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3. The Pelagian Controversy. The Doctrine of Grace and Sin.
Augustine’s doctrine of grace and sin was constructed independently of the Pelagian controversy. It was substantially complete when he entered the conflict; but he was by no means clear as to its application in separate questions in the year of his conversion. At the time of his fight with Manichæism (see the Tres libri de libero arbitrio) he had rather emphasised, following the tradition of the Church teachers, the independence of human freedom, and had spoken of original sin merely as inherited evil. It was his clerical office, a renewed study of Romans, and the criticism of his spiritual development, as instituted in the Confessions, that first led him to the Neoplatonic Christian conviction that all good, and therefore faith, came from God, and that man was only good and free in dependence on God. Thus he gained a point of view which he confessed at the close of his life he had not always possessed, and which he opposed to the earlier, erroneous conceptions295295De praed. 7; De dono persev. 55; c. Jul. VI. 39; also the Retract. that friends and enemies frequently reminded him of It can be said that his doctrine of grace, in so far as it was a doctrine of God, was complete as early as A.D. 387; but it was not, in its application to Bible history, or to the problem of conversion and sanctification (in the Church), before the beginning of the fifth century. It can also be shown that he was at all times slightly influenced by the popular Catholic view, and this all the more as he was not capable of drawing the whole consequences of his system, which, if he had done so, would have led to determinism.
This system did not evoke Pelagianism. Pelagius had taken offence, indeed, before the outbreak of the controversy, at Augustine’s famous sentence: “Grant what thou commandest, and command what thou dost desire,” and he had opposed it at Rome;296296De dono persev. 53: “Cum libros Confessionum ediderim ante quam Pelagiana hæresis exstitisset, in eis certe dixi deo nostro et sæpe dixi: Da quod jubes et jube quod vis. Quæ mea verba Pelagius Romæ, cum a quodam fratre et episcopo meo fuissent eo præsente commemorata, ferre non potuit et contradicens aliquanto commotius pæne cum eo qui commemoraverat litigavit. but by that date his doctrine was substantially settled. The two great types of thought, involving the question whether virtue or grace, morality or religion, the original and inalienable constitution of man, or the power of Jesus Christ was supreme, did not evolve themselves in the controversy. They gained in clearness and precision during its course,297297De doctr. Christ. III. 46: “Hæresis Pelagiana multum nos, ut gratiam dei quæ per dominum nostrum Jesum Christum est, adversus eam defenderemus, exercuit.” but both arose, independently of each other, from the internal conditions of the Church. We can observe here, if anywhere, the “logic” of history. There has never, perhaps, been another crisis of equal importance in Church history in which the opponents have expressed the principles at issue so clearly and abstractly. The Arian dispute before the Nicene Council can alone be compared with it; but in this case the controversy moved in a narrow sphere of formulas already marked off by tradition. On the other hand, in spite of the exegetical and pseudo-historical materials that encumbered the problems in this instance also, there is a freshness about the Pelagian controversy and disputants that is wanting in the Greek contentions.298298Pelagius and his friends were always convinced that the disputed questions, while extremely important, were not dogmatic. We can once more, therefore, study very clearly what at that time was held to be dogma; (see De gestis Pelag. 16: Pelagius denied at the Synod at Diospolis that statements of high dogmatic import were his; when it was proposed that he should anathematise those who taught them, he replied: “Anathematizo quasi stultos, non quasi hæreticos, si quidem non est dogma.” Cælestius says of Original sin (De pecc. orig. 3): “licet quæstionis res sit ista, non hæresis.” He also declared in the Libellus fidei (26) submitted at Rome: “si quæ vero præter fidem quæstiones natæ sunt . . . non ego quasi auctor alicujus dogmatis definita hæc auctoritate statui.” Hahn, § 134. This was also the view at first of Pope Zosimus (Ep. 3, 7). Julian (Op. imp. III. 106) saw dogmas in the doctrine of the Trinity and Resurrection, “multisque aliis similibus.” The essentially literary character of the dispute, the absence of great central incidents, did not prejudice it any way; the main issue was all the freer of irrelevant matter. But it is its most memorable feature that the Western Church so speedily and definitely rejected Pelagianism, while the latter, in its formulas, still seemed to maintain that Church’s ancient teaching. In the crucial question, whether grace is to be reduced to nature, or the new life to grace, in the difficulty how the polar antitheses of “creaturely freedom and grace” are to be united,299299Augustinianism and Pelagianism were akin in form, and opposed to the previous mode of thought, in that both conceptions were based on the desire for unity. They sought to get at the root of religion and morality, and had ceased to be satisfied with recognising freedom and grace as independent and equivalent original data, as if religion with its blessings were at the same time superior and subordinate to moral goodness. The “either—or” asserted itself strongly. the Church placed itself resolutely on the side of religion. In doing so it was as far from seeking to recognise all the consequences that followed from this position as it had been a hundred years earlier at Nicæa; indeed it did not even examine them. But it never recalled—perhaps it was no longer possible to recall—the step taken as soon as rationalistic moralism clearly revealed its character.
Not only is the inner logic of events proved by the simultaneous and independent emergence of Augustinianism and Pelagianism, but the how strikes us by its consistency. On the one side we have a hot-blooded man who had wrestled, while striving for truth, to attain strength and salvation, to whom the sublimest thoughts of the Neoplatonists, the Psalms, and Paul had solved the problems of his inner life, and who had been over-powered by his experience of the living God. On the other, we have a monk and a eunuch,300300Pelagius, a monk leading a free life—Cælestius, “naturæ vitio eunuchus matris utero editus,” both laymen, Cælestius auditorialis scholasticus. Pelagius was a Briton (an Irishman? called Morgan?), but in view of the intercourse between different countries at the time, the birthplace is somewhat indifferent. Cælestius was won over by Pelagius in Rome, and then gave up his worldly career. both without traces of any inner struggles, both enthusiasts for virtue, and possessed by the idea of summoning a morally listless Christendom to exert its will, and of leading it to rnonachist perfection; equally familiar with the Fathers, desirous of establishing relations with the East, and well versed in Antiochene exegesis;301301It is uncertain whether Pelagius had been in the East before he appeared in Rome. Cælestius had heard Rufinus in Rome, and stated that the latter would have nothing to do with the “tradux peccati” (De pecc. orig. 3). Marius Mercator has even sought to deduce Pelagianism from Theodore of Mopsuestia’s teaching, and supposed that Rufinus “the Syrian” (identical (?) with Rufinus of Aquileia) brought it to Rome. Others have repeated this. While the direct points of contact at the beginning are problematical, it is certain (1) that Pelagianism and Theodore’s teaching approximate very closely (see Gurjew, Theodor v. Mopsu. 1890 [in Russian] p. 44 ff.); (2) that Theodore took up sides in the controversy against the teaching of Augustine and Jerome: he wrote a work “against those who maintain that men sin by nature, and not at their own discretion;” (see Photius cod. 177); (3) that the Pelagians looked to him as a protector and Julian of Eclanum fled to him; (4) that the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians were convinced that they could count on the East (and even on the Church of Constantinople) for support, and that some of them studied in Constantinople. Theodore’s distinctive doctrine of Grace is not found in Pelagian writings; for this reason he could not ally himself thoroughly with Julian (see Kihn, Theodor v. Mopsu. p. 42 ff.). But their affinity was unquestionable. It is therefore no mere inference that leads Cassian (c. Nestor. I. 3 sq.) to combine the Nestorians with the Pelagians (“cognata hæresis”). The interests and methods of both were the same. The comparison with Eunomius and Aetius is also pertinent. but, above all, following that Stoic and Aristotelian popular philosophy—theory of knowledge, psychology, ethics and dialectics—which numbered so many adherents among cultured Christians of the West. The third member of the league, Julian of Eclanum, the early widowed Bishop, was more active and aggressive than the reserved and prudent Pelagius,302302De pecc. orig. 13: “Quid inter Pelagium et Cælestium in hac quæstione distabit, nisi quod ille apertior, iste occultior fuit; ille pertinacior, iste mendacior, vel certe ille liberior, hic astutior.” “Cælestius incredibili loquacitate.” Many adherents of the new teaching preferred to be called “Cælestiani.” more circumspect than Cælestius, the agitator, and more cultured than either. Overbearing in manner, he had a talent for dialectics, and, more stubborn than earnest, was endowed with an insatiable delight in disputing, and a boyish eagerness to define conceptions and construct syllogisms. He was no monk, but a child of the world, and jovial by nature. He was, indeed, the first, and up to the sixteenth century, the unsurpassed, unabashed representative of a self-satisfied Christianity. Pelagius and Cælestius required the aid of Julian, if the moralistic mode of thought was not to be represented from one side alone—the religious view needed only one representative. Certainly no dramatist could have better invented types of these two contrasted conceptions of life than those furnished by Augustine on the one hand, and the two earnest monks, Pelagius and Clestius, and the daring, worldly bishop Julian on the other.303303The earnestness and “holiness” of Pelagius are often attested, especially by Augustine himself and Paulinus of Nola. His untruthfulness, indeed, throws a dark shadow on his character: but we have not the material to enable us to decide confidently how far he was entrapped into it, or how far he reserved his opinion in the legitimate endeavour to prevent a good cause being stifled by theology. Augustine, the truthful, is here also disposed to treat charitably the falsehoods of his opponent. But we must, above all, reflect that at that time priests and theologians lied shamelessly in self-defence, in speeches, protocols, and writings. Public opinion was much less sensitive, especially when accused theologians were exculpating themselves, as can be seen from Jerome’s writings, though not from them alone. The people who got so angry over Pelagius’ lies were no small hypocrites. Augustine was entitled to be wroth; but his work De gestis Pelagii shows how considerate and tolerant he remained in spite of everything. Pelagius and Cælestius must have belonged to those lucky people who, cold by nature and temperate by training, never notice any appreciable difference between what they ought to do and what they actually do. Julian was an emotional character, a young man full of self-confidence (c. Julian II. 30: “itane tandem, juvenis confidentissime, consolari te debes, quia talibus displices, an lugere?”), who, in his youth, had had dealings with the Roman Bishop Innocent (c. Julian I. 13) and Augustine, “vir acer ingenio, in divinis scripturis doctus, Græca et Latina lingua scholasticus; prius quam impietatem Pelagii in se aperiret, clarus in doctoribus ecclesiæ fuit” (Gennad. script. eccl. 46). In particular, he was unusually learned in the history of philosophy. Early author and bishop, he seems, like so many precocious geniuses, never to have got beyond the stage reached by the clever youth. Fancy and passionate energy checked his growth, and made him the fanatical exponent of the moralistic theory. In any case he is not to be taken lightly. The ancient Church produced few geniuses so hold and heedless. His criticism is often excellent, and always acute. But even if we admitted that his whole criticism was correct, we would find ourselves in the end in possession of nothing but chaff. We also miss in his case that earnest sense of duty which we do not look for in vain in Pelagius. For this very reason, the delightful impression produced by a serene spirit, who appeared to avenge despised reason and authoritative morality, is always spoiled by the disagreeable effect caused by the creaking sound of a critical chopping-machine. An excellent monograph on Julian by Bruckner will appear immediately in the “Texten and Unters.”
We have thus already indicated the origin of Pelagianism. It is the consistent outcome of the Christian rationalism that had long been wide spread in the West, especially among the more cultured, that had been nourished by the popular philosophy influenced by Stoicism and Aristotelianism,304304Cicero’s words: “virtutem nemo unquam acceptam deo retulit,” could be inscribed as a motto over Pelagianism. and had by means of Julian received a bias to (Stoic) naturalism.305305Pelagianism and Augustinianism are also akin in form, in that in both the old dramatic eschatological element, which had hitherto played so great a rôle in the West, and had balanced moralism, wholly disappears. But Julian was the first to secularise the type of thought. (We may not overlook the fact that it originally fell back upon monachism, still in its early stages in the West, and that the two phenomena at first sought a mutual support in each other.)306306The Antiochene theologians also were notoriously zealous defenders of monachism. Nature, free-will, virtue and law, these—strictly defined and made independent of the notion of God—were the catch-words of Pelagianism: self-acquired virtue is the supreme good which is followed by reward. Religion and morality lie in the sphere of the free spirit;307307Here we have a third point (see p. 170, n. 1) in which Pelagianism and Augustinianism are akin in form. Neither is interested in the mysticism of the cultus; their authors rather strive to direct spiritual things in spiritual channels, though Augustine, indeed, did not entirely succeed in doing so. they are won at any moment by man’s own effort. The extent to which this mode of thought was diffused is revealed, not only by the uncertain utterances of theologians, who in many of their expositions show that they know better,308308See the remarks on Ambrose, p. 50. Perhaps the three rules of Tichonius best show the confusion that prevailed (Aug. de doctr. Christ. III. 46: “opera a deo dari merito fidei, ipsam vero fidem sic esse a nobis ut nobis non sit a deo.” Yet Augustine sought (c. Julian. L. I.) to give traditional evidence for his doctrine. but above all by the Institutes of Lactantius.309309One passage (IV. 24 sq.) became famous in the controversy: “oportet magistrum doctoremque virtutis homini simillimum fieri, ut vincendo peccatum doceat hominem vincere posse peccatum . . . ut desideriis carnis edomitis doceret, non necessitatis esse peccare, sed propositi ac voluntatis.” In what follows we have first to describe briefly the external course of the controversy, then to state the Pelagian line of thought, and finally to expound Augustine’s doctrine.310310Our sources are the writings of Pelagius, Cælestius, and Julian (chiefly in Jerome and Augustine) Augustine’s works (T. X. and c. 20, letters among which Epp. 186, 194 are the most important), Jerome, Orosius, Marius Mercator, and the relevant Papal letters. Mansi T. IV:, Hefele, Vol. II. For other literature see above, p. 61. Marius was the most active opponent of the Pelagians towards the close of the controversy, and obtained their condemnation in the East (see Migne, T. 48, and the Art. in the Dict. of Chr. Biog).
