for this it is to be
proved. When, therefore, we say to God, "Lead us not into temptation,"
what do we say but, "Permit us not to be led"? Whence some pray in
this manner, and it is read in many codices, and the most blessed
Cyprian thus uses it: "Do not suffer us to be led into temptation." In
the Greek gospel, however, I have never found it otherwise than, "Lead
us not into temptation." We live, therefore, more securely if we give
up the whole to God, and do not entrust ourselves partly to Him and
partly to ourselves, as that venerable martyr saw. For when he would
expound the same clause of the prayer, he says among other things,
"But when we ask that we may not come into temptation, we are reminded
of our infirmity and weakness while we thus ask, lest any should
insolently vaunt himself,--lest any should proudly and arrogantly
assume anything to himself,--lest any should take to himself the glory
either of confession or suffering as his own; since the Lord Himself,
teaching humility, said, `Watch and pray, that ye enter not into
temptation; the Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.' So
that when a humble and submissive confession comes first and all is
attributed to God, whatever is sought for suppliantly, with the fear
of God, may be granted by His own loving-kindness." 
 Ps. lxxxiv. 6.
 Ps. lxvi. 9.
 Ps. cxl. 8.
 Matt. vi. 13.
 Jas. i. 14.
 Jas. i. 13.
 Ps. xxvi. 2.
 1 Thess. iii. 5.
 Cyprian, On the Lord 's Prayer, as above.
Chapter 13 [VII.]--Temptation the Condition of Man.
If, then, there were no other proofs, this Lord's Prayer alone would
be sufficient for us on behalf of the grace which I am defending;
because it leaves us nothing wherein we may, as it were, glory as in
our own, since it shows that our not departing from God is not given
except by God, when it shows that it must be asked for from God. For
he who is not led into temptation does not depart from God. This is
absolutely not in the strength of free will, such as it now is; but it
had been in man before he fell. And yet how much this freedom of will
availed in the excellence of that primal state appeared in the angels;
who, when the devil and his angels fell, stood in the truth, and
deserved to attain to that perpetual security of not falling, in which
we are most certain that they are now established. But, after the fall
of man, God willed it to pertain only to His grace that man should
approach to Him; nor did He will it to pertain to aught but His grace
that man should not depart from Him.
Chapter 14.--It is God's Grace Both that Man Comes to Him, and that
Man Does Not Depart from Him.
This grace He placed "in Him in whom we have obtained a lot, being
predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things."
 And thus as He worketh that we come to Him, so He worketh that
we do not depart. Wherefore it was said to Him by the mouth of the
prophet, "Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, and upon the
Son of man whom Thou madest strong for Thyself, and we will not depart
from Thee."  This certainly is not the first Adam, in whom we
departed from Him, but the second Adam, upon whom His hand is placed,
so that we do not depart from Him. For Christ altogether with His
members is--for the Church's sake, which is His body--the fulness of
Him. When, therefore, God's hand is upon Him, that we depart not from
God, assuredly God's work reaches to us (for this is God's hand); by
which work of God we are caused to be abiding in Christ with God--not,
as in Adam, departing from God. For "in Christ we have obtained a lot,
being predestinated according to His purpose who worketh all things."
This, therefore, is God's hand, not ours, that we depart not from God.
That, I say, is His hand who said, "I will put my fear in their
hearts, that they depart not from me." 
 Eph. i. 11.
 Ps. lxxx. 17, 18.
 Jer. xxxii. 40.
Chapter 15.--Why God Willed that He Should Be Asked for that Which He
Might Give Without Prayer.
Wherefore, also He willed that He should be asked that we may not be
led into temptation, because if we are not led, we by no means depart
from Him. And this might have been given to us even without our
praying for it, but by our prayer He willed us to be admonished from
whom we receive these benefits. For from whom do we receive but from
Him from whom it is right for us to ask? Truly in this matter let not
the Church look for laborious disputations, but consider its own daily
prayers. It prays that the unbelieving may believe; therefore God
converts to the faith. It prays that believers may persevere;
therefore God gives perseverance to the end. God foreknew that He
would do this. This is the very predestination of the saints, "whom He
has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they
should be holy and unspotted before Him in love; predestinating them
unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to
the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His
grace, in which He hath shown them favour in His beloved Son, in whom
they have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins
according to the riches of His grace, which has abounded towards them
in all wisdom and prudence; that He might show them the mystery of His
will according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Him, in
the dispensation of the fulness of times to restore all things in
Christ which are in heaven and which are in earth; in Him, in whom
also we have obtained a lot, being predestinated according to His
purpose who worketh all things."  Against a trumpet of truth so
clear as this, what man of sober and watchful faith can receive any
 Eph. i. 4-11.
Chapter 16 [VIII.]--Why is Not Grace Given According to Merit?
But "why," says one, "is not the grace of God given according to men's
merits?" I answer, Because God is merciful. "Why, then," it is asked,
"is it not given to all?" And here I reply, Because God is a Judge.
 And thus grace is given by Him freely; and by His righteous
judgment it is shown in some what grace confers on those to whom it is
given. Let us not then be ungrateful, that according to the good
pleasure of His will a merciful God delivers so many to the praise of
the glory of His grace from such deserved perdition; as, if He should
deliver no one therefrom, He would not be unrighteous. Let him,
therefore, who is delivered love His grace. Let him who is not
delivered acknowledge his due. If, in remitting a debt, goodness is
perceived, in requiring it, justice--unrighteousness is never found to
be with God.
 Rom. ix. 20.
Chapter 17.--The Difficulty of the Distinction Made in the Choice of
One and the Rejection of Another.
"But why," it is said, "in one and the same case, not only of infants,
but even of twin children, is the judgment so diverse?" Is it not a
similar question, "Why in a different case is the judgment the same?"
Let us recall, then, those labourers in the vineyard who worked the
whole day, and those who toiled one hour. Certainly the case was
different as to the labour expended, and yet there was the same
judgment in paying the wages. Did the murmurers in this case hear
anything from the householder except, Such is my will? Certainly such
was his liberality towards some, that there could be no injustice
towards others. And both these classes, indeed, are among the good.
Nevertheless, so far as it concerns justice and grace, it may be truly
said to the guilty who is condemned, also concerning the guilty who is
delivered, "Take what thine is, and go thy way;"  "I will give
unto this one that which is not due;" "Is it not lawful for me to do
what I will? is thine eye evil because I am good?" And how if he
should say, "Why not to me also?" He will hear, and with reason, "Who
art thou, O man, that repliest against God?"  And although
assuredly in the one case you see a most benignant benefactor, and in
your own case a most righteous exactor, in neither case do you behold
an unjust God. For although He would be righteous even if He were to
punish both, he who is delivered has good ground for thankfulness, he
who is condemned has no ground for finding fault.
 Matt. xx. 14, etc.
 Rom. ix. 20.
Chapter 18.--But Why Should One Be Punished More Than Another?
"But if," it is said, "it was necessary that, although all were not
condemned, He should still show what was due to all, and so He should
commend His grace more freely to the vessels of mercy; why in the same
case will He punish me more than another, or deliver him more than
me?" I say not this. If you ask wherefore; because I confess that I
can find no answer to make. And if you further ask why is this, it is
because in this matter, even as His anger is righteous and as His
mercy is great, so His judgments are unsearchable.
Chapter 19.--Why Does God Mingle Those Who Will Persevere with Those
Who Will Not?
Let the inquirer still go on, and say, "Why is it that to some who
have in good faith worshipped Him He has not given to persevere to the
end?" Why except because he does not speak falsely who says, "They
went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us,
doubtless they would have continued with us."  Are there, then,
two natures of men? By no means. If there were two natures there would
not be any grace, for there would be given a gratuitous deliverance to
none if it were paid as a debt to nature. But it seems to men that all
who appear good believers ought to receive perseverance to the end.
But God has judged it to be better to mingle some who would not
persevere with a certain number of His saints, so that those for whom
security from temptation in this life is not desirable may not be
secure. For that which the apostle says, checks many from mischievous
elation: "Wherefore let him who seems to stand take heed lest he
fall."  But he who falls, falls by his own will, and he who
stands, stands by God's will. "For God is able to make him stand;"
 therefore he is not able to make himself stand, but God.
Nevertheless, it is good not to be high-minded, but to fear. Moreover,
it is in his own thought that every one either falls or stands. Now,
as the apostle says, and as I have mentioned in my former treatise,
"We are not sufficient to think anything of ourselves, but our
sufficiency is of God."  Following whom also the blessed Ambrose
ventures to say, "For our heart is not in our own power, nor are our
thoughts." And this everybody who is humbly and truly pious feels to
be most true.
 1 John ii. 19.
 1 Cor. x. 12.
 Rom. xiv. 4.
 2 Cor. iii. 5.
Chapter 20.--Ambrose on God's Control Over Men's Thoughts.
And when Ambrose said this, he was speaking in that treatise which he
wrote concerning Flight from the World, wherein he taught that this
world was to be fled not by the body, but by the heart, which he
argued could not be done except by God's help. For he says: "We hear
frequent discourse concerning fleeing from this world, and I would
that the mind was as careful and solicitous as the discourse is easy;
but what is worse, the enticement of earthly lusts constantly creeps
in, and the pouring out of vanities takes possession of the mind; so
that what you desire to avoid, this you think of and consider in your
mind. And this is difficult for a man to beware of, but impossible to
get rid of. Finally, the prophet bears witness that it is a matter of
wish rather than of accomplishment, when he says, `Incline my heart to
Thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.'  For our heart and
our thoughts are not in our own power, and these, poured forth
unexpectedly, confuse our mind and soul, and draw them in a different
direction from that which you have proposed to yourself; they recall
you to worldly things, they interpose things of time, they suggest
voluptuous things, they inweave enticing things, and in the very
moment when we are seeking to elevate our mind, we are for the most
part filled with vain thoughts and cast down to earthly things."
 Therefore it is not in the power of men, but in that of God,
that men have power to become sons of God.  Because they receive
it from Him who gives pious thoughts to the human heart, by which it
has faith, which worketh by love;  for the receiving and keeping
of which benefit, and for carrying it on perseveringly unto the end,
we are not sufficient to think anything as of ourselves, but our
sufficiency is of God,  in whose power is our heart and our
 Ps. cxix. 36.
 Ambrose, On Flight from the World, ch. 1.
 John i. 12.
 Gal. v. 6.
 2 Cor. iii. 5.
Chapter 21 [IX.]--Instances of the Unsearchable Judgments of God.
Therefore, of two infants, equally bound by original sin, why the one
is taken and the other left; and of two wicked men of already mature
years, why this one should be so called as to follow Him that calleth,
while that one is either not called at all, or is not called in such a
manner,--the judgments of God are unsearchable. But of two pious men,
why to the one should be given perseverance unto the end, and to the
other it should not be given, God's judgments are even more
unsearchable. Yet to believers it ought to be a most certain fact that
the former is of the predestinated, the latter is not. "For if they
had been of us," says one of the predestinated, who had drunk this
secret from the breast of the Lord, "certainly they would have
continued with us."  What, I ask, is the meaning of, "They were
not of us; for if they had been of us, they would certainly have
continued with us"? Were not both created by God--both born of
Adam--both made from the earth, and given from Him who said, "I have
created all breath,"  souls of one and the same nature? Lastly,
had not both been called, and followed Him that called them? and had
not both become, from wicked men, justified men, and both been renewed
by the laver of regeneration? But if he were to hear this who beyond
all doubt knew what he was saying, he might answer and say: These
things are true. In respect of all these things, they were of us.
Nevertheless, in respect of a certain other distinction, they were not
of us, for if they had been of us, they certainly would have continued
with us. What then is this distinction? God's books lie open, let us
not turn away our view; the divine Scripture cries aloud, let us give
it a hearing. They were not of them, because they had not been "called
according to the purpose;" they had not been chosen in Christ before
the foundation of the world; they had not gained a lot in Him; they
had not been predestinated according to His purpose who worketh all
things. For if they had been this, they would have been of them, and
without doubt they would have continued with them.
