Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Augustine on Monergism - Summary

The following is a summary of Augustine's monergistic beliefs regarding the doctrines of grace, culled from his various works (links to fuller posts on the respective topics can be found in the parentheses):

On Depravity (link1, link2)

Augustine believed fallen man:
  1. Is not be able to refrain from acts of inordinate desire…
  2. ”[Is not able to do]good works… [until]… rescued from his lostness.
  3. ”Had his…free will [to do right]… destroyed.
  4. ”[Lost all moral liberty except]…the liberty that loves to sin.
  5. …serves freely… the will of his master.
  6. ”[Is not]…free to do right unless he is delivered from the bondage of sin and begins to be the servant of righteousness.
  7. …is not yet free to act rightly.
  8. ”[Has not]…the capacity of not sinning…
  9. “[Sins of]…necessity.
  10. ”[Is] either unable to understand what [he] wants, or else… not strong enough to accomplish what [he has] come to understand.
  11. …do absolutely no good thing, whether in thought, or will and affection, or in action [apart from] the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  12. “[Must have the Lord] remove [his] hard heart, out of which [he does] not act, and… give [him] an obedient heart, out of which [he] shall act.
  13. ”[Must be regenerated in order to come to the] faith… which obtains by prayer what the law commands.
  14. “[By] the Spirit of righteousness [have transferred] to them that faith which, of their own will, they could not yet have.
  15. Needs divine grace... to live well and righteously. For free will in the sinner did not perish [to the extent that] what they are pleased to do gives them pleasure.
  16. ”[Has no] power… of free will [to believe]; because it will not be free for good if the deliverer have not made it free; but in evil he has a free will.
  17. ”Is free in evil things because it takes pleasure in evil, is not free in good things, for the reason that it has not been made free.
  18. “Avails for sinning in men subjected to the devil; while it is not of avail for good and pious living, unless the will itself of man should be made free by God’s grace, and assisted to every good movement of action, of speech, of thought… born again in Christ.
  19. Art made to differ [by] He… who bestows that… [regenerative] grace which is not due.
  20. ”[Is] free in evil, but for doing good it must be made free by God’s grace, [which] is opposed to the Pelagians; but in that we say [man’s will] originated from that which previously was not evil, this is opposed to the Manicheans.

On Efficacious Grace (link1, link2, link3)

Augustine believed soteric grace:
  1. ”[Is necessary due to the fact that]…out of a heart which is not good [we can do no good].”
  2. ”[Is]…gratuitous and effectual.”
  3. …makes us to walk, to observe, to do.”
  4. ”[Shows]…[faith and mortifying the deeds of the flesh]… to be God’s gifts, in order that we may understand both that we do them, and that God makes us to do them.”
  5. ”[Is]…able to turn to belief wills that are perverse and opposed to faith.”
  6. ”[Is such]…that [men] may act, not that they may themselves do nothing.”
  7. ”[Is]…sufficient by itself.”
  8. ”[Is the result of a God who]…makes us act, by applying efficacious powers to our will.”
  9. …remove[s] your hard heart, out of which you did not act and… give[s] you an obedient heart, out of which you shall act.”
  10. Operates without us.”
  11. …effect[s] that man will, and will so much, and love with such ardour, that by the will of the Spirit he overcomes the will of the flesh, that lusteth in opposition to it.”
  12. …is too little… not to be able without it either to apprehend the good or to continue in good if he will, unless he is also made to will.”
  13. ”[Is]…so great and such a help as to will, [b]ecause by this grace of God there is caused in us…not only to be able to do what we will, but even to will to do what we are able.”
  14. ”[Is given to the elect so that they]…should most invincibly will what is good, and most invincibly refuse to forsake this…
  15. ”[Is given by]…that God whom no man’s will resists when He wills to give salvation...
  16. …is rejected by no hard heart, because it is given for the sake of first taking away the hardness of the heart.
  17. Is that for which [man] gives thanks to God… [for] it is a vain and idle thing if He to whom he gives thanks did not Himself… worketh in the hearts of men with that calling according to His purpose… that they should not hear the gospel in vain, but when they heard it, should be converted and believe, receiving it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God.
  18. ”[Is such that]…[man] not only knows what it is he ought to do, but also actually does what he thus knows… [for] He so teaches, that whatever a man learns, he not only sees with his perception, but also desires with his choice, and accomplishes in action."
  19. ”[Is such that the]…volition itself, and performance itself, are assisted, and not merely the natural “capacity” of willing and performing, [f]or if nothing but this “capacity” of ours were assisted by this grace, the Lord would rather have said, “Every man that hath heard and hath learned of the Father may possibly come unto me.”
  20. “[Is such that]…every one who has learned of the Father not only has the possibility of coming, but comes; and in this result are already included the motion of the capacity, the affection of the will, and the effect of the action.