I. We first meet with Pelagius in Rome. In every century there have appeared preachers in Italy who have had the power of thrilling for the moment the vivacious and emotional Italians. Pelagius was one of the first (De pecc. orig. 24: “He lived for a very long time in Rome”). Roused to anger by an inert Christendom, that excused itself by pleading the frailty of the flesh and the impossibility of fulfilling the grievous commandments of God, he preached that God commanded nothing impossible, that man possessed the power of doing the good if only he willed, and that the weakness of the flesh was merely a pretext. “In dealing with ethics and the principles of a holy life, I first demonstrate the power to decide and act inherent in human nature, and show what it can achieve, lest the mind be careless and sluggish in pursuit of virtue in proportion to its want of belief in its power, and in its ignorance of its attributes think that it does not possess them.”311311Pelag. Ep. ad Demetr.: “ne tanto remissior sit ad virtutem animus ac tardior, quanto minus se posse credat et dum quod inesse sibi ignorat id se existimet non habere.” In opposition to Jovinian, whose teaching can only have encouraged laxity, he proclaimed and urged on Christians the demands of monachism; for with nothing less was this preacher concerned.312312He was, perhaps, not the first; we do not know whom Augustine meant in De pecc. orig. 25 (“Pelagius et Cælestius hujus perversitatis auctores vel perhibentur vel etiam probantur, vel certe si auctores non sunt, sed hoc ab aliis didicerunt, assertores tamen atque doctores”), and De gest Pelag. 61 (“post veteres hæreses inventa etiam modo hæresis est non ab episcopis seu presbyteris vel quibuscumque clericis, sed a quibusdam veluti monachis”). Pelagius and Cælestius may themselves be understood in the second passage. Of unquestioned orthodoxy,313313The Confession of Faith, afterwards tendered (Hahn, § 133), is clear and confident in its dogmatic parts. The unity of the Godhead is not so strongly pronounced in the doctrine of the Trinity as with Augustine; Pelagius resembled the Greeks more strongly in this respect also. prominent also as exegete and theologian in the capital of Christendom,314314At Rome Pelagius wrote the Ep. to Paulinus of Nola, the three books De fide trinitatis, his Eulogia and Commentaries on Paul’s Epistles, to which Augustine afterwards referred. The latter have been preserved for us among Jerome’s works; but their genuineness is suspected. Augustine mentions, besides, an Ep. ad Constantium episc. (De grat. 39); it is not known when it was written. so barren in literary work, he was so energetic in his labour that news of his success penetrated to North Africa.315315De gestis Pelag. 46: “Pelagii nomen cum magna ejus laude cognovi.” He took to do with the practical alone. Apparently he avoided theological polemics; but when Augustine’s Confessions began to produce their narcotic effects, he opposed them. Yet positive teaching, the emphasising of the freedom of the will, always remained to him the chief thing. On the other hand, his disciple and friend Cælestius316316By him are three works de monasterio. “Cælesti opuscula,” De gratia, 32. seems to have attacked original sin (tradux peccati) from the first. His converts proclaimed as their watchword that the forgiveness of sin was not the object of infant baptism.317317So Augustine heard when in Carthage; see De pecc. mer. III. 12. When Alaric stormed Rome, the two preachers retreated by Sicily to North Africa. They intended to visit Augustine; but Pelagius and he did not meet either in Hippo or Carthage.318318De gestis Pelag. 46. Probably the former left suddenly when he saw that he would not attain his ends in Africa, but would only cause theological strife. On the other hand, Cælestius remained, and became candidate for the post of Presbyter in Carthage. But as early as A.D. 412 (411) he was accused by Paulinus, Deacon in Milan (afterwards Ambrose’s biographer), at a Synod held in Carthage before Bishop Aurelius.319319Marius Merc. Common. and Aug., De pecc. orig., 2 sq. It is worthy of note that the complaint came from a disciple of Ambrose. This establishes the continuity of the Antipelagian teaching. The points of the complaint, reduced to writing, were as follows:—He taught “that Adam was made mortal and would have died whether he had or had not sinned—that Adam’s sin injured himself alone, and not the human race—infants at birth are in that state in which Adam was before his falsehood—that the whole human race neither dies on account of Adam’s death or falsehood, nor will rise again in virtue of Christ’s resurrection—the law admits men to the kingdom of heaven as well as the gospel—even before the advent of our Lord there were impeccable men, i.e., men without sin—that man can be without sin and can keep the divine commands easily if he will.”320320“Adam mortalem factum, qui sive peccaret sive non peccaret moriturus fuisset—peccatum Adæ ipsum solum læsit, non genus humanum—parvuli qui nascuntur in eo statu sunt, in quo fuit Adam ante prævaricationem—neque per mortem vel prævaricationem Adæ omne genus hominum moritur, nec per resurrectionem Christi omne genus hominum resurget—lex sic mittit ad regnum cœlorum quomodo et evangelium—et ante adventum domini fuerunt homines impeccabiles, i.e., sine peccato—hominem posse esse sine peccato et mandata dei facile custodire, si velit.” On the transmission of these propositions, see Klasen, Pelagianismus, p. 48 f. Cælestius declared at the conference that infants needed baptism and had to be baptised; that since he maintained this his orthodoxy was proved; that original sin (tradux peccati) was at any rate an open question, “because I have heard many members of the Catholic Church deny it, and also others assent to it.”321321“Quia intra Catholicam constitutos plures audivi destruere nec non et alios adstruere.” He was, nevertheless, excommunicated. In the Libellus Brevissimus, which he wrote in his own defence, he admitted the necessity of baptism if children were to be saved; but he held that there was a kingdom of heaven distinct from eternal life. He would not hear of forgiveness of sin in connection with infant baptism.322322De pecc. mer. I. 58, 62. He was indisputably condemned because he undid the fixed connection between baptism and forgiveness, thus, as it were, setting up two baptisms, and offending against the Symbol. He now went to Ephesus,323323He is said to have stayed before this in Sicily, but that is merely a guess on Augustine’s part, an inference from the spread of Cwlestian heresies there. See Augustine’s interesting letters, Epp. 156, 157, 22, 23 sq. From these we learn that Cælestius actually taught: “divitem manentem in divitiis suis regnum dei non posse ingredi, nisi omnia sua vendiderit; nec prodesse eidem posse, si forte ex ipsis divitiis mandata fecerit.” In the “definitiones Cælestii” a document which came to Augustine from Sicily, and whose origin is indeed uncertain, the Stoic method of forming definitions is noteworthy. In it there also occurs the famous definition of sin—“that which can be let alone”—(Gœthe gives the converse description: “What, then, do you call sin? With everyone I call it what can not be let alone.”) The whole argument serves to prove that since peccatum vitari potest, man can be sinless (De perfect. just. 1 sq.). In the passage just cited, and again at Diospolis (De gestis Pelag. 29-63) a work by Cælestius is mentioned, whose title is unknown. Not a few sentences have been preserved (l.c.): “Plus facimus quam in lege et evangelis jussum est—gratiam dei et adjutorium non ad singulos actus dari, sed in libero arbitrio esse, vel in lege ac doctrina—dei gratiam secundum merita nostra dari, quia si peccatoribus illam dat, videtur esse iniquus—si gratia dei est, quando vincimus peccata, ergo ipse est in culpa, quando a peccato vincimur, quia omnino custodire nos aut non potuit aut noluit—unumquemque hominem omnes virtutes posse habere et gratias—filios dei non posse vocari nisi omni modo absque peccato fuerint effecti—oblivionem et ignorantiam non subjacere peccato, quoniam non secundum voluntatem eveniunt, sed secundum necessitatem—non esse liberum arbitrium, si dei indigeat auxilio, quoniam in propria voluntate habet unusquisque aut facere aliquid aut non facere—victoriam nostram non ex dei esse adjutorio, sed ex libero arbitrio—si anima non potest esse sine peccato, ergo et deus subjacet peccato, cujus pars, hoc est anima, peccato obnoxia est—pænitentibus venia non datur secundum gratiam et misericordiam dei, sed secundum merita at laborem eorum, qui per pænitentiam digni fuerint misericordia.” We readily see, what indeed has not hitherto been clearly perceived, that this writing of Cælestius must have been the real cause of offence. It could not but open the eyes even of the waverers. We return to it in the text. there became Presbyter, and afterwards betook himself to Constantinople.
Pelagius had gone to Palestine. He followed different tactics from his friend, who hoped to serve the cause by his maxim of “shocking deeply” (fortiter scandalizare). Pelagius desired peace; he wrote a flattering letter to Augustine, who sent him a friendly but reserved answer.324324De gestis Pelag. 51, 52. The interpretation added by Augustine to a few conventional phrases used in the letter seems to us superfluous and laboured. He, besides, spared Pelagius in Carthage itself; for in his first great work against Pelagianism, De pecc. mer. et remiss. et de bapt. parvulorum ad Marcellinum (412), the name of Pelagius is not yet mentioned. Before this, Augustine had sought to influence the Church only by sermons and discourses. Even the Tractate De spiritu et litera, which followed immediately, is not directed against Pelagius. He sought to attach himself to Jerome, and to give no public offence. He plainly felt hampered by Cælestius with his agitation for the sinlessness of children, and against original sin. He wished to work for something positive. How could anyone thrust a negative point to the front, and check the movement for reform by precipitancy and theological bitterness? He actually found good friends.325325I am disposed to regard as a forgery the letter of condolence to the widow Livania (Fragments in Aug. De gestis Pel. 16, 19, Hieron. and Marius; partly reported in the indictment at Diospolis). Yet we cannot decide with certainty. We must allow the possibility of Pelagius having so expressed himself in a flattering letter, not meant to be published, to a sanctimonious widow. Indeed, words like the following sound like mockery: “Ille ad deum digne elevat manus, ille orationem bona conscientia effundit qui potest dicere, tu nosti, domine, quam sanctæ et innocentes et mundæ sunt ab omni molestia et iniquitate et rapina quas ad te extendo manus, quemadmodum justa et munda labia et ab omni mendacio libera, quibus offero tibi deprecationem, ut mihi miserearis.” Pharisee and Publican in one! But his friendly relations with John, Bishop of Jerusalem, could not please Jerome. Besides, reports of Pelagius’ questionable doctrines came from the East, where, in Palestine, there always were numerous natives of the West. Jerome, who at the time was on good terms with Augustine, broke with Pelagius,326326The latter afterwards complained (c. Jul. II. 36), “quod Hieronymus ei tamquam æmulo inviderit.” That is very credible. and wrote against him the Ep. ad Ctesiphontem (Ep. 133), and the Dialogi c. Pelag., writings which constitute a model of irrational polemics. He put in the foreground the question, “whether man can be without sin,” and at the same time did all he could to connect Pelagius with the “heretic” Origen and other false teachers. But still greater harm was done to Pelagius327327From motives of prudence he did not answer Jerome publicly; for he wished to avoid all controversy. Jerome was, for the rest, much more akin to him really than Augustine. The former maintained, e.g., in a later controversial work, that it was orthodox to teach that the beginning of good resolves and faith is due to ourselves. by the appearance, at this precise moment, of the work already known to us, in which Cælestius played so regardlessly the rôle of the enfant terrible of the party (see above).328328Pelagius himself wrote to the nun Demetrias (A.D. 413 or 414) a letter still preserved, and forming the clearest memorial of his doctrine, and shortly before the Synod of Diospolis he composed his book De natura, in which there is much that he abjured at the Synod. It is extremely probable that this book also was not meant for the public, but only for his friends (against the charges of Jerome). Augustine, as soon as he got it, refuted it in his tractate De natura et gratia (415). Pelagius had essayed to give a dialectical proof of his anthropology in the book. Augustine’s work, De perfectione justitiæ, composed also in A.D. 415, was aimed at Cælestius.
Augustine’s disciple, the Spanish priest Orosius, who had come to Jerome in order to call his attention to the dangers of Pelagianism, ultimately succeeded in getting John of Jerusalem to cite Pelagius, and to receive a formal report on his case in presence of his presbyters (A.D. 415). But the inquiry ended with the triumph of the accused. Orosius referred to the authority of his celebrated teacher, and to that of Jerome and the Synod of Carthage, but without success, and when Pelagius was charged with teaching that man could be sinless and needed no divine help, the latter declared that he taught that it was not possible for man to become sinless without divine grace. With this John entirely agreed. Now since Orosius for his part would not maintain that man’s nature was created evil by God, the Orientals did not see what the dispute was all about. The conference, irregular and hampered by Orosius’ inability to speak Greek, was broken off: it was said that the quarrel might be decided in the West, or more precisely in Rome.329329See Orosii Apolog. Pelagius had repelled the first attack. But his opponents did not rest. They succeeded, in December, 415, in getting him brought before a Palestinian Synod, presided over by Eulogius of Cæsarea, at Diospolis, where, however, he was not confronted by his accusers.330330The indictment was composed by two Gallic Bishops, Heros and Lazarus, who had been forced to fly from their own country. It was very comprehensive; but no strict line was drawn between what Pelagius had himself said, and what belonged to Cælestius. The two Bishops were, for the rest, afterwards treated as under suspicion at the conferences in Rome. He was at once able to appeal to the favourable testimonies of many Bishops, who had warmly recognised his efforts to promote morality. He did not disown the propositions ascribed to him regarding nature and grace, but he succeeded in explaining them so satisfactorily, that his judges found him to be of blameless orthodoxy. The extravagant sentences taken from the letter to Livania he in part set right, and in part disowned, and when the Synod required him expressly to condemn them, he declared: “I anathematise them as foolish, not as heretical, seeing it is no case of dogma.”331331“Anathematizo quasi stultos, non quasi hæreticos, si quidem non est dogma.” Hereupon the Synod decided: “Now since with his own voice Pelagius has anathematised the groundless nonsense, answering rightly that a man can be without sin with the divine help and grace, let him also reply to the other counts.”332332“Nunc quoniam propria voce anathematizavit Pelagius incertum stultiloquium, recte respondens, hominem cum adjutorio dei et gratia posse esse sine peccato, respondeat et ad alia capitula.” There were now laid before him the statements of Cælestius as to Adam, Adam’s sin, death, new-born children, the perdition of the rich, sinlessness of God’s children, the unessential character of divine assistance—in short, all those propositions which had either been already condemned at Carthage, or were afterwards advanced by Cælestius in a much worse form. Pelagius was in an awkward position. He hated all theological strife; he knew that Christian morality could only lose by it; he wished to leave the region of dogma alone.333333The above quoted phrase, “non est dogma,” is extremely characteristic. It shows how painfully anxious Pelagius was not to extend the sphere of dogma. In this he quite shared the feeling always entertained even to the present day by the Greeks. A Greek priest once said to the author that the great freedom of the Greek Church, compared with the Western, consisted in the possibility of holding very different views of sin, grace, justification, etc., if only the dogmas were adhered to. Pelagius accordingly opposed the introduction of a great new tract being included in the dogmatic sphere. He saw merely the inevitable evils of such an advance. We must judge his whole attitude up to his death from this point of view. Seeberg (Dogmengesch. I., p. 282 f.) holds that the phrase, “non est dogma,” was merely meant to provide a means of defence; but if we consider Pelagius’ whole attitude, we have no ground for taking any such view. Cælestius had only said, indeed, what he himself had described as correct when among his intimate friends; but the former had spoken publicly and regardlessly, and—“the tone makes the music.” Thus Pelagius considered himself justified in disowning almost all those statements: “but the rest even according to their own testimony was not said by me, and for it I am not called upon to give satisfaction.” But he added: “I anathematise those who hold or have held these views.” With these words he pronounced judgment on himself; they were false. The Synod rehabilitated him completely: “Now since we have been satisfied by our examination in our presence of Pelagius the monk, and he assents to godly doctrines, while condemning those things contrary to the faith of the Church, we acknowledge him to belong to our ecclesiastical and Catholic Communion.”334334De gestis Pelag. 44: “Reliqua vero et secundum ipsorum testimonium a me dicta non sunt, pro quibus ego satisfacere non debeo.” “Anathematizo illos qui sic tenent aut aliquando tenuerunt.” “Nunc quoniam satisfactum est nobis prosecutionibus præsentis Pelagii monachi, qui quidem piis doctrinis consentit, contraria vero ecclesiæ fidei anathematizat, communionis ecclesiasticæ eum esse et catholicæ confitemur.”
No one can blame the Synod:335335“Synodus miserabilis,” Jerome, Ep. 143, 2. Pelagius had, in fact, given expression to its own ideas; Augustinianism was neither known nor understood; and the “heresy of Cælestius”336336Jerome, Ep. 143, 1. was condemned.337337In his work, De gestis Pelagii, Augustine, following a written account, criticises the proceedings of the Synod, and shows that Pelagius uttered the falsehood. The latter, always anxious to keep peace, addressed a report of his own after the Synod to Augustine (l.c. 57 sq.), in order to influence him in his favour. But Augustine rightly gave the preference to the other account, since Pelagius had omitted from his the “anathematizo.” Again in the work De pecc. orig., Augustine shows, from the writings of Pelagius with which he was acquainted, that the latter had got off by evasions at Diospolis, and that he really held the same opinions as Cælestius.—We can only excuse the man by repeating that he wished to do practical work, and felt himself put out by dogmatic questions as to original sin, etc.
