Page 1

Part II

NPNF1-03. On the Holy Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Moral Treatises



Schaff, Philip (1819-1893) (Editor)


Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library



With over twenty volumes, the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is a momentous achievement. Originally gathered by Philip Schaff, the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is a collection of writings by classical and medieval Christian theologians.The purpose of such a collection is to make their writings readily available.The entire work is divided into two series.The first series focuses on two classical Christian theologians--St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom. St. Augustine is one of the most influential and important Christian thinkers of all time. In addition to reprinting his most popular two works--the Confessions and the City of God--these volumes also contain other noteworthy and important works of St. Augustine, such as On the Holy Trinity, Christian Doctrine, and others. St. John Chrysostom was an eloquent speaker and well-loved Christian clergyman. St. John took a more literal interpretation of Scripture, and much of his work focused on practical aspects of Christianity, particularly what is now called social justice. He advocated for the poor, and challenged abuses of authority.This particular volume contains Augustine's On the Holy Trinity and treatises on morality and doctrine.The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is comprehensive in scope, and provide keen translations of instructive and illuminating texts from some of the greatest theologians of the Christian church.These spiritually enlightening texts have aided Christians for over a thousand years, and remain instructive and fruitful even today! Tim Perrine CCEL Staff Writer Christianity Early Christian Literature. Fathers of the Church, etc.



Title Page.






Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin


On the Holy Trinity.


Introductory Essay.


Translator’s Preface.


The unity and equality of the Trinity are demonstrated out of the Scriptures; and the true interpretation is given of those texts which are wrongly alleged against the equality of the Son.


This Work is Written Against Those Who Sophistically Assail the Faith of the Trinity, Through Misuse of Reason. They Who Dispute Concerning God Err from a Threefold Cause. Holy Scripture, Removing What is False, Leads Us on by Degrees to Things Divine. What True Immortality is. We are Nourished by Faith, that We May Be Enabled to Apprehend Things Divine.


In What Manner This Work Proposes to Discourse Concerning the Trinity.


What Augustin Requests from His Readers. The Errors of Readers Dull of Comprehension Not to Be Ascribed to the Author.


What the Doctrine of the Catholic Faith is Concerning the Trinity.


Of Difficulties Concerning the Trinity: in What Manner Three are One God, and How, Working Indivisibly, They Yet Perform Some Things Severally.


That the Son is Very God, of the Same Substance with the Father. Not Only the Father, But the Trinity, is Affirmed to Be Immortal. All Things are Not from the Father Alone, But Also from the Son. That the Holy Spirit is Very God, Equal with the Father and the Son.


In What Manner the Son is Less Than the Father, and Than Himself.


The Texts of Scripture Explained Respecting the Subjection of the Son to the 37 Father, Which Have Been Misunderstood. Christ Will Not So Give Up the Kingdom to the Father, as to Take It Away from Himself. The Beholding Him is the Promised End of All Actions. The Holy Spirit is Sufficient to Our Blessedness Equally with the Father. All are Sometimes Understood in One Person.


In What Manner Christ Shall Deliver Up the Kingdom to God, Even the Father. The Kingdom Having Been Delivered to God, Even the Father, Christ Will Not Then Make Intercession for Us.



By What Rule in the Scriptures It is Understood that the Son is Now Equal and Now Less.


In What Manner the Son is Said Not to Know the Day and the Hour Which 49 the Father Knows. Some Things Said of Christ According to the Form of God, Other Things According to the Form of a Servant. In What Way It is of Christ to Give the Kingdom, in What Not of Christ. Christ Will Both Judge and Not Judge. Diverse Things are Spoken Concerning the Same Christ, on Account of the Diverse Natures of the One Hypostasis [Theanthropic Person]. Why It is Said that the Father Will Not Judge, But Has Given Judgment to the Son. The equality of the Trinity maintained against objections drawn from those texts which speak of the sending of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.





There is a Double Rule for Understanding the Scriptural Modes of Speech Concerning the Son of God. These Modes of Speech are of a Threefold Kind.


That Some Ways of Speaking Concerning the Son are to Be Understood According to Either Rule.


Some Things Concerning the Holy Spirit are to Be Understood According to the One Rule Only.


The Glorification of the Son by the Father Does Not Prove Inequality.


The Son and Holy Spirit are Not Therefore Less Because Sent. The Son is Sent 69 Also by Himself. Of the Sending of the Holy Spirit. The Creature is Not So Taken by the Holy Spirit as Flesh is by the Word.


A Doubt Raised About Divine Appearances.


The Entire Trinity Invisible.


Against Those Who Believed the Father Only to Be Immortal and Invisible. The Truth to Be Sought by Peaceful Study.


Whether God the Trinity Indiscriminately Appeared to the Fathers, or Any One Person of the Trinity. The Appearing of God to Adam. Of the Same Appearance. The Vision to Abraham.


Of the Same Appearance.


The Appearance to Lot is Examined.


The Appearance in the Bush.


Of the Appearance in the Pillar of Cloud and of Fire.



Of the Appearance on Sinai. Whether the Trinity Spake in that Appearance or Some One Person Specially.


In What Manner Moses Saw God.


How the Back Parts of God Were Seen. The Faith of the Resurrection of Christ. 93 The Catholic Church Only is the Place from Whence the Back Parts of God are Seen. The Back Parts of God Were Seen by the Israelites. It is a Rash Opinion to Think that God the Father Only Was Never Seen by the Fathers. The Vision of Daniel. The appearances of God to the Old Testament saints are discussed.

98 100



What is to Be Said Thereupon.


The Will of God is the Higher Cause of All Corporeal Change. This is Shown 106 by an Example. Of the Same Argument.


God Uses All Creatures as He Will, and Makes Visible Things for the Manifestation of Himself.


Why Miracles are Not Usual Works.


Diversity Alone Makes a Miracle.


Great Miracles Wrought by Magic Arts.


God Alone Creates Those Things Which are Changed by Magic Art.


The Original Cause of All Things is from God.


In How Many Ways the Creature is to Be Taken by Way of Sign. The Eucharist.120 The Essence of God Never Appeared in Itself. Divine Appearances to the 124 Fathers Wrought by the Ministry of Angels. An Objection Drawn from the Mode of Speech Removed. That the Appearing of God to Abraham Himself, Just as that to Moses, Was Wrought by Angels. The Same Thing is Proved by the Law Being Given to Moses by Angels. What Has Been Said in This Book, and What Remains to Be Said in the Next. Augustin explains for what the Son of God was sent; but, however, that the Son 130 of God, although made less by being sent, is not therefore less because the Father sent Him; nor yet the Holy Spirit less because both the Father sent Him and the Son. Preface.


We are Made Perfect by Acknowledgement of Our Own Weakness. The Incarnate Word Dispels Our Darkness.



How We are Rendered Apt for the Perception of Truth Through the Incarnate 135 Word. The One Death and Resurrection of The Body of Christ Harmonizes with Our Double Death and Resurrection of Body and Soul, to the Effect of Salvation. In What Way the Single Death of Christ is Bestowed Upon Our Double Death.


The Ratio of the Single to the Double Comes from the Perfection of the Senary 140 Number. The Perfection of The Senary Number is Commended in the Scriptures. The Year Abounds in The Senary Number. The Number Six is Also Commended in the Building Up of the Body of Christ 142 and of the Temple at Jerusalem. The Three Days of the Resurrection, in Which Also the Ratio of Single to Double is Apparent.


In What Manner We are Gathered from Many into One Through One Mediator.


In What Manner Christ Wills that All Shall Be One in Himself.


The Same Argument Continued.


As Christ is the Mediator of Life, So the Devil is the Mediator of Death.


Miracles Which are Done by Demons are to Be Spurned.


The Devil the Mediator of Death, Christ of Life.


The Death of Christ Voluntary. How the Mediator of Life Subdued the Mediator of Death. How the Devil Leads His Own to Despise the Death of Christ.


Christ the Most Perfect Victim for Cleansing Our Faults. In Every Sacrifice Four Things are to Be Considered.


They are Proud Who Think They are Able, by Their Own Righteousness, to Be Cleansed So as to See God.


The Old Philosophers are Not to Be Consulted Concerning the Resurrection and Concerning Things to Come.


In How Many Ways Things Future are Foreknown. Neither Philosophers, 159 Nor Those Who Were Distinguished Among the Ancients, are to Be Consulted Concerning the Resurrection of the Dead. The Son of God Became Incarnate in Order that We Being Cleansed by Faith 161 May Be Raised to the Unchangeable Truth.


In What Manner the Son Was Sent and Proclaimed Beforehand. How in the Sending of His Birth in the Flesh He Was Made Less Without Detriment to His Equality with the Father.


The Sender and the Sent Equal. Why the Son is Said to Be Sent by the Father. 165 Of the Mission of the Holy Spirit. How and by Whom He Was Sent. The Father the Beginning of the Whole Godhead. Of the Sensible Showing of the Holy Spirit, and of the Coeternity of the Trinity.170 What Has Been Said, and What Remains to Be Said. He proceeds to refute those arguments which the heretics put forward, not out 173 of the Scriptures, but from their own conceptions. And first he refutes the objection, that to beget and to be begotten, or that to be begotten and not-begotten, being different, are therefore different substances, and shows that these things are spoken of God relatively, and not according to substance. What the Author Entreats from God, What from the Reader. In God Nothing 174 is to Be Thought Corporeal or Changeable. God the Only Unchangeable Essence.


The Argument of the Arians is Refuted, Which is Drawn from the Words Begotten and Unbegotten.


The Accidental Always Implies Some Change in the Thing.


Nothing is Spoken of God According to Accident, But According to Substance 179 or According to Relation. Reply is Made to the Cavils of the Heretics in Respect to the Same Words Begotten and Unbegotten.


The Addition of a Negative Does Not Change the Predicament.


Whatever is Spoken of God According to Substance, is Spoken of Each Person 184 Severally, and Together of the Trinity Itself. One Essence in God, and Three, in Greek, Hypostases, in Latin, Persons. The Three Persons Not Properly So Called [in a Human Sense].


Those Things Which Belong Absolutely to God as an Essence, are Spoken of the Trinity in the Singular, Not in the Plural.


What is Said Relatively in the Trinity.


In Relative Things that are Reciprocal, Names are Sometimes Wanting.


How the Word Beginning (Principium) is Spoken Relatively in the Trinity.


The Father and the Son the Only Beginning (Principium) of the Holy Spirit.


Whether the Holy Spirit Was a Gift Before as Well as After He Was Given.

194 vii

What is Said of God in Time, is Said Relatively, Not Accidentally.


In reply to the argument alleged against the equality of the Son from the apostle’s 197 words, saying that Christ is the ‘power of God and the wisdom of God,’ he propounds the question whether the Father Himself is not wisdom. But deferring for a while the answer to this, he adduces further proof of the unity and equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and that God ought to be said and believed to be a Trinity, not triple (triplicem). And he adds an explanation of the saying of Hilary—Eternity in the Father, Appearance in the Image, and Use in the Gift. The Son, According to the Apostle, is the Power and Wisdom of the Father. 198 Hence the Reasoning of the Catholics Against the Earlier Arians. A Difficulty is Raised, Whether the Father is Not Wisdom Himself, But Only the Father of Wisdom. What is Said of the Father and Son Together, and What Not.


That the Unity of the Essence of the Father and the Son is to Be Gathered 202 from the Words, ‘We are One.’ The Son is Equal to the Father Both in Wisdom and in All Other Things. The Same Argument Continued.


The Holy Spirit Also is Equal to the Father and the Son in All Things.


How God is a Substance Both Simple and Manifold.


God is a Trinity, But Not Triple (Triplex).


No Addition Can Be Made to the Nature of God.


Whether One or the Three Persons Together are Called the Only God.


Of the Attributes Assigned by Hilary to Each Person. The Trinity is Represented in Things that are Made.


He resolves the question he had deferred, and teaches us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one power and one wisdom, no otherwise than one God and one essence. And he then inquires how it is that, in speaking of God, the Latins say, One essence, three persons; but the Greeks, One essence, three substances or hypostases.


Augustin Returns to the Question, Whether Each Person of the Trinity by Itself is Wisdom. With What Difficulty, or in What Way, the Proposed Question is to Be Solved.


The Father and the Son are Together One Wisdom, as One Essence, Although 218 Not Together One Word.


Why the Son Chiefly is Intimated in the Scriptures by the Name of Wisdom, 219 While Both the Father and the Holy Spirit are Wisdom. That the Holy Spirit, Together with the Father and the Son, is One Wisdom. How It Was Brought About that the Greeks Speak of Three Hypostases, the Latins of Three Persons. Scripture Nowhere Speaks of Three Persons in One God.


In God, Substance is Spoken Improperly, Essence Properly.


Why We Do Not in the Trinity Speak of One Person, and Three Essences. What He Ought to Believe Concerning the Trinity Who Does Not Receive What is Said Above. Man is Both After the Image, and is the Image of God.


He advances reasons to show not only that the Father is not greater than the 232 Son, but that neither are both together anything greater than the Holy Spirit, nor any two together in the same Trinity anything greater than one, nor all three together anything greater than each singly. He also intimates that the nature of God may be understood from our understanding of truth, from our knowledge of the supreme good, and from our implanted love of righteousness; but above all, that our knowledge of God is to be sought through love, in which he notices a trio of things which contains a trace of the Trinity. Preface.—The Conclusion of What Has Been Said Above. The Rule to Be Observed in the More Difficult Questions of the Faith.


It is Shown by Reason that in God Three are Not Anything Greater Than One 234 Person. Every Corporeal Conception Must Be Rejected, in Order that It May Be Understood How God is Truth.


How God May Be Known to Be the Chief Good. The Mind Does Not Become 237 Good Unless by Turning to God. God Must First Be Known by an Unerring Faith, that He May Be Loved.


How the Trinity May Be Loved Though Unknown.


How the Man Not Yet Righteous Can Know the Righteous Man Whom He Loves.


Of True Love, by Which We Arrive at the Knowledge of the Trinity. God is to Be Sought, Not Outwardly, by Seeking to Do Wonderful Things with the Angels, But Inwardly, by Imitating the Piety of Good Angels.


That He Who Loves His Brother, Loves God; Because He Loves Love Itself, Which is of God, and is God.


Our Love of the Righteous is Kindled from Love Itself of the Unchangeable Form of Righteousness.

251 ix

There are Three Things in Love, as It Were a Trace of the Trinity.


He instructs us that there is a kind of trinity discernible in man, who is the image 253 of God, viz. the mind, and the knowledge by which the mind knows itself, and the love wherewith it loves both itself and its own knowledge; these three being mutually equal and of one essence. In What Way We Must Inquire Concerning the Trinity.


The Three Things Which are Found in Love Must Be Considered.


The Image of the Trinity in the Mind of Man Who Knows Himself and Loves 258 Himself. The Mind Knows Itself Through Itself. The Three are One, and Also Equal, Viz. The Mind Itself, and the Love, and the Knowledge of It. That the Same Three Exist Substantially, and are Predicated Relatively. That the Same Three are Inseparable. That the Same Three are Not Joined and Commingled Like Parts, But that They are of One Essence, and are Relatives.


That These Three are Several in Themselves, and Mutually All in All.


There is One Knowledge of the Thing in the Thing Itself, and Another in Eternal Truth Itself. That Corporeal Things, Too, are to Be Judged the Rules of Eternal Truth.


We Conceive and Beget the Word Within, from the Things We Have Beheld 265 in the Eternal Truth. The Word, Whether of the Creature or of the Creator, is Conceived by Love. In What Desire and Love Differ.


In the Love of Spiritual Things the Word Born is the Same as the Word Conceived. It is Otherwise in the Love of Carnal Things.


Whether Only Knowledge that is Loved is the Word of the Mind.


That the Image or Begotten Word of the Mind that Knows Itself is Equal to the Mind Itself.


Why Love is Not the Offspring of the Mind, as Knowledge is So. The Solution 270 of the Question. The Mind with the Knowledge of Itself and the Love of Itself is the Image of the Trinity. That there is yet another and a more manifest trinity to be found in the mind of man, viz. in his memory, understanding, and will.


The Love of the Studious Mind, that Is, of One Desirous to Know, is Not the Love of a Thing Which It Does Not Know.


No One at All Loves Things Unknown.


That When the Mind Loves Itself, It is Not Unknown to Itself.

279 x

How the Mind Knows Itself, Not in Part, But as a Whole.


Why the Soul is Enjoined to Know Itself. Whence Come the Errors of the Mind Concerning Its Own Substance.


The Opinion Which the Mind Has of Itself is Deceitful.


The Opinions of Philosophers Respecting the Substance of the Soul. The Error 284 of Those Who are of Opinion that the Soul is Corporeal, Does Not Arise from Defective Knowledge of the Soul, But from Their Adding There to Something Foreign to It. What is Meant by Finding. How the Soul Inquires into Itself. Whence Comes the Error of the Soul Concerning Itself.


The Mind Knows Itself, by the Very Act of Understanding the Precept to Know Itself.


Every Mind Knows Certainly Three Things Concerning Itself—That It Understands, that It Is, and that It Lives.


In Memory, Understanding [or Intelligence], and Will, We Have to Note Ability, Learning, and Use. Memory, Understanding, and Will are One Essentially, and Three Relatively.


The Mind is an Image of the Trinity in Its Own Memory, and Understanding, 293 and Will. That even in the outer man some traces of a trinity may be detected, as e.g., in the bodily sight, and in the recollection of objects seen with the bodily sight.


A Trace of the Trinity Also In the Outer Man.


A Certain Trinity in the Sight. That There are Three Things in Sight, Which Differ in Their Own Nature. In What Manner from a Visible Thing Vision is Produced, or the Image of that Thing Which is Seen. The Matter is Shown More Clearly by an Example. How These Three Combine in One.


The Unity of the Three Takes Place in Thought, Viz. Of Memory, of Ternal Vision, and of Will Combining Both.


How This Unity Comes to Pass.


The Trinity of the Outer Man, or of External Vision, is Not an Image of God. 304 The Likeness of God is Desired Even in Sins. In External Vision the Form of the Corporeal Thing is as It Were the Parent, Vision the Offspring; But the Will that Unites These Suggests the Holy Spirit. Of What Kind We are to Reckon the Rest (Requies), and End (Finis), of the Will in Vision.



There is Another Trinity in the Memory of Him Who Thinks Over Again What He Has Seen.


Different Modes of Conceiving.


Species is Produced by Species in Succession.


The Imagination Also Adds Even to Things We Have Not Seen, Those Things 314 Which We Have Seen Elsewhere. Number, Weight, Measure. After premising the difference between wisdom and knowledge, he points out a kind of trinity in that which is properly called knowledge; but one which, although we have reached in it the inner man, is not yet to be called the image of God.

315 316

Of What Kind are the Outer and the Inner Man.


Man Alone of Animate Creatures Perceives the Eternal Reasons of Things Pertaining to the Body.


The Higher Reason Which Belongs to Contemplation, and the Lower Which 319 Belongs to Action, are in One Mind. The Trinity and the Image of God is in that Part of the Mind Alone Which Belongs to the Contemplation of Eternal Things.


The Opinion Which Devises an Image of the Trinity in the Marriage of Male 321 and Female, and in Their Offspring. Why This Opinion is to Be Rejected.


How Man is the Image of God. Whether the Woman is Not Also the Image 326 of God. How the Saying of the Apostle, that the Man is the Image of God, But the Woman is the Glory of the Man, is to Be Understood Figuratively and Mystically. Turning Aside from the Image of God.


The Same Argument is Continued.


The Lowest Degradation Reached by Degrees.


The Image of the Beast in Man.


There is a Kind of Hidden Wedlock in the Inner Man. Unlawful Pleasures of the Thoughts.


The Opinion of Those Who Have Thought that the Mind Was Signified by the Man, the Bodily Sense by the Woman.



What is the Difference Between Wisdom and Knowledge. The Worship of God is the Love of Him. How the Intellectual Cognizance of Eternal Things Comes to Pass Through Wisdom.


In Opposition to the Reminiscence of Plato and Pythagoras. Pythagoras the Samian. Of the Difference Between Wisdom and Knowledge, and of Seeking the Trinity in the Knowledge of Temporal Things.


He expounds this trinity that he has found in knowledge by commending Christian faith.


The Attempt is Made to Distinguish Out of the Scriptures the Offices of 342 Wisdom and of Knowledge. That in the Beginning of John Some Things that are Said Belong to Wisdom, Some to Knowledge. Some Things There are Only Known by the Help of Faith. How We See the Faith that is in Us. In the Same Narrative of John, Some Things are Known by the Sense of the Body, Others Only by the Reason of the Mind. Faith a Thing of the Heart, Not of the Body; How It is Common and One and 346 the Same in All Believers. The Faith of Believers is One, No Otherwise than the Will of Those Who Will is One. Some Desires Being the Same in All, are Known to Each. The Poet Ennius.


The Will to Possess Blessedness is One in All, But the Variety of Wills is Very 350 Great Concerning that Blessedness Itself. Of the Same Thing.


Why, When All Will to Be Blessed, that is Rather Chosen by Which One Withdraws from Being So.


Faith is Necessary, that Man May at Some Time Be Blessed, Which He Will Only Attain in the Future Life. The Blessedness of Proud Philosophers Ridiculous and Pitiable.


Blessedness Cannot Exist Without Immortality.


We Say that Future Blessedness is Truly Eternal, Not Through Human 357 Reasonings, But by the Help of Faith. The Immortality of Blessedness Becomes Credible from the Incarnation of the Son of God. There Was No Other More Suitable Way of Freeing Man from the Misery of Mortality Than The Incarnation of the Word. The Merits Which are Called Ours are the Gifts of God.


A Difficulty, How We are Justified in the Blood of the Son of God.


All, on Account of the Sin of Adam, Were Delivered into the Power of the Devil.



Man Was to Be Rescued from the Power of the Devil, Not by Power, But by Righteousness.


The Unobligated Death of Christ Has Freed Those Who Were Liable to Death. 365 Of the Same Subject.


The Remains of Death and the Evil Things of the World Turn to Good for the Elect. How Fitly the Death of Christ Was Chosen, that We Might Be Justified in His Blood. What the Anger of God is.


Other Advantages of the Incarnation.


Why the Son of God Took Man Upon Himself from the Race of Adam, and from a Virgin.


What in the Incarnate Word Belongs to Knowledge, What to Wisdom.


What Has Been Treated of in This Book. How We Have Reached by Steps to a Certain Trinity, Which is Found in Practical Knowledge and True Faith.


He speaks of the true wisdom of man, viz. that by which he remembers, 379 understands, and loves God; and shows that it is in this very thing that the mind of man is the image of God, although his mind, which is here renewed in the knowledge of God, will only then be made the perfect likeness of God in that image when there shall be a perfect sight of God. What the Wisdom is of Which We are Here to Treat. Whence the Name of 380 Philosopher Arose. What Has Been Already Said Concerning the Distinction of Knowledge and Wisdom. There is a Kind of Trinity in the Holding, Contemplating, and Loving of Faith 383 Temporal, But One that Does Not Yet Attain to Being Properly an Image of God. A Difficulty Removed, Which Lies in the Way of What Has Just Been Said.


The Image of God is to Be Sought in the Immortality of the Rational Soul. How a Trinity is Demonstrated in the Mind.


Whether the Mind of Infants Knows Itself.


How a Kind of Trinity Exists in the Mind Thinking of Itself. What is the Part 388 of Thought in This Trinity. The Thing is Made Plain by an Example. In What Way the Matter is Handled 390 in Order to Help the Reader. The Trinity Which is the Image of God is Now to Be Sought in the Noblest Part of the Mind.


Whether Justice and the Other Virtues Cease to Exist in the Future Life.

394 xiv

How a Trinity is Produced by the Mind Remembering, Understanding, and Loving Itself.


Whether Memory is Also of Things Present.


The Trinity in the Mind is the Image of God, in that It Remembers, Understands, and Loves God, Which to Do is Wisdom.


How Any One Can Forget and Remember God.


The Mind Loves God in Rightly Loving Itself; And If It Love Not God, It Must 401 Be Said to Hate Itself. Even a Weak and Erring Mind is Always Strong in Remembering, Understanding, and Loving Itself. Let It Be Turned to God, that It May Be Blessed by Remembering, Understanding, and Loving Him. Although the Soul Hopes for Blessedness, Yet It Does Not Remember Lost Blessedness, But Remembers God and the Rules of Righteousness. The Unchangeable Rules of Right Living are Known Even to the Ungodly.


How the Image of God is Formed Anew in Man.


How the Image of God in the Mind is Renewed Until the Likeness of God is Perfected in It in Blessedness.


Whether the Sentence of John is to Be Understood of Our Future Likeness with the Son of God in the Immortality Itself Also of the Body.


John is Rather to Be Understood of Our Perfect Likeness with the Trinity in Life Eternal. Wisdom is Perfected in Happiness.


He embraces in a brief compendium the contents of the previous books; and 413 finally shows that the Trinity, in the perfect sight of which consists the blessed life that is promised us, is here seen by us as in a glass and in an enigma, so long as it is seen through that image of God which we ourselves are. God is Above the Mind.


God, Although Incomprehensible, is Ever to Be Sought. The Traces of the Trinity are Not Vainly Sought in the Creature.


A Brief Recapitulation of All the Previous Books.


What Universal Nature Teaches Us Concerning God.


How Difficult It is to Demonstrate the Trinity by Natural Reason.


How There is a Trinity in the Very Simplicity of God. Whether and How the 423 Trinity that is God is Manifested from the Trinities Which Have Been Shown to Be in Men. That It is Not Easy to Discover the Trinity that is God from the Trinities We Have Spoken of.


How the Apostle Says that God is Now Seen by Us Through a Glass.

429 xv

Of the Term ‘Enigma,’ And of Tropical Modes of Speech.


Concerning the Word of the Mind, in Which We See the Word of God, as in 433 a Glass and an Enigma. The Likeness of the Divine Word, Such as It Is, is to Be Sought, Not in Our 436 Own Outer and Sensible Word, But in the Inner and Mental One. There is the Greatest Possible Unlikeness Between Our Word and Knowledge and the Divine Word and Knowledge. The Academic Philosophy.


Still Further of the Difference Between the Knowledge and Word of Our Mind, and the Knowledge and Word of God.


The Word of God is in All Things Equal to the Father, from Whom It is.


How Great is the Unlikeness Between Our Word and the Divine Word. Our Word Cannot Be or Be Called Eternal.


Our Word is Never to Be Equalled to the Divine Word, Not Even When We Shall Be Like God.


How the Holy Spirit is Called Love, and Whether He Alone is So Called. That 448 the Holy Spirit is in the Scriptures Properly Called by the Name of Love. No Gift of God is More Excellent Than Love.


The Holy Spirit is Called the Gift of God in the Scriptures. By the Gift of the Holy Spirit is Meant the Gift Which is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Specially Called Love, Although Not Only the Holy Spirit in the Trinity is Love.


Against Eunomius, Saying that the Son of God is the Son, Not of His Nature, 458 But of His Will. Epilogue to What Has Been Said Already. Of the Likeness of the Father and of the Son Alleged to Be in Our Memory and Understanding. Of the Likeness of the Holy Spirit in Our Will or Love.


How Great the Unlikeness is Between the Image of the Trinity Which We Have Found in Ourselves, and the Trinity Itself.


Augustin Dwells Still Further on the Disparity Between the Trinity Which is 463 in Man, and the Trinity Which is God. The Trinity is Now Seen Through a Glass by the Help of Faith, that It May Hereafter Be More Clearly Seen in the Promised Sight Face to Face. The Infirmity of the Human Mind.


The Question Why the Holy Spirit is Not Begotten, and How He Proceeds 466 from the Father and the Son, Will Only Be Understood When We are in Bliss.


The Holy Spirit Twice Given by Christ. The Procession of the Holy Spirit 467 from the Father and from the Son is Apart from Time, Nor Can He Be Called the Son of Both. What It is that Suffices Here to Solve the Question Why the Spirit is Not Said 471 to Be Begotten, and Why the Father Alone is Unbegotten. What They Ought to Do Who Do Not Understand These Things. The Conclusion of the Book with a Prayer, and an Apology for Multitude of Words. The Enchiridion.

475 477

Introductory Notice.




The Author Desires the Gift of True Wisdom for Laurentius.


The Fear of God is Man’s True Wisdom.


God is to Be Worshipped Through Faith, Hope, and Love.


The Questions Propounded by Laurentius.


Brief Answers to These Questions.


Controversy Out of Place in a Handbook Like the Present.


The Creed and the Lord’s Prayer Demand the Exercise of Faith, Hope, and Love. 486 The Distinction Between Faith and Hope, and the Mutual Dependence of Faith, 487 Hope, and Love. What We are to Believe. In Regard to Nature It is Not Necessary for the Christian489 to Know More Than that the Goodness of the Creator is the Cause of All Things. The Supremely Good Creator Made All Things Good.


What is Called Evil in the Universe is But the Absence of Good.


All Beings Were Made Good, But Not Being Made Perfectly Good, are Liable to Corruption.


There Can Be No Evil Where There is No Good; And an Evil Man is an Evil Good.


Good and Evil are an Exception to the Rule that Contrary Attributes Cannot 494 Be Predicated of the Same Subject. Evil Springs Up in What is Good, and Cannot Exist Except in What is Good. The Preceding Argument is in No Wise Inconsistent with the Saying of Our Lord: ‘A Good Tree Cannot Bring Forth Evil Fruit.’



It is Not Essential to Man’s Happiness that He Should Know the Causes of Physical Convulsions; But It Is, that He Should Know the Causes of Good and Evil.


The Nature of Error. All Error is Not Hurtful, Though It is Man’s Duty as Far as Possible to Avoid It.


It is Never Allowable to Tell a Lie; But Lies Differ Very Much in Guilt, According499 to the Intention and the Subject. Men’s Errors Vary Very Much in the Magnitude of the Evils They Produce; But 500 Yet Every Error is in Itself an Evil. Every Error is Not a Sin. An Examination of the Opinion of the Academic Philosophers, that to Avoid Error We Should in All Cases Suspend Belief.


Error, Though Not Always a Sin, is Always an Evil.


A Lie is Not Allowable, Even to Save Another from Injury.


Summary of the Results of the Preceding Discussion.


The Secondary Causes of Evil are Ignorance and Lust.


God’s Judgments Upon Fallen Men and Angels. The Death of the Body is Man’s 507 Peculiar Punishment. Through Adam’s Sin His Whole Posterity Were Corrupted, and Were Born Under the Penalty of Death, Which He Had Incurred.


The State of Misery to Which Adam’s Sin Reduced Mankind, and the Restoration509 Effected Through the Mercy of God. When the Rebellious Angels Were Cast Out, the Rest Remained in the Enjoyment510 of Eternal Happiness with God. The Restored Part of Humanity Shall, in Accordance with the Promises of God, 511 Succeed to the Place Which the Rebellious Angels Lost. Men are Not Saved by Good Works, Nor by the Free Determination of Their Own Will, But by the Grace of God Through Faith.


Faith Itself is the Gift of God; And Good Works Will Not Be Wanting in Those 513 Who Believe. The Freedom of the Will is Also the Gift of God, for God Worketh in Us Both to Will and to Do.


Men, Being by Nature the Children of Wrath, Needed a Mediator. In What Sense God is Said to Be Angry.


The Ineffable Mystery of the Birth of Christ the Mediator Through the Virgin Mary.



Jesus Christ, Being the Only Son of God, is at the Same Time Man.


The Grace of God is Clearly and Remarkably Displayed in Raising the Man Christ Jesus to the Dignity of the Son of God.


The Same Grace is Further Clearly Manifested in This, that the Birth of Christ According to the Flesh is of the Holy Ghost.


Jesus Christ, According to the Flesh, Was Not Born of the Holy Spirit in Such a Sense that the Holy Spirit is His Father.


Not Everything that is Born of Another is to Be Called a Son of that Other.


Christ’s Birth Through the Holy Spirit Manifests to Us the Grace of God.


Christ, Who Was Himself Free from Sin, Was Made Sin for Us, that We Might 524 Be Reconciled to God. The Sacrament of Baptism Indicates Our Death with Christ to Sin, and Our Resurrection with Him to Newness of Life.


Baptism and the Grace Which It Typifies are Open to All, Both Infants and Adults.


In Speaking of Sin, the Singular Number is Often Put for the Plural, and the Plural for the Singular.


In Adam’s First Sin, Many Kinds of Sin Were Involved.


It is Probable that Children are Involved in the Guilt Not Only of the First Pair, 529 But of Their Own Immediate Parents. It is Difficult to Decide Whether the Sins of a Man’s Other Progenitors are Imputed to Him.


The Guilt of the First Sin is So Great that It Can Be Washed Away Only in the Blood of the Mediator, Jesus Christ.


Christ Was Not Regenerated in the Baptism of John, But Submitted to It to Give 532 Us an Example of Humility, Just as He Submitted to Death, Not as the Punishment of Sin, But to Take Away the Sin of the World. Christ Took Away Not Only the One Original Sin, But All the Other Sins that Have Been Added to It.


All Men Born of Adam are Under Condemnation, and Only If New Born in Christ are Freed from Condemnation.


In Baptism, Which is the Similitude of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, 535 All, Both Infants and Adults, Die to Sin that They May Walk in Newness of Life. Christ’s Cross and Burial, Resurrection, Ascension, and Sitting Down at the Right Hand of God, are Images of the Christian Life.



Christ’s Second Coming Does Not Belong to the Past, But Will Take Place at the End of the World.


The Expression, ‘Christ Shall Judge the Quick and the Dead,’ May Be Understood539 in Either of Two Senses. The Holy Spirit and the Church. The Church is the Temple of God.


The Condition of the Church in Heaven.


We Have No Certain Knowledge of the Organization of the Angelic Society.


The Bodies Assumed by Angels Raise a Very Difficult, and Not Very Useful, Subject of Discussion.


It is More Necessary to Be Able to Detect the Wiles of Satan When He Transforms Himself into an Angel of Light.


The Church on Earth Has Been Redeemed from Sin by the Blood of a Mediator. 546 By the Sacrifice of Christ All Things are Restored, and Peace is Made Between Earth and Heaven.


The Peace of God, Which Reigneth in Heaven, Passeth All Understanding.


Pardon of Sin Extends Over the Whole Mortal Life of the Saints, Which, Though 549 Free from Crime, is Not Free from Sin. God Pardons Sins, But on Condition of Penitence, Certain Times for Which Have Been Fixed by the Law of the Church.


The Pardon of Sin Has Reference Chiefly to the Future Judgment.


Faith Without Works is Dead, and Cannot Save a Man.


The True Sense of the Passage I Cor. III. 11–15 About Those Who are Saved, Yet So as by Fire.


It is Not Impossible that Some Believers May Pass Through a Purgatorial Fire in the Future Life.


Almsgiving Will Not Atone for Sin Unless the Life Be Changed.


The Daily Prayer of the Believer Makes Satisfaction for the Trivial Sins that Daily Stain His Life.


There are Many Kinds of Alms, the Giving of Which Assists to Procure Pardon 558 for Our Sins. The Greatest of All Alms is to Forgive Our Debtors and to Love Our Enemies.


God Does Not Pardon the Sins of Those Who Do Not from the Heart Forgive Others.


The Wicked and the Unbelieving are Not Made Clean by the Giving of Alms, Except They Be Born Again.

561 xx

To Give Alms Aright, We Should Begin with Ourselves, and Have Pity Upon Our Own Souls.


If We Would Give Alms to Ourselves, We Must Flee Iniquity; For He Who Loveth Iniquity Hateth His Soul.


What Sins are Trivial and What Heinous is a Matter for God’s Judgment.


Sins Which Appear Very Trifling, are Sometimes in Reality Very Serious.


Sins, However Great and Detestable, Seem Trivial When We are Accustomed to Them.


There are Two Causes of Sin, Ignorance and Weakness; And We Need Divine Help to Overcome Both.


The Mercy of God is Necessary to True Repentance.


The Man Who Despises the Mercy of God is Guilty of the Sin Against the Holy 571 Ghost. The Resurrection of the Body Gives Rise to Numerous Questions.


The Case of Abortive Conceptions.


If They Have Ever Lived, They Must of Course Have Died, and Therefore Shall 574 Have a Share in the Resurrection of the Dead. The Case of Monstrous Births.


The Material of the Body Never Perishes.


But This Material May Be Differently Arranged in the Resurrection Body.


If There Be Differences and Inequalities Among the Bodies of Those Who Rise 578 Again, There Shall Be Nothing Offensive or Disproportionate in Any. The Bodies of the Saints Shall at The Resurrection Be Spiritual Bodies.


The Resurrection of the Lost.


Both the First and the Second Deaths are the Consequence of Sin. Punishment is Proportioned to Guilt.


The Saints Shall Know More Fully in the Next World the Benefits They Have Received by Grace.


God’s Judgments Shall Then Be Explained.


The Omnipotent God Does Well Even in the Permission of Evil.


In What Sense Does the Apostle Say that ’God Will Have All Men to Be Saved,’ 585 When, as a Matter of Fact, All are Not Saved? Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God’s Free Grace.


As God’s Mercy is Free, So His Judgments are Just, and Cannot Be Gainsaid.

588 xxi

The Will of God is Never Defeated, Though Much is Done that is Contrary to His Will.


The Will of God, Which is Always Good, is Sometimes Fulfilled Through the Evil Will of Man.


The Will of the Omnipotent God is Never Defeated, and is Never Evil.


Interpretation of the Expression in I Tim. II. 4: ‘Who Will Have All Men to Be Saved.’


God, Foreknowing the Sin of the First Man, Ordered His Own Purposes Accordingly.


Man Was So Created as to Be Able to Choose Either Good or Evil: in the Future 596 Life, the Choice of Evil Will Be Impossible. The Grace of God Was Necessary to Man’s Salvation Before the Fall as Well as After It.


Eternal Life, Though the Reward of Good Works, is Itself the Gift of God.


A Mediator Was Necessary to Reconcile Us to God; And Unless This Mediator 599 Had Been God, He Could Not Have Been Our Redeemer. The State of the Soul During the Interval Between Death and the Resurrection.


The Benefit to the Souls of the Dead from the Sacraments and Alms of Their Living Friends.


After the Resurrection There Shall Be Two Distinct Kingdoms, One of Eternal Happiness, the Other of Eternal Misery.


There is No Ground in Scripture for the Opinion of Those Who Deny the Eternity of Future Punishments.


The Death of the Wicked Shall Be Eternal in the Same Sense as the Life of the Saints.


Having Dealt with Faith, We Now Come to Speak of Hope. Everything that Pertains to Hope is Embraced in the Lord’s Prayer.


The Seven Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, According to Matthew.


Luke Expresses the Substance of These Seven Petitions More Briefly in Five.


Love, Which is Greater Than Faith and Hope, is Shed Abroad in Our Hearts by the Holy Ghost.


The Four Stages of the Christian’s Life, and the Four Corresponding Stages of the Church’s History.


The Grace of Regeneration Washes Away All Past Sin and All Original Guilt.


Death Cannot Injure Those Who Have Received the Grace of Regeneration.

611 xxii

Love is the End of All the Commandments, and God Himself is Love.




On the Catechising of the Uninstructed.


Introductory Notice.


How Augustin Writes in Answer to a Favor Asked by a Deacon of Carthage.


How It Often Happens that a Discourse Which Gives Pleasure to the Hearer is 618 Distasteful to the Speaker; And What Explanation is to Be Offered of that Fact. Of the Full Narration to Be Employed in Catechising.


That the Great Reason for the Advent of Christ Was the Commendation of Love.


That the Person Who Comes for Catechetical Instruction is to Be Examined with Respect to His Views, on Desiring to Become a Christian.


Of the Way to Commence the Catechetical Instruction, and of the Narration of Facts from the History of the World’s Creation on to the Present Times of the Church.


Of the Exposition of the Resurrection, the Judgment, and Other Subjects, Which 631 Should Follow This Narration. Of the Method to Be Pursued in Catechising Those Who Have Had a Liberal Education.


Of the Method in Which Grammarians and Professional Speakers are to Be Dealt with.


Of the Attainment of Cheerfulness in the Duty of Catechising, and of Various Causes Producing Weariness in the Catechumen.


Of the Remedy for the Second Source of Weariness.


Of the Remedy for the Third Source of Weariness.


Of the Remedy for the Fourth Source of Weariness.


Of the Remedy Against the Fifth and Sixth Sources of Weariness.


Of the Method in Which Our Address Should Be Adapted to Different Classes of Hearers.


A Specimen of a Catechetical Address; And First, the Case of a Catechumen with Worthy Views.


The Specimen of Catechetical Discourse Continued, in Reference Specially to the Reproval of False Aims on the Catechumen’s Part.


Of What is to Be Believed on the Subject of the Creation of Man and Other Objects.

658 xxiii

Of the Co-Existence of Good and Evil in the Church, and Their Final Separation. 660 Of Israel’s Bondage in Egypt, Their Deliverance, and Their Passage Through the Red Sea.


Of the Babylonish Captivity, and the Things Signified Thereby.


Of the Six Ages of the World.


Of the Mission of the Holy Ghost Fifty Days After Christ’s Resurrection.


Of the Church in Its Likeness to a Vine Sprouting and Suffering Pruning.


Of Constancy in the Faith of the Resurrection.


Of the Formal Admission of the Catechumen, and of the Signs Therein Made Use of.


Of the Prophecies of the Old Testament in Their Visible Fulfillment in the Church.


A Treatise on Faith and the Creed.


Introductory Notice.


Of the Origin and Object of the Composition.


Of God and His Exclusive Eternity.


Of the Son of God, and His Peculiar Designation as the Word.


Of the Son of God as Neither Made by the Father Nor Less Than the Father, and of His Incarnation.


Of Christ’s Passion, Burial, and Resurrection.


Of Christ’s Ascension into Heaven.


Of Christ’s Session at the Father’s Right Hand.


Of Christ’s Coming to Judgment.


Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity.


Of the Catholic Church, the Remission of Sins, and the Resurrection of the Flesh.


Concerning Faith of Things Not Seen.


Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6

720 xxiv

Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


On the Profit of Believing.


Translator’s Preface.


Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19


Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Section 24


Section 25

760 xxv

Section 26


Section 27


Section 28


Section 29


Section 30


Section 31


Section 32


Section 33


Section 34


Section 35


Section 36


On the Creed.


Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Moral Treatises of St. Augustin On Continence. Section 1

800 800 801 xxvi

Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19


Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Section 24


Section 25


Section 26


Section 27


Section 28


Section 29


Section 30


Section 31


Section 32


On the Good of Marriage.

840 xxvii

Translator’s Preface.


Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19


Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Section 24


Section 25


Section 26


Section 27


Section 28


Section 29


Section 30


Section 31

877 xxviii

Section 32


Section 33


Section 34


Section 35


Of Holy Virginity.


Translator’s Preface.


Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19


Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Section 24


Section 25


Section 26

910 xxix

Section 27


Section 28


Section 29


Section 30


Section 31


Section 32


Section 33


Section 34


Section 35


Section 36


Section 37


Section 38


Section 39


Section 40


Section 41


Section 42


Section 43


Section 44


Section 45


Section 46


Section 47


Section 48


Section 49


Section 50


Section 51


Section 52


Section 53


Section 54


Section 55


Section 56


Section 57


On the Good of Widowhood.

946 xxx

Translator’s Preface.


Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19


Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Section 24


Section 25


Section 26


Section 27


Section 28


Section 29


On Lying. Translator’s Preface.

981 982 xxxi

Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19


Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Section 24


Section 25


Section 26


Section 27


Section 28


Section 29


Section 30


Section 31


Section 32

1019 xxxii

Section 33


Section 34


Section 35


Section 36


Section 37


Section 38


Section 39


Section 40


Section 41


Section 42


Section 43


Against Lying.


Translator’s Preface.


Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19

1055 xxxiii

Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Section 24


Section 25


Section 26


Section 27


Section 28


Section 29


Section 30


Section 31


Section 32


Section 33


Section 34


Section 35


Section 36


Section 37


Section 38


Section 39


Section 40


Section 41


Of the Work of Monks.


Translator’s Preface.


Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8

1095 xxxiv

Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19


Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Section 24


Section 25


Section 26


Section 27


Section 28


Section 29


Section 30


Section 31


Section 32


Section 33


Section 34


Section 35


Section 36


Section 37


Section 38


Section 39


Section 40

1138 xxxv

Section 41


On Patience.


Translator’s Preface.


Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19


Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Section 24


Section 25


Section 26


On Care to Be Had for the Dead.


Translator’s Preface.


Section 1

1173 xxxvi

Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6


Section 7


Section 8


Section 9


Section 10


Section 11


Section 12


Section 13


Section 14


Section 15


Section 16


Section 17


Section 18


Section 19


Section 20


Section 21


Section 22


Section 23


Subject Indexes


On the Trinity


Doctrinal and Moral Treatises




Index of Scripture References


Greek Words and Phrases


Index of Pages of the Print Edition



This PDF file is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, The mission of the CCEL is to make classic Christian books available to the world. • This book is available in PDF, HTML, ePub, Kindle, and other formats. See • Discuss this book online at The CCEL makes CDs of classic Christian literature available around the world through the Web and through CDs. We have distributed thousands of such CDs free in developing countries. If you are in a developing country and would like to receive a free CD, please send a request by email to The Christian Classics Ethereal Library is a self supporting non-profit organization at Calvin College. If you wish to give of your time or money to support the CCEL, please visit This PDF file is copyrighted by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. It may be freely copied for non-commercial purposes as long as it is not modified. All other rights are reserved. Written permission is required for commercial use.


Title Page.








__________________________________________________ WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN




———————————— Thisthird volume contains the most important doctrinal and moral treatises of St. Augustin, and presents a pretty complete view of his dogmatics and ethics. The most weighty of the doctrinal treatises is that on the Holy Trinity. The Latin original (De Trinitate contra Arianos libri quindecim)is contained in the 8th volume of the Benedictine edition. It is the most elaborate, and probably also the ablest and profoundest patristic discussion of this central doctrine of the Christian religion, unless we except the Orations against the Arians, by Athanasius, “the Father of Orthodoxy,” who devoted his life to the defense of the Divinity of Christ. Augustin, owing to his defective knowledge of Greek, wrote his work independently of the previous treatises of the Eastern Church on that subject. He bestowed more time and care upon it than on any other book, except the City of God. The value of the present translation, which first appeared in Mr. Clark’s edition, 1873, has been much increased by the revision, the introductory essay, and the critical notes of a distinguished American divine, who is in full sympathy with St. Augustin, and thoroughly at home in the history of this dogma. I could not have intrusted it to abler hands than those of my friend and colleague, Dr. Shedd. The moral treatises (contained in the 6th volume of the Benedictine edition) were first translated for the Oxford Library of the Fathers (1847). They contain much that will instruct and interest the reader; while some views will appear strange to those who fail to distinguish between different ages and different types of virtue and piety. Augustin shared with the Greek and Latin fathers the ascetic preference for voluntary celibacy and poverty. He accepted the distinction which dates from the second century, between two kinds of morality: a lower morality of the common people, which consists in keeping the ten commandments; and a higher sanctity of the elect few, which observes, in addition, the evangelical counsels, so called, or the monastic virtues. He practiced this doctrine after his conversion. He ought to have married the mother of his son; but in devoting himself to the priesthood, he felt it his duty to remain unmarried, according to the prevailing spirit of the church in his age. His teacher, Ambrose, and his older contemporary, Jerome, went still further in the enthusiastic praise of single life. We must admire their power of self-denial and undivided consecration, though we may dissent from their theory.1


On the ascetic tendencies of the second and third centuries, and the gradual introduction of clerical celibacy

(which began with a decree of Bishop Siricius of Rome, 385), see Schaff, Church Hist., vol. ii. 367–414, and vol. iii. 242–250.


The asceticism of the early church was a reaction against the awful sexual corruption of surrounding heathenism, and with all its excesses it accomplished a great deal of good. It prepared the way for Christian family life. The fathers appealed to the example of Christ, who in this respect, as the Son of God, stood above ordinary human relations, and the advice of St. Paul, which was given in view of “the present distress,” in times of persecution. They deemed single life better adapted to the undivided service of Christ and his church than the married state with its unavoidable secular cares (1 Cor. vii. 25sqq.). Augustin expresses this view when he says, on Virginity, § 27: “Therefore go on, Saints of God, boys and girls, males and females, unmarried men and women; go on and persevere unto the end. Praise more sweetly the Lord, whom ye think on more richly; hope more happily in Him, whom ye serve more earnestly; love more ardently Him, whom ye please more attentively. With loins girded, and lamps burning, wait for the Lord, when He returns from the marriage. Ye shall bring unto the marriage of the Lamb a new song, which ye shall sing on your harps.” The Reformation has abolished the system of monasticism and clerical celibacy, and substituted for it, as the normal condition for the clergy as well as the laity, the purity, chastity and beauty of family life, instituted by God in Paradise and sanctioned by our Saviour’s presence at the wedding at Cana. New York, March, 1887. iv





__________ Preface. I.

DOCTRINAL TREATISES OF ST. AUGUSTIN. On the Holy Trinity Translated by the Rev. Arthur West Haddan, B.D. Revised and annotate, together with an introductory essay, by the Rev. Professor W. G. T. Shedd, D.D. The Enchiridion Translated by Professor J. F. Shaw. On the Catechising of the Uninstructed. Translated by the Rev. Professor S. D. F. Salmond, D.D. Concerning Faith of Things not Seen. Translated by the Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A. On the Profit of Believing. Translated by the Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A. On the Creed: A Sermon to Catechumens. Translated by the Rev. H. Brown, M.A.

II. MORAL TREATISES OF ST. AUGUSTIN. Of Continence. Translated by the Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A. On the Good of Marriage. Translated by the Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A. Of Holy Virginity. Translated by the Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A. On the Good of Widowhood. Translated by the Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A. On Lying. Translated by the Rev. H. Browne, M.A.


To Consentius: Against Lying. Translated by the Rev. H. Browne, M.A. Of the Work of Monks. Translated by the Rev. H. Browne, M.A. On Patience. Translated by the Rev. H. Browne, M.A. On Care to be Had for the Dead. Translated by the Rev. H. Browne, M.A. Index to On the Holy Trinity. Index to Fifteen Doctrinal and Moral Treatises.


The Holy Spirit is Called the Gift of God in the Scriptures. By the Gift…

He had so said, He would have said it most truly, just as He did say it most truly, because He has often said it; but He says, “the Son of His own love.” Therefore He is the Son also of the Holy Spirit, if there is in that Trinity no love in God except the Holy Spirit. And if this is most absurd, it remains that the Holy Spirit is not alone therein love, but is specially so called for the reasons I have sufficiently set forth; and that the words, “Son of His own love,” mean nothing else than His own beloved Son,—the Son, in short, of His own substance. For the love in the Father, which is in His ineffably simple nature, is nothing else than His very nature and substance itself,—as we have already often said, and are not ashamed of often repeating. And hence the “Son of His love,” is none other than He who is born of His substance.


Against Eunomius, Saying that the Son of God is the Son, Not of His Nature,…

Chapter 20.—Against Eunomius, Saying that the Son of God is the Son, Not of His Nature, But of His Will. Epilogue to What Has Been Said Already. 38. Wherefore the logic of Eunomius, from whom the Eunomian heretics sprang, is ridiculous. For when he could not understand, and would not believe, that the only-begotten Word of God, by which all things were made is the Son of God by nature,—i.e.born of the substance of the Father,—he alleged that He was not the Son of His own nature or substance or essence, but the Son of the will of God; so as to mean to assert that the will by which he begot the Son was something accidental [and optional] to God,—to wit, in that way that we ourselves sometimes will something which before we did not will, as though it was not for these very things that our nature is perceived to be changeable,—a thing which far be it from us to believe of God. For it is written, “Many are the thoughts in the heart of man, but the 1035 counsel of the Lord abideth for ever,” for no other reason except that we may understand or believe that as God is eternal, so is His counsel for eternity, and therefore unchangeable, as He himself is. And what is said of thoughts can most truly be said also of the will: there are many wills in the heart of man, but the will of the Lord abideth for ever. Some, again, to escape saying that the only-begotten Word is the Son of the counsel or will of God, have affirmed the same Word to be the counsel or will itself of the Father. But it is better in my judgment to say counsel of counsel, and will of will, as substance of substance, wisdom of wisdom, that we may not be led into that absurdity, which we have refuted already, and say that the Son makes the Father wise or willing, if the Father has not in His own substance either counsel or will. It was certainly a sharp answer that somebody gave to the heretic, who most subtly asked him whether God begat the Son willingly or unwillingly, in order that if he said unwillingly, it would follow most absurdly that God was miserable; but if willingly, he would forthwith infer, as though by an invincible reason, that at which he was aiming, viz. that He was the Son, not of His nature, but of His will. But that other, with great wakefulness, demanded of him in turn, whether God the Father was God willingly or unwillingly; in order that if he answered unwillingly, that misery would follow, which to believe of God is sheer madness; and if he said willingly, it would be replied to him, Then He is God too by His own will, not by His nature. What remained, then, except that he should hold his peace, and discern that he was himself bound by his own question in an insoluble bond? But if any person in the Trinity is also to be specially called the will of God, this name, like love, is better suited to the Holy Spirit; for what else is love, except will? 39. I see that my argument in this book respecting the Holy Spirit, according to the Holy Scripture, is quite enough for faithful men who know already that the Holy Spirit is God, and not of another substance, nor less than the Father and the Son,—as we have shown to be true in the former books, according to the same Scriptures. We have reasoned also from


Prov. xix. 21

Against Eunomius, Saying that the Son of God is the Son, Not of His Nature,‌

the creature which God made, and, as far as we could, have warned those who demand a reason on such subjects to behold and understand His invisible things, so far as they could, by those things which are made 1036 and especially by the rational or intellectual creature which is made after the image of God; through which glass, so to say, they might discern as far as they could, if they could, the Trinity which is God, in our own memory, understanding, will. Which three things, if any one intelligently regards as by nature divinely appointed in 221his own mind, and remembers by memory, contemplates by understanding, embraces by love, how great a thing that is in the mind, whereby even the eternal and unchangeable nature can be recollected, beheld, desired, doubtless that man finds an image of that highest Trinity. And he ought to refer the whole of his life to the remembering, seeing, loving that highest Trinity, in order that he may recollect, contemplate, be delighted by it. But I have warned him, so far as seemed sufficient, that he must not so compare this image thus wrought by that Trinity, and by his own fault changed for the worse, to that same Trinity as to think it in all points like to it, but rather that he should discern in that likeness, of whatever sort it be, a great unlikeness also.


Rom. i. 20


Of the Likeness of the Father and of the Son Alleged to Be in Our Memory‌

Chapter 21.—Of the Likeness of the Father and of the Son Alleged to Be in Our Memory and Understanding. Of the Likeness of the Holy Spirit in Our Will or Love. 40. I have undoubtedly taken pains so far as I could, not indeed so that the thing might 1037 be seen face to face, but that it might be seen by this likeness in an enigma, in how small a degree soever, by conjecture, in our memory and understanding, to intimate God the Father and God the Son: i.e.God the begetter, who has in some way spoken by His own co-eternal Word all things that He has in His substance; and God His Word Himself, who Himself has nothing either more or less in substance than is in Him, who, not lyingly but truly, hath begotten the Word; and I have assigned to memory everything that we know, even if we were not thinking of it, but to understanding the formation after a certain special mode of the thought. For we are usually said to understand what, by thinking of it, we have found to be true; and this it is again that we leave in the memory. But that is a still more hidden depth of our memory, wherein we found this also first when we thought of it, and wherein an inner word is begotten such as belongs to no tongue,—as it were, knowledge of knowledge, vision of vision, and understanding which appears in [reflective] thought; of understanding which had indeed existed before in the memory, but was latent there, although, unless the thought itself had also some sort of memory of its own, it would not return to those things which it had left in the memory while it turned to think of other things. 41. But I have shown nothing in this enigma respecting the Holy Spirit such as might appear to be like Him, except our own will, or love, or affection, which is a stronger will, since our will which we have naturally is variously affected, according as various objects are adjacent or occur to it, by which we are attracted or offended. What, then, is this? Are we to say that our will, when it is right, knows not what to desire, what to avoid? Further, if it knows, doubtless then it has a kind of knowledge of its own, such as cannot be without memory and understanding. Or are we to listen to any one who should say that love knows not what it does, which does not do wrongly? As, then, there are both understanding and love in that primary memory wherein we find provided and stored up that to which we can come in thought, because we find also those two things there, when we find by thinking that we both understand and love anything; which things were there too when we were not thinking of them: and as there are memory and love in that understanding, which is formed by thought, which true word we say inwardly without the tongue of any nation when we say what we know; for the gaze of our thought does not return to anything except by remembering it, and does not care to return unless by loving it: so love, which combines the vision brought about in the memory, and the vision of the thought formed thereby, as if parent


1 Cor. xiii. 12

Of the Likeness of the Father and of the Son Alleged to Be in Our Memory‌

and offspring, would not know what to love rightly unless it had a knowledge of what it desired, which it cannot have without memory and understanding.


How Great the Unlikeness is Between the Image of the Trinity Which We Have‌

Chapter 22.—How Great the Unlikeness is Between the Image of the Trinity Which We Have Found in Ourselves, and the Trinity Itself. 42. But since these are in one person, as man is, some one may say to us, These three things, memory, understanding, and love, are mine, not their own; neither do they do that which they do for themselves, but for me, or rather I do it by them. For it is I who remember by memory, and understand by understanding, and love by love: and when I direct the mind’s eye to my memory, and so say in my heart the thing I know, and a true word is begotten of my knowledge, both are mine, both the knowledge certainly and the word. For it is I who know, and it is I who say in my heart the thing I know. And when I come to find in my memory by thinking that I understand and love anything, which understanding and love were there also before I thought thereon, it is my own understanding and my own love 222that I find in my own memory, whereby it is I that understand, and I that love, not those things themselves. Likewise, when my thought is mindful, and wills to return to those things which it had left in the memory, and to understand and behold them, and say them inwardly, it is my own memory that is mindful, and it is my own, not its will, wherewith it wills. When my very love itself, too, remembers and understands what it ought to desire and what to avoid, it remembers by my, not by its own memory; and understands that which it intelligently loves by my, not by its own, understanding. In brief, by all these three things, it is I that remember, I that understand, I that love, who am neither memory, nor understanding, nor love, but who have them. These things, then, can be said by a single person, which has these three, but is not these three. But in the simplicity of that Highest Nature, which is God, although there is one God, there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Augustin Dwells Still Further on the Disparity Between the Trinity Which…

Chapter 23.—Augustin Dwells Still Further on the Disparity Between the Trinity Which is in Man, and the Trinity Which is God. The Trinity is Now Seen Through a Glass by the Help of Faith, that It May Hereafter Be More Clearly Seen in the Promised Sight Face to Face. 43. A thing itself, then, which is a trinity is different from the image of a trinity in some other thing; by reason of which image, at the same time that also in which these three things are is called an image; just as both the panel, and the picture painted on it, are at the same time called an image; but by reason of the picture painted on it, the panel also is called by the name of image. But in that Highest Trinity, which is incomparably above all things, there is so great an indivisibility, that whereas a trinity of men cannot be called one man, in that, there both is said to be and is one God, nor is that Trinity in one God, but it is one God. Nor, again, as that image in the case of man has these three things but is one person, so is it with the Trinity; but therein are three persons, the Father of the Son, and the Son of the Father, and the Spirit of both Father and Son. For although the memory in the case of man, and especially that memory which beasts have not—viz. the memory by which things intelligible are so contained as that they have not entered that memory through the bodily senses1038—has in this image of the Trinity, in proportion to its own small measure, a likeness of the Father, incomparably unequal, yet of some sort, whatever it be: and likewise the understanding in the case of man, which by the purpose of the thought is formed thereby, when that which is known is said, and there is a word of the heart belonging to no tongue, has in its own great disparity some likeness of the Son; and love in the case of man proceeding from knowledge, and combining memory and understanding, as though common to parent and offspring, whereby it is understood to be neither parent nor offspring, has in that image, some, however exceedingly unequal, likeness of the Holy Spirit: it is nevertheless not the case, that, as in that image of the Trinity, these three are not one man, but belong to one man, so in the Highest Trinity itself, of which this is an image, these three belong to one God, but they are one God, and these are three persons, not one. A thing certainly wonderfully ineffable, or ineffably wonderful, that while this image of the Trinity is one person, but the Highest Trinity itself is three persons, yet that Trinity of three persons is more indivisible than this of one. For that [Trinity], in the nature of the Divinity, or perhaps better Deity, is that which it is, and is mutually and always unchangeably equal: and there was no time when it was not, or when it was otherwise; and there will be no time when it will not be, or when 1038

[The reader will observe that Augustin has employed the term “memory” in a wider sense than in the

modern ordinary use. With him, it is the mind as including all that is potential or latent in it. The innate ideas, in this use, are laid up in the “memory,” and called into consciousness or “remembered” by reflection. The idea of God, for example, is not in the “memory” when not elicited by reflection. The same is true of the ideas of space and time, etc.—W.G.T.S.]

Augustin Dwells Still Further on the Disparity Between the Trinity Which‌

it will be otherwise. But these three that are in the inadequate image, although they are not separate in place, for they are not bodies, yet are now in this life mutually separate in magnitude. For that there are therein no several bulks, does not hinder our seeing that memory is greater than understanding in one man, but the contrary in another; and that in yet another these two are overpassed by the greatness of love; and this whether the two themselves are or are not equal to one another. And so each two by each one, and each one by each two, and each one by each one: the less are surpassed by the greater. And when they have been healed of all infirmity, and are mutually equal, not even then will that thing which by grace will not be changed, be made equal to that which by nature cannot change, because the creature cannot be equalled to the Creator, and when it shall be healed from all infirmity, will be changed. 22344. But when the sight shall have come which is promised anew to us face to face, we shall see this not only incorporeal but also absolutely indivisible and truly unchangeable Trinity far more clearly and certainly than we now see its image which we ourselves are: and yet they who see through this glass and in this enigma, as it is permitted in this life to see, are not those who behold in their own mind the things which we have set in order and pressed upon them; but those who see this as if an image, so as to be able to refer what they see, in some way be it what it may, to Him whose image it is, and to see that also by conjecturing, which they see through the image by beholding, since they cannot yet see face to face. For the apostle does not say, We see now a glass, but, We see now through a glass.1039


1 Cor. xiii. 12


The Infirmity of the Human Mind.

Chapter 24.—The Infirmity of the Human Mind. They, then, who see their own mind, in whatever way that is possible, and in it that Trinity of which I have treated as I could in many ways, and yet do not believe or understand it to be an image of God, see indeed a glass, but do not so far see through the glass Him who is now to be seen through the glass, that they do not even know the glass itself which they see to be a glass, image. And if they knew this, perhaps they would feel that He too whose glass this is, should by it be sought, and somehow provisionally be seen, an unfeigned faith purging their hearts, 1040 that He who is now seen through a glass may be able to be seen face to face. And if they despise this faith that purifies the heart, what do they accomplish by understanding the most subtle disputes concerning the nature of the human mind, unless that they be condemned also by the witness of their own understanding? And they would certainly not so fail in understanding, and hardly arrive at anything certain, were they not involved in penal darkness, and burdened with the corruptible body that presses down the soul.1041 And for what demerit save that of sin is this evil inflicted on them? Wherefore, being warned by the magnitude of so great an evil, they ought to follow the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world.1042


1 Tim. i. 5


Wisd. ix. 15


John i. 29

The Question Why the Holy Spirit is Not Begotten, and How He Proceeds from…

Chapter 25.—The Question Why the Holy Spirit is Not Begotten, and How He Proceeds from the Father and the Son, Will Only Be Understood When We are in Bliss. For if any belong to Him, although far duller in intellect than those, yet when they are freed from the body at the end of this life, the envious powers have no right to hold them. For that Lamb that was slain by them without any debt of sin has conquered them; but not by the might of power before He had done so by the righteousness of blood. And free accordingly from the power of the devil, they are borne up by holy angels, being set free from 1043 all evils by the mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Since by the harmonious testimony of the Divine Scriptures, both Old and New, both those by which Christ was foretold, and those by which He was announced, there is no other name under heaven whereby men must be saved.1044 And when purged from all contagion of corruption, they are placed in peaceful abodes until they take their bodies again, their own, but now incorruptible, to adorn, not to burden them. For this is the will of the best and most wise Creator, that the spirit of a man, when piously subject to God, should have a body happily subject, and that this happiness should last for ever. 45. There we shall see the truth without any difficulty, and shall enjoy it to the full, most clear and most certain. Nor shall we be inquiring into anything by a mind that reasons, but shall discern by a mind that contemplates, why the Holy Spirit is not a Son, although He proceeds from the Father. In that light there will be no place for inquiry: but here, by experience itself it has appeared to me so difficult,—as beyond doubt it will likewise appear to them also who shall carefully and intelligently read what I have written,—that although in the second book1045 I promised that I would speak thereof in another place, yet as often as I have desired to illustrate it by the creaturely image of it which we ourselves are, so often, let my meaning be of what sort it might, did adequate utterance entirely fail me; nay, even in my very meaning I felt that I had attained to endeavor rather than accomplishment. I had indeed found in one person, such as is a man, an image of that Highest Trinity, and had desired, especially in the ninth book, to illustrate and render more intelligible the relation of the Three Persons by that which is subject to time and change. But three things belonging to one person cannot suit those Three Persons, as man’s purpose demands; and this we have demonstrated in this fifteenth book.


