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Enchiridion On Faith, Hope and Love
by Saint Augustine


CHAPTER IX

THE REPLACEMENT OF THE FALLEN ANGELS BYELECT MEN (28-30); THE NECESSITY OF GRACE (30-32)

28. While some of the angels deserted God in impious pride and were cast

into the lowest darkness from the brightness of their heavenly home, the remaining

number of the angels persevered in eternal bliss and holiness with God. For these

faithful angels were not descended from a single angel, lapsed and damned. Hence,

the original evil did not bind them in the fetters of inherited guilt, nor did it hand

the whole company over to a deserved punishment, as is the human lot. Instead,

when he who became the devil first rose in rebellion with his impious company and

was then with them prostrated, the rest of the angels stood fast in pious obedience

to the Lord and so received what the others had not had--a sure knowledge of their

everlasting security in his unfailing steadfastness.

44Rom. 5:12.


29. Thus it pleased God, Creator and Governor of the universe, that since the

whole multitude of the angels had not perished in this desertion of him, those who

had perished would remain forever in perdition, but those who had remained loyal

through the revolt should go on rejoicing in the certain knowledge of the bliss

forever theirs. From the other part of the rational creation--that is, mankind--

although it had perished as a whole through sins and punishments, both original

and personal, God had determined that a portion of it would be restored and would

fill up the loss which that diabolical disaster had caused in the angelic society. For

this is the promise to the saints at the resurrection, that they shall be equal to the

angels of God.45

Thus the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother and the commonwealth of God,

shall not be defrauded of her full quota of citizens, but perhaps will rule over an

even larger number. We know neither the number of holy men nor of the filthy

demons, whose places are to be filled by the sons of the holy mother, who seemed

barren in the earth, but whose sons will abide time without end in the peace the

demons lost. But the number of those citizens, whether those who now belong or

those who will in the future, is known to the mind of the Maker, "who calleth into

existence things which are not, as though they were,"46 and "ordereth all things in

measure and number and weight."47

30. But now, can that part of the human race to whom God hath promised

deliverance and a place in the eternal Kingdom be restored through the merits of

their own works? Of course not! For what good works could a lost soul do except as

he had been rescued from his lostness? Could he do this by the determination of his

free will? Of course not! For it was in the evil use of his free will that man destroyed

himself and his will at the same time. For as a man who kills himself is still alive

when he kills himself, but having killed himself is then no longer alive and cannot

resuscitate himself after he has destroyed his own life--so also sin which arises from

the action of the free will turns out to be victor over the will and the free will is

destroyed. "By whom a man is overcome, to this one he then is bound as slave."48

This is clearly the judgment of the apostle Peter. And since it is true, I ask you what

kind of liberty can one have who is bound as a slave except the liberty that loves to

sin?

He serves freely who freely does the will of his master. Accordingly he who is

slave to sin is free to sin. But thereafter he will not be free to do right unless he is

delivered from the bondage of sin and begins to be the servant of righteousness.

This, then, is true liberty: the joy that comes in doing what is right. At the same

time, it is also devoted service in obedience to righteous precept.

But how would a man, bound and sold, get back his liberty to do good, unless

he could regain it from Him whose voice saith, "If the Son shall make you free, then

you will be free indeed"49? But before this process begins in man, could anyone glory

in his good works as if they were acts of his free will, when he is not yet free to act

rightly? He could do this only if, puffed up in proud vanity, he were merely boasting.

This attitude is what the apostle was reproving when he said, "By grace you have

been saved by faith."50

31. And lest men should arrogate to themselves saving faith as their own

work and not understand it as a divine gift, the same apostle who says somewhere

else that he had "obtained mercy of the Lord to be trustworthy"51 makes here an

additional comment: "And this is not of yourselves, rather it is a gift of God--not

45Cf. Luke 20:36.

46Rom. 4:17.

47Wis. 11:20.

48II Peter 2:19.

49John 8:36.

50Eph. 2:8.

