Early Church Fathers
26 [Compare what is said about the disgusting ceremonial of Ischas by Cyril of Jerusalem (Cat. vi.), Augustin (Haeres. xlvi.), Pope Leo X. (Serm. V. de Jejuniis, X. Mens.). These charges were probably unfounded, though they are not altogether out of harmony with the Manichaean principles.-A. H. N.]
27 John xv. 18.
28 John xiv. 17.
29 Doubtless Augustin exaggerates the immorality of the Manichaeans; but there must have been a considerable basis of fact for his charges.-A. H. N.]
30 Compare the account from the Fihrist, in our Introduction Chapter III.-A. H. N.].
1 Scarcely any one of his earlier treatises was more unsatisfactory to Augustin in his later Anti-Pelagian years than that Concerning Two Souls. In his Retractations, Book I., chapter xv., he recognizes the rashness of some of his statements and points out the sense in which they are tenable or the reverse. As regards the occasion of the writing, the following may be quoted: "After this book [De Utilitate Credendi] I wrote, while still a presbyter, against the Manichaeans Concerning Two Souls, of which they say that one part is of God, the other from the race of darkness, which God did not found, and which is coeternal with God, and they rave about both these souls, the one good, the other evil, being in one man, saying forsooth that the evil soul on the one hand belongs to the flesh, which flesh also they say is of the race of darkness; but that the good soul is from the part of God that came forth, combated the race of darkness, and mingled with the latter; and they attribute all good things in man to that good soul, and all evil things to that evil soul"-A. H. N.]
2 In his Retractations, Augustin explains this proposition as follows: "I said this in the sense in which the creature is known to pertain to the Creator, but not in the sense that it is of Him, so as to be regarded as part of Him."-A. H. N.
3 John xiv. 6.
4 It will aid the reader in following the thread of Augustin's argument, if he will bear in mind that throughout this treatise the writer considers the points of antagonism between Manichaeism and Catholicism from the point of view of his early entanglement in Manichaean error. Considering the opportunities that he had for knowing the truth, the helps to have been expected from God in answer to prayer, the capacities of the unperverted intellect to arrive at truth, he inquires how he should have guarded himself from the insinuation of Manichaean error, how he should have defended the truth, and how he should have been the means of liberating others.-A. H. N..
5 Sublimitate animi.
6 Mente atque intelligentia.
7 Matt. viii. 22.
8 1 Tim. v. 6.
9 Neither Augustin nor the Manichaeans seem to have recognized the distinction in kind between the human soul and animal life.-A. H. N.
10 John viii. 47 and 44.
11 John i. 3.
12 1 Cor. viii. 6.
13 Rom. xi. 36.
14 1 Cor. xi. 12.
15 1 Cor. ii. 15.
16 1 Tim. v. 6.
17 John i. 11.
18 John xvii. 3.
19 2 Cor. iv. 18.
20 Nothing is more certain than that Christianity has suffered more at the hands of injudicious and ignorant defenders than from its most astute and determined foes. Little attention would be paid to the blatant infidels of the present day were it not for the interest aroused and sustained by weak attempts to refute their arguments. And as the youthful, ardent Augustin was encouraged and confirmed in his errors by the inability of his opponents, so are errors confirmed at the present day. The philosophical defence of Christianity is a matter of the utmost delicacy, and should be undertaken with fear and trembling.-A. H. N.
