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divine grace by his works, for in order to perform works that are truly pious, he must have first a suitable state of heart, the inward justitia. But this source of goodness man has not from himself; only the Holy Spirit can impart it to him in Regeneration; antecedently to this all men are in equal estrangement from God; but it depends on themselves whether by believing they make themselves susceptible for the Holy Spirit, or not.* God has chosen faith. It is written, God works all in all in men; but he does not believe all in all. Faith is man's concern.t From this point we can trace the gradual revolution in Augustin's mode of thinking to its later harsher form. Yet in his treatise De 83 diversis quæstionibus (written about A.D. 388), he says in explaining Rom. ix. 18, ("Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth"): This will of God is not unrighteous, for it is conditioned by the most secret relations of congruity; all men indeed, are corrupt, but yet there is a difference among them; there is in sinners something antecedent by which they become deserving of justification or of hardening. The calling of individuals and of whole nations belongs to those high and deep things which Man does not understand if he is not spiritually minded. But it must be always maintained that God does nothing unrighteous and that there is no being who does not owe everything to God. The more AUGUSTIN advanced in a deeper perception of faith, the more he recognised it as a living principle and not as a mere faith of authority, and he acquired a stronger conviction that Faith presupposed a divine operation in the soul of Man and that the Bible referred it to divine agency. He was now easily impelled to the other extreme, and to give a onesided prominence to the divine factor in Faith. Resignation to God became his ruling principle, and looking back at his earlier
Cap. 60.-Quod credimus nostrum est; quod autem bonum operamur illius qui credentibus in se dat Spiritum Sanctum.
+ Non quidem Deus elegit opera quæ ipse largitur quum dat Spiritum Sanctum ut per caritatem bona operemur; sed tamen elegit fidem.
Quæstio 68, § 4.-Venet enim de occultissimus meritis, quia et ipsi peccatores cum propter generale peccatum unam massam fecerint, non tamen nulla est inter illos diversitas. Præcedit ergo aliquid in peccatoribus quo, quamvis nondum sint justificati digni efficiantur justificatione et item præcedit in aliis peccatoribus quo digni sunt obtusione.
life, he learnt more and more to trace everything to his
From the preceding remarks it is clear that Augustin
perceive how false it is, that his System in this form was derived from his excessive opposition to Pelagianism, since it had been formed ten years before his conflict with it. We might rather affirm of PELAGIUS that he would not have developed his doctrine in its actual form, had he not been opposed to AUGUSTIN.
PELAGIUS was a man of mild temper,* gentle development, and quiet studies; the ancient British Church from which he sprang, stood in connexion with the East. This might have induced him to have occupied himself early with the study of the Greek Church teachers. He studied them with deep interest, and the Anthropology of the Eastern Church unavoidably had an influence on his own. He was guided by a strong moral influence; this led him to Monkery, and was developed still further. He did not satisfy himself with the opus operatum of outward fulfilling of the Law and devotional exercises, but there was in him a real striving after internal holiness. But being regulated by monkish morality which introduced the standpoint of the Perfect which rendered more than the Law required, he was disposed to overrate the moral power of Man. He who imagined that he could do more than the Law required, could not fathom the depths of moral obligation. It was a leading object with Pelagius to arouse to moral efforts. He met with errors both dogmatic and ethical, which stood in the way of his striving after Christian perfection. Some persons, misunderstanding the doctrines of the corruption of human nature and of Grace, made them an excuse for their negligence in moral efforts; others proceeded on a false idea and estimate of Faith; it was not to them a principle of the inner life but a mere historical outward faith of Authority, separate from the disposition. Many satisfied themselves with such a dead faith, as they held the notion that they might be saved without being very particular about their practice, provided they believed. The Anthropological tendency of Pelagius was formed in his conflict with these erroneous views. To the first class he endeavoured to prove the indestructibleness of moral power; on the other hand, he lowered the importance of Grace, and giving prominence to the Ethical before the Dogmatic, he forgot the peculiar character of Christian Morals and the necessary connexion of these two * Jacobi, Die Lehre des Pelagius, 1842.
