Writings of Augustine. On Marriage and Concupiscence.
Soon after its publication it began to be assailed by the Pelagians,
who observed that its perusal was producing in the minds of the
catholics much odium against their heresy. One of them, Julianus,
 influenced with a warm desire of furthering the heretical
movement, attacked the first book of Augustin's treatise in four books
of his own. Out of these, sundry extracts were culled by some
interested person, and forwarded to Count Valerius. Valerius
despatched them from Ravenna to Rome, to Alypius,  in order that
he, on returning to Africa, might hand them to Augustin for the
purpose of an early refutation, together with a letter in which
Valerius thanked Augustin for the previous work which he also
mentioned. Augustin saw at once that these extracts had been taken out
of the work of Julianus; and, although he preferred reserving his
answer to the selections till he had received the entire work from
which they were culled, he still thought that he was bound to avoid
all delay in satisfying the Count Valerius. Without loss of time,
therefore, he drew up in answer his second book, with the same title
as before, On Marriage and Concupiscence, which, as we think, must be
assigned to the year 420, since the holy doctor wrote it immediately
after the expression of thanks for the first book; for it is clearly
improbable that Valerius should have waited two years or more to make
the acknowledgment of his gratitude.
Augustin and the Pelagian Controversy.
On Marriage and Concupiscence.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff,
New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
Extract from Augustin's "Retractations," Book II. Chap. 53,
On the Following Treatise, "De nuptiis et concupiscentia."
"I Addressed two books to the Illustrious Count Valerius, upon hearing
that the Pelagians had brought sundry vague charges upon us--how, for
instance, we condemned marriage by maintaining Original Sin. These
books are entitled, On Marriage and Concupiscence. We maintain that
marriage is good; and that it must not be supposed that the
concupisence of the flesh, or "the law in our members which wars
against the law of mind,"  is a fault of marriage. Conjugal
chastity makes a good use of the evil of concupiscence in the
procreation of children. My first treatise contained two books. The
first of them found its way into the hands of Julianus the Pelagian,
who wrote four books in opposition to it. Out of these, somebody
extracted sundry passages, and sent them to Count Valerius; he handed
them to us, and after I had received them I wrote a second book in
answer to these extracts. The first book of this work of mine opens
with these words: "Our new heretics, most beloved son Valerius," while
the second begins thus: "Amid the cares of your duty as a soldier."
 Rom. vii. 23.
Advertisement to the Reader on the Following Treatise.
On revising these two Books, which he addressed to the Count Valerius,
Augustin placed them immediately after his reply to the discourse of
the Arians, which was affixed to the Proceedings with Emeritus. 
Now these proceedings are stated to have taken place on the 20th of
September, in the year of our Lord 418.  There can be no doubt,
then, that these subjoined books--or, at any rate, the former of
them--were written either at the close of the year 418, or in the
beginning of the year 419. For, concerning this first book, Augustin
says himself: "This book of mine, however, which he [Julianus] says he
answered in four books, I wrote after the condemnation of Pelagius and
Coelestius. This," he adds, "I have deemed it right to mention,
because he declares that my words had been used by the enemies of the
truth to bring it into odium. Let no one, therefore, suppose that it
was owing to this book of mine that condemnation had been passed on
the new heretics who are enemies of the grace of Christ."  From
these words one may see at once that this first book was published
about the same time as the condemnation of the Pelagians in the year
Moreover, the Valerius whom Augustin dignifies with the title of
Illustrious as well as Count, was much employed in public life--not,
to be sure, in the forum, but in the field; and from this circumstance
we find it difficult to accede to the opinion that supposes him to
have been the same person with the Valerius who was Count of the
Private Estate in the year 425, Consul in 432, and lastly Master of
the Offices under Theodosius the younger in the year 434. These
appointments, indeed, had no connection with military service, nor had
the prefects of Theodosius anything in common with those of Honorius.
 The Donatist bishop.
 [This work gives an account of the meeting of the catholic
bishops at Cæsarea on Sept. 20, 418, at which Emeritus was present by
invitation. Cf. Smith and Wace, Dict of Christ. Biog. ii. 107.--W.]
 Against Two Epistles of the Pelagians, ch. 9.
 Bishop of Eclanum in Italy. See below at beginning of Book ii.
 The great friend of Augustin.
A Letter  Addressed to the Count Valerius,
on Augustin's forwarding to him what he calls his first book "on
marriage and concupiscence."
To the illustrious and deservedly eminent Lord and his most dearly
beloved son in the love of Christ, Valerius, Augustin sends greeting
in the Lord.
1. While I was chafing at the long disappointment of receiving no
acknowledgments from your Highness of the many letters which I had
written to you, I all at once received three letters from your
Grace,--one by the hand of my fellow bishop Vindemialis, which was not
meant for me only, and two, soon afterwards, through my brother
presbyter Firmus. This holy man, who is bound to me, as you may have
ascertained from his own lips, by the ties of a most intimate love,
had much conversation with me about your excellence, and gave me
undoubted proofs of his complete knowledge of your character "in the
bowels of Christ;"  by these means he had sight, not only of the
letters of which the fore-mentioned bishop and he himself had been the
bearers, but also of those which we expressed our disappointment at
not having received. Now his information respecting you was all the
more pleasant to us, inasmuch as he gave me to understand, what it was
out of your power to do, that you would not, even at my earnest
request for an answer, become the extoller of your own praises,
contrary to the permission of Holy Scripture.  But I ought
myself to hesitate to write to you in this strain, lest I should incur
the suspicion of flattering you, my illustrious and deservedly eminent
lord and dearly beloved son in the love of Christ.
2. Now, as to your praises in Christ, or rather Christ's praises in
you, see what delight and joy it was to me to hear of them from him,
who could neither deceive me because of his fidelity to me, nor be
ignorant of them by reason of his friendship with you. But other
testimony, which though inferior in amount and certainty has still
reached my ear from divers quarters, assures me how sound and catholic
is your faith; how devout your hope of the future; how great your love
to God and the brethren; how humble your mind amid the highest
honours, as you do not trust in uncertain riches, but in the living
God, and art rich in good works;  how your house is a rest and
comfort of the saints, and a terror to evil-doers; how great is your
care that no man lay snares for Christ's members (either among His old
enemies or those of more recent days), although he use Christ's name
as a cloak for his wiles; and at the same time, though you give no
quarter to the error of these enemies, how provident you are to secure
their salvation. This and the like, we frequently hear, as I have
already said, even from others; but at the present moment we have, by
means of the above-mentioned brother, received a fuller and more
3. Touching, however, the subject of conjugal purity, that we might be
able to bestow our commendation and love upon you for it, could we
possibly listen to the information of any one but some bosom friend of
your own, who had no mere superficial acquaintance with you, but knew
your innermost life? Concerning, therefore, this excellent gift of God
to you, I am delighted to converse with you with more frankness and at
greater length. I am quite sure that I shall not prove burdensome to
you, even if I send you a prolix treatise, the perusal of which will
only ensure a longer converse between us. For this have I discovered,
that amidst your manifold and weighty cares you pursue your reading
with ease and pleasure; and that you take great delight in any little
performances of ours, even if they are addressed to other persons,
whenever they have chanced to fall into your hands. Whatever,
therefore, is addressed to yourself, in which I can speak to you as it
were personally, you will deign both to notice with greater attention,
and to receive with a higher pleasure. From the perusal, then, of this
letter, turn to the book which I send with it. It will in its very
commencement, in a more convenient manner, intimate to your Reverence
the reason, both why it has been written, and why it has been
submitted specially to your consideration.
 This is the 200th in the collection of Augustin's Letters.
 Phil. i. 8.
 Prov. xxvii. 2.
 1 Tim. vi. 17.
On Marriage and Concupiscence,
In Two Books,
addressed to the count valerius
by Aurelius Augustin, Bishop of Hippo;
written in 419 and 420.
Book I. 
Wherein He expounds the peculiar and natural blessings of marriage. He
shows that among these blessings must not be reckoned fleshly
concupiscence; insomuch as this is wholly evil, such as does not
proceed from the very nature of marriage, but is an accident thereof
arising from original sin. This evil, notwithstanding, is rightly
employed by marriage for the procreation of children. But, as the
result of this concupiscence, it comes to pass that, even from the
lawful marriage of the children of God, men are not born children of
God, but of the world, and are bound with the chain of sin, although
their parents have been liberated therefrom by grace; and are led
captive by the devil, if they be not in like manner rescued by the
self-same grace of Christ. He explains how it is that concupiscence
remains in the baptized in act though not in guilt. He teaches, that
by the sanctity of baptism, not merely this original guilt, but all
other sins of men whatever, are taken away. He lastly quotes the
authority of Ambrose to show that the evil of concupiscence must be
distinguished from the good of marriage.
Chapter 1.--Concerning the Argument of This Treatise.
Our new heretics, my dearest son Valerius, who maintain that infants
born in the flesh have no need of that medicine of Christ whereby sins
are healed, are constantly affirming, in their excessive hatred of us,
that we condemn marriage and that divine procedure by which God
creates human beings by means of men and women, inasmuch as we assert
that they who are born of such a union contract that original sin of
which the apostle says, "By one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for in him all
sinned;"  and because we do not deny, that of whatever kind of
parents they are born, they are still under the devil's dominion,
unless they be born again in Christ, and by His grace be removed from
the power of darkness and translated into His kingdom,  who
willed not to be born from the same union of the two sexes. Because,
then, we affirm this doctrine, which is contained in the oldest and
unvarying rule of the catholic faith, these propounders of the novel
and perverse dogma, who assert that there is no sin in infants to be
washed away in the laver of regeneration,  in their unbelief or
ignorance calumniate us, as if we condemned marriage, and as if we
asserted to be the devil's work what is God's own work--the human
being which is born of marriage. Nor do they reflect that the good of
marriage is no more impeachable on account of the original evil which
is derived therefrom, than the evil of adultery and fornication is
excusable on account of the natural good which is born of them. For as
sin is the work of the devil, from whencesoever contracted by infants;
so man is the work of God, from whencesoever born. Our purpose,
therefore, in this book, so far as the Lord vouchsafes us in His help,
is to distinguish between the evil of carnal concupiscence from which
man who is born therefrom contracts original sin, and the good of
marriage. For there would have been none of this shame-producing
concupiscence, which is impudently praised by impudent men, if man had
not previously sinned; while as to marriage, it would still have
existed even if no man had sinned, since the procreation of children
in the body that belonged to that life would have been effected
without that malady which in "the body of this death"  cannot be
separated from the process of procreation.
 Written about the beginning of the year A.D. 419.
 In quo omnes peccaverunt, Rom. v. 5.
 Col. i. 15.
 Titus iii. 5.
 Rom. vii. 24.
Chapter 2. [II.]--Why This Treatise Was Addressed to Valerius.
Now there are three very special reasons, which I will briefly
indicate, why I wished to write to you particularly on this subject.
One is, because by the gift of Christ you are a strict observer of
conjugal chastity. Another is, because by your great care and
diligence you have effectually withstood those profane novelties which
we are resisting in our present discussion. The third is, because of
my learning that something which they had committed to writing had
found its way into your hands; and although in your robust faith you
could despise such an attempt, it is still a good thing for us also to
know how to bring aid to our faith by defending it. For the Apostle
Peter instructs us to be "ready always to give an answer to every one
that asketh us a reason of the faith and hope that is in us;" 
and the Apostle Paul says, "Let your speech be always with grace,
seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every
man."  These are the motives which chiefly impel me to hold such
converse with you in this volume, as the Lord shall enable me. I have
never liked, indeed, to intrude the perusal of any of my humble
labours on any eminent person, who is like yourself conspicuous to all
from the elevation of his office, without his own request,--especially
when he is not blessed with the enjoyment of a dignified retirement,
but is still occupied in the public duties of a soldier's profession;
this has always seemed to me to savour more impertinence than of
respectful esteem. If, then, I have incurred censure of this kind,
while acting on the reasons which I have now mentioned, I crave the
favour of your forgiveness, and kindly regard to the following
 1 Pet. iii. 15. [The reading "faith and hope" stands in certain
Latin Biblical mss. Also, e.g., Codices Harleianus and Toletanus.
Traces of a similar reading are not unknown also in Greek (Origen,
Basil) and Syriac (Peshitto) sources.--W.]
 Col. iv. 6.
Chapter 3 [III.]--Conjugal Chastity the Gift of God.
That chastity in the married state is God's gift, is shown by the most
blessed Paul, when, speaking on this very subject, he says: "But I
would that all men were even as I myself: but every man hath his
proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that."
 Observe, he tells us that this gift is from God; and although
he classes it below that continence in which he would have all men to
be like himself, he still describes it as a gift of God. Whence we
understand that, when these precepts are given to us in order that we
should do them, nothing else is stated than that there ought to be
within us our own will also for receiving and having them. When,
therefore, these are shown to be gifts of God, it is meant that they
must be sought from Him if they are not already possessed; and if they
are possessed, thanks must be given to Him for the possession;
moreover, that our own wills have but small avail for seeking,
obtaining, and holding fast these gifts, unless they be assisted by
 1 Cor. vii. 7.
Chapter 4.--A Difficulty as Regards the Chastity of Unbelievers. None
But a Believer is Truly a Chaste Man. 
What, then, have we to say when conjugal chastity is discovered even
in some unbelievers? Must it be said that they sin, in that they make
a bad use of a gift of God, in not restoring it to the worship of Him
from whom they received it? Or must these endowments, perchance, be
not regarded as gifts of God at all, when they are not believers who
exercise them; according to the apostle's sentiment, when he says,
"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin?"  But who would dare to say
that a gift of God is sin? For the soul and the body, and all the
natural endowments which are implanted in the soul and the body, even
in the persons of sinful men, are still gifts of God; for it is God
who made them, and not they themselves. When it is said, "Whatsoever
is not of faith is sin," only those things are meant which men
themselves do. When men, therefore, do without faith those things
which seem to appertain to conjugal chastity, they do them either to
please men, whether themselves or others, or to avoid incurring such
troubles as are incidental to human nature in those things which they
corruptly desire, or to pay service to devils. Sins are not really
resigned, but some sins are overpowered by other sins. God forbid,
then, that a man be truly called chaste who observes connubial
fidelity to his wife from any other motive than devotion to the true
 See Augustin's work Against Julianus, iv. 3.
 Rom. xiv. 23.
Chapter 5 [IV.]--The Natural Good of Marriage. All Society Naturally
Repudiates a Fraudulent Companion. What is True Conjugal Purity? No
True Virginity and Chastity Except in Devotion to True Faith.
The union, then, of male and female for the purpose of procreation is
the natural good of marriage. But he makes a bad use of this good who
uses it bestially, so that his intention is on the gratification of
lust, instead of the desire of offspring. Nevertheless, in sundry
animals unendowed with reason, as, for instance, in most birds, there
is both preserved a certain kind of confederation of pairs, and a
social combination of skill in nest-building; and their mutual
division of the periods for cherishing their eggs and their
alternation in the labor of feeding their young, give them the
appearance of so acting, when they mate, as to be intent rather on
securing the continuance of their kind than on gratifying lust. Of
these two, the one is the likeness of man in a brute; the other, the
likeness of the brute in man. With respect, however, to what I
ascribed to the nature of marriage, that the male and the female are
united together as associates for procreation, and consequently do not
defraud each other (forasmuch as every associated state has a natural
abhorrence of a fraudulent companion), although even men without faith
possess this palpable blessing of nature, yet, since they use it not
in faith, they only turn it to evil and sin. In like manner,
therefore, the marriage of believers converts to the use of
righteousness that carnal concupiscence by which "the flesh lusteth
against the Spirit."  For they entertain the firm purpose of
generating offspring to be regenerated--that the children who are born
of them as "children of the world" may be born again and become "sons
of God." Wherefore all parents who do not beget children with this
intention, this will, this purpose, of transferring them from being
members of the first man into being members of Christ, but boast as
unbelieving parents over unbelieving children,--however circumspect
they be in their cohabitation, studiously limiting it to the begetting
of children,--really have no conjugal chastity in themselves. For
inasmuch as chastity is a virtue, hating unchastity as its contrary
vice, and as all the virtues (even those whose operation is by means
of the body) have their seat in the soul, how can the body be in any
true sense said to be chaste, when the soul itself is committing
fornication against the true God? Now such fornication the holy
psalmist censures when he says: "For, lo, they that are far from Thee
shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from
Thee."  There is, then, no true chastity, whether conjugal, or
vidual, or virginal, except that which devotes itself to true faith.
For though consecrated virginity is rightly preferred to marriage, yet
what Christian in his sober mind would not prefer catholic Christian
women who have been even more than once married, to not only vestals,
but also to heretical virgins? So great is the avail of faith, of
which the apostle says, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin;" 
and of which it is written in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "Without
faith it is impossible to please God." 
 Gal. v. 17.
 Ps. lxxiii. 27.
 Rom. xiv. 23.
 Heb. xi. 6.
Chapter 6 [V.]--The Censuring of Lust is Not a Condemnation of
Marriage; Whence Comes Shame in the Human Body. Adam and Eve Were Not
Created Blind; Meaning of Their "Eyes Being Opened."
Now, this being the real state of the question, they undoubtedly err
who suppose that, when fleshly lust is censured, marriage is
condemned; as if the malady of concupiscence was the outcome of
marriage and not of sin. Were not those first spouses, whose nuptials
God blessed with the words, "Be fruitful and multiply,"  naked,
and yet not ashamed? Why, then, did shame arise out of their members
after sin, except because an indecent motion arose from them, which,
if men had not sinned, would certainly never have existed in marriage?
Or was it, forsooth, as some hold (who give little heed to what they
read), that human beings were, like dogs, at first created blind;
and--absurder still--obtained sight, not as dogs do, by growing, but
by sinning? Far be it from us to entertain such an opinion. But they
gather that opinion of theirs from reading: "She took of the fruit
thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her, and he
did eat: and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that
they were naked."  This accounts for the opinion of
unintelligent persons, that the eyes of the first man and woman were
previously closed, because Holy Scripture testifies that they were
then opened. Well, then, were Hagar's eyes, the handmaid of Sarah,
previously shut, when, with her thirsty and sobbing child, she opened
her eyes  and saw the well? Or did those two disciples, after
the Lord's resurrection, walk in the way with Him with their eyes
shut, since the evangelist says of them that "in the breaking of bread
their eyes were opened, and they knew Him"?  What, therefore, is
written concerning the first man and woman, that "the eyes of them
both were opened,"  we ought to understand as that they gave
attention to perceiving and recognising the new state which had
befallen their body. Now that their eyes were opened, their body
appeared to them naked, and they knew it. If this were not the
meaning, how, when the beast of the field and the fowls of the air
were brought unto him,  could Adam have given them names if his
eyes were shut? He could not have done this without distinguishing
them; and he could not distinguish them without seeing them. How, too,
could the woman herself have been beheld so clearly by him when he
said, "This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh"?  If,
indeed, any one shall be so determined on cavilling as to insist that
Adam might have acquired a discernment of these objects, not by sight
but by touch, what explanation will he have to give of the passage
wherein we are told how the woman "saw that the tree," from which she
was about to pluck the forbidden fruit, "was pleasant for the eyes to
behold"?  No; "they were both naked, and were not ashamed,"
 not because they had no eyesight, but because they perceived no
reason to be ashamed in their members, which had all along been seen
by them. For it is not said: They were both naked, and knew it not;
but "they were not ashamed." Because, indeed, nothing had previously
happened which was not lawful, so nothing had ensued which could cause
 Gen. i. 28.
 Gen. iii. 6, 7.
 Gen. xxi. 17-19.
 Luke xxiv. 31.
 Gen. iii. 7.
 Gen. ii. 19.
 Gen. ii. 23.
 Gen. iii. 6.
 Gen. ii. 25.
Chapter 7 [VI.]--Man's Disobedience Justly Requited in the Rebellion
of His Own Flesh; The Blush of Shame for the Disobedient Members of
When the first man transgressed the law of God, he began to have
another law in his members which was repugnant to the law of his mind,
and he felt the evil of his own disobedience when he experienced in
the disobedience of his flesh a most righteous retribution recoiling
on himself. Such, then, was "the opening of his eyes" which the
serpent had promised him in his temptation  --the knowledge, in
fact, of something which he had better been ignorant of. Then, indeed,
did man perceive within himself what he had done; then did he
distinguish evil from good,--not by avoiding it, but by enduring it.
For it certainly was not just that obedience should be rendered by his
servant, that is, his body, to him, who had not obeyed his own Lord.
Well, then, how significant is the fact that the eyes, and lips, and
tongue, and hands, and feet, and the bending of back, and neck, and
sides, are all placed within our power--to be applied to such
operations as are suitable to them, when we have a body free from
impediments and in a sound state of health; but when it must come to
man's great function of the procreation of children the members which
were expressly created for this purpose will not obey the direction of
the will, but lust has to be waited for to set these members in
motion, as if it had legal right over them, and sometimes it refuses
to act when the mind wills, while often it acts against its will! Must
not this bring the blush of shame over the freedom of the human will,
that by its contempt of God, its own Commander, it has lost all proper
command for itself over its own members? Now, wherein could be found a
more fitting demonstration of the just depravation of human nature by
reason of its disobedience, than in the disobedience of those parts
whence nature herself derives subsistence by succession? For it is by
an especial propriety that those parts of the body are designated as
natural. This, then, was the reason why the first human pair, on
experiencing in the flesh that motion which was indecent because
disobedient, and on feeling the shame of their nakedness, covered
these offending members with fig-leaves;  in order that, at the
very least, by the will of the ashamed offenders, a veil might be
thrown over that which was put into motion without the will of those
who wished it: and since shame arose from what indecently pleased,
decency might be attained by concealment.
 Gen. iii. 5.
 Gen. iii. 7.
Chapter 8 [VII.]--The Evil of Lust Does Not Take Away the Good of
Forasmuch, then, as the good of marriage could not be lost by the
addition of this evil, some imprudent persons suppose that this is not
an added evil, but something which appertains to the original good. A
distinction, however, occurs not only to subtle reason, but even to
the most ordinary natural judgment, which was both apparent in the
case of the first man and woman, and also holds good still in the case
of married persons to-day. What they afterward effected in
propagation,--that is the good of marriage; but what they first veiled
through shame,--that is the evil of concupiscence, which everywhere
shuns sight, and in its shame seeks privacy. Since, therefore,
marriage effects some good even out of that evil, it has whereof to
glory; but since the good cannot be effected without the evil, it has
reason for feeling shame. The case may be illustrated by the example
of a lame man. Suppose him to attain to some good object by limping
after it, then, on the one hand, the attainment itself is not evil
because of the evil of the man's lameness; nor, on the other hand, is
the lameness good because of the goodness of the attainment. So, on
the same principle, we ought not to condemn marriage because of the
evil of lust; nor must we praise lust because of the good of marriage.
Chapter 9 [VIII.]--This Disease of Concupiscence in Marriage is Not to
Be a Matter of Will, But of Necessity; What Ought to Be the Will of
Believers in the Use of Matrimony; Who is to Be Regarded as Using, and
Not Succumbing To, the Evil of Concupiscence; How the Holy Fathers of
the Old Testament Formerly Used Wives.