 1 John ii. 19.
 Isa. lvii. 16 [see LXX.]
Chapter 22.--It is an Absurdity to Say that the Dead Will Be Judged
for Sins Which They Would Have Committed If They Had Lived.
For not to say how possible it may be for God to convert the wills of
men averse and opposed to His faith, and to operate on their hearts so
that they yield to no adversities, and are overcome by no temptation
so as to depart from Him,--since He also can do what the apostle says,
namely, not allow them to be tempted above that which they are
able;--not, then, to say this, God foreknowing that they would fall,
was certainly able to take them away from this life before that fall
should occur. Are we to return to that point of still arguing how
absurdly it is said that dead men are judged even for those sins which
God foreknew that they would have committed if they had lived? which
is so abhorrent to the feelings of Christians, or even of human
beings, that one is even ashamed to rebut it. Why should it not be
said that even the gospel itself has been preached, with so much
labour and sufferings of the saints, in vain, or is even still
preached in vain, if men could be judged, even without hearing the
gospel, according to the contumacy or obedience which God foreknew
that they would have had if they had heard it? Tyre and Sidon would
not have been condemned, although more slightly than those cities in
which, although they did not believe, wonderful works were done by
Christ the Lord; because if they had been done in them, they would
have repented in dust and ashes, as the utterances of the Truth
declare, in which words of His the Lord Jesus shows to us the loftier
mystery of predestination.
Chapter 23.--Why for the People of Tyre and Sidon, Who Would Have
Believed, the Miracles Were Not Done Which Were Done in Other Places
Which Did Not Believe.
For if we are asked why such miracles were done among those who, when
they saw them, would not believe them, and were not done among those
who would have believed them if they had seen them, what shall we
answer? Shall we say what I have said in that book  wherein I
answered some six questions of the Pagans, yet without prejudice of
other matters which the wise can inquire into? This indeed I said, as
you know, when it was asked why Christ came after so long a time:
"that at those times and in those places in which His gospel was not
preached, He foreknew that all men would, in regard of His preaching,
be such as many were in His bodily presence,--people, namely, who
would not believe on Him, even though the dead were raised by Him."
Moreover, a little after in the same book, and on the same question, I
say, "What wonder, if Christ knew in former ages that the world was so
filled with unbelievers, that He was, with reason, unwilling for His
gospel to be preached to them whom He foreknew to be such as would not
believe either His words or His miracles"? Certainly we cannot say
this of Tyre and Sidon; and in their case we recognise that those
divine judgments had reference to those causes of predestination,
without prejudice to which hidden causes I said that I was then
answering such questions as those. Certainly it is easy to accuse the
unbelief of the Jews, arising as it did from their free will, since
they refused to believe in such great wonders done among themselves.
And this the Lord, reproaching them, declares when He says, "Woe unto
thee, Chorazin and Bethsaida, because if the mighty works had been
done in Tyre and Sidon which have been done in you, they would long
ago have repented in dust and ashes."  But can we say that even
the Tyrians and Sidonians would have refused to believe such mighty
works done among them, or would not have believed them if they had
been done, when the Lord Himself bears witness to them that they would
have repented with great humility if those signs of divine power had
been done among them? And yet in the day of judgment they will be
punished; although with a less punishment than those cities which
would not believe the mighty works done in them. For the Lord goes on
to say, "Nevertheless, I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for
Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you."  Therefore
the former shall be punished with greater severity, the latter with
less; but yet they shall be punished. Again, if the dead are judged
even in respect of deeds which they would have done if they had lived,
assuredly since these would have been believers if the gospel had been
preached to them with so great miracles, they certainly ought not to
be punished; but they will be punished. It is therefore false that the
dead are judged in respect also of those things which they would have
done if the gospel had reached them when they were alive. And if this
is false, there is no ground for saying, concerning infants who perish
because they die without baptism, that this happens in their case
deservedly, because God foreknew that if they should live and the
gospel should be preached to them, they would hear it with unbelief.
It remains, therefore, that they are kept bound by original sin alone,
and for this alone they go into condemnation; and we see that in
others in the same case this is not remitted, except by the gratuitous
grace of God in regeneration; and that, by His secret yet righteous
judgment--because there is no unrighteousness with God--that some, who
even after baptism will perish by evil living, are yet kept in this
life until they perish, who would not have perished if bodily death
had forestalled their lapse into sin, and so come to their help.
Because no dead man is judged by the good or evil things which he
would have done if he had not died, otherwise the Tyrians and
Sidonians would not have suffered the penalties according to what they
did; but rather according to those things that they would have done,
if those evangelical mighty works had been done in them, they would
have obtained salvation by great repentance, and by the faith of
 Epistle 102, question 2; see the first volume of this series,
 Luke x. 13.
 Matt. xi. 22.
Chapter 24 [X.]--It May Be Objected that The People of Tyre and Sidon
Might, If They Had Heard, Have Believed, and Have Subsequently Lapsed
from Their Faith.
A certain catholic disputant of no mean reputation so expounded this
passage of the gospel as to say, that the Lord foreknew that the
Tyrians and Sidonians would have afterwards departed from the faith,
although they had believed the miracles done among them; and that in
mercy He did not work those miracles there, because they would have
been liable to severer punishment if they had forsaken the faith which
they had once held, than if they had at no time held it. In which
opinion of a learned and exceedingly acute man, why am I now concerned
to say what is still reasonably to be asked, when even this opinion
serves me for the purpose at which I aim? For if the Lord in His mercy
did not do mighty works among them, since by these works they might
possibly become believers, so that they might not be more severely
punished when they should subsequently become unbelievers, as He
foreknew that they would,--it is sufficiently and plainly shown that
no dead person is judged for those sins which He foreknew that he
would have done, if in some manner he were not helped not to do them;
just as Christ is said to have come to the aid of the Tyrians and
Sidonians, if that opinion be true, who He would rather should not
come to the faith at all, than that by a much greater wickedness they
should depart from the faith, as, if they had come to it, He foresaw
they would have done. Although if it be said, "Why was it not provided
that they should rather believe, and this gift should be bestowed on
them, that before they forsook the faith they should depart from this
life"? I am ignorant what reply can be made. For he who says that to
those who would forsake their faith it would have been granted, as a
kindness, that they should not begin to have what, by a more serious
impiety, they would subsequently forsake, sufficiently indicates that
a man is not judged by that which it is foreknown he would have done
ill, if by any act of kindness he may be prevented from doing it.
Therefore it is an advantage also to him who is taken away, lest
wickedness should alter his understanding. But why this advantage
should not have been given to the Tyrians and Sidonians, that they
might believe and be taken away, lest wickedness should alter their
understanding, he perhaps might answer who was pleased in such a way
to solve the above question; but, as far as concerns what I am
discussing, I see it to be enough that, even according to that very
opinion, men are shown not to be judged in respect of those things
which they have not done, even although they may have been foreseen as
certain to have done them. However, as I have said, let us think shame
even to refute this opinion, whereby sins are supposed to be punished
in people who die or have died because they have been foreknown as
certain to do them if they had lived; lest we also may seem to have
thought it to be of some importance, although we would rather repress
it by argument than pass it over in silence.
Chapter 25 [XI.]--God's Ways, Both in Mercy and Judgment, Past Finding
Accordingly, as says the apostle, "It is not of him that willeth, nor
of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy,"  who both
comes to the help of such infants as He will, although they neither
will nor run, since He chose them in Christ before the foundation of
the world as those to whom He intended to give His grace freely,--that
is, with no merits of theirs, either of faith or of works, preceding;
and does not come to the help of those who are more mature, although
He foresaw that they would believe His miracles if they should be done
among them, because He wills not to come to their help, since in His
predestination He, secretly indeed, but yet righteously, has otherwise
determined concerning them. For "there is no unrighteousness with
God;"  but "His judgments are unsearchable, and His ways are
past finding out; all the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth."
 Therefore the mercy is past finding out by which He has mercy
on whom He will, no merits of his own preceding; and the truth is
unsearchable by which He hardeneth whom He will, even although his
merits may have preceded, but merits for the most part common to him
with the man on whom He has mercy. As of two twins, of which one is
taken and the other left, the end is unequal, while the deserts are
common, yet in these the one is in such wise delivered by God's great
goodness, that the other is condemned by no injustice of God's. For is
there unrighteousness with God? Away with the thought! but His ways
are past finding out. Therefore let us believe in His mercy in the
case of those who are delivered, and in His truth in the case of those
who are punished, without any hesitation; and let us not endeavour to
look into that which is inscrutable, nor to trace that which cannot be
found out. Because out of the mouth of babes and sucklings He perfects
His praise,  so that what we see in those whose deliverance is
preceded by no good deservings of theirs, and in those whose
condemnation is only preceded by original sin, common alike to
both,--this we by no means shrink from as occurring in the case of
grown-up people, that is, because we do not think either that grace is
given to any one according to his own merits, or that any one is
punished except for his own merits, whether they are alike who are
delivered and who are punished, or have unequal degrees of evil; so
that he who thinketh he standeth may take heed lest he fall, and he
who glorieth may glory not in himself, but in the Lord.
 Rom. ix. 16.
 Rom. ix. 14.
 Ps. xxv. 10.
 Ps. viii. 2.
Chapter 26.--The Manicheans Do Not Receive All the Books of the Old
Testament, and of the New Only Those that They Choose.
But wherefore is "the case of infants not allowed," as you write, "to
be alleged as an example for their elders," by men who do not hesitate
to affirm against the Pelagians that there is original sin, which
entered by one man into the world, and that from one all have gone
into condemnation?  This, the Manicheans, too, do not receive,
who not only reject all the Scriptures of the Old Testament as of
authority, but even receive those which belong to the New Testament in
such a manner as that each man, by his own prerogative as it were, or
rather by his own sacrilege, takes what he likes, and rejects what he
does not like,--in opposition to whom I treated in my writings on Free
Will, whence they think that they have a ground of objection against
me. I have been unwilling to deal plainly with the very laborious
questions that occurred, lest my work should become too long, in a
case which, as opposed to such perverse men, I could not have the
assistance of the authority of the sacred Scriptures. And I was
able,--as I actually did, whether anything of the divine testimonies
might be true or not, seeing that I did not definitely introduce them
into the argument,--nevertheless, by certain reasoning, to conclude
that God in all things is to be praised, without any necessity of
believing, as they would have us, that there are two co-eternal,
confounded substances of good and evil.
 See the Letter of Hilary in Augustin's Letters, 226, ch. 8.
Chapter 27.--Reference to the "Retractations."
Finally, in the first book of the Retractations,  which work of
mine you have not yet read, when I had come to the reconsidering of
those same books, that is, on the subject of Free Will, I thus spoke:
"In these books," I say, "many things were so discussed that on the
occurring of some questions which either I was not able to elucidate,
or which required a long discussion at once, they were so deferred as
that from either side, or from all sides, of those questions in which
what was most in harmony with the truth did not appear, yet my
reasoning might be conclusive for this, namely, that whichever of them
might be true, God might be believed, or even be shown, to be worthy
of praise. Because that discussion was undertaken for the sake of
those who deny that the origin of evil is derived from the free choice
of the will, and contend that God,--if He be so,--as the Creator of
all natures, is worthy of blame; desiring in that manner, according to
the error of their impiety (for they are Manicheans), to introduce a
certain immutable nature of evil co-eternal with God." Also, after a
little time, in another place I say: "Then it was said, From this
misery, most righteously inflicted on sinners, God's grace delivers,
because man of his own accord, that is, by free will, could fall, but
could not also rise. To this misery of just condemnation belong the
ignorance and the difficulty which every man suffers from the
beginning of his birth, and no one is delivered from that evil except
by the grace of God. And this misery the Pelagians will not have to
descend from a just condemnation, because they deny original sin;
although even if the ignorance and difficulty were the natural
beginnings of man, God would not even thus deserve to be reproached,
but to be praised, as I have argued in the same third book. 
