Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/Against Two Letters of the Pelagians/Book II/Chapter 6
Chapter 6 [IV.]—What Was Done in the Case of Cœlestius and Zosimus.
But what need is there for us to delay longer in speaking of this matter, when there are extant here and there proceedings and writings drawn up, where all those things just as they were transacted may be either learnt or recalled? For who does not see in what degree Cœlestius was bound by the interrogations of your holy predecessor and by the answers of Cœlestius, whereby he professed that he consented to the letters of Pope Innocent, and fastened by a most wholesome chain, so as not to dare any further to maintain that the original sin of infants is not put away in baptism? Because these are the words of the venerable Bishop Innocent concerning this matter to the Carthaginian Council: “For once,” he said, “he bore free will; but, using his advantage inconsiderately, and falling into the depths of apostasy, he was overwhelmed, and found no way whereby he could rise from thence; and, deceived for ever by his liberty, he would have lain under the oppression of this ruin, if the advent of Christ had not subsequently for his grace delivered him, and, by the purification of a new regeneration, purged all past sin by the washing of His baptism.” What could be more clear or more manifest than that judgment of the Apostolical See? To this Cœlestius professed that he assented, when it was said to him by your holy predecessor, “Do you condemn all those things that are bandied about under your name?” and he himself replied, “I condemn them in accordance with the judgment of your predecessor Innocent, of blessed memory.” But among other things which had been uttered under his name, the deacon Paulinus had objected to Cœlestius that he said “that the sin of Adam was prejudicial to himself alone, and not to the human race, and that infants newly born were in the same condition in which Adam was before his sin.” Accordingly, if he would condemn the views objected to by Paulinus with a truthful heart and tongue, according to the judgment of the blessed Pope Innocent, what could remain to him afterwards whence he could contend that there was no sin in infants resulting from the past transgression of the first man, which would be purged in holy baptism by the purification of the new regeneration? But he showed that he had answered deceitfully by the final event, when he withdrew himself from the examination, lest he should be compelled, according to the African rescripts, absolutely to mention and anathematize the very words themselves concerning this question which he wrote in his tractate.
- Augustin’s Letters, 181, 7.
- See On Original Sin, 3.