This disease of concupiscence is what the apostle refers to, when,
speaking to married believers, he says: "This is the will of God, even
your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that
every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in
sanctification and honour; not in the disease of desire, even as the
Gentiles which know not God."  The married believer, therefore,
must not only not use another man's vessel, which is what they do who
lust after others' wives; but he must know that even his own vessel is
not to be possessed in the disease of carnal concupiscence. And this
counsel is not to be understood as if the apostle prohibited
conjugal--that is to say, lawful and honourable--cohabitation; but so
as that that cohabitation (which would have no adjunct of unwholesome
lust, were it not that man's perfect freedom of choice had become by
preceding sin so disabled that it has this fatal adjunct) should not
be a matter of will, but of necessity, without which, nevertheless, it
would be impossible to attain to the fruition of the will itself in
the procreation of children. And this wish is not in the marriages of
believers determined by the purpose of having such children born as
shall pass through life in this present world, but such as shall be
born again in Christ, and remain in Him for evermore. Now if this
result should come about, the reward of a full felicity will spring
from marriage; but if such result be not realized, there will yet
ensue to the married pair the peace of their good will. Whosoever
possesses his vessel (that is, his wife) with this intention of heart,
certainly does not possess her in the "disease of desire," as the
Gentiles which know not God, but in sanctification and honour, as
believers who hope in God. A man turns to use the evil of
concupiscence, and is not overcome by it, when he bridles and
restrains its rage, as it works in inordinate and indecorous motions;
and never relaxes his hold upon it except when intent on offspring,
and then controls and applies it to the carnal generation of children
to be spiritually regenerated, not to the subjection of the spirit to
the flesh in a sordid servitude. That the holy fathers of olden times
after Abraham, and before him, to whom God gave His testimony that
"they pleased Him,"  thus used their wives, no one who is a
Christian ought to doubt, since it was permitted to certain
individuals amongst them to have a plurality of wives, where the
reason was for the multiplication of their offspring, not the desire
of varying gratification.
 1 Thess. iv. 3-5.
 See Heb. xi. 4-6.
Chapter 10 [IX.]--Why It Was Sometimes Permitted that a Man Should
Have Several Wives, Yet No Woman Was Ever Allowed to Have More Than
One Husband. Nature Prefers Singleness in Her Dominations.
Now, if to the God of our fathers, who is likewise our God, such a
plurality of wives had not been displeasing for the purpose that lust
might have a fuller range of indulgence; then, on such a supposition,
the holy women also ought each to have rendered service to several
husbands. But if any woman had so acted, what feeling but that of a
disgraceful concupiscence could impel her to have more husbands,
seeing that by such licence she could not have more children? That the
good purpose of marriage, however, is better promoted by one husband
with one wife, than by a husband with several wives, is shown plainly
enough by the very first union of a married pair, which was made by
the Divine Being Himself, with the intention of marriages taking their
beginning therefrom, and of its affording to them a more honourable
precedent. In the advance, however, of the human race, it came to pass
that to certain good men were united a plurality of good wives,--many
to each; and from this it would seem that moderation sought rather
unity on one side for dignity, while nature permitted plurality on the
other side for fecundity. For on natural principles it is more
feasible for one to have dominion over many, than for many to have
dominion over one. Nor can it be doubted, that it is more consonant
with the order of nature that men should bear rule over women, than
women over men. It is with this principle in view that the apostle
says, "The head of the woman is the man;"  and, "Wives, submit
yourselves unto your own husbands."  So also the Apostle Peter
writes: "Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord."  Now,
although the fact of the matter is, that while nature loves singleness
in her dominations, but we may see plurality existing more readily in
the subordinate portion of our race; yet for all that, it was at no
time lawful for one man to have a plurality of wives, except for the
purpose of a greater number of children springing from him. Wherefore,
if one woman cohabits with several men, inasmuch as no increase of
offspring accrues to her therefrom, but only a more frequent
gratification of lust, she cannot possibly be a wife, but only a
 1 Cor. xi. 3.
 Col. iii. 18.
 1 Pet. iii. 6.
Chapter 11 [X.]--The Sacrament of Marriage; Marriage Indissoluble; The
World's Law About Divorce Different from the Gospel's.
It is certainly not fecundity only, the fruit of which consists of
offspring, nor chastity only, whose bond is fidelity, but also a
certain sacramental bond  in marriage which is recommended to
believers in wedlock. Accordingly it is enjoined by the apostle:
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church."
 Of this bond the substance  undoubtedly is this, that the
man and the woman who are joined together in matrimony should remain
inseparable as long as they live; and that it should be unlawful for
one consort to be parted from the other, except for the cause of
fornication.  For this is preserved in the case of Christ and
the Church; so that, as a living one with a living one, there is no
divorce, no separation for ever. And so complete is the observance of
this bond in the city of our God, in His holy mountain  --that
is to say, in the Church of Christ--by all married believers, who are
undoubtedly members of Christ, that, although women marry, and men
take wives, for the purpose of procreating children, it is never
permitted one to put away even an unfruitful wife for the sake of
having another to bear children. And whosoever does this is held to be
guilty of adultery by the law of the gospel; though not by this
world's rule, which allows a divorce between the parties, without even
the allegation of guilt, and the contraction of other nuptial
engagements,--a concession which, the Lord tells us, even the holy
Moses extended to the people of Israel, because of the hardness of
their hearts.  The same condemnation applies to the woman, if
she is married to another man. So enduring, indeed, are the rights of
marriage between those who have contracted them, as long as they both
live, that even they are looked on as man and wife still, who have
separated from one another, rather than they between whom a new
connection has been formed. For by this new connection they would not
be guilty of adultery, if the previous matrimonial relation did not
still continue. If the husband die, with whom a true marriage was
made, a true marriage is now possible by a connection which would
before have been adultery. Thus between the conjugal pair, as long as
they live, the nuptial bond has a permanent obligation, and can be
cancelled neither by separation nor by union with another. But this
permanence avails, in such cases, only for injury from the sin, not
for a bond of the covenant. In like manner the soul of an apostate,
which renounces as it were its marriage union with Christ, does not,
even though it has cast its faith away, lose the sacrament of its
faith, which it received in the laver of regeneration. It would
undoubtedly be given back to him if he were to return, although he
lost it on his departure from Christ. He retains, however, the
sacrament after his apostasy, to the aggravation of his punishment,
not for meriting the reward.
 Quoddam sacramentum. See above, On Original Sin, ch. 39
 Eph. v. 25.
 Res sacramenti.
 Matt. v. 32.
 Ps. xlviii. 2.
 Matt. xix. 8.
Chapter 12 [XI.]--Marriage Does Not Cancel a Mutual Vow of Continence;
There Was True Wedlock Between Mary and Joseph; In What Way Joseph Was
the Father of Christ.
But God forbid that the nuptial bond should be regarded as broken
between those who have by mutual consent agreed to observe a perpetual
abstinence from the use of carnal concupiscence. Nay, it will be only
a firmer one, whereby they have exchanged pledges together, which will
have to be kept by an especial endearment and concord,--not by the
voluptuous links of bodies, but by the voluntary affections of souls.
For it was not deceitfully that the angel said to Joseph: "Fear not to
take unto thee Mary thy wife."  She is called his wife because
of her first troth of betrothal, although he had had no carnal
knowledge of her, nor was destined to have. The designation of wife
was neither destroyed nor made untrue, where there never had been, nor
was meant to be, any carnal connection. That virgin wife was rather a
holier and more wonderful joy to her husband because of her very
pregnancy without man, with disparity as to the child that was born,
without disparity in the faith they cherished. And because of this
conjugal fidelity they are both deservedly called "parents"  of
Christ (not only she as His mother, but he as His father, as being her
husband), both having been such in mind and purpose, though not in the
flesh. But while the one was His father in purpose only, and the other
His mother in the flesh also, they were both of them, for all that,
only the parents of His humility, not of His sublimity; of His
weakness, not of His divinity. For the Gospel does not lie, in which
one reads, "Both His father and His mother marvelled at those things
which were spoken about Him;"  and in another passage, "Now His
parents went to Jerusalem every year;"  and again a little
afterwards, "His mother said unto Him, Son, why hast Thou thus dealt
with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing." 
In order, however, that He might show them that He had a Father
besides them, who begat Him without a mother, He said to them in
answer: "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about
my Father's business?"  Furthermore, lest He should be thought
to have repudiated them as His parents by what He had just said, the
evangelist at once added: "And they understood not the saying which He
spake unto them; and He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and
was subject unto them."  Subject to whom but His parents? And
who was the subject but Jesus Christ, "who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God"?  And wherefore
subject to them,who were far beneath the form of God, except that "He
emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant," 
--the form in which His parents lived? Now, since she bore Him without
his engendering, they could not surely have both been His parents, of
that form of a servant, if they had not been conjugally united, though
without carnal connection. Accordingly the genealogical series
(although both parents of Christ are mentioned together in the
succession)  had to be extended, as it is in fact,  down
rather to Joseph's name, that no wrong might be done, in the case of
this marriage, to the male, and indeed the stronger sex, while at the
same time there was nothing detrimental to truth, since Joseph, no
less than Mary, was of the seed of David,  of whom it was
foretold that Christ should come.
 Matt. i. 20.
 Luke ii. 41.
 Luke ii. 33. So the Vulgate as well as the best Greek texts,
instead of the "And Joseph and His mother marvelled," etc., of the
 Luke ii. 41.
 Luke ii. 48.
 Luke ii. 49.
 Luke ii. 50, 51.
 Phil. ii. 6.
 Phil. ii. 7.
 Matt. i. 16.
 Compare Luke iii. 23 with Matt. i. 16.
 Luke i. 27.
Chapter 13.--In the Marriage of Mary and Joseph There Were All the
Blessings of the Wedded State; All that is Born of Concubinage is
The entire good, therefore, of the nuptial institution was effected in
the case of these parents of Christ: there was offspring, there was
faithfulness, there was the bond.  As offspring, we recognise
the Lord Jesus Himself; the fidelity, in that there was no adultery;
the bond,  because there was no divorce. [XII.] Only there was
no nuptial cohabitation; because He who was to be without sin, and was
sent not in sinful flesh, but in the likeness of sinful flesh, 
could not possibly have been made in sinful flesh itself without that
shameful lust of the flesh which comes from sin, and without which He
willed to be born, in order that He might teach us, that every one who
is born of sexual intercourse is in fact sinful flesh, since that
alone which was not born of such intercourse was not sinful flesh.
Nevertheless conjugal intercourse is not in itself sin, when it is had
with the intention of producing children; because the mind's good-will
leads the ensuing bodily pleasure, instead of following its lead; and
the human choice is not distracted by the yoke of sin pressing upon
it, inasmuch as the blow of the sin is rightly brought back to the
purposes of procreation. This blow has a certain prurient activity
which plays the king in the foul indulgences of adultery, and
fornication, and lasciviousness, and uncleanness; whilst in the
indispensable duties of the marriage state, it exhibits the docility
of the slave. In the one case it is condemned as the shameless
effrontery of so violent a master; in the other, it gets modest praise
as the honest service of so submissive an attendant. This lust, then,
is not in itself the good of the nuptial institution; but it is
obscenity in sinful men, a necessity in procreant parents, the fire of
lascivious indulgences, the shame of nuptial pleasures. Wherefore,
then, may not persons remain man and wife when they cease by mutual
consent from cohabitation; seeing that Joseph and Mary continued such,
though they never even began to cohabit?
 Rom. viii. 3.
Chapter 14 [XIII.]--Before Christ It Was a Time for Marrying; Since
Christ It Has Been a Time for Continence.
Now this propagation of children which among the ancient saints was a
most bounden duty for the purpose of begetting and preserving a people
for God, amongst whom the prophecy of Christ's coming must needs have
had precedence over everything, now has no longer the same necessity.
For from among all nations the way is open for an abundant offspring
to receive spiritual regeneration, from whatever quarter they derive
their natural birth. So that we may acknowledge that the scripture
which says there is "a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from
embracing,"  is to be distributed in its clauses to the periods
before Christ and since. The former was the time to embrace, the
latter to refrain from embracing.
 Eccles. iii. 5.
Chapter 15.--The Teaching of the Apostle on This Subject.
Accordingly the apostle also, speaking apparently with this passage in
view, declares: "But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it
remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had them
not; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that
rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though
they possessed not; and they that use this world, as though they used
it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have
you without solicitude."  This entire passage (that I may
express my view on this subject in the shape of a brief exposition of
the apostle's words) I think must be understood as follows: "This I
say, brethren, the time is short." No longer is God's people to be
propagated by carnal generation; but, henceforth, it is to be gathered
out by spiritual regeneration. "It remaineth, therefore, that they
that have wives" be not subject to carnal concupiscence; "and they
that weep," under the sadness of present evil, should rejoice in the
hope of future blessing; "and they that rejoice," over any temporary
advantage, should fear the eternal judgment; "and they that buy,"
should so hold their possessions as not to cleave to them by overmuch
love; "and they that use this world" should reflect that it is passing
away, and does not remain. "For the fashion of this world passeth
away: but," he says, "I would have you to be without solicitude,"--in
other words: I would have you lift up your heart, that it may dwell
among those things which do not pass away. He then goes on to say: "He
that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how
he may please the Lord: but he that is married careth for the things
that are of the world, how he may please his wife."  And thus to
some extent he explains what he had already said: "Let them that have
wives be as though they had none." For they who have wives in such a
way as to care for the things of the Lord, how they may please the
Lord, without having any care for the things of the world in order to
please their wives, are, in fact, just as if they had no wives. And
this is effected with greater ease when the wives, too, are of such a
disposition, because they please their husbands not merely because
they are rich, because they are high in rank, noble in race, and
amiable in natural temper, but because they are believers, because
they are religious, because they are chaste, because they are good
 1 Cor. vii. 29-31.
 1 Cor. iii. 32, 33.
Chapter 16 [XIV.]--A Certain Degree of Intemperance is to Be Tolerated
in the Case of Married Persons; The Use of Matrimony for the Mere
Pleasure of Lust is Not Without Sin, But Because of the Nuptial
Relation the Sin is Venial.
But in the married, as these things are desirable and praiseworthy, so
the others are to be tolerated, that no lapse occur into damnable
sins; that is, into fornications and adulteries. To escape this evil,
even such embraces of husband and wife as have not procreation for
their object, but serve an overbearing concupiscence, are permitted,
so far as to be within range of forgiveness, though not prescribed by
way of commandment:  and the married pair are enjoined not to
defraud one the other, lest Satan should tempt them by reason of their
incontinence.  For thus says the Scripture: "Let the husband
render unto the wife her due:  and likewise also the wife unto
the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband:
and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the
wife. Defraud ye not one the other; except it be with consent for a
time, that ye may have leisure for prayer;  and then come
together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I
speak this by permission,  and not of commandment."  Now
in a case where permission  must be given, it cannot by any
means be contended that there is not some amount of sin. Since,
however, the cohabitation for the purpose of procreating children,
which must be admitted to be the proper end of marriage, is not
sinful, what is it which the apostle allows to be permissible, 
but that married persons, when they have not the gift of continence,
may require one from the other the due of the flesh--and that not from
a wish for procreation, but for the pleasure of concupiscence? This
gratification incurs not the imputation of guilt on account of
marriage, but receives permission  on account of marriage. This,
therefore, must be reckoned among the praises of matrimony; that, on
its own account, it makes pardonable that which does not essentially
appertain to itself. For the nuptial embrace, which subserves the
demands of concupiscence, is so effected as not to impede the
child-bearing, which is the end and aim of marriage.
 1 Cor. vii. 6.
 1 Cor. vii. 5.
 So also the best mss. of the original.
 So again, after the best witnesses in the original.
 [The Latin word for "permission" is venia, which also means
"indulgence," "forbearance," "forgiveness;" and so the sins that may
be forgiven are called "venial sins," i.e. "pardonable," and in this
sense "permissible," sins. Augustin's argument here turns on this
 1 Cor. vii. 3-6.
 [The Latin word for "permission" is venia, which also means
"indulgence," "forbearance," "forgiveness;" and so the sins that may
be forgiven are called "venial sins," i.e. "pardonable," and in this
sense "permissible," sins. Augustin's argument here turns on this
 [The Latin word for "permission" is venia, which also means
"indulgence," "forbearance," "forgiveness;" and so the sins that may
be forgiven are called "venial sins," i.e. "pardonable," and in this
sense "permissible," sins. Augustin's argument here turns on this
 [The Latin word for "permission" is venia, which also means
"indulgence," "forbearance," "forgiveness;" and so the sins that may
be forgiven are called "venial sins," i.e. "pardonable," and in this
sense "permissible," sins. Augustin's argument here turns on this
Chapter 17 [XV.]--What is Sinless in the Use of Matrimony? What is
Attended With Venial Sin, and What with Mortal?
It is, however, one thing for married persons to have intercourse only
for the wish to beget children, which is not sinful: it is another
thing for them to desire carnal pleasure in cohabitation, but with the
spouse only, which involves venial sin. For although propagation of
offspring is not the motive of the intercourse, there is still no
attempt to prevent such propagation, either by wrong desire or evil
appliance. They who resort to these, although called by the name of
spouses, are really not such; they retain no vestige of true
matrimony, but pretend the honourable designation as a cloak for
criminal conduct. Having also proceeded so far, they are betrayed into
exposing their children, which are born against their will. They hate
to nourish and retain those whom they were afraid they would beget.
This infliction of cruelty on their offspring so reluctantly begotten,
unmasks the sin which they had practised in darkness, and drags it
clearly into the light of day. The open cruelty reproves the concealed
sin. Sometimes, indeed, this lustful cruelty, or, if you please, cruel
lust, resorts to such extravagant methods as to use poisonous drugs to
secure barrenness; or else, if unsuccessful in this, to destroy the
conceived seed by some means previous to birth, preferring that its
offspring should rather perish than receive vitality; or if it was
advancing to life within the womb, should be slain before it was born.
Well, if both parties alike are so flagitious, they are not husband
and wife; and if such were their character from the beginning, they
have not come together by wedlock but by debauchery. But if the two
are not alike in such sin, I boldly declare either that the woman is,
so to say, the husband's harlot; or the man the wife's adulterer.
Chapter 18 [XVI.]--Continence Better Than Marriage; But Marriage
Better Than Fornication.
Forasmuch, then, as marriage cannot be such as that of the primitive
men might have been, if sin had not preceded; it may yet be like that
of the holy fathers of the olden time, in such wise that the carnal
concupiscence which causes shame (which did not exist in paradise
previous to the fall, and after that event was not allowed to remain
there), although necessarily forming a part of the body of this death,
is not subservient to it, but only submits its function, when forced
thereto, for the sole purpose of assisting in the procreation of
children; otherwise, since the present time (as we have already 
said) is the period for abstaining from the nuptial embrace, and
therefore makes no necessary demand on the exercise of the said
function, seeing that all nations now contribute so abundantly to the
production of an offspring which shall receive spiritual birth, there
is the greater room for the blessing of an excellent continence. "He
that is able to receive it, let him receive it."  He, however,
who cannot receive it, "even if he marry, sinneth not;"  and if
a woman have not the gift of continence, let her also marry. 
"It is good, indeed, for a man not to touch a woman."  But since
"all men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given,"
 it remains that "to avoid fornication, every man ought to have
his own wife, and every woman her own husband."  And thus the
weakness of incontinence is hindered from falling into the ruin of
profligacy by the honourable estate of matrimony. Now that which the
apostle says of women, "I will therefore that the younger women
marry,"  is also applicable to males: I will that the younger
men take wives; that so it may appertain to both sexes alike "to bear
children, to be" fathers and "mothers of families, to give none
occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." 
 See above, ch. 14 [xiii.].
 Matt. xix. 12.
 1 Cor. vii. 28.
 1 Cor. vii. 9.
 1 Cor. vii. 1.
 Matt. xix. 9.
 1 Cor. vii. 2.
 1 Tim. v. 14.
 1 Tim. v. 14.
Chapter 19 [XVII.]--Blessing of Matrimony.
In matrimony, however, let these nuptial blessings be the objects of
our love--offspring, fidelity, the sacramental bond.  Offspring,
not that it be born only, but born again; for it is born to punishment
unless it be born again to life. Fidelity, not such as even
unbelievers observe one towards the other, in their ardent love of the
flesh. For what husband, however impious himself, likes an adulterous
wife? Or what wife, however impious she be, likes an adulterous
husband? This is indeed a natural good in marriage, though a carnal
one. But a member of Christ ought to be afraid of adultery, not on
account of himself, but of his spouse; and ought to hope to receive
from Christ the reward of that fidelity which he shows to his spouse.
The sacramental bond, again, which is lost neither by divorce nor by
adultery, should be guarded by husband and wife with concord and
chastity. For it alone is that which even an unfruitful marriage
retains by the law of piety, now that all that hope of fruitfulness is
lost for the purpose of which the couple married. Let these nuptial
blessings be praised in marriage by him who wishes to extol the
nuptial institution. Carnal concupiscence, however, must not be
ascribed to marriage: it is only to be tolerated in marriage. It is
not a good which comes out of the essence of marriage, but an evil
which is the accident of original sin.
 See above, ch. 11, and On Original Sin, ch. 39.
Chapter 20 [XVIII]--Why Children of Wrath are Born of Holy Matrimony.
This is the reason, indeed, why of even the just and lawful marriages
of the children of God are born, not children of God, but children of
the world; because also those who generate, if they are already
regenerate, beget children not as children of God, but as still
children of the world. "The children of this world," says our Lord,
"beget and are begotten."  From the fact, therefore, that we are
still children of this world, our outer man is in a state of
corruption; and on this account our offspring are born as children of
the present world; nor do they become sons of God, except they be
regenerated.  Yet inasmuch as we are children of God, our inner
man is renewed from day to day.  And yet even our outer man has
been sanctified through the laver of regeneration, and has received
the hope of future incorruption, on which account it is justly
designated as "the temple of God." "Your bodies," says the apostle,
"are the temples of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, and which ye have
of God; and ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a great price:
therefore glorify and carry God in your body."  The whole of
this statement is made in reference to our present sanctification, but
especially in consequence of that hope of which he says in another
passage, "We ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the
Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the
adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."  If, then, the
redemption of our body is expected, as the apostle declares, it
follows, that being an expectation, it is as yet a matter of hope, and
not of actual possession. Accordingly the apostle adds: "For we are
saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man
seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not,
then do we with patience wait for it."  Not, therefore, by that
which we are waiting for, but by that which we are now enduring, are
the children of our flesh born. God forbid that a man who possesses
faith should, when he hears the apostle bid men "love their wives,"
 love that carnal concupiscence in his wife which he ought not
to love even in himself; as he may know, if he listens to the words of
another apostle: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in
the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in
him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust
of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of
the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he
that doeth the will of God abideth for ever, even as also God abideth
for ever." 
 Luke xx. 34. Augustin quotes an interpolation current in the
Latin Bibles of his day, and found also in certain Greek (D. Origen)
and Syriac (Curetonian version) witnesses.
 See De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione, ii. 11 [ix.].
 2 Cor. iv. 16.
 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. Note the odd interpolation "and carry,"
which was a common Latin reading.
 Rom. viii. 23.
 Rom. viii. 24, 25.
 Col. iii. 19.
 1 John ii. 15-17. The last clause, though not in Jerome's
Vulgate, was yet read by some of the Latin Fathers--by Cyprian and
Lucifer, for instance, and something like it also by one of the
Chapter 21 [XIX.]--Thus Sinners are Born of Righteous Parents, Even as
Wild Olives Spring from the Olive.
That, therefore, which is born of the lust of the flesh is really born
of the world, and not of God; but it is born of God, when it is born
again of water and of the Spirit. The guilt of this concupiscence,
regeneration alone remits, even as natural generation contracts it.
