“The Augustinian Revolution in Theology” Part II

This week for your reading pleasure I continue to quote from Thomas Allin’s book “The Augustinian Revolution in Theology”. In today’s quote it can be easily seen where John Calvin got his doctrines of Total Depravity and the eternal damnation of the unbaptized babies. The more I read these quotes the more I am convinced that these doctrines are not biblical but come from a fundamental dislike, even hatred, of all mankind.

Here is Pastor Allin:

“Höchst ekelhaft” [“Highly disgusting”] is the verdict of so staunch an ally as Harnack.(a) “Perfectly loathsome” indeed is the constant iteration of membra genitalia, memborum inobedienta, concubitus [the members of the genitals, the members of the disobedience, sexual intercourse], in his pages. It is the thought of an ex-profligate round whom, though risen, the grave clothes of his past are still clinging. (b)

Having discussed the mode of transmission of original sin, we next proceed to its results. So awful are they that the only adequate mode of chronicling them would be to borrow the prophet’s roll written, within and without, all “mourning lamentation, and woe!” Of these hardly more than an outline can here be given. Practically all infants are by nature the Devil’s own. Of such is the kingdom of the devil. It is the devil who implants sexual desire, hence quidquid per illud nascitur cogit esse sub (?) diabolo [is born from the words of all the forces to be under the (?) the devil]. As a man strolling through his garden gathers fruit, so the devil plucks infants as from his own fruit tree. (c) All are under the devil, whatever their parents may be, till baptized. (d) Those born under sin must be under him who is the author of sin. (e) Naturally those who belong to the devil go to the devil universally, some few escaping by baptism or by predestination to life.

What this means Augustine shall tell us: The Catholic faith teaches that all unbaptized infants go to the damnation of perdition. (f) They suffer the second death. (g) The second death he defines as the torture of soul and body in eternal fire. (h) Augustine’s emphatic assertion of this is to be noted. Even Julian’s impudence, (i) he says, will not go so far. It is a painful story to the impartial reader, this of Augustine blazing with wrath at a Pelagian for saying less than everybody to-day believes. Yet on this point even Augustine had to climb down. After designating the future state of all unbaptized infants as eternal death, he yet admits that this state (eternal death) may be preferable to non-existence, (j) and he assigns to unbaptized infants the most tolerable form of damnation. (k) How a fair critic may retort – can “the torture of soul and body in eternal fire” (see above) be ever preferable to non-existence? Thus Adam’s sin, transmitted universally by sexual relations, renders all men in a very frequent phrase of Augustine’s, “una massa peccati,” [“a mass of sin”] or “luti” [“clay” – possibly slang for dung?]. The original of the ever-memorable “total depravity” doctrine may be traced to a treatise of the year 380 A.D. (l) And Augustine expressly teaches that even though not a solitary unit were redeemed out of the heap of damned humanity, no charge would be against Divine justice. (m)

The Augustinian Revolution in Theology
By Thomas Allin

Pp. 142-145


For a list of all posts in this series please see: Posts Quoting From Thomas Allin’s “Augustinian Revolution in Theology”


(a) Dogmatics iii.
(b) [The only early writer in the East who enters fully into subjects of this kind is Clement of Alexandria. See his “Pædagogus,” Book ii. And his “Miscellanies,” Book iii.; also the last chapter of Book ii. But there is the widest difference between the two. Not only does Clement insist continually on the purity of the marriage relation, and on the folly of impiety of those who cast aspersions on it, but his pages are entirely free from that tendency to “revel” in the mention of details from which other ancient authors shrink. This in his “De Civitate Dei” Augustine enters into the question whether the physical pleasure which may be felt by virgins in the embraces of their brutal barbarian ravishers has or has not the nature of sin – a thoroughly unnecessary and revolting question. Undoubtedly the prurience which permeates the literature of the Roman Confessional finds its origin in Augustine. And we may infer from the pages of Clement where Augustine learned it. I am bound to say that in my belief the words of the author in the text are not one whit too strong.-Ed.]
(c) “De nuptiis et concupiscentiâ,” i. 23; “C. d. Ep. Pel.,” i. 6, 17.
(d) “C. Jul.,” [“Against Julian of Eclanum”] iii. 5.
(e) “De nuptiis et concupiscentiâ,” ii. 5.
(f) “Ep.,” [could be either “Epistulae ad Galatas expositio” or “Epistulae ad Romanos expositio inchoata”] 190.
(g) “Op. Imp.,” vi. 36.
(h) “op. Imp.,” vi. 31; cf. “C. d. Ep. Pel.,” i. 22; “De peccatorum meritis et remissione,” ii. 25; “De Gratiâ Christi et de peccato originali,” ii. 18.
(i) I have not given full force to Augustine’s words: “Non opinor perditionem vestram usque ad istem posse impudentiam prosilere” (“I don’t believe your damnation can leap out as far as such impudence”). This is quoted to illustrate Augustine’s temper towards the close of this controversy. See Mozley, ii. 789.
(j) “C. Jul.,” [“Against Julian of Eclanum”] v. II.
(k) “Ep.,” [could be either “Epistulae ad Galatas expositio” or “Epistulae ad Romanos expositio inchoata”] 184, 186.
(l) “De Diversis Quaestionibus Octoginta Tribus,” 68. Some of the phrases which Augustine uses to describe the lot of fallen humanity are as follows: “massa perditionis” [“mass destruction”],  “conspersio damnata” [“lump condemned”] (“De Pec. Orig.,” 31; “De Cor. Et Gr.,” 7); “omnes ad damnationem nascuntur” [“all are to be sentenced”] (“De Pec. Mer.,” i. 28); “damnabilis stirps” [“damnable stock”] (“Ep.,” 190, c. 3 (9)); “massa perditionis” ” [“mass destruction”] (Op. Imp.,” iv. 131); “to the damned mass perdition is due” (“Ep.,” 194, c. 3 (14))
(m) “De correptione et gratiâ,” 10; “De prædestinatione Sanctorum,” viii.

Explore posts in the same categories: Augustine of Hippo

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