But Pelagius now found it necessary to defend himself to his own adherents. While on the one hand he was zealous in promoting in the West the effect of the impression produced by the decision in his favour, he wrote to a friendly priest,338338De gestis, 54 sq. that his statement, “that a man can be without sin and keep the commands of God easily339339There was no word of “easily” at Diospolis. if he will,” had been recognised as orthodox. His work, De natura, made its appearance at the same time, and he further published four books, De libero arbitrio,340340Augustine’s tractates, De gratia Christi et De peccato originali, are directed against this book. which, while written with all caution, disclosed his standpoint more clearly than his earlier ones.341341De pecc. orig. 20: “Denique quomodo respondeat advertite et videte latebras ambiguitatis falsitati præparare refugia, offundendo caliginem veritati, ita ut etiam nos cum primum ea legimus, recta vel correcta propemodum gauderemus. Sed latiores disputationes ejus in libris, ubi se quantumlibet operiat, plerumque aperire compellitur, fecerunt nobis et ipsa suspecta, ut adtentius intuentes inveniremus ambigua.”
But North Africa342342Orosius had carried there information of the events. did not acquiesce in what had taken place. The prestige of the West and orthodoxy were endangered. Synods were held in A.D. 416 at Carthage and Mileve, Augustine being also present at the latter. Both turned to Innocent of Rome, to whom Cælestius had appealed long before. Soon after the epistles of the two Synods (Aug. epp. 175, 176,) the Pope received a third from five African Bishops, of whom Augustine was one (Ep. 177).343343The letter was accompanied by Pelagius’ work De natura and Augustine’s reply. It was evidently feared that Pelagius might have influential friends in Rome.344344Ep. 177, 2.—To about this date belong, according to Caspari’s investigations, the Pelagian letters and tractates published by him A.D. 1890 (Briefe, Abhandlungen and Predigten, etc. pp. 3-167, 223-389, Christiania), and ascribed on good grounds to Agricola, of Britain. The fragments were written, however, in Italy. They add nothing new to our knowledge of Pelagianism. But they confirm the fact that the earliest Pelagianism—before Julian—was associated with the most stringent monastic demands, and was extremely rigorous. In particular, Agricola flatly forbids the possession of wealth. He also regards ignorance of the divine will as no excuse for the sinner, but as an aggravation. The letters referred to the condemnation, five years before, of Cælestius; they pointed out that the Biblical doctrine of grace and the doctrine of baptism were in danger, and demanded that, no matter how Pelagius might express himself, those should be excommunicated who taught that man could overcome sin and keep God’s commands by virtue of his own nature, or that baptism did not deliver children from a state of sin. It was necessary to defeat the enemies of God’s grace. It was not a question of expelling Pelagius and Cælestius, but of opposing a dangerous heresy.345345Epp. 177, 3: “Non agitur de uno Pelagio, qui jam forte correctus est.” The consideration for him is very remarkable; it is explained by his prestige and his justification at Diospolis. The letter of the five Bishops composed by Augustine and sent afterwards was obviously meant thoroughly to instruct the Pope, who was held to be insufficiently informed as to the importance of the question. Yet we have at the close, (c. 19): “Non rivulum nostrum tuo largo fonti augendo refundimus.”
The Pope had, perhaps, never yet received petitions from North African Synods which laid such stress on the importance of the Roman Chair. Innocent sought to forge the iron while it was hot. In his four replies (Aug. Epp. 181-184 = Innoc. Epp. 30-33) he first congratulated the Africans on having acted on the ancient rule, “that no matter might be finally decided, even in the most remote provinces, until the Roman Chair had been informed of it, in order that every just decision might be confirmed by its authority;” for truth issued from Rome, and thence was communicated in tiny streams to the other Churches. The Pope then praised their zeal against heretics, declared it impious to deny the necessity of divine grace, or to promise eternal life to children without baptism; he who thought otherwise was to be expelled from the Church, unless he performed due penance. “Therefore (Ep. 31, 6) we declare in virtue of our Apostolic authority that Pelagius and Cælestius are excluded from the communion of the Church until they deliver themselves from the snares of the devil;” if they did so, they were not to be refused readmission. Any adherents of Pelagius who might be in Rome would not venture to take his part after this condemnation; besides, the acquittal of the man in the East was not certain; nothing indubitably authentic had been laid before him, the Pope, and it appeared even from the proceedings, if they were genuine, that Pelagius had got off by evasions; if he felt himself to be innocent, he would have hastened to Rome that he might be acquitted by us; he would not summon him, however; those among whom he resided might try him once more; if he recanted, they could not condemn him; there lurked much that was blasphemous, but still more that was superfluous, in the book, De Natura; “what orthodox believer might not argue most copiously about the potentiality of nature, free-will, the whole grace of God and daily grace?”346346Ep. 183, 2-5: “Nam de naturæ possibilitate, de libero arbitrio, et de omni dei gratia et quotidiana gratia cui non sit recte sentienti uberrimum disputare?” He who can read between the lines will readily observe that the Pope left more than one back-door open, and had no real interest in the controversy.347347This is not the view that has hitherto been taken of the letters; Zosimus has rather been simply contrasted with Innocent. Seeberg (p. 283) sees in the letter a monument of the Pope’s helplessness in dogma: he was so ignorant as to admit that the Africans were right, and yet to make them talk like Pelagians. That seems to me an exaggeration.
Pelagius now sent his remarkably well-composed confession of faith348348Hahn. 133. In it we have the words “liberum sic confitemur arbitrium, ut dicamus nos indigere dei semper auxilio” (but in what does the auxilium consist?), and “baptismum unum tenemus quod iisdem sacramenti verbis in infantibus, quibus etiam in majoribus, asserimus esse celebrandum.” to Rome, along with an elaborate vindication of himself.349349Fragments in Aug., De Gratia Christi et de pecc. orig. The accusation that he refused baptism to children, or promised them admission to heaven without it, and that he taught that men could easily fulfil the divine commands, he declared to be a calumny invented by his enemies. As already at Diospolis, so now he guarded himself against the worst charges, though they were not indeed unwarranted, partly by mental reservations, and partly by modifications; but we cannot say that he was unfaithful to his main conception. He declared that all men had received the power to will aright from God, but that the divine aid (adjutorium) only operated in the case of Christians. It was blasphemous to maintain that God had given impossible commands to men. He took his stand between Augustine and Jovinian. This letter did not reach Innocent, he having died. It was thus received by his successor Zosimus. Cælestius, who had come to Rome and submitted a Libellus fidei that left nothing to be desired in point of submission to the Pope, vindicated himself to the latter. Cælestius, on the whole, seems now, when matters had become critical, to have sounded the retreat;350350Fragments of the Libellus in Aug., De pecc. orig. 5 sq. he at least modified his statements, and took care not to come into conflict with the theory, deducible from the Church’s practice, that infant baptism did away with sin.351351L.c.: “Infantes debere baptizari in remissionem peccatorum secundum regulam universalis ecclesiæ et secundum evangelii sententiam confitemur, quia dominus statuit, regnum cœlorum non nisi baptizatis posse conferri; quod, quia vires naturæ non habent, conferri necesse est per gratiæ libertatem. In remissionem peccatorum baptizandos infantes non idcirco diximus, ut peccatum ex traduce firmare videamur (he thus clung to this point), quod longe a catholico sensu alienum est, quia peccatum non cum homine nascitur, quod postmodum exercetur ab homine, quia non naturæ delictum, sed voluntatis esse demonstrator. Et illud ergo confiteri congruum, ne diversa baptismatis genera facere videamur, et hoc præmunire necessarium est, ne per mysterii occasionem ad creatoris injuriam malum, antequam fiat ab homine, tradi dicatur homini per naturam.” After these similar declarations of the two friends, Zosimus did not see that the dogma or Church practice of baptism was endangered in any respect. At a Roman Synod (417), Cælestius, who was ready to condemn everything banned by the Pope, was rehabilitated;352352He wisely refused to discuss the separate points of complaint. and Pelagius, for whom Orientals interceded, was likewise declared to have cleared himself. The complainants were described as worthless beings, and the Africans were blamed for deciding too hastily; they were called upon to prove their charges within two months. This result was communicated in two letters353353Zosim., Epp. 3, 4. to the African Bishops.354354The Bishops are arrogantly rebuked. For the rest, the whole question in dispute is regarded as due to an epidemic of curiosity, as superfluous and pernicious: one ought to abide by Scripture. No wonder that Rome hesitated to declare a question important in which the disputants were agreed as regards Holy Scripture, dogma, and Church practice. The Church only took hesitatingly the momentous step involved in acknowledging anything outside of these to be of equal importance to “dogmas.” They were told that Pelagius had never been separated from the Church, and that if there had been great joy over the return of the lost son, how much greater should be the joy of believing that those about whom false reports had been circulated were neither dead nor lost (Ep. 4, 8)!
The Carthaginians were indignant, but not discouraged. A Synod (417) determined to adhere to the condemnation until it was ascertained that both heretics saw in grace not merely an enlightenment of the intellect, but the only power for good (righteousness), without which we can have absolutely no true religion in thought, speech, and action.355355Prosper, c. collat. 5. This resolution was conveyed to Zosimus. Paulinus of Milan declared at the same time in a letter to the Pope that he would not come to Rome to prosecute Cælestius, for the case had been already decided.356356Zosim., Ep. 10. This energetic opposition made the Pope cautious. In his reply,357357Zosim., Ep. 15. he glorified Peter and his office in eloquent language, but changed his whole procedure, declaring now that the Africans were under a mistake if they believed that he had trusted Cælestius358358It was with Cælestius that he was chiefly concerned. in everything, and had already come to a decision. The case had not yet been prejudiced, and was in the same position as before (March, 418). Immediately after the arrival of this letter in Africa, a great Council was held there—more than 200 Bishops being present—and Pelagianism was condemned, without consulting the Pope, in 8 (9) unequivocal Canons;359359Let him be condemned: who derives death from natural necessity; who denies the presence of original sin in children and rebels against Paul (Rom. V. 12); who assigns any form of salvation to unbaptised children; who refers God’s justifying grace in Christ merely to past sins; who applies grace to knowledge alone, while not perceiving in it the power necessary to us; who sees in grace merely a means of rendering the good easier, but not its indispensable condition; or who derives the confessions of sin by the pious from humility alone, and interprets their prayer for pardon of guilt as applying solely to the guilt of others. indeed, such was the indignation felt against Zosimus—and on different grounds—that the Council, in its 17 Canon, threatened with excommunication any appeal to Rome.360360The proceedings in Mansi III., p. 810 sq. But it had first assured itself of the Emperor’s support, who had published on the 30th April, 418, an edict to the Prefect of the Prætorium, banishing the new heretics with their followers from Rome, permitting their prosecution, and threatening the guilty with stringent penalties.361361The edict in Aug. Opp. X. app., p. io5. It is certainly doubtful whether the Africans effected this; perhaps it was instigated from Milan or by Italian Anti-Pelagians. The attempt has been made to prove that Zosimus’ change of front was independent of the edict.
Zosimus, whose action had been hitherto influenced by the strength of Pelagius’ party in Rome, now laid down his arms. In his Ep. tractatoria to all the Churches,362362Aug. Opp. X. app., p. 108. he informed them of the excommunication of Cælestius and Pelagius, was now convinced that the doctrines of the absolute importance of justifying grace, and of original sin, belonged to the faith (de fide), and required all Bishops to signify their assent by their signatures. But eighteen Bishops refused;363363C. duas epp. Pel. I. 3. they appealed to a General Council, and recalled with reason the fact that the Pope had himself formerly considered a thorough conference to be necessary. In their name Julian of Eclanum wrote two bold letters to the Pope,364364See Op. imperf. I. 18. Fragments in Marius. while also rejecting the propositions once set up by Cælestius.365365The confession of faith contained in one of the letters (Hahn, § 135) shows also that Julian wished to stand by Pelagius. From now onwards the stage was occupied by this “most confident young man,” for whom Augustine, a friend of his family, possessed so much natural sympathy, and whom, in spite of his rudeness, he always treated, as long as the case lasted, affectionately and gently.366366We must remember in excuse of Julian’s violent and unmeasured polemics that he was defending an already hopeless case. He himself knew this—Op. imp. I. 1, 2: “magnis impedimentis angoribus, quos intuenti mihi hac tempestate ecclesiarum statum partim indignatio ingerit partim miseratio”—“labentis mundi odia promeremur”—“rebus in pejorem partem properantibus, quod mundi fini suo incumbentis indicium est” (l.c. I. 12). His violence is in any case not explained from secret uncertainty, for there certainly have been few theologians so thoroughly convinced as he of being on the right path. Religious pioneers, besides, have as a rule surpassed their opponents in strength of conviction. They also possess it more readily; for the certainty of religion and morality, as they understand it, is involved for them in personal assurance. At the instigation of the new Pope, Boniface, Augustine refuted one of the letters sent to Rome and circulated in Italy, as well as another by Julian (addressed to Rufus of Thessalonica) in his work c. duas epp. Pelagianorum (420). Julian, who had resigned or been deposed from his bishopric, now took up his sharp and restless pen. No one else pressed Augustine so hard as he; he compelled him to work out the consequences of his line of thought; he displayed inexorably the contradictions in his works, and showed how untenable was the great man’s doctrine when it was fully developed; he pointed out the traces of a Manichæan type of thinking in Augustine, traces of which the latter tried in vain to get rid. He could indeed explain that he did not mean them, but could not show that they were not there. Julian’s charge that Augustine’s teaching desecrated marriage had made an impression on the powerful Comes Valerius in Rome. Augustine sought to weaken the force of the charge in his writing, De nuptiis et concupiscentia, Lib. I.; but Julian now wrote a work in four volumes against the treatise. Augustine based a reply on extracts from the latter (De nupt. et concup., 1. II.), and when he received the work itself, he substituted, for this preliminary answer, a new work: Libri sex c. Julianum hæresis Pelagianæ defensorem. Julian replied to the “Preliminary pamphlet” with a work in eight volumes (written already in Cilicia). Augustine was engaged with the answer to this work, Opus imperf. c. Julianum (l. sex), up to his death. Since he follows Julian almost sentence by sentence, we possess the most accurate information as to the latter’s positions.367367When we realise the exceptional qualities of two such outstanding opponents, we wish that nature had rolled them into one. What a man that would have been! In his latest years, Augustine composed other four writings which are not aimed directly at the Pelagians, but discuss objections raised against his own doctrine by Catholics or Semi-Pelagians368368This name appears first in the Middle Ages. In ancient times men spoke of the “reliquiæ Pelagianorum.” (De gratia et libero arbitrio; De correptione et gratia: to the monks of Hadrumetum; De prædestinatione sanctorum and De dono perseverantiæ: to Prosper and Hilary as against the Gallic monks). In these works the doctrine of predestinating grace is worked out in its strictest form.
The Pelagians nowhere came to form a sect or schismatical party.369369They still hoped for their rehabilitation up to A.D. 430, and urged it in Rome on every new Pope. They were suppressed in the years after A.D. 418, without it being necessary to apply any special force. The Emperor once more published a sharp edict. Cælestius, who had hitherto escaped punishment, was still chiefly dealt with. He was forbidden to reside in Italy, and sentence of exile was pronounced on anyone who should harbour him. Pelagius is said to have been condemned by a Synod in Antioch. But this information, given by Marius, is uncertain. He disappears from history.370370It is noteworthy that Julian speaks in his works as if he now alone represented the destituta veritas, a claim that Augustine tells him shows extreme arrogance (see c. Jul. II. 36). Julian and other Pelagians took refuge with Theodore in Cilicia. There they were at first left in peace; for either the controversy was not understood, or the attitude to Augustinianism was hostile. The indefatigable Cælestius was able in A.D. 424 to demand once more an inquiry in Rome from Bishop Cælestine, but then betook himself, without having obtained his object, to Constantinople, where, since Julian and other friends were also assembled, the party now pitched their headquarters.371371I do not here discuss more minutely the history of Julian, who once more paid a passing visit to Rome; see art. in the Encycl. of Christ. Biogr. The Patriarch Nestorius joined hands with them, a proceeding fatal to both sides; for Nestorius thereby incurred the displeasure of the Pope, and the Pelagians fell into the ranks of the enemies of the dominant party in the East (Cyril’s). Marius Mercator agitated successfully against them at the Court, and in the comedy at Ephesus Cyril obliged the Roman legates by getting the Council to condemn the doctrine of Cælestius, Rome having concurred in his condemnation of Nestorius.372372Julian’s name was expressly mentioned; perhaps he was in Ephesus with Nestorius. It is maintained by Marius that he had been already condemned in his absence (with Theodore’s concurrence) at a Cilician Synod. Thus Pelagianism had brought upon itself a kind of universal anathema, while in the East there were perhaps not even a dozen Christians who really disapproved of it,373373Bishop Atticus of Constantinople was undoubtedly a decided enemy of the Pelagians; but we do not know his motives. and the West, in turn, was by no means clear as to the consequences to which it would necessarily be led by the condemnation of the Pelagians.