elements. On the other hand to those who rested in a dead faith, he believed it was necessary to show that such a faith would profit nothing. AUGUSTIN also combated this error in his treatise de fide et operibus. But when PELAGIUS in accordance with the view prevalent in the Church, demanded that to this faith good works should be superadded, AUGUSTIN showed that good works must proceed from a living faith. PELAGIUS by no means intended to found a new doctrine, but only designed to restore the old Church-doctrine and to guard against innovations. He did not perceive the contrariety of his doctrine to the Bible and the Dogma of the Church. As he denied the corruption of human nature in consequence of the first transgression, by which he thought to promote the interests of Morality, he would, if he had reasoned consequentially, have been led to reject supernatural Revelation and Redemption, yet he admitted inconsistently the doctrines of the Bible respecting the original state of Man, Revelation, and Redemption. His views were firmly fixed when in the beginning of the fifth century he came to Rome and published there a Commentary on Paul's Epistles. They are distinctly stated in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. By the death which is the consequence of Sin, he understood spiritual death; righteousness by the works of the Law he referred only to the Ceremonial Law. When he heard a bishop repeating the words from AUGUSTIN'S Confessions, "My God, bestow on me what thou commandest, and then command what thou wilt!"* he was irritated, as if they contained a denial of Free Will. Yet he was naturally little disposed to controversy, if he had been allowed to remain at rest; but having formed an intimacy with CELESTIUS an advocate, he induced him to retire from the World to an ascetic life, and also determined his dogmatic mode of thinking; and this person, being of a more systematic and polemic turn of mind, gave the first impulse to the controversy.
THE OUTWARD HISTORY OF THE PELAGIAN CONTROVERSY.
About A p. 411, PELAGIUS and CELESTIUS went to Carthage; the former soon returned to Palestine; but the latter remained at Carthage, and by his asceticism gained such great respect, * Lib. 1. cap. 29.
that he sought to be chosen Presbyter. But as in this part of the Church AUGUSTIN had great influence his attempt met with opposition, and PAULINUS. a deacon of Milan, accused him, A.D. 412, before a synod at Carthage. Six heretical propositions were laid to his charge, which were founded on this, that Adam's sin had injured only himself, and that men at their birth were in the same state as Adam before the Fall. Cælestius endeavoured to evade the charge, as if it related merely to a speculative point and did not affect the doctrine of the Church; the belief in hereditary depravity was connected with Traducianism, and since nothing was determined respecting the propagation of souls and the tradux peccati, every one might have his own opinion respecting it. Infant baptism, which at that time was universally regarded as an apostolic Institution, and which pre-supposed sinfulness existing at the birth, was objected to him. But CELESTIUS admitted the necessity of Infant baptism only not in the same doctrinal connexion, but because baptism gave a stronger title to salvation which could not be attained by mere moral efforts. The Synod was not satisfied with these explanations, and since he would not pronounce an Anathema on his own doctrine, he was excommunicated. AUGUSTIN'S influence also withstood PELAGIUS in Palestine. JEROME who then shared the views of AUGUSTIN, lived at Bethlehem and entered the lists. The Spaniard OROSIUS, a zealous adherent of AUGUSTIN, appeared before a Synod at Jerusalem under the presidency of the bishop JOHN, and charged PELAGIUS with maintaining that Man could be without sin, if he would. Owing to the loose manner in which dogmas were held in the Oriental Church, it was supposed that the question related only to the connexion of Grace and Free Will, and as PELAGIUS declared that he held the adjutorium Dei to be necessary, the assembly was satisfied. Meanwhile two Gallic bishops, HEROS and LAZARUS, accused him about A.D. 415, before a second Synod held at DIOSPOLIS in Palestine, under the presidency of EULOGIUS, bishop of CÆSAREA.* The charges consisted partly of propositions which he himself had advanced, partly of expressions used by CELESTIUS, and which might to some extent be more easily in an orthodox than in an heretical sense. Such was the assertion that any man could do more than what is prescribed in * De Gestis Pelagii, Opp. ed. Bened. t. x. p. 130.