Imatges de pàgina
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lagius his doctrine touching the conversion of a sinner. First, he supposeth a possibility in nature, whereby a man may will and do good. Secondly, a corruption in act, whereby a man doth will and do the contrary. Thirdly, an exciting grace from God, whereby the mind is enlightened, and the will persuaded (upon consideration of the promises and threats propounded) to forsake that lewd course of life, and to will and do the things that are good and holy. Fourthly, an act of the free will, thus prepared by God's exciting grace: whereby a man (without any further help from God) doth voluntarily yield unto these good motions; and so "runneth unto God, desireth to be ruled by him, hangeth his will upon God's will, and by adhering unto him is made one spirit with him.” Fifthly, an assisting grace, whereby God guideth the will thus converted, and inclineth the heart whither it pleaseth him.

We see three kinds of grace here commended unto us by Pelagius, the first, a natural grace, as he fondly termed it, bringing with it a bare possibility only to will and do good: which he said was not given according to merits, because he held it to be given at the very beginning of man's being, before which he could not possibly merit any thing; the second, an exciting or persuading grace, imparted unto such as were "given to earthly lusts, and like brute beasts affected only present things;" who being in that case, were far from meriting any good thing at God's hands: and in that regard he affirmed, that this grace likewise was given without any respect to precedent merits; the third, an assisting grace, by which God doth guide and incline the heart of the converted sinner, to the doing of all good : and this he maintained to be given as a reward to that act of the free will, whereby it yielded to the persuasions of the former exciting grace, and so did actually convert itself to God. Now this is the presumption which St. Augustine condemneth so much in these men, that they durst say: “ We work to merit that God may work with us;” that they “ would first give to God, that it might be recompensed to them again: namely, they first give somewhat out of their free will, that grace might be rendered to them again for a reward;" that they were of opinion: “ that our merit consisted in this, that we were with God, and that his grace was given according to this merit, that he should also be with us : that our merit should be in this, that we do seek him, and according to this merit, his grace was given that we should find him.” For they that followed Pelagius (refining herein a little the doctrine of their master, and delivering it in somewhat a more plausible manner) declared that they merits, which they held to go before grace and to procure grace, were, asking, seeking, and knocking: and that “grace was given, not according to the merit of our good works,” which they did acknowledge to be an effect, and not a cause of this grace,

u Nihil sic evertit hominum præsumptionem dicentium ; Nos facimus, ut mereamur cum quibus faciat Deus. August. contra duas epist. Pelagian. lib. 4. cap. 6. op. tom. 10. pag. 477.

“ but of our good will only, because, said they, the good will of man praying went before, and the will of man believing went before that: that according to these merits the grace of God hearing might follow after.” And all this they did under colour of maintaining free will against the Manichees: for which they urged much that testimony of the Prophet: “ If ye be willing and hearken unto me, ye shall eat the good things of the land: but if ye refuse and will not hearken unto me, the sword shall consume them." But “ what" doth this profit them?" saith St. Augustine, “ seeing they do not so much defend free will against the Manichees, as extol it against the Catholics. For so would they have that understood which is said : If ye be willing and hearken unto me ; as if in that very precedent will there should be the meriting of the subsequent grace, and so grace should be now no grace, which is no gratuity, when it is rendered as due, But if they would so understand that which is said ; If ye be willing, that they would also confess that he doth prepare that good will, of whom it is written : The will is prepared by the Lord: they should use this testimony like Catholics ; and not only vanquish the old heresy of the Manichees, but also crush the new of the Pelagians.

w Priores volunt dare Deo, ut retribuatur eis ; priores utique dare quodlibet ex libero arbitrio, ut sit gratia retribuenda pro præmio. August. contra duas epist. Pelagian. lib. 4. cap. 6. op. tom. 10. pag. 478.

* Meritum nostrum in eo esse, quod sumus cum Deo : ejus autem gratiam secundum hoc meritum dari, ut sit et ipse nobiscum. Item meritum nostrum in eo esse, quod quærimus eum : et secundum hoc meritum dari ejus gratiam, ut inveniamus eum. Id. de grat. et libero arbitr. cap. 5. ibid. pag. 723.

Ibi enim vos, ut video, ponere jam cæpistis merita gratiam præcedentia, quod est petere, quærere, pulsare; ut his meritis debita illa reddatur, ac sic gratia inaniter nuncupetur. Id. contra Julian. Pelag. lib. 4. cap. 8. ibid. pag. 605.

2 Dicunt enim, etsi non datur gratia secundum merita bonorum operum, quia per ipsam bene operamur, tamen secundum meritum bonæ voluntatis datur ; quia bona voluntas (inquiunt) præcedit orantis, quam præcessit voluntas credentis; ut secundum hæc merita gratia sequatur exaudientis Dei. Id. de grat. et lib. arbitr. cap. 14. ibid. pag. 732.

a Isa. chap. 1. ver. 19, 20.

Beside the professed Pelagians, who directly did deny original sin, there arose others in the Church in St. Augustine's days, that were tainted not a little with their errors in this point of grace and free will; as namely, one Vitalis in Carthage, and the Semi-Pelagians, as they are commonly called, in France. For the first held, that “ God did work in us to will by his Scriptures either read or heard by us: but that to consent unto them or not consent is so in our power, that if we will, it may be done, if we will not, we may make the operation of God to be

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6 Quid eis hoc prodest ? quandoquidem non tam contra Manichæos defendunt, quam contra Catholicos extollunt liberum arbitrium. Sic enim volunt intelligi quod dictum est: Si volueritis et audiveritis me; tanquam in ipsa præcedente voluntate sit consequentis meritum gratiæ ; ac sic gratia jam non sit gratia, quæ non est gratuita, cum redditur debita. Si autem sic intelligerent quod dictum est, Si volueritis; ut etiam ipsam bonam voluntatem illum præparare confiterentur, de quo scriptum est: Præparatur voluntas a Domino : tanquam Catholici uterentur hoc testimonio ; et non solum hæresim veterem Manichæorum vincerent, sed novam Pelagianorum contererent. August. contra duas epist. Pelagian. lib. 4. cap. 6. op. tom. 10. pag. 475.