51I Cor. 7:25.


because of works either, lest any man should boast."52 But then, lest it be supposed

that the faithful are lacking in good works, he added further, "For we are his

workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God hath prepared

beforehand for us to walk in them."53

We are then truly free when God ordereth our lives, that is, formeth and

createth us not as men--this he hath already done--but also as good men, which he

is now doing by his grace, that we may indeed be new creatures in Christ Jesus.54

Accordingly, the prayer: "Create in me a clean heart, O God."55 This does not mean,

as far as the natural human heart is concerned, that God hath not already created

this.

32. Once again, lest anyone glory, if not in his own works, at least in the

determination of his free will, as if some merit had originated from him and as if the

freedom to do good works had been bestowed on him as a kind of reward, let him

hear the same herald of grace, announcing: "For it is God who is at work in you both

to will and to do according to his good will."56 And, in another place: "It is not

therefore a matter of man's willing, or of his running, but of God's showing

mercy."57 Still, it is obvious that a man who is old enough to exercise his reason

cannot believe, hope, or love unless he wills it, nor could he run for the prize of his

high calling in God without a decision of his will. In what sense, therefore, is it "not

a matter of human willing or running but of God's showing mercy," unless it be that

"the will itself is prepared by the Lord," even as it is written?58 This saying,

therefore, that "it is not a matter of human willing or running but of God's showing

mercy," means that the action is from both, that is to say, from the will of man and

from the mercy of God. Thus we accept the dictum, "It is not a matter of human

willing or running but of God's showing mercy," as if it meant, "The will of man is

not sufficient by itself unless there is also the mercy of God." By the same token, the

mercy of God is not sufficient by itself unless there is also the will of man. But if we

say rightly that "it is not a matter of human willing or running but of God's showing

mercy," because the will of man alone is not enough, why, then, is not the contrary

rightly said, "It is not a matter of God's showing mercy but of a man's willing," since

the mercy of God by itself alone is not enough? Now, actually, no Christian would

dare to say, "It is not a matter of God's showing mercy but of man's willing," lest he

explicitly contradict the apostle. The conclusion remains, therefore, that this saying:

"Not man's willing or running but God's showing mercy," is to be understood to

mean that the whole process is credited to God, who both prepareth the will to

receive divine aid and aideth the will which has been thus prepared.59

52Eph. 2:8, 9.

53Eph. 2:10.

54Cf. Gal. 6:15; II Cor. 5:17.

55Ps. 51:10.

56Phil. 2:13.

57Rom. 9:16.

58Prov. 8:35 (LXX).

59From the days at Cassiciacum till the very end, Augustine toiled with the mystery of the primacy

of God's grace and the reality of human freedom. Of two things he was unwaveringly sure, even

though they involved him in a paradox and the appearance of confusion. The first is that God's grace

is not only primary but also sufficient as the ground and source of human willing. And against the

Pelagians and other detractors from grace, he did not hesitate to insist that grace is irresistible and

inviolable. Cf. On Grace and Free Will, 99, 41-43; On the Predestination of the Saints, 19:10; On the

Gift of Perseverance, 41; On the Soul and Its Origin, 16; and even the Enchiridion, XXIV, 97.

But he never drew from this deterministic emphasis the conclusion that man is unfree and

everywhere roundly rejects the not illogical corollary of his theonomism, that man's will counts for

little or nothing except as passive agent of God's will. He insists on responsibility on man's part in

responding to the initiatives of grace. For this emphasis, which is characteristically directed to the

faithful themselves, see On the Psalms, LXVIII, 7-8; On the Gospel of John, Tractate, 53:6-8; and

For a man's good will comes before many other gifts from God, but not all of

them. One of the gifts it does not antedate is--just itself! Thus in the Sacred

Eloquence we read both, "His mercy goes before me,"60 and also, "His mercy shall

follow me."61 It predisposes a man before he wills, to prompt his willing. It follows

the act of willing, lest one's will be frustrated. Otherwise, why are we admonished to

pray for our enemies,62 who are plainly not now willing to live piously, unless it be

that God is even now at work in them and in their wills?63 Or again, why are we

admonished to ask in order to receive, unless it be that He who grants us what we

will is he through whom it comes to pass that we will? We pray for enemies,

therefore, that the mercy of God should go before them, as it goes before us; we pray

for ourselves that his mercy shall follow us.









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