Which argument must be regarded as against the Manicheans, who do not
receive the holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, in which original
sin is narrated; and whatever thence is read in the apostolic
epistles, they contend was introduced with a detestable impudence by
the corrupters of the Scriptures, assuming that it was not said by the
apostles. But against the Pelagians that must be maintained which both
Scriptures commend, as they profess to receive them." These things I
said in my first book of Retractations, when I was reconsidering the
books on Free Will. Nor, indeed, were these things all that were said
by me there about these books, but there were many others also, which
I thought it would be tedious to insert in this work for you, and not
necessary; and this I think you also will judge when you have read
all. Although, therefore, in the third book on Free Will I have in
such wise argued concerning infants, that even if what the Pelagians
say were true,--that ignorance and difficulty, without which no man is
born, are elements, not punishments, of our nature,--still the
Manicheans would be overcome, who will have it that the two natures,
to wit, of good and evil, are co-eternal. Is, therefore, the faith to
be called in question or forsaken, which the catholic Church maintains
against those very Pelagians, asserting as she does that it is
original sin, the guilt of which, contracted by generation, must be
remitted by regeneration? And if they confess this with us, so that we
may at once, in this matter of the Pelagians, destroy error, why do
they think that it must be doubted that God can deliver even infants,
to whom He gives His grace by the sacrament of baptism, from the power
of darkness, and translate them into the kingdom of the Son of His
love?  In the fact, therefore, that He gives that grace to some,
and does not give it to others, why will they not sing to the Lord His
mercy and judgment?  Why, however, is it given to these, rather
than to those,--who has known the mind of the Lord? who is able to
look into unsearchable things? who to trace out that which is past
 Retractations, Book i. ch. 9.
 Retractations, Book i. ch. 20.
 Col. i. 13.
 Ps. c. 1.
Chapter 28 [XII.]--God's Goodness and Righteousness Shown in All.
It is therefore settled that God's grace is not given according to the
deserts of the recipients, but according to the good pleasure of His
will, to the praise and glory of His own grace; so that he who
glorieth may by no means glory in himself, but in the Lord, who gives
to those men to whom He will, because He is merciful, what if,
however, He does not give, He is righteous: and He does not give to
whom He will not, that He may make known the riches of His glory to
the vessels of mercy.  For by giving to some what they do not
deserve, He has certainly willed that His grace should be gratuitous,
and thus genuine grace; by not giving to all, He has shown what all
deserve. Good in His goodness to some, righteous in the punishment of
others; both good in respect of all, because it is good when that
which is due is rendered, and righteous in respect of all, since that
which is not due is given without wrong to any one.
 Rom. ix. 23.
Chapter 29.--God's True Grace Could Be Defended Even If There Were No
Original Sin, as Pelagius Maintains.
But God's grace, that is, true grace without merits, is maintained,
even if infants, when baptized, according to the view of the
Pelagians, are not plucked out of the power of darkness, because they
are held guilty of no sin, as the Pelagians think, but are only
transferred into the Lord's kingdom: for even thus, without any good
merits, the kingdom is given to those to whom it is given; and without
any evil merits it is not given to them to whom it is not given. And
this we are in the habit of saying in opposition to the same
Pelagians, when they object to us that we attribute God's grace to
fate, when we say that it is given not in respect to our merits. For
they themselves rather attribute God's grace to fate in the case of
infants, if they say that when there is no merit it is fate. 
Certainly, even according to the Pelagians themselves, no merits can
be found in infants to cause that some of them should be admitted into
the kingdom, and others should be alienated from the kingdom. But now,
just as in order to show that God's grace is not given according to
our merits, I preferred to maintain this truth in accordance with both
opinions,--both in accordance with our own, to wit, who say that
infants are bound by original sin, and according to that of the
Pelagians, who deny that there is original sin, and yet I cannot on
that account doubt that infants have what He can pardon them who saves
His people from their sins: so in the third book on Free Will,
according to both views, I have withstood the Manicheans, whether
ignorance and difficulty be punishments or elements of nature without
which no man is born; and yet I hold one of these views. There,
moreover, it is sufficiently evidently declared by me, that that is
not the nature of man as he was ordained, but his punishment as
 See above, Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, Book ii. chs.
Chapter 30.--Augustin Claims the Right to Grow in Knowledge.
Therefore it is in vain that it is prescribed to me from that old book
of mine, that I may not argue the case as I ought to argue it in
respect of infants; and that thence I may not persuade my opponents by
the light of a manifest truth, that God's grace is not given according
to men's merits. For if, when I began my books concerning Free Will as
a layman, and finished them as a presbyter, I still doubted of the
condemnation of infants not born again, and of the deliverance of
infants that were born again, no one, as I think, would be so unfair
and envious as to hinder my progress, and judge that I must continue
in that uncertainty. But it can more correctly be understood that it
ought to be believed that I did not doubt in that matter, for the
reason that they against whom my purpose was directed seemed to me in
such wise to be rebutted, as that whether there was a punishment of
original sin in infants, according to the truth, or whether there was
not, as some mistaken people think, yet in no degree should such a
confusion of the two natures be believed in, to wit, of good and evil,
as the error of the Manicheans introduces. Be it therefore far from us
so to forsake the case of infants as to say to ourselves that it is
uncertain whether, being regenerated in Christ, if they die in infancy
they pass into eternal salvation; but that, not being regenerated,
they pass into the second death. Because that which is written, "By
one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death
passed upon all men,"  cannot be rightly understood in any other
manner; nor from that eternal death which is most righteously repaid
to sin does any deliver any one, small or great, save He who, for the
sake of remitting our sins, both original and personal, died without
any sin of His own, either original or personal. But why some rather
than others? Again and again we say, and do not shrink from it, "O
man, who art thou that repliest against God?"  "His judgments
are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out."  And let us
add this, "Seek not out the things that are too high for thee, and
search not the things that are above thy strength." 
 Rom. v. 12.
 Rom. ix. 20.
 Rom. xi. 33.
 Ecclus. iii. 21.
Chapter 31.--Infants are Not Judged According to that Which They are
Foreknown as Likely to Do If They Should Live.
For you see, beloved, how absurd it is, and how foreign from soundness
of faith and sincerity of truth, for us to say that infants, when they
die, should be judged according to those things which they are
foreknown to be going to do if they should live. For to this opinion,
from which certainly every human feeling, on however little reason it
may be founded, and especially every Christian feeling, revolts, they
are compelled to advance who have chosen in such wise to be withdrawn
from the error of the Pelagians as still to think that they must
believe, and, moreover, must profess in argument, that the grace of
God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, by which alone after the fall of
the first man, in whom we all fell, help is afforded to us, is given
according to our merits. And this belief Pelagius himself, before the
Eastern bishops as judges, condemned in fear of his own condemnation.
And if this be not said of the good or bad works of those who have
died, which they would have done if they had lived,--and thus of no
works, and works that would never exist, even in the foreknowledge of
God,--if this, therefore, be not said, and you see under how great a
mistake it is said, what will remain but that we confess, when the
darkness of contention is removed, that the grace of God is not given
according to our merits, which position the catholic Church defends
against the Pelagian heresy; and that we see this in more evident
truth especially in infants? For God is not compelled by fate to come
to the help of these infants, and not to come to the help of
those,--since the case is alike to both. Or shall we think that human
affairs in the case of infants are not managed by Divine Providence,
but by fortuitous chances, when rational souls are either to be
condemned or delivered, although, indeed, not a sparrow falls to the
ground without the will of our Father which is in heaven?  Or
must we so attribute it to the negligence of parents that infants die
without baptism, as that heavenly judgments have nothing to do with
it; as if they themselves who in this way die badly had of their own
will chosen the negligent parents for themselves of whom they were
born? What shall I say when an infant expires some time before he can
possibly be advantaged by the ministry of baptism? For often when the
parents are eager and the ministers prepared for giving baptism to the
infants, it still is not given, because God does not choose; since He
has not kept it in this life for a little while in order that baptism
might be given it. What, moreover, when sometimes aid could be
afforded by baptism to the children of unbelievers, that they should
not go into perdition, and could not be afforded to the children of
believers? In which case it is certainly shown that there is no
acceptance of persons with God; otherwise He would rather deliver the
children of His worshippers than the children of His enemies.
 Matt. x. 29.
Chapter 32 [XIII.]--The Inscrutability of God's Free Purposes.
But now, since we are now treating of the gift of perseverance, why is
it that aid is afforded to the person about to die who is not
baptized, while to the baptized person about to fall, aid is not
afforded, so as to die before? Unless, perchance, we shall still
listen to that absurdity by which it is said that it is of no
advantage to any one to die before his fall, because he will be judged
according to those actions which God foreknew that he would have done
if he had lived. Who can hear with patience this perversity, so
violently opposed to the soundness of the faith? Who can bear it? And
yet they are driven to say this who do not confess that God's grace is
not bestowed in respect of our deservings. They, however, who will not
say that any one who has died is judged according to those things
which God foreknew that he would have done if he had lived,
considering with how manifest a falsehood and how great an absurdity
this would be said, have no further reason to say, what the Church
condemned in the Pelagians, and caused to be condemned by Pelagius
himself,--that the grace of God, namely, is given according to our
merits,--when they see some infants not regenerated taken from this
life to eternal death, and others regenerated, to eternal life; and
those themselves that are regenerated, some going hence, persevering
even to the end, and others kept in this life even until they fall,
who certainly would not have fallen if they had departed hence before
their lapse; and again some falling, but not departing from this life
until they return, who certainly would have perished if they had
departed before their return.
Chapter 33.--God Gives Both Initiatory and Persevering Grace According
to His Own Will.
From all which it is shown with sufficient clearness that the grace of
God, which both begins a man's faith and which enables it to persevere
unto the end, is not given according to our merits, but is given
according to His own most secret and at the same time most righteous,
wise, and beneficent will; since those whom He predestinated, them He
also called,  with that calling of which it is said, "The gifts
and calling of God are without repentance."  To which calling
there is no man that can be said by men with any certainty of
affirmation to belong, until he has departed from this world; but in
this life of man, which is a state of trial upon the earth,  he
who seems to stand must take heed lest he fall.  Since (as I
have already said before)  those who will not persevere are, by
the most foreseeing will of God, mingled with those who will
persevere, for the reason that we may learn not to mind high things,
but to consent to the lowly, and may "work out our own salvation with
fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in us both to will and
to do for His good pleasure."  We therefore will, but God
worketh in us to will also. We therefore work, but God worketh in us
to work also for His good pleasure. This is profitable for us both to
believe and to say,--this is pious, this is true, that our confession
be lowly and submissive, and that all should be given to God.
Thinking, we believe; thinking, we speak; thinking, we do whatever we
do;  but, in respect of what concerns the way of piety and the
true worship of God, we are not sufficient to think anything as of
ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.  For "our heart and
our thoughts are not in our own power;" whence the same Ambrose who
says this says also: "But who is so blessed as in his heart always to
rise upwards? And how can this be done without divine help? Assuredly,
by no means. Finally," he says, "the same Scripture affirms above,
`Blessed is the man whose help is of Thee; O Lord,  ascent is in
his heart.'"  Assuredly, Ambrose was not only enabled to say
this by reading in the holy writings, but as of such a man is to be
without doubt believed, he felt it also in his own heart. Therefore,
as is said in the sacraments of believers, that we should lift up our
hearts to the Lord, is God's gift; for which gift they to whom this is
said are admonished by the priest after this word to give thanks to
our Lord God Himself; and they answer that it is "meet and right so to
do."  For, since our heart is not in our own power, but is
lifted up by the divine help, so that it ascends and takes cognizance
of those things which are above,  where Christ is sitting at the
right hand of God, and, not those things that are upon the earth, to
whom are thanks to be given for so great a gift as this unless to our
Lord God who doeth this,--who in so great kindness has chosen us by
delivering us from the abyss of this world, and has predestinated us
before the foundation of the world?
 Rom viii. 30.
 Rom. xi. 29.
 Job vii. 1.
 1 Cor. x. 12.
 Above, ch. xiv.
 Phil. ii. 12, 13.
 2 Cor. iii. 5.
 Ambrose, On Flight from the World, ch. 1.
