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Pelagius (c. 390-418) was an Irish or British ascetic moralist, who became well known throughout the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity. He was declared a heretic by the Council of Carthage. His doctrine became known as Pelagianism.


Letter to Demetrias[edit]

as translated by B. Rees, in Readings in World Christian History (2013), pp. 206-210

  • Whenever I have to speak on the subject of moral instruction and the conduct of a holy life, it is my practice first to demonstrate the power and quality of human nature.
  • We can never enter upon the path to virtue unless we have hope as our guide and companion.
  • The best incentive for the mind consists in teaching it that it is possible to do anything which one really wants to do.
  • We must now take precautions to prevent you from being embarrassed by something in which the ignorant majority is at fault for lack of proper consideration, and so from supposing with them, that man has not been created truly good simply because he is able to do evil. ... If you reconsider this matter carefully and force your mind to apply a more acute understanding to it, it will be revealed to you that man's status is better and higher for the very reason for which it is thought to be inferior: it is on this choice between two ways, on this freedom to choose either alternative, that the glory of the rational mind is based, it is in this that the whole honor of our nature consists, it is from this that its dignity is derived.

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