Augustine: election by foreknown faith?

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Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi brothers,
I recently came across a quote from Augustine in his work on Romans stating that election is according to foreknown faith, and I was wondering if anyone had some context. I'm especially wondering about the date of the work, indicating whether it is likely to represent his mature thought on the matter or not, and if he gives a different view in any of his works. The quote is as follows:
Sed quoniam Spiritus Sanctus non datur nisi credentibus, non quidem Deus elegit opera, quae ipse largitur, cum dat Spiritum Sanctum, ut per caritatem bona operemur, sed tamen elegit fidem...
Non ergo elegit Deus opera cuiusquam in praescientia, quae ipse daturus est, sed fidem elegit in praescientia, ut quem sibi crediturum esse praescivit, ipsum elegerit, cui Spiritum Sanctum daret, ut bona operando etiam aeternam vitam consequeretur.
But, since the Holy Spirit is not given except to those who believe, God does not indeed elect works, which he bestows, when he gives the Holy Spirit, in order that we do good works through love; but he nevertheless elects faith...
God does not therefore elect the works of any in foreknowledge, which works he is going to give. But he elects faith in foreknowledge, so that he elected him who he foreknew to believe in him, to whom he would give the Holy Spirit, in order that, by doing good works, eternal life would indeed follow.

(Also, just a friendly reminder for anyone that might be shaken up by this quote that we confess sola fide for a reason. The fathers are often not a reliable guide to the meaning of the Scriptures.)
 
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PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
"Eventually, when I was retracting all my small works, and was committing that retractation to writing, of which task I had already completed two books before I had taken up your more lengthy letters — when in the first volume I had reached the retractation of this book, I then spoke thus:— Also discussing, I say, 'what God could have chosen in him who was as yet unborn, whom He said that the elder should serve; and what in the same elder, equally as yet unborn, He could have rejected; concerning whom, on this account, the prophetic testimony is recorded, although declared long subsequently, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated,' I carried out my reasoning to the point of saying: 'God did not therefore choose the works of any one in foreknowledge of what He Himself would give them, but he chose the faith, in the foreknowledge that He would choose that very person whom He foreknew would believe in Him — to whom He would give the Holy Spirit, so that by doing good works he might obtain eternal life also.' I had not yet very carefully sought, nor had I as yet found, what is the nature of the election of grace, of which the apostle says, 'A remnant are saved according to the election of grace.' Romans 11:5 Which assuredly is not grace if any merits precede it; lest what is now given, not according to grace, but according to debt, be rather paid to merits than freely given. " Augustine https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/15121.htm
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Freshman
"Eventually, when I was retracting all my small works, and was committing that retractation to writing, of which task I had already completed two books before I had taken up your more lengthy letters — when in the first volume I had reached the retractation of this book, I then spoke thus:— Also discussing, I say, 'what God could have chosen in him who was as yet unborn, whom He said that the elder should serve; and what in the same elder, equally as yet unborn, He could have rejected; concerning whom, on this account, the prophetic testimony is recorded, although declared long subsequently, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated,' I carried out my reasoning to the point of saying: 'God did not therefore choose the works of any one in foreknowledge of what He Himself would give them, but he chose the faith, in the foreknowledge that He would choose that very person whom He foreknew would believe in Him — to whom He would give the Holy Spirit, so that by doing good works he might obtain eternal life also.' I had not yet very carefully sought, nor had I as yet found, what is the nature of the election of grace, of which the apostle says, 'A remnant are saved according to the election of grace.' Romans 11:5 Which assuredly is not grace if any merits precede it; lest what is now given, not according to grace, but according to debt, be rather paid to merits than freely given. " Augustine https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/15121.htm
Thank you. This is the sort of thing I was hoping for.
 
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