Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/Against Two Letters of the Pelagians/Book II/Chapter 19
Chapter 19 [IX.]—He Interprets the Scriptures Which the Pelagians Make Ill Use of.
But assuredly, as to what is written, “The preparation of the heart is man’s part, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord,” they are misled by an imperfect understanding, so as to think that to prepare the heart—that is, to begin good—pertains to man without the aid of God’s grace. Be it far from the children of promise thus to understand it! As if, when they heard the Lord saying, “Without me ye can do nothing,” they would convict Him by saying, “Behold without Thee we can prepare the heart;” or when they heard from Paul the apostle, “Not that we are sufficient to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God,” as if they would also convict him, saying, “Behold, we are sufficient of ourselves to prepare our heart, and thus also to think some good thing; for who can without good thought prepare his heart for good?” Be it far from any thus to understand the passage, except the proud maintainers of free will and forsakers of the catholic faith! Therefore, since it is written, “It is man’s part to prepare the heart, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord,” it is that man prepares his heart, not, however, without the aid of God, who so touches the heart that man prepares the heart. But in the answer of the tongue—that is, in that which the divine tongue answers to the prepared heart—man has no part; but the whole is from the Lord God.
- Prov. xvi. 1.
- John xv. 5.
- 2 Cor. iii. 5.