Pelagius in Roman Biography

Pe-la'gl-us, [Gr. IbAayioc ; Fr. Pelage, pl'lSzh',] the founder of the sect of Pelagians, or rather the chief advocate of a system of doctrines called Pelagianism, was born probably in Britain. He began to propagate his doctrines at Rome about 400 A.D., and formed a friendship with Celestius, who became his ardent disciple. He was an admirer of Origen, and an adversary of Saint Augustine in relation to grace and election. Pelagius rejected the dogmas of original sin and absolute predestination. He maintained that the effects of Adam's first sin were confined to himself, and that man's salvation depends on his own exertions. He was condemned by several councils, and was banished from Italy in 418. The eminent purity of his life was freely admitted by his opponents. A system called Semi-Pelagianism prevailed widely in the middle ages, and has many adherents at the present day. As the numerous works of Pelagius are nearly all lost, it is difficult to ascertain exactly what doctrines he taught. His adversaries complained of the haze of subtle dialectics with which he involved every subject of dispute. Among his extant works is a " Commentary on the Epistles of Saint Paul." See Norkis, " Historia Pelagians;" I.. Patouillet, "Vie de Pelage," 1751 ; Bayi.e, " Historical and Critical Dictionary ;" Saint Augustine, "De Gratia Christi" and "De Peccato Originali;" " Nouvelle Biographie Generale.

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