1 Tim. ii. 5


Acts iv. 12


C. 3.

The Holy Spirit Twice Given by Christ. The Procession of the Holy Spirit…

Chapter 26.—The Holy Spirit Twice Given by Christ. The Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son is Apart from Time, Nor Can He Be Called the Son of Both. Further, in that Highest Trinity which is God, there are no intervals of time, by which it could be shown, or at least inquired, whether the Son was born of the Father first and then afterwards the Holy Spirit proceeded from both; since Holy Scripture calls Him the Spirit of both. For it is He of whom the apostle says, “But because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts:”1046 and it is He of whom the same Son says, “For it 1047 is not ye who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaketh in you.” And it is proved by many other testimonies of the Divine Word, that the Spirit, who is specially called in the Trinity the Holy Spirit, is of the Father and of the Son: of whom likewise the Son Himself says, “Whom I will send unto you from the Father;” 1048 and in another place, “Whom the Father will send in my name.”1049 And we are so taught that He proceeds from both, because the Son Himself says, He proceeds from the Father. And when He had risen from the dead, and had appeared to His disciples, “He breathed upon them, and said, Receive the Holy Ghost,”1050 so as to show that He proceeded also from Himself. And Itself is that very “power that went out from Him,” as we read in the Gospel, “and healed them all.”1051 46. But the reason why, after His resurrection, He both gave the Holy Spirit, first on earth,1052 and afterwards sent Him from heaven, 1053 is in my judgment this: that “love is shed abroad in our hearts,”1054 by that Gift itself, whereby we love God and our neighbors, according to those two commandments, “on which hang all the law and the prophets.”1055 And Jesus Christ, in order to signify this, gave to them the Holy Spirit, once upon earth, on account of the love of our neighbor, and a second time from heaven, on account of the love of God. And if some other reason may perhaps be given for this double gift of the Holy Spirit, at any rate we ought not to doubt that the same Holy Spirit was given when Jesus breathed upon them, of whom He by and by says, “Go, baptize all nations in the name of 224


Gal. iv. 6


Matt. x. 20


John xv. 26


John xiv. 26


John xx. 23


Luke vi. 19


John xx. 22


Acts. ii. 4


Rom. v. 5


Matt. xxii. 37–40

The Holy Spirit Twice Given by Christ. The Procession of the Holy Spirit…

the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” where this Trinity is especially commended to us. It is therefore He who was also given from heaven on the day of Pentecost, i.e.ten days after the Lord ascended into heaven. How, therefore, is He not God, who gives the Holy Spirit? Nay, how great a God is He who gives God! For no one of His disciples gave the Holy Spirit, since they prayed that He might come upon those upon whom they laid their hands: they did not give Him themselves. And the Church preserves this custom even now in the case of her rulers. Lastly, Simon Magus also, when he offered the apostles money, does not say, “Give me also this power, that I may give” the Holy Spirit; but, “that on whomsoever I may lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.” Because neither had the Scriptures said before, And Simon, seeing that the apostles gave the Holy Spirit; but it had said, “And Simon, seeing that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands.”1056 Therefore also the Lord Jesus Christ Himself not only gave the Holy Spirit as God, but also received it as man, and therefore He is said to be full of grace,1057 and of the Holy Spirit.1058 And in the Acts of the Apostles it is more plainly written of Him, “Because God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit.”1059 Certainly not with visible oil but with the gift of grace which is signified by the visible ointment wherewith the Church anoints the baptized. And Christ was certainly not then anointed with the Holy Spirit, when He, as a dove, descended upon Him at His baptism. 1060 For at that time He deigned to prefigure His body, i.e. His Church, in which especially the baptized receive the Holy Spirit. But He is to be understood to have been then anointed with that mystical and invisible unction, when the Word of God was made flesh, 1061 i.e.when human nature, without any precedent merits of good works, was joined to God the Word in the womb of the Virgin, so that with it it became one person. Therefore it is that we confess Him to have been born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. For it is most absurd to believe Him to have received the Holy Spirit when He was near thirty years old: for at that age He was baptized by John; 1062 but that He came to baptism as without any sin at all, so not without the Holy Spirit. For if it was written of His servant and forerunner John himself, “He shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb,”1063 because, although generated by his father, yet he received the Holy Spirit when formed in the womb; what must be understood and believed


Acts viii. 18, 19


John i. 14


Luke ii. 52and iv. 1


Acts x. 38


Matt. iii. 16


John i.14


Luke iii. 21–23


Luke i. 15


The Holy Spirit Twice Given by Christ. The Procession of the Holy Spirit…

of the man Christ, of whose flesh the very conception was not carnal, but spiritual? Both natures, too, as well the human as the divine, are shown in that also that is written of Him, that He received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, and shed forth the Holy Spir1064 225it: seeing that He received as man, and shed forth as God. And we indeed can receive that gift according to our small measure, but assuredly we cannot shed it forth upon others; but, that this may be done, we invoke over them God, by whom this is accomplished. 47. Are we therefore able to ask whether the Holy Spirit had already proceeded from the Father when the Son was born, or had not yet proceeded; and when He was born, proceeded from both, wherein there is no such thing as distinct times: just as we have been able to ask, in a case where we do find times, that the will proceeds from the human mind first, in order that that may be sought which, when found, may be called offspring; which offspring being already brought forth or born, that will is made perfect, resting in this end, so that what had been its desire when seeking, is its love when enjoying; which love now proceeds from both, i.e.from the mind that begets, and from the notion that is begotten, as if from parent and offspring? These things it is absolutely impossible to ask in this case, where nothing is begun in time, so as to be perfected in a time following. Wherefore let him who can understand the generation of the Son from the Father without time, understand also the procession of the Holy Spirit from both without time. And let him who can understand, in that which the Son says, “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself,”1065 not that the Father gave life to the Son already existing without life, but that He so begat Him apart from time, that the life which the Father gave to the Son by begetting Him is co-eternal with the life of the Father who gave it:1066 let him, I say, understand, that as the Father has in Himself that the Holy Spirit should proceed from Him, so has He given to the Son that the same Holy Spirit should proceed from Him, and be both apart from time: and that the Holy Spirit is so said to proceed from the Father as that it be understood that His proceeding also from the Son, is a property derived by the Son from the Father. For if the Son has of the Father whatever He has, then certainly He has of the Father, that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from Him. But let no one think of any times therein which imply a sooner and a later; because these things are not there at all. How, then, would it not be most absurd to call Him the Son of both: when, just as generation from the Father, without any changeableness of nature, gives to the Son essence, without beginning of time; so procession from both, without any changeableness of nature, gives to the Holy Spirit es-


Acts ii. 33


John v. 26


[Says Turrettin, III. xxix. 21. “The Father does not generate the Son either as previously existing, for in

this case there would be no need of generation; nor yet as not yet existing, for in this case the Son would not be eternal; but as co-existing, because he is from eternity in the God-head.”—W.G.T.S.]


The Holy Spirit Twice Given by Christ. The Procession of the Holy Spirit…

sence without beginning of time? For while we do not say that the Holy Spirit is begotten, yet we do not therefore dare to say that He is unbegotten, lest any one suspect in this word either two Fathers in that Trinity, or two who are not from another. For the Father alone is not from another, and therefore He alone is called unbegotten, not indeed in the Scriptures,1067 but in the usage of disputants, who employ such language as they can on so great a subject. And the Son is born of the Father; and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father principally, the Father giving the procession without any interval of time, yet in common from both [Father and Son]. 1068 But He would be called the Son of the Father and of the Son, if—a thing abhorrent to the feeling of all sound minds—both had begottenHim. Therefore the Spirit of both is not begotten of both, but proceeds from both.


[The term “unbegotten” is not found in Scripture, but it is implied in the terms “begotten” and “only-

begotten,” which are found. The term “unity” is not applied to God in Scripture, but it is implied in the term “one” which is so applied.—W.G.T.S.] 1068

[The spiration and procession of the Holy Spirit is not by two separate acts, one of the Father, and one

of the Son—as perhaps might be inferred from Augustin’s remark that “the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father principally.” As Turrettin says: “The Father and Son spirate the Spirit, not as two different essences in each of which resides a spirative energy, but as two personal subsistences of one essence, who concur in one act of spiration.” InstitutioIII. xxxi. 6.—W.G.T.S.]


What It is that Suffices Here to Solve the Question Why the Spirit is Not…

Chapter 27.—What It is that Suffices Here to Solve the Question Why the Spirit is Not Said to Be Begotten, and Why the Father Alone is Unbegotten. What They Ought to Do Who Do Not Understand These Things. 48. But because it is most difficult to distinguish generation from procession in that coeternal, and equal, and incorporeal, and ineffably unchangeable and indivisible Trinity, let it suffice meanwhile to put before those who are not able to be drawn on further, what we said upon this subject in a sermon to be delivered in the ears of Christian people, and after saying wrote it down. For when, among other things, I had taught them by testimonies of the Holy Scriptures that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both, I continue: “If, then, the Holy Spirit proceeds both from the Father and from the Son, why did the Son say, ‘He proceedeth from the Father?’1069 Why, think you, except as He is wont to refer to Him, that also which 226is His own, from whom also He Himself is? Whence also is that which He saith, ‘My doctrine is not mine own, but His that sent me?’1070 If, therefore, it is His doctrine that is here understood, which yet He said was not His own, but His that sent Him, how much more is it there to be understood that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from Himself, where He so says, He proceedeth from the Father, as not to say, He proceedeth not from me? From Him, certainly, from whom the Son had his Divine nature, for He is God of God, He has also, that from Him too proceeds the Holy Spirit; and hence the Holy Spirit has from the Father Himself, that He should proceed from the Son also, as He proceeds from the Father. Here, too, in some way may this also be understood, so far as it can be understood by such as we are, why the Holy Spirit is not said to be born, but rather to proceed;1071 since if He, too, was called a Son, He would certainly be called the Son of both, which is most absurd, since no one is son of two, save of father and mother. But far be it from us to surmise any such thing as this between God the Father and God the Son. Because not even the son of men proceeds at the 1069

John xv. 26


John vii. 16


[Generation and procession are each an emanation of the essence by which it is modified. Neither of

them is a creation ex nihilo. The school-men attempted to explain the difference between the two emanations, by saying that the generation of the Son is by the mode of the intellect—hence the Son is called Wisdom, or Word (Logos); but the procession of the Spirit is by the mode of the will—hence the Spirit is called Love. Turrettin distinguishes the difference by the following particulars: 1. In respect to the source. Generation is from the Father alone; procession is from Father and Son. 2. In respect to effects. Generation yields not only personality, but resemblance. The Son is the “image” of the Father, but the Spirit is not the image of the Father and Son. Generation is accompanied with the power to communicate the essence; procession is not. 3. In respect to order of relationship. Generation is second, procession is third. In the order of nature, not of time (for both generation and procession are eternal, therefore simultaneous), procession is after generation. InstitutioIII. xxxi. 3.—W.G.T.S.]

What It is that Suffices Here to Solve the Question Why the Spirit is Not‌

same time from both father and mother; but when he proceeds from the father into the mother, he does not at that time proceed from the mother; and when he proceeds from the mother into this present light, he does not at that time proceed from the father. But the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Father into the Son, and from the Son proceed to sanctify the creature, but proceeds at once from both; although the Father has given this to the Son, that He should proceed, as from Himself, so also from Him. For we cannot say that the Holy Spirit is not life, while the Father is life, and the Son is life: and hence as the Father, while He has life in Himself, has given also to the Son to have life in Himself; so has He given also to Him that life should proceed from Him, as it also proceeds from Himself.� 1072 I have transferred this from that sermon into this book, but I was speaking to believers, not to unbelievers. 49. But if they are not competent to gaze upon this image, and to see how true these things are which are in their mind, and yet which are not so three as to be three persons, but all three belong to a man who is one person; why do they not believe what they find in the sacred books respecting that highest Trinity which is God, rather than insist on the clearest reason being rendered them, which cannot be comprehended by the human mind, dull and infirm as it is? And to be sure, when they have steadfastly believed the Holy Scriptures as most true witnesses, let them strive, by praying and seeking and living well, that they may understand, i.e.that so far as it can be seen, that may be seen by the mind which is held fast by faith. Who would forbid this? Nay, who would not rather exhort them to it? But if they think they ought to deny that these things are, because they, with their blind minds, cannot discern them, they, too, who are blind from their birth, ought to deny that 1073 there is a sun. The light then shineth in darkness; but if the darkness comprehend it not, let them first be illuminated by the gift of God, that they may be believers, and let them begin to be light in comparison with the unbelievers; and when this foundation is first laid, let them be built up to see what they believe, that at some time they may be able to see. For some things are so believed, that they cannot be seen at all. For Christ is not to be seen a second time on the cross; but unless this be believed which has been so done and seen, that it is not now to be hoped for as about to be and to be seen, there is no coming to Christ, such as without end He is to be seen. But as far as relates to the discerning in some way by the understanding that highest, ineffable, incorporeal, and unchangeable nature the sight of the human mind can nowhere better exercise itself, so only that the rule of faith govern it, than in that which man himself has in his own nature better than the other animals, better also than the other parts of his own soul, which is the mind itself, to which has been assigned a certain sight of things invisible, and to which, as though honorably presiding in a higher


Serm. in Joh. Evang. tract.. 99, n. 8, 9.


John i. 5


What It is that Suffices Here to Solve the Question Why the Spirit is Not…

and inner place, the bodily senses also bring word of all things, that they may be judged, and than which there is no higher, to which it is to be subject, and by which it is to be governed, except God. 22750. But among these many things which I have now said, and of which there is nothing that I dare to profess myself to have said worthy of the ineffableness of that highest Trinity, but rather to confess that the wonderful knowledge of Him is too great for me, and that I cannot attain1074 to it: O thou, my soul, where dost thou feel thyself to be? where dost thou lie? where dost thou stand? until all thy infirmities be healed by Him who has forgiven all thy iniquities.1075 Thou perceivest thyself assuredly to be in that inn whither that Samaritan brought him whom he found with many wounds inflicted by thieves, half-dead. 1076 And yet thou hast seen many things that are true, not by those eyes by which colored objects are seen, but by those for which he prayed who said, “Let mine eyes behold the things that are equal.”1077 Certainly, then, thou hast seen many things that are true, and hast distinguished them from that light by the light of which thou hast seen them. Lift up thine eyes to the light itself, and fix them upon it if thou canst. For so thou wilt see how the birth of the Word of God differs from the procession of the Gift of God, on account of which the only-begotten Son did not say that the Holy Spirit is begotten of the Father, otherwise He would be His brother, but that he proceeds from Him. Whence, since the Spirit of both is a kind of consubstantial communion of Father and Son, He is not called, far be it from us to say so, the Son of both. But thou canst not fix thy sight there, so as to discern this lucidly and clearly; I know thou canst not. I say the truth, I say to myself, I know what I cannot do; yet that light itself shows to thee these three things in thyself, wherein thou mayest recognize an image of the highest Trinity itself, which thou canst not yet contemplate with steady eye. Itself shows to thee that there is in thee a true word, when it is born of thy knowledge, i.e.when we say what we know: although we neither utter nor think of any articulate word that is significant in any tongue of any nation, but our thought is formed by that which we know; and there is in the mind’s eye of the thinker an image resembling that thought which the memory contained, will or love as a third combining these two as parent and offspring. And he who can, sees and discerns that this will proceeds indeed from thought (for no one wills that of which he is absolutely ignorant what or of what sort it is), yet is not an image of the thought: and so that there is insinuated in this intelligible thing a sort of difference between birth and procession, since to behold by thought is not the same as to desire, or even to enjoy will. Thou, too, hast been able [to discern this], although thou hast not been, neither art,


Ps. cxxxix. 6


Ps. ciii. 3


Luke x. 30, 34


Ps. xvii. 2


What It is that Suffices Here to Solve the Question Why the Spirit is Not‌

able to unfold with adequate speech what, amidst the clouds of bodily likenesses, which cease not to flit up and down before human thoughts, thou hast scarcely seen. But that light which is not thyself shows thee this too, that these incorporeal likenesses of bodies are different from the truth, which, by rejecting them, we contemplate with the understanding. These, and other things similarly certain, that light hath shown to thine inner eyes. What reason, then, is there why thou canst not see that light itself with steady eye, except certainly infirmity? And what has produced this in thee, except iniquity? Who, then, is it that healeth all thine infirmities, unless it be He that forgiveth all thine iniquities? And therefore I will now at length finish this book by a prayer better than by an argument.


The Conclusion of the Book with a Prayer, and an Apology for Multitude of…

Chapter 28.—The Conclusion of the Book with a Prayer, and an Apology for Multitude of Words. 51. O Lord our God, we believe in Thee, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. For the Truth would not say, Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, unless Thou wast a Trinity. Nor wouldest thou, O Lord God, bid us to be baptized in the name of Him who is not the Lord God. Nor would the divine voice have said, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one God, unless Thou wert so a Trinity as to be one Lord God. And if Thou, O God, wert Thyself the Father, and wert Thyself the Son, Thy Word Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit your gift, we should not read in the book of truth, “God sent His Son;” 1078 nor wouldest Thou, O Only-begotten, say of the Holy Spirit, “Whom the Father will send in my name;”1079 and, “Whom I will send to you from the Father.”1080 Directing my purpose by this rule of faith, so far as I have been able, so far as Thou hast made me to be able, I have sought Thee, and have desired to see with my understanding what I believed; and I have argued and labored much. O Lord my God, my one hope, hearken to me, lest through weariness I be unwilling to seek Thee, “but that I may always ardently seek Thy face.”1081 Do Thou give strength to seek, who hast made me find Thee, and hast given the hope of finding Thee more and more. My strength and my infirmity 228are in Thy sight: preserve the one, and heal the other. My knowledge and my ignorance are in Thy sight; where Thou hast opened to me, receive me as I enter; where Thou hast closed, open to me as I knock. May I remember Thee, understand Thee, love Thee. Increase these things in me, until Thou renewest me wholly. I know it is written, “In the multitude of speech, thou shalt not escape sin.”1082 But O that I might speak only in preaching Thy word, and in praising Thee! Not only should I so flee from sin, but I should earn good desert, however much I so spake. For a man blessed of Thee would not enjoin a sin upon his own true son in the faith, to whom he wrote, “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season.”1083 Are we to say that he has not spoken much, who was not silent about Thy word, O Lord, not only in season, but out of season? But therefore it was not much, because it was only what was necessary. Set me free, O God, from that multitude of speech which I suffer inwardly in my soul, wretched as it is in Thy sight, and flying for refuge to Thy mercy; for I am not silent in thoughts, even when silent in words. And if, indeed, I thought of nothing save what pleased Thee, certainly I would not ask Thee to set me free from such multitude 1078

Gal. iv. 5and John iii. 17


John xiv. 26


John xv. 26


Ps. cv. 4


Prov. x. 19


2 Tim. iv. 2

The Conclusion of the Book with a Prayer, and an Apology for Multitude of…

of speech. But many are my thoughts, such as Thou knowest, “thoughts of man, since they are vain.”1084 Grant to me not to consent to them; and if ever they delight me, nevertheless to condemn them, and not to dwell in them, as though I slumbered. Nor let them so prevail in me, as that anything in my acts should proceed from them; but at least let my opinions, let my conscience, be safe from them, under Thy protection. When the wise man spake of Thee in his book, which is now called by the special name of Ecclesiasticus, “We speak,” he said, “much, and yet come short; and in sum of words, He is all.” 1085 When, therefore, we shall have come to Thee, these very many things that we speak, and yet come short, will cease; and Thou, as One, wilt remain “all in all.” 1086 And we shall say one thing without end, in praising Thee in One, ourselves also made one in Thee. O Lord the one God, God the Trinity, whatever I have said in these books that is of Thine, may they acknowledge who are Thine; if anything of my own, may it be pardoned both by Thee and by those who are Thine. Amen.


Ps. xciv. 11


Ecclus. xliii. 29


1 Cor. xv. 28


The Enchiridion.


The Enchiridion,

Addressed to Laurentius; Being a Treatise on Faith, Hope and Love. Translated by Professor J. F. Shaw, Londonderry.

Introductory Notice.


Introductory Notice By the Editor.

St. Augustinspeaks of this book in his Retractations, l. ii. c. 63, as follows: “I also wrote a book on Faith, Hope, and Charity, at the request of the person to whom I addressed it, that he might have a work of mine which should never be out of his hands, such as the Greeks call an Enchiridion(Hand-Book). There I think I have pretty carefully treated of the manner in which God is to be worshipped, which knowledge divine Scripture defines to be the true wisdom of man. The book begins: ‘I cannot express,’” etc.1087 The Enchiridionis among the latest books of Augustin. It was written after the death of Jerome, which occurred Sept. 30, 420; for he alludes in ch. 87 to Jerome “of blessed memory” (sanctæ memoriæ Hieronymus presbyter). It is addressed to Laurentius, in answer to his questions. This person is otherwise unknown. One ms. calls him a deacon, another a notary of the city of Rome. He was probably a layman. The author usually calls the book “On Faith, Hope and Love,” because he treats the subject under these three heads (comp. (I Cor. xiii. 13). He follows under the first head the order of the Apostles’ Creed, and refutes, without naming them, the Manichæan, Apollinarian, Arian, and Pelagian heresies. Under the second head he gives a brief exposition of the Lord’s Prayer. The third part is a discourse on Christian love. The original is in the sixth volume of the Benedictine edition. A neat edition of the Latin text, with three other small tracts of Augustin, (De Catechizandis Rudibus; De Fide Rerum quæ non creduntur; De Utilitate Credendi), is also published in C. Marriott’s S. Aurelius Augustinus, 4th ed. by H. de Romestin, Oxford and London (Parker and Comp.), 1885 (pp. 150–251.) An English edition of the same tracts by H. de Romestin, Oxford and London, 1885 (pp. 151–251). His English translation is based on that of C. L. Cornish, M.A., which appeared in the Oxford “Library of the Fathers,” Oxford 1847 (“Seventeen Short Treatises of St. Aug.” pp. 85–158). The present translation by Professor Shaw was first published in Dr. Dods’s series of Augustin’s works, Edinburgh, (T. and T. Clark,) 3d ed. 1883. It is more free and idiomatic than that of Cornish. I have in a few cases conformed it more closely to the original. P.S.


“Scripsi etiam librum ‘de Fide, Spe et Charitate’ cum a me ad quem scriptus est postulasset ut aliquod

opusculum haberet meum de suis manibus nunquam recessurum, quod genus Græci Enchiridionvocant. Ubi satis diligenter mihi videor esse complexus quomodo sit colendus Deus quam sapientiam esse hominis utique veram Divina Scriptura definit. Hic liber sic incipit, ‘Dici non potest, dilectissime fili Laurenti, quantum tuâ eruditione delecter.’”



The Enchiridion.


Argument. Laurentius having asked Augustin to furnish him with a handbook of Christian doctrine, containing in brief compass answers to several questions which he had proposed, Augustin shows him that these questions can be fully answered by any one who knows the proper objects of faith, hope, and love. He then proceeds, in the first part of the work (Chap. ix.—cxiii.), to expound the objects of faith, taking as his text the Apostles’ Creed; and in the course of this exposition, besides refuting divers heresies, he throws out many observations on the conduct of life. The second part of the work (Chap. cxiv.—cxvi.) treats of the objects of hope, and consists of a very brief exposition of the several petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. The third and concluding part (Chap. cxvii.-cxxii.) treats of the objects of love, showing the pre-eminence of this grace in the gospel system, that it is the end of the commandment and the fulfilling of the law, and that God himself is love.

The Author Desires the Gift of True Wisdom for Laurentius.

Chapter 1.—The Author Desires the Gift of True Wisdom for Laurentius. I Cannotexpress, my beloved son Laurentius, the delight with which I witness your progress in knowledge, and the earnest desire I have that you should be a wise man: not one of those of whom it is said, “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” 1088 but one of those of whom it is said, “The multitude of the wise is the welfare of the world,”1089 and such as the apostles wishes those to become, whom he tells,” I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”1090 Now, just as no one can exist of himself, so no one can be wise of himself, but only by the enlightening influence of Him of whom it is written,” All wisdom cometh from the Lord.”1091


1 Cor. i. 20


Wisd. vi. 24. [Greek text, ver. 25: πλῆθος σοφῶν σωτηρία κόσμου .—P.S.]


Rom. xvi. 19


Ecclus. i. 1

The Fear of God is Man’s True Wisdom.

Chapter 2.—The Fear of God is Man’s True Wisdom. The true wisdom of man is piety. You find this in the book of holy Job. For we read there what wisdom itself has said to man: “Behold, the fear of the Lord [pietas], that is wisdom.”1092 If you ask further what is meant in that place by pietas, the Greek calls it more definitely θεοσέβεια, that is, the worship of God. The Greeks sometimes call pietyεὐσέβεια, which signifies right worship, though this, of course, refers specially to the worship of God. 238But when we are defining in what man’s true wisdom consists, the most convenient word to use is that which distinctly expresses the fear of God. And can you, who are anxious that I should treat of great matters in few words, wish for a briefer form of expression? Or perhaps you are anxious that this expression should itself be briefly explained, and that I should unfold in a short discourse the proper mode of worshipping God?


Job xxviii. 28

God is to Be Worshipped Through Faith, Hope, and Love.

Chapter 3.—God is to Be Worshipped Through Faith, Hope, and Love. Now if I should answer, that God is to be worshipped with faith, hope, and love, you will at once say that this answer is too brief, and will ask me briefly to unfold the objects of each of these three graces, viz., what we are to believe, what we are to hope for, and what we are to love. And when I have done this, you will have an answer to all the questions you asked in your letter. If you have kept a copy of your letter, you can easily turn it up and read it over again: if you have not, you will have no difficulty in recalling it when I refresh your memory.

The Questions Propounded by Laurentius.

Chapter 4.—The Questions Propounded by Laurentius. You are anxious, you say, that I should write a sort of handbook for you, which you might always keep beside you, containing answers to the questions you put, viz.: what ought to be man’s chief end in life; what he ought, in view of the various heresies, chiefly to avoid; to what extent religion is supported by reason; what there is in reason that lends no support to faith, when faith stands alone; what is the starting-point, what the goal, of religion; what is the sum of the whole body of doctrine; what is the sure and proper foundation of the catholic faith. Now, undoubtedly, you will know the answers to all these questions, if you know thoroughly the proper objects of faith, hope, and love. For these must be the chief, nay, the exclusive objects of pursuit in religion. He who speaks against these is either a total stranger to the name of Christ, or is a heretic. These are to be defended by reason, which must have its starting-point either in the bodily senses or in the intuitions of the mind. And what we have neither had experience of through our bodily senses, nor have been able to reach through the intellect, must undoubtedly be believed on the testimony of those witnesses by whom the Scriptures, justly called divine, were written; and who by divine assistance were enabled, either through bodily sense or intellectual perception, to see or to foresee the things in question.

Brief Answers to These Questions.

Chapter 5.—Brief Answers to These Questions. Moreover, when the mind has been imbued with the first elements of that faith which worketh by love,1093 it endeavors by purity of life to attain unto sight, where the pure and perfect in heart know that unspeakable beauty, the full vision of which is supreme happiness. Here surely is an answer to your question as to what is the starting-point, and what the goal: we begin in faith, and are made perfect by sight. This also is the sum of the whole body of doctrine. But the sure and proper foundation of the catholic faith is Christ. “For other foundation,” says the apostle, “can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1094 Nor are we to deny that this is the proper foundation of the catholic faith, because it may be supposed that some heretics hold this in common with us. For if we carefully consider the things that pertain to Christ, we shall find that, among those heretics who call themselves Christians, Christ is present in name only: in deed and in truth He is not among them. But to show this would occupy us too long, for we should require to go over all the heresies which have existed, which do exist, or which could exist, under the Christian name, and to show that this is true in the case of each,—a discussion which would occupy so many volumes as to be all but interminable.


Gal. v. 6


1 Cor. iii. 11

Controversy Out of Place in a Handbook Like the Present.

Chapter 6.—Controversy Out of Place in a Handbook Like the Present. Now you ask of me a handbook, that is, one that can be carried in the hand, not one to load your shelves. To return, then, to the three graces through which, as I have said, God should be worshipped—faith, hope, and love: to state what are the true and proper objects of each of these is easy. But to defend this true doctrine against the assaults of those who hold an opposite opinion, requires much fuller and more elaborate instruction. And the true way to obtain this instruction is not to have a short treatise put into one’s hands, but to have a great zeal kindled in one’s heart.

The Creed and the Lord’s Prayer Demand the Exercise of Faith, Hope, and…

Chapter 7.—The Creed and the Lord’s Prayer Demand the Exercise of Faith, Hope, and Love. For you have the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. What can be briefer to hear or to read? 239What easier to commit to memory? When, as the result of sin, the human race was groaning under a heavy load of misery, and was in urgent need of the divine compassion, one of the prophets, anticipating the time of God’s grace, declared: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.” 1095 Hence the Lord’s Prayer. But the apostle, when, for the purpose of commending this very grace, he had quoted this prophetic testimony, immediately added: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?”1096 Hence the Creed. In these two you have those three graces exemplified: faith believes, hope and love pray. But without faith the two last cannot exist, and therefore we may say that faith also prays. Whence it is written: “How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?”


Joel ii. 32


Rom. x. 14

The Distinction Between Faith and Hope, and the Mutual Dependence of Faith,…

Chapter 8.—The Distinction Between Faith and Hope, and the Mutual Dependence of Faith, Hope, and Love. Again, can anything be hoped for which is not an object of faith? It is true that a thing which is not an object of hope may be believed. What true Christian, for example, does not believe in the punishment of the wicked? And yet such an one does not hope for it. And the man who believes that punishment to be hanging over himself, and who shrinks in horror from the prospect, is more properly said to fear than to hope. And these two states of mind 1097 the poet carefully distinguishes, when he says: “Permit the fearful to have hope.” Another poet, who is usually much superior to this one, makes a wrong use of the word, when he says: “If I have been able to hope for so great a grief as this.” 1098 And some grammarians take this case as an example of impropriety of speech, saying, “He said sperare[to hope] instead of timere[to fear].” Accordingly, faith may have for its object evil as well as good; for both good and evil are believed, and the faith that believes them is not evil, but good. Faith, moreover, is concerned with the past, the present, and the future, all three. We believe, for example, that Christ died,—an event in the past; we believe that He is sitting at the right hand of God,—a state of things which is present; we believe that He will come to judge the quick and the dead,—an event of the future. Again, faith applies both to one’s own circumstances and those of others. Every one, for example, believes that his own existence had a beginning, and was not eternal, and he believes the same both of other men and other things. Many of our beliefs in regard to religious matters, again, have reference not merely to other men, but to angels also. But hope has for its object only what is good, only what is future, and only what affects the man who entertains the hope. For these reasons, then, faith must be distinguished from hope, not merely as a matter of verbal propriety, but because they are essentially different. The fact that we do not see either what we believe or what we hope for, is all that is common to faith and hope. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, for example, faith is defined (and eminent defenders of the catholic faith have used the definition as a standard) “the evidence of things not seen.” 1099 Although, should any one say that he believes, that is, has grounded his faith, not on words, nor on witnesses, nor on any reasoning whatever, but on the direct evidence of his own senses, he would not be guilty of such an impropriety of speech as to be justly liable to the criticism, “You saw, therefore you did not believe.” And hence it does not follow that an object of faith is not an object of sight. But it is better that we should use the word “faith” as the Scriptures have taught us, applying it to those things which are not seen. Concerning hope, again, the apostle says: “Hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do 1097

Lucan, Phars. ii. 15.


Virgil, Æneid, iv. 419.


Heb. xi. 1

The Distinction Between Faith and Hope, and the Mutual Dependence of Faith,… we with patience wait for it.”1100 When, then, we believe that good is about to come, this is nothing else but to hope for it. Now what shall I say of love? Without it, faith profits nothing; and in its absence, hope cannot exist. The Apostle James says: “The devils also believe, and tremble.”1101—that is, they, having neither hope nor love, but believing that what we love and hope for is about to come, are in terror. And so the Apostle Paul approves and commends the “faith that worketh by love;”1102 and this certainly cannot exist without hope. Wherefore there is no love without hope, no hope without love, and neither love nor hope without faith.


Rom. viii. 24, 25


Jas. ii. 19


Gal. v. 6


What We are to Believe. In Regard to Nature It is Not Necessary for the…

Chapter 9.—What We are to Believe. In Regard to Nature It is Not Necessary for the Christian to Know More Than that the Goodness of the Creator is the Cause of All Things. When, then, the question is asked what we are to believe in regard to religion, it is not 240necessary to probe into the nature of things, as was done by those whom the Greeks call physici; nor need we be in alarm lest the Christian should be ignorant of the force and number of the elements,—the motion, and order, and eclipses of the heavenly bodies; the form of the heavens; the species and the natures of animals, plants, stones, fountains, rivers, mountains; about chronology and distances; the signs of coming storms; and a thousand other things which those philosophers either have found out, or think they have found out. For even these men themselves, endowed though they are with so much genius, burning with zeal, abounding in leisure, tracking some things by the aid of human conjecture, searching into others with the aids of history and experience, have not found out all things; and even their boasted discoveries are oftener mere guesses than certain knowledge. It is enough for the Christian to believe that the only cause of all created things, whether heavenly or earthly, whether visible or invisible, is the goodness of the Creator the one true God; and that nothing exists but Himself that does not derive its existence from Him; and that He is the Trinity—to wit, the Father, and the Son begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the same Father, but one and the same Spirit of Father and Son.

The Supremely Good Creator Made All Things Good.

Chapter 10.—The Supremely Good Creator Made All Things Good. By the Trinity, thus supremely and equally and unchangeably good, all things were created; and these are not supremely and equally and unchangeably good, but yet they are good, even taken separately. Taken as a whole, however, they are very good, because their ensembleconstitutes the universe in all its wonderful order and beauty.

What is Called Evil in the Universe is But the Absence of Good.

Chapter 11.—What is Called Evil in the Universe is But the Absence of Good. And in the universe, even that which is called evil, when it is regulated and put in its own place, only enhances our admiration of the good; for we enjoy and value the good more when we compare it with the evil. For the Almighty God, who, as even the heathen acknowledge, has supreme power over all things, being Himself supremely good, would never permit the existence of anything evil among His works, if He were not so omnipotent and good that He can bring good even out of evil. For what is that which we call evil but the absence of good? In the bodies of animals, disease and wounds mean nothing but the absence of health; for when a cure is effected, that does not mean that the evils which were present—namely, the diseases and wounds—go away from the body and dwell elsewhere: they altogether cease to exist; for the wound or disease is not a substance, but a defect in the fleshly substance,—the flesh itself being a substance, and therefore something good, of which those evils—that is, privations of the good which we call health—are accidents. Just in the same way, what are called vices in the soul are nothing but privations of natural good. And when they are cured, they are not transferred elsewhere: when they cease to exist in the healthy soul, they cannot exist anywhere else.

All Beings Were Made Good, But Not Being Made Perfectly Good, are Liable‌

Chapter 12.—All Beings Were Made Good, But Not Being Made Perfectly Good, are Liable to Corruption. All things that exist, therefore, seeing that the Creator of them all is supremely good, are themselves good. But because they are not, like their Creator, supremely and unchangeably good, their good may be diminished and increased. But for good to be diminished is an evil, although, however much it may be diminished, it is necessary, if the being is to continue, that some good should remain to constitute the being. For however small or of whatever kind the being may be, the good which makes it a being cannot be destroyed without destroying the being itself. An uncorrupted nature is justly held in esteem. But if, still further, it be incorruptible, it is undoubtedly considered of still higher value. When it is corrupted, however, its corruption is an evil, because it is deprived of some sort of good. For if it be deprived of no good, it receives no injury; but it does receive injury, therefore it is deprived of good. Therefore, so long as a being is in process of corruption, there is in it some good of which it is being deprived; and if a part of the being should remain which cannot be corrupted, this will certainly be an incorruptible being, and accordingly the process of corruption will result in the manifestation of this great good. But if it do not cease to be corrupted, neither can it cease to possess good of which corruption may deprive it. But if it should be thoroughly and completely consumed by corruption, there will then be no good left, because there will be no being. Wherefore corruption can consume the good only by consuming the being. Every being, therefore, is a good; a great good, if it can not be corrupted; a little good, if it can: but in any case, only the foolish or ignorant will deny that it is a good. 241And if it be wholly consumed by corruption, then the corruption itself must cease to exist, as there is no being left in which it can dwell.

There Can Be No Evil Where There is No Good; And an Evil Man is an Evil…

Chapter 13.—There Can Be No Evil Where There is No Good; And an Evil Man is an Evil Good. Accordingly, there is nothing of what we call evil, if there be nothing good. But a good which is wholly without evil is a perfect good. A good, on the other hand, which contains evil is a faulty or imperfect good; and there can be no evil where there is no good. From all this we arrive at the curious result: that since every being, so far as it is a being, is good, when we say that a faulty being is an evil being, we just seem to say that what is good is evil, and that nothing but what is good can be evil, seeing that every being is good, and that no evil can exist except in a being. Nothing, then, can be evil except something which is good. And although this, when stated, seems to be a contradiction, yet the strictness of reasoning leaves us no escape from the conclusion. We must, however, beware of incurring the prophetic condemnation: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.”1103 And yet our Lord says: “An evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil.”1104 Now, what is evil man but an evil being? for a man is a being. Now, if a man is a good thing because he is a being, what is an evil man but an evil good? Yet, when we accurately distinguish these two things, we find that it is not because he is a man that he is an evil, or because he is wicked that he is a good; but that he is a good because he is a man, and an evil because he is wicked. Whoever, then, says, “To be a man is an evil,” or, “To be wicked is a good,” falls under the prophetic denunciation: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil!” For he condemns the work of God, which is the man, and praises the defect of man, which is the wickedness. Therefore every being, even if it be a defective one, in so far as it is a being is good, and in so far as it is defective is evil.


Isa. v. 20


Luke vi. 45

Good and Evil are an Exception to the Rule that Contrary Attributes Cannot‌

Chapter 14.—Good and Evil are an Exception to the Rule that Contrary Attributes Cannot Be Predicated of the Same Subject. Evil Springs Up in What is Good, and Cannot Exist Except in What is Good. Accordingly, in the case of these contraries which we call good and evil, the rule of the logicians, that two contraries cannot be predicated at the same time of the same thing, does not hold. No weather is at the same time dark and bright: no food or drink is at the same time sweet and bitter: no body is at the same time and in the same place black and white: none is at the same time and in the same place deformed and beautiful. And this rule is found to hold in regard to many, indeed nearly all, contraries, that they cannot exist at the same time in any one thing. But although no one can doubt that good and evil are contraries, not only can they exist at the same time, but evil cannot exist without good, or in anything that is not good. Good, however, can exist without evil. For a man or an angel can exist without being wicked; but nothing can be wicked except a man or an angel: and so far as he is a man or an angel, he is good; so far as he is wicked, he is an evil. And these two contraries are so far co-existent, that if good did not exist in what is evil, neither could evil exist; because corruption could not have either a place to dwell in, or a source to spring from, if there were nothing that could be corrupted; and nothing can be corrupted except what is good, for corruption is nothing else but the destruction of good. From what is good, then, evils arose, and except in what is good they do not exist; nor was there any other source from which any evil nature could arise. For if there were, then, in so far as this was a being, it was certainly a good: and a being which was incorruptible would be a great good; and even one which was corruptible must be to some extent a good, for only by corrupting what was good in it could corruption do it harm.

The Preceding Argument is in No Wise Inconsistent with the Saying of Our…

Chapter 15.—The Preceding Argument is in No Wise Inconsistent with the Saying of Our Lord: “A Good Tree Cannot Bring Forth Evil Fruit.” But when we say that evil springs out of good, let it not be thought that this contradicts our Lord’s saying: “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.” 1105 For, as He who is the Truth says, you cannot gather grapes of thorns,1106 because grapes do not grow on thorns. But we see that on good soil both vines and thorns may be grown. And in the same way, just as an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit, so an evil will cannot produce good works. But from the nature of man, which is good, may spring either a good or an evil will. And 242certainly there was at first no source from which an evil will could spring, except the nature of angel or of man, which was good. And our Lord Himself clearly shows this in the very same place where He speaks about the tree and its fruit. For He says: “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt,”1107—clearly enough warning us that evil fruits do not grow on a good tree, nor good fruits on an evil tree; but that nevertheless the ground itself, by which He meant those whom He was then addressing, might grow either kind of trees.


Matt. vii. 18


Matt. vii. 16


Matt. xii. 33

It is Not Essential to Man’s Happiness that He Should Know the Causes of…

Chapter 16.—It is Not Essential to Man’s Happiness that He Should Know the Causes of Physical Convulsions; But It Is, that He Should Know the Causes of Good and Evil. Now, in view of these considerations, when we are pleased with that line of Maro, “Happy the man who has attained to the knowledge of the causes of things,” 1108 we should not suppose that it is necessary to happiness to know the causes of the great physical convulsions, causes which lie hid in the most secret recesses of nature’s kingdom, “whence comes the earthquake whose force makes the deep seas to swell and burst their barriers, and again to return upon themselves and settle down.”1109 But we ought to know the causes of good and evil as far as man may in this life know them, in order to avoid the mistakes and troubles of which this life is so full. For our aim must always be to reach that state of happiness in which no trouble shall distress us, and no error mislead us. If we must know the causes of physical convulsions, there are none which it concerns us more to know than those which affect our own health. But seeing that, in our ignorance of these, we are fain to resort to physicians, it would seem that we might bear with considerable patience our ignorance of the secrets that lie hid in the earth and heavens.


Virgil, Georgics, ii. 490.



The Nature of Error. All Error is Not Hurtful, Though It is Man’s Duty as…

Chapter 17.—The Nature of Error. All Error is Not Hurtful, Though It is Man’s Duty as Far as Possible to Avoid It. For although we ought with the greatest possible care to avoid error, not only in great but even in little things, and although we cannot err except through ignorance, it does not follow that, if a man is ignorant of a thing, he must forthwith fall into error. That is rather the fate of the man who thinks he knows what he does not know. For he accepts what is false as if it were true, and that is the essence of error. But it is a point of very great importance what the subject is in regard to which a man makes a mistake. For on one and the same subject we rightly prefer an instructed man to an ignorant one, and a man who is not in error to one who is. In the case of different subjects, however,—that is, when one man knows one thing, and another a different thing, and when what the former knows is useful, and what the latter knows is not so useful, or is actually hurtful,—who would not, in regard to the things the latter knows, prefer the ignorance of the former to the knowledge of the latter? For there are points on which ignorance is better than knowledge. And in the same way, it has sometimes been an advantage to depart from the right way,—in travelling, however, not in morals. It has happened to myself to take the wrong road where two ways met, so that I did not pass by the place where an armed band of Donatists lay in wait for me. Yet I arrived at the place whither I was bent, though by a roundabout route; and when I heard of the ambush, I congratulated myself on my mistake, and gave thanks to God for it. Now, who would not rather be the traveller who made a mistake like this, than the highwayman who made no mistake? And hence, perhaps, it is that the prince of poets puts these words into the mouth of a lover in misery:1110 “How I am undone, how I have been carried away by an evil error!” for there is an error which is good, as it not merely does no harm, but produces some actual advantage. But when we look more closely into the nature of truth, and consider that to err is just to take the false for the true, and the true for the false, or to hold what is certain as uncertain, and what is uncertain as certain, and that error in the soul is hideous and repulsive just in proportion as it appears fair and plausible when we utter it, or assent to it, saying, “Yea, yea; Nay, nay,”—surely this life that we live is wretched indeed, if only on this account, that sometimes, in order to preserve it, it is necessary to fall into error. God forbid that such should be that other life, where truth itself is the life of the soul, where no one deceives, and no one is deceived. But here men deceive and are deceived, and they are more to be pitied when they lead others astray than when they are themselves led astray by putting trust in liars. Yet so much does a rational soul shrink from what is false, and so earnestly does it struggle against error, that even those who love to deceive are most unwilling


Virgil, Eclog. viii. 41.

The Nature of Error. All Error is Not Hurtful, Though It is Man’s Duty as‌

to be deceived. For the liar does not think that he errs, but that he leads another who trusts him into error. And certainly he does not err in regard to the matter about which he lies, if he himself knows the truth; but he is deceived in this, that he thinks his lie does him no harm, whereas every sin is more hurtful to the sinner than to the sinned against. 243


It is Never Allowable to Tell a Lie; But Lies Differ Very Much in Guilt,‌

Chapter 18.—It is Never Allowable to Tell a Lie; But Lies Differ Very Much in Guilt, According to the Intention and the Subject. But here arises a very difficult and very intricate question, about which I once wrote a large book, finding it necessary to give it an answer. The question is this: whether at any time it can become the duty of a good man to tell a lie? For some go so far as to contend that there are occasions on which it is a good and pious work to commit perjury even, and to say what is false about matters that relate to the worship of God, and about the very nature of God Himself. To me, however, it seems certain that every lie is a sin, though it makes a great difference with what intention and on what subject one lies. For the sin of the man who tells a lie to help another is not so heinous as that of the man who tells a lie to injure another; and the man who by his lying puts a traveller on the wrong road, does not do so much harm as the man who by false or misleading representations distorts the whole course of a life. No one, of course, is to be condemned as a liar who says what is false, believing it to be true, because such an one does not consciously deceive, but rather is himself deceived. And, on the same principle, a man is not to be accused of lying, though he may sometimes be open to the charge of rashness, if through carelessness he takes up what is false and holds it as true; but, on the other hand, the man who says what is true, believing it to be false, is, so far as his own consciousness is concerned, a liar. For in saying what he does not believe, he says what to his own conscience is false, even though it should in fact be true; nor is the man in any sense free from lying who with his mouth speaks the truth without knowing it, but in his heart wills to tell a lie. And, therefore, not looking at the matter spoken of, but solely at the intention of the speaker, the man who unwittingly says what is false, thinking all the time that it is true, is a better man than the one who unwittingly says what is true, but in his conscience intends to deceive. For the former does not think one thing and say another; but the latter, though his statements may be true in fact, has one thought in his heart and another on his lips: and that is the very essence of lying. But when we come to consider truth and falsehood in respect to the subjects spoken of, the point on which one deceives or is deceived becomes a matter of the utmost importance. For although, as far as a man’s own conscience is concerned, it is a greater evil to deceive than to be deceived, nevertheless it is a far less evil to tell a lie in regard to matters that do not relate to religion, than to be led into error in regard to matters the knowledge and belief of which are essential to the right worship of God. To illustrate this by example: suppose that one man should say of some one who is dead that he is still alive, knowing this to be untrue; and that another man should, being deceived, believe that Christ shall at the end of some time (make the time as long as you please) die; would it not be incomparably better to lie like the former, than to be deceived like the latter? and would it not be a much less evil to lead some man into the former error, than to be led by any man into the latter?

Men’s Errors Vary Very Much in the Magnitude of the Evils They Produce;…

Chapter 19.—Men’s Errors Vary Very Much in the Magnitude of the Evils They Produce; But Yet Every Error is in Itself an Evil. In some things, then, it is a great evil to be deceived; in some it is a small evil; in some no evil at all; and in some it is an actual advantage. It is to his grievous injury that a man is deceived when he does not believe what leads to eternal life, or believes what leads to eternal death. It is a small evil for a man to be deceived, when, by taking falsehood for truth, he brings upon himself temporal annoyances; for the patience of the believer will turn even these to a good use, as when, for example, taking a bad man for a good, he receives injury from him. But one who believes a bad man to be good, and yet suffers no injury, is nothing the worse for being deceived, nor does he fall under the prophetic denunciation: “Woe to those who call evil good!” 1111 For we are to understand that this is spoken not about evil men, but about the things that make men evil. Hence the man who calls adultery good, falls justly under that prophetic denunciation. But the man who calls the adulterer good, thinking him to be chaste, and not knowing him to be an adulterer, falls into no error in regard to the nature of good and evil, but only makes a mistake as to the secrets of human conduct. 244He calls the man good on the ground of believing him to be what is undoubtedly good; he calls the adulterer evil, and the pure man good; and he calls this man good, not knowing him to be an adulterer, but believing him to be pure. Further, if by making a mistake one escape death, as I have said above once happened to me, one even derives some advantage from one’s mistake. But when I assert that in certain cases a man may be deceived without any injury to himself, or even with some advantage to himself, I do not mean that the mistake in itself is no evil, or is in any sense a good; I refer only to the evil that is avoided, or the advantage that is gained, through making the mistake. For the mistake, considered in itself, is an evil: a great evil if it concern a great matter, a small evil if it concern a small matter, but yet always an evil. For who that is of sound mind can deny that it is an evil to receive what is false as if it were true, and to reject what is true as if it were false, or to hold what is uncertain as certain, and what is certain as uncertain? But it is one thing to think a man good when he is really bad, which is a mistake; it is another thing to suffer no ulterior injury in consequence of the mistake, supposing that the bad man whom we think good inflicts no damage upon us. In the same way, it is one thing to think that we are on the right road when we are not; it is another thing when this mistake of ours, which is an evil, leads to some good, such as saving us from an ambush of wicked men.


Isa. v. 20

Every Error is Not a Sin. An Examination of the Opinion of the Academic…

Chapter 20.—Every Error is Not a Sin. An Examination of the Opinion of the Academic Philosophers, that to Avoid Error We Should in All Cases Suspend Belief. I am not sure whether mistakes such as the following,—when one forms a good opinion of a bad man, not knowing what sort of man he is; or when, instead of the ordinary perceptions through the bodily senses, other appearances of a similar kind present themselves, which we perceive in the spirit, but think we perceive in the body, or perceive in the body, but think we perceive in the spirit (such a mistake as the Apostle Peter made when the angel 1112 suddenly freed him from his chains and imprisonment, and he thought he saw a vision ); or when, in the case of sensible objects themselves, we mistake rough for smooth, or bitter for sweet, or think that putrid matter has a good smell; or when we mistake the passing of a carriage for thunder; or mistake one man for another, the two being very much alike, as often happens in the case of twins (hence our great poet calls it “a mistake pleasing to parents”1113),—whether these, and other mistakes of this kind, ought to be called sins. Nor do I now undertake to solve a very knotty question, which perplexed those very acute thinkers, the Academic philosophers: whether a wise man ought to give his assent to anything, seeing that he may fall into error by assenting to falsehood: for all things, as they assert, are either unknown or uncertain. Now I wrote three volumes shortly after my conversion, to remove out of my way the objections which lie, as it were, on the very threshold of faith. And assuredly it was necessary at the very outset to remove this utter despair of reaching truth, which seems to be strengthened by the arguments of these philosophers. Now in their eyes every error is regarded as a sin, and they think that error can only be avoided by entirely suspending belief. For they say that the man who assents to what is uncertain falls into error; and they strive by the most acute, but most audacious arguments, to show that, even though a man’s opinion should by chance be true, yet that there is no certainty of its truth, owing to the impossibility of distinguishing truth from falsehood. But with us, “the just shall live by faith.”1114 Now, if assent be taken away, faith goes too; for without assent there can be no belief. And there are truths, whether we know them or not, which must be believed if we would attain to a happy life, that is, to eternal life. But I am not sure whether one ought to argue with men who not only do not know that there is an eternal life before them, but do not know whether they are living at the present moment; nay, say that they do not know what it is impossible they can be ignorant of. For it is impossible that any one should be ignorant that he is alive, seeing that if he be not alive it is impossible for him to be ignorant; for not knowledge merely, but ignorance too, can be an attribute only of the living. But, forsooth, they think that by not acknowledging that they are alive they avoid error, when 1112

Acts xii. 9


Virgil, Æn. x. 392.


Rom. i. 17

Every Error is Not a Sin. An Examination of the Opinion of the Academic‌

even their very error proves that they are alive, since one who is not alive cannot err. As, then, it is not only true, but certain, that we are alive, so there are many other things both true and certain; and God forbid that it should ever be called wisdom, and not the height of folly, to refuse assent to these.


Error, Though Not Always a Sin, is Always an Evil.

Chapter 21.—Error, Though Not Always a Sin, is Always an Evil. But as to those matters in regard to which our belief or disbelief, and indeed their truth or supposed truth or falsity, are of no importance whatever, so far as attaining the kingdom of God is concerned: to make a mistake in such matters is not to be looked on as a sin, or at least as a very small and trifling sin. In short, a mistake in matters of this kind, whatever its nature and magnitude, does not relate to the way of approach to God, which is the faith of Christ that “worketh by love.”1115 For the “mistake pleasing to parents” in the case of the twin children was no deviation from this way; nor did the Apostle Peter deviate from this way, when, thinking that he saw a vision, he so mistook one thing for another, that, till the angel who delivered him had departed from him, he did not distinguish the real objects 1116 among which he was moving from the visionary objects of a dream; nor did the patriarch Jacob deviate from this way, when he believed that his son, who was really alive, had been slain by a beast. 1117 In the case of these and other false impressions of the same kind, we are indeed deceived, but our faith in God remains secure. We go astray, but we do not leave the way that leads us to Him. But yet these errors, though they are not sinful, are to be reckoned among the evils of this life which is so far made subject to vanity, that we receive what is false as if it were true, reject what is true as if it were false, and cling to what is uncertain as if it were certain. And although they do not trench upon that true and certain faith through which we reach eternal blessedness, yet they have much to do with that misery in which we are now living. And assuredly, if we were now in the enjoyment of the true and perfect happiness that lies before us, we should not be subject to any deception through any sense, whether of body or of mind. 245


Gal. v. 6


Acts xii. 9–11


Gen. xxxvii. 33

A Lie is Not Allowable, Even to Save Another from Injury.

Chapter 22.—A Lie is Not Allowable, Even to Save Another from Injury. But every lie must be called a sin, because not only when a man knows the truth, but even when, as a man may be, he is mistaken and deceived, it is his duty to say what he thinks in his heart, whether it be true, or whether he only think it to be true. But every liar says the opposite of what he thinks in his heart, with purpose to deceive. Now it is evident that speech was given to man, not that men might therewith deceive one another, but that one man might make known his thoughts to another. To use speech, then, for the purpose of deception, and not for its appointed end, is a sin. Nor are we to suppose that there is any lie that is not a sin, because it is sometimes possible, by telling a lie, to do service to another. For it is possible to do this by theft also, as when we steal from a rich man who never feels the loss, to give to a poor man who is sensibly benefited by what he gets. And the same can be said of adultery also, when, for instance, some woman appears likely to die of love unless we consent to her wishes, while if she lived she might purify herself by repentance; but yet no one will assert that on this account such an adultery is not a sin. And if we justly place so high a value upon chastity, what offense have we taken at truth, that, while no prospect of advantage to another will lead us to violate the former by adultery, we should be ready to violate the latter by lying? It cannot be denied that they have attained a very high standard of goodness who never lie except to save a man from injury; but in the case of men who have reached this standard, it is not the deceit, but their good intention, that is justly praised, and sometimes even rewarded. It is quite enough that the deception should be pardoned, without its being made an object of laudation, especially among the heirs of the new covenant, to whom it is said: “Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”1118 And it is on account of this evil, which never ceases to creep in while we retain this mortal vesture, that the co-heirs of Christ themselves say, “Forgive us our debts.”1119


Matt. v. 37


Matt. vi. 12

Summary of the Results of the Preceding Discussion.

Chapter 23.—Summary of the Results of the Preceding Discussion. As it is right that we should know the causes of good and evil, so much of them at least as will suffice for the way that leads us to the kingdom, where there will be life without the shadow of death, truth without any alloy of error, and happiness unbroken by any sorrow, I have discussed these subjects with the brevity which my limited space demanded. And I think there cannot now be any doubt, that the only cause of any good that we enjoy is the goodness of God, and that the only cause of evil is the falling away from the unchangeable good of a being made good but changeable, first in the case of an angel, and afterwards in the case of man.

The Secondary Causes of Evil are Ignorance and Lust.

Chapter 24.—The Secondary Causes of Evil are Ignorance and Lust. This is the first evil that befell the intelligent creation—that is, its first privation of good. Following upon this crept in, and now even in opposition to man’s will, ignoranceof duty, and lustafter what is hurtful: and these brought in their train errorand suffering, which, when they are felt to be imminent, produce that shrinking of the mind which is called fear. Further, when the mind attains the objects of its desire, however hurtful or empty they may be, error prevents it from perceiving their true nature, or its perceptions are overborne by a diseased appetite, and so it is puffed up with a foolish joy. From these fountains of evil, which spring out of defect rather than superfluity, flows every form of misery that besets a rational nature. 246

God’s Judgments Upon Fallen Men and Angels. The Death of the Body is Man’s…

Chapter 25.—God’s Judgments Upon Fallen Men and Angels. The Death of the Body is Man’s Peculiar Punishment. And yet such a nature, in the midst of all its evils, could not lose the craving after happiness. Now the evils I have mentioned are common to all who for their wickedness have been justly condemned by God, whether they be men or angels. But there is one form of punishment peculiar to man—the death of the body. God had threatened him with this punishment of death if he should sin, 1120 leaving him indeed to the freedom of his own will, but yet commanding his obedience under pain of death; and He placed him amid the happiness of Eden, as it were in a protected nook of life, with the intention that, if he preserved his righteousness, he should thence ascend to a better place.


Gen. ii. 17

Through Adam’s Sin His Whole Posterity Were Corrupted, and Were Born Under…

Chapter 26.—Through Adam’s Sin His Whole Posterity Were Corrupted, and Were Born Under the Penalty of Death, Which He Had Incurred. Thence, after his sin, he was driven into exile, and by his sin the whole race of which he was the root was corrupted in him, and thereby subjected to the penalty of death. And so it happens that all descended from him, and from the woman who had led him into sin, and was condemned at the same time with him,—being the offspring of carnal lust on which the same punishment of disobedience was visited,—were tainted with the original sin, and were by it drawn through divers errors and sufferings into that last and endless punishment which they suffer in common with the fallen angels, their corrupters and masters, and the partakers of their doom. And thus “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” 1121 By “the world” the apostle, of course, means in this place the whole human race.


Rom. v. 12

The State of Misery to Which Adam’s Sin Reduced Mankind, and the Restoration…

Chapter 27.—The State of Misery to Which Adam’s Sin Reduced Mankind, and the Restoration Effected Through the Mercy of God. Thus, then, matters stood. The whole mass of the human race was under condemnation, was lying steeped and wallowing in misery, and was being tossed from one form of evil to another, and, having joined the faction of the fallen angels, was paying the well-merited penalty of that impious rebellion. For whatever the wicked freely do through blind and unbridled lust, and whatever they suffer against their will in the way of open punishment, this all evidently pertains to the just wrath of God. But the goodness of the Creator never fails either to supply life and vital power to the wicked angels (without which their existence would soon come to an end); or, in the case of mankind, who spring from a condemned and corrupt stock, to impart form and life to their seed, to fashion their members, and through the various seasons of their life, and in the different parts of the earth, to quicken their senses, and bestow upon them the nourishment they need. For He judged it better to bring good out of evil, than not to permit any evil to exist. And if He had determined that in the case of men, as in the case of the fallen angels, there should be no restoration to happiness, would it not have been quite just, that the being who rebelled against God, who in the abuse of his freedom spurned and transgressed the command of his Creator when he could so easily have kept it, who defaced in himself the image of his Creator by stubbornly turning away from His light, who by an evil use of his free-will broke away from his wholesome bondage to the Creator’s laws,—would it not have been just that such a being should have been wholly and to all eternity deserted by God, and left to suffer the everlasting punishment he had so richly earned? Certainly so God would have done, had He been only just and not also merciful, and had He not designed that His unmerited mercy should shine forth the more brightly in contrast with the unworthiness of its objects.

When the Rebellious Angels Were Cast Out, the Rest Remained in the Enjoyment‌

Chapter 28.—When the Rebellious Angels Were Cast Out, the Rest Remained in the Enjoyment of Eternal Happiness with God. Whilst some of the angels, then, in their pride and impiety rebelled against God, and were cast down from their heavenly abode into the lowest darkness, the remaining number dwelt with God in eternal and unchanging purity and happiness. For all were not sprung from one angel who had fallen and been condemned, so that they were not all, like men, involved by one original sin in the bonds of an inherited guilt, and so made subject to the penalty which one had incurred; but when he, who afterwards became the devil, was with his associates in crime exalted in pride, and by that very exaltation was with them cast down, the rest remained steadfast in piety and obedience to their Lord, and obtained, what before they had not enjoyed, a sure and certain knowledge of their eternal safety, and freedom from the possibility of falling. 247

The Restored Part of Humanity Shall, in Accordance with the Promises of‌

Chapter 29.—The Restored Part of Humanity Shall, in Accordance with the Promises of God, Succeed to the Place Which the Rebellious Angels Lost. And so it pleased God, the Creator and Governor of the universe, that, since the whole body of the angels had not fallen into rebellion, the part of them which had fallen should remain in perdition eternally, and that the other part, which had in the rebellion remained steadfastly loyal, should rejoice in the sure and certain knowledge of their eternal happiness; but that, on the other hand, mankind, who constituted the remainder of the intelligent creation, having perished without exception under sin, both original and actual, and the consequent punishments, should be in part restored, and should fill up the gap which the rebellion and fall of the devils had left in the company of the angels. For this is the promise to the saints, that at the resurrection they shall be equal to the angels of God.1122 And thus the Jerusalem which is above, which is the mother of us all, the city of God, shall not be spoiled of any of the number of her citizens, shall perhaps reign over even a more abundant population. We do not know the number either of the saints or of the devils; but we know that the children of the holy mother who was called barren on earth shall succeed to the place of the fallen angels, and shall dwell for ever in that peaceful abode from which they fell. But the number of the citizens, whether as it now is or as it shall be, is present to the thoughts of the great Creator, who calls those things which are not as though they were,1123 and ordereth all things in measure, and number, and weight.1124


Luke xx. 36


Rom. iv. 17


Wisd. xi. 20

Men are Not Saved by Good Works, Nor by the Free Determination of Their…

Chapter 30.—Men are Not Saved by Good Works, Nor by the Free Determination of Their Own Will, But by the Grace of God Through Faith. But this part of the human race to which God has promised pardon and a share in His eternal kingdom, can they be restored through the merit of their own works? God forbid. For what good work can a lost man perform, except so far as he has been delivered from perdition? Can they do anything by the free determination of their own will? Again I say, God forbid. For it was by the evil use of his free-will that man destroyed both it and himself. For, as a man who kills himself must, of course, be alive when he kills himself, but after he has killed himself ceases to live, and cannot restore himself to life; so, when man by his own free-will sinned, then sin being victorious over him, the freedom of his will was lost. “For 1125 of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” This is the judgment of the Apostle Peter. And as it is certainly true, what kind of liberty, I ask, can the bondslave possess, except when it pleases him to sin? For he is freely in bondage who does with pleasure the will of his master. Accordingly, he who is the servant of sin is free to sin. And hence he will not be free to do right, until, being freed from sin, he shall begin to be the servant of righteousness. And this is true liberty, for he has pleasure in the righteous deed; and it is at the same time a holy bondage, for he is obedient to the will of God. But whence comes this liberty to do right to the man who is in bondage and sold under sin, except he be redeemed by Him who has said, “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed?”1126 And before this redemption is wrought in a man, when he is not yet free to do what is right, how can he talk of the freedom of his will and his good works, except he be inflated by that foolish pride of boasting which the apostle restrains when he says, “By grace are ye saved, through faith.”1127


2 Pet. ii. 19


John viii. 36


Eph. ii. 8

Faith Itself is the Gift of God; And Good Works Will Not Be Wanting in Those…

Chapter 31.—Faith Itself is the Gift of God; And Good Works Will Not Be Wanting in Those Who Believe. And lest men should arrogate to themselves the merit of their own faith at least, not understanding that this too is the gift of God, this same apostle, who says in another place 1128 248that he had “obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful,” here also adds: “and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” 1129 And lest it should be thought that good works will be wanting in those who believe, he adds further: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”1130 We shall be made truly free, then, when God fashions us, that is, forms and creates us anew, not as men—for He has done that already—but as good men, which His grace is now doing, that we may be a new creation in Christ Jesus, according as it is said: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” 1131 For God had already created his heart, so far as the physical structure of the human heart is concerned; but the psalmist prays for the renewal of the life which was still lingering in his heart.


