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the Law and the Gospel. Pelagius appealed to what is said in 1 Cor. vii. on celibacy, and since the doctrine of the consilia evangelica and its proof from that passage were generally approved, nothing could be said against his assertion. In reference to another charge, that at the final judgment no sinners will be spared, but all will be consigned to eternal punishment, it was still more difficult to point out anything heretical, as he appealed to the passages in the Bible on eternal punishment, and could represent the opposite doctrine as Origen's. He wished to combat those who imagined that by a mere dead faith without good works, and in spite of their vicious lives, they would escape eternal punishment and only have to pass through a purification in the Ignis Purgatorius. As to the third charge-that the kingdom of heaven was promised even in the Old Testament-he replied, that this might be proved from Holy Writ and none but Heretics denied it. But this sentiment was founded on another, which however was not noticed any further, that there was a legal righteousness different from the Evangelical, which led to eternal life. Heresy was more glaring in the assertion that all men were governed by their own will. But the Orientals were satisfied with the explanation that the Free Will was supported by God when it willed what was good, and that Man incurs guilt for sin by his own Free Will. As to the charge that man could be without sin if he would, Pelagius distinguished between possibility and act (posse et actus). God had placed in Man the possibility of being without sin; yet he would not assert that there was any one in existence who had never sinned from childhood to old age. Those who were converted from sin, might by their own efforts and God's grace succeed in being without sin, though temptations would not be entirely taken away. It was also understood that the Orientals only required that he should pronounce an anathema on those who held a different opinion. He pronounced it, but with this singular explanation, that he condemned them not as Heretics but as Fools, as it did not relate to a matter of doctrine. He intended therefore to say that it was only a matter of fact. But how could he pronounce an Anathema on mere Stulti? It is not clear, what he meant by stating that; this had no reference to Dogmatics; it is also doubtful to what proposition he referred;



whether he regarded those as stulti, who maintained that Man could keep himself free from Sin without the assistance of Grace, especially as that phrase is so indefinite; or whether he had in his mind the assertion that generally no man from the beginning has lived free from Sin; to maintain the contrary as a matter of fact would be against experience and foolish. Then indeed he could hardly be acquitted of self-contradiction and prevarication. The propositions of Celestius which were laid before him he was ready to condemn, though among these were some which it was not easy to see how he could reject. But he was not required to make any more precise explanations, and was acknowledged as a member of the Oriental Church. His opponents meanwhile were not satisfied, and in their ulterior proceeding showed the differences of their characters. Jerome attacked the Orientals fiercely, and called the Synod a Synodus miserabilis.* Augustin on the other hand, showed with greater tact that from their unacquaintance with the controversies of the West, they had been deceived by the ambiguous statements of Pelagius, and that the condemnation of their own doctrines was contained in the Anathemas they had required him to pronounce; though in this he falsely assumed that his doctrine of Grace and Predestination was the general one, and acknowledged also in the Oriental Church. The North African Church now interested itself more generally in the controversy, in order to counteract the influence of the Oriental decisions. At two Synods held A.D. 416 at Carthage and Milan,† the sentence passed on Pelagius and Cælestius was re-affirmed, and they were excluded from the communion of the Church unless they expressly abjured their errors. These Councils, besides Augustin and four bishops, reported their proceedings to the bishop of Rome, Innocent I., described the doctrine of Pelagius and Cælestius, and asserted that they denied the necessity of grace and of Infant Baptism for freedom from Sin. As Pelagius originally belonged to the West and the Roman Church, the affair had already been laid before Innocent I. by the Orientals. He avowed his agreement with the African Church. But since that related to a special

* Ep. 81.

+ See the reports of the African bishops, and the letters of Innocent and Zosimus in Marius Mercator.



point, it does not follow that he was entirely of the same sentiments as Augustin. The accused parties complained of the unfair representation of their doctrine, and sought to justify themselves to Innocent; Pelagius wrote a letter in which he wished to show that he acknowledged the doctrine of Grace and the necessity of Infant Baptism, and only maintained the Freedom of the Will; he accompanied it with a Confession of Faith which in reference to the matters in dispute was .deemed unsatisfactory. Cælestius repaired to Rome about A.D. 417. In the meantime Innocent died, and his successor Zosimus, probably of Oriental descent, a man of little theological knowledge, and destitute of an independent judgment, was by no means partial to the Augustinian system. Cælestius presented a Confession of faith to him in which he admitted that children must be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, but denied the doctrine of hereditary depravity; but he submitted himself, he said, in all things to the judgment of the See of Rome. This pleased Zosimus. In his letter to the African bishops he declared that he could scarcely forbear shedding tears that such persons should be charged with heresy who so often made mention of the gratia Dei and the adjutorium divinum; he did not dissemble his surprise, and spoke of the forwardness of some persons to engage in controversy, who relied too much on their own ingenium, and wished to make a display of their acuteness; for the orthodoxy of the accused he desired no further evidence, and they would be regarded as members of the Church, unless their title to that position could be disproved within two months. But the North African bishops were too firm in their convictions and too independent, to alter their course of conduct. A Council at Carthage, presided over by the bishop Aurelius, A.D. 418, exposed the unsatisfactory statements of Pelagius and Cælestius; Zosimus they declared had been deceived, and the sentence which was expressed by former Councils and approved by Innocent ought to be binding, until the parties condemned by it should expressly declare that the Grace of God in Christ must assist men in all things both in knowledge and practice. Zosimus now began to give way and to propose a fresh investigation, but the African bishops had no inclination to wait for it. At a new Synod held at

* Augustin, Opp. t. x. Append. p. 64, Bened.


Carthage, (A.D. 418,) they drew up nine canons against Pelagius, condemned the doctrine he taught, that death was not the consequence of Adam's Sin; and that the Grace of God, by which we are justified, refers only to the forgiveness of past sins, but not to preservation of future sins; that under gratia justificans is to be understood the grace of an internal justifying, a sanctification; Christ does not say, without me you can only with difficulty accomplish anything, but, "without me you can do nothing." The sentiment also was condemned that if Saints prayed for the forgiveness of their sins, this was only out of humility and not from actual necessity. The authority of this Council, the influence of those around him, and the issue of an ordinance against the Pelagians by the Emperor Honorius, had an effect on Zosimus, and he yielded more and more. He made arrangements for another investigation, but Cælestius would not stay at Rome for it, and issued a Circular, (tractoria) in which he adopted the resolutions of the African Council. This letter all the bishops were required by the Emperor to accept; and those who refused, were deposed. Such was the termination of the first stage in the Pelagian controversy. The result proceeded in a great degree from the internal development of the Church, and far less from the compulsion of external power than was often the case in the controversies of the Oriental Church. It was true that the final decision was given by an external authority; but that decision coincided with the general consciousness of the Western Church; its voice was on the whole, though not in favour of Augustin's system to its full extent, in agreement with his opposition against Pelagianism; hence no reaction followed this victory. Only the individual Theology of a few men of learning remained in opposition to the Church. The Pelagians were confessedly in the minority, but asserted that Reason, Learning, and Freedom were on their side; thus for example Julian of Eclanum, who blamed Augustin for maintaining a kind of aristocratic dogmatism; he advocated a dogma populare, a doctrine for the People. The latter rejoined, that, certainly, he advocated the doctrine which Ambrose and others had not invented, but found already existing in the consciousness of Christians.

*Neander's Ch. Hist. iv. 324. Augustin, Opp. t. x App p. 71.


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