 Ps. lxxxiv. 5 [LXX.]
 LXX.: "In his heart he has purposed to go up."
 [An allusion to the Sursum Corda in the "Preface" of the
Communion service. For its history see Smith and Cheetham's Dictionary
of Christian Antiquities, p. 1693. Cyprian in his treatise on the
Lord's Prayer already mentions it. It still has a place in the
liturgies of the Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal Church
in the United States.--W.]
 Col. iii. 1.
Chapter 34 [XIV.]--The Doctrine of Predestination Not Opposed to the
Advantage of Preaching.
But they say that the "definition of predestination is opposed to the
advantage of preaching,"  --as if, indeed, it were opposed to
the preaching of the apostle! Did not that teacher of the heathen so
often, in faith and truth, both commend predestination, and not cease
to preach the word of God? Because he said, "It is God that worketh in
you both to will and to do for His good pleasure,"  did he not
also exhort that we should both will and do what is pleasing to God?
or because he said, "He who hath begun a good work in you shall carry
it on even unto the day of Christ Jesus,"  did he on that
account cease to persuade men to begin and to persevere unto the end?
Doubtless, our Lord Himself commanded men to believe, and said,
"Believe in God, believe also in me:"  and yet His opinion is
not therefore false, nor is His definition idle when He says, "No man
cometh unto me"--that is, no man believeth in me--"except it has been
given him of my Father."  Nor, again, because this definition is
true, is the former precept vain. Why, therefore, do we think the
definition of predestination useless to preaching, to precept, to
exhortation, to rebuke,--all which things the divine Scripture repeats
frequently,--seeing that the same Scripture commends this doctrine?
 In the Letters of Hilary and Prosper.
 Phil. ii. 13.
 Phil. i. 6.
 John xiv. 1.
 John vi. 66.
Chapter 35.--What Predestination is.
Will any man dare to say that God did not foreknow those to whom He
would give to believe, or whom He would give to His Son, that of them
He should lose none?  And certainly, if He foreknew these
things, He as certainly foreknew His own kindnesses, wherewith He
condescends to deliver us. This is the predestination of the
saints,--nothing else; to wit, the foreknowledge and the preparation
of God's kindnesses, whereby they are most certainly delivered,
whoever they are that are delivered. But where are the rest left by
the righteous divine judgment except in the mass of ruin, where the
Tyrians and the Sidonians were left? who, moreover, might have
believed if they had seen Christ's wonderful miracles. But since it
was not given to them to believe, the means of believing also were
denied them. From which fact it appears that some have in their
understanding itself a naturally divine gift of intelligence, by which
they may be moved to the faith, if they either hear the words or
behold the signs congruous to their minds; and yet if, in the higher
judgment of God, they are not by the predestination of grace separated
from the mass of perdition, neither those very divine words nor deeds
are applied to them by which they might believe if they only heard or
saw such things. Moreover, in the same mass of ruin the Jews were
left, because they could not believe such great and eminent mighty
works as were done in their sight. For the gospel has not been silent
about the reason why they could not believe, since it says: "But
though He had done such great miracles before them, yet they believed
not on Him; that the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled
which he spake,  Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom
hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? And, therefore, they could not
believe, because that Isaiah said again,  He hath blinded their
eyes and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their
eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should
heal them."  Therefore the eyes of the Tyrians and Sidonians
were not so blinded nor was their heart so hardened, since they would
have believed if they had seen such mighty works, as the Jews saw. But
it did not profit them that they were able to believe, because they
were not predestinated by Him whose judgments are inscrutable and His
ways past finding out. Neither would inability to believe have been a
hindrance to them, if they had been so predestinated as that God
should illuminate those blind eyes, and should will to take away the
stony heart from those hardened ones. But what the Lord said of the
Tyrians and Sidonians may perchance be understood in another way: that
no one nevertheless comes to Christ unless it were given him, and that
it is given to those who are chosen in Him before the foundation of
the world, he confesses beyond a doubt who hears the divine utterance,
not with the deaf ears of the flesh, but with the ears of the heart;
and yet this predestination, which is plainly enough unfolded even by
the words of the gospels, did not prevent the Lord's saying as well in
respect of the commencement, what I have a little before mentioned,
"Believe in God; believe also in me," as in respect of perseverance,
"A man ought always to pray, and not to faint."  For they hear
these things and do them to whom it is given; but they do them not,
whether they hear or do not hear, to whom it is not given. Because,
"To you," said He, "it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of
heaven, but to them it is not given."  Of these, the one refers
to the mercy, the other to the judgment of Him to whom our soul cries,
"I will sing of mercy and judgment unto Thee, O Lord." 
 John xviii. 9.
 Isa. liii. 1.
 Isa. vi. 10.
 John xii. 37 ff.
 Luke xviii. 1.
 Matt. xiii. 11.
 Ps. ci. 1.
Chapter 36.--The Preaching of the Gospel and the Preaching of
Predestination the Two Parts of One Message.
Therefore, by the preaching of predestination, the preaching of a
persevering and progressive faith is not to be hindered; and thus they
may hear what is necessary to whom it is given that they should obey.
For how shall they hear without a preacher? Neither, again, is the
preaching of a progressive faith which continues even to the end to
hinder the preaching of predestination, so that he who is living
faithfully and obediently may not be lifted up by that very obedience,
as if by a benefit of his own, not received; but that he that glorieth
may glory in the Lord. For "we must boast in nothing, since nothing is
our own." And this, Cyprian most faithfully saw and most fearlessly
explained, and thus he pronounced predestination to be most assured.
 For if we must boast in nothing, seeing that nothing is our
own, certainly we must not boast of the most persevering obedience.
Nor is it so to be called our own, as if it were not given to us from
above. And, therefore, it is God's gift, which, by the confession of
all Christians, God foreknew that He would give to His people, who
were called by that calling whereof it was said, "The gifts and
calling of God are without repentance."  This, then, is the
predestination which we faithfully and humbly preach. Nor yet did the
same teacher and doer, who both believed on Christ and most
perseveringly lived in holy obedience, even to suffering for Christ,
cease on that account to preach the gospel, to exhort to faith and to
pious manners, and to that very perseverance to the end, because he
said, "We must boast in nothing, since nothing is our own;" and here
he declared without ambiguity the true grace of God, that is, that
which is not given in respect of our merits; and since God foreknew
that He would give it, predestination was announced beyond a doubt by
these words of Cyprian; and if this did not prevent Cyprian from
preaching obedience, it certainly ought not to prevent us.
 Cyprian, Testimonies, iii. 4; see The Ante-Nicene Fathers, v.
 Rom. xi. 29.
Chapter 37.--Ears to Hear are a Willingness to Obey.
Although, therefore, we say that obedience is the gift of God, we
still exhort men to it. But to those who obediently hear the
exhortation of truth is given the gift of God itself--that is, to hear
obediently; while to those who do not thus hear it is not given. For
it was not some one only, but Christ who said, "No man cometh unto me,
except it were given him of my Father;"  and, "To you it is
given to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is
not given."  And concerning continence He says, "Not all receive
this saying, but they to whom it is given."  And when the
apostle would exhort married people to conjugal chastity, he says, "I
would that all men were even as I myself; but every man hath his
proper gift of God, one after this manner, another after that;" 
where he plainly shows not only that continence is a gift of God, but
even the chastity of those who are married. And although these things
are true, we still exhort to them as much as is given to any one of us
to be able to exhort, because this also is His gift in whose hand are
both ourselves and our discourses. Whence also says the apostle,
"According to this grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise
architect, I have laid the foundation."  And in another place he
says, "Even as the Lord hath given to every man: I have planted,
Apollos has watered, but God has given the increase. Therefore neither
is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth, but God that
giveth the increase."  And thus as only he preaches and exhorts
rightly who has received this gift, so assuredly he who obediently
hears him who rightly exhorts and preaches is he who has received this
gift. Hence is what the Lord said, when, speaking to those who had
their fleshly ears open, He nevertheless told them, "He that hath ears
to hear let him hear;"  which beyond a doubt he knew that not
all had. And from whom they have, whosoever they be that have them,
the Lord Himself shows when He says, "I will give them a heart to know
me, and ears to hear."  Therefore, having ears is itself the
gift of obeying, so that they who had that came to Him, to whom "no
one comes unless it were given to him of His Father." Therefore we
exhort and preach, but they who have ears to hear obediently hear us,
while in them who have them not, it comes to pass what is written,
that hearing they do not hear,--hearing, to wit, with the bodily
sense, they do not hear with the assent of the heart. But why these
should have ears to hear, and those have them not,--that is, why to
these it should be given by the Father to come to the Son, while to
those it should not be given,--who has known the mind of the Lord, or
who has been His counsellor? Or who art thou, O man, that repliest
against God? Must that which is manifest be denied, because that which
is hidden cannot be comprehended? Shall we, I say, declare that what
we see to be so is not so, because we cannot find out why it is so?
 John vi. 66.
 Matt. xiii. 11.
 Matt. xix. 11.
 1 Cor. vii. 7.
 1 Cor. iii. 10.
 1 Cor. iii. 5.
 Luke viii. 8.
 Baruch ii. 31.
Chapter 38 [XV.]--Against the Preaching of Predestination the Same
Objections May Be Alleged as Against Predestination.
But they say, as you write: "That no one can be aroused by the
incentives of rebuke if it be said in the assembly of the Church to
the multitude of hearers: The definite meaning of God's will
concerning predestination stands in such wise, that some of you will
receive the will to obey and will come out of unbelief unto faith, or
will receive perseverance and abide in the faith; but others who are
lingering in the delight of sins have not yet arisen, for the reason
that the aid of pitying grace has not yet indeed raised you up. But
yet, if there are any whom by His grace He has predestinated to be
chosen, who are not yet called, ye shall receive that grace by which
you may will and be chosen; and if any obey, if ye are predestinated
to be rejected, the strength to obey shall be withdrawn from you, so
that you may cease to obey." Although these things may be said, they
ought not so to deter us from confessing the true grace of God,--that
is, the grace which is not given to us in respect of our merits,--and
from confessing the predestination of the saints in accordance
therewith, even as we are not deterred from confessing God's
foreknowledge, although one should thus speak to the people concerning
it, and say: "Whether you are now living righteously or unrighteously,
you shall be such by and by as the Lord has foreknown that you will
be,--either good, if He has foreknown you as good, or bad, if He has
foreknown you as bad." For if on the hearing of this some should be
turned to torpor and slothfulness, and from striving should go
headlong to lust after their own desires, is it therefore to be
counted that what has been said about the foreknowledge of God is
false? If God has foreknown that they will be good, will they not be
good, whatever be the depth of evil in which they are now engaged? And
if He has foreknown them evil, will they not be evil, whatever
goodness may now be discerned in them? There was a man in our
monastery, who, when the brethren rebuked him for doing some things
that ought not to be done, and for not doing some things that ought to
be done, replied, "Whatever I may now be, I shall be such as God has
foreknown that I shall be." And this man certainly both said what was
true, and was not profited by this truth for good, but so far made way
in evil as to desert the society of the monastery, and become a dog
returned to his vomit; and, nevertheless, it is uncertain what he is
yet to become. For the sake of souls of this kind, then, is the truth
which is spoken about God's foreknowledge either to be denied or to be
kept back,--at such times, for instance, when, if it is not spoken,
other errors are incurred?
Chapter 39 [XVI]--Prayer and Exhortation.
There are some, moreover, who either do not pray at all, or pray
coldly, because, from the Lord's words, they have learnt that God
knows what is necessary for us before we ask it of Him. Must the truth
of this declaration be given up, or shall we think that it should be
erased from the gospel because of such people? Nay, since it is
manifest that God has prepared some things to be given even to those
who do not pray for them, such as the beginning of faith, and other
things not to be given except to those who pray for them, such as
perseverance even unto the end, certainly he who thinks that he has
this latter from himself does not pray to have it. Therefore we must
take care lest, while we are afraid of exhortation growing lukewarm,
prayer should be stifled and arrogance stimulated.