• Per legem suam, per Scripturas suas Deum operari ut velimus quas vel legimus vel audimus : sed eis consentire vel non consentire ita nostrum est, ut si velimus, fiat; si autem nolimus, nihil in nobis operationem Dei valere faciamus. Operatur quippe ille, dicis, quantum in ipso est, ut velimus, cum nobis nota fiunt ejus eloquia : sed si eis acquiescere nolumus, nos ut operatio ejus nihil in nobis prosit efficimus. Id. epist. 217. ad Vitalem, op. tom. 2. pag. 799. d Utrum præcedat hæc gratia an subsequatur hominis voluntatem, hoc est, ut planius id eloquar, utrum ideo nobis detur, quia volumus, an per ipsam Deus etiam hoc efficiat ut velimus. August. epist. 217. ad Vital. op. tom. 2. pag. 805.

of no force in us. For God doth work,” said he, “as much as in him is that we may will, when his word is made known unto us: but if we will not yield unto it, we make that his operation shall have no profit in us.” Against him St. Augustine disputeth largely in his two hundred and seventeenth epistle, where he maketh this to be the state of the question betwixt them; “Whetherd grace doth go before or follow after the will of man, that is to say," as he further explaineth it, “ whether it be therefore given us because we will ; or by it God doth work even this also, that we do will.” The worthy doctor maintaineth that grace goeth before, and worketh the will unto good: which he strongly proveth, both by the word of God and by the continual practice of the Church in her prayers and thanksgivings for the conversion of unbelievers. For “ if thou dost confess," saith he, “ that we are to pray for them, surely thou dost pray that they may consent to the doctrine of God, with their will freed from the power of darkness. And thus it will come to pass, that neither men shall be made to be believers but by their free will; and yet shall be made believers by his grace, who hath freed their will from the power of darkness. Thus both God's grace is not denied, but is shewed to be true without any human merits going before it: and free will is so defended, that it is made solid with humility, and not thrown down headlong by being lifted up; that he that rejoiceth, may not rejoice in man, either any other or yet himself, but in the Lord;" and again: “How' doth God expect the wills of men that they should prevent him, to whom he might give grace: when we do give him thanks not undeservedly in the behalf of them, whom not believing, and persecuting his doctrine with an ungodly will, he hath prevented with his mercy, and with a most omnipotent facility converted them unto himself, and made them willing of unwilling? Why do we give him thanks for this, if he himself did not this ? Questionless we do not pray to God, but feign that we do pray, if we believe that not he, but ourselves be the doers of that which we pray for. Questionless we do not give thanks to God, but feign that we give thanks, if we do not think that he doth the thing, for which we give him thanks. If deceitful lips be found in any other speeches of men, at leastwise let them not be found in prayers. Far be it from us, that what we do beseech God to do with our mouths and voices, we should deny that he doth it in our hearts: and, which is more grievous, to the deceiving of others also, not conceal the same in our disputations; and whilst we will needs defend free will before men, we should lose the help of prayer with God, and not have true giving of thanks, whilst we do not acknowledge true grace. If we will truly defend free will, let us not oppugn that by which it is made free. For whoso oppugneth grace, whereby our will is made free to decline from evil and to do good, he will have his will to be still captive." Thus doth St.

e Si fateris pro eis orandum, id utique orandum fateris, ut doctrinæ divinæ arbitrio liberato a tenebrarum potestate consentiant. Ita fit ut neque fideles fiant nisi libero arbitrio ; et tamen illius gratia fideles fiant, qui eorum a potestate tenebrarum liberavit arbitrium. Sic et Dei gratia non negatur, sed sine ullis humanis præcedentibus meritis vera monstratur: et liberum ita defenditur, ut humilitate solidetur, non elatione præcipitetur arbitrium; et qui gloriatur, non in homine, vel quolibet alio vel seipso, sed in Domino glorietur. Ibid. pag. 802.

' Quomodo Deus expectat voluntates hominum, ut præveniant eum, quibus det gratiam : cum gratias ei non immerito agamus de iis quibus non ei credentibus, et ejus doctrinam voluntate impia persequentibus misericordiam prærogavit ;

; eosque ad seipsum omnipotentissima facilitate convertit, ac volentes ex nolentibus fecit ? ut quid ei inde gratias agimus, si hoc ipse non fecit? Aug. ep. 217. ad Vitalem. op. tom. 2. pag. 807.

8 Prorsus non oramus Deum, sed orare nos fingimus; si nos ipsos non illum credimus facere quod oramus. Prorsus non gratias Deo agimus, sed nos agere fingimus; si unde illi gratias agimus, ipsum facere non putamus. Labia dolosa si in hominum quibuscunque sermonibus sunt, saltem in orationibus non sint. Absit, ut quod facere Deum rogamus oribus et vocibus nostris, eum facere negemus cordibus nostris : et, quod est gravius ad alios decipiendos, hoc non taceamus disputationibus nostris: et dum volumus apud homines defendere liberum arbitrium, apud Deum perdamus orationis auxilium, et gratiarum actionem non habeamus veram, dum veram non agnoscimus gratiam. Si vere volumus defendere liberum arbitrium; non oppugnemus unde fit liberum. Nam qui oppugnat gratiam, qua nostrum ad declinandum a malo, et faciendum bonum liberatur arbitrium, ipse arbitrium suum adhuc vult esse captivum. Ibid. pag. 801

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