Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/Against Two Letters of the Pelagians/Book IV/Chapter 18
Chapter 18.—The Opinion of the Saints Themselves About Themselves.
It is to be confessed that “the Holy Spirit, even in the old times,” not only “aided good dispositions,” which even they allow, but that it even made them good, which they will not have. “That all, also, of the prophets and apostles or saints, both evangelical and ancient, to whom God gives His witness, were righteous, not in comparison with the wicked, but by the rule of virtue,” is not doubtful. And this is opposed to the Manicheans, who blaspheme the patriarchs and prophets; but what is opposed to the Pelagians is, that all of these, when interrogated concerning themselves while they lived in the body, with one most accordant voice would answer, “If we should say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” “But in the future time,” it is not to be denied “that there will be a reward as well of good works as of evil, and that no one will be commanded to do the commandments there which here he has contemned,” but that a sufficiency of perfect righteousness where sin cannot be, a righteousness which is here hungered and thirsted after by the saints, is here hoped for in precept, is there received as a reward, on the entreaty of alms and prayers; so that what here may have been wanting in fulfilment of the commandments may become unpunished for the forgiveness of sin.
- 1 John i. 8.
- See above, Book iii. 17.