21 The Pelagians used this statement with considerable effect in their polemics against its author. In his Retractations Augustin has this to say by way of explanation: "The Pelagians may think that thus was said in their interest, on account of young children whose sin which is remitted to them in baptism they deny on the ground that they do not yet use the power of will. As if indeed the sin, which we say they derive originally from Adam, that is, that they are implicated in his guilt and on this account are held obnoxious to punishment, could ever be otherwise than in will, by which will it was committed when the transgression of the divine precept was accomplished. Our statement, that `there is never sin but in will,0' may be thought false for the reason that the apostle says: `If what I will not this I do, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.0' For this sin is to such an extent involuntary, that he says: `What I will not this I do.0' How, therefore, is there never sin but in the will? But this sin concerning which the apostle has spoken is called sin, because by sin it was done, and it is the penalty of sin; since this is said concerning carnal concupiscence, which he discloses in what follows saying: `I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good; for to will is present to me, but to accomplish that which is good, is not.0' (Rom. vii. 16-18). Since the perfection of good is, that not even the concupiscence of sin should be in man, to which indeed when one lives well the will does not consent; nevertheless man does not accomplish the good because as yet concupiscence is in him, to which the will is antagonistic, the guilt of which concupiscence is loosed by baptism, but the infirmity remains, against which until it is healed every believer who advances well most earnestly struggles. But sin, which is never but in will, must especially be known as that which is followed by just condemnation. For this through one man entered into the world; although that sin also by which consent is yielded to concupiscence is not committed but by will. Wherefore also in another place I have said: `Not therefore except by will is sin committed.0' "-A. H. N.
On this matter Augustin's still earlier treatise De Libero Arbitrio, and his interesting Retractations on the same, should be compared. The reader of these earlier treatises in comparison with the Anti-Pelagian treatises can hardly fail to recognize a marked change of base on Augustin's part. His efforts to show the consistency of his earlier with his later modes of thought are to be pronounced only partially successful. The fact is, that in the Anti-Manichaean time he went too far in maintaining the absolute freedom of the will and the impossibility of sin apart from personal will in the sinner; while in the Anti-Pelagian time he ventured too near to the fatalism that he so earnestly combated in the Manichaeans.-A. H. N.
22 This dictum also Augustin thought it needful to explain: "This was said that by this definition a willing person might be distinguished from one not willing, and so the intention might be referred to those who first in Paradise were the origin of evil to the human race, by sinning no one compelling, that is by sinning with free will, because also knowingly they sinned against the command, and the tempters persuaded, did not compel, that this should be done. For he who ignorantly sinned may not incongruously be said to have sinned unwillingly, although not knowing what he did, yet willingly he did it. So not even the sin of such a one could be without will, which will assuredly, as it has been defined, was a `movement of the mind, no one compelling, either for not losing or for obtaining something.0' For he was not compelled to do what if he had been unwilling he would not have done. Because he willed, therefore he did it, even if he did not sin because he willed, being ignorant that what he did is sin. So not even such a sin could be without will, but by will of deed not by will of sin, which deed was yet sin; for this deed is what ought not to have taken place. But whoever knowingly sins, if he can without sin resist the one compelling him to sin, yet resists not, assuredly sins willingly. For he who can resist is not compelled to yield. But he who cannot by good will resist cogent covetousness, and therefore does what is contrary to the precepts of righteousness, this now is sin in the sense of being the penalty of sin. Wherefore it is most true that sin cannot be apart from will."
It is needless to say that such reasoning would not have answered Augustin's purpose in writing against the Manichaeans.-A. H. N.
23 Here also Augustin guards himself in his Retractations: "The definition is true, inasmuch as that is defined which is only sin, and not also that which is the penalty of sin."-A. H. N.
24 In his Retractations, Augustin replies to the Pelagian denial of the sinfulness of infants, in support of which they had quoted the above sentence. "They [infants] are held guilty not by propriety of will but by origin. For what is every earthly man in origin but Adam?" The will of the whole human race was in Adam, and when Adam sinned the whole race voluntarily sinned, seems to be his meaning.-A. H. N.
25 In his Retractations, Augustin explains that by nature is to be understood the state in which we were created without vice. He transfers the entire argument from the actual condition of man to the primitive Adamic condition. It is evident, however, that this was not his meaning when he combated the Manichaeans. The question of infant sinfulness arises here also, and is discussed in the usual Anti-Pelagian way.-A. H. N.