Augustine believed that the sovereignty of God is such that:
  1. …the human will is not taken away, but changed from bad to good, and assisted when it is good… [and] that it is… the inspired Scripture which has spoken to you, in the clearest testimonies of truth…
  2. …He turns them whithersoever He wills, and whensoever He wills...
  3. …not by a command [does] He bade [man], in which case… obedience would be praiseworthy; but He inclined… man’s will, which had become debased by his own perverseness, to commit… sin, by His own just and secret judgment.
  4. …God uses the hearts of even wicked men for the praise and assistance of the good.
  5. …the Lord both stirred up [man’s] spirit, and yet [men act] of their own will. For the Almighty sets in motion even in the innermost hearts of men the movement of their will, so that He does through their agency whatsoever He wishes to perform through them...
  6. …God, wishing to punish [sin, can wrought it in] man’s heart...
  7. …His own judgment [is] sometimes manifest, sometimes secret, but always righteous.
  8. ”[God]…is able, either through the agency of angels (whether good ones or evil)… to operate in the hearts even of the wicked…
  9. …through the Holy Spirit, He works good in the hearts of the elect, who has wrought it that their hearts become good instead of evil…
  10. …men’s wills cannot… withstand the will of God… since He does even concerning the wills themselves of men what He will, when He will.

On Election (link1, link2, link3)

Augustine believed:

  1. God calls whomsoever He deigns, and whom He wills He makes religious.
  2. It is God… who makes religious whomsoever He pleases” such that no one hastens to, depends upon, cleaves to, nor desires God unless he be made by God...
  3. ”[Because]God acts upon us by the incentives of our perceptions, to will and to believe… whatever [man] possesses, and whatever [man] receives, is from God...
  4. ”[The mystery of why one should be persuaded of the gospel and another should not lies, not in human autonomy, but in] the depths of His riches!
  5. ”[We should not attribute what we have received to ourselves, because it is according to God‘s own mind and counsel that] He dispenses those benefits, making some deservedly vessels of wrath, others graciously vessels of mercy...
  6. God willed it to pertain only to His grace that man should approach to Him…"
  7. ”[Christians]receive [the power to become sons of God] from Him who gives pious thoughts to the human heart, by which it has faith...
  8. We are not sufficient to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God, in whose power is our heart and our thoughts.
  9. No one… comes to Christ unless it were given him, and that it is given to those who are chosen in Him before the foundation of the world...”
  10. ”[Foreknowledge] signif[ies] predestination.
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  12. [Paul] knew that he had not first given the beginning of his faith to God, and had its increase given back to him again by Him; but that he had been made faithful by God, who also had made him an apostle.
  13. If any one dare to say, “I have faith of myself, I did not, therefore, receive it,” he directly contradicts this most manifest truth, not because it is not in the choice of man’s will to believe or not to believe, but because in the elect the will is prepared by the Lord.
  14. God indeed calls many predestinated children of His, to make them members of His only predestinated Son, not with that calling with which they were called who would not come to the marriage, since with that calling were called also the Jews, to whom Christ crucified is an offence, and the Gentiles, to whom Christ crucified is foolishness; but with that calling He calls the predestinated which the apostle distinguished when he said that he preached Christ, the wisdom of God and the power of God, to them that were called, Jews as well as Greeks… [that is,] with that calling wherewith a man is made a believer.
  15. ...we [are not] called because we believed… [or because] we were going to be of ourselves holy and immaculate, but He chose and predestinated us that we might be so.
  16. ...if they had been elected because they had believed, they themselves would certainly have first chosen Him by believing in Him, so that they should deserve to be elected.
  17. ...if [‘He hath chosen us in Himself before the foundation of the world’] were said because God foreknew that they would believe, not because He Himself would make them believers, the Son is speaking against such a foreknowledge as that when He says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you;” when God should rather have foreknown this very thing, that they themselves would have chosen Him, so that they might deserve to be chosen by Him.
  18. …who can hear the Lord saying, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” and can dare to say that men believe in order to be elected, when they are rather elected to believe; lest against the judgment of truth they be found to have first chosen Christ to whom Christ says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you”?
  19. ...if the apostle had wished us to understand that there were future good deeds of the one, and evil deeds of the other – which God, of course, foreknew – he would never have said "not of good works" but rather "of future works."
  20. Since this judgment [of wrath] was due them both, [Jacob] learned from what happened [Esau] that the fact that he had not, with equal merit, incurred the same penalty gave him no ground to boast of his own distinctive merits – but, instead, that he should glory in the abundance of divine grace, because "it is not a question of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God's showing mercy."“
  21. …grace alone separates the redeemed from the lost, all having been mingled together in the one mass of perdition, arising from a common cause which leads back to their common origin.”
  22. [God] chose [the elect] in Christ before the foundation of the world as those to whom He intended to give His grace freely – that is, with no merits of theirs, either of faith or of works, preceding…
  23. …the kindness which is bestowed on some freely [would not] appear, unless to other equally guilty and from the same mass God showed what was really due to both, and condemned them with a righteous judgment.
  24. …in [election] God does not find made by another what He may choose, but Himself makes what He may find.
  25. …[some think] the apostle thus said, “For we know that He worketh all things for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to the purpose,” so as to wish the purpose of man to be understood, which purpose, as a good merit, the mercy of the God that calleth might follow; being ignorant that it is said, “Who are called according to the purpose,” so that there may be understood the purpose of God, not man, whereby those whom He foreknew and predestinated as conformed to the image of His Son, He elected before the foundation of the world."
  26. …[lest] the carnal man in his foolish pride should, on hearing the question, “Who maketh thee to differ from another?” either in thought or in word answer and say: My faith, or my prayer, or my righteousness makes me to differ from other men, the apostle at once adds these words to the question, and so meets all such notions, saying, “What hast thou that thou didst not receive? now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou didst not receive it?
  27. …if we first loved Him, in order that by this merit He might love us, then we first chose Him that we might deserve to be chosen by Him… He, however, who is the Truth says otherwise, and flatly contradicts this vain conceit of men.
  28. … it was because they had been chosen, that they chose Him; not because they chose Him that they were chosen... [for] there could be no merit in men’s choice of Christ, if it were not that God’s grace was prevenient in His choosing them.
  29. …for rebuke by the agency of man to avail, whether it be of love or not, depends only upon God.
  30. …none of [the elect] perishes, because God is overcome by nothing.
  31. Peter’s faith would then have perished if that will by which he was faithful should fail, and that it would have continued if that same will should abide…When, then, He prayed that his faith should not fail, what was it that he asked for, but that in his faith he should have a most free, strong, invincible, persevering will!

