Posted by: oldbelieving | October 1, 2009

Blessed (St.) Augustine on free will and synergy

St. Augustine tweren’t no Calvinist:

Letter 214, to Valentinus

1. Two young men, Cresconius and Felix, have found their way to us, and, introducing themselves as belonging to your brotherhood, have told us that your monastery was disturbed with no small commotion, because certain among you preach grace in such a manner as to deny that the will of man is free; and maintain–a more serious matter–that in the day of judgment God will not render to every man according to his works. At the same time, they have pointed out to us, that many of you do not entertain this opinion, but allow that free will is assisted by the grace of God, so as that we may think and do aright; so that, when the Lord shall come to render unto every man according to his works, He shall find those works of ours good which God has prepared in order that we may walk in them. They who think this think rightly.

2. “I beseech you therefore, brethren,” even as the apostle besought the Corinthians, “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you.” For, in the first place, the Lord Jesus, as it is written in the Gospel of the Apostle John, “came not to condemn the world, but that the world by Himself might be saved.” Then, afterwards, as the Apostle Paul writes, “God shall judge the world when He shall come,” as the whole Church confesses in the Creed, “to judge the quick and the dead.” Now, I would ask, if there is no grace of God, how does He save the world? And if there is no free will, how does He judge the world? That book of mine, therefore, or epistle, which the above-mentioned brethren have brought with them to you, I wish you to understand in accordance with this faith, so that you may neither deny God’s grace, nor uphold free will in such wise as to separate the latter from the grace of God, as if without this we could by any means either think or do anything according to God,–which is quite beyond our power. On this account, indeed, it is, that theLord when speaking of the fruits of righteousness said, “Without me you can do nothing.”

On the Predestination of the Saints Book II

46. But it is said, It is by his own fault that any one deserts the faith, when he yields and consents to the temptation which is the cause of his desertion of the faith. Who denies it? But because of this, perseverance in the faith is not to be said not to be a gift of God. For it is this that a man daily asks for when he says, Lead us not into temptation; Matthew 6:13 and if he is heard, it is this that he receives. And thus as he daily asks for perseverance, he assuredly places the hope of his perseverance not in himself, but in God. I, however, am loth to exaggerate the case with my words, but I rather leave it to them to consider, and see what it is of which they have persuaded themselves— to wit, that by the preaching of predestination, more of despair than of exhortation is impressed upon the hearers. For this is to say that a man then despairs of his salvation when he has learned to place his hope not in himself, but in God, although the prophet cries, Cursed is he who has his hope in man. Jeremiah 17:5

Exposition of Psalm 102(103)

4. This is infirmity: but He heals all your infirmities. All your infirmities shall be healed: fear not. They are great, you will say: but the Physician is greater. No infirmity comes before the Almighty Physician as incurable: only suffer you yourself to be healed: repel not His hands; He knows how to deal with you. Be not only pleased when He cherishes you, but also bear with Him when He uses the knife: bear the pain of the remedy, reflecting on your future health….

5. This then is addressed unto you, and to all men: if you are not sick, think of other things: if your very infirmity prove you sick, first take heed of your health. Christ is your health: think therefore of Christ. Receive the cup of His saving Health, who heals all your infirmities; if you shall choose, you shall gain this Health….

and there’s also his entire work on free will:


  1. That´s a new point of view,interesting…sometimes things are not working as predicted….


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