Chapter 40.--When the Truth Must Be Spoken, When Kept Back.
Therefore let the truth be spoken, especially when any question impels
us to declare it; and let them receive it who are able, lest,
perchance, while we are silent on account of those who cannot receive
it, they be not only defrauded of the truth but be taken captive by
falsehood, who are able to receive the truth whereby falsehood may be
avoided. For it is easy, nay, and it is useful, that some truth should
be kept back because of those who are incapable of apprehending it.
For whence is that word of our Lord: "I have yet many things to say
unto you, but ye cannot bear them now"?  And that of the
apostle: "I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto
carnal: as if unto babes in Christ I have given you to drink milk, and
not meat, for hitherto ye were not able, neither yet indeed now are ye
able"?  Although, in a certain manner of speaking, it might
happen that what is said should be both milk to infants and meat for
grown-up persons. As "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God,"  what Christian can keep it
back? Who can receive it? Or what in sound doctrine can be found more
comprehensive? And yet this is not kept back either from infants or
from grown-up people, nor is it hidden from infants by those who are
mature. But the reason of keeping back the truth is one, the necessity
of speaking the truth is another. It would be a tedious business to
inquire into or to put down all the reasons for keeping back the
truth; of which, nevertheless, there is this one,--lest we should make
those who do not understand worse, while wishing to make those who do
understand more learned; although these latter do not become more
learned when we withhold any such thing on the one hand, but also do
not become worse. When, however, a truth is of such a nature that he
who cannot receive it is made worse by our speaking it, and he who can
receive it is made worse by our silence concerning it, what do we
think is to be done? Must we not speak the truth, that he who can
receive it may receive it, rather than keep silence, so that not only
neither may receive it, but that even he who is more intelligent
should himself be made worse? For if he should hear and receive it, by
his means also many might learn. For in proportion as he is more
capable of learning, he is the more fitted for teaching others. The
enemy of grace presses on and urges in all ways to make us believe
that grace is given according to our deservings, and thus grace is no
more grace; and are we unwilling to say what we can say by the
testimony of Scripture? Do we fear, forsooth, to offend by our
speaking him who is not able to receive the truth? and are we not
afraid lest by our silence he who can receive the truth may be
involved in falsehood?
 John xvi. 12.
 1 Cor. iii. 1.
 John i. 1.
Chapter 41.--Predestination Defined as Only God's Disposing of Events
in His Foreknowledge.
For either predestination must be preached, in the way and degree in
which the Holy Scripture plainly declares it, so that in the
predestinated the gifts and calling of God may be without repentance;
or it must be avowed that God's grace is given according to our
merits,--which is the opinion of the Pelagians; although that opinion
of theirs, as I have often said already, may be read in the
Proceedings of the Eastern bishops to have been condemned by the lips
of Pelagius himself.  Further, those on whose account I am
discoursing are only removed from the heretical perversity of the
Pelagians, inasmuch as, although they will not confess that they who
by God's grace are made obedient and so abide, are predestinated, they
still confess, nevertheless, that this grace precedes their will to
whom it is given; in such a way certainly as that grace may not be
thought to be given freely, as the truth declares, but rather
according to the merits of a preceding will, as the Pelagian error
says, in contradiction to the truth. Therefore, also, grace precedes
faith; otherwise, if faith precedes grace, beyond a doubt will also
precedes it, because there cannot be faith without will. But if grace
precedes faith because it precedes will, certainly it precedes all
obedience; it also precedes love, by which alone God is truly and
pleasantly obeyed. And all these things grace works in him to whom it
is given, and in whom it precedes all these things. [XVII.] Among
these benefits there remains perseverance unto the end, which is daily
asked for in vain from the Lord, if the Lord by His grace does not
effect it in him whose prayers He hears. See now how foreign it is
from the truth to deny that perseverance even to the end of this life
is the gift of God; since He Himself puts an end to this life when He
wills, and if He puts an end before a fall that is threatening, He
makes the man to persevere even unto the end. But more marvellous and
more manifest to believers is the largess of God's goodness, that this
grace is given even to infants, although there is no obedience at that
age to which it may be given. To whomsoever, therefore, God gives His
gifts, beyond a doubt He has foreknown that He will bestow them on
them, and in His foreknowledge He has prepared them for them.
Therefore, those whom He predestinated, them He also called with that
calling which I am not reluctant often to make mention of, of which it
is said, "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance." 
For the ordering of His future works in His foreknowledge, which
cannot be deceived and changed, is absolute, and is nothing but,
predestination. But, as he whom God has foreknown to be chaste,
although he may regard it as uncertain, so acts as to be chaste, so he
whom He has predestinated to be chaste, although he may regard that as
uncertain, does not, therefore, fail to act so as to be chaste because
he hears that he is to be what he will be by the gift of God. Nay,
rather, his love rejoices, and he is not puffed up as if he had not
received it. Not only, therefore, is he not hindered from this work by
the preaching of predestination, but he is even assisted to it, so
that although he glories he may glory in the Lord.
 See above, On the Proceedings of Pelagius, ch. 30.
 Rom. xi. 24.
Chapter 42.--The Adversaries Cannot Deny Predestination to Those Gifts
of Grace Which They Themselves Acknowledge, and Their Exhortations are
Not Hindered by This Predestination Nevertheless.
And what I said of chastity, can be said also of faith, of piety, of
love, of perseverance, and, not to enumerate single virtues, it may be
said with the utmost truthfulness of all the obedience with which God
is obeyed. But those who place only the beginning of faith and
perseverance to the end in such wise in our power as not to regard
them as God's gifts, nor to think that God works on our thoughts and
wills so as that we may have and retain them, grant, nevertheless,
that He gives other things,--since they are obtained from Him by the
faith of the believer. Why are they not afraid that exhortation to
these other things, and the preaching of these other things, should be
hindered by the definition of predestination? Or, perchance, do they
say that such things are not predestinated? Then they are not given by
God, or He has not known that He would give them. Because, if they are
both given, and He foreknew that He would give them, certainly He
predestinated them. As, therefore, they themselves also exhort to
chastity, charity, piety, and other things which they confess to be
God's gifts, and cannot deny that they are also foreknown by Him, and
therefore predestinated; nor do they say that their exhortations are
hindered by the preaching of God's predestination, that is, by the
preaching of God's foreknowledge of those future gifts of His: so they
may see that neither are their exhortations to faith or to
perseverance hindered, even although those very things may be said, as
is the truth, to be gifts of God, and that those things are foreknown,
that is, predestinated to be given; but let them rather see that by
this preaching of predestination only that most pernicious error is
hindered and overthrown, whereby it is said that the grace of God is
given according to our deservings, so that he who glories may glory
not in the Lord, but in himself.
Chapter 43.--Further Development of the Foregoing Argument.
And in order that I may more openly unfold this for the sake of those
who are somewhat slow of apprehension, let those who are endowed with
an intelligence that flies in advance bear with my delay. The Apostle
James says, "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."
 It is written also in the Proverbs of Solomon, "Because theLord
giveth wisdom."  And of continency it is read in the book of
Wisdom, whose authority has been used by great and learned men who
have commented upon the divine utterances long before us; there,
therefore, it is read, "When I knew that no one can be continent
unless God gives it, and that this was of wisdom, to know whose gift
this was."  Therefore these are God's gifts,--that is, to say
nothing of others, wisdom and continency. Let those also acquiesce:
for they are not Pelagians, to contend against such a manifest truth
as this with hard and heretical perversity. "But," say they, "that
these things are given to us of God is obtained by faith, which has
its beginning from us;" and both to begin to have this faith, and to
abide in it even to the end, they contend is our own doing, as if we
received it not from the Lord. This, beyond a doubt, is in
contradiction to the apostle when he says, "For what hast thou that
thou hast not received?"  It is in contradiction also to the
saying of the martyr Cyprian, "That we must boast in nothing, since
nothing is our own."  When we have said this, and many other
things which it is wearisome to repeat, and have shown that both the
commencement of faith and perseverance to the end are gifts of God;
and that it is impossible that God should not foreknow any of His
future gifts, as well what should be given as to whom they should be
given; and that thus those whom He delivers and crowns are
predestinated by Him; they think it well to reply, "that the assertion
of predestination is opposed to the advantage of preaching, for the
reason that when this is heard no one can be stirred up by the
incentives of rebuke." When they say this, "they are unwilling that it
should be declared to men, that coming to the faith and abiding in the
faith are God's gifts, lest despair rather than encouragement should
appear to be suggested, inasmuch as they who hear think that it is
uncertain to human ignorance on whom God bestows, or on whom He does
not bestow, these gifts." Why, then, do they themselves also preach
with us that wisdom and continency are God's gifts? But if, when these
things are declared to be God's gifts, there is no hindrance of the
exhortation with which we exhort men to be wise and continent; what is
after all the reason for their thinking that the exhortation is
hindered wherewith we exhort men to come to the faith, and to abide in
it to the end, if these also are said to be God's gifts, as is proved
by the Scriptures, which are His witnesses?
 Jas. i. 5.
 Prov. ii. 6.
 Wisd. viii. 21.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
 Cyprian, Testimonies, iii. 4; see The Ante-Nicene Fathers, v.
Chapter 44.--Exhortation to Wisdom, Though Wisdom is God's Gift.
Now, to say nothing more of continency, and to argue in this place of
wisdom alone, certainly the Apostle James above mentioned says, "But
the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, modest,
easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, inestimable,
without simulation."  Do you not see, I beseech you, how this
wisdom descends from the Father of Lights, laden with many and great
benefits? Because, as the same apostle says, "Every excellent gift and
every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of
Lights."  Why, then--to set aside other matters--do we rebuke
the impure and contentious, to whom we nevertheless preach that the
gift of God is wisdom, pure and peaceable; and are not afraid that
they should be influenced, by the uncertainty of the divine will, to
find in this preaching more of despair than of exhortation; and that
they should not be stirred up by the incentives of rebuke rather
against us than against themselves, because we rebuke them for not
having those things which we ourselves say are not produced by human
will, but are given by the divine liberality? Finally, why did the
preaching of this grace not deter the Apostle James from rebuking
restless souls, and saying, "If ye have bitter envying, and
contentions are in your hearts, glory not, and be not liars against
the truth. This is not the wisdom that cometh down from above, but is
earthly, animal, devilish; for where envying and contention are, there
are inconstancy and every evil work"?  As, therefore, the
restless are to be rebuked, both by the testimony of the divine
declarations, and by those very impulses of ours which they have in
common with ourselves; and is it no argument against this rebuke that
we declare the peaceful wisdom, whereby the contentions are corrected
and healed, to be the gift of God; unbelievers are in such wise to be
rebuked, as those who do not abide in the faith, without any hindrance
to that rebuke from the preaching of God's grace, although that
preaching commends that very grace and the continuance in it as the
gifts of God. Because, although wisdom is obtained from faith, even as
James himself, when he had said, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him
ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not, and it
shall be given,"  immediately added, "But let him ask in faith,
nothing wavering:" it is not, nevertheless, because faith is given
before it is asked for by him to whom it is given, that it must
therefore be said not to be the gift of God, but to be of ourselves,
because it is given to us without our asking for it! For the apostle
very plainly says, "Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith from
God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."  From whom,
therefore, are peace and love, from Him also is faith; wherefore, from
Him we ask not only that it may be increased to those that possess it,
but also that it may be given to those that possess it not.
 Jas. iii. 17.
 Jas. iii. 17.
 Jas. iii. 14.
 Jas. i. 5.
 Eph. vi. 23.
Chapter 45.--Exhortation to Other Gifts of God in Like Manner.