II. As regards the history of dogma, the “system” of Pelagianism, i.e. of Julian of Eclanum, is tolerably indifferent; for it was only produced after the whole question was already decided, and its author was a theologian, who, by renouncing his ecclesiastical office, had himself thrown away much of his claim to be considered. From the standpoint of the history of dogma, the controversy closed simply with rejection of the doctrines, (1) that God’s grace (in Christ) was not absolutely necessary—before and after baptism—for the salvation of every man, and (2) that the baptism of infants was not in the fullest sense a baptism for remission of sins (in remissionem peccatorum). The contrary doctrines were the new “dogmas.” But, since those two doctrines and the main theses of Pelagianism involved a multitude of consequences, and since some of these consequences were even then apparent, while others afterwards occupied the Church up till and beyond the Reformation, it is advisable to point out the fundamental features of the Pelagian system, and the contrary teaching of Augustinianism.374374This is also necessary because the mode of thought at the root of Pelagianism never reappeared—up to the time of Socinianism—in so pure a form as in Julian. In doing so we have to remember that Pelagius would have nothing to do with a system. To him “De fide” (of the faith) meant simply the orthodox dogma and the ability of man to do the good. All else were open questions which might be answered in the affirmative or negative, among the rest original sin, which he denied. He laid sole stress on preaching practical Christianity, i.e., the monastic life, to a corrupt and worldly Christendom, and on depriving it of the pretext that it was impossible to fulfil the divine commands. Cælestius, at one with his teacher in this respect, attacked original sin more energetically, and fought by the aid of definitions and syllogisms theological doctrines which he held to be pernicious. But Julian was the first to develop their mode of thought systematically, and to elevate it into a Stoic Christian system.375375Augustine says very gracefully (c. Jul. VI. 36): “Quæ tu si non didicisses, Pelagiani dogmatis machina sine architecto necessario remansisset.” Yet he really added nothing essential to what occurs scattered through the writings of Pelagius and Cælestius. He only gave it all a naturalistic tendency, i.e., he did away with the monastic intention of the type of thought. But even in Pelagius, arguments occur which completely contradict the ascetic monastic conception. In his letter to Demetrius he shows that fasting, abstinence and prayer are not of such great importance; they should not be carried to excess, as is often done by beginners; moderation should be observed in all things, therefore even in good works. The main thing is to change one’s morals and to practise every kind of virtue. And thus no one is to think that the vow of chastity can let him dispense with the practice of spiritual virtues and the fight with anger, vanity, and pride, etc. It was the actual development of the character in goodness on which he laid stress. The monastic idea appears subordinate to this thought, which in some passages is expressed eloquently. The ancient call to wise moderation has not a naturalistic impress in Pelagius. In treating the thought of these three men as a whole we have to remember this distinction, as also the fact that Pelagius and Cælestius for the most part paid due heed to Church practice, and besides avoided almost entirely any appeal to the ancient philosophers.376376As regards form (Klasen, pp. 81-116), i.e. in their teaching as to Scripture, tradition, and authority, no innovations occur in Pelagius and Cælestius. Pelagianism, indeed, implicitly involves the rejection of every doctrine, quæ ratione defendi non potest, and he interpreted Scripture accordingly (see examples of exegesis in Klasen l.c.). In his treatise, De natura, he quotes the Fathers in support of his form of doctrine, as Augustine did for his (Chrysostom was especially often quoted, but so also were Jerome, Ambrose, and Lactantius). Julian, on the contrary, expressly gave the first place to ratio: “Quod ratio arguit, non potest auctoritas vindicare” (Op. imp. II. t6). With Origen—in sharp contrast to Augustine—he observes the rule not that a thing is good, because God wills it and it stands in Scripture, but that reason establishes what is good: “Hæreat hoc maxime prudentis animo lectoris, omnibus scripturis sacris solum illud, quod in honorem dei catholici sapiunt, contineri, sicut frequentium sententiarum luce illustratur, et sicubi durior elocutio moverit quæstionem, certum quidem esse, non ibi id quod injustum est loci illius auctorum sapuisse; secundum id autem debere intelligi, quod et ratio perspicua et aliorum locorum, in quibus non est ambiguitas, splendor apparuerit” (l.c. II. 22; cf. I. 4). “Sanctas quidem apostoli esse paginas confitemur, non ob aliud, nisi quia rationi, pietati, fidei congruentes erudiunt nos” (II. 144). Julian declares time and again that “wrong” and right must be the standard to be applied to all traditions regarding God. Now if the interpretations of Scripture given by Pelagius and Cælestius are “shallow,” Julian’s are sometimes quite profane. Our first parents clothed themselves after the Fall, because they were cold, and had learned for the first time the art of making clothes (c. Jul. IV. 79 sq.). But the rationalist standpoint of historical criticism appears most clearly in Julian’s attitude to tradition. He is the author of the famous saying that we ought to weigh and not count opinions (c. Julian, II. 35: “non numerandas, sed ponderandas esse sententias; ad aliquid inveniendum multitudinem nihil prodesse cæcorum”). He says boldly that in dogmatic questions we must set aside the strepitus turbarum de omni ordine conversationis hominum, all de plebeia fæce sellularii, milites, scholastici auditoriales, tabernarii, cetarii, coqui, lanii, adolescentes ex monachis dissoluti, and further the turba qualiumcumque clericorum; “honorandam esse paucitatem, quam ratio, eruditio, libertasque sublimat.” Compare Op. imperf. I. 41, where Julian says “et si philosophorum ego senatum advocavero, tu continuo sellularios, opifices omneque in nos vulgus accendas,” and II. 14 “Traduciani pro se sursum deorsum plebecularum aut ruralium aut theatralium scita commendant.” He justifies the setting aside of laymen and the uneducated clergy; he says: “quia non possunt secundum categorias Aristotelis de dogmatibus judicare.” Here (c. Julian. II. 36, 37) Julian’s chief interest becomes clearly evident. Without Aristotle, no theology; everything else is clod-hoppers’ theology; but we have the cultured on our side (l.c. V. 1., Augustine suggests that is a contention of all heretics, already soiled and worn by frequent use). Julian adhered to Aristotle and Zeno; he knew their ethics thoroughly and reflected on their differences (c. Jul. II. 34; VI. 36; VI. 64: “de scholis Peripateticorum sive Stoicorum;” Op. impf. I, 35, 36). In contents and method his teaching was closely related to that of these philosophers—Augustine alludes very often to this. Besides, he quotes (c. Jul. IV .75) Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, Xenophanes, Parmenides, Leucippus, Democritus, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Melissus, Plato, and Pythagoras (“quis non ipso nominum sectarumque conglobatarum strepitu terretur?” remarks Augustine). Of these philosophers—along with whom Sallust and Cicero are quoted—Julian says (l.c.), while granting they were idolaters (“licet in scholis aliud disserentes”), that they had enjoyed, in the midst of many errors, “de naturalibus aliquas veritatis partes,” and that these were rightly to be preferred to the dogma of original sin. Augustine justly speaks of “nebulæ de Aristotelicis categoriis;” but the Stoic element prevails in Julian. The whole conception of ratio and Nominalism is Stoic. The mania for definitions is also Stoic and Ciceronian. Without definition no knowledge (Op. imp. II. 30, said against Augustine: “Ad quid ergo persuadendum aut scripturas releges aut conscios nominabis, qui adhuc quod sentis non potes definire”). But these definitions never rise out of the actual and thoroughly observed case—and that was indeed also usual in the Stoa—but glide over it. Julian by no means despised altogether the appeal to the Fathers. Here also he proved himself reasonable. It was only their formal authority that he would have nothing to do with. His standpoint is most clearly expressed in c. Jul. I. 29: “Cum igitur liquido clareat hanc sanam et veram esse sententiam, quam primo loco ratio, deinde scripturarum munivit auctoritas et quam sanctorum virorum semper celebravit eruditio, qui tamen veritati auctoritatem non suo tribuere consensu, sed testimonium et gloriam de ejus suscepere consortio, nullum prudentem conturbet conspiratio perditorum.” Here we perceive the descending series of authorities, which is yet only authoritative, in so far as the witnesses are rational. The “Fathers” he really regarded as nothing, and well he knew how to make use of the admissions wrung from Augustine regarding their authority (Op. imp. IV. 112): “Sed bene quod nos onere talium personarum prior levasti. Nam in libro ad Timasium cum s. Pelagius venerabilium virorum tam Ambrosii quam Cypriani recordatus fuisset, qui liberum arbitrium in libris suis commendaverant, respondisti nulla te gravari auctoritate talium, ita ut diceres eos processu vitæ melioris, si quid male senserant, expiasse.” “Numquid”—exclaims Julian (l.c. IV. 110)—“legi dei aut operi dei scripta disputatorum præjudicant!” Julian felt most acutely his having to call to its senses the West, in bondage to “stupid and godless” dogma; in the East alone did he now see salvation. The rock on which he stood was reason; his winged organ was the word. He knew that God would honour him for having alone to lead the cause of righteousness. He confronted, as the most resolute “Aufklärer” of the ancient Church, its greatest religious personality. They were all actuated by a courageous confidence in man’s capacity for goodness, along with the need for clearness of thought on religious and moral questions.
1. God’s highest attributes are his goodness and justice, and, in fact, righteousness is the quality without which God cannot be thought of at all; indeed, it can even be said that there is a God, because there is righteousness.377377Cælestius in Aug., De perf. just. 15; Julian in the Op. imp. I. 27-38 and often. The thought of goodness—characteristically enough—is dropped, or accompanies it, as it were, incidentally. The idea of righteousness as legislative, distributive, and social, governs the whole system. “Lex dei fons ac magistra justitiæ,” Op. imp. I. 4. “Justice, as it is wont to be defined by the learned (s. Aristotle) and as we can understand, is (if the Stoics will allow us to prefer one to the other) the greatest of all virtues, discharging diligently the duty of restoring his own to each, without fraud, without favour.”378378Op. imp. I. 35: “Justitia est, ut ab eruditis definiri solet (s. Aristoteles), et ut nos intelligere possumus, virtus (si per Stoicos liceat alteri alteram præferre), virtutum omnium maxima fungens diligenter officio ad restituendum sua unicuique, sine fraude, sine gratia.” By this is gained for religion and morality the supreme principle by which man confronts God as judge in complete independence. Its genus is God; its species are the promulgation and administration of the laws; its difference consists in its being regulated by circumstances; its modus in its not requiring from anyone more than his powers permit, and in not excluding mercy; its quality in sweetness to pious souls. This notion of righteousness is so sure that it appears also to be ideally superior to Holy Scripture (see Op. imperf. II. 17): “Nothing can be proved by the sacred writings which righteousness cannot support.”379379“Nihil potest per sanctas scripturas probari, quod justitia non possit tueri.”
2. It follows, from the goodness and righteousness of God, that everything created by him is good—and that not only at the beginning—but what he now creates is likewise good.380380Op. imp. VI. 16. Accordingly, the creature is good, and so also are marriage, the law, free will, and the saints.381381Aug. c. duas epp. Pelag. III. 24: “Hae sunt nebulæ Pelagianorum de laude creaturæ, laude nuptiarum, laude legis, laude liberi arbitrii, laude sanctorum, IV. 1, 2.
3. Nature, which was created good, is not convertible, “because the things of nature persist from the beginning of existence (substance) to its end.”382382“Quia naturalia ab initio substantiæ usque ad terminum illius perseverant.” (Op. imp. II. 76). “Natural properties are not converted by accident.”383383Naturalia per accidens non convertuntur.” “Quod innascitur usque ad finem ejus, cui adhæserit, perseverat.” L.c. I. 61. Accordingly, there can be no “natural sins” (peccata naturalia); for they could only have arisen if nature had become evil.
4. Human nature is thus indestructibly good, and can only be modified accidentally. To its constitution belongs—and that was very good—the will as free choice; for “willing is nothing but a movement of the mind without any compulsion.”384384“Voluntas est nihil aliud quam motus animi cogente nullo” (Op. imp. 1. V. ). More precisely (I. 78-82): “Libertas arbritii, qua a deo emancipatus homo est, in admittendi peccati et abstinendi a peccato possibilitate consistit . . . Posse bonum facere aula virtutis est, posse malum facere testimonium libertatis est. Per hoc igitur suppetit homini habere proprium bonum, per quod ei subest posse facere malum. Tota ergo divini plenitudo judicii tam junctum habet negotium cum hac libertate hominum, ut harum qui unam agnoverit ambas noverit. . . . Sic igitur et libertas humani custodiatur arbitrii, quemadmodum divina æquitas custoditur . . . Libertas igitur arbitrii possibilitas est vel admittendi vel vitandi peccati, expers cogentis necessitatis, quæ in suo utpote jure habet, utrum surgentium partem sequatur, i.e., vel ardua asperaque virtutum vel demersa etpa lustria voluptatum.” This free choice, with which reason is implied,385385The Pelagians were very silent as to the relation of ratio and liberum arbitrium. They did not even notice that it involved a main difficulty. All that they found it necessary to say consisted in quite childish arguments. Even the above definition of the will is absolutely untenable. After all, reason impels to what is bad as well as good; the wicked man does not act, at least, without reason. But what does justitia mean, if the separate acts of will always pass into vacancy? The original equilibrium, forsooth, remains fixed. is the highest good in man’s constitution, “he who upholds grace praises human nature.”386386Op. imp. III. 188: “Qui gratiam confirmat, hominum laudat naturam.” We know that Pelagius always began in his sermons by praising man’s glorious constitution, his nature which shows itself in free will387387“Libertas utriusque partis.” and reason, and he never wearied of extolling our “condition of willing” (conditio voluntatis), as contrasted with the “condition of necessity” (conditio necessitatis) of irrational creatures. “Nature was created so good that it needs no help.”388388Ep. ad Demetr. With reason as guide (duce ratione) man can and should do the good, i.e., righteousness (jus humanæ societatis).389389Op. imp. I. 79. Here the humanist notion of the good is clear. To this Julian adhered, in so far as he followed out the thought at all. God desires a voluntary performer of righteousness (voluntarius executor justitiæ); it is his will that we be capable of both, and that we do one. According to Pelagius freedom of will is freedom to choose the good; according to Julian it is simply freedom of choice. The possibility of good as a natural faculty is from God,390390De grat. Christi 5; de nat. et gratia, passim. (Expositions by Pelagius). willing and action are our business;391391The notion of freedom taught by the Pelagians lies in the possibilitas, and that according to Julian, the possibilitas utriusque, not merely boni. In Pelagius the possibilitas boni, and therewith responsibility, are more prominent. He does not merely say that man has freedom of choice, but also (ep. ad Demetr.) that “in animi nostris naturalis quædam sanctitas est.” the possibility of both (possibilitas utriusque) is as a psychological faculty inevitable (a necessario); for this very reason a continual change is possible in it.392392Klasen (pp. 229-237) distinguishes a threefold possibilitas in the Pelagians’ teaching, i.e., so many distinctions are, in fact, required, if we would escape the contradictions covered by the notion.