1 Cor. vii. 25


Eph. ii. 8, 9


Eph. ii. 10


Ps. li. 10

The Freedom of the Will is Also the Gift of God, for God Worketh in Us Both…

Chapter 32.—The Freedom of the Will is Also the Gift of God, for God Worketh in Us Both to Will and to Do. And further, should any one be inclined to boast, not indeed of his works, but of the freedom of his will, as if the first merit belonged to him, this very liberty of good action being given to him as a reward he had earned, let him listen to this same preacher of grace, when he says: “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure;”1132 and in another place: “So, then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”1133 Now as, undoubtedly, if a man is of the age to use his reason, he cannot believe, hope, love, unless he will to do so, nor obtain the prize of the high calling of God unless he voluntarily run for it; in what sense is it “not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy,” except that, as it is written, “the preparation of the heart is from the Lord?”1134 Otherwise, if it is said, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy,” because it is of both, that is, both of the will of man and of the mercy of God, so that we are to understand the saying, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy,” as if it meant the will of man alone is not sufficient, if the mercy of God go not with it,—then it will follow that the mercy of God alone is not sufficient, if the will of man go not with it; and therefore, if we may rightly say, “it is not of man that willeth, but of God that showeth mercy,” because the will of man by itself is not enough, why may we not also rightly put it in the converse way: “It is not of God that showeth mercy, but of man that willeth,” because the mercy of God by itself does not suffice? Surely, if no Christian will dare to say this, “It is not of God that showeth mercy, but of man that willeth,” lest he should openly contradict the apostle, it follows that the true interpretation of the saying, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy,” is that the whole work belongs to God, who both makes the will of man righteous, and thus prepares it for assistance, and assists it when it is prepared. For the man’s righteousness of will precedes many of God’s gifts, but not all; and it must itself be included among those which it does not precede. We 1135 read in Holy Scripture, both that God’s mercy “shall meet me,” and that His mercy “shall 1136 follow me.” It goes before the unwilling to make him willing; it follows the willing to make his will effectual. Why are we taught to pray for our enemies, 1137 who are plainly unwilling to lead a holy life, unless that God may work willingness in them? And why are 1132

Phil. ii. 13


Rom. ix. 16


Prov. xvi. 1


Ps. lix. 10


Ps. xxiii. 6


Matt. v. 44

The Freedom of the Will is Also the Gift of God, for God Worketh in Us Both‌ we ourselves taught to ask that we may receive, 1138 unless that He who has created in us the wish, may Himself satisfy the wish? We pray, then, for our enemies, that the mercy of God may prevent them, as it has prevented us: we pray for ourselves that His mercy may follow us.


Matt. vii. 7


Men, Being by Nature the Children of Wrath, Needed a Mediator. In What Sense…

Chapter 33.—Men, Being by Nature the Children of Wrath, Needed a Mediator. In What Sense God is Said to Be Angry. And so the human race was lying under a just condemnation, and all men were the children of wrath. Of which wrath it is written: “All our days are passed away in Thy wrath; we spend our years as a tale that is told.” 1139 Of which wrath also Job says: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”1140 Of which wrath also the Lord Jesus says: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” 1141 He does not say it will come, but it “abideth on him.” For every man is born with it; wherefore the apostle says: “We were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” 1142 Now, as men were lying under this 249wrath by reason of their original sin, and as this original sin was the more heavy and deadly in proportion to the number and magnitude of the actual sins which were added to it, there was need for a Mediator, that is, for a reconciler, who, by the offering of one sacrifice, of which all the sacrifices of the law and the prophets were types, should take away this wrath. Wherefore the apostle says: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”1143 Now when God is said to be angry, we do not attribute to Him such a disturbed feeling as exists in the mind of an angry man; but we call His just displeasure against sin by the name “anger,” a word transferred by analogy from human emotions. But our being reconciled to God through a Mediator, and receiving the Holy Spirit, so that we who were enemies are made 1144 sons (“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” ): this is the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Ps. xc. 9


Job xiv.1


John iii. 36. These words, attributed by the author to Christ, were really spoken by John the Baptist.


Eph. ii. 3


Rom. v. 10


Rom. viii. 14

The Ineffable Mystery of the Birth of Christ the Mediator Through the Virgin…

Chapter 34.—The Ineffable Mystery of the Birth of Christ the Mediator Through the Virgin Mary. Now of this Mediator it would occupy too much space to say anything at all worthy of Him; and, indeed, to say what is worthy of Him is not in the power of man. For who will explain in consistent words this single statement, that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,”1145 so that we may believe on the only Son of God the Father Almighty, born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary. The meaning of the Word being made flesh, is not that the divine nature was changed into flesh, but that the divine nature assumed our flesh. And by “flesh” we are here to understand “man,” the part being put for the whole, as when it is said: “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified,” 1146 that is, no man. For we must believe that no part was wanting in that human nature which He put on, save that it was a nature wholly free from every taint of sin,—not such a nature as is conceived between the two sexes through carnal lust, which is born in sin, and whose guilt is washed away in regeneration; but such as it behoved a virgin to bring forth, when the mother’s faith, not her lust, was the condition of conception. And if her virginity had been marred even in bringing Him forth, He would not have been born of a virgin; and it would be false (which God forbid) that He was born of the Virgin Mary, as is believed and declared by the whole Church, which, in imitation of His mother, daily brings forth members of His body, and yet remains a virgin. Read, if you please, my letter on the virginity of the holy Mary which 1147 I sent to that eminent man, whose name I mention with respect and affection, Volusianus.


John i. 14 1146 3[1147] Rom. iii. 20 1147

Ep. 137.

Jesus Christ, Being the Only Son of God, is at the Same Time Man.

Chapter 35.—Jesus Christ, Being the Only Son of God, is at the Same Time Man. Wherefore Christ Jesus, the Son of God, is both God and man; God before all worlds; man in our world: God, because the Word of God (for “the Word was God”1148); and man, because in His one person the Word was joined with a body and a rational soul. Wherefore, so far as He is God, He and the Father are one; so far as He is man, the Father is greater than He. For when He was the only Son of God, not by grace, but by nature, that He might be also full of grace, He became the Son of man; and He Himself unites both natures in His own identity, and both natures constitute one Christ; because, “being in the form of God, He thought it not robbery to be,” what He was by nature, “equal with God.” 1149 But He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, not losing or lessening the form of God. And, accordingly, He was both made less and remained equal, being both in one, as has been said: but He was one of these as Word, and the other as man. As Word, He is equal with the Father; as man, less than the Father. One Son of God, and at the same time Son of man; one Son of man, and at the same time Son of God; not two Sons of God, God and man, but one Son of God: God without beginning; man with a beginning, our Lord Jesus Christ.


John i. 1


Phil. ii. 6

The Grace of God is Clearly and Remarkably Displayed in Raising the Man…

Chapter 36.—The Grace of God is Clearly and Remarkably Displayed in Raising the Man Christ Jesus to the Dignity of the Son of God. Now here the grace of God is displayed with the greatest power and clearness. For what merit had the human nature in the man Christ earned, that it should in this unparalleled way be taken up into the unity of the person of the only Son of God? What goodness of will, what goodness of desire and intention, what good works, had gone before, which made this man worthy to become one person with God? Had He been a man previously to this, and had He earned this unprecedented reward, that He should be thought worthy to become 250God? Assuredly nay; from the very moment that He began to be man, He was nothing else than the Son of God, the only Son of God, the Word who was made flesh, and therefore He was God so that just as each individual man unites in one person a body and a rational soul, so Christ in one person unites the Word and man. Now wherefore was this unheard of glory conferred on human nature,—a glory which, as there was no antecedent merit, was of course wholly of grace,—except that here those who looked at the matter soberly and honestly might behold a clear manifestation of the power of God’s free grace, and might understand that they are justified from their sins by the same grace which made the man Christ Jesus free from the possibility of sin? And so the angel, when he announced to Christ’s mother the coming birth, saluted her thus: “Hail, thou that art full of grace;”1150 and shortly afterwards, “Thou hast found grace with God.”1151 Now she was said to be full of grace, and to have found grace with God, because she was to be the mother of her Lord, nay, of the Lord of all flesh. But, speaking of Christ Himself, the evangelist John, after saying, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” adds, “and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” 1152 When he says, “The Word was made flesh,” this is “full of grace;” when he says, “the glory of the only-begotten of the Father,” this is “full of truth.” For the Truth Himself, who was the only-begotten of the Father, not by grace, but by nature, by grace took our humanity upon Him, and so united it with His own person that He Himself became also the Son of man.


Luke i. 28(“thou that are highly favored,” A.V.).


Luke i. 30(“Thou hast found favorwith God,” A.V.).


John i. 14

The Same Grace is Further Clearly Manifested in This, that the Birth of…

Chapter 37.—The Same Grace is Further Clearly Manifested in This, that the Birth of Christ According to the Flesh is of the Holy Ghost. For the same Jesus Christ who is the only-begotten, that is, the only Son of God, our Lord, was born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary. And we know that the Holy Spirit is the gift of God, the gift being Himself indeed equal to the Giver. And therefore the Holy Spirit also is God, not inferior to the Father and the Son. The fact, therefore, that the nativity of Christ in His human nature was by the Holy Spirit, is another clear manifestation of grace. For when the Virgin asked the angel how this which he had announced should be, seeing she knew not a man, the angel answered, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” 1153 And when Joseph was minded to put her away, suspecting her of adultery, as he knew she was not with child by himself, he was told by the angel, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost:”1154 that is, what thou suspectest to be begotten of another man is of the Holy Ghost.


Luke i. 35


Matt. i. 20

Jesus Christ, According to the Flesh, Was Not Born of the Holy Spirit in…

Chapter 38.—Jesus Christ, According to the Flesh, Was Not Born of the Holy Spirit in Such a Sense that the Holy Spirit is His Father. Nevertheless, are we on this account to say that the Holy Ghost is the father of the man Christ, and that as God the Father begat the Word, so God the Holy Spirit begat the man, and that these two natures constitute the one Christ; and that as the Word He is the Son of God the Father, and as man the Son of God the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit as His father begat Him of the Virgin Mary? Who will dare to say so? Nor is it necessary to show by reasoning how many other absurdities flow from this supposition, when it is itself so absurd that no believer’s ears can bear to hear it. Hence, as we confess, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, who of God is God, and as man was born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, having both natures, the divine and the human, is the only Son of God the Father Almighty, from whom proceedeth the Holy Spirit.”1155 Now in what sense do we say that Christ was born of the Holy Spirit, if the Holy Spirit did not beget Him? Is it that He made Him, since our Lord Jesus Christ, though as God “all things were made by Him,” 1156 yet as man was Himself made; as the apostle says, “who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh?”1157 But as that created thing which the Virgin conceived and brought forth though it was united only to the person of the Son, was made by the whole Trinity (for the works of the Trinity are not separable), why should the Holy Spirit alone be mentioned as having made it? Or is it that, when one of the Three is mentioned as the author of any work, the whole Trinity is to be understood as working? That is true, and can be proved by examples. 251But we need not dwell longer on this solution. For the puzzle is, in what sense it is said, “born of the Holy Ghost,” when He is in no sense the Son of the Holy Ghost? For though God made this world, it would not be right to say that it is the Son of God, or that it was born of God; we would say that it was created, or made, or framed, or ordered by Him, or whatever form of expression we can properly use. Here, then, when we make confession that Christ was born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, it is difficult to explain how it is that He is not the Son of the Holy Ghost and is the Son of the Virgin Mary, when He was born both of Him and of her. It is clear beyond a doubt that He was not born of the Holy Spirit as His father, in the same sense that He was born of the Virgin as His mother.


A quotation from a form of the Apostles’ Creed anciently in use in the Latin Church.


John i. 3


Rom. i. 3

Not Everything that is Born of Another is to Be Called a Son of that Ot‌

Chapter 39.—Not Everything that is Born of Another is to Be Called a Son of that Other. We need not therefore take for granted, that whatever is born of a thing is forthwith to be declared the son of that thing. For, to pass over the fact that a son is born of a man in a different sense from that in which a hair or a louse is born of him, neither of these being a son; to pass over this, I say, as too mean an illustration for a subject of so much importance: it is certain that those who are born of water and of the Holy Spirit cannot with propriety be called sons of the water though they are called sons of God the Father, and of the Church their mother. In the same way, then, He who was born of the Holy Spirit is the Son of God the Father, not of the Holy Spirit. For what I have said of the hair and the other things is sufficient to show us that not everything which is born of another can be called the son of that of which it is born, just as it does not follow that all who are called a man’s sons were born of him, for some sons are adopted. And some men are called sons of hell, not as being born of hell, but as prepared for it, as the sons of the kingdom are prepared for the kingdom.

Christ’s Birth Through the Holy Spirit Manifests to Us the Grace of God

Chapter 40.—Christ’s Birth Through the Holy Spirit Manifests to Us the Grace of God. And, therefore, as one thing may be born of another, and yet not in such a way as to be its son, and as not every one who is called a son was born of him whose son he is called, it is clear that this arrangement by which Christ was born of the Holy Spirit, but not as His son, and of the Virgin Mary as her son, is intended as a manifestation of the grace of God. For it was by this grace that a man, without any antecedent merit, was at the very commencement of His existence as man, so united in one person with the Word of God, that the very person who was Son of man was at the same time Son of God, and the very person who was Son of God was at the same time Son of man; and in the adoption of His human nature into the divine, the grace itself became in a way so natural to the man, as to leave no room for the entrance of sin. Wherefore this grace is signified by the Holy Spirit; for He, though in His own nature God, may also be called the gift of God. And to explain all this sufficiently, if indeed it could be done at all, would require a very lengthened discussion.

Christ, Who Was Himself Free from Sin, Was Made Sin for Us, that We Might…

Chapter 41.—Christ, Who Was Himself Free from Sin, Was Made Sin for Us, that We Might Be Reconciled to God. Begotten and conceived, then, without any indulgence of carnal lust, and therefore bringing with Him no original sin, and by the grace of God joined and united in a wonderful and unspeakable way in one person with the Word, the Only-begotten of the Father, a son by nature, not by grace, and therefore having no sin of His own; nevertheless, on account of the likeness of sinful flesh in which He came, He was called sin, that He might be sacrificed to wash away sin. For, under the Old Covenant, sacrifices for sin were called sins.1158 And He, of whom all these sacrifices were types and shadows, was Himself truly made sin. Hence the apostle, after saying, “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God,” forthwith adds: “for He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”1159 He does not say, as some incorrect copies read, “He who knew no sin did sin for us,” as if Christ had Himself sinned for our sakes; but he says, “Him who knew no sin,” that is, Christ, God, to whom we are to be reconciled, “hath made to be sin for us,” that is, hath made Him a sacrifice for our sins, by which we might be reconciled to God. He, then, being made sin, just as we are made righteousness (our righteousness being not our own, but God’s, not in ourselves, but in Him); He being made sin, not His own, but ours, not in Himself, but in us, showed, by the likeness of sinful flesh in which He was crucified, that though sin was not in Him, yet that in a certain sense He died to sin, by dying in the flesh which was the likeness of sin; and that although He Himself had never lived the 252old life of sin, yet by His resurrection He typified our new life springing up out of the old death in sin.


Hos. iv. 8


2 Cor. v. 20, 21

The Sacrament of Baptism Indicates Our Death with Christ to Sin, and Our‌

Chapter 42.—The Sacrament of Baptism Indicates Our Death with Christ to Sin, and Our Resurrection with Him to Newness of Life. And this is the meaning of the great sacrament of baptism which is solemnized among us, that all who attain to this grace should die to sin, as He is said to have died to sin, because He died in the flesh, which is the likeness of sin; and rising from the font regenerate, as He arose alive from the grave, should begin a new life in the Spirit, whatever may be the age of the body?

Baptism and the Grace Which It Typifies are Open to All, Both Infants and‌

Chapter 43.—Baptism and the Grace Which It Typifies are Open to All, Both Infants and Adults. For from the infant newly born to the old man bent with age, as there is none shut out from baptism, so there is none who in baptism does not die to sin. But infants die only to original sin; those who are older die also to all the sins which their evil lives have added to the sin which they brought with them.

In Speaking of Sin, the Singular Number is Often Put for the Plural, and…

Chapter 44.—In Speaking of Sin, the Singular Number is Often Put for the Plural, and the Plural for the Singular. But even these latter are frequently said to die to sin, though undoubtedly they die not to one sin, but to all the numerous actual sins they have committed in thought, word, or deed: for the singular number is often put for the plural, as when the poet says, “They fill its belly with the armed soldier,” 1160 though in the case here referred to there were many soldiers concerned. And we read in our own Scriptures: “Pray to the Lord, that He take away the serpent from us.” 1161 He does not say serpentsthough the people were suffering from many; and so in other cases. When, on the other hand, the original sin is expressed in the plural number, as when we say that infants are baptized for the remission of sins, instead of saying for the remission of sin, this is the converse figure of speech, by which the plural number is put in place of the singular; as in the Gospel it is said of the death of Herod, “for they are dead which sought the young child’s life,”1162 instead of saying, “he is dead.” And in Exodus: “They have made them,” Moses says, “gods of gold,”1163 though they had made only one calf, of which they said: “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,”1164—here, too, putting the plural in place of the singular.


“Uterumque armato milite complent.”.—Virgil, Æn. ii. 20.


Num. xxi. 7(“serpents,” A. and R.V.).


Matt. ii. 20


Ex. xxxii. 31


Ex. xxxii. 4

In Adam’s First Sin, Many Kinds of Sin Were Involved.

Chapter 45.—In Adam’s First Sin, Many Kinds of Sin Were Involved. However, even in that one sin, which “by one man entered into the world, and so passed upon all men,”1165 and on account of which infants are baptized, a number of distinct sins may be observed, if it be analyzed as it were into its separate elements. For there is in it pride, because man chose to be under his own dominion, rather than under the dominion of God; and blasphemy, because he did not believe God; and murder, for he brought death upon himself; and spiritual fornication, for the purity of the human soul was corrupted by the seducing blandishments of the serpent; and theft, for man turned to his own use the food he had been forbidden to touch; and avarice, for he had a craving for more than should have been sufficient for him; and whatever other sin can be discovered on careful reflection to be involved in this one admitted sin.


Rom. v. 12

It is Probable that Children are Involved in the Guilt Not Only of the First…

Chapter 46.—It is Probable that Children are Involved in the Guilt Not Only of the First Pair, But of Their Own Immediate Parents. And it is said, with much appearance of probability, that infants are involved in the guilt of the sins not only of the first pair, but of their own immediate parents. For that divine judgment, “I shall visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children,”1166 certainly applies to them before they come under the new covenant by regeneration. And it was this new covenant that was prophesied of, when it was said by Ezekiel, that the sons should not bear the iniquity of the fathers, and that it should no longer be a proverb in Israel, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”1167 Here lies the necessity that each man should be born again, that he might be freed from the sin in which he was born. For the sins committed afterwards can be cured by penitence, as we see is the case after baptism. And therefore the new birth would not have been appointed only that the first birth was sinful, so sinful that even one who was legitimately born in wedlock says: “I 1168 253was shapen in iniquities, and in sins did my mother conceive me.” He did not say in iniquity, or in sin, though he might have said so correctly; but he preferred to say “iniquities” and “sins,” because in that one sin which passed upon all men, and which was so great that human nature was by it made subject to inevitable death, many sins, as I showed above, may be discriminated; and further, because there are other sins of the immediate parents, which though they have not the same effect in producing a change of nature, yet subject the children to guilt unless the divine grace and mercy interpose to rescue them.


Ex. xx. 5; Deut. v. 9


Ezek. xviii. 2


Ps. li. 5(The A.V. has the singular, “iniquity” and “sin”).

It is Difficult to Decide Whether the Sins of a Man’s Other Progenitors…

Chapter 47.—It is Difficult to Decide Whether the Sins of a Man’s Other Progenitors are Imputed to Him. But about the sins of the other progenitors who intervene between Adam and a man’s own parents, a question may very well be raised. Whether every one who is born is involved in all their accumulated evil acts, in all their multiplied original guilt, so that the later he is born, so much the worse is his condition; or whether God threatens to visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations, because in His mercy He does not extend His wrath against the sins of the progenitors further than that, lest those who do not obtain the grace of regeneration might be crushed down under too heavy a burden if they were compelled to bear as original guilt all the sins of all their progenitors from the very beginning of the human race, and to pay the penalty due to them; or whether any other solution of this great question may or may not be found in Scripture by a more diligent search and a more careful interpretation, I dare not rashly affirm.

The Guilt of the First Sin is So Great that It Can Be Washed Away Only in‌

Chapter 48.—The Guilt of the First Sin is So Great that It Can Be Washed Away Only in the Blood of the Mediator, Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, that one sin, admitted into a place where such perfect happiness reigned, was of so heinous a character, that in one man the whole human race was originally, and as one may say, radically, condemned; and it cannot be pardoned and blotted out except through the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who only has had power to be so born as not to need a second birth.

Christ Was Not Regenerated in the Baptism of John, But Submitted to It to…

Chapter 49.—Christ Was Not Regenerated in the Baptism of John, But Submitted to It to Give Us an Example of Humility, Just as He Submitted to Death, Not as the Punishment of Sin, But to Take Away the Sin of the World. Now, those who were baptized in the baptism of John, by whom Christ was Himself baptized,1169 were not regenerated; but they were prepared through the ministry of His forerunner, who cried, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord,” 1170 for Him in whom only they could be regenerated. For His baptism is not with water only, as was that of John, but with the Holy Ghost also;1171 so that whoever believes in Christ is regenerated by that Spirit, of whom Christ being generated, He did not need regeneration. Whence that announcement 1172 of the Father which was heard after His baptism, “This day have I begotten Thee,” referred not to that one day of time on which He was baptized, but to the one day of an unchangeable eternity, so as to show that this man was one in person with the Only-begotten. For when a day neither begins with the close of yesterday, nor ends with the beginning of to-morrow, it is an eternal to-day. Therefore He asked to be baptized in water by John, not that any iniquity of His might be washed away, but that He might manifest the depth of His humility. For baptism found in Him nothing to wash away, as death found in Him nothing to punish; so that it was in the strictest justice, and not by the mere violence of power, that the devil was crushed and conquered: for, as he had most unjustly put Christ to death, though there was no sin in Him to deserve death, it was most just that through Christ he should lose his hold of those who by sin were justly subject to the bondage in which he held them. Both of these, then, that is, both baptism and death, were submitted to by Him, not through a pitiable necessity, but of His own free pity for us, and as part of an arrangement by which, as one man brought sin into the world, that is, upon the whole human race, so one man was to take away the sin of the world.


Matt. iii. 13–15


Matt. iii. 3


Matt. iii. 11


Ps. ii. 7; Heb. i. 5, v. 5. It is by a mistake that Augustin quotes these words as pronounced at our Lord’s


Christ Took Away Not Only the One Original Sin, But All the Other Sins that…

Chapter 50.—Christ Took Away Not Only the One Original Sin, But All the Other Sins that Have Been Added to It. With this difference: the first man brought one sin into the world, but this man took 254away not only that one sin, but all that He found added to it. Hence the apostle says: “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification.”1173 For it is evident that the one sin which we bring with us by nature would, even if it stood alone, bring us under condemnation; but the free gift justifies man from many offenses: for each man, in addition to the one sin which, in common with all his kind, he brings with him by nature, has committed many sins that are strictly his own.


Rom. v. 16

All Men Born of Adam are Under Condemnation, and Only If New Born in Christ…

Chapter 51.—All Men Born of Adam are Under Condemnation, and Only If New Born in Christ are Freed from Condemnation. But what he says a little after, “Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life,”1174 shows clearly enough that there is no one born of Adam but is subject to condemnation, and that no one, unless he be new born in Christ, is freed from condemnation.


Rom. v. 18

In Baptism, Which is the Similitude of the Death and Resurrection of Christ,…

Chapter 52.—In Baptism, Which is the Similitude of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, All, Both Infants and Adults, Die to Sin that They May Walk in Newness of Life. And after he has said as much about the condemnation through one man, and the free gift through one man, as he deemed sufficient for that part of his epistle, the apostle goes on to speak of the great mystery of holy baptism in the cross of Christ, and to clearly explain to us that baptism in Christ is nothing else than a similitude of the death of Christ, and that the death of Christ on the cross is nothing but a similitude of the pardon of sin: so that just as real as is His death, so real is the remission of our sins; and just as real as is His resurrection, so real is our justification. He says: “What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” 1175 For he had said previously, “But where sin, abounded, grace did much more abound.” 1176 And therefore he proposes to himself the question, whether it would be right to continue in sin for the sake of the consequent abounding grace. But he answers, “God forbid;” and adds, “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Then, to show that we are dead to sin, “Know ye not,” he says, “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?” If, then, the fact that we were baptized into the death of Christ proves that we are dead to sin, it follows that even infants who are baptized into Christ die to sin, being baptized into His death. For there is no exception made: “So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death.” And this is said to prove that we are dead to sin. Now, to what sin do infants die in their regeneration but that sin which they bring with them at birth? And therefore to these also applies what follows: “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now he had commenced with proving that we must not continue in sin that grace may abound, and had said: “How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?” And to show that we are dead to sin, he added: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?” And so he concludes this whole passage just as he began it. For he has 1175

Rom. vi. 1


Rom. v. 20

In Baptism, Which is the Similitude of the Death and Resurrection of Christ,…

brought in the death of Christ in such a way as to imply that Christ Himself also died to sin. To what sin did He die if not to the flesh, in which there was not sin, but the likeness of sin, and which was therefore called by the name of sin? To those who are baptized into the death of Christ, then,—and this class includes not adults only, but infants as well,—he says: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”1177


Rom. vi. 1–11


Christ’s Cross and Burial, Resurrection, Ascension, and Sitting Down at…

Chapter 53.—Christ’s Cross and Burial, Resurrection, Ascension, and Sitting Down at the Right Hand of God, are Images of the Christian Life. All the events, then, of Christ’s crucifixion, of His burial, of His resurrection the third day, of His ascension into heaven, of His sitting down at the right hand of the Father, were so ordered, that the life which the Christian leads here might be modelled upon them, not merely in a mystical sense, but in reality. For in reference to His crucifixion it is said: “They 1178 that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.” And in reference 1179 to His burial: “We are buried with Him by baptism into death.” In reference to His resurrection: “That, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” 1180 And in reference to His ascension into heaven and sitting down at the right hand of the Father: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”1181 255


Gal. v. 24


Rom. vi. 4


Rom. vi. 5


Col. iii. 1–3

Christ’s Second Coming Does Not Belong to the Past, But Will Take Place…

Chapter 54.—Christ’s Second Coming Does Not Belong to the Past, But Will Take Place at the End of the World. But what we believe as to Christ’s action in the future, when He shall come from heaven to judge the quick and the dead, has no bearing upon the life which we now lead here; for it forms no part of what He did upon earth, but is part of what He shall do at the end of the world. And it is to this that the apostle refers in what immediately follows the passage quoted above: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”1182


Col. iii. 4

The Expression, ‘Christ Shall Judge the Quick and the Dead,’ May Be Understood…

Chapter 55.—The Expression, “Christ Shall Judge the Quick and the Dead,” May Be Understood in Either of Two Senses. Now the expression, “to judge the quick and the dead,” may be interpreted in two ways: either we may understand by the “quick” those who at His advent shall not yet have died, but whom He shall find alive in the flesh, and by the “dead” those who have departed from the body, or who shall have departed before His coming; or we may understand the “quick” to mean the righteous, and the “dead” the unrighteous; for the righteous shall be judged as well as others. Now the judgment of God is sometimes taken in a bad sense, as, for example, “They that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment;” 1183 sometimes in a good sense, as, “Save me, O God, by Thy name, and judge me by Thy strength.”1184 This is easily understood when we consider that it is the judgment of God which separates the good from the evil, and sets the good at His right hand, that they may be delivered from evil, and not destroyed with the wicked; and it is for this reason that the Psalmist cried, “Judge me, O God,” and then added, as if in explanation, “and distinguish my cause from that of an ungodly nation.”1185


John v. 29(damnation, A.V.)


Ps. liv. 1


Ps. xliii. 1(“Plead my cause against an ungodly nation,” A.V.).

The Holy Spirit and the Church. The Church is the Temple of God.

Chapter 56.—The Holy Spirit and the Church. The Church is the Temple of God. And now, having spoken of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, our Lord, with the brevity suitable to a confession of our faith, we go on to say that we believe also in the Holy Ghost,—thus completing the Trinity which constitutes the Godhead. Then we mention the Holy Church. And thus we are made to understand that the intelligent creation, which constitutes the free Jerusalem, 1186 ought to be subordinate in the order of speech to the Creator, the Supreme Trinity: for all that is said of the man Christ Jesus has reference, of course, to the unity of the person of the Only-begotten. Therefore the true order of the Creed demanded that the Church should be made subordinate to the Trinity, as the house to Him who dwells in it, the temple to God who occupies it, and the city to its builder. And we are here to understand the whole Church, not that part of it only which wanders as a stranger on the earth, praising the name of God from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, and singing a new song of deliverance from its old captivity; but that part also which has always from its creation remained steadfast to God in heaven, and has never experienced the misery consequent upon a fall. This part is made up of the holy angels, who enjoy uninterrupted happiness; and (as it is bound to do) it renders assistance to the part which is still wandering among strangers: for these two parts shall be one in the fellowship of eternity, and now they are one in the bonds of love, the whole having been ordained for the worship of the one God. Wherefore, neither the whole Church, nor any part of it, has any desire to be worshipped instead of God, nor to be God to any one who belongs to the temple of God—that temple which is built up of the saints who were created by the uncreated God. 256And therefore the Holy Spirit, if a creature, could not be the Creator, but would be a part of the intelligent creation. He would simply be the highest creature, and therefore would not be mentioned in the Creed before the Church; for He Himself would belong to the Church, to that part of it which is in the heavens. And He would not have a temple, for He Himself would be part of a temple. Now He has a temple, of which the apostle says: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God?”1187 Of which body he says in another place: “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?”1188 How, then, is He not God, seeing that He has a temple? and how can He be less than Christ, whose members are His temple? Nor has He one temple, and God another, seeing that the same apostle says: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?”1189 and adds, as proof of this, “and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.”1190 God,


Gal. iv. 26


1 Cor. vi. 19


1 Cor. vi. 15


1 Cor. iii. 16


1 Cor. iii. 16

The Holy Spirit and the Church. The Church is the Temple of God.

then, dwells in His temple: not the Holy Spirit only, but the Father also, and the Son, who says of His own body, through which He was made Head of the Church upon earth (“that in all things He might have the pre-eminence):”1191 “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 1192 The temple of God, then, that is, of the Supreme Trinity as a whole, is the Holy Church, embracing in its full extent both heaven and earth.


Col. i. 18


John ii. 19


The Condition of the Church in Heaven.

Chapter 57.—The Condition of the Church in Heaven. But of that part of the Church which is in heaven what can we say, except that no wicked one is found in it, and that no one has fallen from it, or shall ever fall from it, since the time that “God spared not the angels that sinned,” as the Apostle Peter writes, “but cast them 1193 down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment?”


2 Pet. ii. 4

We Have No Certain Knowledge of the Organization of the Angelic Society

Chapter 58.—We Have No Certain Knowledge of the Organization of the Angelic Society. Now, what the organization is of that supremely happy society in heaven: what the differences of rank are, which explain the fact that while all are called by the general name angels, as we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews, “but to which of the angels said God at any 1194 time, Sit on my right hand?” (this form of expression being evidently designed to embrace all the angels without exception), we yet find that there are some called archangels; and whether the archangels are the same as those called hosts, so that the expression, “Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts,” 1195 is the same as if it had been said, “Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His archangels;” and what are the various significations of those four names under which the apostle seems to embrace the whole heavenly company without exception, “whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:”1196—let those who are able answer these questions, if they can also prove their answers to be true; but as for me, I confess my ignorance. I am not even certain upon this point: whether the sun, and the moon, and all the stars, do not form part of this same society, though many consider them merely luminous bodies, without either sensation or intelligence.


Heb. i. 13


Ps. cxlviii. 2, [“host,” R.V.].


Col. i. 16

The Bodies Assumed by Angels Raise a Very Difficult, and Not Very Useful,…

Chapter 59.—The Bodies Assumed by Angels Raise a Very Difficult, and Not Very Useful, Subject of Discussion. Further, who will tell with what sort of bodies it was that the angels appeared to men, making themselves not only visible, but tangible; and again, how it is that, not through material bodies, but by spiritual power, they present visions not to the bodily eyes, but to the spiritual eyes of the mind, or speak something not into the ear from without, but from within the soul of the man, they themselves being stationed there too, as it is written in the prophet, “And the angel that spake in me said unto me” 1197 (he does not say, “that spake to me,” but “that spake inme”); or appear to men in sleep, and make communications through dreams, as we read in the Gospel, “Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying”?1198 For these methods of communication seem to imply that the angels have not tangible bodies, and make it a very difficult question to solve how the patriarchs washed their feet, 1199 and how it was that Jacob wrestled with the angel in a way so unmistakeably material. 1200 To ask questions like these, and to make such guesses as we can at the answers, is a useful exercise for the intellect, if the discussion be kept within proper bounds, and if we avoid the error of supposing ourselves to know what we do not know. For what is the necessity for affirming, or denying, or defining with accuracy on these subjects, and others like them, when we may without blame be entirely ignorant of them?


Zech. i. 9(“The angel that talked withme,” A.V.).


Matt. i. 20


Gen. xviii. 4, xix. 2


Gen. xxxii. 24, 25

It is More Necessary to Be Able to Detect the Wiles of Satan When He Transforms‌


Chapter 60.—It is More Necessary to Be Able to Detect the Wiles of Satan When He Transforms Himself into an Angel of Light.

It is more necessary to use all our powers of discrimination and judgment when Satan transforms himself into an angel of light,1201 lest by his wiles he should lead us astray into hurtful courses. For, while he only deceives the bodily senses, and does not pervert the mind from that true and sound judgment which enables a man to lead a life of faith, there is no danger to religion; or if, feigning himself to be good, he does or says the things that befit good angels, and we believe him to be good, the error is not one that is hurtful or dangerous to Christian faith. But when, through these means, which are alien to his nature, he goes on to lead us into courses of his own, then great watchfulness is necessary to detect, and refuse to follow, him. But how many men are fit to evade all his deadly wiles, unless God restrains and watches over them? The very difficulty of the matter, however, is useful in this respect, that it prevents men from trusting in themselves or in one another, and leads all to place their confidence in God alone. And certainly no pious man can doubt that this is most expedient for us.


2 Cor. xi. 14

The Church on Earth Has Been Redeemed from Sin by the Blood of a Mediat…

Chapter 61.—The Church on Earth Has Been Redeemed from Sin by the Blood of a Mediator. This part of the Church, then, which is made up of the holy angels and the hosts of God, shall become known to us in its true nature, when, at the end of the world, we shall be united with it in the common possession of everlasting happiness. But the other part, which, separated from it, wanders as a stranger on the earth, is better known to us, both because we belong to it, and because it is composed of men, and we too are men. This section of the Church has been redeemed from all sin by the blood of a Mediator who had no sin, and its song is: “If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.” 1202 Now it was not for the angels that Christ died. Yet what was done for the redemption of man through His death was in a sense done for the angels, because the enmity which sin had put between men and the holy angels is removed, and friendship is restored between them, and by the redemption of man the gaps which the great apostasy left in the angelic host are filled up.


Rom. viii. 31

By the Sacrifice of Christ All Things are Restored, and Peace is Made Between…

Chapter 62.—By the Sacrifice of Christ All Things are Restored, and Peace is Made Between Earth and Heaven. And, of course, the holy angels, taught by God, in the eternal contemplation of whose truth their happiness consists, know how great a number of the human race are to supplement their ranks, and fill up the full tale of their citizenship. Wherefore the apostle says, that “all things are gathered together in one in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth.”1203 The things which are in heaven are gathered together when what was lost therefrom in the fall of the angels is restored from among men; and the things which are on earth are gathered together, when those who are predestined to eternal life are redeemed from their old corruption. And thus, through that single sacrifice in which the Mediator was offered up, the one sacrifice of which the many victims under the law were types, heavenly things are brought into peace with earthly things, and earthly things with heavenly. Wherefore, as the same apostle says: “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell: and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself: by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”1204


Eph. i. 10


Col. i. 19, 20. [ R.V. “summed up.”].

The Peace of God, Which Reigneth in Heaven, Passeth All Understanding.

Chapter 63.—The Peace of God, Which Reigneth in Heaven, Passeth All Understanding. This peace, as Scripture saith, “passeth all understanding,” 1205 and cannot be known by us until we have come into the full possession of it. For in what sense are heavenly things reconciled, except they be reconciled to us, coming into harmony with us? For in heaven there is unbroken peace, both between all the intelligent creatures that exist there, and between these and their Creator. And this peace, as is said, passeth all understanding; but this, of course, means our understanding, not that of those who always behold the face of their Father. We now, however great may be our human understanding, know but in part, and see through a glass darkly. 1206 But when we shall be equal unto the angels of God1207 then we shall see face to face, as they do; and we shall have as great peace towards them as they have towards us, because we shall love them as much as we are loved by them. And so their peace shall be known to us: for our own peace shall be like to theirs, and as 258great as theirs, nor shall it then pass our understanding. But the peace of God, the peace which He cherisheth towards us, shall undoubtedly pass not our understanding only, but theirs as well. And this must be so: for every rational creature which is happy derives its happiness from Him; He does not derive His from it. And in this view it is better to interpret “all” in the passage, “The peace of God passeth all understanding,” as admitting of no exception even in favor of the understanding of the holy angels: the only exception that can be made is that of God Himself. For, of course, His peace does not pass His own understanding.


Phil. iv. 7


1 Cor. xiii. 12


Luke xx. 36

Pardon of Sin Extends Over the Whole Mortal Life of the Saints, Which, Though…

Chapter 64.—Pardon of Sin Extends Over the Whole Mortal Life of the Saints, Which, Though Free from Crime, is Not Free from Sin. But the angels even now are at peace with us when our sins are pardoned. Hence, in the order of the Creed, after the mention of the Holy Church is placed the remission of sins. For it is by this that the Church on earth stands: it is through this that what had been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again. For, setting aside the grace of baptism, which is given as an antidote to original sin, so that what our birth imposes upon us, our new birth relieves us from (this grace, however, takes away all the actual sins also that have been committed in thought, word, and deed): setting aside, then, this great act of favor, whence commences man’s restoration, and in which all our guilt, both original and actual, is washed away, the rest of our life from the time that we have the use of reason provides constant occasion for the remission of sins, however great may be our advance in righteousness. For the sons of God, as long as they live in this body of death, are in conflict with death. And although it is truly said of them, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,”1208 yet they are led by the Spirit of God, and as the sons of God advance towards God under this drawback, that they are led also by their own spirit, weighted as it is by the corruptible body;1209 and that, as the sons of men, under the influence of human affections, they fall back to their old level, and so sin. There is a difference, however. For although every crime is a sin, every sin is not a crime. And so we say that the life of holy men, as long as they remain in this mortal body, may be found without crime; but, as the Apostle John says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”1210


Rom. viii. 14


Wisd. ix. 15


1 John i. 8

God Pardons Sins, But on Condition of Penitence, Certain Times for Which…

Chapter 65.—God Pardons Sins, But on Condition of Penitence, Certain Times for Which Have Been Fixed by the Law of the Church. But even crimes themselves, however great, may be remitted in the Holy Church; and the mercy of God is never to be despaired of by men who truly repent, each according to the measure of his sin. And in the act of repentance, where a crime has been committed of such a nature as to cut off the sinner from the body of Christ, we are not to take account so much of the measure of time as of the measure of sorrow; for a broken and a contrite heart God doth not despise.1211 But as the grief of one heart is frequently hid from another, and is not made known to others by words or other signs, when it is manifest to Him of whom 1212 it is said, “My groaning is not hid from Thee,” those who govern the Church have rightly appointed times of penitence, that the Church in which the sins are remitted may be satisfied; and outside the Church sins are not remitted. For the Church alone has received the pledge of the Holy Spirit, without which there is no remission of sins—such, at least, as brings the pardoned to eternal life.


Ps. li. 17


Ps. xxxviii. 9

The Pardon of Sin Has Reference Chiefly to the Future Judgment.

Chapter 66.—The Pardon of Sin Has Reference Chiefly to the Future Judgment. Now the pardon of sin has reference chiefly to the future judgment. For, as far as this life is concerned, the saying of Scripture holds good: “A heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam, from the day that they go out of their mother’s womb, till the day that they return to the mother of all things.”1213 So that we see even infants, after baptism and regeneration, suffering from the infliction of divers evils: and thus we are given to understand, that all that is set forth in the sacraments of salvation refers rather to the hope of future good, than to the retaining or attaining of present blessings. For many sins seem in this world to be overlooked and visited with no punishment, whose punishment is reserved for the future (for it is not in vain that the day when Christ shall come as Judge of quick and dead is peculiarly named the day of judgment); just as, on the other hand, many sins are punished in this life, which nevertheless are pardoned, and shall bring down no punishment in the future life. Accordingly, in reference to certain temporal punishments, which in this life are visited 259upon sinners, the apostle, addressing those whose sins are blotted out, and not reserved for the final judgment, says: “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”1214


Ecclus. xl. 1


1 Cor. xi. 31, 32

Faith Without Works is Dead, and Cannot Save a Man.

Chapter 67.—Faith Without Works is Dead, and Cannot Save a Man. It is believed, moreover, by some, that men who do not abandon the name of Christ, and who have been baptized in the Church by His baptism, and who have never been cut off from the Church by any schism or heresy, though they should live in the grossest sin and never either wash it away in penitence nor redeem it by almsgiving, but persevere in it persistently to the last day of their lives, shall be saved by fire; that is, that although they shall suffer a punishment by fire, lasting for a time proportionate to the magnitude of their crimes and misdeeds, they shall not be punished with everlasting fire. But those who believe this, and yet are Catholics, seem to me to be led astray by a kind of benevolent feeling natural to humanity. For Holy Scripture, when consulted, gives a very different answer. I have written a book on this subject, entitled Of Faith and Works, in which, to the best of my ability, God assisting me, I have shown from Scripture, that the faith which saves us is that which the Apostle Paul clearly enough describes when he says: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.”1215 But if it worketh evil, and not good, then without doubt, as the Apostle James says, “it is dead, being alone.” 1216 The same apostle says again, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?”1217 And further, if a wicked man shall be saved by fire on account of his faith alone, and if this is what the 1218 blessed Apostle Paul means when he says, “But he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire;” then faith without works can save a man, and what his fellow-apostle James says must be false. And that must be false which Paul himself says in another place: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners; shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1219 For if those who persevere in these wicked courses shall nevertheless be saved on account of their faith in Christ, how can it be true that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God?


Gal. v. 6


Jas. ii. 17. [See R.V.]


Jas. ii. 14


1 Cor. iii. 15


1 Cor. vi. 9, 10

The True Sense of the Passage I Cor. III. 11–15 About Those Who are Saved,…

Chapter 68.—The True Sense of the Passage ( I Cor. III. 11–15 ) About Those Who are Saved, Yet So as by Fire. But as these most plain and unmistakeable declarations of the apostles cannot be false, that obscure saying about those who build upon the foundation, Christ, not gold, silver, and precious stones, but wood, hay, and stubble (for it is these who, it is said, shall be saved, yet so as by fire, the merit of the foundation saving them1220), must be so interpreted as not to conflict with the plain statements quoted above. Now wood, hay, and stubble may, without incongruity, be understood to signify such an attachment to worldly things, however lawful these may be in themselves, that they cannot be lost without grief of mind. And though this grief burns, yet if Christ hold the place of foundation in the heart,—that is, if nothing be preferred to Him, and if the man, though burning with grief, is yet more willing to lose the things he loves so much than to lose Christ,—he is saved by fire. If, however, in time of temptation, he prefer to hold by temporal and earthly things rather than by Christ, he has not Christ as his foundation; for he puts earthly things in the first place, and in a building nothing comes before the foundation. Again, the fire of which the apostle speaks in this place must be such a fire as both men are made to pass through, that is, both the man who builds upon the foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, and the man who builds wood, hay, stubble. For he immediately adds: “The fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.”1221 The fire then shall prove, not the work of one of them only, but of both. Now the trial of adversity is a kind of fire which is plainly spoken of in another place: “The furnace proveth the potter’s vessels: and the furnace of adversity just men.” 1222 And this fire does in the course of this life act exactly in the way the apostle says. If it come into contact with two believers, one “caring for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord,”1223 that is, building upon Christ the foundation, gold, silver, precious stones; the 1224 260other “caring for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife,” that is, building upon the same foundation wood, hay, stubble,—the work of the former is not burned, because he has not given his love to things whose loss can cause him grief; but the work of the latter is burned, because things that are enjoyed with desire cannot be lost without pain. But since, by our supposition, even the latter prefers to lose these things rather 1220

1 Cor. iii. 11–15. [The “fire” in ver. 15 is not the purgatorial fire in the state between death and resurrec-

tion, but, as in ver. 14, the fire of the day of judgment.—P.S.] 1221

1 Cor. iii. 13–15


Ecclus. xxvii. 5, ii. 5


1 Cor. vii. 32


1 Cor. vii. 33. [See R.V.]

The True Sense of the Passage I Cor. III. 11–15 About Those Who are Saved,‌

than to lose Christ, and since he does not desert Christ out of fear of losing them, though he is grieved when he does lose them, he is saved, but it is so as by fire; because the grief for what he loved and has lost burns him. But it does not subvert nor consume him; for he is protected by his immoveable and incorruptible foundation.


It is Not Impossible that Some Believers May Pass Through a Purgatorial…

Chapter 69.—It is Not Impossible that Some Believers May Pass Through a Purgatorial Fire in the Future Life. And it is not impossible that something of the same kind may take place even after this life. It is a matter that may be inquired into, and either ascertained or left doubtful, whether some believers shall pass through a kind of purgatorial fire, and in proportion as they have loved with more or less devotion the goods that perish, be less or more quickly delivered from it. This cannot, however, be the case of any of those of whom it is said, that they “shall not inherit the kingdom of God,”1225 unless after suitable repentance their sins be forgiven them. When I say “suitable,” I mean that they are not to be unfruitful in almsgiving; for Holy Scripture lays so much stress on this virtue, that our Lord tells us beforehand, that He will ascribe no merit to those on His right hand but that they abound in it, and no defect to those on His left hand but their want of it, when He shall say to the former, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom,” and to the latter, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.”1226


1 Cor. vi. 10


Matt. xxv. 31–46

Almsgiving Will Not Atone for Sin Unless the Life Be Changed.

Chapter 70.—Almsgiving Will Not Atone for Sin Unless the Life Be Changed. We must beware, however, lest any one should suppose that gross sins, such as are committed by those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God, may be daily perpetrated, and daily atoned for by almsgiving. The life must be changed for the better; and almsgiving must be used to propitiate God for past sins, not to purchase impunity for the commission 1227 of such sins in the future. For He has given no man license to sin, although in His mercy He may blot out sins that are already committed, if we do not neglect to make proper satisfaction.


Ecclus. xv. 20

The Daily Prayer of the Believer Makes Satisfaction for the Trivial Sins…

Chapter 71.—The Daily Prayer of the Believer Makes Satisfaction for the Trivial Sins that Daily Stain His Life. Now the daily prayer of the believer makes satisfaction for those daily sins of a momentary and trivial kind which are necessary incidents of this life. For he can say, “Our Father which art in heaven,”1228 seeing that to such a Father he is now born again of water and of the Spirit.1229 And this prayer certainly takes away the very small sins of daily life. It takes away also those which at one time made the life of the believer very wicked, but which, now that he is changed for the better by repentance, he has given up, provided that as truly as he says, “Forgive us our debts” (for there is no want of debts to be forgiven), so truly does he say, “as we forgive our debtors;” 1230 that is, provided he does what he says he does: for to forgive a man who asks for pardon, is really to give alms.


Matt. vi. 9


John iii. 5


Matt. vi. 12

There are Many Kinds of Alms, the Giving of Which Assists to Procure Pardon…

Chapter 72.—There are Many Kinds of Alms, the Giving of Which Assists to Procure Pardon for Our Sins. And on this principle of interpretation, our Lord’s saying, “Give alms of such things as ye have, and, behold, all things are clean unto you,” 1231 applies to every useful act that a man does in mercy. Not only, then, the man who gives food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, hospitality to the stranger, shelter to the fugitive, who visits the sick and the imprisoned, ransoms the captive, assists the weak, leads the blind, comforts the sorrowful, heals the sick, puts the wanderer on the right path, gives advice to the perplexed, and supplies the wants of the needy,—not this man only, but the man who pardons the sinner also gives alms; and the man who corrects with blows, or restrains by any kind of discipline one over whom he has power, and who at the same time forgives from the heart the sin by which he was injured, or prays that it may be forgiven, is also a giver of alms, not only in that he forgives, or prays for forgiveness for the sin, but also in that he rebukes and corrects the sinner: for in this, too, he shows mercy. Now much good is bestowed upon unwilling recipients, when their advantage and not their pleasure is consulted; and they 261themselves frequently prove to be their own enemies, while their true friends are those whom they take for their enemies, and to whom in their blindness they return evil for good. (A Christian, indeed, is not permitted to return evil even for evil. 1232) And thus there are many kinds of alms, by giving of which we assist to procure the pardon of our sins.


Luke xi. 41


Rom. xii. 17; Matt. v. 44

The Greatest of All Alms is to Forgive Our Debtors and to Love Our Enem…

Chapter 73.—The Greatest of All Alms is to Forgive Our Debtors and to Love Our Enemies. But none of those is greater than to forgive from the heart a sin that has been committed against us. For it is a comparatively small thing to wish well to, or even to do good to, a man who has done no evil to you. It is a much higher thing, and is the result of the most exalted goodness, to love your enemy, and always to wish well to, and when you have the opportunity, to do good to, the man who wishes you ill, and, when he can, does you harm. This is to obey the command of God: “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which persecute you.”1233 But seeing that this is a frame of mind only reached by the perfect sons of God, and that though every believer ought to strive after it, and by prayer to God and earnest struggling with himself endeavor to bring his soul up to this standard, yet a degree of goodness so high can hardly belong to so great a multitude as we believe are heard when they use this petition, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;” in view of all this, it cannot be doubted that the implied undertaking is fulfilled if a man, though he has not yet attained to loving his enemy, yet, when asked by one who has sinned against him to forgive him his sin, does forgive him from his heart. For he certainly desires to be himself forgiven when he prays, “as we forgive our debtors,” that is, Forgive us our debts when we beg forgiveness, as we forgive our debtors when they beg forgiveness from us.


Matt. v. 44

God Does Not Pardon the Sins of Those Who Do Not from the Heart Forgive…

Chapter 74.—God Does Not Pardon the Sins of Those Who Do Not from the Heart Forgive Others. Now, he who asks forgiveness of the man against whom he has sinned, being moved by his sin to ask forgiveness, cannot be counted an enemy in such a sense that it should be as difficult to love him now as it was when he was engaged in active hostility. And the man who does not from his heart forgive him who repents of his sin, and asks forgiveness, need not suppose that his own sins are forgiven of God. For the Truth cannot lie. And what reader or hearer of the Gospel can have failed to notice, that the same person who said, “I am the Truth,”1234 taught us also this form of prayer; and in order to impress this particular petition deeply upon our minds, said, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”?1235 The man whom the thunder of this warning does not awaken is not asleep, but dead; and yet so powerful is that voice, that it can awaken even the dead.


John xiv. 6


Matt. vi. 14, 15

The Wicked and the Unbelieving are Not Made Clean by the Giving of Alms,…

Chapter 75.—The Wicked and the Unbelieving are Not Made Clean by the Giving of Alms, Except They Be Born Again. Assuredly, then, those who live in gross wickedness, and take no care to reform their lives and manners, and yet amid all their crimes and vices do not cease to give frequent alms, in vain take comfort to themselves from the saying of our Lord: “Give alms of such 1236 things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.” For they do not understand how far this saying reaches. But that they may understand this, let them hear what He says. For we read in the Gospel as follows: “And as He spake, a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with him; and He went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that He had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without, make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.”1237 Are we to understand this as meaning that to the Pharisees who have not the faith of Christ all things are clean, if only they give alms in the way these men count almsgiving, even though they have never believed in Christ, nor been born again of water and of the Spirit? But the fact is, that all are unclean who are not made clean by the faith of Christ, according to the expression, “purifying their hearts by faith;” 1238 and that the apostle says, “Unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”1239 How, then, could all things be clean to the Pharisees, 262even though they gave alms, if they were not believers? And how could they be believers if they were not willing to have faith in Christ, and to be born again of His grace? And yet what they heard is true: “Give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.”


Luke xi. 41


Luke xi. 37–41. [See R.V.]


Acts xv. 9


Tit. i. 15

To Give Alms Aright, We Should Begin with Ourselves, and Have Pity Upon…

Chapter 76.—To Give Alms Aright, We Should Begin with Ourselves, and Have Pity Upon Our Own Souls. For the man who wishes to give aims as he ought, should begin with himself, and give to himself first. For almsgiving is a work of mercy; and most truly is it said, “To have mercy on thy soul is pleasing to God.” 1240 And for this end are we born again, that we should be pleasing to God, who is justly displeased with that which we brought with us when we were born. This is our first alms, which we give to ourselves when, through the mercy of a pitying God, we find that we are ourselves wretched, and confess the justice of His judgment by which we are made wretched, of which the apostle says, “The judgment was by one to condemnation;”1241 and praise the greatness of His love, of which the same preacher of grace says, “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us:”1242 and thus judging truly of our own misery, and loving God with the love which He has Himself bestowed, we lead a holy and virtuous life. But the Pharisees, while they gave as alms the tithe of all their fruits, even the most insignificant, passed over judgment and the love of God, and so did not commence their alms-giving at home, and extend their pity to themselves in the first instance. And it is in reference to this order of love that it is said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” 1243 When, then, our Lord had rebuked them because they made themselves clean on the outside, but within were full of ravening and wickedness, He advised them, in the exercise of that charity which each man owes to himself in the first instance, to make clean the inward parts. “But rather,” He says, “give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.”1244 Then, to show what it was that He advised, and what they took no pains to do, and to show that He did not overlook or forget their almsgiving, “But woe unto you, Pharisees!”1245 He says; as if He meant to say: I indeed advise you to give alms which shall make all things clean unto you; “but woe unto you! for ye tithe mint, and rue, and all manner of herbs;” as if He meant to say: I know these alms of yours, and ye need not think that I am now admonishing you in respect of such things; “and pass over judgment and the love of God,” an alms by which ye might have been made clean from all inward impurity, so that even the bodies which ye are now washing would have been clean to you. For this is the import of “all things,” both inward and outward things, as we read in another place: “Cleanse first that which is within, that the outside may


Ecclus. xxx. 24


Rom. v. 16


Rom. v. 8


Luke x. 27


Luke xi. 42


Luke xi. 42

To Give Alms Aright, We Should Begin with Ourselves, and Have Pity Upon… be clean also.”1246 But lest He might appear to despise the alms which they were giving out of the fruits of the earth, He says: “These ought ye to have done,” referring to judgment and the love of God, “and not to leave the other undone,” referring to the giving of the tithes.


Matt. xxiii. 26


If We Would Give Alms to Ourselves, We Must Flee Iniquity; For He Who Loveth…

Chapter 77.—If We Would Give Alms to Ourselves, We Must Flee Iniquity; For He Who Loveth Iniquity Hateth His Soul. Those, then, who think that they can by giving alms, however profuse, whether in money or in kind, purchase for themselves the privilege of persisting with impunity in their monstrous crimes and hideous vices, need not thus deceive themselves. For not only do they commit these sins, but they love them so much that they would like to go on forever committing them, if only they could do so with impunity. Now, he who loveth iniquity hateth his own soul;1247 and he who hateth his own soul is not merciful but cruel towards it. For in loving it according to the world, he hateth it according to God. But if he desired to give alms to it which should make all things clean unto him, he would hate it according to the world, and love it according to God. Now no one gives alms unless he receive what he gives from one who is not in want of it. Therefore it is said, “His mercy shall meet me.”1248


Ps. xi. 5. (“Him that loveth violence, His (God’s) soul hateth.” A.V.)


Ps. lix. 10

What Sins are Trivial and What Heinous is a Matter for God’s Judgment.

Chapter 78.—What Sins are Trivial and What Heinous is a Matter for God’s Judgment. Now, what sins are trivial and what heinous is not a matter to be decided by man’s judgment, but by the judgment of God. For it is plain that the apostles themselves have given an indulgence in the case of certain sins: take, for example, what the Apostle Paul says to those who are married: “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a 263time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer: and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” 1249 Now it is possible that it might not have been considered a sin to have intercourse with a spouse, not with a view to the procreation of children, which is the great blessing of marriage, but for the sake of carnal pleasure, and to save the incontinent from being led by their weakness into the deadly sin of fornication, or adultery, or another form of uncleanness which it is shameful even to name, and into which it is possible that they might be drawn by lust under the temptation of Satan. It is possible, I say, that this might not have been considered a sin, had the apostle not added: “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” 1250 Who, then, can deny that it is a sin, when confessedly it is only by apostolic authority that permission is granted to those who do it? Another case of the same kind is where he says: “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?”1251 And shortly afterwards: “If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the Church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.”1252 Now it might have been supposed in this case that it is not a sin to have a quarrel with another, that the only sin is in wishing to have it adjudicated upon outside the Church, had not the apostle immediately added: 1253 “Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law with one another.” And lest any one should excuse himself by saying that he had a just cause, and was suffering wrong, and that he only wished the sentence of the judges to remove his wrong, the apostle immediately anticipates such thoughts and excuses, and says: “Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” Thus bringing us back to our Lord’s saying, “If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have


1 Cor. vii. 5


1 Cor. vii. 6. [“Concession,” R.V.]


1 Cor. vi. 1


1 Cor. vi. 4–6


1 Cor. vi. 7

What Sins are Trivial and What Heinous is a Matter for God’s Judgment. 1255 thy cloak also;”1254 and again, “Of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again.” Therefore our Lord has forbidden His followers to go to law with other men about worldly affairs. And carrying out this principle, the apostle here declares that to do so is “altogether a fault.” But when, notwithstanding, he grants his permission to have such cases between brethren decided in the Church, other brethren adjudicating, and only sternly forbids them to be carried outside the Church, it is manifest that here again an indulgence is extended to the infirmities of the weak. It is in view, then, of these sins, and others of the same sort, and of others again more trifling still, which consist of offenses in words and thought (as the Apostle James confesses, “In many things we offend all” 1256), that we need to pray every day and often to the Lord, saying, “Forgive us our debts,” and to add in truth and sincerity, “as we forgive our debtors.”


Matt. v. 40


Luke vi. 30


Jas. iii. 2. [See R.V.]


Sins Which Appear Very Trifling, are Sometimes in Reality Very Serious.

Chapter 79.—Sins Which Appear Very Trifling, are Sometimes in Reality Very Serious. Again, there are some sins which would be considered very trifling, if the Scriptures did not show that they are really very serious. For who would suppose that the man who says to his brother, “Thou fool,” is in danger of hell-fire, did not He who is the Truth say so? To the wound, however, He immediately applies the cure, giving a rule for reconciliation with one’s offended brother: “Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way: first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”1257 Again, who would suppose that it was so great a sin to observe days, and months, and times, and years, as those do who are anxious or unwilling to begin anything on certain days, or in certain months or years, because the vain doctrines of men lead them to think such times lucky or unlucky, had we not the means of estimating the greatness of the evil from the fear expressed by the apostle, who says to such men, “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain”?1258


Matt. v. 22, 23


Gal. iv. 10, 11

Sins, However Great and Detestable, Seem Trivial When We are Accustomed…

Chapter 80.—Sins, However Great and Detestable, Seem Trivial When We are Accustomed to Them. Add to this, that sins, however great and detestable they may be, are looked upon as trivial, or as not sins at all, when men get accustomed to them; and so far does this go, that such sins are not only not concealed, but are boasted of, and published far and wide; and thus, as it is written, “The wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.” 1259 Iniquity of this kind is in Scripture called a cry. You have 264an instance in the prophet Isaiah, in the case of the evil vineyard: “He looked for judgment, 1260 but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” Whence also the expression 1261 in Genesis: “The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great,” because in these cities crimes were not only not punished, but were openly committed, as if under the protection of the law. And so in our own times: many forms of sin, though not just the sameas those of Sodom and Gomorrah, are now so openly and habitually practised, that not only dare we not excommunicate a layman, we dare not even degrade a clergyman, for the commission of them. So that when, a few years ago, I was expounding the Epistle to the Galatians, in commenting on that very place where the apostle says, “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed labor upon you in vain,” I was compelled to exclaim, “Woe to the sins of men! for it is only when we are not accustomed to them that we shrink from them: when once we are accustomed to them, though the blood of the Son of God was poured out to wash them away, though they are so great that the kingdom of God is wholly shut against them, constant familiarity leads to the toleration of them all, and habitual toleration leads to the practice of many of them. And grant, O Lord, that we may not come to practise all that we have not the power to hinder.” But I shall see whether the extravagance of grief did not betray me into rashness of speech.


Ps. x. 3


Isa. v. 7


Gen. xviii. 20

There are Two Causes of Sin, Ignorance and Weakness; And We Need Divine…

Chapter 81.—There are Two Causes of Sin, Ignorance and Weakness; And We Need Divine Help to Overcome Both. I shall now say this, which I have often said before in other places of my works. There are two causes that lead to sin: either we do not yet know our duty, or we do not perform the duty that we know. The former is the sin of ignorance, the latter of weakness. Now against these it is our duty to struggle; but we shall certainly be beaten in the fight, unless we are helped by God, not only to see our duty, but also, when we clearly see it, to make the love of righteousness stronger in us than the love of earthly things, the eager longing after which, or the fear of losing which, leads us with our eyes open into known sin. In the latter case we are not only sinners, for we are so even when we err through ignorance, but we are also transgressors of the law; for we leave undone what we know we ought to do, and we do what we know we ought not to do. Wherefore not only ought we to pray for pardon when we have sinned, saying, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;” but we ought to pray for guidance, that we may be kept from sinning, saying, “and lead us not into temptation.” And we are to pray to Him of whom the Psalmist says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation:”1262 my light, for He removes my ignorance; my salvation, for He takes away my infirmity.


Ps. xxvii. 1

The Mercy of God is Necessary to True Repentance.

Chapter 82.—The Mercy of God is Necessary to True Repentance. Now even penance itself, when by the law of the Church there is sufficient reason for its being gone through, is frequently evaded through infirmity; for shame is the fear of losing pleasure when the good opinion of men gives more pleasure than the righteousness which leads a man to humble himself in penitence. Wherefore the mercy of God is necessary not only when a man repents, but even to lead him to repent. How else explain what the apostle says of certain persons: “if God peradventure will give them repentance”? 1263 And before Peter wept bitterly, we are told by the evangelist, “The Lord turned, and looked upon him.”1264


2 Tim. ii. 25


Luke xxii. 61

The Man Who Despises the Mercy of God is Guilty of the Sin Against the Holy…

Chapter 83.—The Man Who Despises the Mercy of God is Guilty of the Sin Against the Holy Ghost. Now the man who, not believing that sins are remitted in the Church, despises this great gift of God’s mercy, and persists to the last day of his life in his obstinacy of heart, is guilty of the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost, in whom Christ forgives sins.1265 But this difficult question I have discussed as clearly as I could in a book devoted exclusively to this one point.


Matt. xii. 32

The Resurrection of the Body Gives Rise to Numerous Questions.

Chapter 84.—The Resurrection of the Body Gives Rise to Numerous Questions. Now, as to the resurrection of the body, —not a resurrection such as some have had, who came back to life for a time and died again, but a resurrection to eternal life, as the body of Christ Himself rose again,—I do not see how I can discuss the matter briefly, and at the same time give a satisfactory answer to all the questions that are ordinarily raised about it. Yet that the bodies of all men—both those who have been born and those who shall be born, both those who have died and those who shall die—shall be raised again, no Christian ought to have the shadow of a doubt.

The Case of Abortive Conceptions.