Nor do those on whose account I am saying these things, who cry out
that exhortation is checked by the preaching of predestination and
grace, exhort to those gifts alone which they contend are not given by
God, but are from ourselves, such as are the beginning of faith, and
perseverance in it even to the end. This certainly they ought to do,
in such a way as only to exhort unbelievers to believe, and believers
to continue to believe. But those things which with us they do not
deny to be God's gifts, so as that with us they demolish the error of
the Pelagians, such as modesty, continence, patience, and other
virtues that pertain to a holy life, and are obtained by faith from
the Lord, they ought to show as needing to be prayed for, and to pray
for only, either for themselves or others; but they ought not to
exhort any one to strive after them and retain them. But when they
exhort to these things, according to their ability, and confess that
men ought to be exhorted,--certainly they show plainly enough that
exhortations are not hindered by that preaching, whether they are
exhortations to faith or to perseverance to the end, because we also
preach that such things are God's gifts, and are not given by any man
to himself, but are given by God.
Chapter 46.--A Man Who Does Not Persevere Fails by His Own Fault.
But it is said, "It is by his own fault that any one deserts the
faith, when he yields and consents to the temptation which is the
cause of his desertion of the faith." Who denies it? But because of
this, perseverance in the faith is not to be said not to be a gift of
God. For it is this that a man daily asks for when he says, "Lead us
not into temptation;"  and if he is heard, it is this that he
receives. And thus as he daily asks for perseverance, he assuredly
places the hope of his perseverance not in himself, but in God. I,
however, am loth to exaggerate the case with my words, but I rather
leave it to them to consider, and see what it is of which they have
persuaded themselves--to wit, "that by the preaching of
predestination, more of despair than of exhortation is impressed upon
the hearers." For this is to say that a man then despairs of his
salvation when he has learned to place his hope not in himself, but in
God, although the prophet cries, "Cursed is he who has his hope in
 Matt. vi. 13.
 Jer. xvii. 5.
Chapter 47.--Predestination is Sometimes Signified Under the Name of
These gifts, therefore, of God, which are given to the elect who are
called according to God's purpose, among which gifts is both the
beginning of belief and perseverance in the faith to the termination
of this life, as I have proved by such a concurrent testimony of
reasons and authorities,--these gifts of God, I say, if there is no
such predestination as I am maintaining, are not foreknown by God. But
they are foreknown. This, therefore, is the predestination which I
maintain. [XVIII.] Consequently sometimes the same predestination is
signified also under the name of foreknowledge; as says the apostle,
"God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew."  Here, when
he says, "He foreknew," the sense is not rightly understood except as
"He predestinated," as is shown by the context of the passage itself.
For he was speaking of the remnant of the Jews which were saved, while
the rest perished. For above he had said that the prophet had declared
to Israel, "All day long I have stretched forth my hands to an
unbelieving and a gainsaying people."  And as if it were
answered, What, then, has become of the promises of God to Israel? he
added in continuation, "I say, then, has God cast away His people? God
forbid! for I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the
tribe of Benjamin." Then he added the words which I am now treating:
"God hath not cast away His people whom He foreknew." And in order to
show that the remnant had been left by God's grace, not by any merits
of their works, he went on to add, "Know ye not what the Scripture
saith in Elias, in what way he maketh intercession with God against
Israel?"  and the rest. "But what," says he, "saith the answer
of God unto him? `I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who
have not bowed the knee before Baal.'"  For He says not, "There
are left to me," or "They have reserved themselves to me," but, "I
have reserved to myself." "Even so, then, at this present time also
there is made a remnant by the election of grace. And if of grace,
then it is no more by works; otherwise grace is no more grace." And
connecting this with what I have above quoted, "What then?"  and
in answer to this inquiry, he says, "Israel hath not obtained that
which he was seeking for, but the election hath obtained it, and the
rest were blinded." Therefore, in the election, and in this remnant
which were made so by the election of grace, he wished to be
understood the people which God did not reject, because He foreknew
them. This is that election by which He elected those, whom He willed,
in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy
and without spot in His sight, in love, predestinating them unto the
adoption of sons. No one, therefore, who understands these things is
permitted to doubt that, when the apostle says, "God hath not cast
away His people whom He foreknew," He intended to signify
predestination. For He foreknew the remnant which He should make so
according to the election of grace. That is, therefore, He
predestinated them; for without doubt He foreknew if He predestinated;
but to have predestinated is to have foreknown that which He should
 Rom. xi. 2.
 Rom. x. 21 et seq.
 Rom. xi. 4 et seq.
 Rom. xi. 5.
 Rom. xi. 7.
Chapter 48 [XIX.]--Practice of Cyprian and Ambrose.
What, then, hinders us, when we read of God's foreknowledge in some
commentators on God's word, and they are treating of the calling of
the elect, from understanding the same predestination? For they would
perchance have rather used in this matter this word which, moreover,
is better understood, and which is not inconsistent with, nay, is in
accordance with, the truth which is declared concerning the
predestination of grace. This I know, that no one has been able to
dispute, except erroneously, against that predestination which I am
maintaining in accordance with the Holy Scriptures. Yet I think that
they who ask for the opinions of commentators on this matter ought to
be satisfied with men so holy and so laudably celebrated everywhere in
the faith and Christian doctrine as Cyprian and Ambrose, of whom I
have given such clear testimonies; and that for both doctrines--that
is, that they should both believe absolutely and preach everywhere
that the grace of God is gratuitous, as we must believe and declare it
to be; and that they should not think that preaching opposed to the
preaching whereby we exhort the indolent or rebuke the evil; because
these celebrated men also, although they were preaching God's grace in
such a manner as that one of them said, "That we must boast in
nothing, because nothing is our own;"  and the other, "Our heart
and our thoughts are not in our own power;"  yet ceased not to
exhort and rebuke, in order that the divine commands might be obeyed.
Neither were they afraid of its being said to them, "Why do you exhort
us, and why do you rebuke us, if no good thing that we have is from
us, and if our hearts are not in our own power?" These holy men could
by no means fear that such things should be said to them, since they
were of the mind to understand that it is given to very few to receive
the teaching of salvation through God Himself, or through the angels
of heaven, without any human preaching to them; but that it is given
to many to believe in God through human agency. Yet, in whatever
manner the word of God is spoken to man, beyond a doubt for man to
hear it in such a way as to obey it, is God's gift.
 Cyprian, Testimonies, iii. 4, as above.
 Ambrose, On Flight from the World, ch. 1.
Chapter 49.--Further References to Cyprian and Ambrose.
Wherefore, the above-mentioned most excellent commentators on the
divine declarations both preached the true grace of God as it ought to
be preached,--that is, as a grace preceded by no human
deservings,--and urgently exhorted to the doing of the divine
commandments, that they who might have the gift of obedience should
hear what commands they ought to obey. For if any merits of ours
precede grace, certainly it is the merit of some deed, or word, or
thought, wherein also is understood a good will itself. But he very
briefly summed up the kinds of all deservings who said, "We must glory
in nothing, because nothing is our own." And he who says, "Our heart
and our thoughts are not in our own power," did not pass over acts and
words also, for there is no act or word of man which does not proceed
from the heart and the thought. But what more could that most glorious
martyr and most luminous doctor Cyprian say concerning this matter,
than when he impressed upon us that it behoves us to pray, in the
Lord's Prayer, even for the adversaries of the Christian faith,
showing what he thought of the beginning of the faith, that it also is
God's gift, and pointing out that the Church of Christ prays daily for
perseverance unto the end, because none but God gives that
perseverance to those who have persevered? Moreover, the blessed
Ambrose, when he was expounding the passage where the Evangelist Luke
says, "It seemed good to me also,"  says, "What he declares to
have seemed good to himself cannot have seemed good to him alone. For
not alone by human will did it seem good, but as it pleased Him who
speaks in me, Christ, who effects that that which is good may also
seem good to us: for whom He has mercy on He also calls. And therefore
he who follows Christ may answer, when he is asked why he wished to
become a Christian, `It seemed good to me also.' And when he says
this, he does not deny that it seemed good to God; for the will of men
is prepared by God. For it is God's grace that God should be honoured
by the saint."  Moreover, in the same work,--that is, in the
exposition of the same Gospel, when he had come to that place where
the Samaritans would not receive the Lord when His face was as going
to Jerusalem,--he says, "Learn at the same time that He would not be
received by those who were not converted in simpleness of mind. For if
He had been willing, He would have made them devout who were undevout.
And why they would not receive Him, the evangelist himself mentioned,
saying, `Because His face was as of one going towards Jerusalem.'
 But the disciples earnestly desired to be received into
Samaria. But God calls those whom He makes worthy, and makes religious
whom He will."  What more evident, what more manifest do we ask
from commentators on God's word, if we are pleased to hear from them
what is clear in the Scriptures? But to these two, who ought to be
enough, let us add also a third, the holy Gregory, who testifies that
it is the gift of God both to believe in God and to confess what we
believe, saying, "I beg of you confess the Trinity of one godhead; but
if ye wish otherwise, say that it is of one nature, and God will be
besought that a voice shall be given to you by the Holy Spirit;" that
is, God will be besought to allow a voice to be given to you by which
you may confess what you believe. "For He will give, I am certain. He
who gave what is first, will give also what is second."  He who
gave belief, will also give confession.
 Luke i. 3.
 Ambrose On Luke, in the exposition of the prologue.
 Luke ix. 53.
 Ambrose, On Luke, Book 7, ch. 27.
 Greg. of Nazianz. Orat. 44 in Pentecosten.
Chapter 50.--Obedience Not Discouraged by Preaching God's Gifts.
Such doctors, and so great as these, when they say that there is
nothing of which we may boast as if of our own which God has not given
us, and that our very heart and our thoughts are not in our own power;
and when they give the whole to God, and confess that from Him we
receive that we are converted to Him in such wise as to
continue,--that that which is good appears also to us to be good, and
we wish for it,--that we honour God and receive Christ,--that from
undevout people we are made devout and religious,--that we believe in
the Trinity itself, and also confess with our voice what we
believe:--certainly attribute all these things to God's grace,
acknowledge them as God's gifts, and testify that they come to us from
Him, and are not from ourselves. But will any one say that they in
such wise confessed that grace of God as to venture to deny His
foreknowledge,which not only learned but unlearned men also confess?
Again, if they had so known that God gives these things that they were
not ignorant that He foreknew that He would give them, and could not
have been ignorant to whom He would give them: beyond a doubt they had
known the predestination which, as preached by the apostles, we
laboriously and diligently maintain against the modern heretics. Nor
would it be with any manner of justice said, nevertheless, to them
because they preach obedience, and fervently exhort, to the extent of
the ability of each one, to its practice, "If you do not wish that the
obedience to which you are stirring us up should grow cold in our
heart, forbear to preach to us that grace of God by which you confess
that God gives what you are exhorting us to do."
Chapter 51 [XX.]--Predestination Must Be Preached.
Wherefore, if both the apostles and the teachers of the Church who
succeeded them and imitated them did both these things,--that is, both
truly preached the grace of God which is not given according to our
merits, and inculcated by wholesome precepts a pious obedience,--what
is it which these people of our time think themselves rightly bound by
the invincible force of truth to say, "Even if what is said of the
predestination of God's benefits be true, yet it must not be preached
to the people"?  It must absolutely be preached, so that he who
has ears to hear, may hear. And who has them if he has not received
them from Him who says, "I will give them a heart to know me, and ears
to hear?"  Assuredly, he who has not received may reject; while,
yet, he who receives may take and drink, may drink and live. For as
piety must be preached, that, by him who has ears to hear, God may be
rightly worshipped; modesty must be preached, that, by him who has
ears to hear, no illicit act may be perpetrated by his fleshly nature;
charity must be preached, that, by him who has ears to hear, God and
his neighbours may be loved;--so also must be preached such a
predestination of God's benefits that he who has ears to hear may
glory, not in himself, but in the Lord.
 In the Letters of Prosper and Hilary, printed among Augustin's
Letters, Nos. 225 and 226.
 Baruch ii. 31.
