In an attempt to gain an Augustinian understanding of soteriology I'm planning on reading "On the Spirit and the Letter" ...but not in Latin. I just started skimming already this morning and found two passages interesting and almost contradictory:
"What, however, is the spirit of this world, but the spirit of pride? ... they too are deceived, who, while ignorant of the righteousness of God, and wishing to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to God's righteousness...we conclude that a man is not justified by the precepts of a holy life, but by faith in Jesus Christ—in a word, not by the law of works, but by the law of faith; not by the letter, but by the spirit; not by the merits of deeds, but by free grace." - Chapter 22, "On the Spirit and the Letter"
Now this is probably quoted in the Formulas of Concord or something and sounds REALLY Lutheran, but look at the next quote:
"Now He that has wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit; 2 Corinthians 5:5 and after a little he thus briefly draws the conclusion of the matter: That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 This is not the righteousness whereby God is Himself righteous, but that whereby we are made righteous by Him." - Chapter 31 "On the Letter and the Spirit, St. Augustine of Hippo
That is a passage the Council of Trent quotes on Justification against the Lutheran doctrine of Imputed Righteousness.
So what the Hell is St. Augustine trying to say?! I'm going to try to figure out... and if he teaches Luther's view of Justification I'll leave the Roman church, but for some strange reason, I don't think he's going to. Knowing my luck, he'll teach some weird hybrid of both that will leave me forever guessing.
The next book I'll have to read after this is Henri De Lubac's "Augustinianism and Modern Theology" where he critiques both Jansenism and (I think) St. Thomas Aquinas doctrines that seem to be "pure nature" without grace.