Chapter 85.—The Case of Abortive Conceptions.

Hence in the first place arises a question about abortive conceptions, which have indeed been born in the mother’s womb, but not so born that they could be born again. For if we shall decide that these are to rise again, we cannot object to any conclusion that may be drawn in regard to those which are fully formed. Now who is there that is not rather disposed to think that unformed abortions perish, like seeds that have never fructified? But who will dare to deny, though he may not dare to affirm, that at the resurrection every defect in the form shall be supplied, and that thus the perfection which time would have brought shall not be wanting, any more than the blemishes which time did bring shall be present: so that the nature shall neither want anything suitable and in harmony with it that length of days would have added, nor be debased by the presence of anything of an opposite kind that length of days has added; but that what is not yet complete shall be completed, just as what has been injured shall be renewed.

If They Have Ever Lived, They Must of Course Have Died, and Therefore Shall…

Chapter 86.—If They Have Ever Lived, They Must of Course Have Died, and Therefore Shall Have a Share in the Resurrection of the Dead. And therefore the following question may be very carefully inquired into and discussed by learned men, though I do not know whether it is in man’s power to resolve it: At what time the infant begins to live in the womb: whether life exists in a latent form before it manifests itself in the motions of the living being. To deny that the young who are cut out limb by limb from the womb, lest if they were left there dead the mother should die too, have never been alive, seems too audacious. Now, from the time that a man begins to live, from that time it is possible for him to die. And if he die, wheresoever death may overtake him, I cannot discover on what principle he can be denied an interest in the resurrection of the dead.

The Case of Monstrous Births.

Chapter 87.—The Case of Monstrous Births. We are not justified in affirming even of monstrosities, which are born and live, however quickly they may die, that they shall not rise again, nor that they shall rise again in their deformity, and not rather with an amended and perfected body. God forbid that the double limbed man who was lately born in the East, of whom an account was brought by most trustworthy brethren who had seen him,—an account which the presbyter Jerome, of blessed memory, left in writing;1266—God forbid, I say, that we should think that at the resurrection there shall be one man with double limbs, and not two distinct men, as would have been the case had twins been born. And so other births, which, because they have either a superfluity or a defect, or because they are very much deformed, are called monstrosities, shall at the resurrection be restored to the normal shape of man; and so each single soul shall possess its own body; and no bodies shall cohere together even though they were born in cohesion, but each separately shall possess all the members which constitute a complete human body.


Jerome, in his Epistle to Vitalis: “Or because in our times a man was born at Lydda with two heads, four

hands, one belly, and two feet, does it necessarily follow that all men are so born?”

The Material of the Body Never Perishes.

Chapter 88.—The Material of the Body Never Perishes. Nor does the earthly material out of which men’s mortal bodies are created ever perish; but though it may crumble into dust and ashes, or be dissolved into vapors and exhalations, though it may be transformed into the substance of other bodies, or dispersed into the elements, though it should become food for beasts or men, and be changed into their flesh, it returns in a moment of time to that human soul which animated it at the first, and which caused it to become man, and to live and grow.

But This Material May Be Differently Arranged in the Resurrection Body.

Chapter 89.—But This Material May Be Differently Arranged in the Resurrection Body. And this earthly material, which when the soul leaves it becomes a corpse, shall not at the resurrection be so restored as that the parts into which it is separated, and which under various forms and appearances become parts of other things (though they shall all return to the same body from which they were separated), must necessarily return to the same parts of the body in which they were originally situated. For otherwise, to suppose that the hair recovers all that our frequent clippings and shavings have taken away from it, and the nails all that we have so often pared off, presents to the imagination such a picture of ugliness and deformity, as to make the resurrection of the body all but incredible. But just as if a statue of some soluble metal were either melted by fire, or broken into dust, or reduced to 266a shapeless mass, and a sculptor wished to restore it from the same quantity of metal, it would make no difference to the completeness of the work what part of the statue any given particle of the material was put into, as long as the restored statue contained all the material of the original one; so God, the Artificer of marvellous and unspeakable power, shall with marvellous and unspeakable rapidity restore our body, using up the whole material of which it originally consisted. Nor will it affect the completeness of its restoration whether hairs return to hairs, and nails to nails, or whether the part of these that had perished be changed into flesh, and called to take its place in another part of the body, the great Artist taking careful heed that nothing shall be unbecoming or out of place.

If There Be Differences and Inequalities Among the Bodies of Those Who Rise…

Chapter 90.—If There Be Differences and Inequalities Among the Bodies of Those Who Rise Again, There Shall Be Nothing Offensive or Disproportionate in Any. Nor does it necessarily follow that there shall be differences of stature among those who rise again, because they were of different statures during life; nor is it certain that the lean shall rise again in their former leanness, and the fat in their former fatness. But if it is part of the Creator’s design that each should preserve his own peculiarities of feature, and retain a recognizable likeness to his former self, while in regard to other bodily advantages all should be equal, then the material of which each is composed may be so modified that none of it shall be lost, and that any defect may be supplied by Him who can create at His will out of nothing. But if in the bodies of those who rise again there shall be a well-ordered inequality, such as there is in the voices that make up a full harmony, then the material of each man’s body shall be so dealt with that it shall form a man fit for the assemblies of the angels, and one who shall bring nothing among them to jar upon their sensibilities. And assuredly nothing that is unseemly shall be there; but whatever shall be there shall be graceful and becoming: for if anything is not seemly, neither shall it be.

The Bodies of the Saints Shall at The Resurrection Be Spiritual Bodies.

Chapter 91.—The Bodies of the Saints Shall at The Resurrection Be Spiritual Bodies. The bodies of the saints, then, shall rise again free from every defect, from every blemish, as from all corruption, weight, and impediment. For their ease of movement shall be as complete as their happiness. Whence their bodies have been called spiritual, though undoubtedly they shall be bodies and not spirits. For just as now the body is called animate, though it is a body, and not a soul [anima], so then the body shall be called spiritual, though it shall be a body, not a spirit.1267 Hence, as far as regards the corruption which now weighs down the soul, and the vices which urge the flesh to lust against the spirit, 1268 it shall not then be flesh, but body; for there are bodies which are called celestial. Wherefore it is said, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” and, as if in explanation of this, “neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”1269 What the apostle first called “flesh and blood,” he afterwards calls “corruption;” and what he first called “the kingdom of God,” he afterwards calls “incorruption.” But as far as regards the substance, even then it shall be flesh. For even after the resurrection the body of Christ was called flesh. 1270 The apostle, 1271 however, says: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body;” because so perfect shah then be the harmony between flesh and spirit, the spirit keeping alive the subjugated flesh without the need of any nourishment, that no part of our nature shall be in discord with another; but as we shall be free from enemies without, so we shall not have ourselves for enemies within.


1 Cor. xv. 44. [See R.V.]


Wisd. ix. 15; Gal. v. 17


1 Cor. xv. 50


Luke xxiv. 39


1 Cor. xv. 44

The Resurrection of the Lost.

Chapter 92.—The Resurrection of the Lost. But as for those who, out of the mass of perdition caused by the first man’s sin, are not redeemed through the one Mediator between God and man, they too shall rise again, each with his own body, but only to be punished with the devil and his angels. Now, whether they shall rise again with all their diseases and deformities of body, bringing with them the diseased and deformed limbs which they possessed here, it would be labor lost to inquire. For we need not weary ourselves speculating about their health or their beauty, which are matters uncertain, when their eternal damnation is a matter of certainty. Nor need we inquire in what sense their body shall be incorruptible, if it be susceptible of pain; or in what sense corruptible, if it be free from the possibility of death. For there is no true life except where there is happiness in life, and no true incorruption except where health is unbroken by any pain. When, however, the unhappy are not permitted to die, then, if I may so speak, death 267itself dies not; and where pain without intermission afflicts the soul, and never comes to an 1272 end, corruption itself is not completed. This is called in Holy Scripture “the second death.”


Rev. ii. 2

Both the First and the Second Deaths are the Consequence of Sin. Punishment‌

Chapter 93.—Both the First and the Second Deaths are the Consequence of Sin. Punishment is Proportioned to Guilt. And neither the first death, which takes place when the soul is compelled to leave the body, nor the second death, which takes place when the soul is not permitted to leave the suffering body, would have been inflicted on man had no one sinned. And, of course, the mildest punishment of all will fall upon those who have added no actual sin, to the original sin they brought with them; and as for the rest who have added such actual sins, the punishment of each will be the more tolerable in the next world, according as his iniquity has been less in this world.

The Saints Shall Know More Fully in the Next World the Benefits They Have…

Chapter 94.—The Saints Shall Know More Fully in the Next World the Benefits They Have Received by Grace. Thus, when reprobate angels and men are left to endure everlasting punishment, the saints shall know more fully the benefits they have received by grace. Then, in contemplation of the actual facts, they shall see more clearly the meaning of the expression in the psalms, “I will sing of mercy and judgment;” 1273 for it is only of unmerited mercy that any is redeemed, and only in well-merited judgment that any is condemned.


Ps. ci. 1

God’s Judgments Shall Then Be Explained.

Chapter 95.—God’s Judgments Shall Then Be Explained. Then shall be made clear much that is now dark. For example, when of two infants, whose cases seem in all respects alike, one by the mercy of God chosen to Himself, and the other is by His justice abandoned (wherein the one who is chosen may recognize what was of justice due to himself, had not mercy intervened); why, of these two, the one should have been chosen rather than the other, is to us an insoluble problem. And again, why miracles were not wrought in the presence of men who would have repented at the working of the miracles, while they were wrought in the presence of others who, it was known, would not repent. For our Lord says most distinctly: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” 1274 And assuredly there was no injustice in God’s not willing that they should be saved, though they could have been saved had He so willed it. Then shall be seen in the clearest light of wisdom what with the pious is now a faith, though it is not yet a matter of certain knowledge, how sure, how unchangeable, and how effectual is the will of God; how many things He can do which He does not will to do, though willing nothing which He cannot perform; and how true is the song of the psalmist, “But our God is in the heavens; He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.”1275 And this certainly is not true, if God has ever willed anything that He has not performed; and, still worse, if it was the will of man that hindered the Omnipotent from doing what He pleased. Nothing, therefore, happens but by the will of the Omnipotent, He either permitting it to be done, or Himself doing it.


Matt. xi. 21


Ps. cxv. 3

The Omnipotent God Does Well Even in the Permission of Evil.

Chapter 96.—The Omnipotent God Does Well Even in the Permission of Evil. Nor can we doubt that God does well even in the permission of what is evil. For He permits it only in the justice of His judgment. And surely all that is just is good. Although, therefore, evil, in so far as it is evil, is not a good; yet the fact that evil as well as good exists, is a good. For if it were not a good that evil should exist, its existence would not be permitted by the omnipotent Good, who without doubt can as easily refuse to permit what He does not wish, as bring about what He does wish. And if we do not believe this, the very first sentence of our creed is endangered, wherein we profess to believe in God the Father Almighty. For He is not truly called Almighty if He cannot do whatsoever He pleases, or if the power of His almighty will is hindered by the will of any creature whatsoever.

In What Sense Does the Apostle Say that ’God Will Have All Men to Be Saved,’…

Chapter 97.—In What Sense Does the Apostle Say that “God Will Have All Men to Be Saved,” When, as a Matter of Fact, All are Not Saved? Hence we must inquire in what sense is said of God what the apostle has mostly truly said: “Who will have all men to be saved.” 1276 For, as a matter of fact, not all, nor even a majority, are saved: so that it would seem that what God wills is not done, man’s will interfering with, and hindering the will of God. When we ask the reason why all men are not 268saved, the ordinary answer is: “Because men themselves are not willing.” This, indeed cannot be said of infants, for it is not in their power either to will or not to will. But if we could attribute to their will the childish movements they make at baptism, when they make all the resistance they can, we should say that even they are not willing to be saved. Our Lord says plainly, however, in the Gospel, when upbraiding the impious city: “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” 1277 as if the will of God had been overcome by the will of men, and when the weakest stood in the way with their want of will, the will of the strongest could not be carried out. And where is that omnipotence which hath done all that it pleased on earth and in heaven, if God willed to gather together the children of Jerusalem, and did not accomplish it? or rather, Jerusalem was not willing that her children should be gathered together? But even though she was unwilling, He gathered together as many of her children as He wished: for He does not will some things and do them, and will others and do them not; but “He hath done all that He pleased in heaven and in earth.”


1 Tim. ii. 4. [See R.V.]


Matt. xxiii. 37

Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God’s Free Grace.

Chapter 98.—Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God’s Free Grace. And, moreover, who will be so foolish and blasphemous as to say that God cannot change the evil wills of men, whichever, whenever, and wheresoever He chooses, and direct them to what is good? But when He does this He does it of mercy; when He does it not, it is of justice that He does it not for “He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.”1278 And when the apostle said this, he was illustrating the grace of God, in connection with which he had just spoken of the twins in the womb of Rebecca, “who being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth, it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.” 1279 And in reference to this matter he quotes another prophetic testimony: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” 1280 But perceiving how what he had said might affect those who could not penetrate by their understanding the depth of this grace: “What shall we say then?” he says: “Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.”1281 For it seems unjust that, in the absence of any merit or demerit, from good or evil works, God should love the one and hate the other. Now, if the apostle had wished us to understand that there were future good works of the one, and evil works of the other, which of course God foreknew, he would never have said, “not of works,” but, “of future works,” and in that way would have solved the difficulty, or rather there would then have been no difficulty to solve. As it is, however, after answering, “God forbid;” that is, God forbid that there should be unrighteousness with God; he goes on to prove that there is no unrighteousness in God’s doing this, and says: “For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on 1282 whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Now, who but a fool would think that God was unrighteous, either in inflicting penal justice on those who had earned it, or in extending mercy to the unworthy? Then he draws his conclusion: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”1283 Thus both the twins were born children of wrath, not on account of any works of their own, but because they were bound in the fetters of that original condemnation which came through Adam. But He who said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,” loved Jacob of His undeserved grace, and hated Esau of His deserved judgment. And as this judgment was due to both, the former learnt from the case of the latter that the fact of the same punishment not falling upon himself gave him no room to glory in any 1278

Rom. ix. 18


Rom. ix. 12


Rom. ix. 13; Mal. i. 2, 3


Rom. ix. 14


Rom. ix. 15; Ex. xxxiii. 19


Rom. ix. 16. [See R V.]

Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God’s Free Grace.

merit of his own, but only in the riches of the divine grace; because “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” And indeed the whole face, and, if I may use the expression, every lineament of the countenance of Scripture conveys by a very profound analogy this wholesome warning to every one who looks carefully into it, that he who glories should glory in the Lord.1284


Comp. 1 Cor. i. 31


As God’s Mercy is Free, So His Judgments are Just, and Cannot Be Gainsa…

Chapter 99.—As God’s Mercy is Free, So His Judgments are Just, and Cannot Be Gainsaid. Now after commending the mercy of God, saying, “So it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy,” that he might commend His justice also (for the man who does not obtain mercy finds, not iniquity, but justice, there being no 269iniquity with God), he immediately adds: “For the scripture saith unto Pharoah, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”1285 And then he draws a conclusion that applies to both, that is, both to His mercy and His justice: “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” 1286 “He hath mercy” of His great goodness, “He hardeneth” without any injustice; so that neither can he that is pardoned glory in any merit of his own, nor he that is condemned complain of anything but his own demerit. For it is grace alone that separates the redeemed from the lost, all having been involved in one common perdition through their common origin. Now if any one, on hearing this, should say, “Why doth He yet find fault? for who hath resisted His will?” 1287 as if a man ought not to be blamed for being bad, because God hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth, God forbid that we should be ashamed to answer as we see the apostle answered: “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?”1288 Now some foolish people, think that in this place the apostle had no answer to give; and for want of a reason to render, rebuked the presumption of his interrogator. But there is great weight in this saying: “Nay, but, O man, who art thou?” and in such a matter as this it suggests to a man in a single word the limits of his capacity, and at the same time does in reality convey an important reason. For if a man does not understand these matters, who is he that he should reply against God? And if he does understand them, he finds no further room for reply. For then he perceives that the whole human race was condemned in its rebellious head by a divine judgment so just, that if not a single member of the race had been redeemed, no one could justly have questioned the justice of God; and that it was right that those who are redeemed should be redeemed in such a way as to show, by the greater number who are unredeemed and left in their just condemnation, what the whole race deserved, and whither the deserved judgment of God would lead even the redeemed, did not His undeserved mercy interpose, so that every mouth might be stopped of 1285

Rom. ix. 17; Ex. ix. 16


Rom. ix. 18


Rom. ix. 19


Rom. ix. 20, 21

As God’s Mercy is Free, So His Judgments are Just, and Cannot Be Gainsa‌

those who wish to glory in their own merits, and that he that glorieth might glory in the Lord.1289


Rom. iii. 19; 1 Cor. i. 31


The Will of God is Never Defeated, Though Much is Done that is Contrary…

Chapter 100.—The Will of God is Never Defeated, Though Much is Done that is Contrary to His Will. These are the great works of the Lord, sought out according to all His pleasure,1290 and so wisely sought out, that when the intelligent creation, both angelic and human, sinned, doing not His will but their own, He used the very will of the creature which was working in opposition to the Creator’s will as an instrument for carrying out His will, the supremely Good thus turning to good account even what is evil, to the condemnation of those whom in His justice He has predestined to punishment, and to the salvation of those whom in His mercy He has predestined to grace. For, as far as relates to their own consciousness, these creatures did what God wished not to be done: but in view of God’s omnipotence, they could in no wise effect their purpose. For in the very fact that they acted in opposition to His will, His will concerning them was fulfilled. And hence it is that “the works of the Lord are great, sought out according to all His pleasure,” because in a way unspeakably strange and wonderful, even what is done in opposition to His will does not defeat His will. For it would not be done did He not permit it (and of course His permission is not unwilling, but willing); nor would a Good Being permit evil to be done only that in His omnipotence He can turn evil into good.

1290 (A.V.)

Ps. cxi. 2(LXX.): “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.”

The Will of God, Which is Always Good, is Sometimes Fulfilled Through the…

Chapter 101.—The Will of God, Which is Always Good, is Sometimes Fulfilled Through the Evil Will of Man. Sometimes, however, a man in the goodness of his will desires something that God does not desire, even though God’s will is also good, nay, much more fully and more surely good (for His will never can be evil): for example, if a good son is anxious that his father should live, when it is God’s good will that he should die. Again, it is possible for a man with evil will to desire what God wills in His goodness: for example, if a bad son wishes his father to die, when this is also the will of God. It is plain that the former wishes what God does not wish, and that the latter wishes what God does wish; and yet the filial love of the former is more in harmony with the good will of God, though its desire is different from God’s, than 270the want of filial affection of the latter, though its desire is the same as God’s. So necessary is it, in determining whether a man’s desire is one to be approved or disapproved, to consider what it is proper for man, and what it is proper for God, to desire, and what is in each case the real motive of the will. For God accomplishes some of His purposes, which of course are all good, through the evil desires of wicked men: for example, it was through the wicked designs of the Jews, working out the good purpose of the Father, that Christ was slain and this event was so truly good, that when the Apostle Peter expressed his unwillingness that it should take place, he was designated Satan by Him who had come to be slain. 1291 How good seemed the intentions of the pious believers who were unwilling that Paul should go up to Jerusalem lest the evils which Agabus had foretold should there befall him! 1292 And yet it was God’s purpose that he should suffer these evils for preaching the faith of Christ, and thereby become a witness for Christ. And this purpose of His, which was good, God did not fulfill through the good counsels of the Christians, but through the evil counsels of the Jews; so that those who opposed His purpose were more truly His servants than those who were the willing instruments of its accomplishment.


Matt. xvi. 21–23


Acts xxi. 10–12

The Will of the Omnipotent God is Never Defeated, and is Never Evil.

Chapter 102.—The Will of the Omnipotent God is Never Defeated, and is Never Evil. But however strong may be the purposes either of angels or of men, whether of good or bad, whether these purposes fall in with the will of God or run counter to it, the will of the Omnipotent is never defeated; and His will never can be evil; because even when it inflicts evil it is just, and what is just is certainly not evil. The omnipotent God, then, whether in mercy He pitieth whom He will, or in judgment hardeneth whom He will, is never unjust in what He does, never does anything except of His own free-will, and never wills anything that He does not perform.

Interpretation of the Expression in I Tim. II. 4: ‘Who Will Have All Men…

Chapter 103.—Interpretation of the Expression in I Tim. II. 4 : “Who Will Have All Men to Be Saved.” Accordingly, when we hear and read in Scripture that He “will have all men to be saved,”1293 although we know well that all men are not saved, we are not on that account to restrict the omnipotence of God, but are rather to understand the Scripture, “Who will have all men to be saved,” as meaning that no man is saved unless God wills his salvation: not that there is no man whose salvation He does not will, but that no man is saved apart from His will; and that, therefore, we should pray Him to will our salvation, because if He will it, it must necessarily be accomplished. And it was of prayer to God that the apostle was speaking when he used this expression. And on the same principle we interpret the expression in the Gospel: “The true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world:” 1294 not that there is no man who is not enlightened, but that no man is enlightened except by Him. Or, it is said, “Who will have all men to be saved;” not that there is no man whose salvation He does not will (for how, then, explain the fact that He was unwilling to work miracles in the presence of some who, He said, would have repented if He had worked them?), but that we are to understand by “all men,” the human race in all its varieties of rank and circumstances,—kings, subjects; noble, plebeian, high, low, learned, and unlearned; the sound in body, the feeble, the clever, the dull, the foolish, the rich, the poor, and those of middling circumstances; males, females, infants, boys, youths; young, middle-aged, and old men; of every tongue, of every fashion, of all arts, of all professions, with all the innumerable differences of will and conscience, and whatever else there is that makes a distinction among men. For which of all these classes is there out of which God does not will that men should be saved in all nations through His only-begotten Son, our Lord, and therefore does save them; for the Omnipotent cannot will in vain, whatsoever He may will? Now the apostle had enjoined that prayers should be made for all men, and had especially added, “For kings, and for all that are in authority,” who might be supposed, in the pride and pomp of worldly station, to shrink from the humility of the Christian faith. Then saying, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour,” that is, that prayers should be made for such as these, he immediately adds, as if to remove any ground of despair, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1295 God, then, in His great condescension has judged it good to grant to the prayers of the humble the salvation of the exalted; and assuredly we have many examples of this. Our Lord, too, makes use of


1 Tim. ii. 4


John i. 9


1 Tim. ii. 1–4

Interpretation of the Expression in I Tim. II. 4: ‘Who Will Have All Men…

the same mode of speech in the Gospel, when He says to the Pharisees: “Ye tithe mint, and rue, and every herb.” 1296 For the Pharisees did not tithe what belonged to others, nor all the herbs of all the inhabitants of other lands. As, then, in this place we must understand by “every herb,” every kind of herbs, so in the former passage we may understand by “all men,” every sort of men. And we may interpret it in any other way we please, so long as we are not compelled to believe that the omnipotent God has willed anything to be done which was not done: for setting aside all ambiguities, if “He hath done all that He pleased in heaven and in earth,”1297 as the psalmist sings of Him, He certainly did not will to do anything that He hath not done. 271


Luke xi. 42. [“All manner of herbs.” A.V.]


Ps cxv. 3. [“Our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.” A.V.]


God, Foreknowing the Sin of the First Man, Ordered His Own Purposes Acc‌

Chapter 104.—God, Foreknowing the Sin of the First Man, Ordered His Own Purposes Accordingly. Wherefore, God would have been willing to preserve even the first man in that state of salvation in which he was created, and after he had begotten sons to remove him at a fit time, without the intervention of death, to a better place, where he should have been not only free from sin, but free even from the desire of sinning, if He had foreseen that man would have the steadfast will to persist in the state of innocence in which he was created. But as He foresaw that man would make a bad use of his free-will, that is, would sin, God arranged His own designs rather with a view to do good to man even in his sinfulness, that thus the good will of the Omnipotent might not be made void by the evil will of man, but might be fulfilled in spite of it.

Man Was So Created as to Be Able to Choose Either Good or Evil: in the Future‌

Chapter 105.—Man Was So Created as to Be Able to Choose Either Good or Evil: in the Future Life, the Choice of Evil Will Be Impossible. Now it was expedient that man should be at first so created, as to have it in his power both to will what was right and to will what was wrong; not without reward if he willed the former, and not without punishment if he willed the latter. But in the future life it shall not be in his power to will evil; and yet this will constitute no restriction on the freedom of his will. On the contrary, his will shall be much freer when it shall be wholly impossible for him to be the slave of sin. We should never think of blaming the will, or saying that it was no will, or that it was not to be called free, when we so desire happiness, that not only do we shrink from misery, but find it utterly impossible to do otherwise. As, then, the soul even now finds it impossible to desire unhappiness, so in future it shall be wholly impossible for it to desire sin. But God’s arrangement was not to be broken, according to which He willed to show how good is a rational being who is able even to refrain from sin, and yet how much better is one who cannot sin at all; just as that was an inferior sort of immortality, and yet it was immortality, when it was possible for man to avoid death, although there is reserved for the future a more perfect immortality, when it shall be impossible for man to die.

The Grace of God Was Necessary to Man’s Salvation Before the Fall as Well…

Chapter 106.—The Grace of God Was Necessary to Man’s Salvation Before the Fall as Well as After It. The former immortality man lost through the exercise of his free-will; the latter he shall obtain through grace, whereas, if he had not sinned, he should have obtained it by desert. Even in that case, however, there could have been no merit without grace; because, although the mere exercise of man’s free-will was sufficient to bring in sin, his free-will would not have sufficed for his maintenance in righteousness, unless God had assisted it by imparting a portion of His unchangeable goodness. Just as it is in man’s power to die whenever he will (for, not to speak of other means, any one can put an end to himself by simple abstinence from food), but the mere will cannot preserve life in the absence of food and the other means of life; so man in paradise was able of his mere will, simply by abandoning righteousness, to destroy himself; but to have maintained a life of righteousness would have been too much for his will, unless it had been sustained by the Creator’s power. After the fall, however, a more abundant exercise of God’s mercy was required, because the will itself had to be freed from the bondage in which it was held by sin and death. And the will owes its freedom in no degree to itself, but solely to the grace of God which comes by faith in Jesus Christ; so that the very will, through which we accept all the other gifts of God which lead us on to His eternal gift, is itself prepared of the Lord, as the Scripture says.1298


Prov xvi. 1. [“The preparation of the heart in man… is from the Lord.” A.V.]

Eternal Life, Though the Reward of Good Works, is Itself the Gift of Go…

Chapter 107.—Eternal Life, Though the Reward of Good Works, is Itself the Gift of God. Wherefore, even eternal life itself, which is surely the reward of good works, the apostle calls the gift of God. “For the wages of sin,” he says, “is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1299 Wages (stipendium) is paid as a recompense for military service; it is not a gift: wherefore he says, “the wagesof sin is death,” to show that death was not inflicted undeservedly, but as the due recompense of sin. But a gift, unless it is wholly unearned, is not a gift at all. 1300 We are to understand, then, that man’s good deserts are themselves the gift of God, so that when these obtain the recompense of eternal life, it is simply grace given for grace. Man, therefore, was thus made upright that, though unable to remain in his uprightness without divine help, he could of his own mere will depart from it. And whichever of these courses he had chosen, God’s will would have been done, either by him, or concerning him. Therefore, as he chose to do his own will rather than God’s, the will of God is fulfilled concerning him; for God, out of one and the same heap of perdition which constitutes the race of man, makes one vessel to honor, another to dishonor; to honor in mercy, to dishonor in judgment;1301 that no one may glory in man, and consequently not in himself. 272


Rom. vi. 23


Comp. Rom. xi. 6


Rom. ix. 21

A Mediator Was Necessary to Reconcile Us to God; And Unless This Mediator‌

Chapter 108.—A Mediator Was Necessary to Reconcile Us to God; And Unless This Mediator Had Been God, He Could Not Have Been Our Redeemer. For we could not be redeemed, even through the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, if He were not also God. Now when Adam was created, he, being a righteous man, had no need of a mediator. But when sin had placed a wide gulf between God and the human race, it was expedient that a Mediator, who alone of the human race was born, lived, and died without sin, should reconcile us to God, and procure even for our bodies a resurrection to eternal life, in order that the pride of man might be exposed and cured through the humility of God; that man might be shown how far he had departed from God, when God became incarnate to bring him back; that an example might be set to disobedient man in the life of obedience of the God-Man; that the fountain of grace might be opened by the Only-begotten taking upon Himself the form of a servant, a form which had no antecedent merit; that an earnest of that resurrection of the body which is promised to the redeemed might be given in the resurrection of the Redeemer; that the devil might be subdued by the same nature which it was his boast to have deceived, and yet man not glorified, lest pride should again spring up; and, in fine, with a view to all the advantages which the thoughtful can perceive and describe, or perceive without being able to describe, as flowing from the transcendent mystery of the person of the Mediator.

The State of the Soul During the Interval Between Death and the Resurre…

Chapter 109.—The State of the Soul During the Interval Between Death and the Resurrection. During the time, moreover, which intervenes between a man’s death and the final resurrection, the soul dwells in a hidden retreat, where it enjoys rest or suffers affliction just in proportion to the merit it has earned by the life which it led on earth.

The Benefit to the Souls of the Dead from the Sacraments and Alms of Their…

Chapter 110.—The Benefit to the Souls of the Dead from the Sacraments and Alms of Their Living Friends. Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead are benefited by the piety of their living friends, who offer the sacrifice of the Mediator, or give alms in the church on their behalf. But these services are of advantage only to those who during their lives have earned such merit, that services of this kind can help them. For there is a manner of life which is neither so good as not to require these services after death, nor so bad that such services are of no avail after death; there is, on the other hand, a kind of life so good as not to require them; and again, one so bad that when life is over they render no help. Therefore, it is in this life that all the merit or demerit is acquired, which can either relieve or aggravate a man’s sufferings after this life. No one, then, need hope that after he is dead he shall obtain merit with God which he has neglected to secure here. And accordingly it is plain that the services which the church celebrates for the dead are in no way opposed to the apostle’s words: “For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad;” 1302 for the merit which renders such services as I speak of profitable to a man, is earned while he lives in the body. It is not to every one that these services are profitable. And why are they not profitable to all, except because of the different kinds of lives that men lead in the body? 273When, then, sacrifices either of the altar or of alms are offered on behalf of all the baptized dead, they are thank-offerings for the very good, they are propitiatory offerings for the not very bad, and in the case of the very bad, even though they do not assist the dead, they are a species of consolation to the living. And where they are profitable, their benefit consists either in obtaining a full remission of sins, or at least in making the condemnation more tolerable.


2 Cor. v. 10; comp. Rom. xiv. 10

After the Resurrection There Shall Be Two Distinct Kingdoms, One of Eternal…

Chapter 111.—After the Resurrection There Shall Be Two Distinct Kingdoms, One of Eternal Happiness, the Other of Eternal Misery. After the resurrection, however, when the final, universal judgment has been completed, there shall be two kingdoms, each with its own distinct boundaries, the one Christ’s, the other the devil’s; the one consisting of the good, the other of the bad,—both, however, consisting of angels and men. The former shall have no will, the latter no power, to sin, and neither shall have any power to choose death; but the former shall live truly and happily in eternal life, the latter shall drag a miserable existence in eternal death without the power of dying; for the life and the death shall both be without end. But among the former there shall be degrees of happiness, one being more pre-eminently happy than another; and among the latter there shall be degrees of misery, one being more endurably miserable than another.

There is No Ground in Scripture for the Opinion of Those Who Deny the Eternity…

Chapter 112.—There is No Ground in Scripture for the Opinion of Those Who Deny the Eternity of Future Punishments. It is in vain, then, that some, indeed very many, make moan over the eternal punishment, and perpetual, unintermitted torments of the lost, and say they do not believe it shall be so; not, indeed, that they directly oppose themselves to Holy Scripture, but, at the suggestion of their own feelings, they soften down everything that seems hard, and give a milder turn to statements which they think are rather designed to terrify than to be received as literally true. For “Hath God” they say, forgotten to be gracious? hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies?”1303 Now, they read this in one of the holy psalms. But without doubt we are to understand it as spoken of those who are elsewhere called “vessels of mercy,” 1304 because even they are freed from misery not on account of any merit of their own, but solely through the pity of God. Or, if the men we speak of insist that this passage applies to all mankind, there is no reason why they should therefore suppose that there will be an end to the punishment of those of whom it is said, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment;” for this shall end in the same manner and at the same time as the happiness of those of whom it is said, “but the righteous unto life eternal.”1305 But let them suppose, if the thought gives them pleasure, that the pains of the damned are, at certain intervals, in some degree assuaged. For even in this case the wrath of God, that is, their condemnation (for it is this, and not any disturbed feeling in the mind of God that is called His wrath), abideth upon them;1306 that is, His wrath, though it still remains, does not shut up His tender mercies; though His tender mercies are exhibited, not in putting an end to their eternal punishment, but in mitigating, or in granting them a respite from, their torments; for the psalm does not say, 1307 “to put an end to His anger,” or, “when His anger is passed by,” but “in His anger.” Now, if this anger stood alone, or if it existed in the smallest conceivable degree, yet to be lost out of the kingdom of God, to be an exile from the city of God, to be alienated from the life of God, to have no share in that great goodness which God hath laid up for them that fear 1308 Him, and hath wrought out for them that trust in Him, would be a punishment so great, that, supposing it to be eternal, no torments that we know of, continued through as many ages as man’s imagination can conceive, could be compared with it.


Ps. lxxvii. 9


Rom. ix. 23


Matt. xxv. 46


John iii. 36


Ps. lxxviii


Ps. xxxi. 19

The Death of the Wicked Shall Be Eternal in the Same Sense as the Life of‌

Chapter 113.—The Death of the Wicked Shall Be Eternal in the Same Sense as the Life of the Saints. This perpetual death of the wicked, then, that is, their alienation from the life of God, shall abide for ever, and shall be common to them all, whatever men, prompted by their human affections, may conjecture as to a variety of punishments, or as to a mitigation or intermission of their woes; just as the eternal life of the saints shall abide for ever, and shall be common to them all, whatever grades of rank and honor there may be among those who shine with an harmonious effulgence.

Having Dealt with Faith, We Now Come to Speak of Hope. Everything that Pertains…

Chapter 114.—Having Dealt with Faith, We Now Come to Speak of Hope. Everything that Pertains to Hope is Embraced in the Lord’s Prayer. Out of this confession of faith, which is briefly comprehended in the Creed, and which, carnally understood, is milk for babes, but, spiritually apprehended and studied, is meat for strong men, springs the good hopeof believers; and this is accompanied by a holy love. But of these matters, all of which are true objects of faith, those only pertain to hope which are embraced in the Lord’s Prayer. For, “Cursed is the man that trusteth in man” 1309 is the testimony of holy writ; and, consequently, this curse attaches also to the man who trusteth in himself. Therefore, except from God the Lord we ought to ask for nothing either that we hope to do well, or hope to obtain as a reward of our good works. 274


Jer. xvii. 5

The Seven Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, According to Matthew.

Chapter 115.—The Seven Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, According to Matthew. Accordingly, in the Gospel according to Matthew the Lord’s Prayer seems to embrace seven petitions, three of which ask for eternal blessings, and the remaining four for temporal; these latter, however, being necessary antecedents to the attainment of the eternal. For when we say, “Hallowed be Thy name: Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”1310 (which some have interpreted, not unfairly, in body as well as in spirit), we ask for blessings that are to be enjoyed for ever; which are indeed begun in this world, and grow in us as we grow in grace, but in their perfect state, which is to be looked for in another life, shall be a possession for evermore. But when we say, “Give us this day our daily bread: and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors: and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,”1311 who does not see that we ask for blessings that have reference to the wants of this present life? In that eternal life, where we hope to live for ever, the hallowing of God’s name, and His kingdom, and His will in our spirit and body, shall be brought to perfection, and shall endure to everlasting. But our dailybread is so called because there is here constant need for as much nourishment as the spirit and the flesh demand, whether we understand the expression spiritually, or carnally, or in both senses. It is here too that we need the forgiveness that we ask, for it is here that we commit the sins; here are the temptations which allure or drive us into sin; here, in a word, is the evil from which we desire deliverance: but in that other world there shall be none of these things.


Matt. vi. 9, 10


Matt. vi. 11–13

Luke Expresses the Substance of These Seven Petitions More Briefly in F…

Chapter 116.—Luke Expresses the Substance of These Seven Petitions More Briefly in Five. But the Evangelist Luke in his version of the Lord’s prayer embraces not seven, but five petitions: not, of course, that there is any discrepancy between the two evangelists, but that Luke indicates by his very brevity the mode in which the seven petitions of Matthew are to be understood. For God’s name is hallowed in the spirit; and God’s kingdom shall come in the resurrection of the body. Luke, therefore, intending to show that the third petition is a sort of repetition of the first two, has chosen to indicate that by omitting the third altogether.1312 Then he adds three others: one for daily bread, another for pardon of sin, another for immunity from temptation. And what Matthew puts as the last petition, “but deliver us from evil,” Luke has omitted, 1313 to show us that it is embraced in the previous petition about temptation. Matthew, indeed, himself says, “butdeliver,” not “anddeliver,” as if to show that the petitions are virtually one: do not this, but this; so that every man is to understand that he is delivered from evil in the very fact of his not being led into temptation.


[These petitions are retained in the A.V., but omitted in the R.V., according to the oldest authorities.—P.S.]


[These petitions are retained in the A.V., but omitted in the R.V., according to the oldest authorities.—P.S.]

Love, Which is Greater Than Faith and Hope, is Shed Abroad in Our Hearts…

Chapter 117.—Love, Which is Greater Than Faith and Hope, is Shed Abroad in Our Hearts by the Holy Ghost. And now as to love, which the apostle declares to be greater than the other two graces, that is, than faith and hope, 1314 the greater the measure in which it dwells in a man, the better is the man in whom it dwells. For when there is a question as to whether a man is good, one does not ask what he believes, or what he hopes, but what he loves. For the man who loves aright no doubt believes and hopes aright; whereas the man who has not love believes in vain, even though his beliefs are true; and hopes in vain, even though the objects of his hope are a real part of true happiness; unless, indeed, he believes and hopes for this, that he may obtain by prayer the blessing of love. For, although it is not possible to hope without love, it may yet happen that a man does not love that which is necessary to the attainment of his hope; as, for example, if he hopes for eternal life (and who is there that does not desire this?) and yet does not love righteousness, without which no one can attain to 275eternal life. Now this is the true faith of Christ which the apostle speaks of, “which worketh by love;”1315 and if there is anything that it does not yet embrace in its love, asks that it may receive, seeks that it may find, and knocks that it may be opened unto1316 it. For faith obtains through prayer that which the law commands. For without the gift of God, that is, without 1317 the Holy Spirit, through whom love is shed abroad in our hearts, the law can command, but it cannot assist; and, moreover, it makes a man a transgressor, for he can no longer excuse himself on the plea of ignorance. Now carnal lust reigns where there is not the love of God.


1 Cor. xiii. 13


Gal. v. 6


Matt. vii. 7


Rom. v. 5

The Four Stages of the Christian’s Life, and the Four Corresponding Stages…

Chapter 118.—The Four Stages of the Christian’s Life, and the Four Corresponding Stages of the Church’s History. When, sunk in the darkest depths of ignorance, man lives according to the flesh undisturbed by any struggle of reason or conscience, this is his first state. Afterwards, when through the law has come the knowledge of sin, and the Spirit of God has not yet interposed His aid, man, striving to live according to the law, is thwarted in his efforts and falls into conscious sin, and so, being overcome of sin, becomes its slave (“for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage”1318); and thus the effect produced by the knowledge of the commandment is this, that sin worketh in man all manner of concupiscence, and he is involved in the additional guilt of willful transgression, and that is fulfilled which is written: “The, law entered that the offense might abound.”1319 This is man’s second state. But if God has regard to him, and inspires him with faith in God’s help, and the Spirit of God begins to work in him, then the mightier power of love strives against the power of the flesh; and although there is still in the man’s own nature a power that fights against him (for his disease is not completely cured), yet he lives the life of the just by faith, and lives in righteousness so far as he does not yield to evil lust, but conquers it by the love of holiness. This is the third state of a man of good hope; and he who by steadfast piety advances in this course, shall attain at last to peace, that peace which, after this life is over, shall be perfected in the repose of the spirit, and finally in the resurrection of the body. Of these four different stages the first is before the law, the second is under the law, the third is under grace, and the fourth is in full and perfect peace. Thus, too, has the history of God’s people been ordered 1320 according to His pleasure who disposeth all things in number, and measure, and weight. For the church existed at first before the law; then under the law, which was given by Moses; then under grace, which was first made manifest in the coming of the Mediator. Not, indeed, that this grace was absent previously, but, in harmony with the arrangements of the time, it was veiled and hidden. For none, even of the just men of old, could find salvation apart from the faith of Christ; nor unless He had been known to them could their ministry have been used to convey prophecies concerning Him to us, some more plain, and some more obscure.


2 Pet. ii. 19


Rom. v. 20


Comp. Wisd. xi. 20

The Grace of Regeneration Washes Away All Past Sin and All Original Gui…

Chapter 119.—The Grace of Regeneration Washes Away All Past Sin and All Original Guilt. Now in whichever of these four stages (as we may call them) the grace of regeneration finds any particular man, all his past sins are there and then pardoned, and the guilt which he contracted in his birth is removed in his new birth; and so true is it that “the wind bloweth where it listeth,” 1321 that some have never known the second stage, that of slavery under the law, but have received the divine assistance as soon as they received the commandment.


John iii. 8

Death Cannot Injure Those Who Have Received the Grace of Regeneration.

Chapter 120.—Death Cannot Injure Those Who Have Received the Grace of Regeneration. But before a man can receive the commandment, it is necessary that he should live according to the flesh. But if once he has received the grace of regeneration, death shall not injure him, even if he should forthwith depart from this life; “for to this end Christ both 1322 died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living;� nor shall death retain dominion over him for whom Christ freely died.


Rom. xiv. 9

Love is the End of All the Commandments, and God Himself is Love.

Chapter 121.—Love is the End of All the Commandments, and God Himself is Love. All the commandments of God, then, are embraced in love, of which the apostle says: “Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” 1323 Thus the end of every commandment is charity, that is, every 276commandment has love for its aim. But whatever is done either through fear of punishment or from some other carnal motive, and has not for its principle that love which the Spirit of God sheds abroad in the heart, is not done as it ought to be done, however it may appear to men. For this love embraces both the love of God and the love of our neighbor, and “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,” 1324 we may add the Gospel and the apostles. For it is from these that we hear this voice: The end of the commandment is charity, and God is love.1325 Wherefore, all God’s commandments, one of which is, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” 1326 and all those precepts which are not commandments but 1327 special counsels, one of which is, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman,” are rightly carried out only when the motive principle of action is the love of God, and the love of our neighbor in God. And this applies both to the present and the future life. We love God now by faith, then we shall love Him through sight. Now we love even our neighbor by faith; for we who are ourselves mortal know not the hearts of mortal men. But in the future life, the Lord “both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the 1328 counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise of God;” for every man shall love and praise in his neighbor the virtue which, that it may not be hid, the Lord Himself shall bring to light. Moreover, lust diminishes as love grows, till the latter grows to such a height that it can grow no higher here. For “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”1329 Who then can tell how great love shall be in the future world, when there shall be no lust for it to restrain and conquer? for that will be the perfection of health when there shall be no struggle with death.


1 Tim. i. 5


Matt. xxii. 40; comp. Rom. v. 5


1 Tim. i. 5; 1 John iv. 16


Comp. Matt. v. 27and Rom. xiii. 9


1 Cor. vii. 1


1 Cor. iv. 5


John xv. 13


Chapter 122.—Conclusion. But now there must be an end at last to this volume. And it is for yourself to judge whether you should call it a hand-book, or should use it as such. I, however, thinking that your zeal in Christ ought not to be despised, and believing and hoping all good of you in dependence on our Redeemer’s help, and loving you very much as one of the members of His body, have, to the best of my ability, written this book for you on Faith, Hope, and Love. May its value be equal to its length.

On the Catechising of the Uninstructed.


1330 On the Catechising of the Uninstructed

In One Book. Translated by Rev. S. D. F. Salmond, D.D., Professor of Systematic Theology, Free Church College, Aberdeen.


[The Oxford Library and H. de Romestin translate the title: On Instructing the Unlearned.—P.S.]

Introductory Notice.


Introductory Notice.

Inthe fourteenth chapter of the second book of his Retractations, Augustin makes the following statement: “There is also a book of ours on the subject of the Catechising of the Uninstructed, [or, for Instructing the Unlearned, De Catechizandis Rudibus], that being, indeed, the express title by which it is designated. In this book, where I have said, ‘Neither did the angel, who, in company with other spirits who were his satellites, forsook in pride the obedience of God, and became the devil, do any hurt to God, but to himself; for God knoweth how to dispose of souls that leave Him:’it would be more appropriate to say, ‘spirits that leave Him,’ inasmuch as the question dealt with angels. This book commences in these terms: ‘You have requested me, brother Deogratias.’” The composition so described in the passage cited is reviewed by Augustin in connection with other works which he had in hand about the year 400 A.D., and may therefore be taken to belong to that date. It has been conjectured that the person to whom it is addressed may perhaps be the same with the presbyter Deogratias, to whom, as we read in the epistle which now ranks as the hundred and second, Augustin wrote about the year 406, in reply to some questions of the pagans which were forwarded to him from Carthage. The Benedictine editors introduce the treatise in the following terms: “At the request of a deacon of Carthage, Augustin undertakes the task of teaching the art of catechising; and in the first place, he gives certain injunctions, to the effect that this kind of duty may be discharged not only in a settled method and an apt order, but also without tediousness, and in a spirit of cheerfulness. Thereafter reducing his injunctions to practical use, he gives an example of what he means by delivering two set discourses, presenting parallels to each other, the one being somewhat lengthened and the other very brief, but both suitable for the instruction of any individual whose desire is to be a Christian.” [This treatise shows what was thought in the age of Saint Augustin to be the most needful instruction in religion. The Latin text: De Cactechizandis Rudibus, is in the sixth vol. of the Benedictine edition, and in the handy ed. of C. Marriott: S. Augustini Opuscula quædam, Oxford and London (Parker & Co.) 4th ed. 1885. An earlier and closer English Version by Rev. C. L. Cornish, M. A., of Exeter College, Oxford, appeared in the Oxford “Library of the Fathers” (1847, pp. 187 sqq.,) under the title On Instructing the Unlearned. H. De Romestinreproduces the Oxford translation in the English version of Marriott’s ed. of five treatises of St. Augustin, Oxford and London, 1885, pp. 1–71.—P.S.] ————————————

How Augustin Writes in Answer to a Favor Asked by a Deacon of Carthage.


Chapter 1.—How Augustin Writes in Answer to a Favor Asked by a Deacon of Carthage.

1. You have requested me, brother Deogratias, to send you in writing something which might be of service to you in the matter of catechising the uninstructed. For you have informed me that in Carthage, where you hold the position of a deacon, persons, who have to be taught the Christian faith from its very rudiments, are frequently brought to you by reason of your enjoying the reputation of possessing a rich gift in catechising, due at once to an intimate acquaintance with the faith, and to an attractive method of discourse; 1331 but that you almost always find yourself in a difficulty as to the manner in which a suitable declaration is to be made of the precise doctrine, the belief of which constitutes us Christians: regarding the point at which our statement of the same ought to commence, and the limit to which it should be allowed to proceed: and with respect to the question whether, when our narration is concluded, we ought to make use of any kind of exhortation, or simply specify those precepts in the observance of which the person to whom we are discoursing may know the Christian life and profession to be maintained. 1332 At the same time, you have made the confession and complaint that it has often befallen you that in the course of a lengthened and languid address you have become profitless and distasteful even to yourself, not to speak of the learner whom you have been endeavoring to instruct by your utterance, and the other parties who have been present as hearers; and that you have been constrained by these straits to put upon me the constraint of that love which I owe to you, so that I may not feel it a burdensome thing among all my engagements to write you something on this subject. 2. As for myself then, if, in the exercise of those capacities which through the bounty of our Lord I am enabled to present, the same Lord requires me to offer any manner of aid to those whom He has made brethren to me, I feel constrained not only by that love and service which is due from me to you on the terms of familiar friendship, but also by that which I owe universally to my mother the Church, by no means to refuse the task, but rather to take it up with a prompt and devoted willingness. For the more extensively I desire to see the treasure of the Lord 1333 distributed, the more does it become my duty, if I ascertain that the stewards, who are my fellow-servants, find any difficulty in laying it out, to do all that


Reading et doctrina fidei et suavitate sermonis, instead of which, however, et doctrinam‌suavitatem,

etc.also occurs, = possessing at once a rich gift in catechising, and an intimate acquaintance with the faith, and an attractive method of discourse, [or, sweetness of language]. 1332

Reading retinerias in the mss. Some editions give retinere= know how to maintain the Christian life

and profession. 1333

Pecuniam Dominicam

How Augustin Writes in Answer to a Favor Asked by a Deacon of Carthage.

lies in my power to the end that they may be able to accomplish easily and expeditiously what they sedulously and earnestly aim at.


How It Often Happens that a Discourse Which Gives Pleasure to the Hearer…

Chapter 2.—How It Often Happens that a Discourse Which Gives Pleasure to the Hearer is Distasteful to the Speaker; And What Explanation is to Be Offered of that Fact. 3. But as regards the idea thus privately entertained by yourself in such efforts, I would not have you to be disturbed by the consideration that you have often appeared to yourself to be delivering a poor and wearisome discourse. For it may very well be the case that the matter has not so presented itself to the person whom you were trying to instruct, but that what you were uttering seemed to you to be unworthy of the ears of others, simply because it was your own earnest desire that there should be something better to listen to. Indeed with me, too, it is almost always the fact that my speech displeases myself. For I am covetous of something better, the possession of which I frequently enjoy within me before I commence to body it forth in intelligible words:1334 and then when my capacities of expression prove inferior to my inner apprehensions, I grieve over the inability which my tongue has betrayed in answering to my heart. For it is my wish that he who hears me should have the same complete understanding of the subject which I have myself; and I perceive that I fail to speak in a manner calculated to effect that, and that this arises mainly from the circumstance that the intellectual apprehension diffuses itself through the mind with something like a rapid flash, whereas the utterance is slow, and occupies time, and is of a vastly different nature, so that, while this latter is moving on, the intellectual apprehension has already withdrawn itself within its secret abodes. Yet, in consequence of its having stamped certain impressions of itself in a marvellous manner upon the memory, these prints endure with the brief pauses of the syllables; 1335 and as the outcome of these same impressions we form intelligible signs,1336 which get the name of a certain language, either the Latin, or the Greek, or the Hebrew, or some other. And these signs may be objects of thought, or they may also be actually uttered by the voice. On the other hand however, the impressions themselves are neither Latin, nor Greek, nor Hebrew, nor peculiar to any other race whatsoever, but are made good in the mind just as looks are in the body. For anger is designated by one word in Latin, by another in Greek, and by different terms in other languages, according to their several diversities. But the look of the angry man is neither (peculiarly) Latin nor (peculiarly) 1337 Greek. Thus it is that when a person says Iratus sum, he is not understood by every nation, but only by the Latins; whereas, if the mood of his mind when it is kindling to wrath comes forth upon the face and affects the look, all who have the individual within their view under284


Verbis sonantibus,—sounding words.


Perdurant illa cum syllabarum morulis


Sonantia signa,—vocal signs.


I am angry.

How It Often Happens that a Discourse Which Gives Pleasure to the Hearer…

stand that he is angry. But, again, it is not in our power to bring out those impressions which the intellectual apprehension stamps upon the memory, and to hold them forth, as it were, to the perception of the hearers by means of the sound of the voice, in any manner parallel to the clear and evident form in which the look appears. For those former are within in the mind, while this latter is without in the body. Wherefore we have to surmise how far the sound of our mouth must be from representing that stroke of the intelligence, seeing that it does not correspond even with the impression produced upon the memory. Now, it is a common occurrence with us that, in the ardent desire to effect what is of profit to our hearer, our aim is to express ourselves to him exactly as our intellectual apprehension is at the time, when, in the very effort, we are failing in the ability to speak; and then, because this does not succeed with us, we are vexed, and we pine in weariness as if we were applying ourselves to vain labors; and, as the result of this very weariness, our discourse becomes itself more languid and pointless even than it was when it first induced such a sense of tediousness. 4. But ofttimes the earnestness of those who are desirous of hearing me shows me that my utterance is not so frigid as it seems to myself to be. From the delight, too, which they exhibit, I gather that they derive some profit from it. And I occupy myself sedulously with the endeavor not to fail in putting before them a service in which I perceive them to take in such good part what is put before them. Even, so, on your side also, the very fact that persons who require to be instructed in the faith are brought so frequently to you, ought to help you to understand that your discourse is not displeasing to others as it is displeasing to yourself; and you ought not to consider yourself unfruitful, simply because you do not succeed in setting forth in such a manner as you desire the things which you discern; for, perchance, you may be just as little able to discern them in the way you wish. For in this life who sees except as “in an enigma and through a glass”? 1338 Neither is love itself of might sufficient to rend the darkness of the flesh, and penetrate into that eternal calm from which even things which pass away derive the light in which they shine. But inasmuch as day by day 285the good are making advances towards the vision of that day, independent of the rolling sky,1339 and without the invasion of the night, “which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man,” 1340 there is no greater reason why our discourse should become valueless in our own estimate, when we are engaged in teaching the uninstructed, than this,—namely, that it is a delight to us to discern in an extraordinary fashion, and a weariness to speak in an ordinary. And in reality we are listened to with much greater satisfaction, indeed, when we ourselves also have pleasure in the same work; for the thread of our address is affected by the very joy of which we ourselves are sensible, and it


1 Cor. xiii. 12


Sine volumine cæli


1 Cor. ii. 9


How It Often Happens that a Discourse Which Gives Pleasure to the Hearer‌

proceeds from us with greater ease and with more acceptance. Consequently, as regards those matters which are recommended as articles of belief, the task is not a difficult one to lay down injunctions, with respect to the points at which the narration should be commenced and ended, or with respect to the method in which the narration is to be varied, so that at one time it may be briefer, at another more lengthened, and yet at all times full and perfect; and, again, with respect to the particular occasions on which it may be right to use the shorter form, and those on which it will be proper to employ the longer. But as to the means by which all is to be done, so that every one may have pleasure in his work when he catechises (for the better he succeeds in this the more attractive will he be),—that is what requires the greatest consideration. And yet we have not far to seek for the precept which will rule in this sphere. For if, in the matter of carnal means, God loves a cheerful giver,1341 how much more so in that of the spiritual? But our security that this cheerfulness may be with us at the seasonable hour, is something dependent upon the mercy of Him who has given us such precepts. Therefore, in accordance with my understanding of what your own wish is, we shall discuss in the first place the subject of the method of narration, then that of the duty of delivering injunction and exhortation, and afterwards that of the attainment of the said cheerfulness, so far as God may furnish us with the ideas.


2 Cor. ix. 7


Of the Full Narration to Be Employed in Catechising.

Chapter 3.—Of the Full Narration to Be Employed in Catechising. 5. The narration is full when each person is catechised in the first instance from what is written in the text, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” 1342 on to the present times of the Church. This does not imply, however, either that we ought to repeat 1343 by memory the entire Pentateuch, and the entire Books of Judges, and Kings, and Esdras, and the entire Gospel and Acts of the Apostles, if we have learned all these word for word; or that we should put all the matters which are contained in these volumes into our own words, and in that manner unfold and expound them as a whole. For neither does the time admit of that, nor does any necessity demand it. But what we ought to do is, to give a comprehensive statement of all things, summarily and generally, so that certain of the more wonderful facts may be selected which are listened to with superior gratification, and which have been ranked so remarkably among the exact turning-points (of the history);1344 that, instead of exhibiting them to view only in their wrappings, if we may so speak, and then instantly snatching them from our sight, we ought to dwell on them for a certain space, and thus, as it were, unfold them and open them out to vision, and present them to the minds of the hearers as things to be examined and admired. But as for all other details, these should be passed over rapidly, and thus far introduced and woven into the narrative. The effect of pursuing this plan is, that the particular facts which we wish to see specially commended to attention obtain greater prominence in consequence of the others being made to yield to them; while, at the same time, neither does the learner, whose interest we are anxious to stimulate by our statement, come to these subjects with a mind already exhausted, nor is confusion induced upon the memory of the person whom we ought to be instructing by our teaching. 6. In all things, indeed, not only ought our own eye to be kept fixed upon the end of the commandment, which is “charity, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned,”1345 to which we should make all that we utter refer; but in like manner ought the gaze of the person whom we are instructing by our utterance to be moved 1346 toward the same, and guided in that direction. And, in truth, for no other reason were all those things which we read in the Holy Scriptures written, previous to the Lord’s advent, but for


Gen. i. 1


In the mss. we also find the reading Ezræ = Ezra.


In ipsis articulis= “among the very articles,” or “connecting links.” Reference is made to certain great

epochs or articles of time in sections 6 and 39. 1345

1 Tim. i. 5


Reading movendus, for which monendus= to be admonished, also occurs in the editions.

Of the Full Narration to Be Employed in Catechising.

this,—namely, that His advent might be pressed upon the attention, and that the Church which was to be, should be intimated beforehand, that is to say, the people of God throughout all nations; which Church is His body, wherewith also are united and numbered all the saints who lived in this world, even before His advent, and who believed then in His future coming, just as we believe in His past coming. For (to use an illustration) Jacob, at the time when he was being born, first put forth from the womb a hand, with which also he held the foot of the brother who was taking priority of him in the act of birth; and next indeed 1347 the head followed, and thereafter, at last, and as matter of course, the rest of the members: while, nevertheless the head in point of dignity and power has precedence, not only of those members which followed it then, but also of the very hand which anticipated it in the process of the birth, and is really the first, although not in the matter of the time of appearing, at least in the order of nature. And in an analogous manner, the Lord Jesus Christ, previous to His appearing in the flesh, and coming forth in a certain manner out of the womb of His secrecy, before the eyes of men as Man, the Mediator between God and men, 1348 “who is over all, God blessed for ever,”1349 sent before Him, in the person of the holy patriarchs and prophets, a certain portion of His body, wherewith, as by a hand, He gave token beforetime of His own approaching birth, and also supplanted 1350 the people who were prior to Him in their pride, using for that purpose the bonds of the law, as if they were His five fingers. 1351 For through five epochs of times there was no cessation in the foretelling and prophesying of His own destined coming; and in a manner consonant with this, he through whom the law was given wrote five books; and proud men, who were carnally minded, and sought to “establish their own righteousness,” 1352 were not filled with blessing by the open hand of Christ, but were debarred from such good by the hand compressed and closed; and therefore their feet were tied, and “they fell, while we are risen, and stand upright.”1353 But although, as I have said, the Lord Christ did thus send before Him a certain portion of His body, in the person of those holy men who came before Him as regards the time of birth, nevertheless He is Himself the Head of the body, the Church, 1354 and all these have been attached to that same body of which He is the head, in virtue of their believing in Him whom they announced prophetically. For they were not sundered (from that body) in consequence of 286


Gen. xxv. 26


1 Tim. ii. 5


Rom. ix. 5


Reading supplantavit. Some mss. give supplantaret= wherewith also He might supplant, etc.


Temporum articulos


Rom. x. 3


Ps. xx. 8


Col. i. 18


Of the Full Narration to Be Employed in Catechising.

fulfilling their course before Him, but rather were they made one with the same by reason of their obedience. For although the hand may be put forward away before the head, still it has its connection beneath the head. Wherefore all things which were written aforetime were written in order that we might be taught thereby, 1355 and were our figures, and happened in a figure in the case of these men. Moreover they were written for our sakes, upon whom the end of the ages has come.1356


Rom. xv. 4


1 Cor. x. 11


That the Great Reason for the Advent of Christ Was the Commendation of …

Chapter 4.—That the Great Reason for the Advent of Christ Was the Commendation of Love. 7. Moreover, what greater reason is apparent for the advent of the Lord than that God might show His love in us, commending it powerfully, inasmuch as “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”?1357 And furthermore, this is with the intent that, inasmuch as charity is “the end of the commandment,” 1358 and “the fulfilling of the law,” 1359 we also may love one another and lay down our life for the brethren, even as He laid down His life for us.1360 And with regard to God Himself, its object is that, even if it were an irksome task to love Him, it may now at least cease to be irksome for us to return His love, seeing that “He first loved us,” 1361 and “spared not His own only Son, but delivered Him up for us all.”1362 For there is no mightier invitation to love than to anticipate in loving; and that soul is over hard which, supposing it unwilling indeed to give love, is unwilling also to give the return of love. But if, even in the case of criminal and sordid loves, we see how those who desire to be loved in return make it their special and absorbing business, by such proofs as are within their power, to render the strength of the love which they themselves bear plain and patent; if we also perceive how they affect to put forward an appearance of justice in what they thus offer, such as may qualify them in some sort to demand that a response be made in all fairness to them on the part of those souls which they are laboring to beguile; if, further, their own passion burns more vehemently when they observe that the minds which they are eager to possess are also moved now by the same fire: if thus, I say, it happens at once that the soul which before was torpid is excited so soon as it feels itself to be loved, 287and that the soul which was enkindled already becomes the more inflamed so soon as it is made cognizant of the return of its own love, it is evident that no greater reason is to be found why love should be either originated or enlarged, than what appears in the occasion when one who as yet loves not at all comes to know himself to be the object of love, or when one who is already a lover either hopes that he may yet be loved in turn, or has by this time the evidence of a response to his affection. And if this holds good even in the case of base loves, how much more 1363 in (true) friendship? For what else have we carefully to attend to in this question touching the injuring of friendship than to this, namely, not to give our 1357

Rom. v. 8, 10


1 Tim. i. 5


Rom. xiii. 10


1 John iii. 16


1 John iv. 10, 19


Rom. viii. 32


Reading quanto plus, for which some mss. give plurius, while in a large number we find purius= with

how much greater purity should it hold good, etc.

That the Great Reason for the Advent of Christ Was the Commendation of …

friend cause to suppose either that we do not love him at all, or that we love him less than he loves us? If, indeed, he is led to entertain this belief, he will be cooler in that love in which men enjoy the interchange of intimacies one with another; and if he is not of that weak type of character to which such an offense to affection will serve as a cause of freezing off from love altogether, he yet confines himself to that kind of affection in which he loves, not with the view of enjoyment to himself, but with the idea of studying the good of others. But again it is worth our while to notice how,—although superiors also have the wish to be loved by their inferiors, and are gratified with the zealous attention 1364 paid to them by such, and themselves cherish greater affection towards these inferiors the more they become cognizant of that,—with what might of love, nevertheless, the inferior kindles so soon as he learns that he is beloved by his superior. For there have we love in its more grateful aspect, where it does not consume itself1365 in the drought of want, but flows forth in the plenteousness of 1366 beneficence. For the former type of love is of misery, the latter of mercy. And furthermore, if the inferior was despairing even of the possibility of his being loved by his superior, he will now be inexpressibly moved to love if the superior has of his own will condescended to show how much he loves this person who could by no means be bold enough to promise himself so great a good. But what is there superior to God in the character of Judge? and what more desperate than man in the character of sinner?—than man, I ask, who had given himself all the more unreservedly up to the wardship and domination of proud powers which are unable to make him blessed, as he had come more absolutely to despair of the possibility of his being an object of interest to that power which wills not to be exalted in wickedness, but is exalted in goodness. 8. If, therefore, it was mainly for this purpose that Christ came, to wit, that man might learn how much God loves him; and that he might learn this, to the intent that he might be kindled to the love of Him by whom he was first loved, and might also love his neighbor at the command and showing of Him who became our neighbor, in that He loved man when, instead of being a neighbor to Him, he was sojourning far apart: if, again, all divine Scripture, which was written aforetime, was written with the view of presignifying the Lord’s advent; and if whatever has been committed to writing in times subsequent to these, and established by divine authority, is a record of Christ, and admonishes us of love, it is manifest that on those two commandments of love to God and love to our neighbor 1367 hang not only all the law and the prophets, which at the time when the Lord spoke to that effect were as yet


Reading studioso…obsequio, for which studiose, etc., also occurs in the editions = are earnestly gratified

with the attention, etc. 1365

Æstuat= burn, heave.