What, then, is generated must be regenerated, in order that likewise
since it cannot be otherwise, what has been contracted may be
remitted. It is, no doubt, very wonderful that what has been remitted
in the parent should still be contracted in the offspring; but
nevertheless such is the case. That this mysterious verity, which
unbelievers neither see nor believe, might get some palpable evidence
in its support, God in His providence has secured in the example of
certain trees. For why should we not suppose that for this very
purpose the wild olive springs from the olive? Is it not indeed
credible that, in a thing which has been created for the use of
mankind, the Creator provided and appointed what should afford an
instructive example, applicable to the human race? It is a wonderful
thing, then, how those who have been themselves delivered by grace
from the bondage of sin, should still beget those who are tied and
bound by the self-same chain, and who require the same process of
loosening? Yes; and we admit the wonderful fact. But that the embryo
of wild olive trees should latently exist in the germs of true olives,
who would deem credible, if it were not proved true by experiment and
observation? In the same manner, therefore, as a wild olive grows out
of the seed of the wild olive, and from the seed of the true olive
springs also nothing but a wild olive, notwithstanding the very great
difference there is between the wild olive and the olive; so what is
born in the flesh, either of a sinner or of a just man, is in both
instances a sinner, notwithstanding the vast distinction which exists
between the sinner and the righteous man. He that is begotten is no
sinner as yet in act, and is still new from his birth; but in guilt he
is old. Human from the Creator, he is a captive of the destroyer, and
needs a redeemer. The difficulty, however, is how a state of captivity
can possibly befall the offspring, when the parents have been
themselves previously redeemed from it. Now it is no easy matter to
unravel this intricate point, or to explain it in a set discourse;
therefore unbelievers refuse to accept it as true; just as if in that
other point about the wild olive and the olive, which we gave in
illustration, any reason could be easily found, or explanation clearly
given, why the self-same shoot should sprout out of so dissimilar a
stock. The truth, however, of this can be discovered by any one who is
willing to make the experiment. Let it then serve for a good example
for suggesting belief of what admits not of ocular demonstration.
Chapter 22 [XX.]--Even Infants, When Unbaptized, are in the Power of
the Devil; Exorcism in the Case of Infants, and Renunciation of the
Now the Christian faith unfalteringly declares, what our new heretics
have begun to deny, both that they who are cleansed in the laver of
regeneration are redeemed from the power of the devil, and that those
who have not yet been redeemed by such regeneration are still captive
in the power of the devil, even if they be infant children of the
redeemed, unless they be themselves redeemed by the self-same grace of
Christ. For we cannot doubt that that blessing of God applies to every
stage of human life, which the apostle describes when he says
concerning Him: "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and
hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son."  From this
power of darkness, therefore, of which the devil is the prince,--in
other words, from the power of the devil and his angels,--infants are
delivered when they are baptized; and whosoever denies this, is
convicted by the truth of the Church's very sacraments, which no
heretical novelty in the Church of Christ is permitted to destroy or
change, so long as the Divine Head rules and helps the entire body
which He owns--small as well as great. It is true, then, and in no way
false, that the devil's power is exorcised in infants, and that they
renounce him by the hearts and mouths of those who bring them to
baptism, being unable to do so by their own; in order that they may be
delivered from the power of darkness, and be translated into the
kingdom of their Lord. What is that, therefore, within them which
keeps them in the power of the devil until they are delivered from it
by Christ's sacrament of baptism? What is it, I ask, but sin? Nothing
else, indeed, has the devil found which enables him to put under his
own control that nature of man which the good Creator made good. But
infants have committed no sin of their own since they have been alive.
Only original sin, therefore, remains, whereby they are made captive
under the devil's power, until they are redeemed therefrom by the
laver of regeneration and the blood of Christ, and pass into their
Redeemer's kingdom,--the power of their enthraller being frustrated,
and power being given them to become "sons of God" instead of children
of this world. 
 Col. i. 13.
 John i. 12.
Chapter 23 [XXI.]--Sin Has Not Arisen Out of the Goodness of Marriage;
The Sacrament of Matrimony a Great One in the Case of Christ and the
Church--A Very Small One in the Case of a Man and His Wife.
If now we interrogate, so to speak, those goods of marriage to which
we have often referred,  and inquire how it is that sin could
possibly have been propagated from them to infants, we shall get this
answer from the first of them--the work of procreation of offspring:
"My happiness would in paradise have been greater if sin had not been
committed. For to me belongs that blessing of almighty God: `Be
fruitful, and multiply.'  For accomplishing this good work,
divers members were created suited to each sex; these members were, of
course, in existence before sin, but they were not objects of shame."
This will be the answer of the second good--the fidelity of chastity:
"If sin had not been committed, what in paradise could have been more
secure than myself, when there was no lust of my own to spur me, none
of another to tempt me?" And then this will be the answer of the
sacramental bond of marriage,--the third good: "Of me was that word
spoken in paradise before the entrance of sin: `A man shall leave his
father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they two
shall become one flesh.'"  This the apostle applies to the case
of Christ and of the Church, and calls it then "a great sacrament."
 What, then, in Christ and in the Church is great, in the
instances of each married pair it is but very small, but even then it
is the sacrament of an inseparable union. What now is there in these
three blessings of marriage out of which the bond of sin could pass
over to posterity? Absolutely nothing. And in these blessings it is
certain that the goodness of matrimony is entirely comprised; and even
now good wedlock consists of these same blessings.
 See above, chs. 11, 19, and On Original Sin, ch. 39.
 Gen. i. 29.
 Gen. ii. 24.
 Eph v. 32. [In the original Greek, "a great mystery;" i.e., "a
Chapter 24.--Lust and Shame Come from Sin; The Law of Sin; The
Shamelessness of the Cynics.
But if, in like manner, the question be asked of the concupiscence of
the flesh, how it is that acts now bring shame which once were free
from shame, will not her answer be, that she only began to have
existence in men's members after sin? [XXII.] And, therefore, that the
apostle designated her influence as "the law of sin,"  inasmuch
as she subjugated man to herself when he was unwilling to remain
subject to his God; and that it was she who made the first married
pair ashamed at that moment when they covered their loins; even as all
are still ashamed, and seek out secret retreats for cohabitation, and
dare not have even the children, whom they have themselves thus
begotten, to be witnesses of what they do. It was against this modesty
of natural shame that the Cynic philosophers, in the error of their
astonishing shamelessness, struggled so hard: they thought that the
intercourse indeed of husband and wife, since it was lawful and
honourable, should therefore be done in public. Such barefaced
obscenity deserved to receive the name of dogs; and so they went by
the title of "Cynics." 
 Rom. vii. 23.
 Cynici, i.e. Kunikoi, "dog-like."
Chapter 25 [XXIII.]--Concupiscence in the Regenerate Without Consent
is Not Sin; In What Sense Concupiscence is Called Sin.
Now this concupiscence, this law of sin which dwells in our members,
to which the law of righteousness forbids allegiance, saying in the
words of the apostle, "Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal
body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof; neither yield ye
your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin:" 
--this concupiscence, I say, which is cleansed only by the sacrament
of regeneration, does undoubtedly, by means of natural birth, pass on
the bond of sin to a man's posterity, unless they are themselves
loosed from it by regeneration. In the case, however, of the
regenerate, concupiscence is not itself sin any longer, whenever they
do not consent to it for illicit works, and when the members are not
applied by the presiding mind to perpetrate such deeds. So that, if
what is enjoined in one passage, "Thou shalt not covet,"  is not
kept, that at any rate is observed which is commanded in another
place, "Thou shalt not go after thy concupiscences."  Inasmuch,
however, as by a certain manner of speech it is called sin, since it
arose from sin, and, when it has the upper hand, produces sin, the
guilt of it prevails in the natural man; but this guilt, by Christ's
grace through the remission of all sins, is not suffered to prevail in
the regenerate man, if he does not yield obedience to it whenever it
urges him to the commission of evil. As arising from sin, it is, I
say, called sin, although in the regenerate it is not actually sin;
and it has this designation applied to it, just as speech which the
tongue produces is itself called "tongue;" and just as the word "hand"
is used in the sense of writing, which the hand produces. In the same
way concupiscence is called sin, as producing sin when it conquers the
will: so to cold and frost the epithet "sluggish" is given; not as
arising from, but as productive of, sluggishness; benumbing us, in
 Rom. vi. 12, 13.
 Ex. xx. 17; "non concupisces" in the Latin; hence the play on
 Ecclus. xviii. 30.
Chapter 26.--Whatever is Born Through Concupiscence is Not
Undeservedly in Subjection to the Devil by Reason of Sin; The Devil
Deserves Heavier Punishment Than Men.
This wound which the devil has inflicted on the human race compels
everything which has its birth in consequence of it to be under the
devil's power, as if he were rightly plucking fruit off his own tree.
Not as if man's nature, which is only of God, came from him, but sin
alone, which is not of God. For it is not on its own account that
man's nature is under condemnation, because it is the work of God, and
therefore laudable; but on account of that condemnable corruption by
which it has been vitiated. Now it is by reason of this condemnation
that it is in subjection to the devil, who is also in the same
damnable state. For the devil is himself an unclean spirit: good,
indeed, so far as he is a spirit, but evil as being unclean; for by
nature he is a spirit, by the corruption thereof an unclean one. Of
these two, the one is of God, the other of himself. His hold over men,
therefore, whether of an advanced age or in infancy, is not because
they are human, but because they are polluted. He, then, who feels
surprise that God's creature is a subject of the devil, should cease
from such feeling. For one creature of God is in subjection to another
creature of God, the less to the greater, a human being to an angelic
one; and this is not owing to nature, but to a corruption of nature:
polluted is the sovereign, polluted also the subject. All this is the
fruit of that ancient stock of pollution which he has planted in man;
himself being destined to suffer a heavier punishment at the last
judgment, as being the more polluted; but at the same time even they
who will have to bear a less heavy burden in that condemnation are
subjects of him as the prince and author of sin, for there will be no
other cause of condemnation than sin.
Chapter 27 [XXIV.]--Through Lust Original Sin is Transmitted; Venial
Sins in Married Persons; Concupiscence of the Flesh, the Daughter and
Mother of Sin.
Wherefore the devil holds infants guilty who are born, not of the good
by which marriage is good, but of the evil of concupiscence, which,
indeed, marriage uses aright, but at which even marriage has occasion
to feel shame. Marriage is itself "honourable in all"  the goods
which properly appertain to it; but even when it has its "bed
undefiled" (not only by fornication and adultery, which are damnable
disgraces, but also by any of those excesses of cohabitation such as
do not arise from any prevailing desire of children, but from an
overbearing lust of pleasure, which are venial sins in man and wife),
yet, whenever it comes to the actual process of generation, the very
embrace which is lawful and honourable cannot be effected without the
ardour of lust, so as to be able to accomplish that which appertains
to the use of reason and not of lust. Now, this ardour, whether
following or preceding the will, does somehow, by a power of its own,
move the members which cannot be moved simply by the will, and in this
manner it shows itself not to be the servant of a will which commands
it, but rather to be the punishment of a will which disobeys it. It
shows, moreover, that it must be excited, not by a free choice, but by
a certain seductive stimulus, and that on this very account it
produces shame. This is the carnal concupiscence, which, while it is
no longer accounted sin in the regenerate, yet in no case happens to
nature except from sin. It is the daughter of sin, as it were; and
whenever it yields assent to the commission of shameful deeds, it
becomes also the mother of many sins. Now from this concupiscence
whatever comes into being by natural birth is bound by original sin,
unless, indeed, it be born again in Him whom the Virgin conceived
without this concupiscence. Wherefore, when He vouchsafed to be born
in the flesh, He alone was born without sin.
 Heb. xiii. 4.
Chapter 28 [XXV.]--Concupiscence Remains After Baptism, Just as
Languor Does After Recovery from Disease; Concupiscence is Diminished
in Persons of Advancing Years, and Increased in the Incontinent.
If the question arises, how this concupiscence of the flesh remains in
the regenerate, in whose case has been effected a remission of all
sins whatever; seeing that human semination takes place by its means,
even when the carnal offspring of even a baptized parent is born: or,
at all events, if it may be in the case of a baptized parent
concupiscence and not be sin, why should this same concupiscence be
sin in the offspring?--the answer to be given is this: Carnal
concupiscence is remitted, indeed, in baptism; not so that it is put
out of existence, but so that it is not to be imputed for sin.
Although its guilt is now taken away, it still remains until our
entire infirmity be healed by the advancing renewal of our inner man,
day by day, when at last our outward man shall be clothed with
incorruption.  It does not remain, however, substantially, as a
body, or a spirit; but it is nothing more than a certain affection of
an evil quality, such as languor, for instance. There is not, to be
sure, anything remaining which may be remitted whenever, as the
Scripture says, "the Lord forgiveth all our iniquities."  But
until that happens which immediately follows in the same passage, "Who
healeth all thine infirmities, who redeemeth thy life from
corruption,"  there remains this concupiscence of the flesh in
the body of this death. Now we are admonished not to obey its sinful
desires to do evil: "Let not sin reign in your mortal body." 
Still this concupiscence is daily lessened in persons of continence
and increasing years, and most of all when old age makes a near
approach. The man, however, who yields to it a wicked service,
receives such great energies that, even when all his members are now
failing through age, and those especial parts of his body are unable
to be applied to their proper function, he does not ever cease to
revel in a still increasing rage of disgraceful and shameless desire.
 1 Cor. xv. 53.
 Ps. ciii. 3.
 Ps. ciii. 4.
 Rom. vi. 12.
Chapter 29 [XXVI.]--How Concupiscence Remains in the Baptized in Act,
When It Has Passed Away as to Its Guilt.
In the case, then, of those persons who are born again in Christ, when
they receive an entire remission of all their sins, it is of course
necessary that the guilt also of the still indwelling concupiscence
should be remitted, in order that (as I said) it should not be imputed
to them for sin. For even as in the case of those sins which cannot be
themselves permanent, since they pass away as soon as they are
committed, the guilt yet is permanent, and (if not remitted) will
remain for evermore; so, when the concupiscence is remitted, the guilt
of it also is taken away. For not to have sin means this, not to be
deemed guilty of sin. If a man have (for example) committed adultery,
though he do not repeat the sin, he is held to be guilty of adultery
until the indulgence in guilt be itself remitted. He has the sin,
therefore, remaining, although the particular act of his sin no longer
exists, since it has passed away along with the time when it was
committed. For if to desist from sinning were the same thing as not to
have sins, it would be sufficient if Scripture were content to give us
the simple warning, "My son, hast thou sinned? Do so no more." 
This, however, does not suffice, for it goes on to say, "Ask
forgiveness for thy former sins."  Sins remain, therefore, if
they are not forgiven. But how do they remain if they are passed away?
Only thus, they have passed away in their act, but they are permanent
in their guilt. Contrariwise, then, may it happen that a thing may
remain in act, but pass away in guilt.
 Ecclus. xxi. 1.
 Ecclus. xxi. 1.
Chapter 30 [XXVII.]--The Evil Desires of Concupiscence; We Ought to
Wish that They May Not Be.
For the concupiscence of the flesh is in some sort active, even when
it does not exhibit either an assent of the heart, where its seat of
empire is, or those members whereby, as its weapons, it fulfils what
it is bent on. But what in this action does it effect, unless it be
its evil and shameful desires? For if these were good and lawful, the
apostle would not forbid obedience to them, saying, "Let not sin
therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts
thereof."  He does not say, that ye should have the lusts
thereof, but "that ye should obey the lusts thereof;" in order that
(as these desires are greater or less in different individuals,
according as each shall have progressed in the renewal of the inner
man) we may maintain the fight of holiness and chastity, for the
purpose of withholding obedience to these lusts. Nevertheless, our
wish ought to be nothing less than the nonexistence of these very
desires, even if the accomplishment of such a wish be not possible in
the body of this death. This is the reason why the same apostle, in
another passage, addressing us as if in his own person, gives us this
instruction: "For what I would," says he, "that do I not; but what I
hate, that do I."  In a word, "I covet."  For he was
unwilling to do this, that he might be perfect on every side. "If,
then, I do that which I would not," he goes on to say, "I consent unto
the law that it is good."  Because the law, too, wills not that
which I also would not. For it wills not that I should have
concupiscence, for it says, "Thou shall not covet;"  and I am no
less unwilling to cherish so evil a desire. In this, therefore, there
is complete accord between the will of the law and my own will. But
because he was unwilling to covet,  and yet did covet, 
and for all that did not by any means obey this concupiscence so as to
yield assent to it, he immediately adds these words: "Now, then, it is
no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." 
 Rom. vi. 12.
 Rom. vii. 15.
 "Concupisco" in the Latin, and hence used in this discussion.
 Rom. vii. 16.
 "Concupisco" in the Latin, and hence used in this discussion.
 "Concupisco" in the Latin, and hence used in this discussion
 "Concupisco" in the Latin, and hence used in this discussion.
 Rom. vii. 17.
Chapter 31 [XXVIII.]--Who is the Man that Can Say, "It is No More I
that Do It"?
A man, however, is much deceived if, while consenting to the lust of
his flesh, and then both resolving in his mind to do its desires and
setting about it, he supposes that he has still a right to say, "It is
not I that do it," even if he hates and loathes himself for assenting
to evil desires. The two things are simultaneous in his case: he hates
the thing himself because he knows that it is evil; and yet he does
it, because he is bent on doing it. Now if, in addition to all this,
he proceeds to do what the Scripture forbids him, when it says,
"Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto
sin,"  and completes with a bodily act what he was bent on doing
in his mind; and says, "It is not I that do the thing, but sin that
dwelleth in me,"  because he feels displeased with himself for
resolving on and accomplishing the deed,--he so greatly errs as not to
know his own self. For, whereas he is altogether himself, his mind
determining and his body executing his own purpose, he yet supposes
that he is himself no longer! [XXIX.] That man, therefore, alone
speaks the truth when he says, "It is no more I that do it, but sin
that dwelleth in me," who only feels the concupiscence, and neither
resolves on doing it with the consent of his heart, nor accomplishes
it with the ministry of his body.
 Rom. vi. 13.
 Rom. vii. 17.
Chapter 32.--When Good Will Be Perfectly Done.
The apostle then adds these words: "For I know that in me (that is, in
my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but
how to perfect that which is good I find not."  Now this is
said, because a good thing is not then perfected, when there is an
absence of evil desires, as evil is perfected when evil desires are
obeyed. But when they are present, but are not obeyed, neither evil is
performed, since obedience is not yielded to them; nor good, because
of their inoperative presence. There is rather an intermediate
condition of things: good is effected in some degree, because the evil
concupiscence has gained no assent to itself; and in some degree there
is a remnant of evil, because the concupiscence is present. This
accounts for the apostle's precise words. He does not say, To do good
is not present to him, but "how to perfect it." For the truth is, one
does a good deal of good when he does what the Scripture enjoins, "Go
not after thy lusts;"  yet he falls short of perfection, in that
he fails to keep the great commandment, "Thou shalt not covet." 
The law said, "Thou shalt not covet," in order that, when we find
ourselves lying in this diseased state, we might seek the medicine of
Grace, and by that commandment know both in what direction our
endeavours should aim as we advance in our present mortal condition,
and to what a height it is possible to reach in the future
immortality. For unless perfection could somewhere be attained, this
commandment would never have been given to us.
 Rom. vii. 18.
 Ecclus. xviii. 30.
 Ex. xx. 7.
Chapter 33 [XXX.]--True Freedom Comes with Willing Delight in God's
The apostle then repeats his former statement, the more fully to
recommend its purport: "For the good," says he, "that I would, I do
not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now, if I do that I
would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
Then follows this: "I find then the law, when I would act, to be good
to me; for evil is present with me."  In other words, I find
that the law is a good to me, when I wish to do what the law would
have me do; inasmuch as it is not with the law itself (which says,
"Thou shalt not covet") that evil is present; no, it is with myself
that the evil is present, which I would not do, because I have the
concupiscence even in my willingness. "For," he adds, "I delight in
the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my
members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into
captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."  This
delight with the law of God  after the inward man, comes to us
from the mighty grace of God; for thereby is our inward man renewed
day by day,  because it is thereby that progress is made by us
with perseverance. In it there is not the fear that has torment, but
the love that cheers and gratifies. We are truly free there, where we
have no unwilling joy.
 Rom. vii. 19-21. The punctuation of the passage in Latin
differs from that ordinarily used with us, and hence this sense
 Rom. vii. 22, 23.
 This sharing of joy with the law of God: "Ista condelectatio
 2 Cor. iv. 16.
Chapter 34.--How Concupiscence Made a Captive of the Apostle; What the
Law of Sin Was to the Apostle.
Then, indeed, this statement, "I see another law in my members warring
against the law of my mind," refers to that very concupiscence which
we are now speaking of--the law of sin in our sinful flesh. But when
he said, "And bringing me into captivity to the law of sin," that is,
to its own self, "which is in my members," he either meant "bringing
me into captivity," in the sense of endeavouring to make me captive,
that is, urging me to approve and accomplish evil desire; or rather
(and this opens no controversy), in the sense of leading me captive
according to the flesh, and, if this is not possessed by the carnal
concupiscence which he calls the law of sin, no unlawful desire--such
as our mind ought not to obey--would,of course, be there to excite and
disturb. The fact, however, that the apostle does not say, Bringing my
flesh into captivity, but "Bringing me into captivity," leads us to
look out for some other meaning for the phrase, and to understand the
term "bringing me into captivity" as if he had said, endeavouring to
make me captive. But why, after all, might he not say, "Bringing me
into captivity," and at the same time mean us to understand his flesh?
Was it not spoken by one concerning Jesus, when His flesh was not
found in the sepulchre: "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not
where they have laid Him"?  Was Mary's then an improper
question, because she said, "My Lord," and not "My Lord's body" or
 John xx. 2.
Chapter 35 [XXXI.]--The Flesh, Carnal Affection.
But we have in the apostle's own language, a little before, a
sufficiently clear proof that he might have meant his flesh when he
said, "Bringing me into captivity." For after declaring, "I know that
in me dwelleth no good thing," he at once added an explanatory
sentence to this effect, "That is,in my flesh."  It is then the
flesh, in which there dwells nothing good, that is brought into
captivity to the law of sin. Now he designates that as the flesh
wherein lies a certain morbid carnal affection, not the mere
conformation of our bodily fabric whose members are not to be used as
weapons for sin--that is, for that very concupiscence which holds this
flesh of ours captive. So far, indeed, as concerns this actual bodily
substance and nature of ours, it is already God's temple in all
faithful men, whether living in marriage or in continence. If,
however, absolutely nothing of our flesh were in captivity, not even
to the devil, because there has accrued to it the remission of sin,
that sin be not imputed to it (and this is properly designated the law
of sin); yet if under this law of sin, that is, under its own
concupiscence, our flesh were not to some degree held captive, how
could that be true which the apostle states, when he speaks of our
"waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body"? 
In so far, then, as there is now this waiting for the redemption of
our body, there is also in some degree still existing something in us
which is a captive to the law of sin. Accordingly he exclaims, "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."  What
are we to understand by such language, but that our body, which is
undergoing corruption, weighs heavily on our soul? When, therefore,
this very body of ours shall be restored to us in an incorrupt state,
there shall be a full liberation from the body of this death; but
there will be no such deliverance for them who shall rise again to
condemnation. To the body of this death then is understood to be owing
the circumstance that there is in our members another law which wars
against the law of the mind, so long as the flesh lusts against the
spirit--without, however, subjugating the mind, inasmuch as on its
side, too, the spirit has a concupiscence contrary to the flesh.
 Thus, although the actual law of sin partly holds the flesh in
captivity (whence comes its resistance to the law of the mind), still
it has not an absolute empire in our body, notwithstanding its mortal
state, since it refuses obedience to its desires.  For in the
case of hostile armies between whom there is an earnest conflict, even
the side which is inferior in the fight usually holds a something
which it has captured; and although in some such way there is somewhat
in our flesh which is kept under the law of sin, yet it has before it
the hope of redemption: and then there will remain not a particle of
this corrupt concupiscence; but our flesh, healed of that diseased
plague, and wholly clad in immortality, shall live for evermore in
 Rom. vii. 18.
 Rom. viii. 23.
 Rom. vii. 24.
 Gal. v. 17.
 Rom. vi. 12.
Chapter 36.--Even Now While We Still Have Concupiscence We May Be Safe
But the apostle pursues the subject, and says, "So then with the mind
I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin;"
 which must be thus understood: "With my mind I serve the law of
God," by refusing my consent to the law of sin; "with my flesh,
however," I serve "the law of sin," by having the desires of sin, from
which I am not yet entirely freed, although I yield them no assent.