5. Evil, sin, is willing to do that which righteousness forbids, and from which we are free to abstain,393393Op. imp. I. 44; V. 28, 43; VI. 17 and often. accordingly what we can avoid.394394Cælest. in Aug. de perfect. 1. It is no element or body, no nature—in that case God would be its author; nor is it a perverted nature (natura conversa), but it is always a momentary self-determination of the will, which can never pass into nature so as to give the to an evil nature.395395Besides the indefiniteness of the relation of reason to freedom, the wrong definition of the will, the obscurity as to the notion of ratio, and the contradictions in the notion of possibilitas, especially characteristic are the inability to give a concrete definition of evil, and the mythological fashion in which nature and will are distinguished. Why should will and nature be so completely divided, if the possibilitas belongs to nature? What is nature in general over and above will, since it is by no means held to be merely the flesh? But if this cannot happen, so much the less can evil be inherited; for that would do away with the goodness and righteousness of God, the notion of sin (as that which can be avoided), and the notion of redemption; a “natural” guilt could never be got rid of.396396To this point the Pelagians applied their greatest acuteness, and made just objections, see under. Pelag. in Aug. de pecc. orig. 14: “Omne bonum ac malum, quo vel laudabiles vel vituperabiles sumus, non nobiscum oritur, sed agitur a nobis: capaces enim utriusque rei, non pleni nascimur, et ut sine virtute ita et sine vitio procreamur atque ante actionem propriæ voluntatis id solum in homine est, quod deus condidit.”
6. Pelagius deduced the actual existence of sin from the snares of the devil and sensuous lusts (gula and libido), and condemned concupiscence accordingly. It was necessary to overcome it by virginity and continence. It sprang not from the substance of the flesh (de substantia carnis), but from its works (ex operibus carnis), otherwise God would be its author. Pelagius took a serious view of this whole matter; but he was certain, on the other hand, that the body was subject to the soul, and that thus the relationship willed by God could be restored.397397See the Ep. ad Demetr.; De nat. et grat. 60-71. A grave experience is revealed in the confession (Ep. ad Demetr. 26) that the devil may often fill even those who are separated from the world with such foul and impious thoughts, that they imagine they are as wicked as when they loved the res sæculi. But Julian felt that this was a vexed point. Whence came the evil desires of the flesh (desideria carnis mala) if the substance was good, and if it was yet manifest that they frequently did not spring from the will? The case of marriage, which is unthinkable without sexual desire, showed Julian that libido was permitted by God, and he attacked inexorably the artificial distinctions which Augustine sought and was compelled to make between nuptiæ and concupiscentia.398398With his distinction of marriage as good and had, Augustine resembles the charlatan who would exhibit a beast that devours itself; Jul. III. 47. Julian taught that concupiscence was in itself indifferent and innocent; for the actual creation was of all conceivable kinds the best; but this creation embraced sexual and all other desires.399399See especially Op. imp. Book V., and c. Julian, Book V. Augustine calls him “laudator concupiscentia;” c. Jul. III. 44. Libido was guilty non in genere suo, non in specie, non in modo, but only in excessu; genus and species were from God, the modus depended on an honest decision (arbitrium honestatis), excess followed from a fault of will (vitium voluntatis).400400C. Jul. IV. 7; III. 27. If it were otherwise, then baptism would necessarily eradicate, and not merely regulate, concupiscence.401401L.c. IV. 8. Accordingly the latter, within limits (intra modum), was good;402402L.c. IV. 52. he who used it moderately, used a blessing rightly; he who indulged in it immoderately, used a blessing badly; but he who from love to virginity despised even moderate indulgence, did not thereby use a good thing better.403403Asceticism is thus declared to be superfluous, l.c. III. 42. The shame alluded to by Augustine, which is felt even at the lawful enjoyment of desire, was explained by Julian, following the Cynics, as mere convention and custom.404404Op. imp. IV. 37-43. There undoubtedly occur other passages in Julian in which the “blessing” of libido appears small, and virginity is admired. Christ himself possessed concupiscence.405405L.c. IV. 45-64, and elsewhere.
7. It follows from this teaching that there can always have been sinless men:406406We must here, indeed, remember the twofold meaning of posse. Pelagius, indeed, argued further that since every man could resist sin (easily), he who sinned passed into hell at the Judgment;407407De gest. Pelag. 11. for every sin was really mortal, the sinner having acted against his ability to do better. Julian, moreover, taught that every excess was a mortal sin, since it was done absolutely without compulsion.408408On this Pelagius laid great stress (see Op. imp. V.), expressly denying (against Augustine) that man sins because he was created ex nihilo. By referring evil to the will, every possibility of explaining its origin comes to an end; for any such explanation means proving its necessity. V. 41: “Quæritis necessitatem rei quæ esse non potest si patitur necessitatem. Huic motui animi libero, sine coactu originis inquieto, si causa ipso motu detur antiquior, non gignitur omnino sed tollitur.” V. 57-60: “ideo habuit voluntatem malam, quia voluit.” In the end, it is said, God punishes the wicked and rewards the virtuous. But it remains wholly obscure how there can exist virtue (righteousness) and sin at all if, in practising them, a character can never be gained, if we are only concerned with fragmentary actions from which no deposit is left or sum-total formed.
In the foregoing the fundamental conceptions of the Pelagians are described. But they were also, of course, Catholic Christians; they were accordingly compelled to harmonise these doctrines of theirs with Holy Scripture and its historical contents, with Christ and the teaching of the Church. How they did so we have still briefly to discuss in what follows. It is apparent that the difficulties in showing this agreement were extraordinarily great, and, indeed, not only for them, but for everyone who would harmonise a coherent rational doctrine with Gen. I.-III., and with hundreds of passages in Scripture.
8. Adam was created with free will—according to Pelagiusalso with “what is called natural holiness” (naturalis quæ dicitur sanctitas), which consisted just in free will and reason. Julian considered this state to be morally very high and intellectually low.409409Op. imp. VI. 14-23. All are, however, agreed that Adam’s endowments were the peculiar and inalienable gift of divine grace (gratia).
9. Adam sinned through free will (Julian esteemed this sin of slight account);410410Op. Imp. VI. 23; VI. 14, he lets it appear plainly enough that the Fall was an advantage for Adam: “porro ignorantia quam profunda quamque patiendi ejus dura conditio, ut liberari ab ea nisi prævaricatione non posset, scientiam quippe boni malique absque ansa condemnabili nequaquam capessiturus.” but by this sin his nature was not corrupted. Nor was natural death a consequence of it, for it is natural; but spiritual death, the condemnation of the soul on account of sin, was the result of sin.411411Thus first Cælestius (Karthago, s. Diospolis; de pecc. mer. 2). So also Julian, op. imp. II. 66. Common death is natural. Yet here Julian has tried to compromise. He will not deny that natural death has a connection with sin; i.e., it had really to be annulled by merits; but his explanations in Book II. are very tortuous. Without sin death would have been “levissima”; but God cannot do away with it entirely even for saints, for (VI. 30): “non est tanti unius meritum, ut universa quæ naturaliter sunt instituta perturbet.”
10. Natural death was accordingly not inherited from Adam; moreover, spiritual death was only in so far as his descendants likewise sinned. If all men died through Adam’s death, then all would necessarily rise again through the resurrection of Christ.412412Thus already Cælestius.
11. Still much less was Adam’s sin or guilt transmitted. The doctrine of transmitted and original sin (tradux peccati and peccatum originis) is Manichæan and blasphemous; it is equally absurd whether viewed in relation to God, or man, or the notion of sin, or Christ, or Holy Scripture. In relation to God, for his righteousness is annulled by imputing the sins of others, and regarding as sinful a nature that has not yet sinned, just as much as it would be by ushering into the world, laden with sin, human beings born after Adam’s fall. In relation to man, for a vitiated nature is then equivalent to a bad nature; if a nature possesses evil, it is bad; but in that case the guilt falls upon God, for he is responsible for our nature; further, sin could only propagate itself, if we assumed a procreation of souls; but this assumption is absurd; finally, if sin is propagated through marriage, so that desire in marriage is and transmits sin, marriage is thereby condemned. In relation to the notion of sin, for sin is absolutely embraced by the will, so that it does not exist at all, where there is no free-will; further, even if it could propagate itself, it could not be transmitted by baptised parents; lastly, Augustine’s contention that sin is itself used by God as a punishment of sin, that there is a divine law of sin, etc., is absurd and immoral. In relation to Christ, for were nature bad, it could not be redeemed, or, were there an inherited sin which became natural to man, Christ also must have possessed it. In relation to Holy Scripture, as countless passages show that sin is a matter of the will, and that God punishes each for his own sins alone. Rom. V. 12, merely asserts that all die because they themselves sin like Adam, or something similar; in any case it contains nothing to support inherited sin.413413It is superfluous to quote passages; see the detailed account in Klasen, pp. 116-182. Julian’s explanation of Rom. V. 12 occurs in c. Jul. VI. 75-81. Besides charging him with Manichæism, Julian also accused Augustine of Traducianism, though he was no Traducian. The heretical name of “Traduciani” was originated by Julian (Op. imp. I. 6).
12. Thus all men created by God are in the position in which Adam was before the fall.414414De pecc. orig. 34. An unessential difference exists only in so far as Adam possessed at once the use of reason, while children do not; that Adam was still untaught, while children are born into a society in which the custom of evil prevails. Pelagius at least teaches this.415415Ep. ad Demetr. The reign of sin in the world is also elsewhere strongly emphasised by Pelagius. The mere capacity city of either (mera capacitas utriusque) is the original innocence.416416This talk of primitive innocence is already in Julian a case of accommodation; for innocence of course always remains really the same. C. Jul. III. 36: “homo igitur innocentia quidem plenus, sed virtutis capax nascitur, aut laudem aut reprehensionem ex proposito accedente meriturus . . . nec justos nasci parvulos nec injustos, quod futuri sunt actibus suis, sed tantummodo infantiam innocentiæ dote locupletem.” But the same chapter shows what is after all meant by this “innocence”: Perfecta ignorantia (in scripturis justitia nominatur).
13. The habit of sinning, working by example, according to Pelagius, weakens the will (?). Yet nothing can be said as to how it really works; for otherwise the indifference of the will417417Op. imp. I. 91: “liberum arbitrium et post peccata tam plenum est quam fuit ante peccata.” is destroyed. Probably the meaning was that the possibility of good remained wholly intact, but the habit of sinning darkened reason.418418Here, as in Stoicism, there is a gap in the system. Why is rational man irrational and bad? How can he possess ratio and an evil will at the same time? And how is the sinful habit explained?—Julian also says, besides (Op. imp. I. 16) “consuetudo peccati amorem delicti facit et exstinguit pudorem;” but he means in the teaching of Augustine.
14. It is when we come to discuss grace that it is hardest to reproduce the view of the Pelagians; for it was here that they found it most necessary to accommodate their opinions. Very strong assertions occur in Pelagius and Julian—Cælestius was more reserved419419“The will is not free, if it needs God’s help” (De gestis 42). “Si per gratiam (De gestis 30) omnia facimus, quando vincimur a peccato, non nos vincimur, sed dei gratia, quæ voluit nos adjuvare omni modo et non potuit.”—as to the necessity of divine grace (adjutorium) for every good work.420420We can, indeed, exemplify almost all the principles of Augustinianism from the utterances of Pelagius and Julian. The number of passages in their works which sound like good Church doctrine is very great. We should require to quote these also in order to give an idea of the figure presented by the two men to the world; but this would carry us beyond our present limits. We do not, however, do injustice to their thought by omitting them; for they are only characteristic of their mode of expression. Pelagius never denied publicly that man always needed the divine grace, that he could only adjuvante gratia esse sine peccato (see De gestis 16, 22, 31; De gratia 2: “anathemo qui vel sentit vel dicit, gratiam dei, qua Christus venit in hunc mundum peccatores salvos facere, non solum per singulas horas aut per singula momenta, sed etiam per singulos actus nostros non esse necessariam, et qui hanc conantur auferre, pœnas sortiantur æternas”; see also his Confession to the Pope). Julian used, if possible, still stronger expressions; but both very often said exactly the opposite of what is here given. But they never did say that the grace of God through Christ established freedom from sin and salvation. We also find statements to the effect that grace facilitated goodness.421421These are the usual ones: free will exists in all men, but it is only supported by grace in the case of Christians (De gratia, 34); the rest only possess the “nudum et inerme conditionis bonum.” Similarly Julian, but still more strongly (Op. imp. I. 40): “quos fecit quia voluit nec condemnat nisi spretus; si cum non spernitur, faciat consecratione meliores, nec detrimentum justitiæ patitur et munificentia miserationis ornatur.” I. 111: “malæ voluntati veniam pro inæstimabili liberalitate largitur et innocentiam, quam creat bonam, facit innovando adoptandoque meliorem” (but can anything be better than good?). III. 106: “Quod ais, ad colendum recte deum sine ipsius adjutorio dici a nobis sufficere unicuique libertatem arbitrii, omnino mentiris. Cum igitur cultus dei multis intelligatur modis, et in custodia mandatorum et in execratione vitiorum et in simplicitate conversationis et in ordine mysteriorum et in profunditate dogmatum . . . qui fieri potest, ut nos in confuso dicamus, sine adjutorio dei liberum arbitrium sufficiens ad ejus esse culturam . . . cunt utique ista omnia, tam quæ dogmatibus quam quæ mysteriis continentur, libertas arbitrii per se non potuerit invenire, etc.” There we see clearly how we are to understand the “adjutorium”; it consists solely in the law of dogmas and mysteries given by God and not discovered by man, but not in a power. Therefore, because God had invented so many institutions, Julian can proceed: “hominem innumeris divinæ gratiæ speciebus juvari . . . præcipiendo, benedicendo, sanctificando, coercendo, provocando, illuminando.” Finally, others occur which teach that grace is superfluous, nay, strictly speaking, in itself impossible.422422Impossible as a power, since the will cannot actually be determined. On this point Cælestius has alone expressed himself clearly, but Julian holds the same view, as he is never tired saying: “cunctarum origo virtutum in rationabili animo sita est.” It is no injustice to the Pelagians to take the two latter positions, which, to a certain extent can be combined, as giving their true opinion; for it was assuredly the chief intention of Pelagius to deprive Christians of their indolent reliance on grace, and Julian’s main object was to show that the human constitution bore merit and salvation in its own lap. The proposition “homo libero arbitrio emancipatus a deo” really contains the protest against any grace.423423This proposition of Julian’s is properly the key to the whole mode of thought: man created free is with his whole sphere independent of God. He has no longer to do with God, but with himself alone. God only re-enters at the end (at the judgment).
15. By grace we have throughout to understand in the first place the grace of creation;424424The statements of the Pelagians as to grace are very often rendered intentionally (e.g., De gestis Pel. 22) ambiguous, by their understanding it to mean the grace of creation, and accordingly nature. Yet this is not the rule. Pelagius and Julian distinguish three states: ex natura, sub lege, sub gratia (Christi); see C. duas epp., I. 39. it is so glorious that there have been perfect men even among heathens and Jews.425425“Perfecta justitia” also in the old covenant (l.c.) and among “antiqui homines.” Julian often cites the perfect heathens, and sneers at Augustine’s “splendida vitia.” If the virtues of the heathens are not virtues, their eyes are not eyes (c. Jul. IV. 26-30). Pelagius has made wholly contradictory statements on this point; Julian afterwards became more prudent; but, finally, he always held the opinion that there was no difference between a good Christian and a good heathen.
16. In the second place, it denotes the law (lex) of God; indeed, all grace, in so far as it is not nature, can at bottom have no other character than that of illumination and instruction (doctrina). This facilitates the doing of the good.426426The law was the first augmentum beneficiorum dei; but it was at the same time the fundamental form of all that God could further do after creation. Pelagius has expressed himself very plainly (De gestis 30): “gratiam dei et adjutorium non ad singulos actus dari (in other places he says the opposite) sed in libero arbitrio esse vel in lege ac doctrina.” That accordingly is all. Augustine therefore says very rightly that Pelagius only admitted the grace “qua demonstrat et revelat deus quid agere debeamus, non qua donat atque adjuvat ut agamus.”