Ex miseria…ex misericordia


Matt. xxii. 40


That the Great Reason for the Advent of Christ Was the Commendation of ‌

the only Holy Scripture, but also all those books of the divine literature which have been written1368 at a later period for our health, and consigned to remembrance. Wherefore, in the Old Testament there is a veiling of the New, and in the New Testament there is a revealing of the Old. According to that veiling, carnal men, understanding things in a carnal fashion, have been under the dominion, both then and now, of a penal fear. According to this revealing, on the other hand, spiritual men,—among whom we reckon at once those then who knocked in piety and found even hidden things opened to them, and others now who seek in no spirit of pride, lest even things uncovered should be closed to them,—understanding in a spiritual fashion, have been made free through the love wherewith they have been gifted. Consequently, inasmuch as there is nothing more adverse to love than envy, and as pride is the mother of envy, the same Lord Jesus Christ, God-man, is both a manifestation of divine love towards us, and an example of human humility with us, to the end that our great swelling might be cured by a greater counteracting remedy. For here is great misery, proud man! But there is greater mercy, a humble God! Take this love, therefore, as the end that is 288set before you, to which you are to refer all that you say, and, whatever you narrate, narrate it in such a manner that he to whom you are discoursing on hearing may believe, on believing may hope, on hoping may love.


Reading conscripta, for which some mss. have consecuta= have followed, and many give consecrata,



That the Person Who Comes for Catechetical Instruction is to Be Examined…

Chapter 5.—That the Person Who Comes for Catechetical Instruction is to Be Examined with Respect to His Views, on Desiring to Become a Christian. 9. Moreover, it is on the gound of that very severity of God,1369 by which the hearts of mortals are agitated with a most wholesome terror, that love is to be built up; so that, rejoicing that he is loved by Him whom he fears, man may have boldness to love Him in return, and yet at the same time be afraid to displease His love toward himself, even should he be able to do so with impunity. For certainly it very rarely happens, nay, I should rather say, never, that any one approaches us with the wish to become a Christian who has not been smitten with some sort of fear of God. For if it is in the expectation of some advantage from men whom he deems himself unlikely to please in any other way, or with the idea of escaping any disadvantage at the hands of men of whose displeasure or hostility he is seriously afraid, that a man wishes to become a Christian, then his wish to become one is not so earnest as his desire to feign one. 1370 For faith is not a matter of the body which does obeisance, 1371 but of the mind which believes. But unmistakeably it is often the case that the mercy of God comes to be present through the ministry of the catechiser, so that, affected by the discourse, the man now wishes to become in reality that which he had made up his mind only to feign. And so soon as he begins to have this manner of desire, we may judge him then to have made a genuine approach to us. It is true, indeed, that the precise time when a man, whom 1372 we perceive to be present with us already in the body, comes to us in reality with his mind, is a thing hidden from us. But, notwithstanding that, we ought to deal with him in such a manner that this wish may be made to arise within him, even should it not be there at present. For no such labor is lost, inasmuch as, if there is any wish at all, it is assuredly strengthened by such action on our part, although we may be ignorant of the time or the hour at which it began. It is useful certainly, if it can be done, to get from those who know the man some idea beforehand of the state of mind in which he is, or of the causes which have induced him to come with the view of embracing religion. But if there is no other person available from whom we may gather such information, then, indeed, the man himself is to be interrogated, so that from what he says in reply we may draw the beginning of our discourse. Now if he has come with a false heart, desirous only of human advantages or thinking to escape disadvantages, he will certainly speak what is untrue. Nevertheless, the very untruth which he utters should be made the point from which we start. This should not be done, 1369

De ipsa etiam severitate Dei…caritas ædificanda est


Non fieri vult potius quam fingere


Or = “signifying assent by its motions,” adopting the reading of the best mss., viz. salutantis corporis.

Some editions give salvandi, while certain mss. have salutis, and others saltantis. 1372

Reading quando veniat animo, for which quo veniat animoalso occurs = the mind in which a man

comes…is a matter hidden from us.

That the Person Who Comes for Catechetical Instruction is to Be Examined‌

however, with the (open) intention of confuting his falsehood, as if that were a settled matter with you; but, taking it for granted that he has professed to have come with a purpose which is really worthy of approbation (whether that profession be true or false), it should rather be our aim to commend and praise such a purpose as that with which, in his reply, he has declared himself to have come; so that we may make him feel it a pleasure to be the kind of man actually that he wishes to seem to be. On the other hand, supposing him to have given a declaration of his views other than what ought to be before the mind of one who is to be instructed in the Christian faith, then by reproving him with more than usual kindness and gentleness, as a person uninstructed and ignorant, by pointing out and commending, concisely and in a grave spirit the end of Christian doctrine in its genuine reality, and by doing all this in such a manner as neither to anticipate the times of a narration, which should be given subsequently, nor to venture to impose that kind of statement upon a mind not previously set for it, you may bring him to desire that which, either in mistake or in dissimulation, he has not been desiring up to this stage.


Of the Way to Commence the Catechetical Instruction, and of the Narration…

Chapter 6.—Of the Way to Commence the Catechetical Instruction, and of the Narration of Facts from the History of the World’s Creation on to the Present Times of the Church. 10. But if it happens that his answer is to the effect that he has met with some divine warning, or with some divine terror, prompting him to become a Christian, this opens up the way most satisfactorily for a commencement to our discourse, by suggesting the greatness 289of God’s interest in us. His thoughts, however, ought certainly to be turned away from this line of things, whether miracles or dreams, and directed to the more solid path and the surer oracles of the Scriptures; so that he may also come to understand how mercifully that warning was administered to him in advance,1373 previous to his giving himself to the Holy Scriptures. And assuredly it ought to be pointed out to him, that the Lord Himself would neither thus have admonished him and urged him on to become a Christian, and to be incorporated into the Church, nor have taught him by such signs or revelations, had it not been His will that, for his greater safety and security, he should enter upon a pathway already prepared in the Holy Scriptures, in which he should not seek after visible miracles, but learn the habit of hoping for things invisible, and in which also he should receive monitions not in sleep but in wakefulness. At this point the narration ought now to be commenced, which should start with the fact that God made all things very good, 1374 and which should be continued, as we have said, on to the present times of the Church. This should be done in such a manner as to give, for each of the affairs and events which we relate, causes and reasons by which we may refer them severally to that end of love from which neither the eye of the man who is occupied in doing anything, nor that of the man who is engaged in speaking, ought to be turned away. For if, even in handling the fables of the poets, which are but fictitious creations and things devised for the pleasure 1375 of minds whose food is found in trifles, those grammarians who have the reputation and the name of being good do nevertheless endeavor to bring them to bear upon some kind of (assumed) use, although that use itself may be only something vain and grossly bent upon the coarse nutriment of this world: 1376 how much more careful does it become us to be, not to let those genuine verities which we narrate, in consequence of any want of a well-considered account of their causes, be accepted either with a gratification which issues in no practical good, or, still less, with a cupidity which may prove hurtful! At the same time, we are not to set forth these causes in such a manner as to leave the proper course of our narration, and let our heart


Prærogata sit


Gen. i. 31


Reading ad voluptatem. But many mss. give ad voluntatem= according to the inclination, etc.


Avidam saginæ sœcularis

Of the Way to Commence the Catechetical Instruction, and of the Narration‌

and our tongue indulge in digressions into the knotty questions of more intricate discussion. 1377 But the simple truth of the explanation which we adduce ought to be like the gold which binds together a row of gems, and yet does not interfere with the choice symmetry of the ornament by any undue intrusion of itself.1378


Reading veritas adhibitœ rationis, for which we also find adhibita rationis= the applied truth, etc.; and

adhibita rationi= the truth applied to our explanation. 1378

Non tamen ornamenti seriem ulla immoderatione perturbans


Of the Exposition of the Resurrection, the Judgment, and Other Subjects,…

Chapter 7.—Of the Exposition of the Resurrection, the Judgment, and Other Subjects, Which Should Follow This Narration. 11. On the completion of this narration, the hope of the resurrection should be set forth, and, so far as the capacity and strength of the hearer will bear it, and so far also as the measure of time at our disposal will allow, we ought to handle our arguments against the vain scoffings of unbelievers on the subject of the resurrection of the body, as well as on that of the future judgment, with its goodness in relation to the good, its severity in relation to the evil, its truth in relation to all. And after the penalties of the impious have thus been declared with detestation and horror, then the kingdom of the righteous and faithful, and that supernal city and its joy, should form the next themes for our discourse. At this point, moreover, we ought to equip and animate the weakness of man in withstanding temptations and offenses, whether these emerge without or rise within the church itself; without, as in opposition to Gentiles, or Jews, or heretics; within, on the other hand, as in opposition to the chaff of the Lord’s threshing-floor. It is not meant, however, that we are to dispute against each several type of perverse men, and that all their wrong opinions are to be refuted by set arrays of argumentations: but, in a manner suitable to a limited allowance of time, we ought to show how all this was foretold, and to point out of what service temptations are in the training of the faithful, and what relief 1379 there is in the example of the patience of God, who has resolved to permit them even to the end. But, again, while he is being furnished against these (adversaries), whose perverse multitudes fill the churches so far as bodily presence is concerned, the precepts of a Christian and honorable manner of life should also be briefly and befittingly detailed at the same time, to the intent that he may neither allow himself to be easily led astray in this way, by any who are drunkards, covetous, fraudulent, gamesters, adulterers, fornicators, lovers of public spectacles, wearers of unholy charms, 290sorcerers, astrologers, or diviners practising any sort of vain and wicked arts, and all other parties of a similar character; nor to let himself fancy that any such course may be followed with impunity on his part, simply because he sees many who are called Christians loving these things, and engaging themselves with them, and defending them, and recommending them, and actually persuading others to their use. For as to the end which is appointed for those who persist in such a mode of life, and as to the method in which they are to be borne with in the church itself, out of which they are destined to be separated in the end,—these are subjects in which the learner ought to be instructed by means of the testimonies of the divine books. He should also, however, be informed beforehand that he will find in the church many good Christians, most genuine citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, if he sets about being such himself. And, finally, he must be sedulously warned against letting his hope rest on man. For it is not a matter that can be easily judged by man, what man is



Of the Exposition of the Resurrection, the Judgment, and Other Subjects,窶ヲ

righteous. And even were this a matter which could be easily done, still the object with which the examples of righteous men are set before us is not that we may be justified by them, but that, as we imitate them, we may understand how we ourselves also are justified by their Justifier. For the issue of this will be something which must merit the highest approval,窶馬amely this, that when the person who is hearing us, or rather, who is hearing God by us, has begun to make some progress in moral qualities and in knowledge, and to enter upon the way of Christ with ardor, he will not be so bold as to ascribe the change either to us or to himself; but he will love both himself and us, and whatever other persons he loves as friends, in Him, and for His sake who loved him when he was an enemy, in order that He might justify him and make him a friend. And now that we have advanced thus far, I do not think that you need any preceptor to tell you how you should discuss matters briefly, when either your own time or that of those who are hearing you is occupied; and how, on the other hand, you should discourse at greater length when there is more time at your command. For the very necessity of the case recommends this, apart from the counsel of any adviser.


Of the Method to Be Pursued in Catechising Those Who Have Had a Liberal‌

Chapter 8.—Of the Method to Be Pursued in Catechising Those Who Have Had a Liberal Education. 12. But there is another case which evidently must not be overlooked. I mean the case of one coming to you to receive catchetical instruction who has cultivated the field of liberal studies, who has already made up his mind to be a Christian, and who has betaken himself to you for the express purpose of becoming one. It can scarcely fail to be the fact that a person of this character has already acquired a considerable knowledge of our Scriptures and literature; and, furnished with this, he may have come now simply with the view of being made a partaker in the sacraments. For it is customary with men of this class to inquire carefully into all things, not at the very time when they are made Christians, but previous to that, and thus early also to communicate and reason, with any whom they can reach, on the subject of the feelings of their own minds. Consequently a brief method of procedure 1380 should be adopted with these, so as not to inculcate on them, in an odious fashion things which they know already, but to pass over these with a light and modest touch. Thus we should say how we believe that they are already familiar with this and the other subject, and that we therefore simply reckon up in a cursory manner all those facts which require to be formally urged upon the attention of the uninstructed and unlearned. And we should endeavor so to proceed, that, supposing this man of culture to have been previously acquainted with any one of our themes, he may not hear it now as from a teacher; and that, in the event of his being still ignorant of any of them, he may yet learn the same while we are going over the things with which we understand him to be already familiar. Moreover, it is certainly not without advantage to interrogate the man himself as to the means by which he was induced to desire to be a Christian; so that, if you discover him to have been moved to that decision by books, whether they be the canonical writings or the compositions of literary men worth the studying, 1381 you may say something about these at the outset, expressing your approbation of them in a manner which may suit the distinct merits which they severally possess, in respect of canonical authority and of skillfully applied diligence on the part of these expounders;1382 and, in the case of the canonical Scriptures, commending above all the most salutary modesty (of language) displayed alongside their wonderful loftiness (of 291subject); while, in those other productions you notice, in accordance with the characteristic faculty of each several writer, a style of a more sonorous and, as it were more rounded eloquence adapted to minds that are prouder, and, by reason thereof weaker. We should certainly also elicit from him some account of himself, so that he may give us to understand what writer he chiefly perused, and with what books he was more familiarly conversant, as these 1380

Reading odiose, for which several mss. give otiose= idly.


Utilium tractatorum


Reading exponentium. Various codices give ad exponendum= in expounding.

Of the Method to Be Pursued in Catechising Those Who Have Had a Liberal‌

were the means of moving him to wish to be associated with the church. And when he has given us this information, then if the said books are known to us, or if we have at least ecclesiastical report as our warrant for taking them to have been written by some catholic man of note, we should joyfully express our approbation. But if, on the other hand, he has fallen upon the productions of some heretic and in ignorance, it may be, has retained in his mind anything which 1383 the true faith condemns, and yet supposes it to be catholic doctrine, then we must set ourselves sedulously to teach him, bringing before him (in its rightful superiority) the authority of the Church universal, and of other most learned men reputed both for their disputations and for their writings in (the cause of) its truth.1384 At the same time, it is to be admitted that even those who have departed this life as genuine catholics, and have left to posterity some Christian writings, in certain passages of their small works, either in consequence of their failing to be understood, or (as the way is with human infirmity) because they lack ability to pierce into the deeper mysteries with the eye of the mind, and in (pursuing) the semblance of what is true, wander from the truth itself, have proved an occasion to the presumptuous and audacious for constructing and generating some heresy. This, however, is not to be wondered at, when, even in the instance of the canonical writings themselves, where all things have been expressed in the soundest manner, we see how it has happened,—not indeed through merely taking certain passages in a sense different from that which the writer had in view or which is consistent with the truth itself, (for if this were all, who would not gladly pardon human infirmity, when it exhibits a readiness to accept correction?), but by persistently defending, with the bitterest vehemence and in impudent arrogance, opinions which they have taken up in perversity and error,—many have given birth to many pernicious dogmas at the cost of rending the unity of the (Christian) communion. All these subjects we should discuss in modest conference with the individual who makes his approach to the society of the Christian people, not in the character of an uneducated man,1385 as they say, but in that of one who has passed through a finished culture and training in the books of the learned. And in enjoining him to guard against the errors of presumption, we should assume only so much authority as that humility of his, which induced him to come to us, is now felt to admit of. As to other things, moreover, in accordance with the rules of saving doctrine, which require to be narrated or discussed, whether they be matters relating to the faith, or questions bearing on the moral life, or others dealing


Reading quod, with Marriott. But if we accept quodwith the Benedictine editors, the sense will = and

in ignorance it may be that the true faith condemns them, has retained them in his mind. 1384

Aliorumque doctissimorum hominum et disputationibus et scriptionibus in ejus veritate florentium. It

may also be = bringing before him the authority of the Church universal, as well as both the disputations and the writings of other most learned men well reputed in (the cause of) its truth. 1385



Of the Method to Be Pursued in Catechising Those Who Have Had a Liberal‌

with temptations, all these should be gone through in the manner which I have indicated, and ought therein to be referred to the more excellent way (already noticed).1386


1 Cor. xii. 31. See also above, § 9.


Of the Method in Which Grammarians and Professional Speakers are to Be Dealt…

Chapter 9.—Of the Method in Which Grammarians and Professional Speakers are to Be Dealt with. 13. There are also some who come from the commonest schools of the grammarians and professional speakers, whom you may not venture to reckon either among the uneducated or among those very learned classes whose minds have been exercised in questions of real magnitude. When such persons, therefore, who appear to be superior to the rest of mankind, so far as the art of speaking is concerned, approach you with the view of becoming Christians, it will be your duty in your communications with them, in a higher degree than in your dealings with those other illiterate hearers, to make it plain that they are to be diligently admonished to clothe themselves with Christian humility, and learn not to despise individuals whom they may discover keeping themselves free from vices of conduct more carefully than from faults of language; and also that they ought not to presume so much as to compare with a pure heart the practised tongue which they were accustomed even to put in preference. But above all, such persons should be taught to listen to the divine Scriptures, so that they may neither deem solid eloquence to be mean, merely because it is not inflated, 292nor suppose that the words or deeds of men, of which we read the accounts in those books, involved and covered as they are in carnal wrappings, 1387 are not to be drawn forth and unfolded with a view to an (adequate) understanding of them, but are to be taken merely according to the sound of the letter. And as to this same matter of the utility of the hidden meaning, the existence of which is the reason why they are called also mysteries, the power wielded by these intricacies of enigmatical utterances in the way of sharpening our love for the truth, and shaking off the torpor of weariness, is a thing which the persons in question must have made good to them by actual experience, when some subject which failed to move them when it was placed baldly before them, has its significance elicited by the detailed working out of an allegorical sense. For it is in the highest degree useful to such men to come to know how ideas are to be preferred to words, just as the soul is preferred to the body. And from this, too, it follows that they ought to have the desire to listen to discourses remarkable for their truth, rather than to those which are notable for their eloquence; just as they ought to be anxious to have friends distinguished for their wisdom, rather than those whose chief merit is their beauty. They should also understand that there is no voice for the ears of God save the affection of the soul. For thus they will not act the mocker if they happen to observe any of the prelates and ministers of the Church either calling upon God in language marked by barbarisms and solecisms, or failing in understanding correctly the very words which they are pronouncing, and making confused pauses. 1388 It is not meant, of course, that such faults are not to be corrected, so that the people may say “Amen” to something 1387

Carnalibus integumentis involuta atque operta


Or = confusing the sense by false pauses: perturbateque distinguere.

Of the Method in Which Grammarians and Professional Speakers are to Be Dealt‌

which they plainly understand; but what is intended is, that such things should be piously borne with by those who have come to understand how, as in the forum it is in the sound, so in the church it is in the desire that the grace of speech resides.1389 Therefore that of the forum may sometimes be called good speech, but never gracious speech. 1390 Moreover, with respect to the sacrament which they are about to receive, it is enough for the more intelligent simply to hear what the thing signifies. But with those of slower intellect, it will be necessary to adopt a somewhat more detailed explanation, together with the use of similitudes, to prevent them from despising what they see.


Ut sono in foro, sic voto in ecclesia benedici


Bona dictio, nunquam tamen benedictio


Of the Attainment of Cheerfulness in the Duty of Catechising, and of Various…

Chapter 10.—Of the Attainment of Cheerfulness in the Duty of Catechising, and of Various Causes Producing Weariness in the Catechumen. 14. At this point you perhaps desiderate some example of the kind of discourse intended, so that I may show you by an actual instance how the things which I have recommended are to be done. This indeed I shall do, so far as by God’s help I shall be able. But before proceeding to that, it is my duty, in consistency with what I have promised, to speak of the acquisition of the cheerfulness (to which I have alluded). For as regards the matter of the rules in accordance with which your discourse should be set forth, in the case of the catechetical instruction of a person who comes with the express view of being made a Christian, I have already made good, as far as has appeared sufficient, the promise which I made. And surely I am under no obligation at the same time to do myself in this volume that which I enjoin as the right thing to be done. Consequently, if I do that, it will have the value of an overplus. But how can the overplus be super-added by me before I have filled up the measure of what is due? Besides, one thing which I have heard you make the subject of your complaint above all others, is the fact that your discourse seemed to yourself to be poor and spiritless when you were instructing any one in the Christian name. Now this, I know, results not so much from want of matter to say, with which I am well aware you are sufficiently provided and furnished, or from poverty of speech itself, as rather from weariness of mind. And that may spring either from the cause of which I have already spoken, namely, the fact that our intelligence is better pleased and more thoroughly arrested by that which we perceive in silence in the mind, and that we have no inclination to have our attention called off from it to a noise of words coming far short of representing it; or from the circumstance that even when discourse is pleasant, we have more delight in hearing or reading things which have been expressed in a superior manner, and which are set forth without any care or anxiety on our part, than in putting together, with a view to the comprehension of others, words suddenly conceived, and leaving it an uncertain issue, on the one hand, whether such terms occur to us as adequately represent the sense, and on the other, whether they be accepted 293in such a manner as to profit; or yet again, from the consideration that, in consequence of their being now thoroughly familiar to ourselves, and no longer necessary to our own advancement, it becomes irksome to us to be recurring very frequently to those matters which are urged upon the uninstructed, and our mind, as being by this time pretty well matured, moves with no manner of pleasure in the circle of subjects so well-worn, and, as it were, so childish. A sense of weariness is also induced upon the speaker when he has a hearer who remains unmoved, either in that he is actually not stirred by any feeling, or in that he does not indicate by any motion of the body that he understands or that he is pleased with what is said.1391 Not that it is a becoming disposition in us to be greedy of the praises of men,


The sentence, “either in that he is actually not stirred…by what is said,” is omitted in many mss.

Of the Attainment of Cheerfulness in the Duty of Catechising, and of Various…

but that the things which we minister are of God; and the more we love those to whom we discourse, the more desirous are we that they should be pleased with the matters which are held forth for their salvation: so that if we do not succeed in this, we are pained, and we are weakened, and become broken-spirited in the midst of our course, as if we were wasting our efforts to no purpose. Sometimes, too, when we are drawn off from some matter which we are desirous to go on with, and the transaction of which was a pleasure to us, or appeared to be more than usually needful, and when we are compelled, either by the command of a person whom we are unwilling to offend, or by the importunity of some parties that we find it impossible to get rid of, to instruct any one catechetically, in such circumstances we approach a duty for which great calmness is indispensable with minds already perturbed, and grieving at once that we are not permitted to keep that order which we desire to observe in our actions, and that we cannot possibly be competent for all things; and thus out of very heaviness our discourse as it advances is less of an attraction, because, starting from the arid soil of dejection, it goes on less flowingly. Sometimes, too, sadness has taken possession of our heart in consequence of some offense or other, and at that very time we are addressed thus: “Come, speak with this person; he desires to become a Christian.” For they who thus address us do it in ignorance of the hidden trouble which is consuming us within. So it happens that, if they are not the persons to whom it befits us to open up our feelings, we undertake with no sense of pleasure what they desire; and then, certainly, the discourse will be languid and unenjoyable which is transmitted through the agitated and fuming channel of a heart in that condition. Consequently, seeing there are so many causes serving to cloud the calm serenity of our minds, in accordance with God’s will we must seek remedies for them, such as may bring us relief from these feelings of heaviness, and help us to rejoice in fervor of spirit, and to be jocund in the tranquility of a good work. “For God loveth a cheerful giver.”1392 15. Now if the cause of our sadness lies in the circumstance that our hearer does not apprehend what we mean, so that we have to come down in a certain fashion from the elevation of our own conceptions, and are under the necessity of dwelling long in the tedious processes of syllables which come far beneath the standard of our ideas, and have anxiously to consider how that which we ourselves take in with a most rapid draught of mental apprehension is to be given forth by the mouth of flesh in the long and perplexed intricacies of its method of enunciation; and if the great dissimilarity thus felt (between our utterance and our thought) makes it distasteful to us to speak, and a pleasure to us to keep silence, then let us ponder what has been set before us by Him who has “showed us an example that we should follow His steps.” 1393 For however much our articulate speech may differ from


2 Cor. ix. 7


1 Pet. ii. 21


Of the Attainment of Cheerfulness in the Duty of Catechising, and of Various…

the vivacity of our intelligence, much greater is the difference of the flesh of mortality from the equality of God. And, neverless, “although He was in the same form, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant,”—and so on down to the words “the death of the cross.” 1394 What is the explanation of this but that He made Himself “weak to the weak, in order that He might gain the weak?”1395 Listen to His follower as he expresses himself also in another place to this effect: “For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God; or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge that He died for all.”1396 And how, indeed, should one be ready to be spent for their souls,1397 if he should find it irksome to him to bend himself to their ears? For this reason, therefore, He 1398 294became a little child in the midst of us, (and) like a nurse cherishing her children. For is it a pleasure to lisp shortened and broken words, unless love invites us? And yet men desire to have infants to whom they have to do that kind of service; and it is a sweeter thing to a mother to put small morsels of masticated food into her little son’s mouth, than to eat up and devour larger pieces herself. In like manner, accordingly, let not the thought of the hen1399 recede from your heart, who covers her tender brood with her drooping feathers, and with broken voice calls her chirping young ones to her, while they that turn away from her fostering wings in their pride become a prey to birds. For if intelligence brings delights in its purest recesses, it should also be a delight to us to have an intelligent understanding of the manner in which charity, the more complaisantly it descends to the lowest objects, finds its way back, with all the greater vigor to those that are most secret, along the course of a good conscience which witnesses that it has sought nothing from those to whom it has descended except their everlasting salvation.


Phil. ii. 17. The form in which the quotation is given above, with the omission of the intermediate clauses,

is due probably to the copyist, and not to Augustin himself. The words left out are given thus in the Serm. XLVII on Ezekiel xxxiv.: “Being made in the likeness of men, and being found in the fashion of a man: He humbled Himself, being made obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” [See R.V.] 1395

Cf. 1 Cor. ix. 22


2 Cor. v. 13, 14


Cf. 2 Cor. xii. 15


Cf. 1 Thess. ii. 7


Illius gallinœ,—in reference to Matt. xxiii. 37


Of the Remedy for the Second Source of Weariness.

Chapter 11.—Of the Remedy for the Second Source of Weariness. 16. If, however, it is rather our desire to read or hear such things as are already prepared for our use and expressed in a superior style, and if the consequence is that we feel it irksome to put together, at the time and with an uncertain issue, the terms of discourse on our own side, then, provided only that our mind does not wander off from the truth of the facts themselves, it is an easy matter for the hearer, if he is offended by anything in our language, to come to see in that very circumstance how little value should be set, supposing the subject itself to be rightly understood, upon the mere fact that there may have been some imperfection or some inaccuracy in the literal expressions, which were employed indeed simply with the view of securing a correct apprehension of the subject-matter. But if the bent of human infirmity has wandered off from the truth of the facts themselves,—although in the catechetical instruction of the unlearned, where we have to keep by the most beaten track, that cannot occur very readily,—still, lest haply it should turn out that our hearer finds cause of offence even in this direction, we ought not to deem this to have come upon us in any other way than as the issue of God’s own wish to put us to the test with respect to our readiness to receive correction in calmness of mind, so as not to rush headlong, in the course of a still greater error, into the defense of our error. But if, again, no one has told us of it, and if the thing has altogether escaped our own notice, as well as the observation of our hearers, then there is nothing to grieve over, provided only the same thing does not occur a second time. For the most part, however, when we recall what we have said, we ourselves discover something to find fault with, and are ignorant of the manner in which it was received when it was uttered; and so when charity is fervent within us, we are the more vexed if the thing, while really false, has been received with unquestioning acceptance. This being the case, then, whenever an opportunity occurs, as we have been finding fault with ourselves in silence, we ought in like manner to see to it that those persons be also set right on the subject in a considerate method, who have fallen into some sort of error, not by the words of God, but plainly by those used by us. If, on the other hand, there are any who, blinded by insensate spite, rejoice that we have committed a mistake, whisperers as they are, and slanderers, and “hateful to God,” 1400 such characters should afford us matter for the exercise of patience with pity, inasmuch as also the “patience of God leadeth them to repentance.”1401 For what is more detestable, and what more likely to “treasure up wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” 1402 than to rejoice, after the evil likeness and pattern of the devil, in the evil of another? At times, too, even when all is correctly and truly spoken, either something which has not been understood, or something which, as being


Cf. Rom. i. 30


Rom. ii. 4. [See R.V.]


Rom. ii. 5

Of the Remedy for the Second Source of Weariness.

opposed to the idea and wont of an old error, seems harsh in its very novelty, offends and disturbs the hearer. But if this becomes apparent, and if the person shows himself capable of being set right, he should be set right without any delay by the use of abundance of authorities and reasons. On the other hand, if the offense is tacit and hidden, the medicine of God is the effective remedy for it. And if, again, the person starts back and declines to be cured, we should comfort ourselves with that example of our Lord, who, when men were offended at His word, and shrank from it as a hard saying, addressed Himself at the same time to those who had remained, in these terms, “Will ye also go away?” 1403 For it ought 295to be retained as a thoroughly “fixed and immovable” position in our heart, that Jerusalem which is in captivity is set free from the Babylon of this world when the times have run their course, and that none belonging to her shall perish: for whoever may perish was not of her. “For the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His; and, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”1404 If we ponder these things, and call upon the Lord to come into our heart, we shall be less apprehensive of the uncertain issues of our discourse, consequent on the uncertain feelings of our hearers; and the very endurance of vexations in the cause of a work of mercy will also be something pleasant to us, if we seek not our own glory in the same. For then is a work truly good, when the aim of the doer gets its impetus from charity,1405 and, as if returning to its own place, rests again in charity. Moreover, the reading which delights us, or any listening to an eloquence superior to our own, the effect of which is to make us inclined to set a greater value upon it than upon the discourse which we ourselves have to deliver, and so to lead us to speak with a reluctant or tedious utterance, will come upon us in a happier spirit, and will be found to be more enjoyable after labor. Then, too, with a stronger confidence shall we pray to God to speak to us as we wish, if we cheerfully submit to let Him speak by us as we are able. Thus is it brought about that all things come together for good to them that love God.1406


John vi. 67


2 Tim. ii. 19


A caritate jaculatur


Concurrant in bonumRom. viii. 28


Of the Remedy for the Third Source of Weariness.

Chapter 12.—Of the Remedy for the Third Source of Weariness. 17. Once more, however, we often feel it very wearisome to go over repeatedly matters which are thoroughly familiar, and adapted (rather) to children. If this is the case with us, then we should endeavor to meet them with a brother’s, a father’s, and a mother’s love; and, if we are once united with them thus in heart, to us no less than to them will these things seem new. For so great is the power of a sympathetic disposition of mind, that, as they are affected while we are speaking, and we are affected while they are learning, we have our dwelling in each other; and thus, at one and the same time, they as it were in us speak what they hear, and we in them learn after a certain fashion what we teach. Is it not a common occurrence with us, that when we show to persons, who have never seen them, certain spacious and beautiful tracts, either in cities or in fields, which we have been in the habit of passing by without any sense of pleasure, simply because we have become so accustomed to the sight of them, we find our own enjoyment renewed in their enjoyment of the novelty of the scene? And this is so much the more our experience in proportion to the intimacy of our friendship with them; because, just as we are in them in virtue of the bond of love, in the same degree do things become new to us which previously were old. But if we ourselves have made any considerable progress in the contemplative study of things, it is not our wish that those whom we love should simply be gratified and astonished as they gaze upon the works of men’s hands; but it becomes our wish to lift them to (the contemplation of) the very skill1407 or wisdom of their author, and from this to (see them) rise to the admiration and praise of the all-creating God, with whom 1408 is the most fruitful end of love. How much more, then, ought we to be delighted when men come to us with the purpose already formed of obtaining the knowledge of God Himself, with a view to (the knowledge of) whom all things should be learned which are to be learned! And how ought we to feel ourselves renewed in their newness (of experience), so that if our ordinary preaching is somewhat frigid, it may rise to fresh warmth under (the stimulus of) their extraordinary hearing! There is also this additional consideration to help us in the attainment of gladness, namely, that we ponder and bear in mind out of what death of error the man is passing over into the life of faith. And if we walk through streets which are most familiar to us, with a beneficent cheerfulness, when we happen to be pointing out the way to some individual who had been in distress in consequence of missing his direction, how much more should be the alacrity of spirit, and how much greater the joy with which, in the matter of saving doctrine, we ought to traverse again and again even those tracks which, so far as we are ourselves concerned, there is no need to open up any more; seeing that we are leading a miserable soul,


Some editions read arcem= stronghold, instead of artem.


Or = wherein: ubi.

Of the Remedy for the Third Source of Weariness.

and one worn out with the devious courses of this world, through the paths of peace, at the command of Him who made that peace1409 good to us!


Instead of eam, the reading ea= those things, also occurs.


Of the Remedy for the Fourth Source of Weariness.


Chapter 13.—Of the Remedy for the Fourth Source of Weariness.

18. But in good truth it is a serious demand to make upon us, to continue discoursing on to the set limit when we fail to see our hearer in any degree moved; whether it be that, under the restraints of the awe of religion, he has not the boldness to signify his approval by voice or by any movement of his body, or that he is kept back by the modesty proper to man,1410 or that he does not understand our sayings, or that he counts them of no value. Since, then, this must be a matter of uncertainty to us, as we cannot discern his mind, it becomes our duty in our discourse to make trial of all things which may be of any avail in stirring him up and drawing him forth as it were from his place of concealment. For that sort of fear which is excessive, and which obstructs the declaration of his judgment, ought to be dispelled by the force of kindly exhortation; and by bringing before him the consideration of our brotherly affinity, we should temper his reverence for us; and by questioning him, we should ascertain whether he understands what is addressed to him; and we should impart to him a sense of confidence, so that he may give free expression to any objection which suggests itself to him. We should at the same time ask him whether he has already listened to such themes on some previous occasion, and whether perchance they fail to move him now in consequence of their being to him like things well known and commonplace. And we ought to shape our course in accordance with his answer, so as either to speak in a simpler style and with greater detail of explanation, or to refute some antagonistic opinion, or, instead of attempting any more diffuse exposition of the subjects which are known to him, to give a brief summary of these, and to select some of those matters which are handled in a mystical manner in the holy books, and especially in the historical narrative, the unfolding and setting forth of which may make our addresses more attractive. But if the man is of a very sluggish disposition, and if he is senseless, and without anything in common with all such sources of pleasure, then we must simply bear with him in a compassionate spirit; and, after briefly going over other points, we ought to impress upon him, in a manner calculated to inspire him with awe, the truths which are most indispensable on the subject of the unity of the Catholic Church, 1411 on that of temptation, on that of a Christian conversation in view of the future judgment; and we ought rather to address ourselves to God for him than address much to him concerning God. 19. It is likewise a frequent occurrence that one who at first listened to us with all readiness, becomes exhausted either by the effort of hearing or by standing, and now no longer commends what is said, but gapes and yawns, and even unwillingly exhibits a disposition to depart. When we observe that, it becomes our duty to refresh his mind by saying something


Or = by the reverence which he feels for the man: humana verecundia.


The text gives simply Catholicæ. One ms. has Catholicæ fidei= the Catholic faith. But it is most natural

to supply Ecclesiæ.

Of the Remedy for the Fourth Source of Weariness.

seasoned with an honest cheerfulness and adapted to the matter which is being discussed, or something of a very wonderful and amazing order, or even, it may be, something of a painful and mournful nature. Whatever we thus say may be all the better if it affects himself more immediately, so that the quick sense of self-concern may keep his attention on the alert. At the same time, however, it should not be of the kind to offend his spirit of reverence by any harshness attaching to it; but it should be of a nature fitted rather to conciliate him by the friendliness which it breathes. Or else, we should relieve him by accommodating him with a seat, although unquestionably matters will be better ordered if from the outset, whenever that can be done with propriety, he sits and listens. And indeed in certain of the churches beyond the sea, with a far more considerate regard to the fitness of things, not only do the prelates sit when they address the people, but they also themselves put down seats for the people, lest any person of enfeebled strength should become exhausted by standing, and thus have his mind diverted from the most wholesome purport (of the discourse), or even be under the necessity of departing. And yet it is one thing if it be simply some one out of a great multitude who withdraws in order to recruit his strength, he being also already under the obligations which result from participation in the sacraments; and it is quite another thing if the person withdrawing is one (inasmuch as it is usually the case in these circumstances that the man is unavoidably urged to that course by the fear that he should even fall, overcome by internal weakness) who has to be initiated in the first sacraments; for a person in this position is at once restrained by the sense of shame from stating the reason of his going, and not permitted to stand through the force of his weakness. This I speak from experience. For this was the case with a certain individual, a man from the 297country, when I was instructing him catechetically: and from his instance I have learned that this kind of thing is carefully to be guarded against. For who can endure our arrogance when we fail to make men who are our brethren,1412 or even those who are not yet in that relation to us (for our solicitude then should be all the greater to get them to become our brethren), to be seated in our presence, seeing that even a woman sat as she listened to our Lord Himself, in whose service the angels stand alert? 1413 Of course if the address is to be but short, or if the place is not well adapted for sitting, they should listen standing. But that should be the case only when there are many hearers, and when they are not to be formally admitted1414 at the time. For when the audience consists only of one or two, or a few, who have come with the express purpose of being made Christians, there is a risk in speaking to them standing. Nevertheless, supposing that we have once begun in that manner, we ought at least, whenever we observe signs of weariness on the part of the hearer, to offer him the


Instead of viros fratres, some veros fratres= our genuine brethren.


Luke x. 39


Initiandi= initiated.


Of the Remedy for the Fourth Source of Weariness.

liberty of being seated; nay more, we should urge him by all means to sit down, and we ought to drop some remark calculated at once to refresh him and to banish from his mind any anxiety which may have chanced to break in upon him and draw off his attention. For inasmuch as the reasons why he remains silent and declines to listen cannot be certainly known to us, now that he is seated we may speak to some extent against the incidence of thoughts about worldly affairs, delivering ourselves either in the cheerful spirit to which I have already adverted, or in a serious vein; so that, if these are the particular anxieties which have occupied his mind, they may be made to give way as if indicted by name: while, on the other hand, supposing them not to be the special causes (of the loss of interest), and supposing him to be simply worn out with listening, his attention will be relieved of the pressure of weariness when we address to him some unexpected and extraordinary strain of remark on these subjects, in the mode of which I have spoken, as if they were the particular anxieties,—for indeed we are simply ignorant (of the true causes). But let the remark thus made be short, especially considering that it is thrown in out of order, lest the very medicine even increase the malady of weariness which we desire to relieve; and, at the same time, we should go on rapidly with what remains, and promise and present the prospect of a conclusion nearer than was looked for.


Of the Remedy Against the Fifth and Sixth Sources of Weariness.

Chapter 14.—Of the Remedy Against the Fifth and Sixth Sources of Weariness. 20. If, again, your spirit has been broken by the necessity of giving up some other employment, on which, as the more requisite, you were now bent; and if the sadness caused by that constraint makes you catechise in no pleasant mood, you ought to ponder the fact that, excepting that we know it to be our duty, in all our dealings with men, to act in a merciful manner, and in the exercise of the sincerest charity,—with this one exception, I say, it is quite uncertain to us what is the more profitable thing for us to do, and what the more opportune thing for us either to pass by for a time or altogether to omit. For inasmuch as we know not how the merits of men, on whose behalf we are acting, stand with God, the question as to what is expedient for them at a certain time is something which, instead of being able to comprehend, we can rather only surmise, without the aid of any (clear) inferences, or (at best) with the slenderest and the most uncertain. Therefore we ought certainly to dispose the matters with which we have to deal according to our intelligence; and then, if we prove able to carry them out in the manner upon which we have resolved, we should rejoice, not indeed that it was our will, but that it was God’s will, that they should thus be accomplished. But if anything unavoidable happens, by which the disposition thus proposed by us is interfered with, we should bend ourselves to it readily, lest we be broken; so that the very disposition of affairs which God has preferred to ours may also be made our own. For it is more in accordance with propriety that we should follow His will than that He should follow ours. Besides, as regards this order in the doing of things, which we wish to keep in accordance with our own judgment, surely that course is to be approved of in which objects that are superior have the precedence. Why then are we aggrieved that the precedence over men should be held by the Lord God in His vast superiority to us men, so that in the said love which we entertain for our own order, we should thus (exhibit the disposition to) despise order? For “no one orders for the better” what he has to do, except the man who is rather ready to leave undone what he is prohibited from doing by the divine power, than desirous of doing that which he meditates in his own human cogitations. For “there are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord stands for ever.”1415 29821. But if our mind is agitated by some cause of offense, so as not to be capable of delivering a discourse of a calm and enjoyable strain, our charity towards those for whom Christ died, desiring to redeem them by the price of His own blood from the death of the errors of this world, ought to be so great, that the very circumstance of intelligence being brought us in our sadness, regarding the advent of some person who longs to become a Christian, ought to be enough to cheer us and dissipate that heaviness of spirit, just as the delights of gain are wont to soften the pain of losses. For we are not (fairly) oppressed by the offense of any individual, unless it be that of the man whom we either perceive or believe to be


Prov. xix. 21

Of the Remedy Against the Fifth and Sixth Sources of Weariness.

perishing himself, or to be the occasion of the undoing of some weak one. Accordingly, one who comes to us with the view of being formally admitted, in that we cherish the hope of his ability to go forward, should wipe away the sorrow caused by one who fails us. For even if the dread that our proselyte may become the child of hell 1416 comes into our thoughts, as, there are many such before our eyes, from whom those offenses arise by which we are distressed, this ought to operate, not in the way of keeping us back, but rather in the way of stimulating us and spurring us on. And in the same measure we ought to admonish him whom we are instructing to be on his guard against imitating those who are Christians only in name and not in very truth, and to take care not to suffer himself to be so moved by their numbers as either to be desirous of following them, or to be reluctant to follow Christ on their account, and either to be unwilling to be in the Church of God, where they are, or to wish to be there in such a character as they bear. And somehow or other, in admonitions of this sort, that address is the more glowing to which a present sense of grief supplies the fuel; so that instead of being duller, we utter with greater fire and vehemence under such feelings things which, in times of greater ease, we would give forth in a colder and less energetic manner. And this should make us rejoice that an opportunity is afforded us under which the emotions of our mind pass not away without yielding some fruit. 22. If, however, grief has taken possession of us on account of something in which we ourselves have erred or sinned, we should bear in mind not only that a “broken spirit is a sacrifice to God,” 1417 but also the saying, “Like as water quencheth fire, so alms sin;” 1418 and again, “I will have mercy,” saith He, “rather than sacrifice.” 1419 Therefore, as in the event of our being in peril from fire we would certainly run to the water in order to get the fire extinguished, and we would be grateful if any person were to offer it in the immediate vicinity; so, if some flame of sin has risen from our own stack, 1420 and if we are troubled on that account, when an opportunity has been given for a most merciful work, we should rejoice in it, as if a fountain were offered us in order that by it the conflagration which had burst forth might be extinguished. Unless haply we are foolish enough to think that we ought to be readier in running with bread, wherewith we may fill the belly of a hungry man, than with the word of God, wherewith we may instruct the mind of the man who feeds on it.1421 There is this also to consider, namely, that if it would only be of advantage to us to do this thing, and entail no disadvantage to leave it undone, we might despise a remedy


Matt. xxiii. 15


Ps. li. 17


Ecclus. iii. 30


Hos. vi. 6


Fæno= hay.


Reading istud edentis; for which some editions give studentis= of one who studies it.


Of the Remedy Against the Fifth and Sixth Sources of Weariness.

offered in an unhappy fashion in the time of peril with a view to the safety, not now of a neighbor, but of ourselves. But when from the mouth of the Lord this so threatening sentence is heard, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou oughtest to give my money to the exchangers,”1422 what madness, I pray thee, is it thus, seeing that our sin pains us, to be minded to sin again, by refusing to give the Lord’s money to one who desires it and asks it! When these and such like considerations and reflections have succeeded in dispelling the darkness of weary feelings, the bent of mind is rendered apt for the duty of catechising, so that that is received in a pleasant manner which breaks forth vigorously and cheerfully from the rich vein of charity. For these things indeed which are uttered here are spoken, not so much by me to you, as rather to us all by that very “love which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that is given to us.”1423


Matt. xxv. 26, 27


Rom. v. 5


Of the Method in Which Our Address Should Be Adapted to Different Classes…

Chapter 15.—Of the Method in Which Our Address Should Be Adapted to Different Classes of Hearers. 23. But now, perhaps, you also demand of me as a debt that which, previous to the promise which I made, I was under no obligation to give, namely, that I should not count it burdensome to unfold some sort of example of the discourse intended, and to set it before 299you for your study, just as if I were myself engaged in catechising some individual. Before I do that, however, I wish you to keep in mind the fact that the mental effort is of one kind in the case of a person who dictates, with a future reader in his view, and that it is of quite another kind in the case of a person who speaks with a present hearer to whom to direct his attention. And further, it is to be remembered that, in this latter instance in particular, the effort is of one kind when one is admonishing in private, and when there is no other person at hand to pronounce judgment on us; whereas it is of a different order when one is conveying any instruction in public, and when there stands around him an audience of persons holding dissimilar opinions; and again, that in this exercise of teaching, the effort will be of one sort when only a single individual is being instructed, while all the rest listen, like persons judging or attesting things well known to them, and that it will be different when all those who are present wait for what we have to deliver to them; and once more, that, in this same instance, the effort will be one thing when all are seated, as it were, in private conference with a view to engaging in some discussion, and that it will be quite another thing when the people sit silent and intent on giving their attention to some single speaker who is to address them from a higher position. It will likewise make a considerable difference, even when we are discoursing in that style, whether there are few present or many, whether they are learned or unlearned, or made up of both classes combined; whether they are city-bred or rustics, or both the one and the other together; or whether, again, they are a people composed of all orders of men in due proportion. For it is impossible but that they will affect in different ways the person who has to speak to them and discourse with them, and that the address which is delivered will both bear certain features, as it were, expressive of the feelings of the mind from which it proceeds, and also influence the hearers in different ways, in accordance with that same difference (in the speaker’s disposition), while at the same time the hearers themselves will influence one another in different ways by the simple force of their presence with each other. But as we are dealing at present with the matter of the instruction of the unlearned, I am a witness to you, as regards my own experience, that I find myself variously moved, according as I see before me, for the purposes of catechetical instruction, a highly educated man, a dull fellow, a citizen, a foreigner, a rich man, a poor man, a private individual, a man of honors, a person occupying some position of authority, an individual of this or the other nation, of this or the other age or sex, one proceeding from this or the other sect, from this or the other common error,—and ever in accordance with the difference of my feelings does my discourse itself at once set out, go on, and reach its end. And inasmuch

Of the Method in Which Our Address Should Be Adapted to Different Classes…

as, although the same charity is due to all, yet the same medicine is not to be administered to all, in like manner charity itself travails with some, is made weak together with others; is at pains to edify some, tremblingly apprehends being an offense to others; bends to some, lifts itself erect to others; is gentle to some, severe to others; to none an enemy, to all a mother. And when one, who has not gone through the kind of experience to which I refer in the same spirit of charity, sees us attaining, in virtue of some gift which has been conferred upon us, and which carries the power of pleasing, a certain repute of an eulogistic nature in the mouth of the multitude, he counts us happy on that account. But may God, into whose cognizance the “groaning of them that are bound enters,”1424 look upon our humility, and our labor, and forgive us all our sins.1425 Wherefore, if anything in us has so far pleased you as to make you desirous of hearing from us some remarks on the subject of the form of 1426 discourse which you ought to follow, you should acquire a more thorough understanding of the matter by contemplating us, and listening to us when we are actually engaged with these topics, than by a perusal when we are only dictating them.


Ps. lxxix. 11


Cf. Ps. xxv. 18


Ut aliquam observationem sermonis tui a nobis audire quæreres


A Specimen of a Catechetical Address; And First, the Case of a Catechumen…

Chapter 16.—A Specimen of a Catechetical Address; And First, the Case of a Catechumen with Worthy Views. 24. Nevertheless, however that may be, let us here suppose that some one has come to us who desires to be made a Christian, and who belongs indeed to the order of private persons,1427 and yet not to the class of rustics, but to that of the city-bred, such as those whom you cannot fail to come across in numbers in Carthage. Let us also suppose that, on being asked whether the inducement leading him to desire to be a Christian is any advantage looked for in the present life, or the rest which is hoped for after this life, he has answered that his inducement has been the rest that is yet to come. Then perchance such a person 300might be instructed by us in some such strain of address as the following: “Thanks be to God, my brother; cordially do I wish you joy, and I am glad on your account that, amid all the storms of this world, which are at once so great and so dangerous, you have bethought yourself of some true and certain security. For even in this life men go in quest of rest and security at the cost of heavy labors, but they fail to find such in consequence of their wicked lusts. For their thought is to find rest in things which are unquiet, and which endure not. And these objects, inasmuch as they are withdrawn from them and pass away in the course of time, agitate them by fears and griefs, and suffer them not to enjoy tranquillity. For if it be that a man seeks to find his rest in wealth, he is rendered proud rather than at ease. Do we not see how many have lost their riches on a sudden,—how many, too, have been undone by reason of them, either as they have been coveting to possess them, or as they have been borne down and despoiled of them by others more covetous than themselves? And even should they remain with the man all his life long, and never leave their lover, yet would he himself (have to) leave them at his death. For of what measure is the life of man, even if he lives to old age? Or when men desire for themselves old age, what else do they really desire but long infirmity? So, too, with the honors of this world,—what are they but empty pride and vanity, and peril of ruin? For holy Scripture speaks in this wise: ‘All flesh is grass, and the glory of man is as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever.’ 1428 Consequently, if any man longs for true rest and true felicity, he ought to lift his hope off things which are mortal and transitory, and fix it on the word of the Lord; so that, cleaving to that which endures for ever, he may himself together with it endure for ever. 25. “There are also other men who neither crave to be rich nor go about seeking the vain pomps of honors, but who nevertheless are minded to find their pleasure and rest in dainty meats, and in fornications, and in those theatres and spectacles which are at their disposal in great cities for nothing. But it fares with these, too, in the same way; or they waste 1427



Isa. xl. 6, 8; 1 Pet. i. 24, 25

A Specimen of a Catechetical Address; And First, the Case of a Catechumen…

their small means in luxury, and subsequently, under pressure of want, break out into thefts and burglaries, and at times even into highway robberies, and so they are suddenly filled with fears both numerous and great; and men who a little before were singing in the house of revelry, are now dreaming of the sorrows of the prison. Moreover, in their eager devotion to the public spectacles, they come to resemble demons, as they incite men by their cries to wound each other, and instigate those who have done them no hurt to engage in furious contests with each other, while they seek to please an insane people. And if they perceive any such to be peaceably disposed, they straightway hate them and persecute them, and raise an outcry, asking that they should be beaten with clubs, as if they had been in collusion to cheat them; and this iniquity they force even the judge, who is the (appointed) avenger of iniquities, to perpetrate. On the other hand, if they observe such men exerting themselves in horrid hostilities against each other, whether they be those who are called sintœ, 1429 or theatrical actors and players, 1430 or charioteers, or hunters,—those wretched men whom they engage in conflicts and struggles, not only men with men, but even men with beasts,—then the fiercer the fury with which they perceive these unhappy creatures rage against each other, the better they like them, and the greater the enjoyment they have in them; and they favor them when thus excited,1431 and by so favoring them they excite them all the more, the spectators themselves striving more madly with each other, as they espouse the cause of different combatants, than is the case even with those very men whose madness they madly provoke, while at the same time they also long to be spectators of the same in their mad frenzy.1432 How then can that mind keep the soundness of peace which feeds on strifes and contentions? For just as is the food which is received, such is the health which results. In fine, although mad pleasures are no pleasures, nevertheless let these things be taken as they are, and it still remains the case that, whatever their nature may be, and whatever the measure of enjoyment yielded by the boasts of riches, and the inflation of honors, and the spendthrift pleasures of the taverns, and the contests of the theatres, and the impurity


Reading sive sintœ qui appellantur, for which there occur such varieties of reading as these: sint athletæ

qui appellantur= those who are called athletes; or sint æqui appellantur; or simply sint qui appellantur= whatever name they bear, whether actors, etc. The term sintæ, borrowed from the GreekΣίνται = devourers, spoilers, may have been a word in common use among the Africans, as the Benedictine editors suggest, for designating some sort of coarse characters. 1430

Thymelici, strictly = the musicians belonging to the thymele, or orchestra.


Reading incitatis favent, for which some mss. give incitati= excited themselves, they favor them; and

others have incitantes= exciting them, they favor them. 1432

Compare a passage in the Confessions, vi. 13.


A Specimen of a Catechetical Address; And First, the Case of a Catechumen‌

of fornications, and the pruriency of the baths, they are all things of which one little fever deprives us, while, even from those who still survive, it takes away the whole false happiness of their life. Then there remains only a void and wounded conscience, destined to apprehend that God as a Judge whom it refused to have as a Father, and destined also to find a severe Lord in Him whom it scorned to seek and love as a tender Father. But thou, inasmuch as thou seekest that true rest which is promised to Christians after this life, wilt taste the same sweet and pleasant rest even here among the bitterest troubles of this life, if thou continuest to love the commandments of Him who hath promised the same. For quickly wilt thou feel that the fruits of righteousness are sweeter than those of unrighteousness, and that a man finds a more genuine and pleasurable joy in the possession of a good conscience in the midst of troubles than in that of an evil conscience in the midst of delights. For thou hast not come to be united to the Church of God with the idea of seeking from it any temporal advantage. 301


The Specimen of Catechetical Discourse Continued, in Reference Specially…

Chapter 17.—The Specimen of Catechetical Discourse Continued, in Reference Specially to the Reproval of False Aims on the Catechumen’s Part. 26. “For there are some whose reason for desiring to become Christians is either that they may gain the favor of men from whom they look for temporal advantages, or that they are reluctant to offend those whom they fear. But these are reprobate; and although the church bears them for a time, as the threshing-floor bears the chaff until the period of winnowing, yet if they fail to amend and begin to be Christians in sincerity in view of the everlasting rest which is to come, they will be separated from it in the end. And let not such flatter themselves, because it is possible for them to be in the threshing-floor along with the grain of God. For they will not be together with that in the barn, but are destined for the fire, which is their due. There are also others of better hope indeed, but nevertheless in no inferior danger. I mean those who now fear God, and mock not the Christian name, neither enter the church of God with an assumed heart, but still look for their felicity in this life, expecting to have more felicity in earthly things than those enjoy who refuse to worship God. And the consequence of this false anticipation is, that when they see some wicked and impious men strongly established and excelling in this worldly prosperity, while they themselves either possess it in a smaller degree or miss it altogether, they are troubled with the thought that they are serving God without reason, and so they readily fall away from the faith. 27. “But as to the man who has in view that everlasting blessedness and perpetual rest which is promised as the lot destined for the saints after this life, and who desires to become a Christian, in order that he may not pass into eternal fire with the devil, but enter into the eternal kingdom together with Christ,1433 such an one is truly a Christian; (and he will be) on his guard in every temptation, so that he may neither be corrupted by prosperity nor be utterly broken in spirit by adversity, but remain at once modest and temperate when the good things of earth abound with him, and brave and patient when tribulations overtake him. A person of this character will also advance in attainments until he comes to that disposition of mind which will make him love God more than he fears hell; so that even were God to say to him, ‘Avail yourself of carnal pleasures for ever, and sin as much as you are able, and you shall neither die nor be sent into hell, but you will only not be with me, he would be terribly dismayed, and would altogether abstain from sinning, not now (simply) with the purpose of not falling into that of which he was wont to be afraid, but with the wish not to offend Him whom he so greatly loves: in whom alone also there is the rest which eye hath not seen, neither hath ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man (to conceive),—the rest which God hath prepared for them that love Him.1434


Cf. Matt. xxv. 34, 41


1 Cor. ii. 9

The Specimen of Catechetical Discourse Continued, in Reference Specially…

28. “Now, on the subject of this rest Scripture is significant, and refrains not to speak, when it tells us how at the beginning of the world, and at the time when God made heaven and earth and all things which are in them, He worked during six days, and rested on the seventh day. 1435 For it was in the power of the Almighty to make all things even in one moment of time. For He had not labored in the view that He might enjoy (a needful) rest, since indeed “He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created;”1436 but that He might signify how, after six ages of this world, in a seventh age, as on the seventh day, He will rest in His saints; inasmuch as these same saints shall rest also in Him after all the good works in which they have served Him,—which He Himself, indeed, works in them, who calls them, and instructs them, and puts away the offenses that are past, and justifies 302the man who previously was ungodly. For as, when by His gift they work that which is good, He is Himself rightly said to work (that in them), so, when they rest in Him, He is rightly said to rest Himself. For, as regards Himself, He seeks no cessation, because He feels no labor. Moreover He made all things by His Word; and His Word is Christ Himself, in whom the angels and all those purest spirits of heaven rest in holy silence. Man, however in that he fell by sin, has lost the rest which he possessed in His divinity, and receives it again (now) in His humanity; and for this purpose He became man, and was born of a woman, at the seasonable time at which He Himself knew it behoved it so to be fulfilled. And from the flesh assuredly He could not sustain any contamination, being Himself rather destined to purify the flesh. Of His future coming the ancient saints, in the revelation of the Spirit, had knowledge, and prophesied. And thus were they saved by believing that He was to come, even as we are saved by believing that He has come. Hence ought we to love God who has so loved us as to have sent His only Son, in order that He might endue Himself with the lowliness1437 of our mortality, and die both at the hands of sinners and on behalf of sinners. For even in times of old, and in the opening ages, the depth of this mystery ceases not to be prefigured and prophetically announced.


Gen. ii. 1–3


Ps. cxlviii. 5


Humanitate, = humanity, also occurs instead of humilitate.


Of What is to Be Believed on the Subject of the Creation of Man and Other…

Chapter 18.—Of What is to Be Believed on the Subject of the Creation of Man and Other Objects. 29. “Whereas, then, the omnipotent God, who is also good and just and merciful, who made all things,—whether they be great or small, whether they be highest or lowest, whether they be things which are seen, such as are the heavens and the earth and the sea, and in the heavens, in particular, the sun and the moon and other luminaries, and in the earth and the sea, again, trees and shrubs and animals each after their kind, and all bodies celestial or terrestrial alike, or whether they be things which are not seen, such as are those spirits whereby bodies are animated and endowed with life,—made also man after His own image, in order that, as He Himself, in virtue of His omnipotence, presides over universal creation, so man, in virtue of that intelligence of his by which he comes to know even his Creator and worships Him, might preside over all the living creatures of earth: Whereas, too, he made the woman to be an helpmeet for him: not for carnal concupiscence,—since, indeed, they had not corruptible bodies at that period, before the punishment of sin invaded them in the form of mortality,—but for this purpose, that the man might at once have glory of the woman in so far as he went before her to God, and present in himself an example to her for imitation in holiness and piety, even as he himself was to be the glory of God in so far as he followed his wisdom: 30. “Therefore did he place them in a certain locality of perpetual blessedness, which the Scripture designates Paradise: and he gave them a commandment, on condition of not violating which they were to continue for ever in that blessedness of immortality; while, on the other hand, if they transgressed it, they were to sustain the penalties of mortality. Now God knew beforehand that they would trangress it. Nevertheless, in that He is the author and maker of everything good, He chose rather to make them, as He also made the beasts, in order that He might replenish the earth with the good things proper to earth. And certainly man, even sinful man, is better than a beast. And the commandment, which they were not to keep, He yet preferred to give them, in order that they might be without excuse when He should begin to vindicate Himself against them. For whatever man may have done, he finds God worthy to be praised in all His doings: if he shall have acted rightly, he finds Him worthy to be praised for the righteousness of His rewards: if he shall have sinned, he finds Him worthy to be praised for the righteousness of His punishments: if he shall have confessed his sins and returned to an upright life, he finds Him worthy to be praised for the mercy of His pardoning favors. Why, then, should God not make man, although He foreknew that he would sin, when He might crown him if he stood, and set him right if he fell, and help him if he rose, Himself being always and everywhere glorious in goodness, righteousness, and clemency? Above all, why should He not do so, since He also foreknew this, namely, that from the race of that mortality there would spring saints, who should not seek their own, but give glory to their Creator; and who, obtaining deliverance from every corruption

Of What is to Be Believed on the Subject of the Creation of Man and Other…

by worshipping Him, should be counted worthy to live for ever, and to live in blessedness with the holy angels? For He who gave freedom of will to men, in order that they might worship God not of slavish necessity but with ingenuous inclination, gave it also to the angels; 303and hence neither did the angel, who, in company with other spirits who were his satellites, forsook in pride the obedience of God and became the devil, do any hurt to God, but to himself. For God knoweth how to dispose of souls 1438 that leave Him, and out of their righteous misery to furnish the inferior sections of His creatures with the most appropriate and befitting laws of His wonderful dispensation. Consequently, neither did the devil in any manner harm God, whether in falling himself, or in seducing man to death; nor did man himself in any degree impair the truth, or power, or blessedness 1439 of His Maker, in that, when his partner was seduced by the devil, he of his own deliberate inclination consented unto her in the doing of that which God had forbidden. For by the most righteous laws of God all were condemned, God Himself being glorious in the equity of retribution, while they were shamed through the degradation of punishment: to the end that man, when he turned away from his Creator, should be overcome by the devil and made his subject, and that the devil might be set before man as an enemy to be conquered, when he turned again to his Creator; so that whosoever should consent unto the devil even to the end, might go with him into eternal punishments; whereas those who should humble themselves to God, and by His grace overcome the devil, might be counted worthy of eternal rewards.


Rather “spirits.” See the correction made in the Retractations, ii. 14, as given above in the Introductory

Notice. 1439

The beatitatemis omitted by several mss.


Of the Co-Existence of Good and Evil in the Church, and Their Final Sep…

Chapter 19.—Of the Co-Existence of Good and Evil in the Church, and Their Final Separation. 31. “Neither ought we to be moved by the consideration that many consent unto the devil, and few follow God; for the grain, too, in comparison with the chaff, has greatly the defect in number. But even as the husbandman knows what to do with the mighty heap of chaff, so the multitude of sinners is nothing to God, who knows what to do with them, so as not to let the administration of His kingdom be disordered and dishonored in any part. Nor is the devil to be supposed to have proved victorious for the mere reason of his drawing away with him more than the few by whom he may be overcome. In this way there are two communities—one of the ungodly, and another of the holy—which are carried down from the beginning of the human race even to the end of the world, which are at present commingled in respect of bodies, but separated in respect of wills, and which, moreover, are destined to be separated also in respect of bodily presence in the day of judgment. For all men who love pride and temporal power with vain elation and pomp of arrogance, and all spirits who set their affections on such things and seek their own glory in the subjection of men, are bound fast together in one association; nay, even although they frequently fight against each other on account of these things, they are nevertheless precipitated by the like weight of lust into the same abyss, and are united with each other by similarity of manners and merits. And, again, all men and all spirits who humbly seek the glory of God and not their own, and who follow Him in piety, belong to one fellowship. And, notwithstanding this, God is most merciful and patient with ungodly men, and offers them a place for penitence and amendment. 32. “For with respect also to the fact that He destroyed all men in the flood, with the exception of one righteous man together with his house, whom He willed to be saved in the ark, He knew indeed that they would not amend themselves; yet, nevertheless, as the building of the ark went on for the space of a hundred years, the wrath of God which was to come upon them was certainly preached to them:1440 and if they only would have turned to God, He would have spared them, as at a later period He spared the city of Nineveh when it repented, after He had announced to it, by means of a prophet, the destruction that was about to overtake it.1441 Thus, moreover, God acts, granting a space for repentance even to those who He knows will persist in wickedness, in order that He may exercise and instruct our patience by His own example; whereby also we may know how greatly it befits us to bear with the evil in long-suffering, when we know not what manner of men they will prove hereafter, seeing that He, whose cognizance nothing that is yet to be escapes, spares them and suffers them to live. Under the sacramental sign of the flood, however, in which the 1440

Gen. vi. 7


Jonah iii

Of the Co-Existence of Good and Evil in the Church, and Their Final Sep‌

righteous were rescued by the wood, there was also a fore-announcement of the Church which was to be, which Christ, its King and God, has raised on high; by the mystery of His cross, in safety from the submersion of this world. Moreover, God was not ignorant of the fact that, even of those who had been saved in the ark, there would be born wicked men, who would cover the face of the earth a second time with iniquities. But, nevertheless, He both gave them a pattern of the future judgment, and fore-announced the deliverance of 304the holy by the mystery of the wood. For even after these things wickedness did not cease to sprout forth again through pride, and lusts, and illicit impieties, when men, forsaking their Creator, not only fell to the (standard of the) creature which God made, so as to worship instead of God that which God made, but even bowed their souls to the works of the hands of men and to the contrivances of craftsmen, wherein a more shameful triumph was to be won over them by the devil, and by those evil spirits who rejoice in finding themselves adored and reverenced in such false devices, while they feed1442 their own errors with the errors of men. 33. “But in truth there were not wanting in those times righteous men also of the kind to seek God piously and to overcome the pride of the devil, citizens of that holy community, who were made whole by the humiliation of Christ, which was then only destined to enter, but was revealed to them by the Spirit. From among these, Abraham, a pious and faithful servant of God, was chosen, in order that to him might be shown the sacrament of the Son of God, so that thus, in virtue of the imitation of his faith, all the faithful of all nations might be called his children in the future. Of him was born a people, by whom the one true God who made heaven and earth should be worshipped when all other nations did service to idols and evil spirits. In that people, plainly, the future Church was much more evidently prefigured. For in it there was a carnal multitude that worshipped God with a view to visible benefits. But in it there were also a few who thought of the future rest, and looked longingly for the heavenly fatherland, to whom through prophecy was revealed the coming humiliation of God in the person of our King and Lord Jesus Christ, in order that they might be made whole of all pride and arrogance through that faith. And with respect to these saints who in point of time had precedence of the birth of the Lord, not only their speech, but also their life, and their marriages, and their children, and their doings, constituted a prophecy of this time, at which the Church is being gathered together out of all nations through faith in the passion of Christ. By the instrumentality of those holy patriarchs and prophets this carnal people of Israel, who at a later period were also called Jews, had ministered unto them at once those visible benefits which they eagerly desired of the Lord in a carnal manner, and those chastisements, in the form of bodily punishments, which were intended to terrify them for the time, as was befitting for their obstinacy. And in all these, nevertheless, there


Instead of pascuntthe reading miscent, = mix, is also found.