Then let us observe carefully what he has said after all the above:
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ
Jesus."  Even now, says he, when the law in my members keeps up
its warfare against the law of my mind, and retains in captivity
somewhat in the body of this death, there is no condemnation to them
which are in Christ Jesus. And listen why: "For the law of the spirit
of life in Christ Jesus," says he, "hath made me free from the law of
sin and death."  How made me free, except by abolishing its
sentence of guilt by the remission of all my sins; so that, though it
still remains, only daily lessening more and more, it is nevertheless
not imputed to me as sin?
 Rom. vii. 25.
 Rom. viii. 1.
 Rom. viii. 2.
Chapter 37 [XXXII.]--The Law of Sin with Its Guilt in Unbaptized
Infants. By Adam's Sin the Human Race Has Become a "Wild Olive Tree."
Until, then, this remission of sins takes place in the offspring, they
have within them the law of sin in such manner, that it is really
imputed to them as sin; in other words, with that law there is
attaching to them its sentence of guilt, which holds them debtors to
eternal condemnation. For what a parent transmits to his carnal
offspring is the condition of his own carnal birth, not that of his
spiritual new birth. For, that he was born in the flesh, although no
hindrance after the remission of his guilt to his fruit, still remains
hidden, as it were, in the seed of the olive, even though, because of
the remission of his sins, it in no respect injures the oil--that is,
in plain language, his life which he lives, "righteous by faith,"
 after Christ, whose very name comes from the oil, that is, from
the anointing.  That, however, which in the case of a regenerate
parent, as in the seed of the pure olive, is covered without any
guilt, which has been remitted, is still no doubt retained in the case
of his offspring, which is yet unregenerate, as in the wild olive,
with all its guilt, until here also it be remitted by the self-same
grace. When Adam sinned, he was changed from that pure olive, which
had no such corrupt seed whence should spring the bitter issue of the
wild olive, into a wild olive tree; and, inasmuch as his sin was so
great, that by it his nature became commensurately changed for the
worse, he converted the entire race of man into a wild olive stock.
The effect of this change we see illustrated, as has been said above,
in the instance of these very trees. Whenever God's grace converts a
sapling into a good olive, so that the fault of the first birth (that
original sin which had been derived and contracted from the
concupiscence of the flesh) is remitted, covered, and not imputed,
there is still inherent in it that nature from which is born a wild
olive, unless it, too, by the same grace, is by the second birth
changed into a good olive.
 Rom. i. 17.
 An allusion, of course, to the meaning of the word "Christ,"
from Chrisma, and meaning "the Anointed One."
Chapter 38 [XXXIII.]--To Baptism Must Be Referred All Remission of
Sins, and the Complete Healing of the Resurrection. Daily Cleansing.
Blessed, therefore, is the olive tree "whose iniquities are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;" blessed is it "to which the Lord hath not
imputed sin."  But this, which has received the remission, the
covering, and the acquittal, even up to the complete change into an
eternal immortality, still retains a secret force which furnishes seed
for a wild and bitter olive tree, unless the same tillage of God
prunes it also, by remission, covering, and acquittal. There will,
however, be left no corruption at all in even carnal seed, when the
same regeneration, which is now effected through the sacred laver,
purges and heals all man's evil to the very end. By its means the very
same flesh, through which the carnal mind was formed, shall become
spiritual,--no longer having that carnal lust which resists the law of
the mind, no longer emitting carnal seed. For in this sense must be
understood that which the apostle whom we have so often quoted says
elsewhere: "Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He
might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word;
that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having
spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing."  It must, I say, be
understood as implying, that by this laver of regeneration and word of
sanctification all the evils of regenerate men of whatever kind are
cleansed and healed,--not the sins only which are all now remitted in
baptism, but those also which after baptism are committed by human
ignorance and frailty; not, indeed, that baptism is to be repeated as
often as sin is repeated, but that by its one only ministration it
comes to pass that pardon is secured to the faithful of all their sins
both before and after their regeneration. For of what use would
repentance be, either before baptism, if baptism did not follow; or
after it, if it did not precede? Nay, in the Lord's Prayer itself,
which is our daily cleansing, of what avail or advantage would it be
for that petition to be uttered, "Forgive us our debts,"  unless
it be by such as have been baptized? And in like manner, how great
soever be the liberality and kindness of a man's alms, what, I ask,
would they profit him towards the remission of his sins if he had not
been baptized? In short, on whom but on the baptized shall be bestowed
the very felicities of the kingdom of heaven; where the Church shall
have no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; where there shall be
nothing blameworthy, nothing unreal; where there shall be not only no
guilt for sin, but no concupiscence to excite it?
 Ps. xxxiii. 1, 2.
 Eph. v. 25.
 Matt. vi. 12.
Chapter 39 [XXXIV.]--By the Holiness of Baptism, Not Sins Only, But
All Evils Whatsoever, Have to Be Removed. The Church is Not Yet Free
from All Stain.
And thus not only all the sins, but all the ills of men of what kind
soever, are in course of removal by the holiness of that Christian
laver whereby Christ cleanses His Church, that He may present it to
Himself, not in this world, but in that which is to come, as not
having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Now there are some who
maintain that such is the Church even now, and yet they are in it.
Well then, since they confess that they have some sins themselves, if
they say the truth in this (and, of course, they do, as they are not
free from sins), then the Church has "a spot" in them; whilst if they
tell an untruth in their confession (as speaking from a double heart),
then the Church has in them "a wrinkle." If, however, they assert that
it is themselves, and not the Church, which has all this, they then as
good as acknowledge that they are not its members, nor belong to its
body, so that they are even condemned by their own confession.
Chapter 40 [XXXV.]--Refutation of the Pelagians by the Authority of
St. Ambrose, Whom They Quote to Show that the Desire of the Flesh is a
In respect, however, to this concupiscence of the flesh, we have
striven in this lengthy discussion to distinguish it accurately from
the goods of marriage. This we have done on account of our modern
heretics, who cavil whenever concupiscence is censured, as if it
involved a censure of marriage. Their object is to praise
concupiscence as a natural good, that so they may defend their own
baneful dogma, which asserts that those who are born by its means do
not contract original sin. Now the blessed Ambrose, bishop of Milan,
by whose priestly office I received the washing of regeneration,
briefly spoke on this matter, when, expounding the prophet Isaiah, he
gathered from him the nativity of Christ in the flesh: "Thus," says
the bishop, "He was both tempted in all points as a man,  and in
the likeness of man He bare all things; but inasmuch as He was born of
the Spirit, He kept Himself from sin. For every man is a liar; and
there is none without sin but God alone. It has, therefore, been ever
firmly maintained, that it is clear that no man from husband and wife,
that is to say, by means of that conjunction of their persons, is free
from sin. He who is free from sin is also free from conception of this
kind." Well now, what is it which St. Ambrose has here condemned in
the true doctrine of this deliverance?--is it the goodness of
marriage, or not rather the worthless opinion of these heretics,
although they had not then come upon the stage? I have thought it
worth while to adduce this testimony, because Pelagius mentions
Ambrose with such commendation as to say: "The blessed Bishop Ambrose,
in whose writings more than anywhere else the Roman faith is clearly
stated, has flourished like a beautiful flower among the Latin
writers. His fidelity and extremely pure perception of the sense of
Scripture no opponent even has ever ventured to impugn."  I hope
he may regret having entertained opinions opposed to Ambrose, but not
that he has bestowed this praise on that holy man.
Here, then, you have my book, which, owing to its tedious length and
difficult subject, it has been as troublesome for me to compose as for
you to read, in those little snatches of time in which you have been
able (or at least, as I suppose, have been able) to find yourself at
leisure. Although it has been indeed drawn up with considerable labour
amidst my ecclesiastical duties, as God has vouchsafed to give me His
help, I should hardly have intruded it on your notice, with all your
public cares, if I had not been informed by a godly man, who has an
intimate knowledge of you, that you take such pleasure in reading as
to lie awake by the hour, night after night, spending the precious
time in your favourite pursuit.
 Heb. iv. 15.
 Pro libero arbitrio, lib. 3.
Preliminary Notes on the Second Book.
(1) From the Preface of Augustin's "Unfinished Work Against Julianus."
I Wrote a treatise, under the title On Marriage and Concupiscence, and
addressed it to the Count Valerius, on learning that he had been
informed of the Pelagians that they charge us with condemning
marriage. Now in that treatise I showed the distinction, as
criticially and accurately as I was able, between the good of marriage
and the evil of carnal concupiscence,--an evil which is well used by
conjugal chastity. On receiving my treatise, the illustrious man whom
I have named sent me in a short paper  a few sentences culled
from a work of Julianus,  a Pelagian heretic. In this work he
has thought fit to extend to four books his answer to the
before-mentioned treatise of mine, which is limited to one book only,
On Marriage and Concupiscence. I do not know to whom we were indebted
for the said extracts: he confined his selection, evidently on
purpose, to the first book of Julianus' work. At the request of
Valerius, I lost no time in drawing up my answer to the extracts. And
thus it happened that I have written a second book also under the same
title; and in reply to this Julianus has drawn up to eight books, in
excess of his loquacious powers.
(2) From Augustin's Epistle to Claudius [CCVII.].
"Whoever has perused this second book of mine, addressed (as the first
was) to the Count Valerius, and drawn up (as, indeed, both were) for
his use, will have discovered that there are some points in which I
have not answered Julianus, but that I meant my work rather for him
who made the extracts from that writer's books, and who did not
arrange them in the order in which he found them. He deemed some
considerable alteration necessary in his arrangement, very probably
with the view of appropriating by this method as his own the thoughts
which evidently were another person's."
Book II. 
Augustin, in this latter book, refutes sundry sentences which had been
culled by some unknown author from the first of four books that
Julianus had published in opposition to the former book of his
treatise "On Marriage and Concupiscence;" which sentences had been
forwarded to him at the instance of the Count Valerius. He vindicates
the Catholic doctrine of original sin from his opponent's cavils and
subtleties, and particularly shows how diverse it is from the infamous
heresy of the Manicheans.
 In chartula.
 [This able and learned man was much the most formidable of the
Pelagian writers. Besides this book, Augustin wrote three large works
against him, the treatise Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, and
the two treatises Against Julian the last of which is usually called
The Unfinished Work from the circumstance that Augustin left it
incomplete at his death. Julian was a son of a dear friend of
Augustin, and was himself much loved by him. He became a "lector" in
404, and was ordained bishop by Innocent I. about 417. Under Zosimus'
vacillating policy he took strong ground on the Pelagian side, and,
refusing to sign Zosimus' Tractoria, was exiled with his seventeen
fellow-recusants, and passed his long life in vain endeavours to
obtain recognition for the Pelagian party. His writings included two
letters to Zosimus, a Confession of Faith, the two letters answered in
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians (though he seems to have
repudiated the former of these), and two large books against Augustin,
the first of which was his four books against the first book of the
present treatise, against extracts from which the second book was
written, whilst Augustin's Against Julian, in six books, traverses the
whole work. To this second book Julian replied in a rejoinder
addressed to Florus, and consisting of eight books. Augustin's
Unfinished Work is a reply to this. Julian's character was as noble as
his energy was great and his pen acute. He stands out among his
fellow-Pelagians as the sufferer for conscience' sake. A full account
of his works may be read in the Preface to Augustin's Unfinished Work,
with which may be compared the article on him in Smith and Wace's
Dictionary of Christian Biography--W.]
 Written A.D. 420.
Chapter 1 [I.]--Introductory Statement.
I Cannot tell you, dearly loved and honoured son Valerius, how great
is the pleasure which my heart receives when I hear of your warm and
earnest interest in the testimony of the word of God against the
heretics; and this, too, amidst your military duties and the cares
which devolve on you in the eminent position you so justly occupy, and
the pressing functions, moreover, of your political life. After
reading the letter of your Eminence, in which you acknowledge the book
which I dedicated to you, I was roused to write this also; for you
request me to attend to the statement, which my brother and
fellow-bishop Alypius is commissioned to make to me, about the
discussion which is being raised by the heretics over sundry passages
of my book. Not only have I received this information from the
narrative of my said brother, but I have also read the extracts which
he produced, and which you had yourself forwarded to Rome, after his
departure from Ravenna. On discovering the boastful language of our
adversaries, as I could easily do in these extracts, I determined,
with the help of the Lord, to reply to their taunts with all the
truthfulness and scriptural authority that I could command.
Chapter 2 [II.]--In This and the Four Next Chapters He Adduces the
Garbled Extracts He Has to Consider.
The paper which I now answer starts with this title: "Headings out of
a book written by Augustin, in reply to which I have culled a few
passages out of books." I perceive from this that the person who
forwarded these written papers to your Excellency wanted to make his
extracts out of the books he does not name, with a view, so far as I
can judge, to getting a quicker answer, in order that he might not
delay your urgency. Now, after considering what books they were which
he meant, I suppose that it must have been those which Julianus
mentioned in the Epistle he sent to Rome,  a copy of which found
its way to me at the same time. For he there says: "They go so far as
to allege that marriage, now in dispute, was not instituted by God,--a
declaration which may be read in a work of Augustin's, to which I have
lately replied in a treatise of four books." These are the books, as I
believe, from which the extracts were taken. It would, then, have been
perhaps the better course if I had set myself deliberately to disprove
and refute that entire work of his,  which he spread out into
four volumes. But I was most unwilling to delay my answer, even as you
yourself lost no time in forwarding to me the written statements which
I was requested to reply to.
 See Augustin's Unfinished Work against Julian, i. 18.
 This Augustin afterwards did by the publication of six book
against Julianus, on receiving his entire work. Augustin tells us
(Unfinished Work, i. 19) that he had long endeavoured to procure a
copy of Julianus' books for the purpose of refuting them, and only
succeeded in getting them after some difficulty and delay.
Chapter 3.--The Same Continued.
The words which he has quoted and endeavoured to refute out of my
book, which I sent to you, and with which you are very well
acquainted, are the following: "They are constantly affirming, in
their excessive hatred of us, that we condemn marriage and that divine
procedure by which God creates human beings by means of men and women,
inasmuch as we maintain that they who are born of such a union
contract original sin, and do not deny that, of whatever parents they
are born, they are still under the devil's dominion unless they be
born again in Christ."  Now, in quoting these words of mine, he
took care to omit the testimony of the apostle, which I adduced by the
weighty significance of which he felt himself too hard pressed. For,
after saying that men at their birth contract original sin, I at once
introduced the apostle's words: "By one man sin entered into the
world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for in him
all men sinned."  Well, as I have already mentioned, he omitted
this passage of the apostle, and then closed up the other remarks of
mine which have been now quoted. For he knew too well how acceptable
to the hearts and consciences of all faithful catholics are these
words of the apostle, which I had adopted, but which he
omitted,--words which are so direct and so clear, that these
new-fangled heretics use every effort in their dark and tortuous
glosses to obscure and deprave their force.
 See above, Book i. ch. 1 of this treatise.
 Rom. v. 12.
Chapter 4.--The Same Continued.
But he has added other words of mine, where I have said: "Nor do they
reflect that the good of marriage is no more impeachable by reason of
the original evil which is derived therefrom, than the evil of
adultery and fornication can be excused by reason of the natural good
which is born of them. For as sin is the work of the devil, whether
derived from this source or from that; so is man, whether born of this
or that, the work of God." Here, too, he has left out some words, in
which he was afraid of catholic ears. For to come to the words here
quoted, it had previously been said by us: "Because, then, we affirm
this doctrine, which is contained in the oldest and unvarying rule of
the catholic faith, these propounders of novel and perverse dogmas,
who deny that there is in infants any sin to be washed away in the
laver of regeneration, in their unbelief or ignorance calumniate us as
if we condemned marriage, and as if we asserted to be the devil's work
what is God's own work, to wit, the human being which is born of
marriage."  All this passage he has passed over, and merely
quoted the words which follow it, as given above. Now, in the omitted
words he was afraid of the clause which suits all hearts in the
catholic Church and appeals to the very faith which has been firmly
established and transmitted from ancient times with unfaltering voice
and excites their hostility most strongly against us. The clause is
this: "They deny that there is in infants any sin to be washed away in
the laver of regeneration." For all persons run to church with their
infants for no other reason in the world than that the original sin
which is contracted in them by their first and natural birth may be
cleansed by the regeneration of their second birth.
 Book i. of this treatise, ch. 1.
Chapter 5.--The Same Continued.
He then returns  to our words, which were quoted before: "We
maintain that they who are born of such a union contract original sin;
and we do not deny that, of whatever parents they are born, they are
still under the devil's dominion unless they be born again in Christ."
Why he should again refer to these words of ours I cannot tell; he had
already cited them a little before. He then proceeds to quote what we
said of Christ: "Who willed not to be born from the same union of the
two sexes." But here again he quietly ignored the words which I placed
just previous to these words; my entire sentence being this: "That by
His grace they may be removed from the power of darkness, and
translated into the kingdom of Him who willed not to be born from the
same union of the two sexes." Observe, I pray you, what my words were
which he shunned, in the temper of one who is thoroughly opposed to
that grace of God which comes through our "Lord Jesus Christ." He
knows well enough that it is the height of improbity and impiety to
exclude infants from their interest in the apostle's words, where he
said of God the Father: "Who hath delivered us from the power of
darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear son."
 This, no doubt, is the reason why he preferred to omit rather
than quote these words.
 See The Unfinished Work, i. 64.
 Col. i. 13.
Chapter 6.--The Same Continued.
He has next adduced that passage of ours, wherein we said: "For there
would have been none of this shame-producing concupiscence, which is
impudently praised by impudent men, if man had not previously sinned;
while as to marriage, it would still have existed, even if no man had
sinned: for the procreation of children would have been effected
without this disease." Up to this point he cited my words; but he
shrank from adding what comes next--"in the body of that chaste life,
although without it this cannot be done in `the body of this death.'"
He would not complete my sentence, but mutilated it somewhat, because
he dreaded the apostle's exclamation, of which my words gave him a
reminder: "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."
 For the body of this death existed not in paradise before sin;
therefore did we say, "In the body of that chaste life," which was the
life of paradise, "the procreation of children could have been
effected without the disease, without which now in the body of this
death it cannot be done." The apostle, however, before arriving at
that mention of man's misery and God's grace which we have just
quoted, had first said: "I see another law in my members warring
against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law
of sin which is in my members." Then it is that he exclaimed, "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." In the body
of this death, therefore, such as it was in paradise before sin, there
certainly was not "another law in our members warring against the law
of our mind"--which now, even when we are unwilling, and withhold
consent, and use not our members to fulfil that which it desires,
still dwells in these members, and harasses our resisting and
repugnant mind. And this conflict in itself, although not involving
condemnation, because it does not consummate sin, is nevertheless
"wretched," inasmuch as it has no peace. I think, then, that I have
shown you clearly enough that this man had a special object as well as
method in quoting my words: he adduced them for refutation in such
manner as in some instances to interrupt the context of my sentences
by removing what stood between them, and in other instances to curtail
them by withdrawing their concluding words; and his reason for doing
all this I think I have sufficiently explained.
 Rom. vii. 24.
Chapter 7 [III.]--Augustin Adduces a Passage Selected from the Preface
of Julianus. (See "The Unfinished Work," i. 73.)
Let us now look at those words of ours which he adduced just as it
suited him, and to which he would oppose his own. For they are
followed by his words; moreover, as the person insinuated who sent you
the paper of extracts, he copied something out of a preface, which was
no doubt the preface of the books from which he selected a few
passages. The paragraph thus copied stands as follows: "The teachers
of our day, most holy brother,  who are the instigators of the
disgraceful faction which is now overheated with its zeal, are
determined on compassing the injury and discredit of the men with
whose sacred fervour they are set on fire, by nothing less than the
ruin of the whole Church; little thinking how much honour they have
conferred on those whose renown they have shown to be only capable of
being destroyed along with the catholic religion. For, if one should
say, either that there is free will in man, or that God is the Creator
of those that are born,  he is at once set down as a Coelestian
and a Pelagian. To avoid being called heretics, they turn Manicheans;
and so, whilst shirking a pretended infamy, they incur a real
reproach; just like the animals, which in hunting they surround with
dyed feathers, in order to scare and drive them into their nets;
 the poor brutes are not gifted with reason, and so they are
thrust all together by a vain panic into a real destruction." 
 He calls Florus "most holy father" elsewhere (see The
Unfinished Work, iv. 5). This man, to whom Julianus dedicated his
work, is called a colleague or fellow-bishop of Julianus by Augustin
(The Unfinished Work, iii. 187).
 Conditor nascentium, i.e. the Maker of all men's births.
 For a description of this curious mode of capture, see Dr.
Smith's Greek and Roman Antiquities, s. v. Rete.
 See The Unfinished Work, i. 3.
Chapter 8.--Augustin Refutes the Passage Adduced Above.
Well, now, whoever you are that have said all this, what you say is by
no means true; by no means, I repeat; you are much deceived, or you
aim at deceiving others. We do not deny free will; but, even as the
Truth declares, "if the Son shall make you free, then shall ye be free
indeed."  It is yourselves who invidiously deny this Liberator,
since you ascribe a vain liberty to yourselves in your captivity.
Captives you are; for "of whom a man is overcome," as the Scripture
says, "of the same is he brought in bondage;"  and no one except
by the grace of the great Liberator is loosed from the chain of this
bondage, from which no man living is free. For "by one man sin entered
into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men,
for in him all have sinned."  Thus, then, God is the Creator of
those that are born in such wise that all pass from the one into
condemnation, who have not the One Liberator by regeneration. For He
is described as "the Potter, forming out of the same lump one vessel
unto honour in His mercy, and another unto dishonour  in
judgment." And so runs the Church's canticle "mercy and judgment."
 You are therefore only misleading yourself and others when you
say, "If one should affirm, either that there is free will in man, or
that God is the Creator of those that are born, he is at once set down
as a Coelestian and a Pelagian;"  for the catholic faith says
these things. If, however, any one says that there is a free will in
man for worshipping God aright, without His assistance; and whosoever
says that God is the Creator of those that are born in such wise as to
deny that infants have any need of one to redeem them from the power
of the devil: that is the man who is set down as a disciple of
Coelestius and Pelagius. Therefore that men have within them a free
will, and that God is the Creator of those that are born, are
propositions which we both allow. You are not Coelestians and
Pelagians for merely saying this. But what you do really say is this,
that any man whatever has freedom enough of will for doing good
without God's help, and that infants undergo no such change as being
"delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom
of God;"  and because you say so, you are Coelestians and
Pelagians. Why, then, do you hide under the covering of a common dogma
for deceit, concealing your own especial delinquency which has gained
for you a party-name; and why, to terrify the ignorant with a shocking
term, do you say of us, "To avoid being called heretics, they turn
 John viii. 36.
 2 Pet. ii. 19.
 Rom. v. 12.
 Rom. ix. 21.
 Ps. ci. 1.
 See The Unfinished Work, iii. 101.
 Col. i. 13.
Chapter 9.--The Catholics Maintain the Doctrine of Original Sin, and
Thus are Far from Being Manicheans.
Listen, then, for a little while, and observe what is involved in this
question. Catholics say that human nature was created good by the good
God as Creator; but that, having been corrupted by sin, it needs the
physician Christ. The Manicheans affirm, that human nature was not
created by God good, and corrupted by sin; but that man was formed by
the prince of eternal darkness of a mixture of two natures which had
ever existed--one good and the other evil. The Pelagians and
Coelestians say that human nature was created good by the good God;
but that it is still so sound and healthy in infants at their birth,
that they have no need at that age of Christ's medicine. Recognise,
then, your name in your dogma; and cease from intruding upon the
catholics, who refute you, a name and a dogma which belong to others.
For truth rejects both parties--the Manicheans and yourselves. To the
Manicheans it says: "Have ye not read that He which made man at the
beginning, made them male and female; and said, For this cause shall a
man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they
twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one
flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put
asunder."  Now Christ shows, in this passage, that God is both
the Creator of man, and the uniter in marriage of husband and wife;
whereas the Manicheans deny both these propositions. To you, however,
He says: "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is
lost."  But you, admirable Christians as you are, answer Christ:
"If you came to seek and to save that which was lost, then you did not
come for infants; for they were not lost, but are born in a state of
salvation: go to older men; we give you a rule from your own words:
`They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.'"