17. Thirdly, grace means the grace of God through Christ. This also is at bottom illuminatio et doctrina;427427See preceding note and Cælestius’ statement: “lex sic mittit ad regnum cælorum quomodo et evangelium.” Christ works by his example.428428Example and imitation, see Op. imp. II. 146 sq. C. Jul. V. 58: “tolle exempli causam, tolle et pretii, quod pro nobis factus est.” Julian also ultimately reduced the death of Christ to a type, Op. imp. II. 223. Pelagius and Julian admit that the habit of sinning was so great that Christ’s appearance was necessary.429429Op. imp. II. 217-222. Julian’s conception of this appearance was that Christ owed what he became to his free will.430430It is very instructive that to Julian (as to Augustine) it is the man that forms the personality in Jesus. He is distinguished from Augustine by saying that the man Jesus was chosen by God and united with Christ secundum merita. The profectus is also more plainly marked: Jesus was gradually adopted by the Word of God; the filius hominis gradually became the filius dei through the achievement of his will. Accordingly, unless Augustine has greatly exaggerated, this still might be taught with impunity at that time in the West (see Op. imp. IV. 84). But it was necessary, over and above instruction (doctrina), to assume, in conformity with Church teaching and practice, an effective action through Christ on the part of God. The Pelagians did not deny that this was represented in baptism and the remissions granted by God; they taught the forgiveness of sins through baptism. But they could not show wherein this forgiveness consisted without coming into conflict with freedom. As regards infant baptism, they dared no longer dispute its necessity; indeed, they dared no longer flatly declare that it was not given for the remission of sins. They derived a certain consecration and sanctification from it, but they disputed the doctrine that children dying unbaptised were lost; these would only fail to enter the kingdom of heaven, the highest grade of felicity.431431The evasions in the case of baptism are so numerous that it is not worth while mentioning separate instances. The notion of forgiveness was in itself very irksome to the Pelagians; it could be at most a kind of indulgence, with difficulty compatible with justice. They also touched on the question whether baptism extirpates sin or removes guilt; but for them the question was senseless. As regards infant baptism, all their statements are to be derived from the fact that they would neither abolish it, nor admit baptisms of different value. The distinction between regnum cælorum and vita æterna was an eschatological rudiment, in this case welcome.
18. Finally, the Pelagians taught that this grace through Christ was compatible with the righteousness (justitia) of God, because the latter did not preclude an increase of benefits,432432Op. imp. I. 72, III. 163: “augmenta beneficiorum divinorum utilia esse et necessaria omnibus in commune ætatibus dicimus, ita tamen ut nec virtus nec peccatum sine propria cuiquam voluntate tribuatur.” but that grace was given secundum merita (according to the merits of the rational spirit) because in any other case God would have been unjust.433433De gestis 30: “De gratiam secundum merita nostra dari, quia si peccatoribus illam det, videtur esse iniquus.” This destroys the notion of grace; for it is only as gratuitous that it is grace. Here it takes the form of a means of rewarding the good. But if grace is neither gratis nor a power, it is nothing but an empty word. The contention, however, that it was absolutely necessary was never seriously advocated by them, and was frequently denied, and in the thesis that the operation of the gospel is not different from that of the law, the former is in point of fact completely reduced to the level of the latter. But the law is itself nothing but a crutch not necessary to everyone. Man is to be sinless: this state we can attain by our will; but sinlessness (impeccantia) is rendered easy to the Christian; for by looking to Christ he can easily turn, and in baptism, the mysteries, dogmas, and the commandments, he from the first possesses nothing but means to promote virtue. All that Christ did and the Church does is considered not as action but as teaching.
The Pelagians deserve respect for their purity of motive, their horror of the Manichæan leaven and the opus operatum, their insistence on clearness, and their intention to defend the Deity.434434That Augustinianism is identical with Manichæism runs through Julian’s polemic like a red line. “Sub laude baptismatis eructat Augustinus Manichæorum sordes ac naturale peccatum, ut ecclesiæ catholicæ pura hactenus sacramenta contaminet” (Op. imp. I. 9). But we cannot but decide that their doctrine fails to recognise the misery of sin and evil, that in its deepest roots it is godless, that it knows, and seeks to know, nothing of redemption, and that it is dominated by an empty formalism (a notional mythology) which does justice at no single point to actual quantities, and on a closer examination consists of sheer contradictions. In the form in which this doctrine was expressed by Pelagius—and in part also by Julian—i.e., with all the accommodations to which he condescended, it was not a novelty.435435His condemnation was, therefore—from a legal standpoint—not above question; the rejection of his energetic appeal to freedom in Church instruction not in every respect salutary. But in its fundamental thought it was; or, rather, it was an innovation because it abandoned, in spite of all accommodations in expression, the pole of the mystical doctrine of redemption, which the Church had steadfastly maintained side by side with the doctrine of freedom.436436But from this point of view it could not be thoroughly opposed. Augustinianism could alone overcome it. Augustine’s criticism of this system will be best given through an exposition of his own.
III. The fundamental notion of Pelagianism is nature embracing free will (liberum arbitrium); the fundamental notion of Augustinianism is grace, and in the Pelagian controversy the grace of God through Christ.437437Therefore the Pelagians attacked Augustine’s doctrine of nature, and he their doctrine of grace. Everything that Augustine has to say to the Pelagians springs properly from the proof that they were ignorant of the nature of grace, and therefore also of that of sin. In Pelagianism the doctrine of grace amounts to an “appendix” badly connected with the main subject; in Augustinianism the doctrine of nature is beset with contradictions, because it is impossible to give a rational account of nature and history from the standpoint of the grace of experience. For it is absolutely impossible to develop as a rational doctrine the conviction of the transforming grace of God who is also the creator; it must begin and end with the confession: “How incomprehensible are God’s judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” Augustine, sneered at as “Aristoteles Pœnorum” as “philosophaster Pœnorum” (Op. imperf. III. 198, V. 11), knew this also. But living in an age when it was held to be culpable ignorance and unbelief not to answer all possible questions, and penetrated by the vulgar conviction that Holy Scripture solved all problems, he, too, made the highest facts and the feelings of the inner life which he had gained in the gospel the starting-point of a description of “primitive history” and the history of mankind that could not but end in contradictions. At the same time, the pathological experiences of the course of his life are mirrored in this description. The stream of living water still bears in its depths traces of the gloomy banks past which it once had flowed, and into which it had almost sunk.438438Since Augustine’s fundamental theological conceptions have been already discussed above (see p. 94 ff. ), we have here only to examine the doctrine of grace, and that of sin and the primitive state. This order is self-evident, while Pelagianism started at the doctrine of an indestructible nature.
1. Mankind is, as experience shows, a “mass of sin” [massa peccati (perditionis)], waited on by death, and incapable of raising itself to the good; for having revolted from God, it could no more return to him than an empty vessel could refill itself. But in Christ the Redeemer—and in him alone—the grace of God manifested itself and entered on the work of man’s deliverance. Christ by his death removed the gulf between God and mankind—breaking the rule of the devil—so that the grace of God, which for that reason is gratia per (propter) Christum, could pursue its work.439439Expositions of the death of Christ as the ground of salvation are frequent in Augustine. But they refer mostly to the reign of the devil, which was legally abrogated by Christ’s death; on the other hand, they are much rarer when Augustine speaks of positive redemption. This deliverance from the devil’s power was the common conception of Christ’s death; it was the pretium paid for us to the devil, which he could not, however, retain. But it plays a subordinate part in Augustine’s whole system; even the thought that God must be propitiated, of which we have echoes in Augustine, is not strictly carried out. The grace of God to him means, as a rule, the annulling of the state of sin. It is involved, however, in the nature of the case, that the reference is uncertain; for it is hard to demonstrate how a “state” is changed effectively by the death of Christ. But the looseness of connection was also a result of Augustine’s conception of God; for grace, at bottom, emanated from the inscrutable decree of God, or the bonum esse. Augustine rarely connects gratia infusa in his thought with Christ, but with caritas, which is the essence of the Good. Here we have once more to remember that Christ himself, as a historical manifestation, was an instance in Augustine’s view of predestinating grace (see above, p. 129). “Therefore the activity of Christ, who, as living eternally, works directly in us, is loosely connected with the historical process of propitiation” (Dorner, p. 182). That is, this “ever living Christ” is himself nothing but grace. In Enchir. 108, Augustine has summed up all he had to say on the import of Christ’s work; but it will be found that, although the reconciliatio cum deo—only, indeed, as restoration to God—is not wanting, what is called “objective redemption” is left pretty much in the background. Augustine accordingly conceived the import of Christ spiritually: “Neque per ipsum liberaremur unum mediatorem dei et hominum hominem Jesum Christum, nisi esset et deus. Sed cum factus est Adam homo, scil. rectus, mediatore non opus erat. Cum vero genus humanum peccata longe separaverunt a deo, per mediatorem, qui solus sine peccato natus est, vixit, occisus est, reconciliari nos oportebat deo usque ad carnis resurrectionem in vitam æternam, ut humana superbia per humililatem dei argueretur (that is the main thought, see above, p. 131 f.) ac sanaretur et demonstraretur homini quam longe a deo recesserat (to-day this conception of Christ’s work would be called rationalistic), cum per incarnatum deum revocaretur et exemplum obedientiæ per hominem-deum (this expression, “homo-deus” was not used, so far as I know, before Augustine) contumaci homini præberetur, et unigenito suscipiente formam servi, quæ nihil ante meruerat, fons gratiæ panderetur et carnis etiam resurrectio redemptis promissa in ipso redemptore præmonstraretur, et per eandem naturam quam se decepisse lætabatur, diabolus vinceretur, nec tamen homo gloriaretur, ne iterum superbia nasceretur, etc.” This free grace (gratia gratis data)440440Enchir. 107: “Gratia vero nisi gratis est, gratia non est.” working in the Church, is beginning, middle, and end. Its aim is the rescue from the massa perditionis, that as guilty falls justly a prey to eternal death, of a fixed number of elect (certus numerus electorum), who enter eternal life. They are saved because God, in virtue of his eternal decree of salvation, has predestinated, chosen, called, justified, sanctified, and preserved them.441441See the writings De corrept. et gratia, De dono perseverantiæ, De prædest. sanctorum, as well as expositions in all the works of Augustine’s last years; for they never fail to prove that he more and more recognised the doctrine of predestinating grace to be the main one. Predestination does not rest on the foreknowledge that those particular men would follow grace, but it effects this result. The scriptural proof is Rom. IX. (see De prædest. 34). This is done through grace, which thus is (1) prevenient;442442Enchir. 32: “Nolentem prævenit ut velit, volentem subsequitur, ne frustra velit.” De gratia et lib. arb. 33: “præparat voluntatem et cooperando perficit, quod operando inficit. Quoniam ipse ut velimus operatur incipiens.” There are countless other passages. for it must first create the good will (faith).443443De spir et litt. 34: “Non credere potest quodlibet libero arbitrio, si nulla sit suasio vel vocatio cui credat; profecto et ipsum velle credere deus operatur in homine et in omnibus misericordia ejus prævenit nos: consentire autem vocationi dei vel ab ea dissentire propriæ voluntatis est.” Augustine’s favourite text was, “Quid habes, quod non accepisti.” (This prevenient grace can be combined with “the call” (vocatio);444444See preceding note. but we must even here remember that the call comes to some who are not “called according to the purpose.”445445See Augustine’s last writings, e.g., De corr. 39; De præd. 32. The means of grace are uncertain; the universal vocatio should be successful, but it is not. In the strict sense the whole transactions of grace apply only to those who are predestinated;446446Here it is true that “deus ita suadet ut persuadeat.” De prædest. 34: “Electi sunt ante mundi constitutionem ea prædestinatione, in qua deus sua futura facta præscivit; electi sunt autem de mundo ea vocatione, qua deus id, quod prædestinavit, implevit. Quos enim prædestinavit, ipsos et vocavit, illa scilicet vocatione secundum propositum, non ergo alios sed quos prædestinavit ipsos et vocavit, nec alios, sed quos prædestinavit, vocavit justificavit, ipsos et glorificavit, illo utique fine, qui non habet finem.” in the wider sense, grace operates as far as sanctification in a much greater circle, who, however, finally perish, because they have not received its last work.)447447Therefore it was possible for Augustine to conceive the means of grace as acting in the case of heretics, because he felt their efficacy in general to be in the end uncertain. Augustine has inserted his whole religious experience in the confession of free and prevenient grace. He nowhere speaks with greater conviction, more simply and grandly, than where he praises the grace that snatches man from his sinful condition. But grace (2) works co-operatively.448448See above, note 1. The commonest term is “adjutorium,” which the Pelagians also used, but with a quite different meaning. They thought of a crutch, Augustine of a necessary power. This work evolves itself in a series of stages, since naturally it is only possible slowly and gradually to reach the goal whose attainment is desired, viz., the perseverance and complete and actual regeneration of man449449That is, this regeneration, surpassing forgiveness of sin and faith, is always considered the goal. That is the moral phase of the religious movement. Renovatio = justificatio = sanctificatio = sanctitas. Thus even regeneration is only perfect at the close. Enchir. 31: “We become free when God fashions us into good men.”—re-creation into good men—accordingly his being rendered capable of doing good works of piety and possessing merit. The calling (vocatio) first results in faith as God’s gift. This faith is itself subject to growth, i.e., it begins as unquestioning acceptance based on the authority of the Church and Scripture; it presents itself further as obedience, then trust (fiducia) believing God, belief about God, belief on God (credere deum, credere de deo, credere in deum) and as such passes into love.450450On faith as an advancing process of faith see Dorner, pp. 183-195. Originally, faith is contrasted with knowledge; it is the acceptance on authority of things we cannot know, nay, of what is contrary to reason; but it grows into assensus, fiducia, and spiritual perception, and thus passes into love, or, according to Paul and James, into the faith that works in love. Parallel with this goes the effective (visible) action of grace in the Church,451451Yet, as follows from the above exposition, the whole process of grace is completely subjective, although the parallel of the rites of the Church is maintained. which begins with the remission of sins.452452Augustine was the first to make baptism a real act of initiation (Ench. 64: “a baptismate incipit renovatio”). The forgiveness of sins has an independent value only for the baptised child if it dies; otherwise it is an initiation. Here, and for this reason, we have Luther’s divergence in the notion of faith. De grat. et lib. arb. 27: “neque scientia divinæ legis, neque natura neque sola remissio peccatorum est illa gratia per Christum, sed ipsa facit, ut lex impleatur.” This is administered in baptism, and since the latter removes the guilt of original sin,453453For Augustine’s system it is a grave defect, sufficiently animadverted on also by the Pelagians, that baptism only removes the guilt of inherited sin; for with him removal of guilt is really a slight matter, in any case not the chief concern. But in the formulas the “non imputare,” as well as fides, undoubtedly appears as the chief thing. In reality, while the removal of guilt is the object of fides historica, sin is blotted out by gratia infusa. Where Augustine seeks to retain guilt as the supreme conception, he always turns to its punishment. Man is emptied by sin. Thus sin bears its punishment in itself. Man despoiled, however, is much too dependent, too much of a cipher, to be able to possess guilt. and blots out sins previously committed, it is the “bath of regeneration.” But it is so only as an initiatory act; for the actual justification, which corresponds to co-operating grace, is not yet gained, where sin is no longer imputed, but only where the irreligious man has become just, where accordingly an actual renovation has taken place. This is effected through the infusion of love into the heart by the Holy Spirit, and this love substitutes good for evil desire (concupiscence). That is, the man now not only makes the joyful confession: “To me to cleave to God is a good thing,” and delights in God as the summum bonum, instead of in perishable possessions (the humility of faith, love and hope in place of pride of heart), but gains also the power to do good works. This new frame of mind and capacity, which grace begets through the gift of the Holy Spirit, is the experience of justification by faith (justificatio ex fide).454454The formula justificatio ex fide is very frequent in Augustine. De spiritu et litt. 45: “cum dicat gratis justificari hominem per fidem sine operibus legis, nihil aliud volens intelligi in eo, quod dicit gratis, nisi quia justificationem opera non præcedunt. . . Quid est aliud justificati quam justi facti ab illo scilicet qui justificat impium ut ex impio fiat justus.” 15: “non quod sine voluntate nostra justificatio fiat, sed voluntas nostra ostenditur infirma per legem, ut sanet gratia voluntatem et sanata voluntas impleat legem.” C. Jul. II. 23: “justificatio in hac vita nobis secundum tria ista confertur: prius lavacro regenerationis, quo remittuntur cuncta peccata, deinde congressione cum vitiis, a quorum reatu absoluti sumus, tertio dum nostra exaudiatur oratio, qua dicimus, Dimitte nobis debita nostra.” The whole process up to the meritis and vita æterna in De gratia et lib. arb. 20. Love alone decides salvation, because it alone replenishes the man despoiled by sin. Man receives his final salvation by being restored through the spirit of love to goodness, being, and God, and by being united with him mystically yet really. The depreciation of faith follows necessarily from the notions of God, the creature and sin, all three of which have the mark of the acosmic. Since there is no independence beside God, the act of faith on the part of a subject in the presence of God only obtains any value when it is transformed into union with God—the “being filled” by God. This union, however, is a product of the freed will and gratia (cooperans).
