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Book II.

He undertakes to examine the second letter of the Pelagians, filled, like the first, with calumnies against the Catholics—a letter that was sent by them to Thessalonica in the name of eighteen bishops; and, first of all, he shows, by the comparison of the heretical writings with one another, that the Catholics are by no means falling into the errors of the Manicheans in detesting the dogmas of the Pelagians. He repels the calumny of prevarication incurred by the Roman clergy in the latter condemnation of Pelagius and Cœlestius by Zosimus, showing that the Pelagian dogmas were never approved at Rome, although for some time, by the clemency of Zosimus, Cœlestius was mercifully dealt with, with a view to leading him to the correction of his errors. He shows that, under the name of grace, Catholics neither assert a doctrine of fate, nor attribute respect of persons to God; although they truly say that God’s grace is not given according to human merits, and that the first desire of good is inspired by God; so that a man does not at all make a beginning of a change from bad to good, unless the unbought and gratuitous mercy of God effects that beginning in him.

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