Extract from Augustins “Retractations,”
Book II. Chap. 66,
On the Following Treatise,
“de gratia et libero arbitrio.”
There are some persons who suppose that the freedom of the will is denied whenever Gods grace is maintained, and who on their side defend their liberty of will so peremptorily as to deny the grace of God. This grace, as they assert, is bestowed according to our own merits. It is in consequence of their opinions that I wrote the book entitled On Grace and Free Will. This work I addressed to the monks of Adrumetum, 2914 in whose monastry first arose the controversy on that subject, and that in such a manner that some of them were obliged to consult me thereon. The work begins with these words: “With reference to those persons who so preach the liberty of the human will.”
Adrumetum, a maritime city of Africa, was the metropolis of the Province of Byzacium, as Procopius informs us, De Aedificiis Justiniani VI. It was in a monastery here that the monks resided for whose instruction Augustin composed the two following treatises,—the former entitled De Gratiâ et Libero Arbitrio, and the latter De Correptione et Gratiâ, in the year of Christ 426 or 427. In our opinion, no later date can be well assigned to these writings, inasmuch as they are mentioned in The Retractations, which was published about the year 427; nor can they be placed earlier in date, because they are in that work mentioned the very last.