 Now, as it happens, the Manichean, who says that man has evil
mixed in his nature, must wish his good soul at any rate to be saved
by Christ; whereas you contend that there is in infants nothing to be
sired by Christ, since they are already safe.  And thus the
Manichean besets human nature with his detestable censure, and you
with your cruel praise. For whosoever shall believe your laudation,
will never bring their babes to the Saviour. Entertaining such impious
views as these, of what use is it that you fearlessly face that which
is enacted for you  in order to induce salutary fear and to
treat you as a human being, and not as that poor animal of yours which
was surrounded with the coloured feathers to be driven into the
hunting toils? Need was that you should hold the truth, and, on
account of zeal for it, have no fear; but, as things are, you evade
fear in such wise that, if you feared, you would rather run away from
the net of the malignant one than run into it. The reason why your
catholic mother alarms you is, because she fears for both you and
others from you; and if by the help of her sons who possess any
authority in the State she acts with a view to make you afraid, she
does so, not from cruelty, but from love. You, however, are a very
brave man; and you deem it the coward's part to be afraid of men. Well
then, fear God; and do not try with such obstinacy to subvert the
ancient foundations of the catholic faith. Although I could even wish
that spirited temper of yours would entertain some little fear of
human authority, at least in the present case. I could wish, I say,
that it would rather tremble through cowardice than perish through
 Matt. xix. 4-6.
 Luke xix. 10.
 Matt. ix. 12.
 The words "in body" are added here in the text of the
Benedictine edition, though it is found in almost none of the mss.,
because it is found in the passage as quoted in the Unfinished Work,
 This clause alludes to the Imperial edicts which Honorius
issued, enacting penalties against the Pelagian heretics.
Chapter 10 [IV.]--In What Manner the Adversary's Cavils Must Be
Let us now look at the rest of what he has joined together in his
selections. But what should be my course of proceeding? Ought I to set
forth every passage of his for the purpose of answering it, or,
omitting everything which the catholic faith contains, as not in
dispute between us, only handle and confute those statements in which
he strays away from the beaten path of truth, and endeavours to graft
on catholic stems the poisonous shoots of his Pelagian heresy? This
is, no doubt, the easier course. But I suppose I must not lose sight
of a possible contingency, that any one, after reading my book,
without perusing all that has been alleged by him, may think that I
was unwilling to bring forward the passages on which his allegations
depend, and by which are shown to be truly deduced the statements
which I am controverting as false. I should be glad, therefore, if the
reader will without exception kindly observe and consider the two
classes of contributions which occur in this little work of ours--that
is to say, all that he has alleged, and the answers which on my side I
Chapter 11.--The Devil the Author, Not of Nature, But Only of Sin.
Now, the man who forwarded to your Love the paper in question has
introduced the contents thereof with this title: "In opposition to
those persons who condemn matrimony, and ascribe its fruits to the
devil." This, then, is not in opposition to us, who neither condemn
matrimony, which we even commend in its order with a just
commendation, nor ascribe its fruits to the devil. For the fruits of
matrimony are men which are orderly engendered from it, and not the
sins which accompany their birth. Human beings are not under the
devil's dominion because they are human beings, in which respect they
are the fruits of matrimony; but because they are sinful, in which
resides the transmission of their sins. For the devil is the author of
sin, not of nature.
Chapter 12.--Eve's Name Means Life, and is a Great Sacrament of the
Now, observe the rest of the passage in which he thinks he finds, to
our prejudice, what is consonant with the above-quoted title. "God,"
says he, "who had framed Adam out of the dust of the ground, formed
Eve out of his rib,  and said, She shall be called Life, because
she is the mother of all who live." Well now, it is not so written.
But what matters that to us? For it constantly happens that our memory
fails in verbal accuracy, while the sense is still maintained. Nor was
it God, but her husband, who gave Eve her name, which should signify
Life; for thus it is written: "And Adam called his wife's name Life,
because she is the mother of all living."  But very likely he
might have understood the Scripture as testifying that God gave Eve
this name through Adam, as His prophet. For in that she was called
Life, and the mother of all living, there lies a great sacrament of
the Church, of which it would detain us long to speak, and which is
unnecessary to our present undertaking. The very same thing which the
apostle says, "This is a great sacrament: but I speak concerning
Christ and the Church," was also spoken by Adam when he said, "For
this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall
cleave unto his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh."  The
Lord Jesus, however, in the Gospel mentions God as having said this of
Eve; and the reason, no doubt, is, that God declared through the man
what the man, in fact, uttered as a prophecy. Now, observe what
follows in the paper of extracts: "By that primitive name," says he,
"He showed for what labour the woman had been provided; and He said
accordingly, `Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.'"
 Now, who amongst ourselves denies that the woman was provided
for the work of child-bearing by the Lord God, the beneficent Creator
of all good? See further what he goes on to say: "God, therefore, who
created them male and female,  furnished them with members
suitable for procreation, and ordained that bodies should be produced
from bodies; and yet is security for their capacity for effecting the
work, executing all that exists with that power which He used in
creation."  Well, even this we acknowledge to be catholic
doctrine, as we also do with regard to the passage which he
immediately subjoins: "If, then, offspring comes only through sex, and
sex only through the body, and the body through God, who can hesitate
to allow that fecundity is rightly attributed to God?"
 Gen. ii. 22, 23.
 Gen. iii. 20, margin.
 Compare Eph. v. 32 with Gen. ii. 24.
 Gen. i. 28.
 Gen. i. 27.
 For once a difficulty occurs (for which, however, St. Augustin
is not responsible) in the construction of the original. The obscure
passage is here translated in accordance with a suggestion in some of
the editions. It stands in the original thus: "Quorum tamen
efficientiæ potentiâ operationis intervenit omne quod est eâ
administrans virtute quâ condidit." Some editors suggest "potentia"
(nominative) "Dei operationis intervenit;" but there is no ms.
authority for the Dei.
Chapter 13.--The Pelagian Argument to Show that the Devil Has No
Rights in the Fruits of Marriage.
After these true and catholic statements, which are, moreover, really
contained in the Holy Scriptures, although they are not adduced by him
in a catholic spirit, with the earnestness of a catholic mind, he
loses no time in introducing to us the heresy of Pelagius and
Coelestius, for which purpose he wrote, indeed, his previous remarks.
Mark carefully the following words: "You now who say, `We do not deny
that they, are still, of whatever parents born, under the devil's
power, unless they be born again in Christ,' show us what the devil
can recognise as his own in the sexes, by reason of which he can (to
use your phrase) rightly claim as his property the fruit which they
produce. Is it the difference of the sexes? But this is inherent in
the bodies which God made. Is it their union? But this union is
justified in the privilege of the primeval blessing no less than
institution. For it is the voice of God that says, `A man shall leave
his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they two
shall be one flesh.'  It is again the voice of God which says,
`Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.'  Or is it,
perchance, their fertility? But this is the very reason why matrimony
 Gen. ii. 24.
 Gen. i. 28.
Chapter 14 [V.]--Concupiscence Alone, in Marriage, is Not of God.
You see the terms of his question to us: what the devil can find in
the sexes to call his own, by reason of which they should be in his
power, who are born of parents of whatsoever kind, unless they be born
again in Christ; he asks us, moreover, whether it is the difference in
the sexes which we ascribe to the devil, or their union, or their very
fruitfulness. We answer, then, nothing of these qualities, inasmuch as
the difference of sex belongs to "the vessels" of the parents; while
the union of the two pertains to the procreation of children; and
their fruitfulness to the blessing pronounced on the marriage
institution. But all these things are of God; yet amongst them he was
unwilling to name that "lust of the flesh, which is not of the Father,
but is of the world;"  and "of this world" the devil is said to
be "the prince."  Now, the devil found no carnal concupiscence
in the Lord, because the Lord did not come as a man to men by its
means. Accordingly, He says Himself: "The prince of this world cometh,
and findeth nothing in me"  --nothing, that is, of sin; neither
that which is derived from birth, nor that which is added during life.
Among all the natural goods of procreation which he mentioned, he was,
I repeat, unwilling to name this particular fact of concupiscence,
over which even marriage blushes, which glories in all these
before-mentioned goods. For why is the especial work of parents
withdrawn and hidden even from the eyes of their children, except that
it is impossible for them to be occupied in laudable procreation
without shameful lust? Because of this it was that even they were
ashamed who first covered their nakedness.  These portions of
their person were not suggestive of shame before, but deserved to be
commended and praised as the work of God. They put on their covering
when they felt their shame, and they felt their shame when, after
their own disobedience to their Maker, they felt their members
disobedient to themselves. Our quoter of extracts likewise felt
ashamed of this concupiscence. For he mentioned the difference of the
sexes; he mentioned also their union, and he mentioned their
fertility; but this last concomitant of lust he blushed to mention.
And no wonder if mere talkers are ashamed of that which we see parents
themselves, so interested in their function, blush to think of.
 1 John ii. 16.
 John xiv. 30.
 John xiv. 30.
 Gen. iii. 7.
Chapter 15.--Man, by Birth, is Placed Under the Dominion of the Devil
Through Sin; We Were All One in Adam When He Sinned.
He then proceeds to ask: "Why, then, are they in the devil's power
whom God created?" And he finds an answer to his own question
apparently from a phrase of mine. "Because of sin," says he, "not
because of nature." Then framing his answer in reference to mine, he
says: "But as there cannot be offspring without the sexes, so there
cannot be sin without the will." Yes, indeed, such is the truth. For
even as "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so
also has death passed through to all men, for in him all have sinned."
 By the evil will of that one man all sinned in him, since all
were that one man, from whom, therefore, they individually derived
original sin. "For you allege," says he, "that the reason why they are
in the devil's power is because they are born of the union of the two
sexes." I plainly aver that it is by reason of transgression that they
are in the devil's power, and that their participation, moreover, of
this transgression is due to the circumstance that they are born of
the said union of the sexes, which cannot even accomplish its own
honourable function without the incident of shameful lust. This has
also, in fact, been said by Ambrose, of most blessed memory, bishop of
the church in Milan, when he gives as the reason why Christ's birth in
the flesh was free from all sinful fault, that His conception was not
the result of a union of the two sexes; whereas there is not one among
human beings conceived in such union who is without sin. These are his
precise words: "On that account, and being man, He was tried by every
sort of temptation, and in the likeness of man He bore them all;
inasmuch, however, as He was born of the Spirit, He abstained from all
sin. For every man is a liar, and none is without sin, but God only.
It has accordingly," adds he, "been constantly observed, that clearly
no one who is born of a man and a woman, that is to say, through the
union of their bodies, is free from sin; for whoever is free from sin
is free also from conception of this kind."  Well now, will you
dare, ye disciples of Pelagius and Coelestius, to call this man a
Manichean? as the heretic Jovinian did, when the holy bishop
maintained the permanent virginity of the blessed Mary even after
child-bearing, in opposition to this man's impiety. If, however, you
do not dare to call him a Manichean, why do you call us Manicheans
when we defend the catholic faith in the self-same cause and with the
self same opinions? But if you will taunt that most faithful man with
having entertained Manichean error in this matter, there is no help
for it, you must enjoy your taunts as best you may, and so fill up
Jovinian's measure more fully; as for ourselves, we can patiently
endure along with such a man of God your taunts and jibes. And yet
your heresiarch Pelagius commends Ambrose's faith and extreme purity
in the knowledge of the Scriptures so greatly, as to declare that not
even an enemy could venture to find fault with him. Observe, then, to
what length you have gone, and refrain from following any further in
the audacious steps of Jovinian. And yet that man, although by his
excessive commendation of marriage he put it on a par with holy
virginity, never denied the necessity of Christ to save those who are
born of marriage even fresh from their mother's womb, and to redeem
them from the power of the devil. This, however, you deny; and because
we oppose you in defence of those who cannot yet speak for themselves,
and in defence of the very foundations of the catholic faith, you
taunt us, with being Manicheans. But let us now see what comes next.
 Rom. v. 12.
 Ambrose On Isaiah; see also his Epistle (81) to Siricius.
Chapter 16 [VI.]--It is Not of Us, But Our Sins, that the Devil is the
He puts to us, then, another question, saying, "Whom, then, do you
confess to be the author of infants? The true God?" I answer: 
"Yes; the true God." He then remarks, "But He did not make evil;" and
again asks, "Whether we confess the devil to be the creator of
infants?" Then again he answers, "But he did not create human nature."
He then closes the subject, as it were, with this inference: "Since
union is evil, and the condition of our bodies is degraded, therefore
you ascribe our bodies to an evil creator." My answer to this is, I do
not ascribe to an evil creator our bodies, but our sins; by reason of
which it came to pass that, whereas in our bodies, that is to say, in
what God has made, all was honourable and well-pleasing, there yet
accrued in the intercourse of male and female what caused shame, so
that their union was not such as might have been in the body of that
unimpaired life, but such as we see with a blush in the body of this
death. "But God," says he, "has divided in sex what He would unite in
operation. So that from Him comes the union of bodies, from whom first
came the creation of bodies." We have already furnished an answer to
this statement, when we said that these bodies are of God. But as
regards the disobedience of the members of these bodies, this comes
through the lust of the flesh which "is not of the Father."  He
goes on to say, that "it is impossible for evil fruits to spring from
so many good things, such as bodies, sexes, and their unions; or that
human beings should be made by God for the purpose of their being, by
lawful right, as you maintain, held in possession by the devil." Now
it has been already affirmed, that they are not thus held because they
are men, which designation belongs to their nature, of which the devil
is not the author; but because they are sinners, which designation is
the result of that fault of nature of which the devil is the author.
 This is the Benedictine reading; but another reading has "he
answers," which seems to suit the context. See the following: "again
 1 John ii. 16.
Chapter 17 [VII.]--The Pelagians are Not Ashamed to Eulogize
Concupiscence, Although They are Ashamed to Mention Its Name.
But among so many names of good things, such as bodies, sexes, unions,
he never once mentions the lust or concupiscence of the flesh. He is
silent, because he is ashamed; and yet with a strange shamelessness of
shame (if the expression may be used), he is not ashamed to praise
what he is ashamed to mention. Now just observe how he prefers to
point to his object by circumlocution rather than by direct mention of
it. "After that the man," says he, "by natural appetite knew his
wife." See again, he refused to say, He knew his wife by carnal
concupiscence; but he used the phrase, "by natural appetite," by which
it is open to us to understand that holy and honourable will which
wills the procreation of children, and not that lust, of which even he
is so much ashamed, forsooth, that he prefers to use ambiguous
language to us, to expressing his mind in unmistakeable words. "Now
what is the meaning of his phrase--"by natural appetite"? Is not both
the wish to be saved and the wish to beget, nourish, and educate
children, natural appetite? and is it not likewise of reason, and not
of lust? Since, however, we can ascertain his intention, we are pretty
sure that he meant by these words to indicate the lust of the organs
of generation. Do not the words in question appear to you to be the
fig-leaves, under cover of which is hidden nothing else but that which
he feels ashamed of? For just as they of old sewed the leaves together
 as a girdle of concealment, so has this man woven a web of
circumlocution to hide his meaning. Let him weave out his statement:
"But when the man knew his wife by natural appetite, the divine
Scripture says, Eve conceived, and bare a son, and called his name
Cain. But what," he adds, "does Adam say? Let us hear: I have obtained
a man from God. So that it is evident that he was God's work, and the
divine Scripture testifies to his having been received from God."
 Well, who can entertain a doubt on this point? Who can deny
this statement, especially if he be a catholic Christian? A man is
God's work; but carnal concupiscence (without which, if sin had not
preceded, man would have been begotten by means of the organs of
generation, not less obedient than the other members to a quiet and
normal will) is not of the Father, but is of the world. 
 Gen. iii. 7.
 Gen. iv. 1.
 1 John ii. 16.
Chapter 18.--The Same Continued.
But now, I pray you, look a little more attentively, and observe how
he contrives to find a name wherewith to cover again what he blushes
to unfold. "For," says he, "Adam begot him by the power of his
members, not by diversity of merits." Now I confess I do not
understand what he meant by the latter clause, not by diversity of
merits; but when he said, "by the power of his members," I believe he
wished to express what he is ashamed to say openly and clearly. He
preferred to use the phrase, "by the power of his members," rather
than say, "by the lust of the flesh." Plainly--even if the thought did
not occur to him--he intimated a something which has an evident
application to the subject. For what is more powerful than a man's
members, when they are not in due submission to a man's will? Even if
they be restrained by temperance or continence, their use and control
are not in any man's power. Adam, then, begat his sons by what our
author calls "the power of his members," over which, before he begat
them, he blushed, after his sin. If, however, he had never sinned, he
would not have begotten them by the power, but in the obedience, of
his members. For he would himself have had the power to rule them as
subjects to his will, if he, too, by the same will had only submitted
himself as a subject to a more powerful One.
Chapter 19 [VIII.]--The Pelagians Misunderstand "Seed" In Scripture.
He goes on to say: "After a while the divine Scripture says again,
`Adam knew Eve his wife; and she bare a son, and he called his name
Seth: saying, The Lord hath raised me up another seed instead of Abel,
whom Cain slew.'" He then adds: "The Divinity is said to have raised
up the seed itself; as a proof that the sexual union was His
appointment." This person did not understand what the Scripture
records; for he supposed that the reason why it is said, The Lord hath
raised me up another seed instead of Abel, was none other than that
God might be supposed to have excited in him a desire for sexual
intercourse, by means whereof seed might be raised for being poured
into the woman's womb. He was perfectly unaware that what the
Scripture has said is not "Has raised me up seed" in the sense he
uses, but only as meaning "Has given me a son." Indeed, Adam did not
use the words in question after his sexual intercourse, when he
emitted his seed, but after his wife's confinement, in which he
received his son by the gift of God. For what gratification is there
(except perhaps for lascivious persons, and those who, as the apostle
says with prohibition, "possess their vessel in the lust of
concupiscence"  ) in the mere shedding of seed as the ultimate
pleasure of sexual union, unless it is followed by the true and proper
fruit of marriage--conception and birth?
 1 Thess. iv. 5.
Chapter 20.--Original Sin is Derived from the Faulty Condition of
This, however, I would not say, as implying at all that we must look
for some other creator than the supreme and true God, of either human
seed or of man himself who comes from the seed; but as meaning, that
the seed would have issued from the human being by the quiet and
normal obedience of his members to his will's command, if sin had not
preceded. The question now before us does not concern the nature of
human seed, but its corruption. Now the nature has God for its author;
it is from its corruption that original sin is derived. If, indeed,
the seed had itself no corruption, what means that passage in the Book
of Wisdom, "Not being ignorant that they were a naughty generation,
and that their malice was inbred, and that their cogitation would
never be changed; for their seed was accursed from the beginning"?
 Now whatever may be the particular application of these words,
they are spoken of mankind. How, then, is the malice of every man
inbred, and his seed cursed from the beginning, unless it be in
respect of the fact, that "by one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for in him all have
sinned"?  But where is the man whose "evil cogitation can never
be changed," unless because it cannot be effected by himself, but only
by divine grace; without the assistance of which, what are human
beings, but that which the Apostle Peter says of them, when he
describes them as "natural brute beasts made to be taken and
destroyed"?  Accordingly, the Apostle Paul, in a certain
passage, having both conditions in view,--even the wrath of God with
which we are born, and the grace whereby we are delivered,--says:
"Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the
lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the
mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But
God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,
even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with
Christ; by whose grace we are saved."  What, then, is man's
"natural malice," and "the seed cursed from the beginning;" and what
are "the natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed," and
what the "by nature children of wrath"? Was this the condition of the
nature which was formed in Adam? God forbid! Inasmuch as his pure
nature, however, was corrupted in him, it has run on in this condition
by natural descent through all, and still is running; so that there is
no deliverance for it from this ruin, except by the grace of God
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
 Wisd. xii. 10, 11.
 Rom. v. 12.
 2 Pet. ii. 12.
 Eph. ii. 3-5.
Chapter 21 [IX.]--It is the Good God That Gives Fruitfulness, and the
Devil That Corrupts the Fruit.
What, therefore, is this man's meaning, in the next passage, wherein
he says concerning Noah and his sons, that "they were blessed, even as
Adam and Eve were; for God said unto them, `Be fruitful, and multiply,
and have dominion over the earth'"?  To these words of the
Almighty he added some of his own, saying: "Now that pleasure, which
you would have seem diabolical, was resorted to in the case of the
above-mentioned married pairs; and it continued to exist, both in the
goodness of its institution and in the blessing attached to it. For
there can be no doubt that the following words were addressed to Noah
and his sons in reference to their bodily connection with their wives,
which had become by this time unalterably fixed by use: `Be fruitful,
and multiply, and replenish the earth.'" It is unnecessary for us to
employ many words in repeating our former argument. The point here in
question is the corruption in our nature, whereby its goodness has
been depraved, of which corruption the devil is the author. That
goodness of nature, as it is in itself, the author of which is God, is
not the question we have to consider. Now God has never withdrawn from
corrupted and depraved nature His own mercy and goodness, so as to
deprive man of fruitfulness, vivacity, and health, as well as the very
substance of his mind and body, his senses also and reason, as well as
food, and nourishment, and growth. He, moreover, "maketh His sun to
arise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on
the unjust;"  and all that is good in human nature is from the
good God, even in the case of those men who will not be delivered from
 Gen. ix. 1.
 Matt. v. 45.
Chapter 22.--Shall We Be Ashamed of What We Do, or of What God Does?
It is, however, of pleasure that this man spoke in his passage,
because pleasure can be even honourable: of carnal concupiscence, or
lust, which produces shame, he made no mention. In some subsequent
words, however, he uncovered his susceptibility of shame; and he was
unable to dissemble what nature herself has prescribed so forcibly.
"There is also," says he, "that statement: `Therefore shall a man
leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and
they twain shall be one flesh.'" Then after these words of God, he
goes on to offer some of his own, saying: "That he might express faith
in works, the prophet approached very near to a perilling of modesty."
What a confession! How clear and extorted from him by the force of
truth! The prophet, it would seem, to express faith in works, almost
imperilled modesty, when he said, "They twain shall become one flesh;"
wishing it to be understood of the sexual union of the male and the
female. Let the cause be alleged, why the prophet, in expressing the
works of God, should approach so near an imperilling of modesty? Is it
then the case that the works of man ought not to produce shame, but
must be gloried in at all events, and that the works of God must
produce shame? Is it, that in setting forth and expressing the works
of God the prophet's love or labour receives no honour, but his
modesty is imperilled? What, then, was it possible for God to do,
which it would be a shame for His prophet to describe? And, what is a
weightier question still, could a man be ashamed of any work which not
man, but God, has made in man? whereas workmen in all cases strive,
with all the labour and diligence in their power, to avoid shame in
the works of their own hands. The truth, however, is, that we are
ashamed of that very thing which made those primitive human beings
ashamed, when they covered their loins. That is the penalty of sin;
that is the plague and mark of sin; that is the temptation and very
fuel of sin; that is the law in our members warring against the law of
our mind; that is the rebellion against our own selves, proceeding
from our very selves, which by a most righteous retribution is
rendered us by our disobedient members. It is this which makes us
ashamed, and justly ashamed. If it were not so, what could be more
ungrateful, more irreligious in us, if in our members we were to
suffer confusion of face, not for our own fault or penalty, but
because of the works of God?
Chapter 23 [X.]--The Pelagians Affirm that God in the Case of Abraham
and Sarah Aroused Concupiscence as a Gift from Heaven.
He has much also to say, though to no purpose, concerning Abraham and
Sarah, how they received a son according to the promise; and at last
he mentions the word concupiscence. But he does not add the usual
phrase, "of the flesh," because this is the very thing which causes
the shame. Whereas, on account of concupiscence there is sometimes a
call for boasting, inasmuch as there is a concupiscence of the spirit
against the flesh,  and a concupiscence of wisdom. 
