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Saturday, February 9, 2008

my list of quotes for a future blog post I'm going to do on Augustine

Augustine lived from the years 354 A.D. to about the year 430 A.D. These quotes are going to be a mixture from different periods of his life.

Augustine admits having a change of mind after receiving a revelation from reading a quote of 1st Corinthians 4:7 in one of the works of Cyprian.

"It was not thus that that pious and humble teacher thought—I speak of the most blessed Cyprian—when he said "-->that we must boast in nothing, since nothing is our own."-->15-3432--> And in order to show this, he appealed to the apostle as a witness, where he said, "-->For what have you that you have not received? And if you have received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"--> 1 Corinthians 4:7 And it was chiefly by this testimony that I myself also was convinced when I was in a similar error, thinking that faith whereby we believe in God is not God's gift, but that it is in us from ourselves, and that by it we obtain the gifts of God, whereby we may live temperately and righteously and piously in this world. For I did not think that faith was preceded by God's grace, so that by its means would be given to us what we might profitably ask, except that we could not believe if the proclamation of the truth did not precede; but that we should consent when the gospel was preached to us I thought was our own doing, and came to us from ourselves. And this my error is sufficiently indicated in some small works of mine written before my episcopate. Among these is that which you have mentioned in your letters15-3434--> wherein is an exposition of certain propositions from the Epistle to the Romans."

On the Predestination of the Saints (Book I) chapter 7 (around the year 428 A.D.)

Augustine seemed to have had a change of mind over the years in regards to the condemnation of infants.

"Therefore it is in vain that it is prescribed to me from that old book of mine, that I may not argue the case as I ought to argue it in respect of infants; and that thence I may not persuade my opponents by the light of a manifest truth, that God's grace is not given according to men's merits. For if, when I began my books con537 -->cerning Free Will as a layman, and finished them as a presbyter, I still doubted of the condemnation of infants not born again, and of the deliverance of infants that were born again, no one, as I think, would be so unfair and envious as to hinder my progress, and judge that I must continue in that uncertainty. But it can more correctly be understood that it ought to be believed that I did not doubt in that matter, for the reason that they against whom my purpose was directed seemed to me in such wise to be rebutted, as that whether there was a punishment of original sin in infants, according to the truth, or whether there was not, as some mistaken people think, yet in no degree should such a confusion of the two natures be believed in, to wit, of good and evil, as the error of the Manicheans introduces. Be it therefore far from us so to forsake the case of infants as to say to ourselves that it is uncertain whether, being regenerated in Christ, if they die in infancy they pass into eternal salvation; but that, not being regenerated, they pass into the second death. Because that which is written, "-->By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men,"--> Romans 5:12 cannot be rightly understood in any other manner; nor from that eternal death which is most righteously repaid to sin does any deliver any one, small or great, save He who, for the sake of remitting our sins, both original and personal, died without any sin of His own, either original or personal. But why some rather than others? Again and again we say, and do not shrink from it, "-->O man, who are you that repliest against God?"--> Romans 9:20 "-->His judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out."--> Romans 11:33 And let us add this, "-->Seek not out the things that are too high for you, and search not the things that are above your strength."--> Sirach 3:21"

On the Predestination of the Saints (Book II) chapter 30 (around the year 428 A.D.)

Taken from one of his later works. I'm gonna eventually compare this to an earlier work of his.

"And, moreover, who will be so foolish and blasphemous as to say that God cannot change the evil wills of men, whichever, whenever, and wheresoever He chooses, and direct them to what is good? But when He does this He does it of mercy; when He does it not, it is of justice that He does it not for "-->He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens."-->13-1279--> And when the apostle said this, he was illustrating the grace of God,"

Enchiridion(The Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love)chapter 98 (around the year 421 A.D.)

Augustine is trying to argue that God over rules the wills of men if he wants someone to be saved.

"Hence we must inquire in what sense is said of God what the apostle has mostly truly said: "-->Who will have all men to be saved."-->13-1277--> For, as a matter of fact, not all, nor even a majority, are saved: so that it would seem that what God wills is not done, man's will interfering with, and hindering the will of God. When we ask the reason why all men are not saved, the ordinary answer is: "-->Because men 268 -->themselves are not willing."--> This, indeed cannot be said of infants, for it is not in their power either to will or not to will. But if we could attribute to their will the childish movements they make at baptism, when they make all the resistance they can, we should say that even they are not willing to be saved. Our Lord says plainly, however, in the Gospel, when upbraiding the impious city: "-->How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!"-->13-1278--> as if the will of God had been overcome by the will of men, and when the weakest stood in the way with their want of will, the will of the strongest could not be carried out. And where is that omnipotence which has done all that it pleased on earth and in heaven, if God willed to gather together the children of Jerusalem, and did not accomplish it? or rather, Jerusalem was not willing that her children should be gathered together? But even though she was unwilling, He gathered together as many of her children as He wished: for He does not will some things and do them, and will others and do them not; but "-->He has done all that He pleased in heaven and in earth."-->"

Enchiridion(The Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love) chapter 97 (around the year 421 A.D.)

In the work called "On the Spirit and the letter" Augustine leaves a little bit of room for free will. Or human consent.

Quote:"it surely follows that it is God who both works in man the willing to believe, and in all things prevents us with His mercy. To yield our consent, indeed, to God's summons, or to withhold it, is (as I have said) the function of our own will. And this not only does not invalidate what is said, "For what do you have that you did not receive?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 but it really confirms it. For the soul cannot receive and possess these gifts, which are here referred to, except by yielding its consent."

On the Spirit and the Letter Chapter 57 (around the year 412 A.D.)

In this early work of Augustine he seems to embrace free will. Or that an unwilling person can't be forced to be willing.

"For every one also who does a thing unwillingly is compelled, and every one who is compelled, if he does a thing, does it only unwillingly. It follows that he that is willing is free from compulsion, even if any one thinks himself compelled. And in this manner every one who willingly does a thing is not compelled, and whoever is not compelled, either does it willingly or not at all. Since nature itself proclaims these things in all men whom we can interrogate without absurdity, from the boy even to the old man, from literary sport even to the throne of the wise, why then should I not have seen that in the definition of will should be put, "no one compelling," which now as if with greater experience most cautiously I have done. But if this is everywhere manifest, and promptly occurs to all not by instruction but by nature, what is there left that seems obscure, unless perchance it be concealed from some one, that when we wish for something, we will, and our mind is moved towards it, and we either have it or do not have it, and if we have it we will to retain it, if we have it not, to acquire it? Wherefore everyone who wills, wills either not to lose something or to obtain it. Hence if all these things are clearer than day, as they are, nor are they given to my conception alone, but by the liberality of truth itself to the whole human race, why could I not have said even at that time: Will is a movement of the mind, no one compelling, either for not losing or for obtaining something?"

Of Two Souls Chapter 10 verse 14 (around the 391 A.D.)



more to be be continued.



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