Chapter 52.--Previous Writings Anticipatively Refuted the Pelagian
But in respect of their saying "that it was not necessary that the
hearts of so many people of little intelligence should be disquieted
by the uncertainty of this kind of disputation, since the catholic
faith has been defended for so many years, with no less advantage,
without this definition of predestination, as well against others as
especially against the Pelagians, in so many books that have gone
before, as well of catholics and others as our own;"  --I much
wonder that they should say this, and not observe--to say nothing of
other writings in this place--that those very treatises of mine were
both composed and published before the Pelagians had begun to appear;
and that they do not see in how many passages of those treatises I was
unawares cutting down a future Pelagian heresy, by preaching the grace
by which God delivers us from evil errors and from our habits, without
any preceding merits of ours,--doing this according to His gratuitous
mercy. And this I began more fully to apprehend in that disputation
which I wrote to Simplicianus, the bishop of the Church of Milan, of
blessed memory, in the beginning of my episcopate, when, moreover, I
both perceived and asserted that the beginning of faith is God's gift.
 The Epistle of Hilary in Augustin's Letters, 226, ch. 8.
Chapter 53.--Augustin's "Confessions."
And which of my smaller works has been able to be more generally and
more agreeably known than the books of my Confessions? And although I
published them before the Pelagian heresy had come into existence,
certainly in them I said to my God, and said it frequently, "Give what
Thou commandest, and command what Thou willest."  Which words of
mine, Pelagius at Rome, when they were mentioned in his presence by a
certain brother and fellow bishop of mine, could not bear; and
contradicting somewhat too excitedly, nearly came to a quarrel with
him who had mentioned them. But what, indeed, does God primarily and
chiefly command, but that we believe on Him? And this, therefore, He
Himself gives, if it is well said to Him, "Give what Thou commandest."
And, moreover, in those same books, in respect of what I have related
concerning my conversion, when God converted me to that faith which,
with a most miserable and raging talkativeness, I was destroying, do
you not remember that it was so narrated how I showed that I was
granted to the faithful and daily tears of my mother, that I should
not perish?  Where certainly I declared that God by His grace
converted to the true faith the wills of men, which were not only
averse to it, but even adverse to it. Further, in what manner I
besought God concerning my growth in perseverance, you know, and you
are able to review if you wish it. Therefore, that all the gifts of
God which in that work I either asked for or praised, were foreknown
by God that He would give, and that He could never be ignorant of the
persons to whom He would give them, who can dare, I will not say to
deny, but even to doubt? This is the manifest and assured
predestination of the saints, which subsequently necessity compelled
me more carefully and laboriously to defend when I was already
disputing against the Pelagians. For I learnt that each special heresy
introduced its own peculiar questions into the Church--against which
the sacred Scripture might be more carefully defended than if no such
necessity compelled their defence. And what compelled those passages
of Scripture in which predestination is commended to be defended more
abundantly and clearly by that labour of mine, than the fact that the
Pelagians say that God's grace is given according to our merits; for
what else is this than an absolute denial of grace?
 Confessions, Book x. chs. 19, 31, and 37.
 Confessions, Book iii. chs. 11 and 12, Book ix. ch. 8.
Chapter 54 [XXI.]--Beginning and End of Faith is of God.
Therefore that this opinion, which is unpleasing to God, and hostile
to those gratuitous benefits of God whereby we are delivered, may be
destroyed, I maintain that both the beginning of faith and the
perseverance therein, even to the end, are, according to the
Scriptures--of which I have already quoted many--God's gifts. Because
if we say that the beginning of faith is of ourselves, so that by it
we deserve to receive other gifts of God, the Pelagians conclude that
God's grace is given according to our merits. And this the catholic
faith held in such dread, that Pelagius himself, in fear of
condemnation, condemned it. And, moreover, if we say that our
perseverance is of ourselves, not of God, they answer that we have the
beginning of our faith of ourselves in such wise as the end, thus
arguing that we have that beginning of ourselves much more, if of
ourselves we have the continuance unto the end, since to perfect is
much greater than to begin; and thus repeatedly they conclude that the
grace of God is given according to our merits. But if both are God's
gifts, and God foreknew that He would give these His gifts (and who
can deny this?), predestination must be preached,--that God's true
grace, that is, the grace which is not given according to our merits,
may be maintained with insuperable defence.
Chapter 55.--Testimony of His Previous Writings and Letters.
And, indeed, in that treatise of which the title is, Of Rebuke and
Grace,  which could not suffice for all my lovers, I think that
I have so established that it is the gift of God also to persevere to
the end, as I have either never before or almost never so expressly
and evidently maintained this in writing, unless my memory deceives
me. But I have now said this in a way in which no one before me has
said it. Certainly the blessed Cyprian, in the Lord's Prayer, as I
have already shown, so explained our petitions as to say that in its
very first petition we were asking for perseverance, asserting that we
pray for it when we say, "Hallowed be Thy name,"  although we
have been already hallowed in baptism,--so that we may persevere in
that which we have begun to be. Let those, however, to whom, in their
love for me, I ought not to be ungrateful, who profess that they
embrace, over and above that which comes into the argument, all my
views, as you write,--let those, I say, see whether, in the latter
portions of the first book of those two which I wrote in the beginning
of my episcopate, before the appearance of the Pelagian heresy, to
Simplicianus, the bishop of Milan,  there remained anything
whereby it might be called in question that God's grace is not given
according to our merits; and whether I have not there sufficiently
argued that even the beginning of faith is God's gift; and whether
from what is there said it does not by consequence result, although it
is not expressed, that even perseverance to the end is not given,
except by Him who has predestinated us to His kingdom and glory. Then,
did not I many years ago publish that letter which I had already
written to the holy Paulinus,  bishop of Nola, against the
Pelagians, which they have lately begun to contradict? Let them also
look into that letter which I sent to Sixtus, the presbyter of the
Roman Church  when we contended in a very sharp conflict against
the Pelagians, and they will find it such as is that one to Paulinus.
Whence they may gather that the same sort of things were already said
and written several years ago against the Pelagian heresy, and that it
is to be wondered at that these should now displease them; although I
should wish that no one would so embrace all my views as to follow me,
except in those things in which he should see me not to have erred.
For I am now writing treatises in which I have undertaken to retract
my smaller works, for the purpose of demonstrating that even I myself
have not in all things followed myself; but I think that, with God's
mercy, I have written progressively, and not begun from perfection;
since, indeed, I speak more arrogantly than truly, if even now I say
that I have at length in this age of mine arrived at perfection,
without any error in what I write. But the difference is in the extent
and the subject of an error, and in the facility with which any one
corrects it, or the pertinacity with which one endeavours to defend
his error. Certainly there is good hope of that man whom the last day
of this life shall find so progressing that whatever was wanting to
his progress may be added to him, and that he should be adjudged
rather to need perfecting than punishment.
 On Rebuke and Grace, ch. 10.
 Matt. vi. 9.
 Two books to Simplicianus.
 Letter to Paulinus, 168.
 Letter to Sixtus, 194.
Chapter 56.--God Gives Means as Well as End.
Wherefore if I am unwilling to appear ungrateful to men who have loved
me, because some advantage of my labour has attained to them before
they loved me, how much rather am I unwilling to be ungrateful to God,
whom we should not love unless He had first loved us and made us to
love Him! since love is of Him,  as they have said whom He made
not only His great lovers, but also His great preachers. And what is
more ungrateful than to deny the grace of God itself, by saying that
it is given to us according to our merits? And this the catholic faith
shuddered at in the Pelagians, and this it objected to Pelagius
himself as a capital crime; and this Pelagius himself condemned, not
indeed from love of God's truth, but yet for fear of his own
condemnation. But whoever as a faithful catholic is horrified to say
that the grace of God is given according to our merits, let him not
withdraw faith itself from God's grace, whereby he obtained mercy that
he should be faithful; and thus let him attribute also perseverance to
the end to God's grace, whereby he obtains the mercy which he daily
asks for, not to be led into temptation. But between the beginning of
faith and the perfection of perseverance there are those means whereby
we live righteously, which they themselves are agreed in regarding as
given by God to us at the prayer of faith. And all these things--the
beginning of faith, to wit, and His other gifts even to the end--God
foreknew that He would bestow on His called. It is a matter therefore,
of too excessive contentiousness to contradict predestination, or to
doubt concerning predestination.
 1 John iv. 7.
Chapter 57 [XXII.]--How Predestination Must Be Preached So as Not to
And yet this doctrine must not be preached to congregations in such a
way as to seem to an unskilled multitude, or a people of slower
understanding, to be in some measure confuted by that very preaching
of it. Just as even the foreknowledge of God, which certainly men
cannot deny, seems to be refuted if it be said to them, "Whether you
run or sleep, you shall be that which He who cannot be deceived has
foreknown you to be." And it is the part of a deceitful or an
unskilled physician so to compound even a useful medicament, that it
either does no good or does harm. But it must be said, "So run that
you may lay hold;  and thus by your very running you may know
yourselves to be foreknown as those who should run lawfully:" and in
whatever other manner the foreknowledge of God may be so preached,
that the slothfulness of man may be repulsed.
 1 Cor. ix. 24.
Chapter 58.--The Doctrine to Be Applied with Discrimination.
Now, therefore, the definite determination of God's will concerning
predestination is of such a kind that some from unbelief receive the
will to obey, and are converted to the faith or persevere in the
faith, while others who abide in the delight of damnable sins, even if
they have been predestinated, have not yet arisen, because the aid of
pitying grace has not yet lifted them up. For if any are not yet
called whom by His grace He has predestinated to be elected, they will
receive that grace whereby they may will to be elected, and may be so;
and if any obey, but have not been predestinated to His kingdom and
glory, they are for a season, and will not abide in the same obedience
to the end. Although, then, these things are true, yet they must not
be so said to the multitude of hearers as that the address may be
applied to themselves also, and those words of those people may be
said to them which you have set down in your letter, and which I have
above introduced: "The definite determination of God's will concerning
predestination is of such a kind that some of you from unbelief shall
receive the will to obey, and come to the faith." What need is there
for saying, "Some of you"? For if we speak to God's Church, if we
speak to believers, why do we say that "some of them" had come to the
faith, and seem to do a wrong to the rest, when we may more fittingly
say the definite determination of the will of God concerning
predestination is of such a kind that from unbelief you shall receive
the will to obey, and come to the faith, and shall receive
perseverance, and abide to the end?
Chapter 59.--Offence to Be Avoided.
Neither is what follows by any means to be said,--that is, "But others
of you who abide in the delight of sins have not yet arisen, because
the aid of pitying grace has not yet lifted you up;" when it may be
and ought to be well and conveniently said, "But if any of you are
still delaying in the delightfulness of damnable sins, lay hold of the
most wholesome discipline; and yet when you have done this be not
lifted up, as if by your own works, nor boast as if you had not
received this. For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do
for His good will,  and your steps are directed by the Lord, so
that you choose His way.  But of your own good and righteous
course, learn carefully that it is attributable to the predestination
of divine grace."
 Phil. i. 13.
 Ps. xxxvii. 23.
Chapter 60.--The Application to the Church in General.
Moreover, what follows where it is said, "But yet if any of you are
not yet called, whom by his grace He has predestinated to be called,
you shall receive that grace whereby you shall will to be, and be,
elected," is said more hardly than it could be said if we consider
that we are speaking not to men in general, but to the Church of
Christ. For why is it not rather said thus: "And if any of you are not
yet called, let us pray for them that they may be called. For
perchance they are so predestinated as to be granted to our prayers,
and to receive that grace whereby they may will, and be made elected"?
For God, who fulfilled all that He predestinated, has willed us also
to pray for the enemies of the faith, that we might hence understand
that He Himself also gives to the unbelievers the gift of faith, and
makes willing men out of those that were unwilling.
Chapter 61.--Use of the Third Person Rather Than the Second.