Of the Co-Existence of Good and Evil in the Church, and Their Final Sep‌

were also spiritual mysteries signified, such as were meant to bear upon Christ and the Church; of which Church those saints also were members, although they existed in this life previous to the birth of Christ, the Lord, according to the flesh. For this same Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, the Word of the Father, equal and co-eternal with the Father, by whom all things were made, was Himself also made man for our sakes, in order that of the whole Church, as of His whole body, He might be the Head. But just as when the whole man is in the process of being born, although he may put the hand forth first in the act of birth, yet is that hand joined and compacted together with the whole body under the head, even as also among these same patriarchs some were born1443 with the hand put forth first as a sign of this very thing: so all the saints who lived upon the earth previous to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, although they were born antecedently, were nevertheless united under the Head with that universal body of which He is the Head.


Gen. xxv. 26, xxxviii. 27–30


Of Israel’s Bondage in Egypt, Their Deliverance, and Their Passage Through…

Chapter 20.—Of Israel’s Bondage in Egypt, Their Deliverance, and Their Passage Through the Red Sea. 34. “That people, then, having been brought down into Egypt, were in bondage to the harshest of kings; and, taught by the most oppressive labors, they sought their deliverer in God; and there was sent to them one belonging to the people themselves, Moses, the holy servant of God, who, in the might of God, terrified the impious nation of the Egyptians in those days by great miracles, and led forth the people of God out of that land through the Red Sea, where the water parted and opened up a way for them as they crossed it, whereas, when the Egyptians pressed on in pursuit, the waves returned to their channel and overwhelmed them, so that they perished. Thus, then, just as the earth through the agency of the flood was cleansed by the waters from the wickedness of the sinners, who in those times were destroyed in their inundation, while the righteous escaped by means of the wood; so the people of God, when they went forth from Egypt, found a way through the waters by which their enemies were devoured. Nor was the sacrament of the wood wanting there. For 305Moses smote with his rod, in order that that miracle might be effected. Both these are signs of holy baptism, by which the faithful pass into the new life, while their sins are done away with like enemies, and perish. But more clearly was the passion of Christ prefigured in the case of that people, when they were commanded to slay and eat the lamb, and to mark their door-posts with its blood, and to celebrate this rite every year, and to designate it the Lord’s passover. For surely prophecy speaks with the utmost plainness of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1444 when it says that “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.” And with the sign of His passion and cross, thou art this day to be marked on thy forehead, as on the door-post, and all Christians are marked with the same. 35. “Thereafter this people was conducted through the wilderness for forty years. They also received the law written by the finger of God, under which name the Holy Spirit is signified, as it is declared with the utmost plainness in the Gospel. For God is not defined1445 by the form of a body, neither are members and fingers to be thought of as existent in Him in the way in which we see them in ourselves. But, inasmuch as it is through the Holy Spirit that God’s gifts are divided to His saints, in order that, although they vary in their capacities, they may nevertheless not lapse from the concord of charity, and inasmuch as it is especially in the fingers that there appears a certain kind of division, while nevertheless there is no separation from unity, this may be the explanation of the phrase. But whether this may be the case, or whatever other reason may be assigned for the Holy Spirit being called the finger of God, we ought not at any rate to think of the form of a human body when we hear this expression used. The people in question, then, received the law written by the finger of God, 1444

Isa. liii. 7


Or = circumscribed, definitus.

Of Israel’s Bondage in Egypt, Their Deliverance, and Their Passage Through…

and that in good sooth on tables of stone, to signify the hardness of their heart in that they were not to fulfill the law. For, as they eagerly sought from the Lord gifts meant for the uses of the body, they were held by carnal fear rather than by spiritual charity. But nothing fulfills the law save charity. Consequently, they were burdened with many visible sacraments, to the intent that they should feel the pressure of the yoke of bondage in the observances of meats, and in the sacrifices of animals, and in other rites innumerable; which things, at the same time, were signs of spiritual matters relating to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the Church; which, furthermore, at that time were both understood by a few holy men to the effect of yielding the fruit of salvation, and observed by them in accordance with the fitness of the time, while by the multitude of carnal men they were observed only and not understood. 36. “In this manner, then, through many varied signs of things to come, which it would be tedious to enumerate in complete detail, and which we now see in their fulfillment in the Church, that people were brought to the land of promise, in which they were to reign in a temporal and carnal way in accordance with their own longings: which earthly kingdom, nevertheless, sustained the image of a spiritual kingdom. There Jerusalem was founded, that most celebrated city of God, which, while in bondage, served as a sign of the free city, which is called the heavenly Jerusalem 1446 which latter term is a Hebrew word, and signifies by interpretation the ‘vision of peace.’ The citizens thereof are all sanctified men, who have been, who are, and who are yet to be; and all sanctified spirits, even as many as are obedient to God with pious devotion in the exalted regions of heaven, and imitate not the impious pride of the devil and his angels. The King of this city is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, by whom the highest angels are governed, and at the same time the Word that took unto Himself human nature, 1447 in order that by Him men also might be governed, who, in His fellowship, shall reign all together in eternal peace. In the service of prefiguring this 1448 King in that earthly kingdom of the people of Israel, King David stood forth pre-eminent, of whose seed according to the flesh that truest King was to come, to wit, our Lord Jesus Christ, ‘who is over all, God blessed for ever.’1449 In that land of promise many things were done, which held good as figures of the Christ who was to come, and of the Church, with which you will have it in your power to acquaint yourself by degrees in the Holy Books.


Cf. Gal. iv. 26




1 Kings xi. 13


Rom. ix. 5


Of the Babylonish Captivity, and the Things Signified Thereby.

Chapter 21.—Of the Babylonish Captivity, and the Things Signified Thereby. 37. “Howbeit, after the lapse of some generations, another type was presented, which bears very emphatically on the matter in hand. For that city1450 was brought into captivity, and a large section of the people were carried off into Babylonia. Now, as Jerusalem signifies the city and fellowship of the saints, so Babylonia signifies the city and fellowship of the 306wicked, seeing that by interpretation it denotes confusion. On the subject of these two cities, which have been running their courses, mingling the one with the other, through all the changes of time from the beginning of the human race, and which shall so move on together until the end of the world, when they are destined to be separated at the last judgment, we have spoken already a little ago. 1451 That captivity, then, of the city of Jerusalem, and the people thus carried into Babylonia in bondage, were ordained so to proceed by the Lord, 1452 by the voice of Jeremiah, a prophet of that time. And there appeared kings1453 of Babylon, under whom they were in slavery, who on occasion of the captivity of this people were so wrought upon by certain miracles that they came to know the one true God who founded universal creation, and worshipped Him, and commanded that He should be worshipped. Moreover the people were ordered both to pray for those by whom they were detained in captivity, and in their peace to hope for peace, to the effect that they should beget children, 1454 and build houses, and plant gardens and vineyards. But at the end of seventy years, release 1455 from their captivity was promised to them. All this, furthermore, signified in a figure that the Church of Christ in all His saints, who are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, would have to do service under the kings of this world. For the doctrine of the apostles speaks also in this wise, that ‘every soul should be subject to the higher powers,’ and that there ‘should be rendered all things to all men, tribute to whom tribute (is due), custom to whom custom,’1456 and all other things in like manner which, without detriment to the worship of our God, we render to the rulers in the constitution of human society: for the Lord Himself also, in order to set before us an example of this sound doctrine, did not deem it unworthy of Him to pay tribute 1457 on account of that human individuality 1458 wherewith He was invested. Again, Christian servants and good believers are also commanded to serve their 1450

Or = community, civitas.


See Chapter xix.


Jer. xxv. 18, xxix. 1


Dan. ii. 47, iii. 29, vi. 26; 1 Esdr. ii. 7; Bel. 41


Jer. xxix. 4–7


Jer. xxv. 12


Rom. xiii. 1, 7


Matt. xvii. 27


Pro capite hominis, literally = "on" account of that head of man, etc.

Of the Babylonish Captivity, and the Things Signified Thereby. temporal masters in equanimity and faithfulness; 1459 whom they will hereafter judge, if even on to the end they find them wicked, or with whom they will hereafter reign in equality, if they too shall have been converted to the true God. Still all are enjoined to be subject to the powers that are of man and of earth, even until, at the end of the predetermined time which the seventy years signify, the Church shall be delivered from the confusion of this world, like as Jerusalem was to be set free from the captivity in Babylonia. By occasion of that captivity, however, the kings of earth too have themselves been led to forsake the idols on account of which they were wont to persecute the Christians, and have come to know, and now worship, the one true God and Christ the Lord; and it is on their behalf that the Apostle Paul enjoins prayer to be made, even although they should persecute the Church. 1460 For he speaks in these terms: ‘I entreat, therefore, that first of all supplications, adorations, intercessions, and givings of thanks be made for kings, for all men, and all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, with all godliness and charity.’1461 Accordingly peace has been given to the Church by these same persons, although it be but of a temporal sort,—a temporal quiet for the work of building houses after a spiritual fashion, and planting gardens and vineyards. For witness your own case, too,—at this very time we are engaged, by means of this discourse, in building you up and planting you. And the like process is going on throughout the whole circle of lands, in virtue of the peace allowed by Christian kings, even as the same apostle thus expresses himself: ‘Ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.’1462 38. “And, indeed, after the lapse of the seventy years of which Jeremiah had mystically prophesied, to the intent of prefiguring the end of times, with a view still to the perfecting of that same figure, no settled peace and liberty were conceded again to the Jews. Thus it was that they were conquered subsequently by the Romans and made tributary. From that period, in truth, at which they received the land of promise and began to have kings, in order to preclude the supposition that the promise of the Christ who was to be their Liberator had met its complete fulfillment in the person of any one of their kings, Christ was prophesied of with greater clearness in a number of prophecies; not only by David himself in the book of Psalms, but also by the rest of the great and holy prophets, even on to the time of their conveyance into captivity in Babylonia; and in that same captivity there were also prophets whose mission was to prophesy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Liberator of


Eph. vi. 5


Instead of orationes; the better authenticated reading is adorationes.


1 Tim. ii. 1, 2


1 Cor. iii. 9; cf. Jer. xxv. 12, xxix. 10


Of the Babylonish Captivity, and the Things Signified Thereby.

all. And after the restoration of the temple, when the seventy years had passed, the Jews sus tained grievous oppressions and sufferings at the hands of the kings of the Gentiles, fitted to make them understand that the Liberator was not yet come, whom they failed to apprehend as one who was to effect for them a spiritual deliverance, and whom they fondly longed for on account of a carnal liberation. 307


Of the Six Ages of the World.

Chapter 22.—Of the Six Ages of the World. 39. “Five ages of the world, accordingly, having been now completed (there has entered the sixth). Of these ages the first is from the beginning of the human race, that is, from Adam, who was the first man that was made, down to Noah, who constructed the ark at the time of the flood.1463 Then the second extends from that period on to Abraham, who was called1464 the father indeed of all nations1465 which should follow the example of his faith, but who at the same time in the way of natural descent from his own flesh was the father of the destined people of the Jews; which people, previous to the entrance of the Gentiles into the Christian faith, was the one people among all the nations of all lands that worshipped the one true God: from which people also Christ the Saviour was decreed to come according to the flesh. For these turning-points1466 of those two ages occupy an eminent place in the ancient books. On the other hand, those of the other three ages are also declared in the Gospel,1467 where the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh is likewise mentioned. For the third age extends from Abraham on to David the king; the fourth from David on to that captivity whereby the people of God passed over into Babylonia; and the fifth from that transmigration down to the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. With His coming the sixth age has entered on its process; so that now the spiritual grace, which in previous times was known to a few patriarchs and prophets, may be made manifest to all nations; to the intent that no man should worship God but freely, 1468 fondly desiring of Him not the visible rewards of His services and the happiness of this present life, but that eternal life alone in which he is to enjoy God Himself: in order that in this sixth age the mind of man may be renewed after the image of God, even as on the sixth day man was made after the image of God.1469 For then, too, is the law fulfilled, when all that it has commanded is done, not in the strong desire for things temporal, but in the love of Him who has given the commandment. Who is there, moreover, who should not be earnestly disposed to give the return of love to a God of supreme righteousness and also of supreme mercy, who has first loved men of the greatest unrighteousness and the loftiest pride, and that, too, so deeply as to have sent in their behalf His only Son, by whom He made all things, and who being made man, not by any change of Himself, but by the assumption of human nature, was designed


Gen. vi. 22


Instead of dictus estthe mss. give also electus est= was chosen to be.


Gen. xvii. 4


articuli= articles.


Matt. i. 17




Gen. i. 27

Of the Six Ages of the World.

thus to become capable not only of living with them, but also of dying at once for them and by their hands? 40. “Thus, then, showing forth the New Testament of our everlasting inheritance, wherein man was to be renewed by the grace of God and lead a new life, that is, a spiritual life; and with the view of exhibiting the first one as an old dispensation, wherein a carnal people acting out the old man (with the exception of a few patriarchs and prophets, who had understanding, and some hidden saints), and leading a carnal life, desiderated carnal rewards at the hands of the Lord God, and received in that fashion but the figures of spiritual blessings;—with this intent, I say, the Lord Christ, when made man, despised all earthly good things, in order that He might show us how these things ought to be despised; and He endured all earthly ills which He was inculcating as things needful to be endured; so that neither might our happiness be sought for in the former class, nor our unhappiness be apprehended in the latter. For being born of a mother who, although she conceived without being touched by man and always remained thus untouched, in virginity conceiving, in virginity bringing forth, in virginity dying, had nevertheless been espoused to a handicraftsman, He extinguished all the inflated pride of carnal nobility. Moreover, being born in the city of Bethlehem, which among all the cities of JudĂŚa was so insignificant that even in our own day it is designated a village, He willed not that any one should glory in the exalted position of any city of earth. He, too, whose are all things and by whom all things were created, was made poor, in order that no one, while believing in Him, might venture to boast himself in earthly riches. He refused to be made by men a king, because He displayed the pathway of humility to those unhappy ones whom pride had separated from Him;1470 and yet universal creation attests the fact of His everlasting kingdom. An hungered was He who 308feeds all men; athirst was He by whom is created whatsoever is drunk, and who in a spiritual manner is the bread of the hungry and the fountain of the thirsty; in journeying on earth, wearied was He who has made Himself the way for us into heaven; as like one dumb and deaf in the presence of His revilers was He by whom the dumb spoke and the deaf heard; bound was He who freed us from the bonds of infirmities; scourged was He who expelled from the bodies of man the scourges of all distresses; crucified was He who put an end to our crucial pains;1471 dead did He become who raised the dead. But He also rose again, no more to die, so that no one should from Him learn so to contemn death as if he were never to live again.


Reading ab eo; for which some editions give ab ea= from that humility.


There is a play in the words here: crucifixus est qui cruciatus nostros finivit.


Of the Mission of the Holy Ghost Fifty Days After Christ’s Resurrection

Chapter 23.—Of the Mission of the Holy Ghost Fifty Days After Christ’s Resurrection. 41. “Thereafter, having confirmed the disciples, and having sojourned with them forty days, He ascended up into heaven, as these same persons were beholding Him. And on the completion of fifty days from His resurrection He sent to them the Holy Spirit (for so He had promised), by whose agency they were to have love shed abroad in their hearts,1472 to the end that they might be able to fulfill the law, not only without the sense of its being burdensome, but even with a joyful mind. This law was given to the Jews in the ten commandments, which they call the Decalogue. And these commandments, again, are reduced to two, namely that we should love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our 1473 mind; and that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. For that on these two precepts hang all the law and the prophets, the Lord Himself has at once declared in the Gospel and shown in His own example. For thus it was likewise in the instance of the people of Israel, that from the day on which they first celebrated the passover in a form, 1474 slaying and eating the sheep, with whose blood their door-posts were marked for the securing of their safety,1475—from this day, I repeat, the fiftieth day in succession was completed, and then they received the law written by the finger of God,1476 under which phrase we have already stated that the Holy Spirit is signified. 1477 And in the same manner, after the passion and resurrection of the Lord, who is the true passover, the Holy Ghost was sent personally to the disciples on the fiftieth day: not now, however, by tables of stone significant of the hardness of their hearts; but, when they were gathered together in one place at Jerusalem itself, suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as if a violent blast were being borne onwards, and there appeared to them tongues cloven like fire, and they began to speak with tongues, in such a manner that all those who had come to them recognized each his own language1478 (for in that city the Jews were in the habit of assembling from every country wheresoever they had been scattered abroad, and had learned the diverse tongues of diverse nations); and thereafter, preaching Christ with all boldness, they wrought many signs in His name,—so much so, that as Peter was passing by, his shadow touched a certain dead person, and the man rose in life again.1479 1472

Cf. Rom. v. 5


Matt. xxii. 37–40


In imagine.


Ex. xii


Ex. xxxiv. 28


Luke xi. 20


Acts ii


The reference evidently is to Acts v. 15, where, however, it is only the people’s intention that is noticed,

and that only in the instance of the sick, and not of any individual actually dead.

Of the Mission of the Holy Ghost Fifty Days After Christ’s Resurrection

42. “But when the Jews perceived so great signs to be wrought in the name of Him, whom, partly through ill-will and partly in ignorance, they crucified, some of them were provoked to persecute the apostles, who were His preachers; while others, on the contrary, marvelling the more at this very circumstance, that so great miracles were being performed in the name of Him whom they had derided as one overborne and conquered by themselves, repented, and were converted, so that thousands of Jews believed on Him. For these parties were not bent now on craving at the hand of God temporal benefits and an earthly kingdom, neither did they look any more for Christ, the promised king, in a carnal spirit; but they continued in immortal fashion to apprehend and love Him, who in mortal fashion endured on their behalf at their own hands sufferings so heavy, and imparted to them the gift of forgiveness for all their sins, even down to the iniquity of His own blood, and by the example of His own resurrection unfolded immortality as the object which they should hope for and long for at His hands. Accordingly, now mortifying the earthly cravings of the old man, and inflamed with the new experience of the spiritual life, as the Lord had enjoined in the Gospel, they sold all that they had, and laid the price of their possessions at the feet of the apostles, in order that these might distribute to every man according as each had need; and living in Christian love harmoniously with each other, they did not affirm anything to be their own, but they had all things in common, and were one in soul and heart toward God.1480 After309wards these same persons also themselves suffered persecution in their flesh at the hands of the Jews, their carnal fellow-countrymen, and were dispersed abroad, to the end that, in consequence of their dispersion, Christ should be preached more extensively, and that they themselves at the same time should be followers of the patience of their Lord. For He who in meekness had endured them,1481 enjoined them in meekness to endure for His sake. 43. “Among those same persecutors of the saints the Apostle Paul had once also ranked; and he raged with eminent violence against the Christians. But, subsequently, he became a believer and an apostle, and was sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, suffering (in that ministry) things more grievous on behalf of the name of Christ than were those which he had done against the name of Christ. Moreover, in establishing churches throughout all the nations where he was sowing the seed of the gospel, he was wont to give earnest injunction that, as these converts (coming as they did from the worship of idols and without experience in the worship of the one God) could not readily serve God in the way of selling and distrib-


Acts ii. 44, iv. 34


Adopting the Benedictine version, qui eos mansuetus passus fuerat, and taking it as a parallel to Acts

xiii. 18, Heb. xii. 3. There is, however, great variety of reading here. Thus we find qui ante eos, etc.= who had suffered in meekness before them: qui pro eis, etc.= who had suffered in their stead: qui propter eos, etc.= who had suffered on their account: and qui per eos, etc.= who had suffered through them, etc. But the reading in the text appears best authenticated.


Of the Mission of the Holy Ghost Fifty Days After Christ’s Resurrection

uting their possessions, they should make offerings for the poor brethren among the saints who were in the churches of Judea which had believed in Christ. In this manner the doctrine of the apostle constituted some to be, as it were, soldiers, and others to be, as it were, provincial tributaries, while it set Christ in the centre of them like the corner-stone (in accordance with what had been announced beforetime by the prophet),1482 in whom both parties, like walls advancing from different sides, that is to say, from Jews and from Gentiles, might be joined together in the affection of kinship. But at a later period heavier and more frequent persecutions arose from the unbelieving Gentiles against the Church of Christ, and day by day was fulfilled that prophetic word which the Lord spake when He said, ‘Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves.’1483


Ps. cxviii. 22; Isa. xxviii. 16


Matt. x. 16


Of the Church in Its Likeness to a Vine Sprouting and Suffering Pruning

Chapter 24.—Of the Church in Its Likeness to a Vine Sprouting and Suffering Pruning. 44. “But that vine, which was spreading forth its fruitful shoots throughout the circle of lands, according as had been prophesied with regard to it, and as had been foretold by the Lord Himself, sprouted all the more luxuriantly in proportion as it was watered with richer streams of the blood of martyrs. And as these died in behalf of the truth of the faith in countless numbers throughout all lands, even the persecuting kingdoms themselves desisted, and were converted to the knowledge and worship of Christ, with the neck of their pride broken. Moreover it behoved that this same vine should be pruned in accordance with the Lord’s repeated predictions,1484 and that the unfruitful twigs should be cut out of it, by which heresies and schisms were occasioned in various localities, under the name of Christ, on the part of men who sought not His glory but their own; whose oppositions, however, also served more and more to discipline the Church, and to test and illustrate both its doctrine and its patience. 45. “All these things, then, we now perceive to be realized precisely as we read of them in predictions uttered so long before the event. And as the first Christians, inasmuch as they did not see these things literally made good in their own day, were moved by miracles to believe them; so as regards ourselves, inasmuch as all these things have now been brought to pass exactly as we read of them in those books which were written a long time previous to the fulfillment of the things in question, wherein they were all announced as matters yet future, even as they are now seen to be actually present, we are built up unto faith, so that, enduring and persevering in the Lord, we believe without any hesitation in the destined accomplishment even of those things which still remain to be realized. For, indeed, in the same Scriptures, tribulations yet to come are still read of, as well as the final day of judgment itself, when all the citizens of these two states shall receive their bodies again, and rise and give account of their life before the judgment-seat of Christ. For He will come in the glory of His power, who of old condescended to come in the lowliness of humanity; and He will separate all the godly from the ungodly,—not only from those who have utterly refused to believe in Him at all, but also from those who have believed in Him to no purpose and without fruit. To the one class He will give an eternal kingdom together with Himself, while to the other He will award eternal punishment together with the devil. But as no joy yielded 310by things temporal can be found in any measure comparable to the joy of life eternal which the saints are destined to attain, so no torment of temporal punishments can be compared to the everlasting torments of the unrighteous.


John xv. 2

Of Constancy in the Faith of the Resurrection.

Chapter 25.—Of Constancy in the Faith of the Resurrection. 46. “Therefore, brother, confirm yourself in the name and help of Him in whom you believe, so as to withstand the tongues of those who mock at our faith, in whose case the devil speaks seductive words, bent above all on making a mockery of the faith in a resurrection. But, judging from your own history, 1485 believe that, seeing you have been, you will also be hereafter, even as you perceive yourself now to be, although previously you were not. For where was this great structure of your body, and where this formation and compacted connection of members a few years ago, before you were born, or even before you were conceived in your mother’s womb? Where, I repeat, was then this structure and this stature of your body? Did it not come forth to light from the hidden secrets of this creation, under the invisible formative operations of the Lord God, and did it not rise to its present magnitude and fashion by those fixed measures of increase which come with the successive periods of life?1486 Is it then in any way a difficult thing for God, who also in a moment brings together out of secrecy the masses of the clouds and veils the heavens in an instant of time, to make this quantity of your body again what it was, seeing that He was able to make it what formerly it was not?1487 Consequently, believe with a manful and unshaken spirit that all those things which seem to be withdrawn from the eyes of men as if to perish, are safe and exempt from loss in relation to the omnipotence of God, who will restore them, without any delay or difficulty, when He is so minded,—those of them at least, I should say, that are judged by His justice to merit restoration; in order that men may give account of their deeds in their very bodies in which they have done them; and that in these they may be deemed worthy to receive either the exchange of heavenly incorruption in accordance with the deserts of their piety, or the corruptible condition of body1488 in accordance with the deserts of their wickedness,—and that, too, not a condition such as may be done away with by death, but such as shall furnish material for everlasting pains. 47. “Flee, therefore, by steadfast faith and good manners,—flee, brother, those torments in which neither the torturers fail, nor do the tortured die; to whom it is death without end, to be unable to die in their pains. And be kindled with love and longing for the everlasting life of the saints, in which neither will action be toilsome nor will rest be indolent; in which the praise of God will be without irksomeness and without defect; wherein there will be no weariness in the mind, no exhaustion in the body; wherein, too, there shall be no want, whether on your own part, so that you should crave for relief, or on your neighbor’s part, 1485

Sed ex te ipso crede. It may also = but, on your side, do you believe.


Certisque ætatum incrementis, etc.


Reading sicut non erat; for which, however, cum non eratalso occurs = seeing He was able to make it

when it was not. 1488

Corruptibilem corporis conditionem. But corruptibilisalso occurs = the condition of a corruptible body.

Of Constancy in the Faith of the Resurrection.

so that you should be in haste to carry relief to him. God will be the whole enjoyment and satisfaction1489 of that holy city, which lives in Him and of Him, in wisdom and beatitude. For as we hope and look for what has been promised by Him, we shall be made equal to the angels of God,1490 and together with them we shall enjoy that Trinity now by sight, wherein at present we walk by faith.1491 For we believe that which we see not, in order that through these very deserts of faith we may be counted worthy also to see that which we believe, and to abide in it; to the intent that these mysteries of the equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the unity of this same Trinity, and the manner in which these three subsistences are one God, need no more be uttered by us in words of faith and sounding syllables, but may be drunk in in purest and most burning contemplation in that silence. 48. “These things hold fixed in your heart, and call upon the God in whom you believe, to defend you against the temptations of the devil; and be careful, lest that adversary come stealthily upon you from a strange quarter, who, as a most malevolent solace for his own damnation, seeks others whose companionship he may obtain in that damnation. For he is bold enough not only to tempt Christian people through the instrumentality of those who hate the Christian name, or are pained to see the world taken possession of by that name, and still fondly desire to do service to idols and to the curious rites of evil spirits, but at times he also attempts the same through the agency of such men as we have mentioned a little ago, to wit, persons severed from the unity of the Church, like the twigs which are 311lopped off when the vine is pruned, who are called heretics or schismatics. Howbeit sometimes also he makes the same effort by means of the Jews, seeking to tempt and seduce believers by their instrumentality. Nevertheless, what ought above all things to be guarded against is, that no individual may suffer himself to be tempted and deceived by men who are within the Catholic Church itself, and who are borne by it like the chaff that is sustained against the time of its winnowing. For in being patient toward such persons, God has this end in view, namely, to exercise and confirm the faith and prudence of His elect by means of the perverseness of these others while at the same time He also takes account of the fact that many of their number make an advance, and are converted to the doing of the good pleasure of God with a great impetus, when led to take pity upon their own souls. 1492 For not all treasure up for themselves, through the patience of God, wrath in the day of the wrath


Satietas. Some editions, however, give societas= the society.


Luke xx. 36


2 Cor. v. 7


Ad placendum Deo miserati animas suas, etc. Instead of miseratithe reading miserantialso occurs =

"to" the doing of the good pleasure of the God who takes pity on their souls. The Benedictine editors suggest that the whole clause is in reference to Ecclesiasticus xxx. 24, (23), which in the Latin runs thus: miserere animĂŚ tuĂŚ placens Deo.


Of Constancy in the Faith of the Resurrection. of His just judgment; 1493 but many are brought by the same patience of the Almighty to the most wholesome pain of repentance. 1494 And until that is effected, they are made the means of exercising not only the forbearance, but also the compassion of those who are already holding by the right way. Accordingly, you will have to witness many drunkards, covetous men, deceivers gamesters, adulterers, fornicators, men who bind upon their persons sacrilegious charms and others given up to sorcerers and astrologers, 1495 and diviners practised in all kinds of impious arts. You will also have to observe how those very crowds which fill the theatres on the festal days of the pagans also fill the churches on the festal days of the Christians. And when you see these things you will be tempted to imitate them. Nay, why should I use the expression, you will see, in reference to what you assuredly are acquainted with even already? For you are not ignorant of the fact that many who are called Christians engage in all these evil things which I have briefly mentioned. Neither are you ignorant that at times, perchance, men whom you know to bear the name of Christians are guilty of even more grievous offenses than these. But if you have come with the notion that you may do such things as in a secured position, you are greatly in error; neither will the name of Christ be of any avail to you when He begins to judge in utmost strictness, who also of old condescended in utmost mercy to come to man’s relief. For He Himself has foretold these things, and speaks to this effect in the Gospel: ‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father. Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, in thy name we have eaten and drunken.’ 1496 For all, therefore, who persevere in such works the end is damnation. Consequently, when you see many not only doing these things but also defending and recommending them, keep yourself firmly by the law of God, and follow not its willful transgressors. For it is not according to their mind, but according to His1497 truth that you will be judged. 49. “Associate with the good, whom you perceive to be at one with you in loving your King. For there are many such for you to discover, if you also begin to cultivate that character yourself. For if in the public spectacles you wished to be in congenial company, and to attach yourself closely1498 to men who are united with you in a liking for some charioteer, or some hunter, or some player or other, how much more ought you to find pleasure in associating


Rom. ii. 5


Cf. Rom. ii. 4




Matt. vii. 21, 22


Or = its (i.e. the law’s) truth.


Adopting nam si in spectaculis cum illis esse cupiebas et eis inhærere. Another, but less weightily supported

reading, is, nam si in spectaculis et vanitatibus insanorum certaminum illis cupiebas inhærere= for if in the public spectacles and vanities of mad struggles you wish to attach yourself closely to men, etc.


Of Constancy in the Faith of the Resurrection.

with those who are at one with you in loving that God, with regard to whom no one that loves Him shall ever have cause for the blush of shame, inasmuch as not only is He Himself incapable of being overcome, but He will also render those unconquerable who are affectionately disposed toward Him. At the same time, not even on those same good men, who either anticipate you or accompany you on the way to God, ought you to set your hope, seeing that no more ought you to place it on yourself, however great may be the progress you have made, but on Him who justifies both them and you, and thus makes you what you are. For you are secure in God, because He changes not; but in man no one prudently counts himself secure. But if we ought to love those who are not righteous as yet, with the view that they may be so, how much more warmly ought those to be loved who already are righteous? At the same time, it is one thing to love man, and another thing to set one’s hope in man; and the difference is so great, that God enjoins the one and forbids the other. Moreover, if 312you have to sustain either any insults or any sufferings in the cause of the name of Christ, and neither fall away from the faith nor decline from the good way, 1499 you are certain to receive the greater reward; whereas those who give way to the devil in such circumstances, lose even the less reward. But be humble toward God, in order that He may not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength.�


Bona via. Another and well authenticated rendering is, bona vita= the good life.


Of the Formal Admission of the Catechumen, and of the Signs Therein Made…

Chapter 26.—Of the Formal Admission of the Catechumen, and of the Signs Therein Made Use of. 50. At the conclusion of this address the person is to be asked whether he believes these things and earnestly desires to observe them. And on his replying to that effect then certainly he is to be solemnly signed and dealt with in accordance with the custom of the Church. On the subject of the sacrament, indeed,1500 which he receives, it is first to be well impressed upon his notice that the signs of divine things are, it is true, things visible, but that the invisible things themselves are also honored in them, and that that species, 1501 which is then sanctified by the blessing, is therefore not to be regarded merely in the way in which it is regarded in any common use. And thereafter he ought to be told what is also signified by the form of words to which he has listened, and what in him is seasoned 1502 by that (spiritual grace) of which this material substance presents the emblem. Next we should take occasion by that ceremony to admonish him that, if he hears anything even in the Scriptures which may carry a carnal sound, he should, even although he fails to understand it, nevertheless believe that something spiritual is signified thereby, which bears upon holiness of character and the future life. Moreover, in this way he learns briefly that, whatever he may hear in the canonical books of such a kind as to make him unable to refer it to the love of eternity, and of truth, and of sanctity, and to the love of our neighbor, he should believe that to have been spoken or done with a figurative significance; and that, consequently, he should endeavor to understand it in such a manner as to refer it to that twofold (duty of) love. He should be further admonished, however, not to take the term neighborin a carnal sense, but to understand under it every one who may ever be with him in that holy city, whether there already or not yet apparent. And (he should finally be counselled) not to despair of the amendment of any man whom he perceives to be living under the patience 1503 of God for no other reason, as the apostle says, than that he may be brought to repentance. 1500

It has been supposed by the Benedictine editors that sanemay be a misreading for salis. Whether that

be or be not the case, the sacramentumintended here appears to be the sacramentum salis, in reference to which Neander (Church Historyiii. p. 458, Bohn’s Translation) states that “in the North African Church the bishop gave to those whom he received as competentes, while signing the cross over them as a symbol of consecration, a portion of salt over which a blessing had been pronounced. This was to signify the divine word imparted to the candidates as the true salt for human nature.” There is an allusion to the same in the Confessions(i. 11), where Augustin says, “Even from my mother’s womb who greatly hoped in thee, I was signed with the sign of His cross, and seasoned with His salt.” 1501

Speciem= kind, in reference to the outward and sensible sign of the salt.


Adopting condiat, which unquestionably is the reading most accordant with the figure of the sacramental

salt here dealt with. Some editions give condatur= what is hidden in it, the said form of words. 1503

Rom. ii . 4

Of the Formal Admission of the Catechumen, and of the Signs Therein Made‌

51. If this discourse, in which I have supposed myself to have been teaching some uninstructed person in my presence, appears to you to be too long, you are at liberty to expound these matters with greater brevity. I do not think, however, that it ought to be longer than this. At the same time, much depends on what the case itself, as it goes on, may render advisable, and what the audience actually present shows itself not only to bear, but also to desire. When, however, rapid despatch is required, notice with what facility the whole matter admits of being explained. Suppose once more that some one comes before us who desires to be a Christian; and accordingly, suppose further that he has been interrogated, and that he has returned the answer which we have taken the former catechumen to have given; for, even should he decline to make this reply, it must at least be said that he ought to have given it;—then all that remains to be said to him should be put together in the following manner:— 52. Of a truth, brother, that is great and true blessedness which is promised to the saints in a future world. All visible things, on the other hand, pass away, and all the pomp, and pleasure, and solicitude1504 of this world will perish, and (even now) they drag those who love them along with them onward to destruction. The merciful God, willing to deliver men from this destruction, that is to say, from everlasting pains, if they should not prove enemies to themselves, and if they should not withstand the mercy of their Creator, sent His onlybegotten Son, that is to say, His Word, equal with Himself, by whom He made all things. And He, while abiding indeed in His divinity, and neither receding from the Father nor being changed in anything, did at the same time, by taking on Himself human nature, 1505 313and appearing to men in mortal flesh, come unto men; in order that, just as death entered among the human race by one man, to wit, the first that was made, that is to say, Adam, because he consented unto his wife when she was seduced by the devil to the effect that they (both) transgressed the commandment of God; even so by one man, Jesus Christ, who is also God, the Son of God, all those who believe in Him might have all their past sins done away with, and enter into eternal life.






Of the Prophecies of the Old Testament in Their Visible Fulfillment in the…

Chapter 27.—Of the Prophecies of the Old Testament in Their Visible Fulfillment in the Church. 53. “For all those things, which at present you witness in the Church of God, and which you see to be taking place under the name of Christ throughout the whole world, were predicted long ages ago. And even as we read of them, so also we now see them. And by means of these things we are built up unto faith. Once of old there occurred a flood over the whole earth, the object of which was that sinners might be destroyed. And, nevertheless, those who escaped in the ark exhibited a sacramental sign of the Church that was to be, which at present is floating on the waves of the world, and is delivered from submersion by the wood of the cross of Christ. It was predicted to Abraham, a faithful servant of God, a single man, that of Him it was determined that a people should be born who should worship one God in the midst of all other nations which worshipped idols; and all things which were prophesied of as destined to happen to that people have come to pass exactly as they were foretold. Among that people Christ, the King of all saints and their God, was also prophesied of as destined to come of the seed of that same Abraham according to the flesh, which (flesh) He took unto Himself, in order that all those also who became followers of His faith might be sons of Abraham; and thus it has come to pass: Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, who belonged to that race. It was foretold by the prophets that He would suffer on the cross at the hands of that same people of the Jews, of whose lineage, according to the flesh, He came; and thus it has come to pass. It was foretold that He would rise again: He has risen again; and, in accordance with these same predictions of the prophets, He has ascended into heaven and has sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples. It was foretold not only by the prophets, but also by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, that His Church would exist throughout the whole world, extended by the martyrdoms and sufferings of the saints; and this was foretold at a time when as yet His name was at once undeclared to the Gentiles, and made a subject of derision where it was known; and, nevertheless, in the power of His miracles, whether those which He wrought by His own hand or those which he effected by means of His servants, as these things are being reported and believed, we already see the fulfillment of that which was predicted, and behold the very kings of the earth, who formerly were wont to persecute the Christians, even now brought into subjection to the name of Christ. It was also foretold that schisms and heresies would arise from His Church, and that under His name they would seek their own glory instead of Christ’s, in such places as they might be able to command; and these predictions have been realized. 54. “Will those things, then, which yet remain fail to come to pass? It is manifest that, just as the former class of things which were foretold have come to pass, so will these latter also come to pass. I refer to all the tribulations of the righteous, which yet wait for fulfillment, and to the day of judgment, which will separate all the wicked from the righteous in the resurrection of the dead;—and not only will it thus separate those wicked men who are outside

Of the Prophecies of the Old Testament in Their Visible Fulfillment in the‌

the Church, but also it will set apart for the fire, which is due to such, the chaff of the Church itself, which must be borne with in utmost patience on to the last winnowing. Moreover, they who deride the (doctrine of a) resurrection, because they think that this flesh, inasmuch as it becomes corrupt, cannot rise again, will certainly rise in the same unto punishment, and God will make it plain to such, that He who was able to form these bodies when as yet they were not, is able in a moment to restore them as they were. But all the faithful who are destined to reign with Christ shall rise with the same body in such wise that they may also be counted worthy to be changed into angelic incorruption; so that they may be made equal 1506 unto the angels of God, even as the Lord Himself has promised; and that they may praise Him without any failure and without any weariness, ever living in Him and of Him, with such joy and blessedness as can be neither expressed nor conceived by man. 55. “Believe these things, therefore, and be on your guard against temptations (for the devil seeks for others who may be brought to perish along with himself); so that not only 314may that adversary fail to seduce you by the help of those who are without the Church, whether they be pagans, or Jews, or heretics; but you yourself also may decline to follow the example of those within the Catholic Church itself whom you see leading an evil life, either indulging in excess in the pleasures of the belly and the throat, or unchaste, or given up to the vain and unlawful observances of curious superstitions, whether they be addicted to (the inanities of) public spectacles, or charms, or divinations of devils, 1507 or be living in the pomp and inflated arrogance of covetousness and pride, or be pursuing any sort of life which the law condemns and punishes. But rather connect yourself with the good, whom you will easily find out, if you yourself were once become of that character; so that you may unite with each other in worshipping and loving God for His own sake;1508 for He himself will be our complete reward to the intent that we may enjoy His goodness and beauty 1509 in that life. He is to be loved, however, not in the way in which any object that is seen with the eyes is loved, but as wisdom is loved, and truth, and holiness, and righteousness, and charity,1510 and whatever else may be mentioned as of kindred nature; and further, with a love conformable to these things not as they are in men, but as they are in the very fountain of incorruptible and unchangeable wisdom. Whomsoever, therefore, you may observe to be loving these things, attach yourself to them, so that through Christ, who became man in order that He might be the Mediator between God and men, you may be reconciled to God.


Luke xx. 36


Remediorum aut divinationum diabolicarum. Some editions insert sacrilegorumafter remediorum=

sacrilegious charms or divinations of devils. 1508



Cf. Zech. ix. 17


Many mss. omit the words: and holiness, and righteousness, and charity.


Of the Prophecies of the Old Testament in Their Visible Fulfillment in the‌

But as regards the perverse, even if they find their way within the walls of the Church, think not that they will find their way into the kingdom of heaven; for in their own time they will be set apart, if they have not altered to the better. Consequently, follow the example of good men, bear with the wicked, love all; forasmuch as you know not what he will be to-morrow who to-day is evil. Howbeit, love not the unrighteousness of such; but love the persons themselves with the express intent that they may apprehend righteousness; for not only is the love of God enjoined upon us, but also the love of our neighbor, on which two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 1511 And this is fulfilled by no one save the man who has received the (other) gift, 1512 the Holy Spirit, who is indeed equal with the Father and with the Son; for this same Trinity is God; and on this God every hope ought to be placed. On man our hope ought not to be placed, of whatsoever character he may be. For He, by whom we are justified, is one thing; and they, together with whom we are justified, are another. Moreover, it is not only by lusts that the devil tempts, but also by the terrors of insults, and pains, and death itself. But whatever a man shall have suffered on behalf of the name of Christ, and for the sake of the hope of eternal life, and shall have endured in constancy, (in accordance therewith) the greater reward shall be given him; whereas, if he shall give way to the devil, he shall be damned along with him. But works of mercy, conjoined with pious humility, meet with this acknowledgment from God, to wit, that He will not suffer His servants to be tempted more than they are able to bear.�1513


Matt. xxii. 37, 39


One edition reads Dominum, the Lord, the Holy Spirit, etc., instead of donum.


1 Cor. x. 13


A Treatise on Faith and the Creed.


A Treatise on Faith and the Creed. [De Fide Et Symbolo.] in One Book. Translated by Rev. S. D. F. Salmond, D.D.,

Professor of Systematic Theology, Free Church College, Aberdeen. [A discourse delivered before a council of the whole North African Episcopate assembled at Hippo-Regius.]

Introductory Notice.


Introductory Notice.

Theoccasion and date of the composition of this treatise are indicated in a statement which Augustin makes in the seventeenth chapter of the First Book of his Retractations. From this we learn that, in its original form, it was a discourse which Augustin, when only a presbyter, was requested to deliver in public by the bishops assembled at the Council of Hippo-Regius, and that it was subsequently issued as a book at the desire of friends. The general assembly of the North African Church, which was thus convened at what is now Bona, in the modern territory of Algiers, took place in the year 393 A.D., and was otherwise one of some historical importance, on account of the determined protest which it emitted against the position elsewhere allowed to Patriarchs in the Church, and against the admittance of any more authoritative or magisterial title to the highest ecclesiastical official than that of simply “Bishop of the first Church” (primæ sedis episcopus). The work constitutes an exposition of the several clauses of the so-called Apostles’ Creed. The questions concerning the mutual relations of the three Persons in the Godhead are handled with greatest fullness; in connection with which, especially in the use made of the analogies of Being, Knowledge, and Love, and in the cautions thrown in against certain applications of these and other illustrations taken from things of human experience, we come across sentiments which are also repeated in the City of God, the books on the Trinity, and others of his doctrinal writings. The passage referred to in the Retractationsis as follows: About the same period, in presence of the bishops, who gave me orders to that effect, and who were holding a plenary Council of the whole of Africa at Hippo-Regius, I delivered, as presbyter, a discussion on the subject of Faith and the Creed. This disputation, at the very pressing request of some of those who were on terms of more than usual intimacy and affection with us, I threw into the form of a book, in which the themes themselves are made the subjects of discourse, although not in a method involving the adoption of the particular connection of words which is given to the competentes1514 to be committed to memory. In this book, when discussing the question of the resurrection of the flesh, I say: 1515 ‘Rise again the body will, according to the Christian faith, which is incapable of deceiving. And if this appears incredible to any one, [it is because] he looks simply to what the flesh is at present, while he fails to consider of what nature it shall be hereafter. For at that time of angelic change it will no more be flesh and blood, but only body;’ and so on, through the other statements which I have made there on the subject of the change of bodies terrestrial into bodies celestial, as the apostle, when he spake from the same point, said, ‘Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of


i.e.the third order of catechumens, embracing those thoroughly prepared for baptism.


Chap. x. § 24.

Introductory Notice. God.’1516 But if any one takes these declarations in a sense leading him to suppose that the earthly body, such as we now have it, is changed in the resurrection into a celestial body, in 318any such wise as that neither these members nor the substance of the flesh will subsist any more, undoubtedly he must be set right, by being put in mind of the body of the Lord, who subsequently to His resurrection appeared in the same members, as One who was not only to be seen with the eyes, but also handled with the hands; and made His possession of the flesh likewise surer by the discourse which He spake, saying, ‘Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.’ 1517 Hence it is certain that the apostle did not deny that the substance of the flesh will exist in the kingdom of God, but that under the name of ‘flesh and blood’ he designated either men who live after the flesh, or the express corruption of the flesh, which assuredly at that period shall subsist no more. For after he had said, ‘Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God,’ what he proceeds to say next,—namely, ‘neither shall corruption inherit incorruption,’—is rightly taken to have been added by way of explaining his previous statement. And on this subject, which is one on which it is difficult to convince unbelievers, any one who reads my last book, On the City 1518 of God, will find that I have discoursed with the utmost carefulness of which I am capable. The performance in question commences thus: ‘Since it is written,’ etc.”

[Additional Note by the American Editor.] [Another English edition of this treatise De Fide et Symbolowas prepared by the Rev. Charles a. Heurtley, D.D., Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, and published by Parker & Co., Oxford and London, 1886. The following text of the Apostles’ Creed may be collected from this book of St. Augustin, and was current in North Africa towards the close of the fourth century: 1. I Believe in God the Father Almighty.Chs. 2 and 3. 2. (And) In Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-Begotten of the Father, or, His Only Son, Our Lord.Ch. 3. 3. Who Was Born Through the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary.Ch. 4 (§ 8.) 4. Who Under Pontius Pilate Was Crucified and Buried.Ch. 5 (§ 11.) 5. On the Third Day He Rose Again from the Dead.Ch. 5 (§ 12.) 6. He Ascended into Heaven.Ch. 6 (§ 13.) 7. He Sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father.Ch. 7 (§ 14.) 8. From Thence He Will Come and Judge the Living and the Dead.Ch. 8 (§ 15.)


1 Cor. xv. 50


Luke xxiv. 39


City of God, Bk. xxii. Ch. 21.


Introductory Notice.

9. (and I Believe) in the Holy Spirit.Ch. 9 (§ 16–19.) 10. I Believe the Holy Church (Catholic).Ch. 10 (§ 21.) 11. The Forgiveness of Sin.Ch. 10 (§ 23.) 12. The Resurrection of the Body.Ch. 10 (§ 23, 24.) 13. The Life Everlasting.Ch. 10 (§ 24.)]


Of the Origin and Object of the Composition.

A Treatise on Faith and the Creed.


Chapter 1.—Of the Origin and Object of the Composition. 1. Inasmuchas it is a position, written and established on the most solid foundation of apostolic teaching, “that the just lives of faith;”1519 and inasmuch also as this faith demands of us the duty at once of heart and tongue,—for an apostle says, “With the heart man believeth 1520 unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” —it becomes us to be mindful both of righteousness and of salvation. For, destined as we are to reign hereafter in everlasting righteousness, we certainly cannot secure our salvation from the present evil world, unless at the same time, while laboring for the salvation of our neighbors, we likewise with the mouth make our own profession of the faith which we carry in our heart. And it must be our aim, by pious and careful watchfulness, to provide against the possibility of the said faith sustaining any injury in us, on any side, through the fraudulent artifices [or, cunning fraud] of the heretics. We have, however, the catholic faith in the Creed, known to the faithful and committed to memory, contained in a form of expression as concise as has been rendered admissible by the circumstances of the case; the purpose of which [compilation] was, that individuals who are but beginners and sucklings among those who have been born again in Christ, and who have not yet been strengthened by most diligent and spiritual handling and understanding of the divine Scriptures, should be furnished with a summary, expressed in few words, of those matters of necessary belief which were subsequently to be explained to them in many words, as they made progress and rose to [the height of] divine doctrine, on the assured and steadfast basis of humility and charity. It is underneath these few words, therefore, which are thus set in order in the Creed, that most heretics have endeavored to conceal their poisons; whom divine mercy has withstood, and still withstands, by the instrumentality of spiritual men, who have been counted worthy not only to accept and believe the catholic faith as expounded in those terms, but also thoroughly to understand and apprehend it by the enlightenment imparted by the Lord. For it is written, “Unless ye believe, ye shall not understand.”1521 But the handling of the faith is of service for the protection of the Creed; not, however, to the intent that this should itself be given instead of the Creed, to be committed to memory and repeated by those who are receiving the grace of God, but that it may guard the matters which are retained in the Creed against the insidious assaults of the heretics, by means of catholic authority and a more entrenched defence.


Hab. ii. 4; Rom. i. 17; Gal. iii. 11; Heb. x. 38


Rom. x. 10


Isa. vii. 9, according to the rendering of the Septuagint.

Of God and His Exclusive Eternity.


Chapter 2.—Of God and His Exclusive Eternity.

2. For certain parties have attempted to gain acceptance for the opinion that God the Fatheris not Almighty: not that they have been bold enough expressly to affirm this, but in their traditions they are convicted of entertaining and crediting such a notion. For when they affirm that there is a nature 1522 which God Almighty did not create, but of which at 1523 the same time He fashioned this world, which they admit to have been disposed in beauty, they thereby deny that God is almighty, to the effect of not believing that He could have created the world without employing, for the purpose of its construction, another nature, which had been in existence previously, and which He Himself had not made. Thus, forsooth, [they reason] from their carnal familiarity with the sight of craftsmen and house-builders, and artisans of all descriptions, who have no power to make good the effect of their own art unless they get the help of materials already prepared. And so these parties in like manner understand the Maker of the world not to be almighty, if1524 thus He could not fashion the said world without the help of some other nature, not framed by Himself, which He had to use as His materials. Or if indeed they do allow God, the Maker of the world, to be almighty, it becomes matter of course that they must also acknowledge that He made out of nothing the things which He did make. For, granting that He is almighty, there cannot exist anything of which He should not be the Creator. For although He made something out of something, as man out of clay,1525 nevertheless He certainly did not make any object out of aught which He Himself had not made; for the earth from which the clay comes He had made out of nothing. And even if He had made out of some material the heavens and the earth themselves, that is to say, the universe and all things which are in it, according as it is written, “Thou who didst make the world out of matter unseen,”1526 or also “without form,” as some copies give it; yet we are under no manner of necessity to believe that this very material of which the universe was made, although it might be “without form,” although it might be “unseen,” whatever might be the mode of its subsistence, could possibly have subsisted of itself, as if it were co-eternal and co-eval with God. But whatsoever that mode was which it possessed to the effect of subsisting in some manner, whatever that manner might be, and of being capable of taking on the forms of distinct things, this it did not possess except by the hand of Almighty God, by whose goodness it is that everything exists,—not only every object which is already formed, but also every object which is formable. This, moreover, is the difference between the formed and the formable, that the formed has already taken on form, 1522



Reading pulchre ordinatum. Some editions give pulchre ornatum= beautifully adorned.


Si mundum fabricare non posset. For sisome mss.give qui= inasmuch as He could not, etc.


De limo= of mud.


Wisd. xi. 17

Of God and His Exclusive Eternity.

while the formable is capable of taking the same. But the same Being who imparts form to objects, also imparts the capability of being formed. For of Him and in Him is the fairest figure1527 of all things, unchangeable; and therefore He Himself is One, who communicates to everything its possibilities, not only that it be beautiful actually, but also that it be capable of being beautiful. For which reason we do most right to believe that God made all things of nothing. For, even although the world was made of some sort of material, this self-same material itself was made of nothing; so that, in accordance with the most orderly gift of God, there was to enter first the capacity of taking forms, and then that all things should be formed which have been formed. This, however, we have said, in order that no one might suppose that the utterances of the divine Scriptures are contrary the one to the other, in so far as it is written at once that God made all things of nothing, and that the world was made of matter without form. 3. As we believe, therefore, in Godthe Father Almighty, we ought to uphold the opinion that there is no creature which has not been created by the Almighty. And since He created all things by the Word, 1528 which Word is also designated the Truth, and the Power, and the Wisdom of God, 1529—as also under many other appellations the Lord Jesus Christ, who1530 is commended to our faith, is presented likewise to our mental apprehensions, to wit, our Deliverer and Ruler,1531 the Son of God; for that Word, by whose means all things were founded, could not have been begotten by any other than by Him who founded all things by His instrumentality;—


Speciosissima species= the seemliest semblance.


John i. 3


John xiv. 6; 1 Cor. i. 24


For quiseveral mss.give quibushere = "under" many other appellations is the Lord Jesus Christ introduced

to our mental apprehensions, by which He is commended to our faith. 1531

For Rectorwe also find Creator= Creator.


Of the Son of God, and His Peculiar Designation as the Word.

Chapter 3.—Of the Son of God, and His Peculiar Designation as the Word. —Since this is the case, I repeat, we believe also in Jesus Christ, the Sonof Godthe Only-Begottenof the Father, that is to say, His Only Son, our Lord. This Word however, we ought not to apprehend merely in the sense in which we think of our own words, which are given forth by the voice and the mouth, and strike the air and pass on, and subsist no longer than their sound continues. For that Word remains unchangeably: for of this very Word was it spoken when of Wisdom it was said, “Remaining in herself, she maketh all things new.”1532 Moreover, the reason of His being named the Word of the Father, is that the Father is made known by Him. Accordingly, just as it is our intention, when we speak truth, that by means of our words our mind should be made known to him who hears us, and that whatever we carry in secrecy in our heart may be set forth by means of signs of this sort for the intelligent understanding of another individual; so this Wisdom that God the Father begot is most appropriately named His Word, inasmuch as the most hidden Father is made known to worthy minds by the same.1533 4. Now there is a very great difference between our mind and those words of ours, by 1534 which we endeavor to set forth the said mind. We indeed do not beget intelligible words, but we form them; and in the forming of them the body is the underlying material. Between mind and body, however, there is the greatest difference. But God, when He begot the Word, begot that which He is Himself. Neither out of nothing, nor of any material already made and founded did He then beget; but He begot of Himself that which He is Himself. For we too aim at this when we speak, (as we shall see) if we carefully consider the inclination1535 of our will; not when we lie, but when we speak the truth. For to what else do we direct our efforts then, but to bring our own very mind, if it can be done at all, in upon the mind of the hearer, with the view of its being apprehended and thoroughly discerned by him; so that we may indeed abide in our very selves, and make no retreat from ourselves, and yet at the same time put forth a sign of such a nature as that by it a knowledge of1536 us may be effected in another individual; that thus, so far as the faculty is granted us, another mind may be, as it were, put forth by the mind, whereby it may disclose itself? This we do, making the at323


Wisd. vii. 27


Adopting the Benedictine version per ipsam innotescit dignis animis secretissimus Pater. There is, however,

great variety of reading here. Some mss. give ignisfor dignis= the most hidden fire of the Father is made known to minds. Others give signis= the most hidden Father is made known by signs to minds. Others have innotescit animus secretissimus Patris, or innotescit signis secretissimus Pater= the most hidden mind of the Father is made known by the same, or = the most hidden Father is made known by the same in signs. 1534

Sonantia verba= sounding, vocal words.




Nostra notitia= our knowledge.

Of the Son of God, and His Peculiar Designation as the Word. tempt1537 both by words, and by the simple sound of the voice, and by the countenance, and by the gestures of the body,—by so many contrivances, in sooth, desiring to make patent that which is within; inasmuch as we are not able to put forth aught of this nature [in itself completely]: and thus it is that the mind of the speaker cannot become perfectly known; thus also it results that a place is open for falsehoods. God the Father, on the other hand, who possessed both the will and the power to declare Himself with the utmost truth to minds designed to obtain knowledge of Him, with the purpose of thus declaring Himself begot this [Word] which He Himself is who did beget; which [Person] is likewise called His Power and Wisdom, 1538 inasmuch as it is by Him that He has wrought all things, and in order disposed them; of whom these words are for this reason spoken: “She (Wisdom) reacheth from one end to another mightily, and sweetly doth she order all things.�1539


Reading conantes et verbis, etc. Three good mss. give conante fetu verbi= as the offspring of the word

makes the attempt. The Benedictine editors suggest conantes fetu verbi= making the attempt by the offspring of the word. 1538

1 Cor. i. 24


Wisd. viii. 1


Of the Son of God as Neither Made by the Father Nor Less Than the Father,…

Chapter 4.—Of the Son of God as Neither Made by the Father Nor Less Than the Father, and of His Incarnation. 5. Wherefore The Only-Begotten Son of Godwas neither made by the Father; for, according to the word of an evangelist, “all things were made by Him:” 1540 nor begotten in1542 stantaneously;1541 since God, who is eternally wise, has with Himself His eternal Wisdom: nor unequal with the Father, that is to say, in anything less than He; for an apostle also speaks in this wise, “Who, although He was constituted in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”1543 By this catholic faith, therefore, those are excluded, on the one hand, who affirm that the Son is the same [Person] as the Father; for [it is clear that] this Word could not possibly be withGod, were it not with God the Father, and [it is just as evident that] He who is aloneis equalto no one. And, on the other hand, those are equally excluded who affirm that the Son is a creature, although not such an one as the rest of the 324creatures are. For however great they declare the creature to be, if it is a creature, it has been fashioned and made.1544 For the terms fashionand create1545 mean one and the same thing; although in the usage of the Latin tongue the phrase createis employed at times instead of what would be the strictly accurate word beget. But the Greek language makes a distinction. For we call that creatura(creature) which they call κτίσμα or κτίσις; and when we desire to speak without ambiguity, we use not the word creare(create), but the word condere(fashion, found). Consequently, if the Son is a creature, however great that may be, He has been made. But we believe in Him by whom allthings (omnia) were made, not in Him by whom the restof things (cetera) were made. For here again we cannot take this term all thingsin any other sense than as meaning whatsoever things have been made. 1546 6. But as “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” the same Wisdom which was begotten of God condescended also to be created among men.1547 There is a reference to this in the word, “The Lord created me in the beginning of His ways.”1548 For the begin-


John i. 3


According to the literal meaning of the phrase ex tempore. It may, however, here be used as = under

conditions of time, or in time. 1542

Reading sempiterne: for which sempiternus= the eternal wise God, is also given.


Phil. ii. 6


Condita et facta est


Condereand creare.


John i. 14


Adopting in hominibus creavi. One important ms. gives in omnibus= amongst all.


Prov. viii. 22, with creavit meinstead of the possessed meof the English version.

Of the Son of God as Neither Made by the Father Nor Less Than the Father,… ning of His ways is the Head of the Church, which is Christ1549 endued with human nature (homine indutus), by whom it was purposed that there should be given to us a pattern of living, that is, a sure 1550 way by which we might reach God. For by no other path was it possible for us to return but by humility, who fell by pride, according as it was said to our first creation, “Taste, and ye shall be as gods.”1551 Of this humility, therefore, that is to say, of the way by which it was needful for us to return, our Restorer Himself has deemed it meet to exhibit an example in His own person, “who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant;” 1552 in order that He might be created Man in the beginning of His ways, the Word by whom all things were made. Wherefore, in so far as He is the Only-begotten, He has no brethren; but in so far as He is the First-begotten, He has deemed it worthy of Him to give the name of brethren to all those who, subsequently to and by means of His pre-eminence,1553 are born again into the grace of God through the adoption of sons, according to the truth commended to us by apostolic teaching.1554 Thus, then, the Son according to nature (naturalis filius) was born of the very substance of the Father, the only one so born, subsisting as that which the Father is, 1555 God of God, Light of Light. We, on the other hand, are not the light by nature, but are enlightened by that Light, so that we may be able to shine in wisdom. For, as one says, “that was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”1556 Therefore we add to the faith of things eternal likewise the temporal dispensation 1557 of our Lord, which He deemed it worthy of Him to bear for us and to minister in behalf of our salvation. For in so far as He is the only-begotten Son of God, it cannot be said of Him that He wasand that He shallbe, but only that He is; because, on the one hand, that which was,now isnot; and, on the other,


Various editions give principium et caput Ecclesiæ est Christus= the beginning of His ways and the

Head of the Church is Christ. 1550

For via certaothers give via recta= a right way.


Gen. iii. 5


Phil. ii. 6, 7


Per ejus primatum= by means of His standing as the Firstborn. We follow the Benedictine reading, qui

post ejus et per ejus primatum in Dei gratiam renascuntur. But there is another, although less authoritative, version, viz. qui post ejus primitias in Dei gratia nascimur= all of us who, subsequently to His first-fruits, are born in the grace of God. 1554

Luke viii. 21; Rom. viii. 15–17; Gal. iv. 5; Eph. i. 5; Heb. ii. 11


Id existens quod Pater est, etc. Another version is, idem existens quod Pater Deus= subsisting as the same

that God the Father is. 1556

John i. 9


The term dispensatiooccurs very frequently as the equivalent of the Greek οἰκονομία = economy, des-

ignating the Incarnation.


Of the Son of God as Neither Made by the Father Nor Less Than the Father,…

that which shall be, as yet isnot. He, then, is unchangeable, independent of the condition of times and variation. And it is my opinion that this is the very consideration to which was due the circumstance that He introduced to the apprehension of His servant Moses the kind of name [which He then adopted]. For when he asked of Him by whom he should say that he was sent, in the event of the people to whom he was being sent despising him, he received his answer when He spake in this wise: “I Am that I Am.” Thereafter, too, He added this: “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, He that is(Qui est) has sent me unto you.”1558 7. From this, I trust, it is now made patent to spiritual minds that there cannot possibly exist any nature contrary to God. For if He is,—and this is a word which can be spoken with propriety only of God (for that which truly isremains unchangeably; inasmuch as that which is changed has been something which now it is not, and shall be something which as yet it is not),—it follows that God has nothing contrary to Himself. For if the question were put to us, What is contrary to white? we would reply, black; if the question were, What is contrary to hot? we would reply, cold; if the question were, What is contrary to quick? we would 325reply, slow; and all similar interrogations we would answer in like manner. When, however, it is asked, What is contrary to that which is? the right reply to give is, that which is not. 8. But whereas, in a temporal dispensation, as I have said, with a view to our salvation and restoration, and with the goodness of God acting therein, our changeable nature has been assumed by that unchangeable Wisdom of God, we add the faith in temporal things which have been done with salutary effect on our behalf, believing in that Son of God Who Was Born Through the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary.For by the gift of God, that is, by the Holy Spirit, there was granted to us so great humility on the part of so great a God, that He deemed it worthy of Him to assume the entire nature of man (totum hominem) in the womb of the Virgin, inhabiting the material body so that it sustained no detriment (integrum), and leaving it 1559 without detriment. This temporal dispensation is in many ways craftily assailed by the heretics. But if any one shall have grasped the catholic faith, so as to believe that the entire nature of man was assumed by the Word of God, that is to say, body, soul, and spirit, he has sufficient defense against those parties. For surely, since that assumption was effected in behalf of our salvation, one must be on his guard lest, as he believes that there is something belonging to our nature which sustains no relation to that assumption, this something may fail also to sustain any relation to the salvation. 1560 And seeing that, with the exception of the form of the members, which has been imparted to the varieties of living objects with differences adapted to their different kinds, man is in nothing separated


Ex. iii. 14


Deserens. With less point, deferenshas been suggested = bearing it, or delivering it.


