Prosper of Aquitaine

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Prosper of Aquitaine (390-455) was a layman, but was an ardent disciple of Augustine of Hippo. By 417 he arrived in Marseilles as a refugee from Aquitaine in the aftermath of the Gothic invasions of Gaul. In 429 he was corresponding with Augustine and in 431 he appeared in Rome to appeal to Pope Celestine I regarding the teachings of Augustine. In his work Epitoma chronicon, Prosper gives detailed coverage of political events including  Attila’s invasions of Gaul (451) and Italy (452).  


  • De vocatione omnium gentium
  • De gratia Dei et libero arbitrio
  • Epitoma chronico

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Quotes and Excerpts:

(Written 428 A.D.)

Indeed, some of these [Massilians] are so far from abandoning Pelagian paths that, when they are obliged to confess the grace of Christ, which is antecedent to any human merits, -for, were it given in view of merit, it would not be right to call it grace- they
hold that the situation of every man is this: when man has no prior merits because he has no previous existence, the grace of the Creator makes him rational and gives him free choice,
so that through his discernment of good and evil, he may be able to direct his own will to the knowledge of God and to obedience to His commands; and through the use of a natural
faculty, by asking, by seeking, and by knocking, he is able to attain even to that grace by which we are reborn in Christ: and thus he can receive, he can find, and he can enter in, because, having made good use of a good gift of nature, he has merited, with the help of initial grace, to attain to the grace of salvation.

225: 5

“When we offer as objection to these arguments
the countless multitude of infants,
who, except for original sin, under which all men alike
are born into the condemnation of the first man,
have as yet no will, no proper actions, and who,
not without a judgment of God, are cut off and are
to be carried away before any experience of this life
gives them a discernment of good and evil, so that some,
through rebirth, are enrolled among the heirs of the
heavenly kingdom, while others, without Baptism,
pass over among the debtors of eternal death:
such are lost, they say, and such are saved,
according to what the divine knowledge foresees
they would have done in their adult years,
if they had been preserved to a responsible age!”

Responses on Behalf of Augustine to the Articles
of Objections Raised by his Calumniators in Gaul 
(Written in 431 A.D.)


“Just as good works are to be referred to Him that
inspires them, God, so too evil works are to be referred
to those who are sinning. For sinners have not been
abandoned by God so that they might themselves
abandon God; rather, they have abandoned and
have been changed from good to evil by their own will;
and consequently, although they may have been reborn,
although they may have been justified,
they are not, however, predestined by Him who
foreknew what kind of persons they would be.”


“Indeed, a man who has been justified, that is,
who from impious has been made pious,
since he had no antecedent good merit,
receives a gift,
by which gift he may also acquire merit.
Thus, what was begun in him by Christ’s grace
can also be augmented
by the industry of his free choice,
but never in the absence of God’s help,
without which no one is able either to progress
or to continue in doing good.”


Since there can be no doubt that perseverance
to the end is a gift of God, – which, it is clear, that
some from the very fact that they have not persevered,
never had, – it is in no way a calumniation of God
to say that these were not given what was
given to others; rather, it is to be confessed both that
He gave mercifully what He did give, and He withheld
justly what He did not give, so that, although
the cause of a man’s falling away originates in free choice,
the cause of his standing firm is a gift from God.
If falling away is done by human effort,
standing firm is accomplished by means of a divine gift.

“Again, whoever says that God does not will all men to
be saved, but only the certain number of the predestined,
is saying a harsher thing than ought to be said of the
inscrutable depth of the grace of God, who both wills that
all should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth,
and fulfills the proposal of His will in those whom,
when He foreknew them, He predestined, when He
predestined them, He called, when He called them,
He justified, and, when He justified them, He glorified.
And thus, those who are saved are saved because
God willed them to be saved, and those who perish
do perish because they deserved to perish.”

Resposes on Behalf of Augustine to the Articles
of Objections Raised by the Vincentianists 
(Written 431 A.D.)


“It is a detestable and abominable opinion that
makes God the author of any kind of evil will
or evil action. His predestination is never
outside His goodness, never outside His justice.
Plainly He predestined His judgment,
in which recompense will be made to each one for
what he has done, whether good or whether evil.
But if it were by God’s will that men sin,
there would be no future judgment at all.”


“These, however, of whom it is said:
‘They have gone forth from us, but they were
not of us. For if they had been of us, they
would surely have remained with us’
went forth voluntarily and voluntarily they fell.
And because it was foreknown that they would fall,
they were not predestined. But they would have been
predestined if they were going to return and remain
in holiness and truth. And consequently, God’s
predestination is the cause of the standing firm
of many, but for no one is the cause of their falling.”

The Grace of God and Free Choice:
A Book Against the Conference Master 
(Written 433 A.D.)


Truth says: ‘No one comes to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draw him.’ If, then, no one comes unless he is drawn, all who come in whatever way are drawn. The contemplation of the elements and the most orderly beauty of all that is in them surely draws us to God. For his invisible attributes, from the creation of the world, are clearly perceived by the intellect, through the things that were made. And who can perceive or tell through what sentiments the visitation of God can lead the human soul, so that what it fled, it follows; what it hated, it loves; what it felt distasteful, it longs for; and by a sudden and marvelous change, what was closed to it is opened; what was burdensome is light; what was bitter is sweet; what was hidden is made clear?


“For in that ruin of the universal fall neither the substance
nor the will of human nature has been snatched away;
but it has been deprived of the light and glory of its virtues
by the deceit of the Envious One. But when it had lost that
by which it would have been able to achieve eternity and an incorruption of body and soul that could not be lost, what
did it have left except that which pertains to temporal life,
the whole of which belongs to damnation and punishment?
That is why those born in Adam
need to be reborn in Christ,
lest they be found in that generation which perishes.”

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