Accordingly, he says: "Now you have certainly defined as naturally
evil this concupiscence which is indispensable for fecundity; whence
comes it, therefore, that it is aroused in aged men by the gift of
Heaven? Make it clear then, if you can, that that belongs to the
devil's work, which you see is conferred by God as a gift." He says
this, just as if concupiscence of the flesh had been previously
wanting in them, and as if God had bestowed it upon them. No doubt it
was inherent in this body of death; that fecundity, however, was
wanting of which God is the author; and this was actually given
whensoever God willed to confer the gift. Be it, however, far from us
to affirm, what he thought we meant to say, that Isaac was begotten
without the heat of sexual union.
 Gal. v. 17.
 Wisd. vi. 21. The word in the Latin Bible in both cases is
Chapter 24 [XI.]--What Covenant of God the New-Born Babe Breaks. What
Was the Value of Circumcision.
But let him inform us how it was that his  soul would be cut off
from his people if he had not been circumcised on the eighth day. How
could he have so sinned, how so offended God, as to be punished for
the neglect of others towards him with so severe a sentence, had there
been no original sin in the case? For thus ran the commandment of God
concerning the circumcision of infants: "The uncircumcised man-child,
whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised on the eighth day, his
soul shall be cut off from his people; because he hath broken my
covenant."  Let him tell us, if he can, how that child broke
God's covenant,--an innocent babe, so far as he was personally
concerned, of eight days' age; and yet there is by no means any
falsehood uttered here by God or Holy Scripture. The fact is, the
covenant of God which he then broke was not this which commanded
circumcision, but that which forbade the tree; when "by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all
men, for in him all have sinned."  And in his case the expiation
of this was signified by the circumcision of the eighth day, that is,
by the sacrament of the Mediator who was to be incarnate. For it was
through this same faith in Christ, who was to come in the flesh, and
was to die for us, and on the third day (which coming after the
seventh or Sabbath day, was to be the eighth) to rise again, that even
holy men were saved of old. For "He was delivered for our offences,
and raised again for our justification."  Ever since
circumcision was instituted amongst the people of God, which was at
that time the sign of the righteousness of faith, it availed also to
signify the cleansing even in infants of the original and primitive
sin, just as baptism in like manner from the time of its institution
began to be of avail for the renewal of man. Not that there was no
justification by faith before circumcision; for even when he was still
in uncircumcision, Abraham was himself justified by faith, being the
father of those nations which should also imitate his faith.  In
former times, however, the sacramental mystery of justification by
faith lay concealed in every mode. Still it was the self-same faith in
the Mediator which saved the saints of old, both small and great--not
the old covenant, "which gendereth to bondage;"  not the law,
which was not so given as to be able to give life;  but the
grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  For as we believe
that Christ has come in the flesh, so they believed that He was to
come; as, again, we believe that He has died, so they believed that He
would die; and as we believe that He has risen from the dead, so they
believed that He would rise again; whilst both we and they believe
alike, that He will hereafter come to judge the quick and the dead.
Let not this man, then, throw any hindrance in the way of its
salvation upon human nature, by setting up a bad defence of its
merits; because we are all born under sin, and are delivered therefrom
by the only One who was born without sin.
 i.e., Isaac's.
 Gen. xvii. 14.
 Rom. v. 12.
 Rom. iv. 25.
 Rom. iv. 10, 11.
 Gal. iv. 24.
 Gal. iii. 21.
 Rom. vii. 25.
Chapter 25 [XII.]--Augustin Not the Deviser of Original Sin.
"This sexual connection of bodies," he says, "together with the
ardour, with the pleasure, with the emission of seed, was made by God,
and is praiseworthy on its own account, and is therefore to be
approved; it, moreover, became sometimes even a great gift to pious
men." He distinctly and severally repeated the phrases, "with ardour,"
"with pleasure," "with emission of seed." He did not, however, venture
to say, "with lust." Why is this, if it be not that he is ashamed to
name what he does not blush to praise? A gift, indeed, for pious men
is the prosperous propagation of children; but not that
shame-producing excitement of the members, which our nature would not
feel were it in a sound state, although corrupted nature now
experiences it. On this account, indeed, it is that he who is born of
it requires to be born again, in order that he may be a member of
Christ; and that he of whom he is born, even though he be already born
again, wants to be freed from that which exists in this body of death
by reason of the law of sin. Now since this is the case, how is it he
goes on to say, "You must, therefore, of necessity confess that the
original sin which you had devised is done away with"? It was not I
who devised the original sin, which the catholic faith holds from
ancient times; but you, who deny it, are undoubtedly an innovating
heretic. In the judgment of God, all are in the devil's power, born in
sin, unless they are regenerated in Christ.
Chapter 26 [XIII.]--The Child in No Sense Formed by Concupiscence.
But as he was speaking of Abraham and Sarah, he goes on to say: "If,
indeed, you were to affirm that the natural use was strong in them,
and there was no offspring, my answer will be: Whom the Creator
promised, the Creator also gave; the child which is born is not the
work of cohabitation, but of God. He, indeed, who made the first man
of the dust, fashions all men out of seed. As, therefore, the dust of
the earth, which was taken as the material, was not the author of man;
so likewise that power of sexual pleasure which forms and commingles
the seminal elements does not complete the entire process of man's
making, but rather presents to God, out of the treasures of nature,
material with which He vouchsafes to make the human being." Now the
whole of this statement of his, except where he says, that the seminal
elements are formed and commingled by sexual pleasure, would be
correctly expressed by him were he only earnest in making it to defend
the catholic sense. To us, however, who are fully aware what he
strives to make out of it, he speaks indeed correctly in a perverse
manner. The exceptional statement to the general truth, which I do not
deny belongs to this passage, is untrue for this reason, because the
pleasure in question of carnal concupiscence does not form the seminal
elements. These are already in the body, and are formed by the same
true God who created the body itself. They do not receive their
existence from the libidinous pleasure, but are excited and emitted in
company with it. Whether, indeed, such pleasure accompanies the
commingling of the seminal elements of the two sexes in the womb, is a
question which perhaps women may be able to determine from their
inmost feelings; but it is improper for us to push an idle curiosity
so far. That concupiscence, however, which we have to be ashamed of,
and the shame of which has given to our secret members their shameful
designation, pudenda, had no existence in the body during its life in
paradise before the entrance of sin; but it began to exist "in the
body of this death" after sin, the rebellion of the members
retaliating man's own disobedience. Without this concupiscence it was
quite possible to effect the function of the wedded pair in the
procreation of children: just as many a laborious work is accomplished
by the compliant operation of our other limbs, without any lascivious
heat; for they are simply moved by the direction of the will, not
excited by the ardour of concupiscence.
Chapter 27.--The Pelagians Argue that God Sometimes Closes the Womb in
Anger, and Opens It When Appeased.
Carefully consider the rest of his remarks: "This likewise," says he,
"is confirmed by the apostle's authority. For when the blessed Paul
spoke of the resurrection of the dead, he said, "Thou fool, that which
thou sowest is not quickened."  And afterwards, `But God giveth
it a body as it pleaseth Him, and to every seed its own body.' If,
therefore, God," says he, "has assigned to human seed, as to every
thing else, its own proper body, which no wise or pious man will deny,
how will you prove that any person is born guilty? Do, I beg of you,
reflect with what a noose this assertion of natural sin is choked. But
come," he says, "deal more gently with yourself, I pray you. Believe
me, God made even you: it must, however, be confessed, that a serious
error has infected you. For what profaner opinion can be broached than
that either God did not make man, or else that He made him for the
devil; or, at any rate, that the devil framed God's image, that is,
man,--which clearly is a statement not more absurd than impious? Is
then," says he, "God so poor in resources, so lacking in all sense of
propriety, as not to have had aught which He could confer on holy men
as their reward, except what the devil, after making them his dupes,
might infuse into them for their vitiation?  Would you like to
know, however, that even in the case of those who are no saints, God
can be proved to have bestowed this power of procreation of children?
When Abraham, struck with fear among a foreign nation, said that
Sarah, his wife, was his sister, it is said that Abimelech, the king
of the country, abducted her for a night's enjoyment of her. But God,
who had the holy woman's honour in His keeping, appeared to Abimelech
in his sleep, and restrained the royal audacity; threatening him with
death if he went to the length of violating the wife. Then Abimelech
said: `Wilt thou, O Lord, slay an innocent and righteous nation? Did
they not tell me that they were brother and sister? Therefore
Abimelech arose early in the morning, and took a thousand pieces of
silver, and sheep, and oxen, and men-servants, and women-servants, and
gave them to Abraham, and sent away his wife untouched. But Abraham
prayed unto God for Abimelech; and God healed Abimelech, and his wife,
and his maid-servants.'"  Now why he narrated all this at so
great a length, you may find in these few words which he added: "God,"
he says, "at the prayer of Abraham, restored their potency of
generation, which had been taken away from the wombs of even the
meanest servants; because God had closed up every womb in the house of
Abimelech.  Consider now," says he, "whether that ought to be
called a natural evil which sometimes God when angry takes away, and
when appeased restores. He," says he, "makes the children both of the
pious and of the ungodly, inasmuch as the circumstance of their being
parents appertains to that nature which rejoices in God as its Author,
whilst the fact of their impiety belongs to the depravity of their
desires, and this comes to every person whatever as the consequence of
 1 Cor. xv. 36.
 The translation adopts the conjecture of the Benedictine
editors: in vitium, instead of in vitio or initio, as the mss. read.
 See Gen. xx. 2, 4, 5, 8, 14, 17.
 Gen. xx. 18.
Chapter 28 [XIV.]--Augustin's Answer to This Argument. Its Dealing
Now to this lengthy statement of his we have to say in answer, that,
in the passages which he has quoted from the sacred writings, there is
nothing said about that shameful lust, which we say did not exist in
the body of our first parents in their blessedness, when they were
naked and were not ashamed.  The first passage from the apostle
was spoken of the seeds of corn, which first die in order to be
quickened. For some reason or other, he was unwilling to complete the
verse for his quotation. All he adduces from it is: "Thou fool, that
which thou sowest is not quickened;" but the apostle adds, "except it
die."  This writer, however, so far as I can judge, wished this
passage, which treats only of corn seeds, to be understood of human
seed, by such as read it without either understanding the Holy
Scriptures or recollecting them. Indeed, he not merely curtailed this
particular sentence, by omitting the clause, "except it die," but he
omitted the following words, in which the apostle explained of what
seeds he was speaking; for the apostle adds: "And that which thou
sowest, thou sowest not that body which shall be, but the bare grain,
it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain."  This he
omitted, and closed up his context with what the apostle then writes:
"But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed
its own body;" just as if the apostle spoke of man in cohabitation
when he said, "Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened,"
with a view to our understanding of human seed, that it is quickened
by God, not by man in cohabitation begetting children. For he had
previously said: "Sexual pleasure does not complete the entire process
of man's making, but rather presents to God, out of the treasures of
nature, material with which He vouchsafes to make the human being."
 He then added the quotation, as if the apostle affirmed as
follows: Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not
quickened,--quickened, that is, by thyself; but God forms the human
being out of thy seed. As if the apostle had not said the intermediate
words, which this writer chose to pass over; and as if the apostle's
aim was to speak of human seed thus: "Thou fool, that which thou
sowest is not quickened; but God giveth to the seed a body such as
pleaseth Him, and to every seed its own body." Indeed, after the
apostle's words, he introduces remarks of his own to this effect: "If,
therefore, God has assigned to human seed, as to everything else, its
own proper body, which no wise or pious man will deny;" quite as if
the apostle in the passage in question spoke of human seed.
 Gen. ii. 25.
 1 Cor. xv. 36.
 1 Cor. xv. 37.
 Above, ch. 26 [xiii.].
Chapter 29.--The Same Continued. Augustin Also Asserts that God Forms
Man at Birth.
Though I have given special attention to the point, I have failed to
discover what assistance he could obtain from this deceitful use of
Scripture, except that he wanted to produce the apostle as a witness,
and by him to prove, what we also assert, that God forms man of human
seed. And inasmuch as no passage directly occurred to him, he
deceitfully manipulated this particular one; fearing no doubt that, if
the apostle should chance to seem to have spoken of corn seeds, and
not of human, in this passage, we should have suggested to us at once
by such procedure of his, how to refute him: not indeed as the
pure-minded advocate of a chastened will, but as the impudent
proclaimer of a profligate voluptuousness. But from the very seeds,
forsooth, which the farmers sow in their fields he can be refuted. For
why can we not suppose that God could have granted to man in his happy
state in paradise, the same course with regard to his own seed which
we see granted to the seeds of corn, in such wise that the former
might be sown without any shameful lust, the members of generation
simply obeying the inclination of the will; just as the latter is sown
without any shameful lust, the hands of the husbandman merely moving
in obedience to his will? There being, indeed, this difference, that
the desire of begetting children in the parent is a nobler one than
that which characterizes the farmer, of filling his barns. Then,
again, why might not the almighty Creator, with His incontaminable
ubiquity, and his power of creating from human seed just what it
pleased Him, have operated in women, with respect to what He even now
makes, in the self-same manner as He operates in the ground with corn
seeds according to His will, making blessed mothers conceive without
lustful passion, and bring forth children without parturient pains,
inasmuch as there was not (in that state of happiness, and in the body
which was not as yet the body of this death, but rather of that life)
in woman when receiving seed anything to produce shame, as there was
nothing when giving birth to offspring to cause pain? Whoever refuses
to believe this, or is unwilling to have it supposed that, while men
previous to any sin lived in that happy state of paradise, such a
condition as that which we have sketched could not have been permitted
in God's will and kindness, must be regarded as the lover of shameful
pleasure, rather than the encomiast of desirable fecundity.
Chapter 30 [XV.]--The Case of Abimelech and His House Examined.
Then, again, as to the passage which he has adduced from the inspired
history concerning Abimelech, and God's choosing to close up every
womb in his household that the women should not bear children, and
afterwards opening them that they might become fruitful, what is all
this to the point? What has it to do with that shameful concupiscence
which is now the question in dispute? Did God, then, deprive those
women of this feeling, and give it to them again just when He liked?
The punishment however, was that they were unable to bear children,
and the blessing that they were able to bear them, after the manner of
this corruptible flesh. For God would not confer such a blessing upon
this body of death, as only that body of life in paradise could have
had before sin entered; that is, the process of conceiving without the
prurience of lust, and of bearing children without excruciating pain.
But why should we not suppose, since, indeed, Scripture says that
every womb was closed, that this took place with something of pain, so
that the women were unable to bear cohabitation, and that God
inflicted this pain in His wrath, and removed it in His mercy? For if
lust was to be taken away as an impediment to begetting offspring, it
ought to have been taken away from the men, not from the women. For a
woman might perform her share in cohabitation by her will, even if the
lust ceased by which she is stimulated, provided it were not absent
from the man for exciting him; unless, perhaps (as Scripture informs
us that even Abimelech himself was healed), he would tell us that
virile concupiscence was restored to him. If, however, it were true
that he had lost this, what necessity was there that he should be
warned by God to hold no connection with Abraham's wife? The truth is,
Abimelech is said to have been healed, because his household was cured
of the affliction which smote it.
Chapter 31 [XVI.]--Why God Proceeds to Create Human Beings, Who He
Knows Will Be Born in Sin.
Let us now look at those three clauses of his, than which three, he
says, nothing more profane could possibly be uttered: "Either God did
not make man, or else He made him for the devil; or, at any rate, the
devil framed God's image, that is, man." Now, the first and the last
of these sentences, even he himself must allow, if he be not reckless
and perverse, were never uttered by us. The dispute is confined to
that which he puts second between the other two. In respect of this,
he is so far mistaken as to suppose that we had said that God made man
for the devil; as if, in the case of human beings whom God creates of
human parents, His care and purpose and provision were, that by means
of His workmanship the devil should have as slaves those whom he is
unable to make for himself. God forbid that any sort of pious belief,
however childish, should ever entertain such a sentiment as this! Of
His own goodness God has made man--the first without sin, all others
under sin--for the purposes of His own profound thoughts. For just as
He knew full well what to do with reference to the malice of the devil
himself, and what He does is just and good, however unjust and evil he
is, about whom He takes His measures; and just as He was not unwilling
to create him because He foresaw that he would be evil; so in regard
to the entire human race, though not a man of it is born without the
taint of sin, He who is supremely good Himself is always working out
good, making some men, as it were, "vessels of mercy," whom grace
distinguishes from those who are "vessels of wrath;" whilst He makes
others, as it were, "vessels of wrath," that He may make known the
riches of His glory towards the vessels of mercy.  Let, then,
this objector go and contest the point against the apostle, whose
words I use; nay, against the very Potter, whom the apostle forbids us
answering again, in the well-known words: "Who art thou, O man, that
repliest against God! Shall 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 to make one vessel unto honour, and another
unto dishonour?"  Well now, will this man contend that the
vessels of wrath are not under the dominion of the devil? or else,
because they are under this dominion, are they made by another creator
than He who makes the vessels of mercy? Or does He make them of other
material, and not out of the self-same lump? Here, then, he may
object, and say: "Therefore God makes these vessels for the devil." As
if God knew not how to make such a use of even these for the
furtherance of His own good and righteous works, as He makes of the
very devil himself.
 Rom. ix. 23.
 Rom. ix. 20, 21.
Chapter 32 [XVII.]--God Not the Author of the Evil in Those Whom He
Then, does God feed the children of perdition, the goats on His left
hand,  for the devil and nourish and clothe them for the devil
"because He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and
sendeth rain upon the just and the unjust"?  He creates, then,
the evil just in the same way as He feeds and nourishes the evil;
because what He bestows on them by creating them appertains to the
goodness of nature; and the growth which He gives them by food and
nourishment, He bestows on them, of course, as a kindly help, not to
their evil character, but to that same good nature which He in His
goodness created. For in as far as they are human beings--this is a
good of that nature whose author and maker is God; but in as far as
they are born with sin and so destined to perdition unless they are
born again, they belong to the seed which was cursed from the
beginning,  by the fault of the primitive disobedience. This
fault, however, is turned to good account by the Maker of even the
vessels of wrath, that He may make known the riches of His glory on
the vessels of mercy:  and that no one may attribute to any
merits of his own, pertaining as he does to the self-same mass, his
deliverance through grace; but "he that glorieth, let him glory in the
 Matt. xxv. 33.
 Matt. v. 45.
 Wisd. xii. 11.
 Rom. ix. 33.
 2 Cor. x. 17.
Chapter 33 [XVIII.]--Though God Makes Us, We Perish Unless He Re-makes
Us in Christ.
From this most true and firmly-established principle of the apostolic
and catholic faith the writer before us departs in company with the
Pelagians. He will not have it that men are born under the dominion of
the devil, lest infants be carried to Christ to be delivered from the
power of darkness, and to be translated into His kingdom.  Thus
he becomes the accuser of the Church which is spread over the world;
into this Church everywhere infants, when to be baptized, are first
exorcised, for no other reason than that the prince of this world may
be cast out  of them. For by him must they be necessarily
possessed, as vessels of wrath, since they are born of Adam, unless
they be born again in Christ, and transferred through grace as vessels
of mercy into His kingdom. In his attack, however, upon this most
firmly-established truth, he would avoid the appearance of an assault
upon the entire Church of Christ. Accordingly, he limits his appeal to
me alone, and in the tone of reproof and admonition he says: "But God
made even you, though it must be confessed that a serious error has
infected you." Well now, I thankfully acknowledge that God did make
even me; and still I must have perished with the vessels of wrath, if
He had only made me of Adam, and had not re-made me in Christ.
Possessed, however, as this man is with the heresy of Pelagius, he
does not believe this: if, indeed, he persists in so great an error to
the very end, then not he, but catholics, will be able to see the
character and extent of the error which has not simply infected, but
absolutely destroyed  him.
 Col. i. 13.
 John xii. 31.
 There is a climax in infecerit and interfecerit.
Chapter 34 [XIX.]--The Pelagians Argue that Cohabitation Rightly Used
is a Good, and What is Born from It is Good.
I request your attention now to the following words. He says, "That
children, however, who are conceived in wedlock are by nature good, we
may learn from the apostle's words, when he speaks of men who, leaving
the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust, men with men
working together that which is disgraceful.  Here," says he,
"the apostle shows the use of the woman to be both natural and, in its
way, laudable; the abuse consisting in the exercise of one's own will
in opposition to the decent use of the institution. Deservedly then,"
says he, "in those who make a right use thereof, concupiscence is
commended in its kind and mode; whilst the excess of it, in which
abandoned persons indulge, is punished. Indeed, at the very time when
God punished the abuse in Sodom with His judgment of fire, He
invigorated the generative powers of Abraham and Sarah, which had
become impotent through old age.  If, therefore," he goes on to
say, "you think that fault must be found with the strength of the
generative organs, because the Sodomites were steeped in sin thereby,
you will have also to censure such created things as bread and wine,
since Holy Scripture informs us that they sinned also in the abuse of
these gifts. For the Lord, by the mouth of His prophet Ezekiel, says:
`These, moreover, were the sins of thy sister Sodom; in their pride,
she and her children overflowed in fulness of bread and abundance of
wine; and they helped not the hand of the poor and needy.' 
Choose, therefore," says he, "which alternative you would rather have:
either impute to the work of God the sexual connection of human
bodies, or account such created things as bread and wine to be equally
evil. But if you should prefer this latter conclusion, you prove
yourself to be a Manichean. The truth, however, is this: he who
observes moderation in natural concupiscence uses a good thing well;
but he who does not observe moderation, abuses a good thing. What
means your statement, then,"  he asks, "when you say that `the
good of marriage is no more impeachable on account of the original sin
which is derived herefrom, than the evil of adultery and fornication
can be excused because of the natural good which is born of them'? In
these words," says he, "you conceded what you had denied, and what you
had conceded you nullified; and you aim at nothing so much as to be
unintelligible. Show me any bodily marriage without sexual connection.
Else impose some one name on this operation, and designate the
conjugal union as either a good or an evil. You answer, no doubt, that
you have already defined marriages to be good. Well then, if marriage
is good,--if the human being is the good fruit of marriage; if this
fruit, being God's work, cannot be evil, born as it is by good agency
out of good,--where is the original evil which has been set aside by
so many prior admissions?"
 Rom. i. 27.
 Gen. xxi. 1, 2, and xix. 24.
 Ezek. xvi. 49.
 See first chapter of the first book of this treatise.
Chapter 35 [XX.]--He Answers the Arguments of Julianus. What is the
Natural Use of the Woman? What is the Unnatural Use?
My answer to this challenge is, that not only the children of wedlock,
but also those of adultery, are a good work in so far as they are the
work of God, by whom they are created: but as concerns original sin,
they are all born under condemnation of the first Adam; not only those
who are born in adultery, but likewise such as are born in wedlock,
unless they be regenerated in the second Adam, which is Christ. As to
what the apostle says of the wicked, that "leaving the natural use of
the woman, the men burned in their lust one toward another: men with
men working that which is unseemly;"  he did not speak of the
conjugal use, but the "natural use," wishing us to understand how it
comes to pass that by means of the members created for the purpose the
two sexes can combine for generation. Thus it follows, that even when
a man unites with a harlot to use these members, the use is a natural
one. It is not, however, commendable, but rather culpable. But as
regards any part of the body which is not meant for generative
purposes, should a man use even his own wife in it, it is against
nature and flagitious. Indeed, the same apostle had previously 
said concerning women: "Even their women did change the natural use
into that which is against nature;" and then concerning men he added,
that they worked that which is unseemly by leaving the natural use of
the woman. Therefore, by the phrase in question, "the natural use," it
is not meant to praise conjugal connection; but thereby are denoted
those flagitious deeds which are more unclean and criminal than even
men's use of women, which, even if unlawful, is nevertheless natural.
 Rom. i. 27.
 Rom. ix. 26.