Or it may = heshould fail to have any relation to the salvation.


Of the Son of God as Neither Made by the Father Nor Less Than the Father,…

from the cattle but in [the possession of] a rational spirit (rationali spiritu), which is also named mind (mens), how is that faith sound, according to which the belief is maintained, that the Wisdom of God assumed that part of us which we hold in common with the cattle, while He did not assume that which is brightly illumined by the light of wisdom, and which is man’s peculiar gift? 9. Moreover, those parties 1561 also are to be abhorred who deny that our Lord Jesus Christ had in Mary a mother upon earth; while that dispensation has honored both sexes, at once the male and the female, and has made it plain that not only that sex which He assumed pertains to God’s care, but also that sex by which He did assume this other, in that He bore [the nature of] the man (virum gerendo), [and] in that He was born of the woman. Neither is there anything to compel us to a denial of the mother of the Lord, in the circumstance that this word was spoken by Him: “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.”1562 But He rather admonishesus to understand that, in respect of His being God, there was no mother for Him, the part of whose personal majesty (cujus majestatis personam) He was preparing to show forth in the turning of water into wine. But as regards His being crucified, He was crucified in respect of his being man; and that was the hour which had not come as yet, at the time when this word was spoken, “What have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come;” that is, the hour at which I shall recognize thee. For at that period, when He was crucified as man, He recognized His human mother (hominem matrem), and committed her most humanely (humanissime) to the care of the best beloved disciple.1563 Nor, again, should we be moved by the fact that, when the presence of His mother and His brethren was announced to Him, He replied, “Who is my mother, or who my brethren?” etc. 1564 But rather let it teach us, that when parents hinder our ministry wherein we minister the word of God to our brethren, they ought not to be recognized by us. For if, on the ground of His having said, “Who is my mother?” every one should conclude that He had no mother on earth, then each should as matter of course be also compelled to deny that the apostles had fathers on earth; since He gave them an injunction in these terms: “Call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”1565 10. Neither should the thought of the woman’s womb impair this faith in us, to the effect that there should appear to be any necessity for rejecting such a generation of our Lord for the mere reason that worthless men consider it unworthy (sordidi sordidam putant). For most true are these sayings of an apostle, both that “the foolishness of God is wiser than


Referring to the Manicheans.


John ii. 4


John xix. 26, 27


Matt. xii. 48


Matt. xxiii. 9


Of the Son of God as Neither Made by the Father Nor Less Than the Father,… men,”1566 and that “to the pure all things are pure.”1567 Those,1568 therefore, who entertain this opinion ought to ponder the fact that the rays of this sun, which indeed they do not praise as a creature of God, but adore as God, are diffused all the world over, through the 326noisomenesses of sewers and every kind of horrible thing, and that they operate in these according to their nature, and yet never become debased by any defilement thence contracted, albeit that the visible light is by nature in closer conjunction with visible pollutions. How much less, therefore, could the Word of God, who is neither corporeal nor visible, sustain defilement from the female body, wherein He assumed human flesh together with soul and spirit, through the incoming of which the majesty of the Word dwells in a less immediate conjunction with the frailty of a human body! 1569 Hence it is manifest that the Word of God could in no way have been defiled by a human body, by which even the human soul is not defiled. For not when it rules the body and quickens it, but only when it lusts after the mortal good things thereof, is the soul defiled by the body. But if these persons were to desire to avoid the defilements of the soul, they would dread rather these falsehoods and profanities.


1 Cor. i. 25


Tit. i. 15


In reference to the Manicheans.


The Benedictine text gives, quibus intervenientibus habitat majestas Verbi ab humani corporis fragilitate

secretius. Another well-supported version is, ad humani corporis fragilitatem, etc. = more retired in relation to the frailty of the human body.


Of Christ’s Passion, Burial, and Resurrection.

Chapter 5.—Of Christ’s Passion, Burial, and Resurrection. 11. But little [comparatively] was the humiliation (humilitas) of our Lord on our behalf in His being born: it was also added that He deemed it meet to die in behalf of mortal men. For “He humbled Himself, being made subject even unto death, yea, the death of the cross:”1570 lest any one of us, even were he able to have no fear of death [in general], should yet shudder at some particular sort of death which men reckon most shameful. Therefore do we believe in Him Who Under Pontius Pilate Was Crucified and Buried. For it was requisite that the name of the judge should be added, with a view to the cognizance of the times. Moreover, when that burial is made an object of belief, there enters also the recollection of the new tomb,1571 which was meant to present a testimony to Him in His destiny to rise again to newness of life, even as the Virgin’s womb did the same to Him in His appointment 1572 to be born. For just as in that sepulchre no other dead person was buried, whether before or after Him; so neither in that womb, whether before or after, was anything mortal conceived. 12. We believe also, that On the Third Day He Rose Again from The Dead, the firstbegotten for brethren destined to come after Him, whom He has called into the adoption of the sons of God,1573 whom [also] He has deemed it meet to make His own joint-partners and joint-heirs.1574


Phil. ii. 8


For monumentisome editions give testamenti= testament.


John xix. 41


Eph. i. 5


Rom. viii. 17

Of Christ’s Ascension into Heaven.

Chapter 6.—Of Christ’s Ascension into Heaven. 13. We believe that He Ascended into Heaven, which place of blessedness He has likewise 1575 promised unto us, saying, “They shall be as the angels in the heavens,” in that city which 1576 is the mother of us all, the Jerusalem eternal in the heavens. But it is wont to give offense to certain parties, either impious Gentiles or heretics, that we should believe in the assumption of an earthly body into heaven. The Gentiles, however, for the most part, set themselves diligently to ply us with the arguments of the philosophers, to the effect of affirming that there cannot possibly be anything earthly in heaven. For they know not our Scriptures, neither do they understand how it has been said, “It is sown an animal body, it is raised a spiritual body.” 1577 For thus it has not been expressed, as if body were turned into spirit and became spirit; inasmuch as at present, too, our body, which is called animal (animale), has not been turned into soul and become soul (anima). But by a spiritual body is meant one which has been made subject to spirit in such wise 1578 that it is adapted to a heavenly habitation, all frailty and every earthly blemish having been changed and converted into heavenly purity and stability. This is the change concerning which the apostle likewise speaks thus: “We shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed.” 1579 And that this change is made not unto the worse, but unto the better, the same [apostle] teaches, when he says, “And we shall be changed.”1580 But the question as to where and in what manner the Lord’s body is in heaven, is one which it would be altogether over-curious and superfluous to prosecute. Only we must believe that it is in heaven. For it pertains not to our frailty to investigate the secret things of heaven, but it does pertain to our faith to hold elevated and honorable sentiments on the subject of the dignity of the Lord’s body.


Matt. xxii. 30


Gal. iv. 26


1 Cor. xv. 44


Adopting the Benedictine reading, quod ita spiritui subditum est. But several mss. give quia ita

coaptandum est= it is understood to be a spiritual body, in that it is to be so adapted as to suit a heavenly habitation. 1579

1 Cor. xv. 51, according to the Vulgate’s transposition of the negative.


1 Cor. xv. 52

Of Christ’s Session at the Father’s Right Hand.

Chapter 7.—Of Christ’s Session at the Father’s Right Hand. 14. We believe also that He Sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father. This, however, is not to lead us to suppose that God the Father is, as it were, circumscribed by a human form, so that, when we think of Him, a right side or a left should suggest itself to the mind. Nor, again, when it is thus said in express terms that the Father sitteth, are we to fancy that this is done with bended knees; lest we should fall into that profanity, in [dealing with] which an apostle execrates those who “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of corruptible man.”1581 For it is unlawful for a Christian to set up any such image for God in a temple; much more nefarious is it, [therefore], to set it up in the heart, in which truly is the temple of God, provided it be purged of earthly lust and error. This expression, “at the right hand,” therefore, we must understand to signify a position in supremest blessedness, where righteousness and peace and joy are; just as the kids are set on the left hand,1582 that is to say, in misery, by reason of unrighteousness, labors, and torments.1583 And in accordance with this, when it is said that God “sitteth,” the expression indicates not a posture of the members, but a judicial power, which that Majesty never fails to possess, as He is always awarding deserts as men deserve them (digna dignis tribuendo); although at the last judgment the unquestionable brightness of the only-begotten Son of God, the Judge of the living and the dead, is destined yet to be1584 a thing much more manifest among men. 327


Rom. i. 23


Matt. xxv. 33


Reading propter iniquitates, labores atque cruciatus. Several mss. give propter iniquitatis labores, etc. =

by reason of the labors and torments of unrighteousness. 1584

Reading futura sit; for which fulsura sitalso occurs = is destined to shine much more manifestly, etc.

Of Christ’s Coming to Judgment.

Chapter 8.—Of Christ’s Coming to Judgment. 15. We believe also, that at the most seasonable time He Will Come from Thence, and Will Judge the Quick and the Dead: whether by these terms are signified the righteous and sinners, or whether it be the case that those persons are here called the quick, whom at that period He shall find, previous to [their] death, 1585 upon the earth, while the deaddenote those who shall rise again at His advent. This temporal dispensation not only is, as holds good of that generation which respects His being God, but also hath beenand shall be. For our Lord hath been upon the earth, and at present He is in heaven, and [hereafter] He shall bein His brightness as the Judge of the quick and the dead. For He shall yet come, even so as He has ascended, according to the authority which is contained in the Acts of the Apostles.1586 It is in accordance with this temporal dispensation, therefore, that He speaks in the Apocalypse, where it is written in this wise: “These things saith He, who is, and who was, and who is to come.”1587


The text gives simply ante mortem. Some editions insert nostram= previous to our death.


Acts i. 11


Rev. i. 8

Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity.

Chapter 9.—Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity. 16. The divine generation, therefore, of our Lord, and his human dispensation, having both been thus systematically disposed and commended to faith,1588 there is added to our Confession, with a view to the perfecting of the faith which we have regarding God, [the doctrine of] TheHolySpirit, who is not of a nature inferior 1589 to the Father and the Son, but, so to say, consubstantial and co-eternal: for this Trinity is one God, not to the effect that the Father is the same [Person] as the Son and the Holy Spirit, but to the effect that the Father is the Father, and the Son is the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit; and this Trinity is one God, according as it is written, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one God.”1590 At the same time, if we be interrogated on the subject of each separately, and if the question be put to us, “Is the Father God?” we shall reply, “He is God.” If it be asked whether the Son is God, we shall answer to the same effect. Nor, if this kind of inquiry be addressed to us with respect to the Holy Spirit, ought we to affirm in reply that He is anything else than God; being earnestly on our guard, [however], against an acceptance of this merely in the sense in which it is applied to men, when it is said, “Ye are gods.”1591 For of all those who have been made and fashioned of the Father, through the Son, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, none are gods according to nature. For it is this same Trinity that is signified when 1592 an apostle says, “For of Him, and in Him, and through Him, are all things.” Consequently, although, when we are interrogated on the subject of each [of these Persons] severally, we reply that that particular one regarding whom the question is asked, whether it be the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit, is God, no one, notwithstanding this, should suppose that three Gods are worshipped by us. 32817. Neither is it strange that these things are said in reference to an ineffable Nature, when even in those objects which we discern with the bodily eyes, and judge of by the bodily sense, something similar holds good. For take the instance of an interrogation on the subject of a fountain, and consider how we are unable then to affirm that the said fountain is itself the river; and how, when we are asked about the river, we are as little able to call it the fountain; and, again, how we are equally unable to designate the draught, which comes of 1588

Instead of fideique commendata et divina generatione, etc., another, but weakly supported, version is,

fide atque commendata divina, etc., which makes the sense = The faith, therefore, having been systematically disposed, and our Lord’s divine generation and human dispensation having been commended to the understanding, etc. 1589

Non minore natura quam Pater. The Benedictine editors suggest minorfor minore= not inferior in

nature, etc. 1590

Deut. vi. 4


Ps. lxxxii. 6


Rom. xi. 36

Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity.

the fountain or the river, either river or fountain. Nevertheless, in the case of this trinity we use the name water[for the whole]; and when the question is put regarding each of these separately, we reply in each several instance that the thing is water. For if I inquire whether it is water in the fountain, the reply is given that it is water; and if we ask whether it is water in the river, no different response is returned; and in the case of the said draught, no other answer can possibly be made: and yet, for all this, we do not speak of these things as three waters, but as one water. At the same time, of course, care must be taken that no one should conceive of the ineffable substance of that Majesty merely as he might think of this visible and material 1593 fountain, or river, or draught. For in the case of these latter that water which is at present in the fountain goes forth into the river, and does not abide in itself; and when it passes from the river or from the fountain into the draught, it does not continue permanently there where it is taken from. Therefore it is possible here that the same water may be in view at one time under the appellation of the fountain and at another under that of the river, and at a third under that of the draught. But in the case of that Trinity, we have affirmed it to be impossible that the Father should be sometime the Son, and sometime the Holy Spirit: just as, in a tree, the root is nothing else than the root, and the trunk (robur) is nothing else than the trunk, and we cannot call the branches anything else than branches; for, what is called the root cannot be called trunk and branches; and the wood which belongs to the root cannot by any sort of transference be now in the root, and again in the trunk, and yet again in the branches, but only in the root; since this rule of designation stands fast, so that the root is wood, and the trunk is wood, and the branches are wood, while nevertheless it is not three woods that are thus spoken of, but only one. Or, if these objects have some sort of dissimilarity, so that on account of their difference in strength they may be spoken of, without any absurdity, as three woods; at least all parties admit the force of the former example,窶馬amely, that if three cups be filled out of one fountain, they may certainly be called three cups, but cannot be spoken of as three waters, but only as one all together. Yet, at the same time, when asked concerning the several cups, one by one, we may answer that in each of them by itself there is water; although in this case no such transference takes place as we were speaking of as occurring from the fountain into the river. But these examples in things material (corporalia exempla) have been adduced not in virtue of their likeness to that divine Nature, but in reference to the oneness which subsists even in things visible, so that it may be understood to be quite a possibility for three objects of some sort, not only severally, but also all together, to obtain one single name; and that in this way no one may wonder and think it absurd that we should call the Father God, the Son God, the Holy


Corporeum= corporeal.


Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity.

Spirit God, and that nevertheless we should say that there are not three Gods in that Trinity, but one God and one substance.1594 18. And, indeed, on this subject of the Father and the Son, learned and spiritual 1595 men have conducted discussions in many books, in which, so far as men could do with men, they have endeavored to introduce an intelligible account as to how the Father was not one personally with the Son, and yet the two were one substantially; 1596 and as to what the Father was individually (proprie), and what the Son: to wit, that the former was the Begetter, the latter the Begotten; the former not of the Son, the latter of the Father: the former the Beginning of the latter, whence also He is called the Head of Christ, 1597 although Christ likewise is the Beginning, 1598 but not of the Father; the latter, moreover, the Image 1599 of the former, although in no respect dissimilar, and although absolutely and without difference equal (omnino et indifferenter æqualis). These questions are handled with greater breadth 329by those who, in less narrow limits than ours are at present, seek to set forth the profession of the Christian faith in its totality. Accordingly, in so far as He is the Son, of the Father received He it that He is, while that other [the Father] received not this of the Son; and in so far as He, in unutterable mercy, in a temporal dispensation took upon Himself the [nature of] man (hominem),—to wit, the changeable creature that was thereby to be changed into something better,—many statements concerning Him are discovered in the Scriptures, which are so expressed as to have given occasion to error in the impious intellects of heretics, with whom the desire to teach takes precedence of that to understand, so that they have supposed Him to be neither equal with the Father nor of the same substance. Such statements [are meant] as the following: “For the Father is greater than I;” 1600 and, “The head of the woman is the man, the Head of the man is Christ, and the Head of Christ is God;”1601 and, “Then shall He Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him;”1602 and, “I go


Many mss., however, insert colamusafter Deumin the closing sentence, sed unum Deum unamque

substantiam. The sense then will be = and that nevertheless we should worship in that Trinity not three Gods, but one God and one substance. 1595

Spiritales, for which religiosi= religious, is also sometimes given.


Non unus esset Pater et Filius, sed unum essent= how the Father and the Son were not one in person,

but were one in essence. 1597

1 Cor. xi. 3


In reference probably to John viii. 25, where the Vulgate gives principium qui et loquor vobisas the literal

equivalent for the Greek ὴν ἀρχὴν ὅ, τι καὶ λαλῶ ὑηῖν 1599

Col. i. 15


John xiv. 28


1 Cor. xi. 3


1 Cor. xv. 28


Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity. to my Father and your Father, my God and your God,” 1603 together with some others of like tenor. Now all these have had a place given them, [certainly] not with the object of signifying an inequality of nature and substance; for to take them so would be to falsify a different class of statements, such as, “I and my Father are one” (unum); 1604 and, “He that hath seen me hath seen my Father also;”1605 and, “The Word was God,”1606 for He was not made, inasmuch as “all things were made by Him;”1607 and, “He thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” 1608 together with all the other passages of a similar order. But these statements have had a place given them, partly with a view to that administration of His assumption of human nature (administrationem suscepti hominis), in accordance with which it is said that “He emptied Himself:” not that that Wisdom was changed, since it is absolutely unchangeable; but that it was His will to make Himself known in such humble fashion to men. Partly then, I repeat, it is with a view to this administration that those things have been thus written which the heretics make the ground of their false allegations; and partly it was with a view to the consideration that the Son owes to the Father that which He is,1609—thereby also certainly owing this in particular to the Father, to wit, that He is equal to the same Father, or that He is His Peer (eidem Patri æqualis aut par est), whereas the Father owes whatsoever He is to no one. 19. With respect to the Holy Spirit, however, there has not been as yet, on the part of learned and distinguished investigators of the Scriptures, a discussion of the subject full enough or careful enough to make it possible for us to obtain an intelligent conception of what also constitutes His special individuality (proprium): in virtue of which special individuality it comes to be the case that we cannot call Him either the Son or the Father, but only the Holy Spirit; excepting that they predicate Him to be the Gift of God, so that we may believe God not to give a gift inferior to Himself. At the same time they hold by this position, namely, to predicate the Holy Spirit neither as begotten, like the Son, of the Father; for Christ is the only one [so begotten]: nor as [begotten] of the Son, like a Grandson of the Supreme Father: while they do not affirm Him to owe that which He is to no one, but [admit Him to owe it] to the Father, of whom are all things; lest we should establish two Beginnings without beginning (ne duo constituamus principia isne principio), which would be an assertion at once most false and most absurd, and one proper not to the catholic faith, but to the error


John xx. 17


John x. 30


John xiv. 9


John i. 1


John i. 3


Phil. ii. 9. [See R.V.]


Or it may be = that the Son owes it to the Father that He is.


Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity. of certain heretics.1610 Some, however, have gone so far as to believe that the communion of the Father and the Son, and (so to speak) their Godhead (deitatem), which the Greeks designate θεότης, is the Holy Spirit; so that, inasmuch as the Father is God and the Son God, the Godhead itself, in which they are united with each other,—to wit, the former by begetting the Son, and the latter by cleaving to the Father,1611—should [thereby] be constituted equal with Him by whom He is begotten. This Godhead, then, which they wish to be understood likewise as the love and charity subsisting between these two [Persons], the one toward the other, they affirm to have received the name of the Holy Spirit. And this opinion of theirs they support by many proofs drawn from the Scriptures; among which we might instance either the passage which says, “For the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who has been given unto us,”1612 or many other proofs texts of a similar tenor: while they ground their position also upon the express fact that it is through the Holy Spirit that we are reconciled unto God; whence also, when He is called the Gift of God, they will have 330it that sufficient indication is offered of the love of God and the Holy Spirit being identical. For we are not reconciled unto Him except through that love in virtue of which we are also called sons:1613 as we are no more “under fear, like servants,”1614 because “love, when it is made perfect, casteth out fear;”1615 and [as] “we have received the spirit of liberty, wherein we cry, Abba, Father.”1616 And inasmuch as, being reconciled and called back into friendship through love, we shall be able to become acquainted with all the secret things of God, for this reason it is said of the Holy Spirit that “He shall lead you into all truth.” 1617 For the same reason also, that confidence in preaching the truth, with which the apostles were filled at His advent,1618 is rightly ascribed to love; because diffidence also is assigned to fear, which 1619 the perfecting of love excludes. Thus, likewise, the same is called the Gift of God, because no one enjoys that which he knows, unless he also love it. To enjoy the Wisdom of God, however, implies nothing else than to cleave to the same in love (ei dilectione cohærere). Neither does any one abide in that which he apprehends, but by love; and accordingly the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of sanctity (Spiritus Sanctus), inasmuch as all things that are


In reference, again, to Manichean errorists.


Patri cohœrendo= by close connection with the Father.


Rom. v. 5


1 John iii. 1. The word Dei= of God, is sometimes added here.


Rom. viii. 15


1 John iv. 18


Rom. viii. 15


John xvi. 13


Acts ii. 4


Eph. iii. 7, 8


Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity. sanctioned (sanciuntur)1620 are sanctioned with a view to their permanence, and there is no doubt that the term sanctity (sanctitatem) is derived from sanction (a sanciendo). Above all, however, that testimony is employed by the upholders of this opinion, where it is thus written, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit;”1621 “for God is a Spirit.”1622 For here He speaks of our regeneration, 1623 which is not, according to Adam, of the flesh, but, according to Christ, of the Holy Spirit. Wherefore, if in this passage mention is made of the Holy Spirit, when it is said, “For God is a Spirit,” they maintain that we must take note that it is not said, “for the Spirit is God,”1624 but, “for God is a Spirit;” so that the very Godhead of the Father and the Son is in this passage called God, and that is the Holy Spirit. To this is added another testimony which the Apostle John offers, when he says, “For God is love.”1625 For here, in like manner, what he says is not, “Love is God,”1626 but, “God is love;” so that the very Godhead is taken to be love. And with respect to the circumstance that, in that enumeration of mutually connected objects which is given when it is said, “All things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s,” 1627 as also, “The head of the woman is the man, the Head of the man is Christ, and the Head of Christ is God,”1628 there is no mention of the Holy Spirit; this they affirm to be but an application of the principle that, in general, the connection itself is not wont to be enumerated among the things which are connected with each other. Whence, also, those who read with closer attention appear to recognize the express Trinity likewise in that passage in which it is said, “For of Him, and through Him, and in Him, are all things.”1629 “Of Him,” as if it meant, of that One who owes it to no one that He is: “through Him,” as if the idea were, through a Mediator; “in Him,” as if it were, in that One who holds together, that is, unites by connecting. 20. Those parties oppose this opinion who think that the said communion, which we call either Godhead, or Love, or Charity, is not a substance. Moreover, they require the Holy Spirit to be set forth to them according to substance; neither do they take it to have been


Instead of sanciuntur, which is the reading of the mss., some editions give sanctificantur= all things that

are sanctified are sanctioned, etc. 1621

John iii. 6


John iv. 24


Reading, with the mss. and the Benedictine editors, Hic enim regenerationem nostram dicit. Some editions

give Hocfor Hic, and dicuntfor dicit= for they say that this expresses our regeneration. 1624

Quoniam Spiritus Deus est. But various editions and mss. give Deifor Deus= for the Spirit is of God.


1 John iv. 16


Here again, instead of dilectio Deus est, we also find dilectio Dei est= love is of God.


1 Cor. iii. 22, 23


1 Cor. xi. 3


Rom. xi. 36


Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity.

otherwise impossible for the expression “God is Love” to have been used, unless love were a substance. In this, indeed, they are influenced by the wont of things of a bodily nature. For if two bodies are connected with each other in such wise as to be placed in juxtaposition one with the other, the connection itself is not a body: inasmuch as when these bodies which had been connected are separated, no such connection certainly is found [any more]; while, at the same time, it is not understood to have departed, as it were, and migrated, as is the case with those bodies themselves. But men like these should make their heart pure, so far as they can, in order that they may have power to see that in the substance of God there is not anything of such a nature as would imply that therein substance is one thing, and that which is accident to substance (aliud quod accidat subsantiœ) another thing, and not substance; whereas whatsoever can be taken to be therein is substance. These things, however, can easily be spoken and believed; but seen, so as to reveal how they are in themselves, they 331absolutely cannot be, except by the pure heart. For which reason, whether the opinion in question be true, or something else be the case, the faith ought to be maintained unshaken, so that we should call the Father God, the Son God, the Holy Spirit God, and yet not affirm three Gods, but hold the said Trinity to be one God; and again, not affirm these [Persons] to be different in nature, but hold them to be of the same substance; and further uphold it, not as if the Father were sometime the Son, and sometime the Holy Spirit, but in such wise that the Father is always the Father, and the Son always the Son, and the Holy Spirit always the Holy Spirit. Neither should we make any affirmation on the subject of things unseen rashly, as if we had knowledge, but [only modestly] as believing. For these things cannot be seen except by the heart made pure; and [even] he who in this life sees them “in part,” as it has been said, and “in an enigma,”1630 cannot secure it that the person to whom he speaks shall also see them, if he is hampered by impurities of heart. “Blessed,” however, “are they of a pure heart, for they shall see God.”1631 This is the faith on the subject of God our Maker and Renewer. 21. But inasmuch as love is enjoined upon us, not only toward God, when it was said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;”1632 but also toward our neighbor, for “thou shalt love,” saith He, “thy neighbor as thyself;”1633 and inasmuch, moreover, as the faith in question is less fruitful, if it does not comprehend a congregation and society of men, wherein brotherly charity may operate;—


1 Cor. xiii. 12


Matt. v. 8


Deut. vi. 5


Luke x. 27


Of the Catholic Church, the Remission of Sins, and the Resurrection of the…

Chapter 10.—Of the Catholic Church, the Remission of Sins, and the Resurrection of the Flesh. —Inasmuch, I repeat, as this is the case, we believe also in The Holy Church, [intending thereby] assuredly the Catholic. For both heretics and schismatics style their congregations churches. But heretics, in holding false opinions regarding God, do injury to the faith itself; while schismatics, on the other hand, in wicked separations break off from brotherly charity, although they may believe just what we believe. Wherefore neither do the heretics belong to the Church catholic, which loves God; nor do the schismatics form a part of the same, inasmuch as it loves the neighbor, and consequently readily forgives the neighbor’s sins, because it prays that forgiveness may be extended to itself by Him who has reconciled us to Himself, doing away with all past things, and calling us to a new life. And until we reach the perfection of this new life, we cannot be without sins. Nevertheless it is a matter of consequence of what sort those sins may be. 22. Neither ought we only to treat of the difference between sins, but we ought most thoroughly to believe that those things in which we sin are in no way forgiven us, if we show ourselves severely unyielding in the matter of forgiving the sins of others. 1634 Thus, then, we believe also in The Remission of Sins. 23. And inasmuch as there are three things of which man consists,—namely, spirit, soul, and body,—which again are spoken of as two, because frequently the soul is named along with the spirit; for a certain rational portion of the same, of which beasts are devoid, is called spirit: the principal part in us is the spirit; next, the life whereby we are united with the body is called the soul; finally, the body itself, as it is visible, is the last part in us. This “whole creation” (creatura), however, “groaneth and travaileth until now.” 1635 Nevertheless, He has given it the first-fruits of the Spirit, in that it has believed God, and is now of a good will.1636 This spirit is also called the mind, regarding which an apostle speaks thus: “With the mind I serve the law of God.”1637 Which apostle likewise expresses himself thus in another passage: “For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit.”1638 Moreover, the soul, when as yet it lusts after carnal good things, is called the flesh. For a certain part thereof resists1639 the Spirit, not in virtue of nature, but in virtue of the custom of sins; whence it 1634

Matt. vi. 15


Rom. viii. 22


Reading spiritus. Taking spiritus, the sense might be = Nevertheless, the spirit hath imparted the first-

fruits, in that it has believed God, and is now of a good will. 1637

Rom. vii. 25


Rom. i. 9


Instead of caro nominatur. Pars enim ejus quœdam resistit, etc., some good mss. read caro nominatur

et resistit, etc. = is called the flesh, and resists, etc.

Of the Catholic Church, the Remission of Sins, and the Resurrection of the…

is said, “With the mind I serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” And this custom has been turned into a nature, according to mortal generation, by the sin of the first man. Consequently it is also written in this wise, “And we were sometime by nature the children of wrath,” 1640 that is, of vengeance, through which it has come to pass that we serve the law of sin. The nature of the soul, however, is perfect when it is made subject to its own spirit, and when it follows that spirit as the same follows God. Therefore “the animal man1641 receiveth not the things which are of the Spirit of God.”1642 But the soul is not so 332speedily subdued to the spirit unto good action, as is the spirit to God unto true faith and goodwill; but sometimes its impetus, whereby it moves downwards into things carnal and temporal, is more tardily bridled. But inasmuch as this same soul is also made pure, and receives the stability of its own nature, under the dominance of the spirit, which is the head for it, which head of the said soul has again its own head in Christ, we ought not to despair of the restoration of the body also to its own proper nature. But this certainly will not be effected so speedily as is the case with the soul; just as the soul too, is not restored so speedily as the spirit. Yet it will take place in the appropriate season, at the last trump, when “the dead shall rise uncorrupted, and we shall be changed.”1643 And accordingly we believe also in The Resurrection of the Flesh, to wit, not merely that that soul, which at present by reason of carnal affections is called the flesh, is restored; but that it shall be so likewise with this visible flesh, which is the flesh according to nature, the name of which has been received by the soul, not in virtue of nature, but in reference to carnal affections: this visible flesh, then, I say, which is the flesh properly so called, must without doubt be believed to be destined to rise again. For the Apostle Paul appears to point to this, as it were, with his finger, when he says, “This corruptible must put on incorruption.” 1644 For when he says this, he, as it were, directs his finger toward it. Now it is that which is visible that admits of being pointed out with the finger; since the soul might also have been called corruptible, for it is itself corrupted by vices of manners. And when it is read, “and this mortal [must] put on immortality,” the same visible flesh is signified, inasmuch as at it ever and anon the finger is thus as it were pointed. For the soul also may thus in like manner be called mortal, even as it is designated corruptible in reference to vices of manners. For assuredly it is “the death of the soul to apostatize from God;” 1645 which is its first sin in Paradise, as it is contained in the sacred writings. 1640

Eph. ii. 3


Animalis homo, literally = "the" soulishman.


1 Cor. ii. 14


1 Cor. xv. 52


1 Cor. xv. 53


The text gives, Mors quippe animæ est apostatare a Deo. The reference, perhaps, is to Ecclus. x. 12, where

the Vulgate has, initium superbiœ hominis, apostatare a Deo.


Of the Catholic Church, the Remission of Sins, and the Resurrection of the…

24. Rise again, therefore, the body will, according to the Christian faith, which is incapable of deceiving. And if this appears incredible to any one, [it is because] he looks simply to what the flesh is at present, while he fails to consider of what nature it shall be hereafter. 1646 For at that time of angelic change it will no more be flesh and blood, but only body. For when the apostle speaks of the flesh, he says, “There is one flesh of cattle, another of birds, another of fishes, another of creeping things: there are also both celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies.”1647 Now what he has said here is not “celestial flesh,” but “both celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies.” For all flesh is also body; but every body is not also flesh. In the first instance, [for example, this holds good] in the case of those terrestrial bodies, inasmuch as wood is body, but not flesh. In the case of man, again, or in that of cattle, we have both body and flesh. In the case of celestial bodies, on the other hand, there is no flesh, but only those simple and lucent bodies which the apostle designates spiritual, while some call them ethereal. And consequently, when he says, “Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God,”1648 that does not contradict the resurrection of the flesh; but the sentence predicates what will be the nature of that hereafter which at present is flesh and blood. And if any one refuses to believe that the flesh is capable of being changed into the sort of nature thus indicated, he must be led on, step by step, to this faith. For if you require of him whether earth is capable of being changed into water, the nearness of the thing will make it not seem incredible to him. Again, if you inquire whether water is capable of being changed into air, he replies that this also is not absurd, for the elements are near each other. And if, on the subject of the air, it is asked whether that can be changed into an ethereal, that is, a celestial body, the simple fact of the nearness at once convinces him of the possibility of the thing. But if, then, he concedes that through such gradations it is quite a possible thing that earth should be changed into an ethereal body, why does he refuse to believe, when that will of God, too, enters in addition, whereby a human body had power to walk upon the waters, that the same change is capable of being effected with the utmost rapidity, precisely in ac1649 cordance with the saying, “in the twinkling of an eye,” and without any such gradations, even as, according to common wont, smoke is changed into flame with marvellous quickness? For our flesh assuredly is of earth. But philosophers, on the ground of whose arguments opposition is for the most part offered to the resurrection of the flesh, so far as in these they assert that no terrene body can possibly exist in heaven, yet concede that any kind of body


Augustin refers to this statement in the passage quoted from the Retractationsin the Introductory Notice

above. 1647

1 Cor. xv. 39, 40


1 Cor. xv. 50


1 Cor. xv. 52


Of the Catholic Church, the Remission of Sins, and the Resurrection of the…

may be converted and changed into every [other] sort of body. And when this resurrection of the body has taken place, being set free then from the condition of time, we shall fully enjoy Eternal Lifein ineffable love and steadfastness, without corruption. 1650 For “then shall be brought to pass the saying which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. Where is, O death, thy sting? Where is, O death, thy contention?”1651 25. This is the faith which in few words is given in the Creed to Christian novices, to be held by them. And these few words are known to the faithful, to the end that in believing they may be made subject to God; that being made subject, they may rightly live; that in rightly living, they may make the heart pure; that with the heart made pure, they may understand that which they believe. 333


Instead of a temporis conditione liberati, æterna vita ineffabili caritate atque stabilitate sine corruptione

perfruemur, several mss. read, corpus a temporis conditione liberatum æterna vita ineffabili caritate perfruetur = the body, set free from the condition of time, shall fully enjoy eternal life in ineffable love. 1651

1 Cor. xv. 54, 55


Concerning Faith of Things Not Seen.

Concerning Faith of Things Not Seen


[De Fide Rerum Quæ Non Videntur.] This tract was thought spurious by some, but is known to be St. Augustin’s by his mention of it in Ep. Darium Comitem. It seems to have been written after 399, from what is said about Idols, § 10; for in that year Honorius enacted laws against them.—From Bened. Ed. The reader of Butler’s Analogy will recognise many similar turns of thought.

Section 1

1. Thereare those who think that the Christian religion is what we should smile at rather than hold fast, for this reason, that, in it, not what may be seen, is shown, but men are commanded faith of things which are not seen. We therefore, that we may refute these, who seem to themselves through prudence to be unwilling to believe what they cannot see, although we are not able to show unto human sight those divine things which we believe, yet do show unto human minds that even those things which are not seen are to be believed. And first they are to be admonished, (whom folly hath so made subject to their carnal eyes, as that, whatsoever they see not through them, they think not that they are to believe,) how many things they not only believe but also know, which cannot be seen by such eyes. Which things being without number in our mind itself, (the nature of which mind is incapable of being seen,) not to mention others, the very faith whereby we believe, or the thought whereby we know that we either believe any thing, or believe not, being as it is altogether alien from the sight of those eyes; what so naked, so clear, what so certain is there to the inner eyes of our minds? How then are we not to believe what we see not with the eyes of the body, whereas, either that we believe, or that we believe not, in a case where we cannot apply the eyes of the body, we without any doubt see?

Section 2

2. But, say they, those things which are in the mind, in that we can by the mind itself discern them, we have no need to know through the eyes of the body; but those things, which you say unto us that we should believe, you neither point to without, that through the eyes of the body we may know them; nor are they within, in our own mind, that by exercising thought we may see them. And these things they so say, as though any one would be bidden to believe, if that, which is believed, he could already see set before him. Therefore certainly ought we to believe certain temporal things also, which we see not, that we may merit1652 to see eternal things also, which we believe. But, whosoever thou art who wilt not believe save what thou seest, lo, bodies that are present thou seest with the eyes of the body, wills and thoughts of thine own that are present, because they are in thine own mind, thou seest by the mind itself; tell me, I pray thee, thy friend’s will towards thee by what eyes seest thou? For no will can be seen by the eyes of the body. What? see you in your own mind this 338also which is going on in the mind of another? But if you see it not, how do you repay in turn the good will of your friend, if what you cannot see, you believe not? Will you haply say that you see the will of another through his works? Therefore you will see acts, and hear words, but concerning your friend’s will, that which cannot be seen and heard you will believe. For that will is not color or figure, so as to be thrown upon the eyes; or sound or strain, 1653 so as to glide into the ears; nor indeed is it your own, so as to be perceived by the motion of your own heart. It remains therefore that, being neither seen, nor heard, nor beheld within thyself, it be believed, that thy life be not left deserted without any friendship, or affection bestowed upon thee be not repaid by thee in return. Where then is that which thou saidest, that thou oughtest not to believe, save what thou sawest either outwardly in the body, or inwardly in the heart? Lo, out of thine own heart, thou believest an heart not thine own; and lendest thy faith, where thou dost not direct the glance of thy body or of thy mind. Thy friend’s face thou discernest by thy own body, thy own faith thou discernest by thine own mind; but thy friend’s faith is not loved by thee, unless there be in thee in return that faith, whereby thou mayest believe that which in him thou seest not. Although a man may also deceive by feigning good will, and hiding malice: or, if he have no thought to do harm, yet by expecting some benefit from thee, feigns, because he has not, love.





Section 3

3. But you say, that you therefore believe your friend, whose heart you cannot see, because you have proved him in your trials, and have come to know of what manner of spirit he was towards you in your dangers, wherein he deserted you not. Seemeth it therefore to you that we must wish for our own affliction, that our friend’s love towards us may be proved? And shall no man be happy in most sure friends, unless he shall be unhappy through adversity? so that, forsooth, he enjoy not the tried love of the other, unless he be racked by pain and fear of his own? And how in the having of true friends can that happiness be wished for, and not rather feared, which nothing save unhappiness can put to the proof? And yet it is true that a friend may be had also in prosperity, but proved more surely in adversity. But assuredly in order to prove him, neither would you commit yourself to dangers of your own, unless you believed; and thus, when you commit yourself in order to prove, you believe before 1654 you prove. For surely, if we ought not to believe things not seen, since indeed we believe the hearts of our friends, and that, not yet surely proved; and, after we shall have proved them good by our own ills, even then we believe rather than see their good will towards us: except that so great is faith, that, not unsuitably, we judge that we see, with certain eyes of it, that which we believe, whereas we ought therefore to believe, because we cannot see.


The text seems corrupt. A ms. in Brasenose Library reads, “si non vis rebus credere.” If we read “Si non

vis rebus non visis credere,” the sense will be, “For certainly if you will not have us believe things unseen, we ought not (to believe this), since” etc.

Section 4

4. If this faith be taken away from human affairs, who but must observe how great disorder in them, and how fearful confusion must follow? For who will be loved by any with mutual affection, (being that the loving1655 itself is invisible,) if what I see not, I ought not to believe? Therefore will the whole of friendship perish, in that it consists not save of mutual love. For what of it will it be able to receive from any, if nothing of it shall be believed to be shown? Further, friendship perishing, there will be preserved in the mind the bonds neither of marriages, nor of kindreds and relations; because in these also there is assuredly a friendly union of sentiment. Spouse therefore will not be able to love spouse in turn, inasmuch as each believes not the other’s love, because the love itself cannot be seen. Nor will they long to have sons, who they believe not will make them a return. And if these be born and grow up, much less will the parents themselves love their own children, whose love towards themselves in those children’s hearts they will not see, it being invisible; if it be not praiseworthy faith, but blameable rashness, to believe those things which are not seen. Why should I now speak of the other connections, of brothers, sisters, sons-in-law, and fathers-in-law, and of them who are joined together by any kindred or affinity, if love is uncertain, and the will suspected, that of parents by sons, and that of sons by parents, whilst due benevolence is not rendered; because neither is it thought to be due, that which is not seen in another not being thought to exist. Further, if this caution be not a mark of ability,1656 but be hateful, wherein we believe not that we are loved, because we see not the love of them who love, and repay not them, unto whom we think not that we owe a return; to that degree are human affairs thrown into disorder, if what we see not we believe not, as 339to be altogether and utterly overthrown, if we believe no wills of men, which assuredly we cannot see. I omit to mention in how many things they, who find fault with us because we believe what we see not, believe report or history; or concerning places where they have not themselves been; and say not, we believe not, because we have not seen. Since if they say this, they are obliged to confess that their own parents are not surely known to them: because on this point also they have believed the accounts of others telling of it, who yet are unable to show it, because it is a thing already past; retaining themselves no sense of that time, and yet yielding assent without any doubting to others speaking of that time: and unless this be done, there must of necessity be incurred a faithless impiety towards parents, whilst we are, as it were, showing a rashness of belief in those things which we cannot see. Since therefore, if we believe not those things which we cannot see, human society itself, through concord perishing, will not stand how much more is faith to be applied to divine things, although they be not seen; failing the application of which, it is not the friendship of some men or





Section 4 other, but the very chiefest bond of piety1657 that is violated, so as for the chiefest misery to follow.


“Religio,� (toward parents).


Section 5

5. But you will say, the good will of a friend towards me, although I cannot see it, yet can I trace it out by many proofs; but you, what things you will us to believe not being seen, you have no proofs whereby to show them. In the mean time it is no slight thing, that you confess that by reason of the clearness of certain proofs, some things, even such as are not seen, ought to be believed: for even thus it is agreed, that not all things which are not seen, are not to be believed; and that saying, “that we ought not to believe things which we see not,” falls to the ground, cast away, and refuted. But they are much deceived, who think that we believe in Christ without any proofs concerning Christ. For what are there clearer proofs than those things, which we now see to have been foretold and fulfilled? Wherefore do ye, who think that there are no proofs why ye ought to believe concerning Christ those things which ye have not seen, give heed to what things ye see. The Church herself addresses you out of the mouth of a mother’s love: “I, whom ye view with wonder throughout the whole world, bearing fruit and increasing, was not once such as ye now behold me.” But, “In thy Seed shall all nations be blessed.”1658 When God blessed Abraham, He gave the promise of me; for throughout all nations in the blessing of Christ am I shed abroad. That Christ is the Seed of Abraham, the order of successive generations bears witness. Shortly to sum up which, Abraham begat Isaac, Isaac begat Jacob, Jacob begat twelve sons, of whom sprung the people Israel. For Jacob himself was called Israel. Among these twelve sons he begat Judah, whence the Jews have their name, of whom was born the Virgin Mary, who bore Christ. And, lo, in Christ, that is, in the seed of Abraham, that all the nations are blessed, ye see and are amazed: and do ye still fear to believe in Him, in Whom ye ought rather to have feared not to believe? What? doubt ye, or refuse ye to believe, the travail of a Virgin, whereas ye ought rather to believe that it was fitting that so God should be born Man. For 1659 this also receive ye to have been foretold by the Prophet; “Behold, a Virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us.” Ye will not therefore doubt of a Virgin bringing forth, if ye be willing to believe of a God being born; leaving not the governance of the world, and coming unto men in the flesh; unto His Mother bringing fruitfulness, not taking away 1660 maidenhood. For thus behoved it that He should be born as Man, albeit He was ever1661 God, by which birth He might become a God unto us. Hence again the Prophet says concerning Him, “Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of right, the sceptre of Thy Kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.”1662 This anointing is spir1658

Gen. xxii. 18


Is. vii. 14; Matt. i. 23






Ps. xlv. 6–17

Section 5

itual, wherewith God anointed God, the Father, that is, the Son: whence called from the “Chrism,” that is, from the anointing, we know Him as Christ. I am the Church, concerning whom it is said unto Him in the same Psalm, and what was future foretold as already done; “There stood at Thy right hand the Queen, in a vesture of gold, in raiment of divers colors;” that is, in the mystery of wisdom, “adorned with divers tongues.” There it said unto me, “Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear, and forget thy own people and thy father’s house: for the King hath desired thy beauty: seeing that He is the Lord thy God: and the daughters of Tyre shall worship Him with gifts, thy face shall all the rich of the people entreat. All the glory of that King’s daughter is within, in fringes of gold, with raiment of 340divers colors. There shall be brought unto the King the maidens after her; her companions shall be brought unto Thee. They shall be brought with joy and gladness, they shall be brought into the Temple of the King. Instead of thy fathers, there are born unto thee sons, thou shall set them as princes over the whole earth. They shall be mindful of thy name, even from generation to generation. Therefore shall the people confess unto thee for ever, and for ever and ever.


Section 6

6. If this Queen ye see not, now rich also with royal progeny. If she see not that fulfilled which she heard to have been promised, she, unto whom it was said, “Hear, O daughter, and see.” If she hath not left the ancient rites of the world, she, unto whom it was said, “Forget thy own people and thy Father’s house.” If she confesses not every where Christ the Lord, she, unto whom it was said, “The King hath desired thy beauty, for He is the Lord thy God.” If she sees not the cities of the nations pour forth prayers and offer gifts unto Christ, concerning Whom it was said unto her, “There shall worship Him the daughters of Tyre with gifts.” If the pride also of the rich is not laid aside, and they do not entreat help of the Church, unto whom it was said, “Thy face shall all the rich of the people entreat.” If He acknowledges not the King’s daughter, unto Whom she was bidden to say, “Our Father Who art in Heaven;”1663 and in her saints in the inner man she is not renewed from day to day, concerning whom it was said, “All the glory of that King’s daughter is within:” although she strike upon the eyes of them also that are without with the blaze 1664 of the fame of her preachers, in diversity of tongues, as “in fringes of gold, and raiment of divers colors.” If 1665 there be not, now that His fame is spread abroad in every place by His good odor, virgins also brought unto Christ to be consecrated, of Whom it is said, and to Whom it is said, “There shall be brought unto the King the virgins after her, her companions shall be brought unto Thee.” And that they might not seem to be brought like captives, into some, as it were, prison, he says, “They shall be brought in joy and gladness, they shall be brought into the King’s temple.” If she brings not forth sons, that of them she may have, as it were, fathers, whom she may appoint unto herself every where as rulers, she, unto whom it is said, “Instead of thy fathers there are born unto thee sons, thou shall set them as princes over the whole earth:” unto whose prayers their mother both preferred and made subject, commends herself, “They shall be mindful of thy name, even from generation to generation.” If, by reason of the preaching of those same fathers, wherein they have without ceasing made mention of her name, there are not so great multitudes in her gathered together, and without end in their own tongues unto her confess the praise of grace, unto whom it is said, “Therefore shall the people confess unto thee for ever, and for ever and ever.” If these things are not so shown to be clear, as that the eyes of enemies find not in what direction to turn aside, where the same clearness strikes them not, so as by it to be obliged to confess what is evident: you perhaps assert with reason, that no proofs are shown to you, by seeing which you may believe those things also which you see not. But if those things, which you see, both have been foretold long before, and are so clearly fulfilled; if the truth itself makes itself clear to you,


Matt. vi. 9; 2 Cor. iv. 16


Ben. conj. “fulgente,”for “fulgentes.”


Song of Sol. i. 3

Section 6 by effects1666 going before and following after, O remnant of unbelief, that ye may believe the things which you see not, blush at those things which ye see.


The Prophecy might be called an “effect” as well as its fulfillment; or read “verbis,” for “vobis,” “clear by

words going before and effects following after.” For further illustration see St. Aug. on Ps. 45.


Section 7

7. “Give heed unto me,” the Church says unto you; give heed unto me, whom ye see, although to see ye be unwilling. For the faithful, who were in those times in the land of Judæa, were present at, and learnt as present, Christ’s wonderful birth of a virgin, and His passion, resurrection, ascension; all His divine words and deeds. These things ye have not seen, and therefore ye refuse to believe. Therefore behold these things, fix your eyes on these things, these things which ye see reflect on, which are not told you as things past, nor foretold you as things future, but are shown you as things present. What? seemeth it to you a vain or a light thing. and think you it to be none, or a little, divine miracle, that in the name of One Crucified the whole human race runs? Ye saw not what was foretold and fulfilled concerning the human birth of Christ, “Behold, a Virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bear a Son;”1667 but you see the Word of God which was foretold and fulfilled unto Abraham, “In thy seed shall all nations be blessed.”1668 Ye saw not what was foretold concerning the wonderful works of Christ, “Come ye, and see the works of the Lord, what wonders He hath set upon the earth:” 1669 but ye see that which was foretold, “The Lord said unto Me, My 341Son art Thou, I have this day begotten Thee; demand of Me and I will give Thee nations as Thy inheritance, and as Thy possession the bounds of the earth.”1670 Ye saw not that which was foretold and fulfilled concerning the Passion of Christ, “They pierced My hands and My feet, they numbered all My bones; but they themselves regarded and beheld Me; they divided among them My garments, and upon My vesture they cast the lot;” 1671 but ye see that which was in the same Psalm foretold, and now is clearly fulfilled; “All the ends of the earth shall remember and be turned unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship in His sight; for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He shall rule over the nations.”1672 Ye saw not what was foretold and fulfilled concerning the Resurrection of Christ, the Psalm speaking, in His Person, first concerning His betrayer and persecutors: “They went forth out of doors, and spake together: against Me whispered all My enemies, against Me thought they evil for Me;” they set in order an unrighteous word against Me. 1673 Where, to show that they availed nothing by slaying Him Who was about to rise again, He adds and says; “What? will not He, that sleeps, add this, that He rise again?” And a little after, when He had foretold, by means of the same prophecy, concerning His betrayer himself, that which is written in the Gospel also, “He that did eat of My bread, enlarged his heel upon Me,”1674 1667

Is. vii. 14


Gen. xxii. 18


Ps. xlvi. 8


Ps. ii. 7, 8; Heb. i. 5; v. 5; Acts. xiii. 33


Ps xxii. 16, 17, 18; John xix. 23, 24


Ps. xxii. 27, 28


Ps. xli. 6–8


Ps. xli. 9, 10

Section 7

that is, trampled Me under foot: He straightway added, “But do Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon Me, and raise Thou Me up again, and I shall repay them.” This was fulfilled, Christ slept and awoke, that is, rose again: Who through the same prophecy in another Psalm says, 1675 “I slept and took my rest; and I rose again, for the Lord will uphold Me.” But this ye saw not, but ye see His Church, concerning whom it is written in like manner, and fulfilled, “O Lord My God, the nations shall come unto Thee from the extremity of the earth and shall say, Truly our fathers worshipped lying images, and there is not in them any profit.” 1676 This certainly, whether ye will or no, ye behold; even although ye yet believe, that there either is, or was, in those idols some profit; yet certainly unnumbered peoples of the nations, after having left, or cast away, or broken in pieces such like vanities, ye have heard say, “Truly our fathers worshipped lying images, and there is not in them any profit; shall a man make gods, and, lo, they are no gods?” 1677 Nor think that it was foretold that the nations should come unto some one place of God, in that it was said, “Unto Thee shall the nations come from the extremity of the earth.” Understand, if you can, that unto the God of the Christians, Who is the Supreme and True God, the peoples of the nations come, not by walking but by believing. For the same thing was by another prophet thus foretold, “The Lord,” saith he, “shall prevail against them, and shall utterly destroy all the gods of the nations 1678 of the earth: and all the isles of the nations shall worship Him, each man from his place.” Whereas the one says, “Unto Thee all nations shall come;” this the other says, “They shall worship Him, each man from his place.” Therefore they shall come unto Him, not departing from their own place, because believing in Him they shall find Him in their hearts. Ye saw not what was foretold and fulfilled concerning the ascension of Christ; “Be Thou exalted above the Heavens, O God;”1679 but ye see what follows immediately after, “And above all the earth Thy Glory.” Those things concerning Christ already done and past, all of them ye have not seen; but these things present in His Church ye deny not that ye see. Both things we point out to you as foretold; but the fulfillment of both we are therefore unable to point out for you to see, because we cannot bring back into sight things past.


Ps. iv. 8


Jer. xvi. 19


Jer. xvi. 19, 20


Zeph. ii. 11


Ps. cviii. 5


Section 8

8. But as the wills of friends, which are not seen, are believed through tokens which are seen; thus the Church, which is now seen, is, of all things which are not seen, but which are shown forth in those writings wherein itself also is foretold, an index of the past, and a herald of the future. Because both things past, which cannot now be seen, and things present which cannot be seen all of them, at the time at which they were foretold, no one of these could then be seen. Therefore, since they have begun to come to pass as they were foretold, from those things which have come to pass unto those which are coming to pass, those things which were foretold concerning Christ and the Church have run on in an ordered series: unto which series these pertain concerning the day of Judgment, concerning the resurrection of the dead, concerning the eternal damnation of the ungodly with the devil, and concerning the eternal recompense of the godly with Christ, things which, foretold in like manner, are yet to come. Why therefore should we not believe the first and the last things which we see not, when we have, as witnesses of both, the things between, which we see, and in the books 342of the Prophets either hear or read both the first things, and the things between, and the last things, foretold before they came to pass? Unless haply unbelieving men judge those things to have been written by Christians, in order that those things which they already believed might have greater weight of authority, if they should be thought to have been promised before they came.

Section 9 1680 9. If they suspect this, let them examine carefully the copies of our enemies the Jews. There let them read those things of which we have made mention, foretold concerning Christ in Whom we believe, and the Church whom we discern from the toilsome beginning of faith even unto the eternal blessedness of the kingdom. But, whilst they read, let them not wonder that they, whose are the books, understand not by reason of the darkness of enmity. For that they would not understand was foretold beforehand by the same Prophets; which it behoved should be fulfilled in like manner as the rest, and that by the secret and just judgment of God due punishment should be rendered to their deserts. He indeed, Whom they crucified, and unto Whom they gave gall and vinegar, although when hanging upon the Tree, by reason of those whom He had been about to lead forth from darkness into light, He said unto the Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do;”1681 yet by reason of those whom through more hidden causes He had been about to desert, by the Prophet so long before foretold, “They gave Me gall for My meat, and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink; let their table become a snare before them, and a recompense, and a stumbling-block: let their eyes be darkened that they see not, and ever bow Thou down their back.”1682 Thus, having with them the clearest testimonies of our cause, they walk round about with eyes darkened, that by their means those testimonies may be proved, wherein they themselves are disapproved. Therefore was it brought to pass, that they should not be so blotted out, as that this same sect should altogether exist not: but it was scattered abroad upon the earth, in order that, carrying with it the prophecies of the grace conferred upon us, more surely to convince unbelievers, it might every where profit us. And this very thing which I assert, receive ye after what manner it was prophesied of: “Slay them not,” saith He, “lest at any time they forget Thy law, but scatter them abroad in Thy might.”1683 Therefore they were not slain, in that they forgot not those things which were read and heard among them. For if they were altogether to forget, albeit they understand not, the Holy Scriptures, they would be slain in the Jewish ritual itself; because, when the Jews should know nothing of the Law and of the Prophets, they would be unable to profit us. Therefore they were not slain, but scattered abroad; in order that, although they should not have in faith, whence they might be saved; yet they should retain in their memory, whence we might be helped; in their books our supporters, in their hearts our enemies, in their copies our witnesses.




Luke xxiii. 34


Ps. lxix. 21–23


Ps. lix. 11

Section 10

10. Although, even if there went before no testimonies concerning Christ and the Church, whom ought it not to move unto belief, that the Divine brightness hath on a sudden shone on the human race, when we see, (the false gods now abandoned, and their images every where broken in pieces, their temples overthrown or changed into other uses, and so many vain rites plucked out by the roots from the most inveterate usage of men,) the One True God invoked by all? And that this hath been brought to pass-by One Man, by men mocked, seized, bound, scourged, smitten with the palms of the hand, reviled, crucified, slain: His disciples, (whom He chose common men,1684 and unlearned, and fishermen, and publicans, that by their means His teaching might be set forth,) proclaiming His Resurrection, His Ascension, which they asserted that they had seen, and being filled with the Holy Ghost, sounded forth this Gospel, in all tongues which they had not learned. And of them who heard them, part believed, part, believing not, fiercely withstood them who preached. Thus while they were faithful even unto death for the truth, strove not by returning evil, but by enduring, overcame not by killing, but by dying; thus was the world changed unto this religion, thus unto this Gospel were the hearts of mortals turned, of men and women, of small and great, of learned and unlearned, of wise and foolish, of mighty and weak, of noble and ignoble, of high and low, and, throughout all nations the Church shed abroad so increased, that even against the Catholic faith itself there arises not any perverse sect, any kind of error, which is found so to oppose itself to Christian truth, as that it affect not and go not about to glory in the name of Christ: which very error would not be suffered to spring up throughout the earth, were it not that the very gainsaying exercised an wholesome discipline. 1685 343How would The Crucified have availed so greatly, had He not been God that took upon Him Man, even if He had through the Prophet foretold no such things to come? But when now this so great mystery of godliness hath had its prophets and heralds going before, by whose divine voices it was afore proclaimed; and when it hath come in such manner as it was afore proclaimed, who is there so mad as to assert that the Apostles lied concerning Christ, of Whom they preached that He was come in such manner as the Prophets foretold afore that He should come, which Prophets were not silent as to true things to come concerning the Apostles themselves? For concerning these they had said, “There is neither speech nor language, whereof their voices are not heard; their sound went out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”1686 And this at any rate we see fulfilled in the world, although we have not yet seen Christ in the flesh. Who therefore, unless blinded by amazing madness, or hard and steeled by amazing obstinacy, would be unwilling to put faith in the sacred Scriptures, which have foretold the faith of the whole world?




Lit. “when.”


Ps. xix. 3, 4

Section 11

11. But you, beloved, who possess this faith, or who have begun now newly to have it, let it be nourished and increase in you. For as things temporal have come, so long before foretold, so will things eternal also come, which are promised. Nor let them deceive you, either the vain heathen, or the false Jews, or the deceitful heretics, or also within the Catholic (Church) itself evil Christians, enemies by so much the more hurtful, as they are the more within us. For, lest on this subject also the weak should be troubled, divine prophecy hath not been silent, where in the Song of Songs the Bridegroom speaking unto the Bride, that is, Christ the Lord unto the Church, saith, “As a lily in the midst of thorns, so is my best Beloved1687 in the midst of the daughters.” 1688 He said not, in the midst of them that are without; but, “in the midst of daughters. Whoso hath ears to hear, let him hear:” 1689 and whilst the net which is cast into the sea,1690 and gathers together all kinds of fishes, as saith the holy Gospel, is being drawn unto the shore, that is, unto the end of the world, let him separate himself from the evil fishes, in heart, not in body; by changing evil habits, not by breaking sacred nets; lest they who now seem being approved to be mingled with the reprobate, find, not life, but punishment everlasting,1691 when they shall begin on the shore to be separated.




Song of Sol. ii. 2


Matt. xiii. 9


Matt. xiii. 47–50


Some mss.“that they &c. may find not punishment, but life.”

On the Profit of Believing.


On the Profit of Believing. [De Utilitate Credendi.]

Translated by Rev. C. L. Cornish. M.A.

Translator’s Preface.

Retract. i. cap. 14. Moreover now at Hippo-Regius as Presbyter I wrote a book on the Profit of Believing, to a friend of mine who had been taken in by the Manichees, and whom I knew to be still held in that error, and to deride the Catholic school of Faith, in that men were bid believe, but not taught what was truth by a most certain method. In this book I said, &c. * * *. This book begins thus, “Si mihi Honorate, unum atque idem videretur esse.” St. Augustin enumerates his book on theProfit of Believingfirst amongst those he wrote as Presbyter, to which order he was raised at Hippo about the beginning of the year 391. The person for whom he wrote had been led into error by himself, and appears to have been recovered from it, at least if he is the same who wrote to St. Augustin from Carthage about 412, proposing several questions, and to whom St. Augustin wrote his 140th Epistle. Cassiodorus calls him a Presbyter, though at that time he was not baptized. In Ep. 83, St. Augustin speaks of the death of another Honoratus, a Presbyter. Towards the end of his life he also wrote his 228th Epistle to a Bishop of Thabenna of the same name.—(Bened. Ed.) The remarks in the Retractationsare given in notes to the passages where they occur.

Section 1

1. IF, Honoratus, a heretic, and a man trusting heretics seemed to me one and the same, I should judge it my duty to remain silent both in tongue and pen in this matter. But now, whereas there is a very great difference between these two: forasmuch as he, in my opinion, is an heretic, who, for the sake of some temporal advantage, and chiefly for the sake of his own glory and pre-eminence, either gives birth to, or follows, false and new opinions; but he, who trusts men of this kind, is a man deceived by a certain imagination of truth and piety. This being the case, I have not thought it my duty to be silent towards you, as to my opinions on the finding and retaining of truth: with great love of which, as you know, we have burned from our very earliest youth: but it is a thing far removed from the minds of vain men, who, having too far advanced and fallen into these corporeal things, think that there is nothing else than what they perceive by those five well-known reporters of the body; and what impressions 1692 and images they have received from these, they carry over with themselves, even when they essay to withdraw from the senses; and by the deadly and most deceitful rule of these think that they measure most rightly the unspeakable recesses of truth. Nothing is more easy, my dearest friend, than for one not only to say, but also to think, that he hath found out the truth; but how difficult it is in reality, you will perceive, I trust, from this letter of mine. And that this may profit you, or at any rate may in no way harm you, 348and also all, into whose hands it shall chance to come, I have both prayed, and do pray, unto God; and I hope that it will be so, forasmuch as 1693 I am fully conscious that I have undertaken to write it, in a pious and friendly spirit, not as aiming at vain reputation, or trifling display.





Section 2

2. It is then my purpose to prove to you, if I can, that the Manichees profanely and rashly inveigh against those, who, following the authority of the Catholic Faith, before that they are able to gaze upon that Truth, which the pure mind beholds, are by believing forearmed, and prepared for God Who is about to give them light. For you know, Honoratus, that for no other reason we fell in with such men, than because they used to say, that, apart from all terror of authority, by pure and simple reason, they would lead within to God, and set free from all error those who were willing to be their hearers. For what else constrained me, during nearly nine years, spurning the religion which had been set in me from a child by my parents, to be a follower and diligent hearer of those men, 1694 save that they said that we are alarmed by superstition, and are commanded to have faith before reason, but that they urge no one to have faith, without having first discussed and made clear the truth? Who would not be enticed by such promises, especially the mind of a young man desirous of the truth, and further a proud and talkative mind by discussions of certain learned men in the school? such as they then found me, disdainful forsooth as of old wives’ fables, and desirous to grasp and drink in, what they promised, the open and pure Truth? But what reason, on the other hand, recalled me, not to be altogether joined to them, so that I continued in that rank which they call of Hearers, so that I resigned not the hope and business of this world; save that I noticed that they also are rather eloquent and full in refutation of others, than abide firm and sure in proof of what is their own. But of myself what shall I say, who was already a Catholic Christian? teats which now, after very long thirst, I almost exhausted and dry, have returned to with all greediness, and with deeper weeping and groaning have shaken together and wrung them out more deeply, that so there might flow what might be enough to refresh me affected as I was, and to bring back hope of life and safety. What then shall I say of myself? You, not yet a Christian, who, through encouragement from me, execrating them greatly as you did, were hardly led to believe that you ought to listen to them and make trial of them, by what else, I pray you, were you delighted, call to mind, I entreat you, save by a certain great presumption and promise of reasons? But because they disputed long and much with very great copiousness and vehemence concerning the errors of unlearned men, a thing which I learned too late at length to be most easy for any moderately educated man; if even of their own they implanted in us any thing, we thought that we were obliged to retain it, insomuch as there fell not in our way other things, wherein to acquiesce. So they did in our case what crafty fowlers are wont to do, who set branches smeared with bird-lime beside water to deceive thirsty birds. For they fill up and cover anyhow the other waters which are around, or fright them from them by alarming devices, that they may fall into their snares, not through choice, but want.


Confess. b. i. c. 11; b. v. c. 14.

Section 3

3. But why do I not make answer to myself, that these fair and clever similies, and charges of this nature may be poured forth against all who are teachers of any thing by any adversary, with abundance of wit and sarcasm? But I thought that I ought to insert something of this kind in my letter, in order to admonish them to give over such proceedings; so that, as1695 he says, apart from trifles of common-places, matter may contend with matter, cause with cause, reason with reason. Wherefore let them give over that saying, which they have in their mouths as though of necessity, when any one, who hath been for some long time a hearer, hath left them; “The Light hath made a passage through him.� For you see, you who are my chief care, (for I am not over anxious about them,) how empty this is, and most easy for any one to find fault with. Therefore I leave this for your own wisdom to consider. For I have no fear that you will think me possessed by indwelling Light, when I was entangled in the life of this world, having a darkened hope, of beauty of wife, of pomp of riches, of emptiness of honors, and of all other hurtful and deadly pleasures. For all these, as is not unknown to you, I ceased not to desire and hope for, at the time when I was their attentive hearer. And I do not lay this to the charge of their teaching; for I also confess that they also carefully advise to shun these. But now to say that I am deserted by light, when I have turned myself from all these shadows of things, and have determined to be content with that diet merely which is necessary for health of body; but that I was enlightened and shining, at a 349time when I loved these things, and was wrapped up in them, is the part of a man, to use the mildest expression, wanting in a keen insight into matters, on which he loves to speak at length. But, if you please, let us come to the cause in hand.



