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The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Augustine on Psalm 85

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source of Collect: Very earliest of the Sacramentaries [440]. 1 Corinthans 13:13 "now abideth faith, hope, and charity... There are two petitions, to give us increase, and secondly to make us to love reminds us of Romans 6:17... being "obdeient from the heart" [Barbee and Zahl]

Micah vi. 1, Psalm 84, 85 | 74 , Galatians v. 16   &  St. Luke xvii. 11

Homily of Augustine on Psalm LXXXV

Turn us, O God of our salvation, 
and cause thine anger toward us to cease.


Augustine writes: 

"Be not angry with us for ever" (ver. 5). For by the anger of God we are subject to death, and by the anger of God we eat bread on this earth in want, and in the sweat of our face. This was Adam's sentence when he sinned: and that Adam was every one of us, for "in Adam all die;" [ the sentence passed on him hath taken effect after him on us. For we were not yet ourselves, but we were in Adam: therefore whatever happened to Adam himself took effect on us also, so that we should die: for we all were in him....So far as this the sin of thy father hurts thee not, if thou hast changed thyself, even as it would not hurt thy father if he had changed himself. But that which our stock hath received unto its subjection to death, it hath derived from Adam. What hath it so derived? That frailty of the flesh, this torture of pains, this house of poverty, this chain of death, and snares of temptations; all these things we carry about in this flesh; and this is the anger of God, because it is the vengeance of God. But because it was so to be, that we should be regenerated, and by believing should be made new, and all that mortality was to be removed in our resurrection, and the whole man was to be restored in newness; "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive;"  seeing this the Prophet saith, "Be not angry with us for ever, nor stretch out Thy wrath from one generation to another." The first generation was mortal by Thy wrath: the second generation shall be immortal by Thy mercy....  "O God, Thou shalt turn us again, and make us alive" (ver. 6). Not as if we ourselves of our own accord, without Thy mercy, turn unto Thee, and then Thou shalt make us alive: but so that not only our being made alive is from Thee, but our very conversion, that we may be made alive. "And Thy people shall rejoice in Thee." To their own evil they shall rejoice in themselves: to their own good they shall rejoice in Thee. For when they wished to have joy of themselves, they found in themselves woe: but now because God is all our joy, he that will rejoice securely, let him rejoice in Him who cannot perish."

There are two things I would point out to the reader here: 

First is the same point as last week, Augustine argues against the error of Pelagius who denied original sin, and claimed that men were all good, and all had the ability to turn themselves if they only would. The psalmist says, "Turn us O God".

Second, this heresy of Pelagianism is alive and well, perhaps in your very church. Be not deceived, they who make the Cross of Christ of no account do so at their peril. There is one Savior who gave himself up to save us poor, miserable sinners; no one is without sin and all need him; and none can reach the Father save through him. God the Father did this because he so loved the world, so that all that believe on Jesus the Christ will be saved. 

Notice too that the ancient collect supports the role of God as the agent for the change wrought in us, and not we of ourselves, as it says, "make us to love that which thou dost command."

Read it all at the link.

Good reading here on Pelagianism at the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry site which lists the many councils that have condemned this heresy.

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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