A Good Will Comes from God - Augustine
It is not enough simply to have choice of will, which is freely turned in this direction and that, and belongs among those natural gifts which a bad person may use badly. We must also have a good will, which belongs among those gifts which it is impossible to use badly. This impossibility is given to us by God; otherwise I do not know how to defend what Scripture says: â€˜What do you have that you did not receive?â€™ (1 Cor.4:7) For if God gives us a free will, which may still be either good or bad, but a good will comes from ourselves, then what comes from ourselves is better than what comes from God! But it is the height of absurdity to say this. So the Pelagians ought to acknowledge that we obtain from God even a good will.
It would indeed be a strange thing if the will could stand in some no-manâ€™s-land, where it was neither good nor bad. For we either love righteousness, and this is good; and if we love it more, this is better. If we love it less, this is less good; or if we do not love righteousness at all, it is not good. And who can hesitate to affirm that, when the will does not love righteousness in any way at all, it is not only a bad will, but even a totally depraved will? Since therefore the will is either good or bad, and since of course we do not derive the bad will from God, it remains that we derive from God a good will. Otherwise, since our justification proceeds from a good will, I do not know what other gift of God we ought to rejoice in. That, I suppose, is why it is written, â€˜The will is prepared by the Lordâ€™ (Prov.8:35, Septuagint). And in the Psalms, â€˜The steps of a man will be rightly ordered by the Lord, and His way will be the choice of his willâ€™ (Ps.37:23). And what the apostle says, â€˜For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasureâ€™ (Phil.2:13).
Augustine, On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, 2:30