On Atonement (link)

Augustine believed:
  1. The whole world… is the Church.
  2. He who chose the world out of the world, effected for Himself, instead of finding, what He should choose.
  3. [Not all] human beings are… redeemed by Christ's blood.
  4. [Christ] intercedeth for thee, Who on earth died for thee.
  5. When we ask for the reason why not all are saved, the customary answer is: "Because they themselves have not willed it." But this cannot be said of infants, who have not yet come to the power of willing or not willing.
  6. As far as [the depraved are] concerned, they did what God did not will that they do, but as far as God's omnipotence is concerned, they were quite unable to achieve their purpose. In their very act of going against his will, his will was thereby accomplished.
  7. In a strange and ineffable fashion even that which is done against his will is not done without his will. For it would not be done without his allowing it – and surely his permission is not unwilling but willing – nor would he who is good allow the evil to be done, unless in his omnipotence he could bring good even out of evil.
  8. The omnipotent God never doth anything except what he doth will, and doth everything that he willeth.
  9. The word concerning God, "who will have all men to be saved," does not mean that there is no one whose salvation he doth not will – he who was unwilling to work miracles among those who, he said, would have repented if he had wrought them – but by "all men" we are to understand the whole of mankind, in every single group into which it can be divided: kings and subjects; nobility and plebeians; the high and the low; the learned and unlearned; the healthy and the sick; the bright, the dull, and the stupid; the rich, the poor, and the middle class; males, females, infants, children, the adolescent, young adults and middle-aged and very old; of every tongue and fashion, of all the arts, of all professions, with the countless variety of wills and minds and all the other things that differentiate people.
  10. We could interpret [1 Timothy 2:4] in any other fashion, as long as we are not compelled to believe that the Omnipotent hath willed anything to be done which was not done.

On Perseverance (link)

Augustine believed:
  1. [Men do not persevere who have] not been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.
  2. … if you say that it pertains to man’s free will… that any one should persevere in good, or should not persevere, and it is not by the gift of God if he persevere, but by the performance of human will… you strive against the words of Him who says, “I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith fail not.
  3. "If God works our faith, acting in a wonderful manner in our hearts so that we believe… there [no] reason to fear that He cannot do the whole.
  4. “No one of His own is indifferent to [the Father’s] voice… for this reason also does He announce it to the [sheep], that he may abide perseveringly with Himself to the end.
  5. “…after the fall of man, God willed it to pertain only to His grace that man should approach to Him; nor did He will it to pertain to aught but His grace that man should not depart from Him.
  6. It is He… who makes [men] to persevere in good, who makes them good. But they who fall and perish have never been in the number of the predestinated."
  7. Consider if in such a way any other result be gained than that the grace of God is given in some way or other, according to our merit, and so grace is no more grace.
  8. “It is [foreign to] the truth to deny that perseverance even to the end of this life is the gift of God; since He Himself puts an end to this life when He wills, and if He puts an end before a fall that is threatening, He makes the man to persevere even unto the end.”
  9. "When Christ intercedes, therefore, on behalf of these, that their faith should not fail, doubtless it will not fail unto the end.
  10. “To the saints predestinated to the kingdom of God by God’s grace, the aid of perseverance that is given is not such as the former, but such that to them perseverance itself is bestowed; not only so that without that gift they cannot persevere, but, moreover, so that by means of this gift they cannot help persevering."


Anonymous said...

How 'bout this quote from old St Auggie:
"I would not have believed the gospel had it not been for the authority of the Catholic Church"

Ryan said...

How about it?


I offer another possibility in the comment section here:


What did you think of the post itself, if I may ask?

Anonymous said...

I think he ran off to Mass.