But now I marvel if any weak brother among the Christian congregation
can hear in any way with patience what is connected with these words,
when it is said to them, "And if any of you obey, if you are
predestinated to be rejected, the power of obeying will be withdrawn
from you, that you may cease to obey." For what does saying this seem,
except to curse, or in a certain way to predict evils? But if,
however, it is desirable or necessary to say anything concerning those
who do not persevere, why is it not rather at least said in such a way
as was a little while ago said by me,--first of all, so that this
should be said, not of them who hear in the congregation, but about
others to them; that is, that it should not be said, "If any of you
obey, if you are predestinated to be rejected," but, "If any obey,"
and the rest, using the third person of the verb, not the second? For
it is not to be said to be desirable, but abominable, and it is
excessively harsh and hateful to fly as it were into the face of an
audience with abuse, when he who speaks to them says, "And if there
are any of you who obey, and are predestinated to be rejected, the
power of obedience shall be withdrawn from you, that you may cease to
obey." For what is wanting to the doctrine if it is thus expressed:
"But if any obey, and are not predestinated to His kingdom and glory,
they are only for a season, and shall not continue in that obedience
unto the end"? Is not the same thing said both more truly and more
fittingly, so that we may seem not as it were to be desiring so much
for them, as to relate of others the evil which they hate, and think
does not belong to them, by hoping and praying for better things? But
in that manner in which they think that it must be said, the same
judgment may be pronounced almost in the same words also of God's
foreknowledge, which certainly they cannot deny, so as to say, "And if
any of you obey, if you are foreknown to be rejected you shall cease
to obey." Doubtless this is very true, assuredly it is; but it is very
monstrous, very inconsiderate, and very unsuitable, not by its false
declaration, but by its declaration not wholesomely applied to the
health of human infirmity.
Chapter 62.--Prayer to Be Inculcated, Nevertheless.
But I do not think that manner which I have said should be adopted in
the preaching of predestination ought to be sufficient for him who
speaks to the congregation, except he adds this, or something of this
kind, saying, "You, therefore, ought also to hope for that
perseverance in obedience from the Father of Lights, from whom cometh
down every excellent gift and every perfect gift,  and to ask
for it in your daily prayers; and in doing this ought to trust that
you are not aliens from the predestination of His people, because it
is He Himself who bestows even the power of doing this. And far be it
from you to despair of yourselves, because you are bidden to have your
hope in Him, not in yourselves. For cursed is every one who has hope
in man;  and it is good rather to trust in the Lord than to
trust in man, because blessed are all they that put their trust in
Him.  Holding this hope, serve the Lord in fear, and rejoice
unto Him with trembling.  Because no one can be certain of the
life eternal which God who does not lie has promised to the children
of promise before the times of eternity,--no one, unless that life of
his, which is a state of trial upon the earth, is completed. 
But He will make us to persevere in Himself unto the end of that life,
since we daily say to Him, `Lead us not into temptation.'"  When
these things and things of this kind are said, whether to few
Christians or to the multitude of the Church, why do we fear to preach
the predestination of the saints and the true grace of God,--that is,
the grace which is not given according to our merits,--as the Holy
Scripture declares it? Or, indeed, must it be feared that a man should
then despair of himself when his hope is shown to be placed in God,
and should not rather despair of himself if he should, in his excess
of pride and unhappiness, place it in himself?
 Jas. i. 17.
 Jas. xvii. 5.
 Ps. cxviii. 8.
 Ps. ii. 12.
 Job vii. 1.
 Matt. vi. 13.
Chapter 63 [XXIII.]--The Testimony of the Whole Church in Her Prayers.
And I wish that those who are slow and weak of heart, who cannot, or
cannot as yet, understand the Scriptures or the explanations of them,
would so hear or not hear our arguments in this question as to
consider more carefully their prayers, which the Church has always
used and will use, even from its beginnings until this age shall be
completed. For of this matter, which I am now compelled not only to
mention, but even to protect and defend against these new heretics,
the Church has never been silent in its prayers, although in its
discourses it has not thought that it need be put forth, as there was
no adversary compelling it. For when was not prayer made in the Church
for unbelievers and its opponents that they should believe? When has
any believer had a friend, a neighbour, a wife, who did not believe,
and has not asked on their behalf from the Lord for a mind obedient to
the Christian faith? And who has there ever been who has not prayed
for himself that he might abide in the Lord? And who has dared, not
only with his voice, but even in thought, to blame the priest who
invokes the Lord on behalf of believers, if at any time he has said,
"Give to them, O Lord, perseverance in Thee to the end!" and has not
rather responded, over such a benediction of his, as well with
confessing lips as believing heart, "Amen"? Since in the Lord's Prayer
itself the believers do not pray for anything else, especially when
they say that petition, "Lead us not into temptation," save that they
may persevere in holy obedience. As, therefore, the Church has both
been born and grows and has grown in these prayers, so it has been
born and grows and has grown in this faith, by which faith it is
believed that God's grace is not given according to the merits of the
receivers. For, certainly, the Church would not pray that faith should
be given to unbelievers, unless it believed that God converts to
Himself both the averse and adverse wills of men. Nor would the Church
pray that it might persevere in the faith of Christ, not deceived nor
overcome by the temptations of the world, unless it believed that the
Lord has our heart in His power, in such wise as that the good which
we do not hold save by our own will, we nevertheless do not hold
except He worketh in us to will also. For if the Church indeed asks
these things from Him, but thinks that the same things are given to
itself by itself, it makes use of prayers which are not true, but
perfunctory,--which be far from us! For who truly groans, desiring to
receive what he prays for from the Lord, if he thinks that he receives
it from himself, and not from the Lord?
Chapter 64.--In What Sense the Holy Spirit Solicits for Us, Crying,
And this especially since "we know not what to pray for as we ought,"
says the apostle, "but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us
with groanings that cannot be uttered; and He that searcheth the
hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh
intercession for the saints according to God."  What is "the
Spirit Himself maketh intercession," but, "causes to make
intercession," "with groanings that cannot be uttered," but
"truthful," since the Spirit is truth? For He it is of whom the
apostle says in another place, "God hath sent the Spirit of His Son
into our hearts, "crying, Abba, Father!"  And here what is the
meaning of "crying," but "making to cry," by that figure of speech
whereby we call a day that makes people glad, a glad day? And this he
makes plain elsewhere when he says, "For you have not received the
Spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the Spirit of
the adoption of sons, in whom we cry, Abba, Father."  He there
said, "crying," but here, "in whom we cry;" opening up, that is to
say, the meaning with which he said "crying,"--that is, as I have
already explained, "causing to cry," when we understand that this is
also itself the gift of God, that with a true heart and spiritually we
cry to God. Let them, therefore, observe how they are mistaken who
think that our seeking, asking, knocking is of ourselves, and is not
given to us; and say that this is the case because grace is preceded
by our merits; that it follows them when we ask and receive, and seek
and find, and it is opened to us when we knock. And they will not
understand that this is also of the divine gift, that we pray; that
is, that we ask, seek, and knock. For we have received the spirit of
adoption of sons, in which we cry, Abba, Father. And this the blessed
Ambrose also said.  For he says, "To pray to God also is the
work of spiritual grace, as it is written, No one says, Jesus is the
Lord, but in the Holy Spirit."
 Rom. iii. 26.
 Gal. iv. 6.
 Rom. viii. 15.
 Ambrose, Commentary on Isaiah.
Chapter 65.--The Church's Prayers Imply the Church's Faith.
These things, therefore, which the Church asks from the Lord, and
always has asked from the time she began to exist, God so foreknew
that He would give to His called, that He has already given them in
predestination itself; as the apostle declares without any ambiguity.
For, writing to Timothy, he says, "Labour along with the gospel
according to the power of God, who saves us, and calls 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 before the times
of eternity, but is now made manifest by the coming of our Saviour
Jesus Christ."  Let him, therefore, say that the Church at any
time has not had in its belief the truth of this predestination and
grace, which is now maintained with a more careful heed against the
late heretics; let him say this who dares to say that at any time it
has not prayed, or not truthfully prayed, as well that unbelievers
might believe, as that believers might persevere. And if the Church
has always prayed for these benefits, it has always believed them to
be certainly God's gifts; nor was it ever right for it to deny that
they were foreknown by Him. And thus Christ's Church has never failed
to hold the faith of this predestination, which is now being defended
with new solicitude against these modern heretics.
 2 Tim. i. 8, etc.
Chapter 66 [XXIV.]--Recapitulation and Exhortation.
But what more shall I say? I think that I have taught sufficiently, or
rather more than sufficiently, that both the beginning of faith in the
Lord, and continuance in the Lord unto the end, are God's gifts. And
other good things which pertain to a good life, whereby God is rightly
worshipped, even they themselves on whose behalf I am writing this
treatise concede to be God's gifts. Further, they cannot deny that God
has foreknown all His gifts, and the people on whom He was going to
bestow them. As, therefore, other things must be preached so that he
who preaches them may be heard with obedience, so predestination must
be preached so that he who hears these things with obedience may glory
not in man, and therefore not in himself, but in the Lord; for this
also is God's precept, and to hear this precept with obedience--to
wit, that he who glories should glory in the Lord  --in like
manner as the rest, is God's gift. And he who has not this gift,--I
shrink not from saying it,--whatever others he has, has them in vain.
That the Pelagians may have this we pray, and that our own brethren
may have it more abundantly. Let us not, therefore, be prompt in
arguments and indolent in prayers. Let us pray, dearly beloved, let us
pray that the God of grace may give even to our enemies, and
especially to our brethren and lovers, to understand and confess that
after that great and unspeakable ruin wherein we have all fallen in
one, no one is delivered save by God's grace, and that grace is not
repaid according to the merits of the receivers as if it were due, but
is given freely as true grace, with no merits preceding.
 1 Cor. i. 31.
Chapter 67.--The Most Eminent Instance of Predestination is Christ
But there is no more illustrious instance of predestination than Jesus
Himself, concerning which also I have already argued in the former
treatise;  and in the end of this I have chosen to insist upon
it. There is no more eminent instance, I say, of predestination than
the Mediator Himself. If any believer wishes thoroughly to understand
this doctrine, let him consider Him, and in Him he will find himself
also. The believer, I say; who in Him believes and confesses the true
human nature that is our own, however singularly elevated by
assumption by God the Word into the only Son of God, so that He who
assumed, and what He assumed, should be one person in Trinity. For it
was not a Quaternity that resulted from the assumption of man, but it
remained a Trinity, inasmuch as that assumption ineffably made the
truth of one person in God and man. Because we say that Christ was not
only God, as the Manichean heretics contend; nor only man, as the
Photinian heretics assert; nor in such wise man as to have less of
anything which of a certainty pertains to human nature,--whether a
soul, or in the soul itself a rational mind, or flesh not taken of the
woman, but made from the Word converted and changed into flesh,--all
which three false and empty notions have made the three various and
diverse parties of the Apollinarian heretics; but we say that Christ
was true God, born of God the Father without any beginning of time;
and that He was also true or very man, born of human mother in the
certain fulness of time; and that His humanity, whereby He is less
than the Father, does not diminish aught from His divinity, whereby He
is equal to the Father. For both of them are One Christ--who,
moreover, most truly said in respect of the God, "I and the Father are
one;"  and most truly said in respect of the man, "My Father is
greater than I."  He, therefore, who made of the seed of David
this righteous man, who never should be unrighteous, without any merit
of His preceding will, is the same who also makes righteous men of
unrighteous, without any merit of their will preceding; that He might
be the head, and they His members. He, therefore, who made that man
with no precedent merits of His, neither to deduce from His origin nor
to commit by His will any sin which should be remitted to Him, the
same makes believers on Him with no preceding merits of theirs, to
whom He forgives all sin. He who made Him such that He never had or
should have an evil will, the same makes in His members a good will
out of an evil one. Therefore He predestinated both Him and us,
because both in Him that He might be our head, and in us that we
should be His body, He foreknew that our merits would not precede, but
that His doings should.
 On the Predestination of the Saints, Book i. ch. 30.
 John x. 30.
 John xiv. 28.
Let those who read this, if they understand, give God thanks, and let
those who do not understand, pray that they may have the inward
Teacher, from whose presence comes knowledge and understanding. 
But let those who think that I am in error, consider again and again
carefully what is here said, lest perchance they themselves may be
mistaken. And when, by means of those who read my writings, I become
not only wiser, but even more perfect, I acknowledge God's favour to
me; and this I especially look for at the hands of the teachers of the
Church, if what I write comes into their hands, and they condescend to
 Prov. ii. 6.
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