Justification is an act that takes place once for all, and is completed sub specie æternitatis, and with reference to the fact that everything can be comprised in faith. As an empirical experience, however, it is a process never completed in this world, because the being replenished with faith, which through love labours to effect the complete transformation of man, is itself subject to limitation in our present life.455455This is argued very often by Augustine. The bona concupiscentia can, as experience shows, never wholly supplant on earth the mala. (De spiritu 6: “adjuvat spiritus sanctus inspirans pro concupiscentia mala concupiscentiam bonam, hoc est caritatem diffundens in cordibus nostris.”) For this very reason diffusio caritatis (gratia infusa, inspiratio dilectio—Augustine has many synonyms for this power of justification) is never perfected. Thus justification, which is identical with sanctification, is never completed because “opera” also are essential to it. Augustine appealed expressly to James. Gratia, however, is never imparted secundum merita bonaæ voluntatis, let alone bonorum operum; it first calls them forth. This operation of the spirit of love has its parallel in the effective (visible) dealings of grace in the Church, and that in the Lord’s Supper (the incorporation into the love and unity of Christ’s body) as well as in the Eucharistic sacrifice, penance, and Church works, so far as these are capable of blotting out sin.456456See above, p. 155. We have to notice here also the juxtaposition of the two processes, the outer and inner. For the rest, the whole account of the process of salvation is not yet reduced to a strict plan. Augustine still confuses the stages, and, fortunately, has no fixed terminology. Scholasticism first changed all this. These works, however, possess still another value. Renunciation of worldly pleasure is only completed in asceticism, and since at the Judgment God will deal with us in accordance with our works, the completion of justification can only consist in the sanctification, in virtue of which particular possessions—marriage, property, etc.—are wholly abandoned. It is not, indeed, absolutely necessary for everyone to fulfil the counsels of the gospel (consilia evangelica); we can live in faith, hope, and love without them. God’s grace does not make everyone a saint,457457No one can wholly avoid sin; but the saints can refrain from crimes (Enchir. 64). to be worshipped, and to be implored to intercede for us. But everybody who is to be crowned must ultimately possess merits in some degree; for, at the Judgment, merits will alone be crowned, these ever being, indeed, like all good, God’s gifts.458458The work “De fide et operibus” is especially important at this point. Augustine expressly denies, c. 40, that faith and knowledge of God suffice for final blessedness. He holds by the saying: “Hereby we know him, if we keep his commandments.” Against reformers like Jovinian, and not only against them, he defended the consilia, monachism, the higher morality, and the saints. De gratia et lib. arb. 1: “per gratiam dei bona merita comparamus quibus ad vitam perveniamus æternam.” By these merita, works thoroughly ascetic are to be understood; see also the writings, De sancta virgin., and De bono viduit., in which, for the rest, Augustine is still more favourable to marriage than at a later date. His writings are at all times marked by a lofty appreciation of almsgiving. But the perseverance of the elect in love through the whole course of their life until the Judgment is (3) the highest and last gift of grace, which now appears as irresistible. Perseverance to the end is the good, without which all that went before is nothing. Therefore, in a sense, it alone is grace; for only those are finally saved who have obtained this irresistible grace. The called who do not possess it are lost. But why only a few obtain this gift, though it is bestowed secundum merita, is God’s secret.459459That grace is gratis data only appears certain to Augustine from the contention that it is irresistibilis, and embraces the donum perseverantiæ. The doctrine that the election of grace is unconditioned thus appears most plainly at the close of the whole line of thought; see De corrept et grat. 34, and the writings De dono persev. and De prædest. sanct. But, according to Augustine, no one can be certain that he possesses this grace. Therefore with all his horror of sin, Augustine had not experienced the horror of uncertainty of salvation. For this reason Christ can take so secondary a place in the working out of the process of grace. Christ is for him the Redeemer, and is actively present in the Sacraments; but he is not the pledge of the inner assurance of salvation. Eternal life and eternal damnation are decreed by one and the same justice.460460But Augustine assumes different degrees also in definitive salvation and perdition. That is characteristic for his moral theory.
2. The doctrine of sin, the Fall, and the primitive state is sketched from the standpoint of free and prevenient grace. It follows from the doctrine of grace that sin characterises mankind as they now exist. Sin presents itself essentially as being without God (carentia dei), the voluntary diminution of strength of being.461461Dorner, p. 124 ff. The failure to possess God (privatio boni), the non inhærere deo, constitutes sin, and, indeed, the two thoughts—the one metaphysical, that sin is defect of being, the other ethical, that it is defect of goodness—coincide as we reflect on them,462462See above, p. 114 f. just as in the examination of grace the metaphysical (the finding of being from not-being) and the ethico-religious elements always accord. This sin is a state: the wretched necessity of being unable to refrain from sinning (misera necessitas non posse non peccandi). Freedom in the sense of free choice is not destroyed;463463This was constantly admitted by Augustine. but the freedom still existing always leads to sin; and this state is all the more dreadful, as there exists a certain knowledge of the good, nay, even a powerless desire for it, which invariably succumbs.464464We find in Augustine the two positions, that sinful man does not will goodness, and that he yet, under a blind impulse, pursues blessings, nay, even the good, but without ever attaining them. Positively, however, the sinful state presents itself as the rule of the devil over men, as pride465465The inclination to nothing (not-being) is always at the same time a striving for independence, which is false, and ends in being resultless. and concupiscence.466466Pride is the sin of the soul, concupiscence essentially that of the body which masters the soul. The inner evolution of sin from privatio (defectus) boni to ignorantia, concupiscentia, error, dolor, metus, delectatio morbida, see Enchir. 23. What Augustine always regarded most in sin was the infirmity, the wound. From that rule it follows that man must be redeemed from without before he can be helped.467467The work of the historical Christ is essentially redemption from the power of the devil. Pride in relation to God and concupiscence show that man is sinful in soul and body. Yet the emphasis falls on concupiscence;468468Here enters the popular Catholic element, still further accentuated, however, by Augustine. Enchir. 117: “Regnat carnalis cupiditas, ubi non est dei caritas.” it is the lower desire, sensuous lust, which shows itself above all in the lust of the flesh. The motus genitalium, independent even of the will, teaches us that nature is corrupt; it has not become vice (vitium), but it is vitiated (natura vitiata).469469The extremely disgusting disquisitions on marriage and lust in the polemical writings against Julian (also De civ. dei XIV.) are, as the latter rightly perceived, hardly independent of Augustine’s Manichæism: (Julian, indeed, traces Traducianism to Manichæism; see Op. imperf. III. 172). (Manichæism, besides, already appears, in the treatment of the “ex nihilo,” as if it were an evil substance; Neoplatonism alone does not, in my opinion, explain this conception; yet the above dependence cannot be strictly proved—see Loofs, D.-Gesch., 3 Ed., p. 215.) And the disquisitions are by no means a mere outwork in Augustine’s system; they belong to its very centre. The most remarkable feature in the sexual sphere was, in his view, the involuntariness of the impulse. But instead of inferring that it could not therefore be sinful—and this should have been the inference in keeping with the principle “omne peccatum ex voluntate”—he rather concludes that there is a sin which belongs to nature, namely, to natura vitiata, and not to the sphere of the will. He accordingly perceives a sin rooted in natura, of course in the form which it has assumed, a sin that propagates itself with our nature. It would be easy now to prove that in thinking of inherited sin, he always has chiefly in view this very sin, the lust of procreation; but it is impracticable to quote his material here. It is clear that inherited sin is the basis of all wickedness, and that it is in quite a different position front actual sins, because in it nature, having become evil, infects the whole being. But it is obvious that this was an unheard of novelty in the Church, and must be explained by reference to Manichæism. Of course Augustine did not intend to be a Manichæan. He distinguishes sharply between vitium and natura vitiate (De nupt. 36; Op. imp. III. 188, etc., etc.,); he strives to introduce the “voluntarium” even into inherited sin (Retract. I. 13, 5); but dualism is not surmounted simply by supposing nature to have become “mala,” and yet to propagate itself as evil, and the voluntarium is a mere assertion. The dualism lies in the proposition that children possess original sin, because their parents have procreated them in lust—and by this proposition stands or falls the doctrine of original sin (De nupt. II. 15). So also Christ has sinlessness attributed to him, because he was not born of marriage (Ench. 41, 34), and Augustine imagined paradisaical marriages in which children were begotten without lust, or, as Julian says jestingly, were to be shaken from trees. All that he here maintains had been long ago held by Marcion and the Gnostics. One would have, in fact, to be a very rough being not to be able, and that without Manichæism, to sympathise with his feeling. But to yield to it so far as Augustine did, without rejecting marriage in consequence, could only happen at a time when doctrines were as confused as in the fifth century. Those, indeed, have increased the confusion still further, who have believed that they could retain Augustine’s doctrine of inherited sin while rejecting his teaching as to concupiscence. But the history of dogma is the history of ever increasing confusions, and of a growing indifference not only to the absurd, but also to contradictions, because the Church was only with difficulty capable of giving up anything found in tradition. It cannot also be said that Augustine by his theory simply gave expression to the monastic tendency (Jerome, indeed, has gone just as far in his rejection of marriage—see lib. adv. Jovin.); for this was a tendency and not a theory. The legitimate point in Augustine’s doctrine lies in the judgment passed by the child of God on himself, viz., that without God he is wretched, and that this wretchedness is guilt. But this paradox of the verdict of faith is no key to the understanding of history. It therefore propagates sin. That it does so is attested by the evidence of the senses, the sensuous, and therefore sinful pleasure in the act of procreation, and by Holy Scripture (Rom. V. 12 f.). Thus mankind is a massa perditionis also in the sense that it procreates sin in itself from a corrupt nature. But since the soul in all probability is not procreated at the same time, it is in each case created by God,470470See the correspondence with Jerome on this point which was never settled by Augustine. so the body, begotten in the lust of the flesh, is quite essentially the bearer of sin.471471This destroys the beautiful proposition (pride and humility) out of which, of course, no historical theories could be constructed. That the latter thus descends is decreed by God; for sin is not always merely sin, but also, or often only, the punishment of sin (peccatum and malum combine in the sense of evil).472472On sin and sin’s punishment (inherited sin is both), see Op. imp. I. 41-47, but even in the Confessions often, and De pecc. mer. II. 36. The sin which descends in the massa perditionis (peccatum originis, tradux peccati) is at once sin and sin’s punishment. This has been ordained by him who decreed sins (the “ordinator peccatorum).” Every desire involves infatuation. It is the penalty of sin that we do the evil we would not. Every sin carries with it dissolution, the death of the sinner. It rends and dismembers him, it empties him and exhausts him, until he no longer exists. Thus death reigns in its various forms, till it reaches eternal death, in the massa perditionis. This humanity which is subject to the dreary necessity of not being able to refrain from sin (non posse non peccare) is therefore also and at the same time subject to the dreadful necessity of not being able to escape death (non posse non mori).473473Even inherited sin is quite enough for damnation, as Augustine has very often maintained—and rightly, if there is such a thing. No power of its own can rescue it. Its best deeds are all stained from the roots; therefore they are nothing but splendid vices. Its youngest offspring, even if they have done nothing sinful, must necessarily be lost; for since they possess original sin, i.e., are destitute of God, and are burdened with concupiscence, they pass justly into damnation.474474“Mitissima pœna” (Enchir. 103)—thus the man permits himself to soften the inscrutable righteousness of God which he teaches elsewhere. He answered the question why then should God continue to create men if they must almost all be lost, by referring to baptism, and the peculiar power of Divine Omnipotence to make good out of evil. Had God not been omnipotent, then he could not have permitted evil (Enchir. 11); “melius judicavit, de malis bene facere, quam mala nulla esse permittere” (c. 27, 100). But he himself was shaken by the problem presented by the death, unbaptised, of Christian children (De corr. et gr. 18), All who are lost are juste prædestinati ad pœnam (mortem)—see Enchir. 100; De civ. XXII. 24. Whether God damns all, or pardons some—nulla est iniquitas; for all have deserved death (Enchir. 27). “Tenebatur justa damnatione genus humanum et omnes erant iræ filii” (c. 33). Here in the later writings arises the doctrine of God’s twofold will (judicium), the secret and the manifest. God does not will that all be blessed (Enchir. 203). This is attested also by the Church when it baptises newly-born children.475475It was very incorrect to derive Augustine’s whole conception of original sin from the practice of infant baptism. It was, of course, very important to him as a means of proof.
How did this state arise—a state which could not have been due to God the creator? Scripture and the Church answer: through Adam’s Fall. The magnitude of this Fall had already been depicted in the Church; but from his standpoint Augustine had rightly to say that Adam’s sin, and therewith sin in general, had not yet been duly perceived—yet the Church, as its institutions prove, had, it was alleged, appreciated it truly; writers, however, had fallen short of this estimate. Adam’s Fall was inconceivably great.476476The description of the magnitude of Adam’s Fall is in most of the anti-Pelagian writings, but also elsewhere. When, in the hope of becoming like God, he transgressed God’s command not to eat the apple, all conceivable sins were compressed into his sin: the revolt to the devil, pride of heart, envy, sensuous lust—all in all: self-love in place of love of God.477477In the case of Adam’s Fall Augustine gives the greatest prominence to the sin of the soul: “in paradiso ab animo cœpit elatio” (c. Jul. V. 17). We have “amor sui” as chief and radical sin in the Confessions; Enchir. 45 gives a precise enumeration of all the sins committed in one act by Adam. And it was all the more dreadful, as it was easy for Adam to refrain from sin.478478That is, he was not only created good, but grace stood by him also as adjutorium: see under. Therefore also came the unspeakable misery, viz., the punishment of sin, with and in sin, working itself out in death. Adam lost the possession of God.479479The grace supporting him (adjutorium). This was followed by complete deprivation (defectio boni), which is represented as the death of the soul; for the latter without God is dead (spiritual death).480480Augustine always thinks first of this death. That the Pelagians accepted for their own purposes, since they held natural death to be natural. Augustine never maintained that formal freedom had been lost by Adam’s sin, nay, in C. duas epp. Pelag. I. 5 he distinctly disputed this: “libertas periit, sed illa, quæ in paradiso fuit, non liberum arbitrium.” But Augustine has represented the latter to be hopelessly hampered. See also the writing De gratia et lib. arb. In it he says (c. 45): “deus induravit per justum judicium, et ipse Pharao per liberum arbitrium. But (Enchir. 105): “Multo liberius erit arbitrium, quod omnino non poterit servire peccato.” The dead soul is now drawn downwards; it seeks its blessings in the mutable and perishable, and is no longer capable of commanding the body. The latter then asserted itself with all its wanton impulses, and thus corrupted the whole human nature.481481Thus sensuousness appears as the main detriment.
