Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/On the Proceedings of Pelagius/Chapter 39
Chapter 39 [XVI.]—The Same Continued. Heros and Lazarus; Orosius.
Now there are some expositions of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans which are said to have been written by Pelagius himself,—in which he asserts, that the passage: “Not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy,” was “not said in Paul’s own person; but that he therein employed the language of questioning and refutation, as if such a statement ought not to be made.” No safe conclusion, therefore, can be drawn, although the bishop John plainly acknowledged the passage in question as conveying the mind of the apostle, and mentioned it for the very purpose of hindering Pelagius from thinking that any man can avoid sin without God’s grace, and declared that Pelagius said in answer: “This is what I also believe,” and did not, upon hearing all this, repudiate his admission by replying: “This is not my belief.” He ought, indeed, either to deny altogether, or unhesitatingly to correct and amend this perverse exposition, in which he would have it, that the apostle must not be regarded as entertaining the sentiment,  but rather as refuting it. Now, whatever Bishop John said of our brethren who were absent—whether our brother bishops Heros and Lazarus, or the presbyter Orosius, or any others whose names are not there registered,—I am sure that he did not mean it to operate to their prejudice. For, had they been present, they might possibly (I am far from saying it absolutely) have convicted him of untruth; at any rate they might perhaps have reminded him of something he had forgotten, or something in which he might have been deceived by the Latin interpreter—not, to be sure, for the purpose of misleading him by untruth, but at least, owing to some difficulty occasioned by a foreign language, only imperfectly understood; especially as the question was not treated in the Proceedings, which were drawn up for the useful purpose of preventing deceit on the part of evil men, and of preserving a record to assist the memory of good men. If, however, any man shall be disposed by this mention of our brethren to introduce any question or doubt on the subject, and summon them before the Episcopal judgment, they will not be wanting to themselves, as occasion shall serve. Why need we here pursue the point, when not even the judges themselves, after the narrative of our brother bishop, were inclined to pronounce any definite sentence in consequence of it?
- See the treatise De Peccatorum Meritis, iii. 1.
- Rom. ix. 16.
- Avitus, perhaps, Passerius, and Dominus ex duce, whose names do not occur in the Acts of the Synod of Diospolis, but are mentioned by Orosius Apol. 3.
- Augustin here refers to the Proceedings of the conference at Jerusalem before its bishop John, which sat previous to the Council of Diospolis. See above, 37 (xiv.).