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“Augustine on Free Will”
from City of God, 22. 30. 3
Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Latin (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the NPNF series.earlychurchtexts.com
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Peter Brown biography
Henry Chadwick's translation of "Confessions"
R.W.Dyson's translation of "The City of God"
R.P.H. Green's translation of "On Christian Teaching"
Gareth Matthews' translation of "On The Trinity" (books 8 - 15)
Neither are we to suppose that because sin shall have no power to delight them,
free will must be withdrawn. It will, on the contrary, be all the more truly
free, because set free from delight in sinning to take unfailing delight in not
sinning. For the first freedom of will which man received when he was created
upright consisted in an ability not to sin, but also in an ability to sin;
whereas this last freedom of will shall be superior, inasmuch as it shall not be
able to sin. This, indeed, shall not be a natural ability, but the gift of God.
For it is one thing to be God, another thing to be a partaker of God. God by
nature cannot sin, but the partaker of God receives this inability from God. And
in this divine gift there was to be observed this gradation, that man should
first receive a free will by which he was able not to sin, and at last a free
will by which he was not able to sin,—the former being adapted to the acquiring
of merit, the latter to the enjoying of the reward. But the nature thus
constituted, having sinned when it had the ability to do so, it is by a more
abundant grace that it is delivered so as to reach that freedom in which it
cannot sin. For as the first immortality which Adam lost by sinning consisted in
his being able not to die, while the last shall consist in his not being able to
die; so the first free will consisted in his being able not to sin, the last in
his not being able to sin. And thus piety and justice shall be as indefeasible
as happiness. For certainly by sinning we lost both piety and happiness; but
when we lost happiness, we did not lose the love of it. Are we to say that God
Himself is not free because He cannot sin? In that city, then, there shall be
free will, one in all the citizens, and indivisible in each, delivered from all
ill, filled with all good, enjoying indefeasibly the delights of eternal joys,
oblivious of sins, oblivious of sufferings, and yet not so oblivious of its
deliverance as to be ungrateful to its Deliverer.
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original Latin text
from City of God, Book 22, chapter 30. 3
City of God, 22. 30. 3
De Civitate Dei
Augustine's views about free will
Pelagius and Pelagianism
Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus
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