Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 343: Hilary and Prosper
Hilary and Prosper
At the time Augustine was writing in behalf the divinity of the Word, he did not forget that the Christ’s divine nature involved a defense of grace. He continued to combat Pelagianism against Julian of Eclanum and was obliged to maintain predestination. This doctrine forms a necessary conclusion from what Pelagius was constrained to recognize in the Council of Diospolis, that grace is not given according to merit.
In Marseilles and southern Gaul, various men imagined what Augustine had said in his books against the Pelagians concerning the call of the elect according to God’s good pleasure was contrary to the faith of the fathers and the thinking of the Church.2 Predestination could lead both saints and sinners to tepidity: In waiting for the infallible divine election, they would not work for their own salvation. Even if predestination were true, it should not be taught publicly since it led to dangerous consequences and rendered preaching and exhortation useless.
Aversion to this teaching on grace and its possible consequences involved the celebrated errors of semi-Pelagianism.3 Like the Pelagians the semi-Pelagians wished salvation to be in our hands. Human beings could confess and glorify themselves on their own account although the necessity of grace for good works was not denied. This doctrine of the necessity of grace for good works distinguishes them from Pelagians. However, they denied the necessity of God’s grace for the beginning of faith (initium fidei)...