Chapter 36 [XXI.]--God Made Nature Good: the Saviour Restores It When
Now we do not reprehend bread and wine because some men are luxurious
and drunkards, any more than we disapprove of gold because of the
greedy and avaricious. Wherefore on the same principle we do not
censure the honourable connection between husband and wife, because of
the shame-causing lust of bodies. For the former would have been quite
possible before any antecedent commission of sin, and by it the united
pair would not have been made to blush; whereas the latter arose after
the perpetration of sin, and they were obliged to hide it, from very
shame.  Accordingly, in all united pairs ever since, however
well and lawfully they have used this evil, there has been a permanent
necessity of avoiding the sight of man in any work of this kind, and
thus acknowledging what caused inevitable shame, though a good thing
would certainly cause no man to be ashamed. In this way we have two
distinct facts insensibly introduced to our notice: the good of that
laudable union of the sexes for the purpose of generating children;
and the evil of that shameful lust, in consequence of which the
offspring must be regenerated in order to escape condemnation. The
man, therefore, who, though with the lust which causes shame, joins in
lawful cohabitation, turns an evil to good account; whereas he who
joins in an unlawful cohabitation uses an evil badly; for that is more
correctly called evil than good, at which both bad and good alike
blush. We do better to believe him who has said, "I know that in me,
that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing,"  rather than him
who calls that good, by which he is so conformed that he admits it to
be evil; but if he feels no shame, he adds the worse evil of
impudence. Rightly then did we declare that "the good of marriage is
no more impeachable because of the original sin which is derived
therefrom, than the evil of adultery and fornication can be excused,
because of the natural good which is born of them:" since the human
nature which is born, whether of wedlock or of adultery, is the work
of God. Now if this nature were an evil, it ought not to have been
born; if it had not evil, it would not have to be regenerated: and
(that I may combine the two cases in one and the same predicate) if
human nature were an evil thing, it would not have to be saved; if it
had not in it any evil, it would not have to be saved. He, therefore,
who contends that nature is not good, says that the Maker of the
creature is not good; whilst he who will have it, that nature has no
evil in it, deprives it in its corrupted condition of a merciful
Saviour. From this, then, it follows, that in the birth of human
beings neither fornication is to be excused on account of the good
which is formed out of it by the good Creator, nor is marriage to be
impeached by reason of the evil which has to be healed in it by the
 Gen. iii. 7.
 Rom. vii. 18.
Chapter 37 [XXII.]--If There is No Marriage Without Cohabitation, So
There is No Cohabitation Without Shame.
"Show me," he says, "any bodily marriage without sexual connection." I
do not show him any bodily marriage without sexual connection; but
then, neither does he show me any case of sexual connection which is
without shame. In paradise, however, if sin had not preceded, there
would not have been, indeed, generation without union of the sexes,
but this union would certainly have been without shame; for in the
sexual union there would have been a quiet acquiescence of the
members, not a lust of the flesh productive of shame. Matrimony,
therefore, is a good, in which the human being is born after orderly
conception; the fruit, too, of matrimony is good, as being the very
human being which is thus born; sin, however, is an evil with which
every man is born. Now it was God who made and still makes man; but
"by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death
passed upon all men, for in him all sinned." 
 Rom. v. 12.
Chapter 38 [XXIII.]--Jovinian Used Formerly to Call Catholics
Manicheans; The Arians Also Used to Call Catholics Sabellians.
"By your new mode of controversy," says he, "you both profess to be a
catholic and patronize Manichæus, inasmuch as you designate matrimony
both as a great good and a great evil." Now he is utterly ignorant of
what he says, or pretends to be ignorant. Or else he does not
understand what we say, or does not wish it to be understood. But if
he does not understand, he is impeded by the pre-occupation of error;
or if he does not wish our meaning to be understood, then obstinacy is
the fault with which he defends his error. Jovinian, too, who
endeavoured a few years ago to found a new heresy, used to declare
that the catholics patronized the Manicheans, because in opposition to
him they preferred holy virginity to marriage. But this man is sure to
reply, that he does not agree with Jovinian in his indifference about
marriage and virginity. I do not myself say that this is their
opinion; still these new heretics must allow, by the fact of
Jovinian's playing off the Manicheans upon the catholics, that the
expedient is not a novel one. We then declare that marriage is a good,
not an evil. But just as the Arians charge us with being Sabellians,
although we do not say that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy
Ghost are one and the same, as the Sabellians hold; but affirm that
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost have one and the same
nature, as the catholics believe: so do the Pelagians cast the
Manicheans in our teeth, although we do not declare marriage to be an
evil, as the Manicheans pretend, but affirm that evil accrued to the
first man and woman, that is to say, to the first married pair, and
from them passed on to all men, as the catholics hold. As, however,
the Arians, while avoiding the Sabellians, fall into worse company,
because they have had the audacity to divide not the Persons of the
Trinity, but the natures; so the Pelagians, in their efforts to escape
from the pestilent error of the Manicheans, by taking the opposite
extreme, are convicted of entertaining worse sentiments than the
Manicheans themselves touching the fruit of matrimony, inasmuch as
they believe that infants stand in no need of Christ as their
Chapter 39 [XXIV.]--Man Born of Whatever Parentage is Sinful and
Capable of Redemption.
He then says: "You conclude that a human being, if born of
fornication, is not guilty; and if born in wedlock, is not innocent.
Your assertion, therefore, amounts to this, that natural good may
possibly subsist from adulterous connections, while original sin is
actually derived from marriage." Well now, he here attempts, but in
vain before an intelligent reader, to give a wrong turn to words which
are correct enough. Far be it from us to say, that a human being, if
born in fornication, is not guilty. But we do affirm, that a human
being, whether he be born in wedlock or in fornication, is in some
respect good, because of the Author of nature, God; we add, however,
that he derives some evil by reason of original sin. Our statement,
therefore, "that natural good can subsist even from adulterous
parentage, but that original sin is derived even from marriage," does
not amount to what he endeavours to make of it, that one born in
adultery is not guilty, nor innocent when born in wedlock; but that
one who is generated in either condition is guilty, because of
original sin; and that the offspring of either state may be freed by
regeneration, because of the good of nature.
Chapter 40 [XXV.]--Augustin Declines the Dilemma Offered Him.
"One of these propositions," says he, "is true, the other false." My
reply is as brief as the allegation: Both are really true, neither is
false. "It is true," he goes on to say, "that the sin of adultery
cannot be excused by reason of the man who is born of it; inasmuch as
the sin which adulterers commit, pertains to corruption of the will;
but the offspring which they produce tends to the praise of fecundity.
If one were to sow wheat which had been stolen, the crop which springs
up is none the worse. Of course," says he, "I blame the thief, but I
praise the corn. So I pronounce him innocent who is born of the
generous fruitfulness of the seed; even as the apostle puts it: `God
giveth it a body, as it pleases Him; and to every seed its own body;'
 but, at the same time, I condemn the flagitious man who has
committed his adulterous sin in his perverse use of the divine
 1 Cor. xv. 38.
Chapter 41 [XXVI.]--The Pelagians Argue that Original Sin Cannot Come
Through Marriage If Marriage is Good.
After this he proceeds with the following words: "Certainly if evil is
contracted from marriage, it may be blamed, nay, cannot be excused;
and you place under the devil's power its work and fruit, because
everything which is the cause of evil is itself without good. The
human being, however, who is born of wedlock owes his origin not to
the reproaches of wedlock, but to its seminal elements: the cause of
these, however, lies in the condition of bodies; and whosoever makes a
bad use of these bodies, deals a blow at the good desert thereof, not
at their nature. It is therefore clear," argues he, "that the good is
not the cause of the evil. If, therefore," he continues, "original
evil is derived even from marriage, the cause of the evil is the
compact of marriage; and that must needs be evil by which and from
which the evil fruit has made its appearance; even as the Lord says in
the Gospel: `A tree is known by its fruits.'  How then," he
asks, "do you think yourself worthy of attention, when you say that
marriage is good, and yet declare that nothing but evil proceeds from
it? It is evident, then, that marriages are guilty, since original sin
is deduced from them; and they are indefensible, too, unless their
fruit be proved innocent. But they are defended, and pronounced good;
therefore their fruit is proved to be innocent."
 Matt. vii. 16.
Chapter 42.--The Pelagians Try to Get Rid of Original Sin by Their
Praise of God's Works; Marriage, in Its Nature and by Its Institution,
is Not the Cause of Sin.
I have an answer ready for all this; but before I give it, I wish the
reader carefully to notice, that the result of the opinions of these
persons is, that no Saviour is necessary for infants, whom they deem
to be entirely without any sins to be saved from. This vast perversion
of the truth, so hostile to God's great grace, which is given through
our Lord Jesus Christ, who "came to seek and to save what was lost,"
 tries to insinuate its way into the hearts of the unintelligent
by eulogizing the works of God; that is, by its eulogy of human
nature, of human seed, of marriage, of sexual intercourse, of the
fruits of matrimony--which are all of them good things. I will not say
that he adds the praise of lust; because he too is ashamed even to
name it, so that it is something else, and not it, which he seems to
praise. By this method of his, not distinguishing between the evils
which have accrued to nature and the goodness of nature's very self,
he does not, indeed, show it to be sound (because that is untrue), but
he does not permit its diseased condition to be healed. And,
therefore, that first proposition of ours, to the effect that the good
thing, even the human being, which is born of adultery, does not
excuse the sin of adulterous connection, he allows to be true; and
this point, which occasions no question to arise between us, he even
defends and strengthens (as he well may) by his similitude of the
thief who sows the seed which he stole, and out of which there arises
a really good harvest. Our other proposition, however, that "the good
of marriage cannot be blamed for the original sin which is derived
from it," he will not admit to be true; if, indeed, he assented to it,
he would not be a Pelagian heretic, but a catholic Christian.
"Certainly," says he, "if evil arises from marriage, it may be blamed,
nay, cannot be excused; and you place its work and fruit under the
devil's power, because everything which is the cause of evil is itself
without good." And in addition to this, he contrived other arguments
to show that good could not possibly be the cause of evil; and from
this he drew the inference, that marriage, which is a good, is not the
cause of evil; and that consequently from it no man could be born in a
sinful state, and having need of a Saviour: just as if we said that
marriage is the cause of sin, though it is true that the human being
which is born in wedlock is not born without sin. Marriage was
instituted not for the purpose of sinning, but of producing children.
Accordingly the Lord's blessing on the married state ran thus: "Be
fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth."  The sin,
however, which is derived to children from marriage does not belong to
marriage, but to the evil which accrues to the human agents, from
whose union marriage comes into being. The truth is, both the evil of
shameful lust can exist without marriage, and marriage might have been
without it. It appertains, however, to the condition of the body (not
of that life, but) of this death, that marriage cannot exist without
it though it may exist without marriage. Of course that lust of the
flesh which causes shame has existence out of the married state,
whenever it urges men to the commission of adultery, chambering and
uncleanness, so utterly hostile to the purity of marriage; or again,
when it does not commit any of these things, because the human agent
gives no permission or assent to their commission, but still rises and
is set in motion and creates disturbance, and (especially in dreams)
effects the likeness of its own veritable work, and reaches the end of
its own emotion. Well, now, this is an evil which is not even in the
married state actually an evil of marriage; but it has this apparatus
all ready in the body of this death, even against its own will, which
is indispensable no doubt for the accomplishment of that which it does
will. The evil in question, therefore, does not accrue to marriage
from its own institution, which was blessed; but entirely from the
circumstance that sin entered into the world by one man, and death by
sin; and so death passed upon all men, for in him all sinned. 
 Luke xix. 10.
 Gen. i. 28.
 Rom. v. 12.
Chapter 43.--The Good Tree in the Gospel that Cannot Bring Forth Evil
Fruit, Does Not Mean Marriage.
What, then, does he mean by saying, "A tree is known by its fruits,"
on the ground of our reading that the Lord spake thus in the Gospel?
Was, then, the Lord speaking of this question in these words, and not
rather of men's two wills, the good and the evil, calling one of these
the good tree, and the other the corrupt tree, inasmuch as good works
spring out of a good will, and evil ones out of an evil will--the
converse being impossible, good works out of an evil will, and evil
ones out of a good will? If, however, we were to suppose marriage to
be the good tree, according to the Gospel simile which he has
mentioned, then, of course, we must on the other hand assume
fornication to be the corrupt tree. Wherefore, if a human being is
said to be the fruit of marriage, in the sense of the good fruit of a
good tree, then undoubtedly a human being could never have been born
in fornication. "For a corrupt tree bringeth not forth good fruit."
 Once more, if he were to say that not adultery must be supposed
to occupy the place of the tree, but rather human nature, of which man
is born, then in this way not even marriage can stand for the tree,
but only the human nature of which man is born. His simile, therefore,
taken from the Gospel avails him nothing in elucidating this question,
because marriage is not the cause of the sin which is transmitted in
the natural birth, and atoned for in the new birth; but the voluntary
transgression of the first man is the cause of original sin. "You
repeat," says he, "your allegation, `Just as sin, from whatever source
it is derived to infants, is the work of the devil, so man, howsoever
he be born, is the work of God.'" Yes, I said this, and most truly
too; and if this man were not a Pelagian, but a catholic, he too would
have nothing else to avow in the catholic faith.
 Matt. vii. 18.
Chapter 44 [XXVII.]--The Pelagians Argue that If Sin Comes by Birth,
All Married People Deserve Condemnation.
What, then, is his object when he inquires of us, "By what means sin
may be found in an infant, through the will, or through marriage, or
through its parents"? He speaks, indeed, in such a way as if he had an
answer to all these questions, and as if by clearing all of sin
together he would have nothing remain in the infant whence sin could
be found. I beg your attention to his very words: "Through what," says
he, "is sin found in an infant? Through the will? But there has never
been one in him? Through marriage? But this appertains to the parents'
work, of whom you had previously declared that in this action they had
not sinned; though it appears from your subsequent words that you did
not make this concession truly. Marriage, therefore," he says, "must
be condemned, since it furnished the cause of the evil. Yet marriage
only indicates the work of personal agents. The parents, therefore,
who by their coming together afforded occasion for the sin, are
properly deserving of the condemnation. It does not then admit of
doubt," says he, "any longer, if we are to follow your opinion, that
married persons are handed over to eternal punishment, it being by
their means brought about that the devil has come to exercise dominion
over men. And what becomes of what you just before had said, that man
was the work of God? Because if through their birth it happens that
evil is in men, and through the evil that the devil has power over
men, so in fact you declare the devil to be the author of men, from
whom comes their origin at birth. If, however, you believe that man is
made by God, and that husband and wife are innocent, see how
impossible is your standpoint, that original sin is derived from
Chapter 45.--Answer to This Argument: The Apostle Says We All Sinned
Now, there is an answer for him to all these questions given by the
apostle, who censures neither the infant's will, which is not yet
matured in him for sinning, nor marriage, which, as such, has not only
its institution, but its blessing also, from God; nor parents, so far
as they are parents, who are united together properly and lawfully for
the procreation of children; but he says, "By one man sin entered into
the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men for in
him all have sinned."  Now, if these persons would only receive
this statement with catholic hearts and ears, they would not have
rebellious feelings against the grace and faith of Christ, nor would
they vainly endeavour to convert to their own particular and heretical
sense these very clear and manifest words of the apostle, when they
assert that the purport of the passage is to this effect: that Adam
was the first to sin, and that any one who wished afterwards to commit
sin found an example for sinning in him; so that sin, you must know,
did not pass from this one upon all men by birth, but by the imitation
of this one. Whereas it is certain that if the apostle meant this
imitation to be here understood, he would have said that sin had
entered into the world and passed upon all men, not by one man, but
rather by the devil. For of the devil it is written: "They that are on
his side do imitate him."  He used the phrase "by one man," from
whom the generation of men, of course, had its beginning, in order to
show us that original sin had passed upon all men by generation.
 Rom. v. 12.
 Wisd. ii. 24.
Chapter 46.--The Reign of Death, What It Is; The Figure of the Future
Adam; How All Men are Justified Through Christ.
But what else is meant even by the apostle's subsequent words? For
after he had said the above, he added, "For until the law sin was in
the world,"  as much as to say that not even the law was able to
take away sin. "But sin," adds he, "was not imputed when there was no
law."  It existed then, but was not imputed, for it was not set
forth so that it might be imputed. It is on the same principle,
indeed, that he says in another passage: "By the law is the knowledge
of sin."  "Nevertheless," says he, "death reigned from Adam to
Moses;"  that is, as he had already expressed it, "until the
law." Not that there was no sin after Moses, but because even the law,
which was given by Moses, was unable to deprive death of its power,
which, of course, reigns only by sin. Its reign, too, is such as to
plunge mortal man even into that second death which is to endure for
evermore. "Death reigned," but over whom? "Even over them that had not
sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure
of Him that was to come."  Of whom that was to come, if not
Christ? And in what sort a figure, except in the way of contrariety?
which he elsewhere briefly expresses: "As in Adam all die, even so in
Christ shall all be made alive."  The one condition was in one,
even as the other condition was in the other; this is the figure. But
this figure is not conformable in every respect; accordingly the
apostle, following up the same idea, added, "But not as the offence,
so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be
dead; much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by
one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."  But why "hath
it much more abounded," except it be that all who are delivered
through Christ suffer temporal death on Adam's account, but have
everlasting life in store for the sake of Christ Himself? "And not as
it was by one that sinned," says he, "so is the gift: for the judgment
was from one to condemnation, but the free gift is from many offences
unto justification."  "By one" what, but offence? since it is
added, "the free gift is from many offences." Let these objectors tell
us how it can be "by one offence unto condemnation," unless it be that
even the one original sin which has passed over unto all men is
sufficient for condemnation? Whereas the free gift delivers from many
offences to justification, because it not only cancels the one
offence, which is derived from the primal sin, but all others also
which are added in every individual man by the motion of his own will.
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one, much more they
which receive abundance of grace and righteousness shall reign in life
by One, Jesus Christ. Therefore, by the offence of one upon all men to
condemnation; so by the righteousness of one upon all men unto
justification of life."  Let them after this persist in their
vain imaginations, and maintain that one man did not hand on sin by
propagation, but only set the example of committing it. How is it,
then, that by one's offence judgment comes on all men to condemnation,
and not rather by each man's own numerous sins, unless it be that even
if there were but that one sin, it is sufficient, without the addition
of any more, to lead to condemnation,--as, indeed, it does lead all
who die in infancy who are born of Adam, without being born again in
Christ? Why, then, does he, when he refuses to hear the apostle, ask
us for an answer to his question, "By what means may sin be discovered
in an infant,--through the will, or through marriage, or through its
parents?" Let him listen in silence, and hear by what means sin may be
discovered in an infant. "By the offence of one," says the apostle,
"upon all men to condemnation." He said, moreover, all to condemnation
through Adam, and all to justification through Christ: not, of course,
that Christ removes to life all those who die in Adam; but he said
"all" and "all," because, as without Adam no one goes to death, so
without Christ no man to life. Just as we say of a teacher of letters,
when he is alone in a town: This man teaches all their learning; not
because all the inhabitants take lessons, but because no man who
learns at all is taught by any but him. Indeed, the apostle afterwards
designates as many those whom he had previously described as all,
meaning the self-same persons by the two different terms. "For," says
he, "as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the
obedience of one shall many be made righteous." 
 Rom. v. 13.
 Rom. v. 13.
 Rom. iii. 20.
 Rom. v. 14.
 Rom. v. 14.
 1 Cor. xv. 22.
 Rom. v. 15.
 Rom. v. 15.
 Rom. v. 17, 18.
 Rom. v. 19.
Chapter 47.--The Scriptures Repeatedly Teach Us that All Sin in One.
Still let him ply his question: "By what means may sin be discovered
in an infant?" He may find an answer in the inspired pages: "By one
man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed
upon all men, for in him all sinned." "Through the offence of one many
are dead." "The judgment was from one to condemnation." "By one man's
offence death reigned by one." "By the offence of one, Judgment came
upon all men to condemnation." "By one man's disobedience many were
made sinners."  Behold, then, "by what means sins may be
discovered in an infant." Let him now believe in original sin; let him
permit infants to come to Christ, that they may be saved. [XXVIII.]
What means this passage of his: "He sins not who is born; he sins not
who begat him; He sins not who created him. Amidst these intrenchments
of innocence, therefore, what are the breaches through which you
pretend that sin entered?" Why does he search for a hidden chink when
he has an open door? "By one man," says the apostle; "through the
offence of one," says the apostle; "By one man's disobedience," says
the apostle. What does he want more? What does he require plainer?
What does he expect to be more impressively repeated?
 Rom. v. 12-19.
Chapter 48.--Original Sin Arose from Adam's Depraved Will. Whence the
Corrupt Will Sprang.
"If," says he, "sin comes from the will, it is an evil will that
causes sin; if it comes from nature, then nature is evil." I at once
answer, Sin does come from the will. Perhaps he wants to know, whether
original sin also? I answer, most certainly original sin also. Because
it, too, was engendered from the will of the first man; so that it
both existed in him, and passed on to all. As for what he next
proposes, "If it comes from nature, then nature is evil," I request
him to answer, if he can, to this effect: As it is manifest that all
evil works spring from a corrupt will, like the fruits of a corrupt
tree; so let him say whence arose the corrupt will itself--the corrupt
tree which yields the corrupt fruits. If from an angel, what was the
angel, but the good work of God? If from man, what was even he, but
the good work of God? Nay, inasmuch as the corrupt will arose in the
angel from an angel, and in man from man, what were both these,
previous to the evil arising within them, but the good work of God,
with a good and laudable nature? Behold, then, evil arises out of
good; nor was there any other source, indeed, whence it could arise,
but out of good. I call that will bad which no evil has preceded; no
evil works, of course, since they only proceed from an evil will, as
from a corrupt tree. Nevertheless, that the evil will arose out of
good, could not be, because that good was made by the good God, but
because it was created out of nothing--not out of God. What,
therefore, becomes of his argument, "If nature is the work of God, it
will never do for the work of the devil to permeate the work of God"?
Did not the work of the devil, I ask, arise in a work of God, when it
first arose in that angel who became the devil? Well, then, if evil,
which was absolutely nowhere previously, could arise in a work of God,
why could not evil, which had by this time found an existence
somewhere, pervade the work of God; especially when the apostle uses
the very expression in the passage, "And so death passed upon all
men"?  Can it be that men are not the work of God? Sin,
therefore, has passed upon all men--in other words, the devil's work
has penetrated the work of God; or putting the same meaning in another
shape, The work done by a work of God has pervaded God's work. And
this is the reason why God alone has an unchangeable and almighty
goodness: even before any evil came into existence He made all things
good; and out of all the evils which have arisen in the good things
which He has made, He works through all for good.
 Rom. v. 12.
Chapter 49 [XXIX.]--In Infants Nature is of God, and the Corruption of
Nature of the Devil.
"In a single man rightly is the intention blamed and the origin
praised; because there must be two things to admit of contraries: in
an infant, however, there is but one thing, nature only; because will
has no existence in his case. Now this one thing," says he, "is
ascribable either to God or to the devil. If nature," he goes on to
observe, "is of God, there cannot be original evil in it. If of the
devil, there will be nothing on the ground of which man may be
vindicated for the work of God. So that he is completely a Manichean
who maintains original sin." Let him hear rather what is true in
opposition to all this. In a single man the will is to be blamed, and
his nature to be praised; because there should be two things for the
application of contraries. Still, even in an infant, it is not the
case that there is but one thing only, that is, the nature in which
man was created by the good God; for he has also that corruption,
which has passed upon all men by one, as the apostle wisely says, and
not as the folly of Pelagius, or Coelestius, or any of their disciples
would represent the matter. Of these two things, then, which we have
said exist in an infant, one is ascribed to God, the other to the
devil. From the fact, however, that (owing to one of the two, even the
corruption) both are subjected to the power of the devil, there really
ensues no incongruity; because this happens not from the power of the
devil himself, but of God. In fact, corruption is subjected to
corruption, nature to nature, because the two are even in the devil;
so that whenever those who are beloved and elect are "delivered from
the power of darkness"  to which they are justly exposed, it is
clear enough how great a gift is bestowed on the justified and good by
the good God, who brings good even out of evil.