The corruption is manifest in sexual lust, whose sinfulness is evidenced by compulsion and shame, and it must be inherited since the central seat of nature is disordered.482482Enchir. 26: “Hinc post peccatum exul effectus stirpem quoque suam, quam peccando in se tamquam in radice vitiaverat, pœna mortis et damnationis obstrinxit, ut quidquid prolis ex illo et simul damnata per quam peccaverat conjuge per carnalem concupiscentiam, in qua inobedientiæ pœna similis [so far as the flesh here is not obedient to the will, but acts of itself] retributa est, nasceretur, traheret originale peccatum, quo treheretur per errores doloresque diversos ad illud extremum supplicium.” It indeed still continues to be capable of redemption—it does not become an evil substance—but it is so corrupt that even grace can only blot out the guilt (reatus) of original sin; it cannot completely extirpate concupiscence itself in the elect, as is proved by the survival of the evil sexual lust. This inheriting of sin and of Adam’s death is, however, not merely a fact, but it is just, because Scripture says that we have all sinned in Adam,483483Augustine’s exposition of the ἐφ᾽ ᾧ in De pecc. mer. I. 11; c. Jul. VI. 75 sq.; Op. imp. II. 48-55 (against mere imitation). The translation “in quo” was received by Augustine from tradition, and in general his doctrine of original sin is at this point closest to tradition. If he had contented himself with the mystical, i.e., the postulated, conception that all are sinners, because they somehow were all in Adam, his theory would have been no novelty. But this “in quo” does not include, but excludes, original sin in the strict sense; all are sinners personally, because they were all in Adam, or were Adam. The conception that Adam’s sin passed to all as actual sip, and affected them through contagion (by means of the parents who infect their children, Enchir. 46; doubts as to the extent of descent by inheritance, 47), is the complete antithesis of that mystical conception. because all owe their life to sinful lust,484484See above, p. 210 f. and because—God is just.
Adam’s Fall presupposes that his previous constitution had been good. This is taught, too, by Scripture, and it follows likewise from the assurance that God is the creator, and the good creator, of all things.485485On the doctrine of the primitive state, see Dorner, p. 114 ff. If Adam was created good, then he possessed not only everything that a rational creature needs (body and soul and their due relationship as servant and master, reason and free will), but, above all, grace ever supporting and preserving him, the adjutorium, that is the bond of union with the living God; for the virtuous man is not independent of God; he is only independent when completely dependent on God. Adam, accordingly, not only had a free will, but this will was influenced in the direction of God.486486Both formal freedom and the true freedom which established Adam’s obedience as the mater omnium virtutum are very strongly emphasised by Augustine as belonging to the primitive state; De civ. XIV. 12; De bono conjug. 32. On the primitive state, l.c. XI.-X1V.; De corrept. 28-33. For this very reason he was free (in God); but he was also free (able) to will evil; for evil springs from freedom. If Adam had not possessed a free will, he would have been unable to sin; but in that case he would not have been a rational creature. So he possessed the power not to sin, or die, or forsake the good (posse non peccare, —mori,—deserere bonum), but this through the adjutorium (auxiliary grace) went so far in the direction of inability to sin (non posse peccare) that it would have been easy for Adam to attain it.487487This “ease” is strongly emphasised in De civ. XIV. 12-15. The whole doctrine of the primitive state, like all teaching on this subject, is full of contradictions; for we have here a grace that is meant to be actual, and is yet merely a condition, i.e., it by no means makes a man good, but only leaves scope to the will. Thereby the whole doctrine of grace is upset; for if there is a grace at all which only produces the posse non peccare, is not this the sole significance of all grace? and if that is correct, were not the Pelagians right? They, of course, maintained that grace was only a condition. Augustine’s doctrine of grace in the primitive state (the adjutorium) is Pelagian, and contradicts his doctrine of grace elsewhere. We have here the clearest proof that it is impossible to construct a history from the standpoint of predestinating grace. Augustine falls back on the assumption that God wished to bestow on man a higher good than that he had received at first. Enchir. 25, 105: “Sic enim oportebat prius hominem fieri, ut et bene velle posset et male, nec gratis si bene, nec impune, si male; postea vero sic erit, ut male velle non possit, nec ideo libero carebit arbitrio . . . ordo prætermittendus non fuit, in quo deus ostendere voluit, quam bonum sit animal rationale quod etiam non peccare possit, quamvis sit melius quod peccare non possit.” But how does that accord with irresistible grace? Therefore the question rightly arises (De corrept. et gratia): “Quomodo Adam non perseverando peccavit, qui perseverantiam non accepit?” Is not the whole doctrine of grace upset if we have to read (Enchir. 106): “Minorem immortalitatem (i.e., posse non mori) natura humana perdidit per liberum arbitrium, majorem (i.e., non posse mori) est acceptura per gratiam, quam fuerat, si non peccasset, acceptura per meritum, quamvis sine gratia nec tunc ullum meritum esse potuisset?” Accordingly, at the beginning and end (the primitive state and the Judgment) the moral view is set above the religious. The whole doctrine of predestinating irresistible grace is set in a frame incompatible with it. Thus Augustine is himself responsible if his Church in after times, arguing from the primitive state and the Judgment (secundum merita), has eliminated practically his doctrine of gratia gratis data. He, indeed, said himself (107): “ipsa vita æterna merces est operum bonorum,” That would have been the case with Adam, and it is also ours. The infralapsarian doctrine of predestination, as understood by Augustine, is very different from Calvin’s. Had he attained it by means of free will (liberum arbitrium), he would have received perfect blessedness in return for the merit involved in his perseverance, he would have remained, and escaped death, in Paradise, and would have begotten children without sinful lust. We see that the primitive state was meant to be portrayed in accordance with the state of grace of the present; but an important difference prevailed, since in the former case, the adjutorium was only the condition, under which Adam could use his free will lastingly in being and doing good, while in the latter, it is the power, that, being irresistible, brings fallen man to perfection.
Contemporary criticism on this system may here be briefly summed up. Augustine contradicted himself in maintaining that all ability to attain goodness had been lost, and in yet admitting that freedom of choice—the decisive thing—remained. His notion of freedom was self-destructive, since he defined freedom as lasting dependence on God. His conception of original sin was self-contradictory, because he himself admitted that sin always springs from the will. He was compelled to teach Traducianism, which, however, is a heresy. And his Scriptural exegesis was arbitrary. In particular, God provokes sins, if he punishes sin with sin, and decrees the reign of sin; he is unjust if he imputes to men the sins of others, while forgiving them their own, and, further, if he accepts some, and not others, just as he pleases. This contention leads to despair. Above all, however, the doctrine of original sin leads to Manichæan dualism, which Augustine never surmounted, and is accordingly an impious and foolish dogma. For, turn as he will, Augustine affirms an evil nature, and therewith a diabolic creator of the world. His doctrine of concupiscence conduces to the same view. Besides, he depreciates the glorious gift of human freedom, nay, even divine grace in Christ, since he holds that original sin is never entirely removed. Finally, his doctrines of the exclusive efficacy of grace and predestination put an end not only to asceticism and the meritoriousness of good works, but also to all human doings. It is useless to exhort, intercede for, or blame sinners, etc. In the end, even the connection with the Church, which Augustine insisted on so energetically in the Donatist controversy, seemed to be superseded.
Truth and error exist side by side in these observations. Perhaps the following considerations will be more pertinent. (1) The impossibility of determining the fate of the whole body of mankind and of every separate individual from the stand-point of gratia gratis data, is shown in the thesis of the damnation of children who die unbaptised. Here Augustine impugns the thought of God’s righteousness. But this thought must become worthless altogether if everything is overruled by predestinating and irresistible grace. Thereby a grave injury is inflicted on piety. (2) The carrying out of the conception of predestinating grace, which should be no more than a sentiment, confined to himself, of the redeemed, leads to a determinism that conflicts with the gospel and imperils the vigour of our sense of freedom. Besides, the assumption of irresistible grace rests above all experience, even above that of the believer, and the doctrine of God’s twofold will (see de grat. et lib. arb. 45) makes everything affecting faith uncertain. (3) Augustine did not by any means hold so certainly that grace was grace through Christ, as that it proceeded from the secret operation of God. The acosmic Neoplatonic element in the doctrine of predestination imperilled not only the efficacy of the Word and Sacrament (vocatio and justificatio), but also redemption through Christ in general. (4) The religious tendency in the system, the belief that the decisive point was cleaving or not cleaving to God, received in the sequel a new version, and the moral attitude became rather the crucial question—the will, of course when freed, was an efficient cause of righteousness. For this reason the meaning of forgiveness, of the new fundamental relation to God, and of the assurance of faith, was misunderstood. The former became an act of initiation, the relation became temporary, and the assurance of faith, which even according to the doctrine of predestination need not arise, was lost in the conception of a process of sanctification never or almost never completed in this world, a process to which various grades of salvation, just as there were various degrees of damnation, corresponded in the world beyond. What a proof of moralism!488488Enchir. 93: “Tanto quisque tolerabiliorem ibi habebit damnationem, quanto hic minorem habuit iniquitatem!” Also 111. Between the thesis of the ancient (Greek) Church: “Where the knowledge of God is, come also life and salvation,” and Luther’s principle: “Where we have forgiveness of sins, we have also life and salvation,” we find Augustine’s: “Where love is there also follows a salvation corresponding to the measure of love.” Augustine examined the equation remission of sins = grace through Christ, and expressly rejected it. This turn he gave his doctrine also explains the contention that God, in the end, crowns our merits, a view that conflicts with predestinating grace, and opens the door to a refined form of righteousness by works.489489Augustine attempted, in opposition to Pelagianism, to exhibit the difference between the law and faith: “fides impetrat quod lex imperat.” He also succeeded as far as the difference can he evolved from the notion of grace as the exclusive operation of God. But since he had not obtained an insight into the strict and exclusive cohesion of grace and faith, he did not succeed in thinking out and holding fast the distinction between law and faith to the end. He had no assured experience that the law prepared the way for wrath and despair. At this point Luther intervened. (5) The Neoplatonic notion of God and the monastic tendency demand that all love should at the same time present itself in the form of asceticism. Thereby love drifts still further apart from faith (as fiducia), threatens the sovereignty of the latter, and gives free scope for all sorts of popular Catholic conceptions. (6) The conception—necessary in the system—of Adam’s Fall and original sin contains—apart from the mythology which here takes the place of history—a bundle of inconsistencies and extremely questionable ideas. The latter Augustine also perceived, and he tried, but without success, to guard against them. Absolutely Manichæan is the view that man sins because he was created from nothing, “nothing” being here treated as an evil principle. (The Neoplatonic doctrine also sees in this “nothing” the ground of sin; but to it sin is merely finitude. Augustine took a more profound view of sin, but he had also to conceive the nilhil as “more evil” in proportion, i.e., to convert it into the evil substance of Manichism.) Manichæan also is the opinion that sexual desire is sinful, and that inherited sin is explained simply from procreation as the propagation of a vitiated nature (natura vitiata).490490It is perhaps the worst, it is at any rate the most odious, consequence of Augustinianism, that the Christian religion in Catholicism is brought into particularly close relations to the sphere of sex. The combination of grace and sin (in which the latter takes above all the form of original sin identified with the sexual impulse and its excesses) became the justification of that gruesome and disgusting raking up of human filth, which, as is proved by the moral books of Catholicism, is a chief business of the priest, the celibate priest and monk, in the confessional. The dogmatic treatises of mediæval and modern times give, under the heading “sin,” a wholly colourless idea of what is really considered “sin,” of that which incessantly occupies the imagination of common Christians, priests, and, unfortunately, also many “saints.” We have to study the mirrors of the confessional, the moral books and legends of the saints, and to surprise the secret life, to perceive to what point in Catholicism religious consolation is especially applied. Truly, the renowned educational wisdom of this Church makes a sad shipwreck on this rock! It seeks here also to oppose sin; but instead of quieting the imagination, which is especially interested in it, it goes on exciting it to its depths, drags the most secret things shamelessly to the light in its dogmas of the virgin, etc., and permits itself to speak openly of matters of which no one else ventures to talk. Ancient naturalism is less dangerous, at any rate for thousands less infectious, than this seraphic contemplation of virginity, and this continual attention to the sphere of sex. Here Augustine transmitted the theory, and Jerome the music. But how far the beginnings reach back! Tertullian had already written the momentous words (De pudic. 17): “Quid intelligimus carnis sensum et carnis vitam nisi quodcunque pudet pronuntiare?” Later writers were nevertheless not ashamed to utter broadly what the far from prudish African only suggested. Absolutely contradictory are the positions that all sin springs from freedom (the will), and that children just born are in a state of sin. It is extremely suspicious to find that, when sin is more minutely dealt with, concupiscence is practically ranked above alienation from God (deo non adhærere), this also, indeed, resulting from uncertainty as to Traducianism. It again raises our doubts when we see original sin treated as if it were more serious than actual sin; for while the former can only be washed out by baptism, the latter can be atoned for by penance. The whole doctrinal conception at this point shows that the conviction of the redeemed, that without God he is lost and unfit to do any good work, is a verdict of the believer on himself, a verdict that marks a limit, but can never become a principle by which to consider the history of mankind. At this point, just because the contradictions were so enormous, the development of dogmatic with Augustine was on the verge of casting off the immense material in which it had been entangled, and of withdrawing from the interpretation of the world and history; but as Augustine would not abandon that material, so men will not, even at the present day, let it go, because they suppose that the Bible protects it, and because they will not learn the humility of faith, that shows itself in renunciation of the attempt to decide on God’s government of the world in history.491491We have at the same time to notice that no Church Father was so keenly conscious as he of the limitations of knowledge. In almost all his writings—a bequest of the Academy and a result of his thought being directed to the main matter—he exhorts his hearers to refrain from over-curiousness, a pretence of knowledge that runs to seed. He set aside as insoluble very many problems that had been and were afterwards often discussed, and he prepared the way for the concentration of the doctrinal system on its own material. (7) But apart from original sin, Augustine’s notion of sin raises doubts, because it is constructed at least as much on the thought of God as the supreme and true being (summum and verum esse) as on that of his goodness (bonum esse). Although the stamp of guilt is not wholly misunderstood, yet it is the thought of the misery produced by sin with its destructiveness and hideousness that comes to the front. Hence we understand why Augustine, passing over justifying faith, perceived the highest good in “infused love” (caritas infusa). (8) Finally the doctrine of the primitive state is beset by inconsistency, because Augustine could not avoid giving grace another meaning in that state from that it possessed in the process by which the redeemed is justified. With him grace is ultimately identical with irresistible grace—anything else is a semblance of it; but though Adam possessed grace, it was not irresistible.
But all these grave objections cannot obscure the greatness of the perception that God works in us “to will and to accomplish,” that we have nothing that we have not received, and that dependence on God is good, and is our possession. It is easy to show that in every single objectionable theory formulated by Augustine, there lurks a true phase of Christian self-criticism, which is only defective because it projects into history, or is made the foundation on which to construct a “history.” Is not the doctrine of predestination an expression of the confession: “He who would boast, let him boast in the Lord”? Is not the doctrine of original sin based on the thought that behind all separate sins there resides sin as want of love, joy, and divine peace? Does it not express the just view that we feel ourselves guilty of all evil, even where we are shown that we have no guilt?
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