Saint Augustine sounds Reformed and not Catholic on several important doctrines. Let’s start with this:
CHAP. 11 [VI.]— THAT SOME MEN ARE ELECTED IS OF GOD’S MERCY.
“Many hear the word of truth; but some believe, while others contradict. Therefore, the former will to believe; the latter do not will.” Who does not know this? Who can deny this? But since in some the will is prepared by the Lord, in others it is not prepared, we must assuredly be able to distinguish what comes from God’s mercy, and what from His judgment. “What Israel sought for,” says the apostle, “he hath not obtained, but the election hath obtained it; and the rest were blinded, as it is written, God gave to them the spirit of compunction,—eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, even to this day. And David said, Let their table be made a snare, a retribution, and a stumblingblock to them; let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see; and bow down their back always.” [Rom. 11.7.] Here is mercy and judgment,—mercy towards the election which has obtained the righteousness of God, but judgment to the rest which have been blinded. And yet the former, because they willed,12 believed; the latter, because they did not will believed not. Therefore mercy and judgment were manifested in the very wills themselves. Certainly such an election is of grace, not at all of merits. For he had before said, “So, therefore, even at this present time, the remnant has been saved by the election of grace. And if by grace, now it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace.” [Rom. 11.5.] Therefore the election obtained what it obtained gratuitously; there preceded none of those things which they might first give, and it should be given to them again. He saved them for nothing. But to the rest who were blinded, as is there plainly declared, it was done in recompense. “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth.” [Psalm 25.10.] But His ways are unsearchable. Therefore the mercy by which He freely delivers, and the truth by which He righteously judges, are equally unsearchable.
CHAP. 12 [VII.]— WHY THE APOSTLE SAID THAT WE ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH AND NOT BY WORKS.
But perhaps it may be said: “The apostle distinguishes faith from works; he says, indeed, that grace is not of works, but he does not say that it is not of faith.” This, indeed, is true. But Jesus says that faith itself also is the work of God, and commands us to work it. For the Jews said to Him, “What shall we do that we may work the work of God? Jesus answered, and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” [John 6.28.] The apostle, therefore, distinguishes faith from works, just as Judah is distinguished from Israel in the two kingdoms of the Hebrews, although Judah is Israel itself. And he says that a man is justified by faith and not by works, because faith itself is first given, from which may be obtained other things which are specially characterized as works, in which a man may live righteously. For he himself also says, “By grace ye are saved through faith; and this not of yourselves; but it is the gift of God,” [Eph. 2.8.]—that is to say, “And in saying, ‘through faith,’ even faith itself is not of yourselves, but is God’s gift.” “Not of works,” he says, “lest any man should be lifted up.” For it is often said, “He deserved to believe, because he was a good man even before he believed.” Which may be said of Cornelius, [Acts 10.] since his alms were accepted and his prayers heard before he had believed on Christ; and yet without some faith he neither gave alms nor prayed. For how did he call on Him on whom he had not believed? But if he could have been saved without the faith of Christ, the Apostle Peter would not have been sent as an architect to build him up; although, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it.” [Psalm 127.1.] And we are told, Faith is of ourselves; other things which pertain to works of righteousness are of the Lord; as if faith did not belong to the building,—as if, I say, the foundation did not belong to the building. But if this primarily and especially belongs to it, he labours in vain who seeks to build up the faith by preaching, unless the Lord in His mercy builds it up from within. Whatever, therefore, of good works Cornelius performed, as well before he believed in Christ as when he believed and after he had believed, are all to be ascribed to God, lest, perchance any man be lifted up.