 Col. i. 13.
Chapter 50.--The Rise and Origin of Evil. The Exorcism and
Exsufflation of Infants, a Primitive Christian Rite.
As to the passage, which he seemed to himself to indite in a pious
vein, as it were, "If nature is of God, there cannot be original sin
in it," would not another person seem even to him to give a still more
pious turn to it, thus: "If nature is of God, there cannot arise any
sin in it?" And yet this is not true. The Manicheans, indeed, meant to
assert this, and they endeavoured to steep in all sorts of evil the
very nature of God itself, and not His creature, made out of nothing.
For evil arose in nothing else than what was good--not, however, the
supreme and unchangeable good which is God's nature, but that which
was made out of nothing by the wisdom of God. This, then, is the
reason why man is claimed for a divine work; for he would not be man
unless he were made by the operation of God. But evil would not exist
in infants, if evil had not been committed by the wilfulness of the
first man, and original sin derived from a nature thus corrupted. It
is not true, then, as he puts it, "He is completely a Manichean who
maintains original sin;" but rather, he is completely a Pelagian who
does not believe in original sin. For it is not simply from the time
when the pestilent opinions of Manichæus began to grow that in the
Church of God infants about to be baptized were for the first time
exorcised with exsufflation,--which ceremonial was intended to show
that they were not removed into the kingdom of Christ without first
being delivered from the power of darkness;  nor is it in the
books of Manichæus that we read how "the Son of man come to seek and
to save that which was lost,"  or how "by one man sin entered
into the world,"  with those other similar passages which we
have quoted above; or how God "visits the sins of the fathers upon the
children;"  or how it is written in the Psalm, "I was shapen in
iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me;"  or again, how
"man was made like unto vanity: his days pass away like a shadow;"
 or again, "behold, Thou hast made my days old, and my existence
as nothing before Thee; nay, every man living is altogether vanity;"
 or how the apostle says, "every creature was made subject to
vanity;"  or how it is written in the book of Ecclesiastes,
"vanity of vanities; all is vanity: what profit hath a man of all his
labour which he taketh under the sun?"  and in the book of
Ecclesiasticus, "a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam from the day
that they go out of their mother's womb to the day that they return to
the mother of all things;"  or how again the apostle writes, "in
Adam all die;"  or how holy Job says, when speaking about his
own sins, "for man that is born of a woman is short-lived and full of
wrath: as the flower of grass, so does he fall; and he departs like a
shadow, nor shall he stay. Hast Thou not taken account even of him,
and caused him to enter into judgment in Thy sight? For who shall be
pure from uncleanness? Not even one, even if his life should be but of
one day upon the earth."  Now when he speaks of uncleanness
here, the mere perusal of the passage is enough to show that he meant
sin to be understood. It is plain from the words, of what he is
speaking. The same phrase and sense occur in the prophet Zechariah, in
the place where "the filthy garments" are removed from off the high
priest, and it is said to him, "I have taken away thy sins." 
Well now, I rather think that all these passages, and others of like
import, which point to the fact that man is born in sin and under the
curse, are not to be read among the dark recesses of the Manicheans,
but in the sunshine of catholic truth.
 Col. i. 13.
 Luke xix. 10.
 Rom. v. 12.
 Ex. xx. 5.
 Ps. li. 5.
 Ps. cxliv. 4.
 Ps. xxxix. 5.
 Rom. viii. 20.
 Eccles. i. 2, 3.
 Ecclus. xl. 1.
 1 Cor. xv. 22.
 Job xiv. 1-5.
 Zech. iii. 4.
Chapter 51.--To Call Those that Teach Original Sin Manicheans is to
Accuse Ambrose, Cyprian, and the Whole Church.
What, moreover, shall I say of those commentators on the divine
Scriptures who have flourished in the catholic Church? They have never
tried to pervert these testimonies to an alien sense, because they
were firmly established in our most ancient and solid faith, and were
never moved aside by the novelty of error. Were I to wish to collect
these together, and to make use of their testimony, the task would
both be too long, and I should probably seem to have bestowed less
preference than I ought on canonical authorities,  from which
one must never deviate. I will merely mention the most blessed
Ambrose, to whom (as I have already observed  ) Pelagius
accorded so signal a testimony of his integrity in the faith. This
Ambrose, however, maintained that there was nothing else in infants,
which required the healing grace of Christ, than original sin. 
But in respect of Cyprian, with his all-glorious crown,  will
any one say of him, that he either was, or ever could by any
possibility have been, a Manichean, when he suffered before the
pestilent heresy had made its appearance in the Roman world? And yet,
in his book on the baptism of infants, he so vigorously maintains
original sin as to declare, that even before the eighth day, if
necessary, the infant ought to be baptized, lest his soul should be
lost; and he wished it to be understood, that the infant could the
more readily attain to the indulgence of baptism, inasmuch as it is
not so much his own sins, but the sins of another, which are remitted
to him. Well, then, let this writer dare to call these Manicheans; let
him, moreover, under this scandalous imputation asperse that most
ancient tradition of the Church, whereby infants are, as I have said,
exorcised with exsufflation, for the purpose of being translated into
the kingdom of Christ, after they are delivered from the power of
darkness--that is to say, of the devil and his angels. As for
ourselves, indeed, we are more ready to be associated with these men,
and with the Church of Christ, so firmly rooted in this ancient faith,
in suffering any amount of curse and contumely, than with the
Pelagians, to be covered with the flattery of public praise.
 i.e., Scripture.
 See Book i. of this treatise, last chapter.
 Ambrose On Isaiah: cited in the same Book, i. ch. 35.
 i.e., of martyrdom.
Chapter 52 [XXX.]--Sin Was the Origin of All Shameful Concupiscence.
"Do you," he asks, "repeat your affirmation, `There would be no
concupiscence if man had not first sinned; marriage, however, would
have existed, even if no one had sinned'?" I never said, "There would
be no concupiscence," because there is a concupiscence of the spirit,
which craves wisdom.  My words were, "There would be no shameful
concupiscence."  Let my words be re-perused, even those which he
has cited, that it may be clearly seen how dishonestly they are
handled by him. However, let him call it by any name he likes. What I
said would not have existed unless man had previously sinned, was that
which made them ashamed in paradise when they covered their loins, and
which every one will allow would not have been felt, had not the sin
of disobedience first occurred. Now he who wishes to understand what
they felt, ought to consider what it was they covered. For of the
fig-leaves they made themselves "aprons," not clothes; and these
aprons or kilts are called perizomata in Greek. Now all know well
enough what it is which these peri-zomata cover, which some Latin
writers explain by the word campestria. Who is ignorant of what
persons wore this kilt, and what parts of the body such a dress
concealed; even the same which the Roman youths used to cover when
they practised naked in the campus, from which circumstance the name
campester was given to the apron. 
 Wisd. vi. 21.
 See above, Book i. ch. 1.
 See On the City of God, Book xi. ch. 17.
Chapter 53 [XXXI.]--Concupiscence Need Not Have Been Necessary for
He says: "Therefore that marriage which might have been without
concupiscence, without bodily motion, without necessity for sexual
organs--to use your own statement--is pronounced by you to be
laudable; whereas such marriages as are now enacted are, according to
your decision, the invention of the devil. Those, therefore, whose
institution was possible in your dreams, you deliberately assert to be
good, while those which Holy Scripture intends, when it says,
`Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall
cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh,'  you
pronounce to be diabolical evils, worthy, in short, to be called a
pest, not matrimony." It is not to be wondered at, that these Pelagian
opponents of mine try to twist my words to any meaning they wish them
to bear, when it has been their custom to do the same thing with the
Holy Scriptures, and not simply in obscure passages, but where their
testimony is clear and plain: a custom, indeed, which is followed by
all other heretics. Now who could make such an assertion, as that it
was possible for marriages to be "without bodily motion, without
necessity for sexual organs"? For God made the sexes; because, as it
is written, "He created them male and female."  But how could it
possibly happen, that they who were to be united together, and by the
very union were to beget children, were not to move their bodies,
when, of course, there can be no bodily contact of one person with
another if bodily motion be not resorted to? The question before us,
then, is not about the motion of bodies, without which there could not
be sexual intercourse; but about the shameful motion of the organs of
generation, which certainly could be absent, and yet the fructifying
connection be still not wanting, if the organs of generation were not
obedient to lust, but simply to the will, like the other members of
the body. Is it not even now the case, in "the body of this death,"
that a command is given to the foot, the arm, the finger, the lip, or
the tongue, and they are instantly set in motion at this intimation of
our will? And (to take a still more wonderful case) even the liquid
contained in the urinary vessels obeys the command to flow from us at
our pleasure, and when we are not pressed with its overflow; while the
vessels, also, which contain the liquid, discharge without difficulty,
if they are in a healthy state, the office assigned them by our will
of propelling, pressing out, and ejecting their contents. With how
much greater ease and quietness, then, if the generative organs of our
body were compliant, would natural motion ensue, and human conception
be effected; except in the instance of those persons who violate
natural order, and by a righteous retribution are punished with the
intractability of these members and organs! This punishment is felt by
the chaste and pure, who, without doubt, would rather beget children
by mere natural desire than by voluptuous pruriency; while unchaste
persons, who are impelled by this diseased passion, and bestow their
love upon harlots as well as wives, are excited by a still heavier
mental remorse in consequence of this carnal chastisement.
 Gen. ii. 24.
 Gen. i. 27.
Chapter 54 [XXXII.]--How Marriage is Now Different Since the Existence
God forbid that we should say, what this man pretends we say, "Such
marriages as are now enacted are the invention of the devil." Why,
they are absolutely the same marriages as God made at the very first.
For this blessing of His, which He appointed for the procreation of
mankind, He has not taken away even from men under condemnation, any
more than He has deprived them of their senses and bodily limbs, which
are no doubt His gifts, although they are condemned to die by an
already incurred retribution. This, I say, is the marriage whereof it
was said (only excepting the great sacrament of Christ and the Church,
which the institution prefigured): "For this cause shall a man leave
his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they
twain shall be one flesh."  For this, no doubt, was said before
sin; and if no one had sinned, it might have been done without
shameful lust. And now, although it is not done without that, in the
body of this death, there is that nevertheless which does not cease to
be done so that a man may cleave to his wife, and they twain be one
flesh. When, therefore, it is alleged that marriage is now one thing,
but might have been another had no one sinned, this is not predicated
of its nature, but of a certain quality which has undergone a change
for the worse. Just as a man is said to be different, though he is
actually the same individual, when he has changed his manner of life
either for the better or the worse; for as a righteous man he is one
thing, and as a sinful man another, though the man himself be really
the same individual. In like manner, marriage without shameful lust is
one thing, and marriage with shameful lust is another. When, however,
a woman is lawfully united to her husband in accordance with the true
constitution of wedlock, and fidelity to what is due to the flesh is
kept free from the sin of adultery, and so children are lawfully
begotten, it is actually the very same marriage which God instituted
at first, although by his primeval inducement to sin, the devil
inflicted a heavy wound, not, indeed, on marriage itself, but on man
and woman by whom marriage is made, by his prevailing on them to
disobey God,--a sin which is requited in the course of the divine
judgment by the reciprocal disobedience of man's own members. United
in this matrimonial state, although they were ashamed of their
nakedness, still they were not by any means able altogether to lose
the blessedness of marriage which God appointed.
 Gen. ii. 24.
Chapter 55 [XXXIII.]--Lust is a Disease; The Word "Passion" In the
He then passes on from those who are united in marriage to those who
are born of it. It is in relation to these that we have to encounter
the most laborious discussions with the new heretics in connection
with our subject. Impelled by some hidden instinct from God, he makes
avowals which go far to untie the whole knot. For in his desire to
raise greater odium against us, because we had said that infants are
born in sin even of lawful wedlock, he makes the following
observation: "You assert that they, indeed, who have not been ever
born might possibly have been good; those, however, who have peopled
the world, and for whom Christ died, you decide to be the work of the
devil, born in a disordered state, and guilty from the beginning.
Therefore," he continues, "I have shown that you are doing nothing
else than denying that God is the Creator of the men who actually
exist." I beg to say, that I declare none but God to be the Creator of
all men, however true it be that all are born in sin, and must perish
unless born again. It was, indeed, the sinful corruption which had
been sown in them by the devil's persuasion that became the means of
their being born in sin; not the created nature of which men are
composed. Shameful lust, however, could not excite our members, except
at our own will, if it were not a disease. Nor would even the lawful
and honourable cohabiting of husband and wife raise a blush, with
avoidance of any eye and desire of secrecy, if there were not a
diseased condition about it. Moreover, the apostle would not prohibit
the possession of wives in this disease, did not disease exist in it.
The phrase in the Greek text, en pathei epithumias, is by some
rendered in Latin, in morbo desiderii vel concupiscentiæ, in the
disease of desire or of concupiscence; by others, however, in passione
concupiscentiæ, in the passion of concupiscence; or however it is
found otherwise in different copies: at any rate, the Latin equivalent
passio (passion), especially in the ecclesiastical use, is usually
understood as a term of censure.
Chapter 56.--The Pelagians Allow that Christ Died Even for Infants;
Julianus Slays Himself with His Own Sword.
But whatever opinion he may entertain about the shame-causing
concupiscence of the flesh, I must request your attention to what he
has said respecting infants (and it is in their behalf that we
labour), as to their being supposed to need a Saviour, if they are not
to die without salvation. I repeat his words once more: "You assert,"
says he to me, "that they, indeed, who have not been ever born might
possibly have been good; those, however, who have peopled the world,
and for whom Christ died, you decide to be the work of the devil, born
in a disordered state, and guilty from the very beginning." Would that
he only solved the entire controversy as he unties the knot of this
question! For will he pretend to say that he merely spoke of adults in
this passage? Why, the subject in hand is about infants, about human
beings at their birth; and it is about these that he raises odium
against us, because they are defined by us as guilty from the very
first, because we declare them to be guilty, since Christ died for
them. And why did Christ die for them if they are not guilty? It is
entirely from them, yes, from them, we shall find the reason,
wherefore he thought odium should be raised against me. He asks: "How
are infants guilty, for whom Christ died?" We answer: Nay, how are
infants not guilty, since Christ died for them? This dispute wants a
judge to determine it. Let Christ be the Judge, and let Him tell us
what is the object which has profited by His death? "This is my
blood," He says, "which shall be shed  for many for the
remission of sins."  Let the apostle, too, be His assessor in
the judgment; since even in the apostle it is Christ Himself that
speaks. Speaking of God the Father, he exclaims: "He who spared not
His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all!"  I suppose that
he describes Christ as so delivered up for us all, that infants in
this matter are not separated from ourselves. But what need is there
to dwell on this point, out of which even he no longer raises a
contest? For the truth is, he not only confesses that Christ died even
for infants, but he also reproves us out of this admission, because we
say that these same infants are guilty for whom Christ died. Now,
then, let the apostle, who says that Christ was delivered up for us
all, also tell us why Christ was delivered up for us. "He was
delivered," says he, "for our offences, and rose again for our
justification."  If, therefore, as even this man both confesses
and professes, both admits and objects, infants, too, are included
amongst those for whom Christ was delivered up; and if it was for our
sins that Christ was delivered up, even infants, of course, must have
original sins, for whom Christ was delivered up; He must have
something in them to heal, who (as Himself affirms) is not needed as a
Physician by the whole, but by the sick;  He must have a reason
for saving them, seeing that He came into the world, as the Apostle
Paul says, "to save sinners;"  He must have something in them to
remit, who testifies that He shed His blood "for the remission of
sins;"  He must have good reason for seeking them out, who
"came," as He says, "to seek and to save that which was lost;" 
the Son of man must find in them something to destroy, who came for
the express purpose, as the Apostle John says, "that He might destroy
the works of the devil."  Now to this salvation of infants He
must be an enemy, who asserts their innocence, in such a way as to
deny them the medicine which is required by the hurt and wounded.
 Matt. xxvi. 28.
 Rom. viii. 32.
 Rom. iv. 25.
 Matt. ix. 12.
 1 Tim. i. 15.
 Matt. xxvi. 28.
 Luke xix. 10.
 1 John iii. 8.
Chapter 57 [XXXIV.]--The Great Sin of the First Man.
Now observe what follows, as he goes on to say: "If, before sin, God
created a source from which men should be born, but the devil a source
from which parents were disturbed, then beyond a doubt holiness must
be ascribed to those that are born, and guilt to those that produce.
Since, however, this would be a most manifest condemnation of
marriage; remove, I pray you, this view from the midst of the
churches, and really believe that all things were made by Jesus
Christ, and that without Him nothing was made."  He so speaks
here, as if he would make us say, that there is a something in man's
substance which was created by the devil. The devil persuaded evil as
a sin; he did not create it as a nature. No doubt he persuaded nature
for man is nature; and therefore by his persuasion he corrupted it. He
who wounds a limb does not, of course, create it, but he injures it.
 Those wounds, indeed, which are inflicted on the body produce
lameness in a limb, or difficulty of motion; but they do not affect
the virtue whereby a man becomes righteous: that wound, however, which
has the name of sin, wounds the very life, which was being righteously
lived. This wound was at that fatal moment of the fall inflicted by
the devil to a vastly wider and deeper extent than are the sins which
are known amongst men. Whence it came to pass, that our nature having
then and there been deteriorated by that great sin of the first man,
not only was made a sinner, but also generates sinners; and yet the
very weakness, under which the virtue of a holy life has drooped and
died, is not really nature, but corruption; precisely as a bad state
of health is not a bodily substance or nature, but disorder; very
often, indeed, if not always, the ailing character of parents is in a
certain way implanted, and reappears in the bodies of their children.
 John i. 3.
 Vexat. Another reading has vitiat, "corrupts."
Chapter 58.--Adam's Sin is Derived from Him to Every One Who is Born
Even of Regenerate Parents; The Example of the Olive Tree and the Wild
But this sin, which changed man for the worse in paradise, because it
is far greater than we can form any judgment of, is contracted by
every one at his birth, and is remitted only in the regenerate; and
this derangement is such as to be derived even from parents who have
been regenerated, and in whom the sin is remitted and covered, to the
condemnation of the children born of them, unless these, who were
bound by their first and carnal birth, are absolved by their second
and spiritual birth. Of this wonderful fact the Creator has produced a
wonderful example in the cases of the olive and the wild olive trees,
in which, from the seed not only of the wild olive, but even of the
good olive, nothing but a wild olive springs. Wherefore, although even
in persons whose natural birth is followed by regeneration through
grace, there exists this carnal concupiscence which contends against
the law of the mind, yet, seeing that it is remitted in the remission
of sins, it is no longer accounted to them as sin, nor is it in any
degree hurtful, unless consent is yielded to its motions for unlawful
deeds. Their offspring, however, being begotten not of spiritual
concupiscence, but of carnal, like a wild olive of our race from the
good olive, derives guilt from them by natural birth to such a degree
that it cannot be liberated from that pest except by being born again.
How is it, then, that this man affirms that we ascribe holiness to
those who are born, and guilt to their parents? when the truth rather
shows that even if there has been holiness in the parents, original
sin is inherent in their children, which is abolished in them only if
they are born again.
Chapter 59 [XXXV.]--The Pelagians Can Hardly Venture to Place
Concupiscence in Paradise Before the Commission of Sin.
This being the case, let him think what he pleases about this
concupiscence of the flesh and about the lust which lords it over the
unchaste, has to be mastered by the chaste, and yet is to be blushed
at both by the chaste and the unchaste; for I see plainly he is much
pleased with it. Let him not hesitate to praise what he is ashamed to
name; let him call it (as he has in fact called it) the vigour of the
members, and let him not be afraid of the honor of chaste ears; let
him designate it the power of the members, and let him not care about
the impudence. Let him say, if his blushes permit him, that if no one
had sinned, this vigour must have flourished like a flower in
paradise; nor would there have been any need to cover that which would
have been so moved that no one should have felt ashamed; rather, with
a wife provided, it would have been ever exercised and never
repressed, lest so great a pleasure should ever be denied to so vast a
happiness. Far be it from being thought that such blessedness could in
such a spot fail to have what it wished, or ever experience in mind or
body what it disliked. And so, should the motion of lust precede men's
will, then the will would immediately follow it. The wife, who ought
certainly never to be absent in this happy state of things, would be
urged on by it, whether about to conceive or already pregnant; and,
either a child would be begotten, or a natural and laudable pleasure
would be gratified,--for perish all seed rather than disappoint the
appetite of so good a concupiscence. Only be sure that the united pair
do not apply themselves to that use of each other which is contrary to
nature, then (with so modest a reservation) let them use, as often as
they would have delight, their organs of generation, created for the
purpose. But what if this very use, which is contrary to nature,
should peradventure give them delight; what if the aforesaid laudable
lust should hanker even after such delight; I wonder whether they
should pursue it because it was sweet, or loathe it because it was
base? If they should pursue it to gratification, what becomes of all
thought about honour? If they should loathe it, where is the peaceful
composure of so good a happiness? But at this point perchance his
blushes will awake, and he will say that so great is the tranquillity
of this happy state, and so entire the orderliness which may have
existed in this state of things, that carnal concupiscence never
preceded these persons' will: only whenever they themselves wished,
would it then arise; and only then would they entertain the wish, when
there was need for begetting children; and the result would be, that
no seed would ever be emitted to no purpose, nor would any embrace
ever ensue which would not be followed by conception and birth; the
flesh would obey the will, and concupiscence would vie with it in
subserviency. Well, if he says all this of the imagined happy state,
he must at least be pretty sure that what he describes does not now
exist among men. And even if he will not concede that lust is a
corrupt condition, let him at least allow that through the
disobedience of the man and woman in the happy state the very
concupiscence of their flesh was corrupted, so that what would once be
excited obediently and orderly is now moved disobediently and
inordinately, and that to such a degree that it is not obedient to the
will of even chaste-minded husbands and wives, so that it is excited
when it is not wanted; and whenever it is necessary, it never, indeed,
follows their will, but sometimes too hurriedly, at other times too
tardily, exerts its own movements. Such, then, is the rebellion of
this concupiscence which the primitive pair received for their own
disobedience, and transfused by natural descent to us. It certainly
was not at their bidding, but in utter disorder, that it was excited,
when they covered their members, which at first were worthy to be
gloried in, but had then become a ground of shame.
Chapter 60.--Let Not the Pelagians Indulge Themselves in a Cruel
Defence of Infants.
As I said, however, let him entertain what views he likes of this
lust; let him proclaim it as he pleases, praise it as much as he
chooses (and he pleases much, as several of his extracts show), that
the Pelagians may gratify themselves, if not with its uses, at all
events with its praises, as many of them as fail to enjoy the
limitation of continence enjoined in wedlock. Only let him spare the
infants, so as not to praise their condition uselessly, and defend
them cruelly. Let him not declare them to be safe; let him suffer them
to come, not, indeed, to Pelagius for eulogy, but to Christ for
salvation. For, that this book may be now brought to a termination,
since the dissertation of this man is ended, which was written on the
short paper you sent me, I will close with his last words: "Really
believe that all things were made by Jesus Christ, and that without
Him nothing was made."  Let him grant that Jesus is Jesus even
to infants; and as he confesses that all things were made by Him, in
that He is God the Word, so let him acknowledge that infants, too, are
saved by Him in that He is Jesus; let him, I say, do this if he would
be a catholic Christian. For thus it is written in the Gospel: "And
they shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from
their sins"  --Jesus, because Jesus is in Latin Salvator,
"Saviour." He shall, indeed, save His people; and amongst His people
surely there are infants. "From their sins" shall He save them; in
infants, too, therefore, are there original sins, on account of which
He can be Jesus, that is, Saviour, even unto them.
 John i. 3.
 Matt. i. 21.
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