The Ancient Library

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PELAGIUS. instilling this poison, but at the same time they both complain of the snake-like lubricity with which he uniformly evaded the grasp of his oppo­nents when they sought to fix him down to any substantial proposition, and of the haze of subtle dialectics with which he enveloped every point in debate, obscuring and confounding the vision of his judges. There can be no doubt, however, that although his speculations were of a most abstruse and refined character, their tendency was eminently practical ; that he desired to banish all mysticism, to render religious truth an active power in the amelioration of the heart, and sought upon all occasions to demonstrate the inefficacy of mere nominal faith unaccompanied by works, to warn his hearers of the hazard they incurred by waiting passively for some manifestation of Divine favour, without making one effort to obtain it, and above all, to convince them that their justification depended in some degree upon themselves.

In forming an estimate of the real character of Pelagius, it must be remembered that his most bitter enemies freely admit the spotless purity of his life, and that he labours under this signal dis­advantage, that his chief works are known to us only from the quotations of his adversaries. But even from those which are extant we may without want of charity infer that the charge of duplicity, or at least reserve, was not altogether unfounded. He does not appear to have possessed that straight­forward courage which prompts a truly great mind boldly to proclaim what it deems a vital truth in defiance of obloquy and persecution. We are constantly struck with an indistinctness and ambi­guity of phrase, which, after making very full allowance for the abstruse nature of the themes, cannot be altogether accidental, while his complex definitions and divisions, his six kinds of grace to take a single example, tend rather to perplex than to simplify his positions and his arguments. Hence he may have endeavoured to convey the essence of his system, while he abstained from spreading alarm by the open enunciation of what might appear at once strange and perilous, hoping in this manner to avoid those angry controversies from which a refined and contemplative mind would shrink with disgust. In this project he might have succeeded had not his plans been frustrated by the impetuous sincerity of the more practical Coe-lestius, whose undisguised avowals first kindled against himself that- flame of persecution which eventually involved his teacher also.

A very few only of the numerous and voluminous treatises of Pelagius have descended to us, and for a long period every one of these was supposed to be the work of his most bitter enemy.

1. Expositionum in Epistolas Pauli Libri XIV., written at Rome, and therefore not later than a. d. 310, These commentaries, which consist of short simple explanatory notes on all the Epistles of Paul, with the exception of that to the Hebrews, were at one period attributed to Gelasius, who was Bishop of Rome towards the end of the fifth century ; they afterwards found their way into the MSS. of Jerome ; and the admirers of that divine, considering it their duty to expunge every passage which seemed tinged with heresy, they have been trans­mitted to modern times in a state very different from that in which they issued from the hands of their composer, although his doubts with regard to original sin may still be very clearly traced,


especially in the notes on the Epistle to the Ro­mans. No doubt can exist with regard to their authenticity, which is established beyond dispute by the quotations of Augustine, Marius Mercator, and others. They will be found in the Benedictine edition of Jerome, and in that by Vallarsi. See Garnier's edition of Mercator, Append, ad Diss. vi. p. 367.

II. Epistola ad Demetriadem, written in the East about 412, and addressed to a Roman lady of distinction, who had been induced by Augustine to abandon the pleasures of the world for a life of devout austerity. This piece, which is of consider­able importance, inasmuch as it contains clear indications of the sentiments of Pelagius witli regard to the excellence of human nature, was, as well as the last-mentioned, assigned to Jerome, but the real author was ascertained from the quotations by Augustine in his De Gratia Christi (capp. 22, 37, 38), and in the epistle to Juliana, the mother of Demetrias. It will be found in the best editions of Jerome, and was published separately by Semler, 8vo. Hal. 1775.

III. Libellus Fidei ad Innocentium Papam ; a formal confession of faith, forwarded to Rome in 417, which, along with the preceding, was included among the tracts of Jerome under the title Hiero-nymi Explanatio Symboli ad Damasum; and here likewise the mistake was corrected by the quota­tions in the Do Gratia Christi. It is to be found in all the best editions of Jerome. See also Gar­nier's edition of Mercator, P. I. Diss. v. p. 307.

Another letter inscribed Epistola ad Celantiam Matronam de Ratione pie vivcndi, among the cor­respondence of Jerome, was supposed by Erasmus to belong to Paulinus of Nola, by Vallarsi to Sul-picius Severus, while Semler argues from the general tone and spirit with which it is imbued, as well as from the style, that it ought to be made over to Pelagius. It is numbered CXLVIII. in the edition of Jerome by Vallarsi.

The following works are known to us only from fragmentary citations : —

1. EtlAoyiooj/ Liber, designated by Gennadius as Eulogiarum pro aciuali Conversations ex Divinis Scripiuris Liber ; byHonorius as Pro actuali Vita Liber; by Orosius as Testimoniorum Liber. A collection of remarkable texts from Scripture in reference to practical morality, arranged and illus­trated after the manner of the Testimonia of Cv-


prian [cyprianus, p. 914]. (Hieronym. Dialog. ad,vers. Pelag. lib. i. ; Augustin. c. duas Pelagiano-rum epp. iv. 8 ; De Gestis Pelagii, c. 1, 6. Comp. Gamier, ad M. Mercat. Append, ad Diss. vi.)

2. De Natura Libe^, to which Augustine replied in his De Natura et Gratia. The fragments have been collected by Gamier, I. c.

3. Liber ad Viduam Consolatorius atque Exlior-tatorius. See Hieronym. Dialog, adv. Pelag. lib. iii. ; Augustin. de Gest. Pelag. c. 6 ; Garnier, ed. Mercator. /. c.

4. Episiola ad Augustinum ,• written after the Synod held in Palestine. (Augustin. de Gest. Pelag. c. 26 ; Garnier, ed. Mercat. /. c.)

5. Epistola ad Augustinum Secunda; written after the Synod of Diospolis, and transmitted by the deacon Cams. (Augustin. de Gest. Pelag. c. 30 ; Garnier, ed. Mercat. 1. c. ; G. J. Voss. Histor. Controversiarum Pelagianarum, 4to. Lug. Bat. 1618 ; H. Noris. Histor. Pelag. fol. Lovan. 1702 ; Tillemont, Memoires, &c. ; Schrock, Kir-

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