Section 4

4. For you well know that the Manichees move the unlearned by finding fault with the Catholic Faith, and chiefly by rending in pieces and tearing the Old Testament: and they are utterly ignorant, how far1696 these things are to be taken, and how drawn out they descend with profit into the veins and marrows of souls as yet as it were but able to cry. 1697 And because there are in them certain things which are some slight offense to minds ignorant and careless of themselves, (and there are very many such,) they admit of being accused in a popular way: but defended in a popular way they cannot be, by any great number of persons, by reason of the mysteries that are contained in them. But the few, who know how to do this, do not love public and much talked of controversies and disputes:1698 and on this account are very little known, save to such as are most earnest in seeking them out. Concerning then this rashness of the Manichees, whereby they find fault with the Old Testament and the Catholic Faith, listen, I entreat you, to the considerations which move me. But I desire and hope that you will receive them in the same spirit in which I say them. For God, unto Whom are known the secrets of my conscience knows, that in this discourse I am doing nothing of evil craft; but, as I think it should be received, for the sake of proving the truth, for which one thing we have now long ago determined to live; and with incredible anxiety, lest it may have been most easy for me to err with you, but most difficult, to use no harder term, to hold the right way with you. But I venture 1699 to anticipate that, in this hope, wherein I hope that you will hold with us the way of wisdom, He will not fail me, unto Whom I have been consecrated; Whom day and night I endeavor to gaze upon: and since, by reason of my sins, and by reason of past habit, having the eye of the mind wounded by strokes of feeble opinions, I know that I am without strength, I often entreat with tears, and as, after long blindness and darkness the eyes being hardly opened, and as yet, by frequent throbbing and turning away, refusing the light which yet they long after; specially if one endeavor to show to them the very sun; so it has now befallen me, who do not deny that there is a certain unspeakable and singular good of the soul, which the mind sees; and who with tears and groaning confess that I am not yet worthy of it. He will not then fail me, if I feign nothing, if I am led by duty, if I love truth, if I esteem friendship, if I fear much lest you be deceived.









Section 5

5. All that Scripture therefore, which is called the Old Testament, is handed down fourfold to them who desire to know it, according to history, according to ĂŚtiology, according to analogy, according to allegory. Do not think me silly for using Greek words. In the first place, because I have so received, nor do I dare to make known to you otherwise than I have received. Next you yourself perceive, that we have not in use terms for such things: and had I translated and made such, I should have been indeed more silly: but, were I to use circumlocution, I should be less free in treating: this only I pray you to believe, that in whatever way I err, I am not inflated or swollen in any thing that I do. Thus (for example) it is handed down according to history, when there is taught what hath been written, or what hath been done; what not done, but only written as though it had been done. According to ĂŚtiology, when it is shown for what cause any thing hath been done or said. According to analogy, when it is shown that the two Testaments, the Old and the New, are not contrary the one to the other. According to allegory, when it is taught that certain things which have been written are not to be taken in the letter, but are to be understood in a figure.

Section 6

6. All these ways our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles used. For when it had been objected that His disciples had plucked the ears of corn on the sabbath-day, the instance was taken from history; “Have ye not read,” saith He, “what David did when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests?” 1700 But the instance pertains to ætiology, that, when Christ had forbidden a wife to be put away, save for the cause of fornication, and they, who asked Him, had alleged that Moses had granted permission after a writing of divorcement had been given, This, saith He, “Moses did because of the hardness of your heart.” 1701 For here a reason was given, why that had been well allowed by Moses for a time; that this command of Christ might seem to show that now the times were other. But it were long to explain the 350changes of these times, and their order arranged and settled by a certain marvellous appointment of Divine Providence.


Matt. xii. 3, 4


Matt. xix. 8

Section 7

7. And further, analogy, whereby the agreement of both Testaments is plainly seen, why shall I say that all have made use of, to whose authority they yield; whereas it is in their power to consider with themselves, how many things they are wont to say have been inserted in the divine Scriptures by certain, I know not who, corrupters of truth? Which speech of theirs I always thought to be most weak, even at the time that I was their hearer: nor I alone, but you also, (for I well remember,) and all of us, who essayed to exercise a little more care in forming a judgment than the crowd of hearers. But now, after that many things have been expounded and made clear to me, which used chiefly to move me: those I mean, wherein their discourse for the most part boasts itself, and expatiates the more freely, the more safely it can do so as having no opponent; it seems to me that there is no assertion of theirs more shameless, or (to use a milder phrase) more careless and weak than that the divine Scriptures have been corrupted; whereas there are no copies in existence, in a matter of so recent date, whereby they can prove it. For were they to assert, that they thought not that they ought thoroughly to receive them, because they had been written by persons, who they thought 1702 had not written the truth; any how their refusal would be more right, or their error more 1703 natural. For this is what they have done in the case of the Book which is inscribed the Acts of the Apostles. And this device of theirs, when I consider with myself, I cannot enough wonder at. For it is not the want of wisdom in the men that I complain of in this matter, but the want of ordinary understanding.1704 For that book hath so great matters, which are like what they receive, that it seems to me great folly to refuse to receive this book also, and if any thing offend them there to call it false and inserted. Or, if such language is shameless, as it is why in the Epistles of Paul, why in the four books of the Gospel, do they think that they1705 are of any avail, in which I am not sure but that there are in proportion many more things, than could be in that book, which they will have believed to have been interpolated by falsifiers. But forsooth this is what I believe to be the case, and I ask of you to consider it with me with as calm and serene a judgment as possible. For you know that, essaying to bring the person of their founder ManichĂŚus into the number of the Apostles, they say that the Holy Spirit, Whom the Lord promised His disciples that He would send, hath come to us through him. Therefore, were they to receive those Acts of the Apostles, in which the coming of the Holy Spirit is plainly set forth,1706 they could not find how to say that it was interpolated. For they will have it that there were some, I know not who, falsifiers of the divine Books before the times of ManichĂŚus himself; and that they were falsified by persons






Cor mediocre




Acts ii. 2, 3, 4

Section 7

who wished to combine the Law of the Jews with the Gospel. But this they cannot say concerning the Holy Spirit, unless haply they assert that those persons divined, and set in their books what should be brought forward against ManichĂŚus, who should at some future time arise, and say that the Holy Spirit had been sent through him. But concerning the Holy Spirit we will speak somewhat more plainly in another place. Now let us return to my purpose.


Section 8

8. For that both history of the Old Testament, and ætiology, and analogy are found in the New Testament, has been, as I think, sufficiently proved: it remains to show this of allegory. Our Redeemer Himself in the Gospel uses allegory out of the Old Testament. “This generation,” saith He, “seeketh a sign, and there shall not be given it save the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so also shall 1707 the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” For why should I speak of the Apostle Paul, who in his first Epistle to the Corinthians shows that even the very history of the Exodus was an allegory of the future Christian People. “But I would not that ye should be ignorant, brethren, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized into Moses, in the cloud, and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed with them; and that Rock was Christ. But in the more part of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. But these things were figures of us, 1708 that we be not lustful of evil things, as they also lusted. Neither let us worship idols, as certain of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as certain of them com351mitted, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand men. Neither let us tempt Christ, as certain of them tempted, and perished of serpents. Neither murmur we, as certain of them murmured, and perished of the destroyer. But all these things happened unto them in a figure.1709 But they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world have come.”1710 There is also in the Apostle a certain allegory, which indeed greatly relates to the cause in hand, for this reason that they themselves are wont to bring it forward, and make a display of it in disputing. For the same Paul says to the Galatians, “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one of a bond-maid, and one of a free woman. But he who was of the bond-maid was born after the flesh: but he who was of the free woman, by promise: which things were spoken by way of allegory.1711 For these are the two Testaments, one of Mount Sinai gendering unto bondage, which is Agar: for Sinai is a mount in Arabia, which bordereth1712 upon that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”1713


Matt. xii. 39, 40


Figuræ nostraτὐποι ἠμῶνGr. in figura facta sunt nostri.Vulg.




1 Cor. x. 1–11. (See R.R.)






Gal. iv. 22–26

Section 9

9. Here therefore these men too evil, while they essay to make void the Law, force us to approve these Scriptures. For they mark what is said, that they who are under the Law are in bondage, and they keep flying above the rest that last saying, “Ye are made empty1714 of Christ, as many of you as are justified in the Law; ye have fallen from Grace.”1715 We grant that all these things are true, and we say that the Law is not necessary, save for them unto whom bondage is yet profitable: and that the Law was on this account profitably enacted, in that men, who could not be recalled from sins by reason, needed to be restrained by such a Law, that is to say, by the threats and terrors of those punishments which can be seen by fools: from which when the Grace of Christ sets us free, it condemns not that Law, but invites us at length to yield obedience to its love, not to be slaves to the fear of the Law. Itself is Grace, that is free gift,1716 which they understand not to have come to them from God, who still desire to be under the bonds of the Law. Whom Paul deservedly rebukes as unbelievers, because they do not believe that now through our Lord Jesus they have been set free from that bondage, under which they were placed for a certain time by the most just appointment of God. Hence is that saying of the same Apostle, “For the Law was our schoolmaster in Christ.”1717 He therefore gave to men a schoolmaster to fear, Who after gave a Master to love. And yet in these precepts and commands of the Law, which now it is not allowed Christians to use, such as either the Sabbath, or Circumcision, or Sacrifices, and if there be any thing of this kind, so great mysteries are contained, as that every pious person may understand, there is nothing more deadly than that whatever is there be understood to the letter, that is, to the word: 1718 and nothing more healthful than that it be unveiled in the Spirit. Hence it is: “The letter killeth, but the Spirit quickeneth.”1719 Hence it is, “That same veil remaineth in the reading of the Old Testament, which veil is not taken away; since it is made void in Christ.”1720 For there is made void in Christ, not the Old Testament, but its veil: that so through Christ that may be understood, and, as it were, laid bare, which without Christ is obscure and covered. Forasmuch as the same Apostle straightway adds, “But when thou shalt have passed over to Christ, the veil shall be taken away.”1721 For he saith not, the 1714



Gal. v. 4




Gal. iii. 24. in Christo.


Ad verbum


Vid. Retr.l. i. c. 14. n. l. “In this book I said, ‘in which &c.’ but I have otherwise explained those words

of the Apostle Paul, and as far as I can see, or rather as is apparent from the plain state of the case, much more suitably, in the book entitled De Spiritu et Literâ, though this sense too is not to be utterly rejected.” 2 Cor. iii. 6 1720

2 Cor. iii. 14. quoniam, ὅτι Gr. “whichveil,” Eng. T.


2 Cor. iii. 16

Section 9

Law shall be taken away, or, the Old Testament. Not therefore through the Grace of the Lord, as though useless things were there hidden, have they been taken away; but rather the covering whereby useful things were covered. In this manner all they are dealt with, who earnestly and piously, not disorderly and shamelessly, seek the sense of those Scriptures, and they are carefully shown both the order of events, and the causes of deeds and words, and so great agreement of the Old Testament with the New, that there is left no jot1722 that agrees not; and so great secrets of figures, that all the things that are drawn forth by interpretation force them to confess that they are wretched, who will to condemn these before they learn them.




Section 10

10. But, passing over in the mean while the depth of knowledge, to deal with you as I think I ought to deal with my intimate friend; that is, as I have myself power, not as I have wondered at the power of very learned men; there are three kinds of error, whereby men err, when they read anything. I will speak of them one by one. The first kind is, wherein that which is false is thought true, whereas the writer thought otherwise. A second kind, although 352not so extensive, yet not less hurtful, when that, which is false, is thought true, yet the thought is the same as that of the writer. A third kind, when from the writing of another some truth is understood, whereas the writer understood it not. In which kind there is no little profit, rather, if you consider carefully, the whole entire fruit of reading. An instance of the first kind is, as if any one, for example, should say and believe that Rhadamanthus hears and judges the causes of the dead in the realms below, because he hath so read in the strain of Maro.1723 For this one errs in two ways: both in that he believes a thing not to be believed, and also in that he, whom he reads, is not to be thought to have believed it. The second kind may be thus noticed: if one, because Lucretius writes that the soul is formed of atoms, and that after death it is dissolved into the same atoms and perishes, were to think this to be true and what he ought to believe. For this one also is not less wretched, if, in a matter of so great moment, he hath persuaded himself of that which is false, as certain; although Lucretius, by whose books he hath been deceived, held this opinion. For what doth it profit this one to be assured of the meaning of the author, whereas he hath chosen him to himself not so as through him to escape error, but so as with him to err. An instance suited to the third kind is, if one, after having read in the books of Epicurus some place wherein he praises continence, were to assert that he had made the chief good to consist in virtue, and that therefore he is not to be blamed. For how is this man injured by the error of Epicurus, what though Epicurus believe that bodily pleasure is the chief good of man: whereas he hath not surrendered up himself to so base and hurtful an opinion, and is pleased with Epicurus for no other reason, than that he thinks him not to have held sentiments which ought not to be holden. This error is not only natural to man, 1724 but often also most worthy of a man. For what, if word were brought to me, concerning some one whom I loved, that, when now he was of bearded age, he had said, in the hearing of many, that he was so pleased with boyhood and childhood, as even to swear that he wished to live after the same fashion, and that that was so proved to me, as that I should be shameless to deny it: I should not, should I, seem worthy of blame, if I thought that, in saying this, he wished to show, that he was pleased with the innocence, and with the temper of mind alien from those desires in which the race of man is wrapped up, and from this circumstance should love him yet more and more, than I used to love him before; although perhaps he had been foolish enough to love


Virg. Æ 566–569.



Section 10

in the age of children a certain freedom in play and food, and an idle ease? For suppose that he had died after this report had reached me, and that I had been unable to make any inquiry of him, so as for him to open his meaning; would there be any one so shameless as to be angry with me, for praising the man’s purpose and wish, through those very words which I had heard? What, that even a just judge of matters would not hesitate perhaps to praise my sentiment and wish, in that both I was pleased with innocence, and, as man of man, in a matter of doubt, preferred to think well, when it was in my power also to think ill?


Section 11

11. And, this being so, hear also just so many conditions and differences of the same Scriptures. For it must be that just so many meet us. For either any one hath written profitably, and is not profitably understood by some one: or both take place unprofitably: or the reader understands profitably, whereas he, who is read, hath written contrariwise. Of these the first I blame not, the last I regard not. For neither can I blame the man, who without any fault of his own hath been ill understood; nor can I be distressed at any one being read, who hath failed to see the truth, when I see that the readers are no way injured. There is then one kind most approved, and as it were most cleansed, when both the things written are well, and are taken in a good sense by the readers. And yet that also is still further divided into two: for it doth not altogether shut out error. For it generally comes to pass, that, when a writer hath held a good sense, the reader also holds a good sense; still other than he, and often better, often worse, yet profitably. But when both we hold the same sense as he whom we read, and that is every way suited to right conduct of life, there is the fullest possible measure of truth, and there is no place opened for error from any other quarter. And this kind is altogether very rare, when what we read is matter of extreme obscurity: nor can it, in my opinion, be clearly known, but only believed. For by what proofs shall I so gather the will of a man who is absent or dead, as that I can swear to it: when, even if he were questioned being present, there might be many things, which, if he were no ill man, he would most carefully hide? But I think that it hath nothing to do towards learning the matter of fact, of what character the writer was; yet is he most fairly believed good, whose writings have benefited the human race and posterity.

Section 12

12. Wherefore I would that they would tell me, in what kind they place the, supposed, error of the Catholic Church. If in the first, it is altogether a grave charge; but it needs not a far-fetched defense: for it is enough to deny that we so understand, as the persons, who inveigh against us, suppose. If in the second, the charge is not less grave; but they shall be refuted by the same saying. If in the third, it is no charge at all. Proceed, and next consider the Scriptures themselves. For what objection do they raise against the books of (what is called) the Old Testament? Is it that they are good, but are understood by us in an ill sense? But they themselves do not receive them. Or is it that they are neither good, nor are well understood? But our defense above is enough to drive them from this position. Or is it this that they will say, although they are understood by you in a good sense, yet they are evil? What is this other than to acquit living adversaries, with whom they have to do, and to accuse men long ago dead, with whom they have no strife? I indeed believe that both those men profitably delivered to memory all things, and that they were great and divine. And that that Law was published, and framed by the command and will of God: and of this, although I have but very slight knowledge of books of that kind, yet I can easily persuade any, if there apply to me a mind fair and no way obstinate: and this I will do, when you shall grant to me your ears and mind well disposed: this however when it shall be in my power: but now is it not enough for me, however that matter may stand, not to have been deceived? 353

Section 13

13. I call to witness, Honoratus, my conscience, and God Who hath His dwelling in pure souls, that I account nothing more prudent, chaste, and religious, than are all those Scriptures, which under the name of the Old Testament the Catholic Church retains. You wonder at this, I am aware. For I cannot hide that we were far otherwise persuaded. But there is indeed nothing more full of rashness, (which at that time, being boys, we had in us,) than in the case of each several book, to desert expounders, who profess that they hold them, and that they can deliver them to their scholars, and to seek their meaning from those, who, I know not from what cause compelling, have proclaimed a most bitter war against the framers and authors of them. For who ever thought that the hidden and dark books of Aristotle were to be expounded to him by one who was the enemy of Aristotle; to speak of these systems of teaching, wherein a reader may perhaps err without sacrilege? Who, in fine, willed to read or learn the geometrical writings of Archimedes, under Epicurus as a master; against which Epicurus used to argue with great obstinacy, so far as I judge, understanding them not at all? What are those Scriptures of the law most plain, against which, as though set forth in public, these men make their attack in vain and to no purpose? And they seem to me to be like that weak woman, whom these same men are wont to mock at, who enraged at the sun being extolled to her, and recommended as an object of worship by a certain female Manichee, being as she was simple-minded and of a religions spirit, leaped up in haste, and often striking with her foot that spot on which the sun through the window cast light, began to cry out, Lo, I trample on the sun and your God: altogether after a foolish and womanish manner; Who denies it? But do not those men seem to you to be such, who, in matters which they understand not, either wherefore, or altogether of what kind they are, although like to matters cast in the way, 1725 yet to such as understand them exact 1726 and divine, rending them with great onset of speech and reproaches, think that they are effecting something, because the unlearned applaud them? Believe me, whatever there is in these Scriptures, it is lofty and divine: there is in them altogether truth, and a system of teaching most suited to refresh and renew minds: and clearly so ordered in measure, as that there is no one but may draw thence, what is enough for himself, if only he approach to draw with devotion and piety, as true religion demands. To prove this to you, needs many reasons and a longer discourse. For first I must so treat with you as that you may not hate the authors themselves; next, so as that you may love them: and this I must treat in any other way, rather than by expounding their meanings and words. For this reason, because in case we hated Virgil, nay, rather in case we loved him not, before understanding him, by the commendation of our forefathers, we should never be satisfied on those questions about him without number, by which grammarians are wont to be disquieted and troubled; nor should we





Section 13

listen willingly to one who solved these at the same time praising him; but should favor that one who by means of these essayed to show that he had erred and doated. But now, whereas many essay to open these, and each (in a different way according to his capacity, we applaud these in preference, through whose exposition the poet is found better, who is believed, even 354by those who do not understand him, not only in nothing to have offended, but also to have sung nothing but what was worthy of praise. So that in some minute question, we are rather angry with the master who fails, and has not what to answer, than think him silent through any fault in Maro. And now, if, in order to defend himself, he should wish to assert a fault in so great an author, hardly will his scholars remain with him, even after they have paid his fee. How great matter were it, that we should shew like good will towards them, of whom it hath been confirmed by so long time of old that the Holy Spirit spake by them? But, forsooth, we youths of the greatest understanding, and marvellous searchers out of reasons, without having at least unrolled these writings, without having sought teachers, without having somewhat chided our own dullness, lastly, without having yielded our heart even in a measure1727 to those who have willed that writings of this kind be so long read, kept, and handled through the whole world; have thought that nothing in them is to be believed, moved by the speech of those who are unfriendly and hostile to them, with whom, under a false promise of reason, we should be compelled to believe and cherish thousands of fables.


Mediocri corde


Section 14

14. But now I will proceed with what I have begun, if I can, and I will so treat with you, as not in the mean while to lay open the Catholic Faith, but, in order that they may search out its great mysteries, to show to those who have a care for their souls, hope of divine fruit, and of the discerning of truth. No one doubts of him who seeks true religion, either that he already believes that there is an immortal soul for that religion to profit, or that he also wishes to find that very thing in this same religion. Therefore all religion is for the sake of the soul; for howsoever the nature of the body may be, it causes no care or anxiety, especially after death, to him, whose soul possesses that whereby it is blessed. For the sake of the soul, therefore, either alone or chiefly, hath true religion, if there be any such, been appointed. But this soul, (I will consider for what reason, and I confess the matter to be most obscure,) yet errs, and is foolish, as we see, until it attain to and perceive wisdom, and perhaps this very [wisdom] is true religion. I am not, am I, sending you to fables? I am not, am I, forcing you to believe rashly? I say that our soul entangled and sunk in error and folly seeks the way of truth, if there be any such. If this be not your case, pardon me, I pray, and share with me your wisdom; but if you recognize in yourself what I say, let us, I entreat, together seek the truth.

Section 15

15. Put the case that we have not as yet heard a teacher of any religion. Lo we have undertaken a new matter and business. We must seek, I suppose, them who profess this matter, if it have any existence. Suppose that we have found different persons holding different opinions, and through their difference of opinions seeking to draw persons each one to himself: but that, in the mean while, there are certain pre-eminent from being much spoken of, and from having possession of nearly all peoples. Whether these hold the truth, is a great question: but ought we not to make full trial of them first, in order that, so long as we err, being as we are men, we may seem to err with the human race itself?

Section 16

16. But it will be said, the truth is with some few; therefore you already know what it is, if you know with whom it is. Said I not a little above, that we were in search of it as unlearned men? But if from the very force of truth you conjecture that few possess it, but know not who they are; what if it is thus, that there are so few who know the truth, as that they hold the multitude by their authority, whence the small number may set itself free, and, as it were, strain itself1728 forth into those secrets? Do we not see how few attain the highest eloquence, whereas through the whole world the schools of rhetoricians are resounding with troops of young men? What, do they, as many as desire to turn out good orators, alarmed at the multitude of the unlearned, think that they are to bestow their labor on the orations of CĂŚcilius, or Erucius, rather than those of Tullius? All aim at these, which are confirmed by authority of our forefathers. Crowds of unlearned persons essay to learn the same, which by the few learned are received as to be learned: yet very few attain, yet fewer practise, the very fewest possible become famous. What, if true religion be some such thing? What if a multitude of unlearned persons attend the Churches, and yet that be no proof, that therefore no one is made perfect by these mysteries? And yet, if they who studied eloquence were as few as the few who are eloquent, our parents would never believe that we ought to be committed to such masters. Whereas, then, we have been called to these studies by a multitude, which is numerous in that portion of it which is made up of the unlearned, so as to become 355enamored of that which few can attain unto; why are we unwilling to be in the same case in religion, which perhaps we despise with great danger to our soul? For if the truest and purest worship of God, although it be found with a few, be yet found with those, with whom a multitude albeit wrapped up in lusts, and removed far from purity of understanding, agrees; (and who can doubt that this may happen?) I ask, if one were to charge us with rashness and folly, that we seek not diligently with them who teach it, that, which we are greatly anxious to discover, what can we answer? [Shall we say,] I was deterred by numbers? Why from the pursuit of liberal arts, which hardly bring any profit to this present life; why from search after money? Why from attaining unto honor; why, in fine, from gaining and keeping good health; lastly, why from the very aim at a happy life; whereas all are engaged in these, few excel; were you deterred by no numbers?



Section 17

17. “But they seemed there to make absurd statements.� On whose assertion? Forsooth on that of enemies, for whatever cause, for whatever reason, for this is not now the question, still enemies. Upon reading, I found it so of myself. Is it so? Without having received any instruction in poetry, you would not dare to essay to read Terentianus Maurus without a master: Asper, Cornutus, Donatus, and others without number are needed, that any poet whatever may be understood, whose strains seem to court even the applause of the theatre; do you in the case of those books, which, however they may be, yet by the confession of well-nigh the whole human race are commonly reported to be sacred and full of divine things, rush upon them without a guide, and dare to deliver an opinion on them without a teacher; and, if there meet you any matters, which seem absurd, do not accuse rather your own dullness, and mind decayed by the corruption of this world, such as is that of all that are foolish, than those [books] which haply cannot be understood by such persons! You should seek some one at once pious and learned, or who by consent of many was said to be such, that you might be both bettered by his advice, and instructed by his learning. Was he not easy to find? He should be searched out with pains. Was there no one in the country in which you lived? What cause could more profitably force to travel? Was he quite hidden, or did he not exist on the continent1729? One should cross the sea. If across the sea he was not found in any place near to us, you should proceed even as far as those lands, in which the things related in those books are said to have taken place. What, Honoratus, have we done of this kind? And yet a religion perhaps the most holy, (for as yet I am speaking as though it were matter of doubt,) the opinion whereof hath by this time taken possession of the whole world, we wretched boys condemned at our own discretion and sentence. What if those things which in those same Scriptures seem to offend some unlearned persons, were so set there for this purpose, that when things were read of such as are abhorrent from the feeling of ordinary men, not to say of wise and holy men, we might with much more earnestness seek the hidden meaning. Perceive you not how the Catamite of the Bucolics, 1730 for whom the rough shepherd gushed forth into tears, men essay to interpret, and affirm that the boy Alexis, on whom Plato also is said to have composed a love strain, hath some great meaning or other, but escapes the judgment of the unlearned; whereas without any sacrilege a poet however rich may seem to have published wanton songs?




Virg. Ecl. ii.

Section 18

18. But in truth was there either decree of any law, or power of gainsayers, or vile character of persons consecrated, or shameful report, or newness of institution, or hidden profession, to recall us from, and forbid us, the search? There is nothing of these. All laws divine and human allow us to seek the Catholic Faith; but to hold and exercise it is allowed us at any rate by human law, even if so long as we are in error there be a doubt concerning divine law; no enemy alarms our weakness, (although truth and the salvation of the soul, in case being diligently sought it be not found where it may with most safety, ought to be sought at any risk); the degrees of all ranks and powers most devotedly minister to this divine worship; the name of religion is most honorable and most famous. What, I pray, hinders to search out and discuss with pious and careful enquiry, whether there be here that which it must needs be few know and guard in entire purity, although the goodwill and affection of all nations conspire in its favor?

Section 19

19. The case standing thus, suppose, as I said, that we are now for the first time seeking unto what religion we shall deliver up our souls, for it to cleanse and renew them; without doubt we must begin with the Catholic Church. For by this time there are more Christians, than if the Jews and idolaters be added together. But of these same Christians, whereas there are several heresies, and all wish to appear Catholics, and call all others besides themselves 356heretics, there is one Church, as all allow: if you consider the whole world, more full filled in number; but, as they who know affirm, more pure also in truth than all the rest. But the question of truth is another; but, what is enough for such as are in search, there is one Catholic, to which different heresies give different names whereas they themselves are called each by names of their own, which they dare not deny. From which may be understood, by judgment of umpires who are hindered by no favor, to which is to be assigned the name Catholic, which all covet. But, that no one may suppose that it is to be made matter of over garrulous or unnecessary discussion, this is at any rate one, in which human laws themselves also are in a certain way Christian. I do not wish any prejudgment to be formed from this fact, but I account it a most favorable commencement for enquiry. For we are not to fear lest the true worship of God; resting on no strength of its own, seem to need to be supported by them whom it ought to support: but, at any rate, it is perfect happiness, if the truth may be there found, where it is most safe both to search for it and to hold it: in case it cannot, then at length, at whatever risk, we must go and search some other where.

Section 20

20. Having then laid down these principles, which, as I think, are so just that I ought to win this cause before you, let who will be my adversary, I will set forth to you, as I am able, what way I followed, when I was searching after true religion in that spirit, in which I have now set forth that it ought to be sought. For upon leaving you and crossing the sea, now delaying and hesitating, what I ought to hold, what to let go; which delay rose upon me every day the more, from the time that I was a hearer of that man, 1731 whose coming was promised to us, as you know, as if from heaven, to explain all things which moved us, and found him, with the exception of a certain eloquence, such as the rest; being now settled in Italy, I reasoned and deliberated greatly with myself, not whether I should continue in that sect, into which I was sorry that I had fallen, but in what way I was to find the truth, my sighs through love of which are known to no one better than to yourself. Often it seemed to me that it could not be found, and huge waves of my thoughts would roll toward deciding in favor of the Academics. Often again, with what power I had, looking into the human soul, with so much life, with so much intelligence, with so much clearness, I thought that the truth lay not hid, save that in it the way of search lay hid, and that this same way must be taken from some divine authority. It remained to enquire what was that authority, where in so great dissensions each promised that he would deliver it. Thus there met me a wood, out of which there was no way, which I was very loath to be involved in: and amid these things, without any rest, my mind was agitated through desire of finding the truth. However, I continued to unsew myself more and more from those whom now I had proposed to leave. But there remained nothing else, in so great dangers, than with words full of tears and sorrow to entreat the Divine Providence to help me. And this I was content to do: and now certain disputations of the Bishop of Milan1732 had almost moved me to desire, not without some hope, to enquire into many things concerning the Old Testament itself, which, as you know, we used to view as accursed, having been ill commended to us. And I had decided to be a Catechumen in the Church, unto which I had been delivered by my parents, until such time as I should either find what I wished, or should persuade myself that it needed not to be sought. Therefore had there been one who could teach me, he would find me at a very critical moment most fervently disposed and very apt to learn. If you see that you too have been long affected in this way, therefore, and with a like care for thy soul, and if now you seem to yourself to have been tossed to and fro enough, and wish to put an end to labors of this kind, follow the pathway of Catholic teaching, which hath flowed down from Christ Himself through the Apostles even unto us, and will hereafter flow down to posterity.


i.e. Faustus. v. Conf. b. v. c. vi. ยง 10


i.e. S. Ambrose. v. Conf. b. v. c. xiii. xiv. ยง 23, 24, 25

Section 21

21. This, you will say, is ridiculous, whereas all profess to hold and teach this: all heretics make this profession, I cannot deny it; but so, as that they promise to those whom they entice, that they will give them a reason concerning matters the most obscure: and on this account chiefly charge the Catholic [Church], that they who come to her are enjoined to believe; but they make it their boast, that they impose not a yoke of believing, but open a fount of teaching. You answer, What could be said, that should pertain more to their praise? It is not so. For this they do, without being endued with any strength, but in order to conciliate to themselves a crowd by the name of reason: on the promise of which the human soul 357naturally is pleased, and, without considering its own strength and state of health, by seeking the food of the sound, which is ill entrusted save to such as are in health, rushes upon the poisons of them who deceive. For true religion, unless those things be believed, which each one after, if he shall conduct himself well and shall be worthy, attains unto and understands, and altogether without a certain weighty power of authority, can in no way be rightly entered upon.

Section 22

22. But perhaps you seek to have some reason given you on this very point, such as may persuade you, that you ought not to be taught by reason before faith. Which may easily be done, if only you make yourself a fair hearer. But, in order that it may be done suitably, I wish you as it were to answer my questions; and, first, to tell me, why you, think that one ought not to believe. Because, you say, credulity, from which men are called credulous, in itself, seems to me to be a certain fault: otherwise we should not use to cast this as a term of reproach. For if a suspicious man is in fault, in that he suspects things not ascertained; how much more a credulous man, who herein differs from a suspicious man, that the one allows some doubt, the other none, in matters which he knows not. In the mean while I accept this opinion and distinction. But you know that we are not wont to call a person even curious without some reproach; but we call him studious even with praise. Wherefore observe, if you please, what seems to you to be the difference between these two. This surely, you answer, that, although both be led by great desire to know, yet the curious man seeks after things that no way pertain to him, but the studious man, on the contrary, seeks after what pertain to him. But, because we deny not that a man’s wife and children, and their health, pertain unto him; if any one, being settled abroad, were to be careful to ask all comers, how his wife and children are and fare, he is surely led by great desire to know, and yet we call not this man studious, who both exceedingly wishes to know, and that (in) matters which very greatly pertain unto him. Wherefore you now understand that the definition of a studious person falters in this point, that every studious person wishes to know what pertain to himself, and yet not every one, who makes this his business, is to be called studious; but he who with all earnestness seeks those things which pertain unto the liberal culture and adornment of the mind. Yet we rightly call him one who studies, 1733 especially if we add what he studies to hear. For we may call him even studious of his own (family) if he love only his own (family), we do not however, without some addition, think him worthy of the common name of the studious. But one who was desirous to hear how his family were I should not call studious of hearing, unless taking pleasure in the good report, he should wish to hear it again and again: but one who studied, even if only once. Now return to the curious person, and tell me, if any one should be willing to listen to some tale, such as would no way profit him, that is, of matters that pertain not to him: and that not in an offensive way and frequently, but very seldom and with great moderation, either at a feast, or in some company, or meeting of any kind; would he seem to you curious? I think not: but at any rate he would certainly seem to have a care for that matter, to which he was willing to listen. Wherefore the definition of a curious person also must be corrected by the same rule as that of a studious person: Consider therefore whether the former statements also do not need to be corrected. For why should not both he, who at some time suspects something, be unworthy the name of



Section 22

a suspicious person; and he who at some time believes something, of a credulous person? Thus as there is very great difference between one who studies any matter, and the absolutely studious; and again between him who hath a care and the curious; so is there between him who believes and the credulous.


Section 23

23. But you will say, consider now whether we ought to believe in religion. For, although we grant that it is one thing to believe, another to be credulous, it does not follow that it is no fault to believe in matters of religion. For what if it be a fault both to believe and to be credulous, as (it is) both to be drunk and to be a drunkard? Now he who thinks this certain, it seems to me can have no friend; for, if it is base to believe any thing, either he acts basely who believes a friend, or in nothing believing a friend I see not how he can call either him or himself a friend. Here perhaps you may say, I grant that we must believe something at some time; now make plain, how in the case of religion it be not base to believe before one knows. I will do so, if I can. Wherefore I ask of you, which you esteem the graver fault, to deliver religion to one unworthy, or to believe what is said by them who deliver it. If you understand not whom I call unworthy, I call him, who approaches with feigned breast. You grant, as I suppose, that it is more blameable to unfold unto such an one whatever holy 358secrets there are, than to believe religious men affirming any thing on the matter of religion itself. For it would be unbecoming you to make any other answer. Wherefore now suppose him present, who is about to deliver to you a religion, in what way shall you assure him, that you approach with a true mind, and that, so far as this matter is concerned, there is in you no fraud or feigning? You will say, your own good conscience that you are no way feigning, asserting this with words as strong as you can, but yet with words. For you cannot lay open man to man the hiding places of your soul, so that you may be thoroughly known. But if he shall say, Lo, I believe you, but is it not more fair that you also believe me, when, if I hold any truth, you are about to receive, I about to give, a benefit? what will you answer, save that you must believe.

Section 24

24. But you say, Were it not better that you should give me a reason, that, wherever, that shall lead me, I may follow without any rashness? Perhaps it were: but, it being so great a matter, that you are by reason to come to the knowledge of God, do you think that all are qualified to understand the reasons, by which the human soul is led to know God, or many, or few? Few I think, you say. Do you believe that you are in the number of these? It is not for me, you say, to answer this. Therefore you think it is for him to believe you in this also: and this indeed he does: only do you remember, that he hath already twice believed you saying things uncertain; that you are unwilling to believe him even once admonishing you in a religious spirit. But suppose that it is so, and that you approach with a true mind to receive religion, and that you are one of few men in such sense as to be able to take in the reasons by which the Divine Power 1734 is brought into certain knowledge; what? do you think that other men, who are not endued with so serene a disposition, are to be denied religion? or do you think that they are to be led gradually by certain steps unto those highest inner recesses? You see clearly which is the more religious. For you cannot think that any one whatever in a case where he desires so great a thing, ought by any means to be abandoned or rejected. But do you not think, that, unless he do first believe that he shall attain unto that which he purposes; and do yield his mind as a suppliant; and, submitting to certain great and necessary precepts, do by a certain course of life thoroughly cleanse it, that he will not otherwise attain the things that are purely true? Certainly you think so. What, then, is the case of those, (of whom I already believe you to be one,) who are able most easily to receive divine secrets by sure reason, will it, I ask, be to them any hindrance at all, if they so come as they who at the first believe? I think not. But yet, you say, what need to delay them? Because although they will in no way harm themselves by what is done, yet they will harm the rest by the precedent. For there is hardly one who has a just notion of his own power: but he who has a less notion must be roused; he who has a greater notion must be checked: that neither the one be broken by despair, nor the other carried headlong by rashness. And this is easily done, if even they, who are able to fly, (that they be not alluring the occasion of any into danger,) are forced for a short time to walk where the rest also may walk with safety. This is the forethought of true religion: this the command of God: this what hath been handed down from our blessed forefathers, this what hath been preserved even unto us: to wish to distrust and overthrow this, is nothing else than to seek a sacrilegious way unto true religion. And whoso do this, not even if what they wish be granted to them are they able to arrive at the point at which they aim. For whatever kind of excellent genius they have, unless God be present, they creep on the ground. But He is then present, if they, who are aiming at God, have a regard for their fellow men. Than which step there can be found nothing more sure Heavenward. I for my part cannot resist this reasoning, for how can I


Vis divina

Section 24

say that we are to believe nothing without certain knowledge? whereas both there can be no friendship at all, unless there be believed something which cannot be proved by some reason, and often stewards, who are slaves, are trusted by their masters without any fault on their part. But in religion what can there be more unfair than that the ministers 1735 of God believe us when we promise an unfeigned mind, and we are unwilling to believe them when they enjoin us any thing. Lastly, what way can there be more healthful, than for a man to become fitted to receive the truth by believing those things, which have been appointed by God to serve for the previous culture and treatment of the mind? Or, if you be already altogether fitted, rather to make some little circuit where it is safest to tread, than both to cause yourself danger, and to be a precedent for rashness to other men?




Section 25

25. Wherefore it now remains to consider, in what manner we ought not to follow these, who profess that they will lead by reason. For how we may without fault follow those who bid us to believe, hath been already said: but unto these who make promises of reason certain think that they come, not only without blame, but also with some praise: but it is not so. For there are two (classes of) persons, praiseworthy in religion; one of those who have already found, whom also we must needs judge most blessed; another of those who are seeking with all earnestness and in the right way. The first, therefore, are already in very possession, the other on the way, yet on that way whereby they are most sure to arrive.1736 There are three other kinds of men altogether to be disapproved of and detested. One is of those who hold an opinion,1737 that is, of those who think that they know what they know not. Another is of those who are indeed aware that they know not, but do not so seek as to be able to find. A third is of those who neither think that they know, nor wish to seek. There are also three things, as it were bordering upon one another, in the minds of men well worth distinguishing; understanding, belief, opinion. And, if these be considered by themselves, the first is always without fault, the second sometimes with fault, the third never without fault. For the under359


cf. Retract.b. i. ch. xiv. 2. “I also said, ‘For there are two &c.’ In these words of mine if ‘those who have

already found’ whom we have said to be ‘now in possession,’ are in such sort understood to be ‘most happy,’ as that they are so not in this life, but in that we hope for, and aim at by the path of faith, the meaning is free from error: for they are to be judged to have found that which is to be sought, who are now there, whither we by seeking and believing, that is by keeping the path of faith, do seek to come. But if they are thought to be or to have been such in this life that seems to me not to be true: not that in this life no truth at all can be found that can be discerned by the mind, not believed on faith; but because it is but so much, what there is of it, as not to make men ‘most blessed.’ For neither is that which the Apostle says, We see now through a glass in a riddleand now I know in part(1 Cor. xiii. 12), incapable of being discerned by the mind. It is discerned, clearly, but does not yet make us most blessed. For that makes men most blessed which he saith, but then face to face, and, then I shall know even as I am known. They that have found this, they are to be said to stand in possession of bliss, to which leads that path of faith which we keep, and whither we desire to arrive at by believing. But who are those most blessed, who are already in that possession whither this path leads, is a great question. And for the holy Angels indeed, there is no question but they be there. But of holy men already departed, whether so much may yet be said of them as that they stand already in that possession, is fairly made a question. For they are already freed from the corruptible body that weigheth down the soul (Wisd. 9.), but they still wait for the redemption of their body (Rom. 8.), and their flesh resteth in hope, nor is yet glorified in the incorruption that is to come. (Ps. 16.) But whether for all that they are none the less qualified to contemplate the truth with the eyes of the heart, as it is said, Face to face, there is not space to discuss here.” 1737


Section 25 standing of matters great, and honorable, and even divine, is most blessed.1738 But the understanding of things unnecessary is no injury; but perhaps the learning was an injury, in that it took up the time of necessary matters. But on the matters themselves that are injurious, it is not the understanding, but the doing or suffering them, that is wretched. For not, in case any understand how an enemy may be slain without danger to himself, is he guilty from the mere understanding, not the wish; and, if the wish be absent, what can be called more innocent? But belief is then worthy of blame, when either any thing is believed of God which is unworthy of Him, or any thing is over easily believed of man. But in all other matters if any believe aught, provided he understand that he knows it not, there is no fault. For I believe that very wicked conspirators were formerly put to death by the virtue of Cicero; but this I not only know not, but also I know for certain that I can by no means know. But opinion is on two accounts very base; in that both he who hath persuaded himself that he already knows, cannot learn; provided only it may be learnt; and in itself rashness is a sign of a mind not well disposed. For even if any suppose that he know what I said of Cicero, (although it be no hindrance to him from learning, in that the matter itself is incapable of being grasped by any knowledge;) yet, (in that he understands not that there is a great difference, whether any thing be grasped by sure reason of mind, which we call understanding, or whether for practical purposes it be entrusted to common fame or writing, for posterity to believe it,) he assuredly errs, and no error is without what is base. What then we understand, we owe to reason; what we believe, to authority; what we have an opinion on, to error.1739 But every one who understands also believes, and also every one who has an opinion believes; not every one who believes understands, no one who has an opinion understands. Therefore if these three things be referred unto the five kinds of men, which we mentioned a little above; that is, two kinds to be approved, which we set first, and three that remain faulty; we find that the first kind, that of the blessed, believe the truth itself; but the second


cf. Retract.b. i. ch. 14. 2. “Also what I said, ‘for to know great and noble and even divine things,’ we

should refer to the same blessedness. For in this life whatsoever there be of it known amounts not to perfect bliss, because that part of it which remains unknown is far more without all comparison.” 1739

cf. Retract.b. i. ch. xiv. 3. “And what I said ‘that there is a great difference whether anything be grasped

by sure reason of mind, which we call knowing, or whether for practical purposes it be entrusted to common fame or writing, for posterity to believe it,’ and presently after, ‘what therefore we know, we owe to reason; what we believe to authority;’ is not to be so taken as that in conversation we should fear to say we ‘know’ what we believe of suitable witnesses. For when we speak strictly we are said to know that only which by the mind’s own firm reason we comprehend. But when we speak in words more suited to common use, as also Divine Scripture speaketh, we should not hesitate to say we know both what we have perceived with our bodily senses, and what we believe of trustworthy witnesses, whilst however between one and the other we are aware what difference exists.”


Section 25

kind, that of such as are earnest after, and lovers of, the truth, believe authority. In which 360kinds, of the two, the act of belief is praiseworthy. But in the first of the faulty kinds, that is, of those who have an opinion that they know what they know not, there is an altogether faulty credulity. The other two kinds that are to be disapproved believe nothing, both they who seek the truth despairing of finding it, and they who seek it not at all. And this only in matters which pertain unto any system of teaching. For in the other business of life, I am utterly ignorant by what means a man can believe nothing. Although in the case of those also they who say that in practical matters they follow probabilities, would seem rather to be unable to know than unable to believe. For who believes not what he approves? 1740 or how is what they follow probable, if it be not approved? Wherefore there may be two kinds of such as oppose the truth: one of those who assail knowledge alone, not faith; the other of those who condemn both: and yet again, I am ignorant whether these can be found in matters of human life. These things have been said, in order that we might understand, that, in retaining faith, even of those things which as yet we comprehend not, we are set free from the rashness of such as have an opinion. For they, who say that we are to believe nothing but what we know, are on their guard against that one name “opining,� 1741 which must be confessed to be base and very wretched, but, if they consider carefully that there is a very great difference, whether one think that he knows, or moved by some authority believe that which he understands that he knows not, surely he will escape the charge of error, and inhumanity, and pride.






Section 26

26. For I ask, if what is not known must not be believed, in what way may children do service to their parents, and love with mutual affection those whom they believe not to be their parents? For it cannot, by any means, be known by reason. But the authority of the mother comes in, that it be believed of the father; but of the mother it is usually not the mother that is believed, but midwives, nurses, servants. For she, from whom a son may be stolen and another put in his place, may she not being deceived deceive? Yet we believe, and believe without any doubt, what we confess we cannot know. For who but must see, that unless it be so, filial affection, the most sacred bond of the human race, is violated by extreme pride of wickedness? For what madman even would think him to be blamed who discharged the duties that were due to those whom he believed to be his parents, although they were not so? Who, on the other hand, would not judge him to deserve banishment, who failed to love those who were perhaps his true parents, through fear lest he should love pretended. Many things may be alleged, whereby to show that nothing at all of human society remains 1742 safe, if we shall determine to believe nothing, which we cannot grasp by full apprehension.


Tenere perceptum

Section 27

27. But now hear, what I trust I shall by this time more easily persuade you of. In a matter of religion, that is, of the worship and knowledge of God, they are less to be followed, who forbid us to believe, making most ready professions of reason. For no one doubts that all men are either fools or wise.1743 But now I call wise, not clever and gifted men, but those, in whom there is, so much as may be in man, the knowledge of man himself and of God most surely received, and a life and manners suitable to that knowledge; but all others, whatever be their skill or want of skill, whatever their manner of life, whether to be approved or disapproved, I would account in the number of fools. And, this being so, who of moderate understanding but will clearly see, that it is more useful and more healthful for fools to obey the precepts of the wise, than to live by their own judgment? For everything that is done, if it be not rightly done, is a sin, nor can that any how be rightly done which proceeds not from right reason. Further, right reason is very virtue. But to whom of men is virtue at hand, save to the mind of the wise? Therefore the wise man alone sins not. Therefore every fool sins, save in those actions, in which he hath obeyed a wise man: for all such actions proceed from right reason, and, so to say, the fool is not to be accounted master of his own action, 1744 he being, as it were, the instrument and that which ministers to the wise man. Wherefore, if it be better for all men not to sin than to sin; assuredly all fools would live better, if they could be slaves of the wise. And, if no one doubts that this is better in lesser matters, as in 361buying and selling, and cultivating the ground, in taking a wife, in undertaking and bringing1745 up children, lastly, in the management of household property, much more in religion. For both human matters are more easy to distinguish between, than divine; and in all matters of greater sacredness and excellence, the greater obedience and service we owe them, the more wicked and the more dangerous is it to sin. Therefore you see henceforth 1746 that


cf. Retract.b. i. ch. 14. 4. “Also what I said, ‘No one doubts that all men are either fools or wise,’ may

seem contrary to what is read in my third book On Free Will,(c. 24.) ‘as though human nature admitted of no middle state between folly and wisdom.’ But that is said when the question was about the first man, whether he was made wise, or foolish, or neither: since we could in no wise call him foolish, who was made without fault, since folly is a great fault, and how we could call him wise, who was capable of being led astray, did not appear. So for shortness I thought well to say, ‘as though human nature admitted of no middle state between folly and wisdom.’ I also had infants in view, whom though we confess to bear with them original sin, yet we cannot properly call either wise or foolish, not as yet using free will either well or ill. But now I said that men were either wise or foolish, meaning those to be understood who are already using reason, by which they are distinguished from cattle, so as to be men; as we say that ‘all men wish to be happy.’ For can we in so true and manifest a statement be in fear of being supposed to mean infants, who have not yet the power of so wishing?” 1744



Or “begetting,”—suscipiendis


Ben. ed.—a modo. Mss. admodum

Section 27

nothing else is left us, so long as we are fools, if our heart be set on an excellent and religious life, but to seek wise men, by obeying whom we may be enabled both to lessen the great feeling of the rule of folly, whilst it is in us, and at the last to escape from it.


Section 28

28. Here again arises a very difficult question. For in what way shall we fools be able to find a wise man, whereas this name, although hardly any one dare openly, yet most men lay claim to indirectly: so disagreeing one with another in the very matters, in the knowledge of which wisdom consists, as that it must needs be that either none of them, or but some certain one be wise? But when the fool enquires, who is that wise man? I do not at all see, in what way he can be distinguished and perceived. For by no signs whatever can one recognize any thing, unless he shall have known that thing, whereof these are signs. But the fool is ignorant of wisdom. For not, as, in the case of gold and silver and other things of that kind, it is allowed both to know them when you see them and not to have them, thus may wisdom be seen by the mind’s eye of him who hath it not. For whatever things we come into contact with by bodily sense, are presented to us from without; and therefore we may perceive by the eyes what belong to others, when we ourselves possess not any of them or of that kind. But what is perceived by the understanding is within in the mind, and to have it is nothing else than to see. But the fool is void of wisdom, therefore he knows not wisdom. For he could not see it with the eyes: but he cannot see it and not have it, nor have it and be a fool. Therefore he knoweth it not, and, so long as he knoweth it not, he cannot recognize it in another place. No one, so long as he is a fool, can by most sure knowledge find out a wise man, by obeying whom he may be set free from so great evil of folly.

Section 29

29. Therefore this so vast difficulty, since our enquiry is about religion, God alone can remedy: nor indeed, unless we believe both that He is, and that He helps men’s minds, ought we even to enquire after true religion itself. For what I ask do we with so great endeavor desire to search out? What do we wish to attain unto? Whither do we long to arrive? Is it at that which we believe not exists or pertains to us? Nothing is more perverse than such a state of mind. Then, when you would not dare to ask of me a kindness, or at any rate would be shameless in daring, come you to demand the discovery of religion, when you think that God neither exists, nor, if He exist, hath any care for us? What, if it be so great a matter, as that it cannot be found out, unless it be sought carefully and with all our might? What, if the very extreme difficulty of discovery be an exercise for the mind of the inquirer, in order to receive what shall be discovered? For what more pleasant and familiar to our eyes than this light? And yet men are unable after long darkness to hear and endure it. What more suited to the body exhausted by sickness than meat and drink? And yet we see that persons who are recovering are restrained and checked, lest they dare to commit themselves to the fullness of persons in health, and so bring to pass by means of their very food their return to that disease which used to reject it. I speak of persons who are recovering. What, the very sick, do we not urge them to take something? Wherein assuredly they would not with so great discomfort obey us, if they believed not that they would recover from that disease. When then will you give yourself up to a search very full of pains and labor? When will you have the heart to impose upon yourself so great care and trouble as the matter deserves, when you believe not in the existence of that which you are in search of? Rightly therefore hath it been ordained by the majesty of the Catholic system of teaching, that they who approach unto religion be before all things persuaded to have faith.

Section 30

30. Wherefore that heretic, (inasmuch as our discourse is of those who wish to be called Christians,) I ask you, what reason he alleges to me? What is there whereby for him to call me back from believing, as if from rashness? If he bid me believe nothing; I believe not that this very true religion hath any existence in human affairs; and what I believe not to exist, I seek not. But He, as I suppose, will show it to me seeking it: for so it it written, “He that seeketh shall find.�1747 Therefore I should not come unto him, who forbids me to believe, unless I believed something. Is there any greater madness, than that I should displease him by faith alone, which is founded on no knowledge, which faith alone led me to him?


Matt. vii. 8

Section 31

31. What, that all heretics exhort us to believe in Christ? Can they possibly be more opposed to themselves? And in this matter they are to be pressed in a twofold way. In the first place we must ask of them, where is the reason which they used to promise, where the reproof of rashness, where the assumption of knowledge? For, if it be disgraceful to believe any without reason, what do you wait for, what are you busied about, that I believe some one without reason, in order that I may the more easily be led by your reason? What, will your reason raise any firm superstructure on the foundation of rashness? I speak after their manner, whom we displease by believing. For I not only judge it most healthful to believe before reason, when you are not qualified to receive reason, and by the very act of faith thoroughly to cultivate the mind to receive the seeds of truth, but altogether a thing of such sort as that without it health cannot return to sick souls. And in that this seems to them matter for mockery and full of rashness, surely they are shameless in making it their business that we believe in Christ. Next, I confess that I have already believed in Christ, and have convinced myself that what He hath said is true, although it be supported by no reason; is this, heretic, what you will teach me in the first place? Suffer me to consider a little with myself, (since I have not seen Christ Himself, as He willed to appear unto men, Who is said to have been seen by them, even by common eyes,) who they are that I have believed concerning Him, in order that I may approach you already furnished beforehand with such a faith. I see that there are none that I have believed, save the confirmed opinion and widely extended report of peoples and nations: and that the mysteries of the Church Catholic have in all times and places had possession of these peoples. Why therefore shall I not of these, in preference to others, inquire with all care, what Christ commanded, by whose authority I have been moved already to believe that Christ hath commanded something that is profitable? Are you likely to be a better expounder to me of what He said, Whose past or present existence I should not believe, if by you I were to be recommended to believe thus? This therefore I have believed, as I said, trusting to report strengthened by numbers, agreement, antiquity. But you, who are both so few, and so turbulent, and so new, no one doubts that ye bring forward nothing worthy of authority. What then is that so great madness? Believe them, that you are to believe in Christ, and learn from us what He said. Why, I pray you? For were they to fail and to be unable to teach me any thing with much greater ease could I persuade my self, that I am not to believe in Christ, than that I am to learn any thing concerning Him, save from those through whom I had believed in Him. O vast confidence, or rather absurdity! I teach you what Christ, in Whom you believe, commanded. What, in case I believed not in Him? You could not, could you, teach me any thing concerning Him? But, says he, it behoves you to believe. You do not mean, do you, that I am (to believe) you when you commend Him to my faith? No, saith he, for we lead by reason them who believe in Him. Why then should I believe in Him? Because report hath been grounded. Whether is it through you, or through others? Through others, saith he. Shall I then believe them, in 362

Section 31

order that you may teach me? Perhaps I ought to do so, were it not that they gave me this chief charge, that I should not approach you at all; for they say that you have deadly doctrines. You will answer, They lie. How then shall I believe them concerning Christ, Whom they have not seen, (and) not believe them concerning you, whom they are unwilling to see? Believe the Scriptures, saith he. But every writing,1748 if it be brought forward new and unheard of, or be commended by few, with no reason to confirm it, it is not it that is believed, but they who bring it forward. Wherefore, for those Scriptures, if you are they who bring them forward, you so few and unknown, I am not pleased to believe them. At the same time also you are acting contrary to your promise, in enforcing faith rather than giving a reason. You will recall me again to numbers and (common) report. Curb, I pray you, your obstinacy, and that untamed lust, I know not what, of spreading your name: and advise me rather to seek the chief men of this multitude, and to seek with all care and pains rather to learn something concerning these writings from these men, but for whose existence, I should not know that I had to learn at all. But do you return into your dens, and lay not any snares under the name of truth, which you endeavor to take from those, to whom you yourself grant authority.




Section 32

32. But if they say that we are not even to believe in Christ, unless undoubted reason shall be given us, they are not Christians. For this is what certain pagans say against us, foolishly indeed, yet not contrary to, or inconsistent with, themselves. But who can endure 363that these profess to belong to Christ, who contend that they are to believe nothing, unless they shall bring forward to fools most open reason concerning God? But we see that He Himself, so far as that history, which they themselves believe, teaches, willed nothing before, or more strongly than, that He should be believed in: whereas they, with whom He had to do, were not yet qualified to receive the secret things of God. For, for what other purpose are so great and so many miracles, He Himself also saying, that they are done for no other cause, than that He may be believed in? He used to lead fools by faith, you lead by reason. He used to cry out, that He should be believed in, ye cry out against it. He used to praise such as believe in Him, ye blame them. But unless either He should change water into wine,1749 to omit other (miracles), if men would follow Him, doing no such, but (only) teaching; either we must make no account of that saying, “Believe ye God, believe also Me;�1750 or we must charge him with rashness, who willed not that He should come into his house, believing that the disease of his servant would depart at His mere command.1751 Therefore He bringing to us a medicine such as should heal our utterly corrupt manners, by miracles procured to Himself authority, 1752 by authority obtained Himself belief, by belief drew together a multitude, by a multitude possessed antiquity, by antiquity strengthened religion: so that not only the utterly foolish novelty of heretics dealing deceitfully, but also the inveterate error of the nations opposing with violence, should be unable on any side to rend it asunder.


John ii. 7–9


John xiv. 1


Matt. viii. 8, 9



Section 33

33. Wherefore, although I am not able to teach, yet I cease not to advise, that, (whereas many wish to appear wise, and it is no easy matter to discern whether they be fools,) with all earnestness, and with all prayers, and lastly with groans, or even, if so it may be, with tears, you entreat of God to set you free from the evil of error; if your heart be set on a happy life. And this will take place the more easily, if you obey with a willing mind His commands, which He hath willed should be confirmed by so great authority of the Catholic Church. For whereas the wise man is so joined to God in mind, as that there is nothing set between to separate; for God is Truth; and no one is by any means wise, unless his mind come into contact with the Truth; we cannot deny that between the folly of man, and the most pure Truth of God, the wisdom of man is set, as something in the middle. For the wise man, so far as it is given unto him, imitates God; but for a man who is a fool, there is nothing nearer to him, than a man who is wise, for him to imitate with profit: and since, as has been said, it is not easy to understand this one by reason, it behoved that certain miracles be brought near to the very eyes, which fools use with much greater readiness than the mind, that, men being moved by authority, their life and habits might first be cleansed, and they thus rendered capable of receiving reason. Whereas, therefore, it needed both that man be imitated, and that our hope be not set in man, what could be done on the part of God more full of kindness and grace, than that the very pure, eternal, unchangeable Wisdom of God, unto Whom it behoves us to cleave, should deign to take upon Him (the nature of) man? That not only He might do what should invite us to follow God, but also might suffer what used to deter us from following God. For, whereas no one can attain unto the most sure and chief good, unless he shall fully and perfectly love it; which will by no means take place, so long as the evils of the body and of fortune are dreaded; He by being born after a miraculous manner and working caused Himself to be loved; and by dying and rising again shut out fear. And, further, in all other matters, which it were long to go through, He shewed Himself such, as that we might perceive unto what the clemency of God could be reached forth, and unto what the weakness of man be lifted up.

Section 34

34. This is, believe me, a most wholesome authority, this a lifting up first of our mind from dwelling on the earth, this a turning from the love of this world unto the True God. It is authority alone which moves fools to hasten unto wisdom. So long as we cannot understand pure (truths), it is indeed wretched to be deceived by authority, but surely more wretched not to be moved. For, if the Providence of God preside not over human affairs, we have no need to busy ourselves about religion. But if both the outward form of all things, which we must believe assuredly flows from some fountain of truest beauty, and some, I know not what, inward conscience exhorts, as it were, in public and in private, all the better order of minds to seek God, and to serve God; we must not give up all hope that the same God Himself hath appointed some authority, whereon, resting as on a sure step, we may be lifted up unto God. But this, setting aside reason, which (as we have often said) it is very 364hard for fools to understand pure, moves us two ways; in part by miracles, in part by multitude of followers: no one of these is necessary to the wise man; who denies it? But this is now the business in hand, that we may be able to be wise, that is, to cleave to the truth; which the filthy soul is utterly unable to do: but the filth of the soul, to say shortly what I mean, is the love of any things whatsoever save God and the soul: from which filth the more any one is cleansed, the more easily he sees the truth. Therefore to wish to see the truth, in order to purge your soul, when as it is purged for the very purpose that you may see, is surely perverse and preposterous. Therefore to man unable to see the truth, authority is at hand, in order that he may be made fitted for it, and may allow himself to be cleansed; and, as I said a little above, no one doubts that this prevails, in part by miracles, in part by multitude. But I call that a miracle, whatever appears that is difficult or unusual above the hope or power of them who wonder. Of which kind there is nothing more suited for the people, and in general for foolish men, than what is brought near to the senses. But these, again, are divided into two kinds; for there are certain, which cause only wonder, but certain others procure also great favor and good-will. For, if one were to see a man flying, inasmuch as that matter brings no advantage to the spectator, beside the spectacle itself, he only wonders. But if any affected with grievous and hopeless disease were to recover straightway, upon being bidden, his affection for him who heals, will go beyond even his wonder at his healing. Such were done at that time at which God in True Man appeared unto men, as much as was enough. The sick were healed, the lepers were cleansed; walking was restored to the lame, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf. The men of that time saw water turned into wine, five thousand filled with five loaves, seas passed on foot, dead rising again: thus certain provided for the good of the body by more open benefit, certain again for the good of the soul by more hidden sign, and all for the good of men by their witness to Majesty: thus, at that time, was the divine authority moving towards Itself the wandering souls of mortal men. Why, say you, do not those things take place now? because they would not move, unless they were wonderful,

Section 34 and, if they were usual, they would not be wonderful. 1753 For the interchanges of day and night, and the settled order of things in Heaven, the revolution of years divided into four parts, the fall and return of leaves to trees, the boundless power of seeds, the beauty of light, the varieties of colors, sounds, tastes, and scents, let there be some one who shall see and perceive them for the first time, and yet such an one as we may converse with; he is stupified and overwhelmed with miracles: but we contemn all these, not because they are easy to understand, (for what more obscure than the causes of these?) but surely because they constantly meet our senses. Therefore they were done at a very suitable time, in order that, by these a multitude of believers having been gathered together and spread abroad, authority might be turned with effect upon habits.


cf. Retract.b. i. c. 14. 5. “In another place, where I had made mention of the miracles, which our Lord

Jesus did, while He was here in the Flesh, I added, saying, ‘Why, say you, do not those things take place now?’ and I answered, ‘Because they would not move unless they were wonderful, and if they were usual they would not be wonderful.’ But this I said because not so great miracles, nor all take place now, not because there are none wrought even now.”


Section 35

35. But any habits whatever have so great power to hold possession of men’s minds, that even what in them are evil, which usually takes place through excess of lusts, we can sooner disapprove of and hate, than desert or change. Do you think that little hath been done for the benefit of man, that not some few very learned men maintain by argument, but also an unlearned crowd of males and females in so many and different nations both believe and set forth, that we are to worship as God nothing of earth, nothing of fire, nothing, lastly, which comes into contact with the senses of the body, but that we are to seek to approach Him by the understanding only? that abstinence is extended even unto the slenderest food of bread and water, and fastings not only for the day,1754 but also continued through several days together; that chastity is carried even unto the contempt of marriage and family; that patience even unto the setting light by crosses and flames; that liberality even unto the distribution of estates unto the poor; that, lastly, the contempt of this whole world even unto the desire of death? Few do these things, yet fewer do them well and wisely: but whole nations approve, nations hear, nations favor, nations, lastly, love. Nations accuse their own weakness that they cannot do these things, and that not without the mind being carried forward unto God, nor without certain sparks of virtue. This hath been brought to pass by the Divine Providence, through the prophecies of the Prophets, through the manhood and teaching of Christ, through the journeys of the Apostles, through the insults, crosses, blood, 365of the Martyrs, through the praiseworthy life of the Saints, and, in all these, according as times were seasonable, through miracles worthy of so great matters and virtues. When therefore we see so great help of God, so great progress and fruit, shall we doubt to hide ourselves in the bosom of that Church, which even unto the confession of the human race from [the] apostolic chair1755 through successions of Bishops,1756 (heretics in vain lurking around her and being condemned, partly by the judgment of the very people, partly by the weight of councils, partly also by the majesty of miracles,) hath held the summit of authority. To be unwilling to grant to her the first place, 1757 is either surely the height of impiety, or is headlong arrogance. For, if there be no sure way unto wisdom and health of souls, unless where faith prepare them for reason, what else is it to be ungrateful for the Divine help and aid, than to wish to resist authority furnished with so great labor? 1758 And if every system of teaching, however mean and easy, requires, in order to its being received, a teacher or 1759 master, what more full of rash pride, than, in the case of books of divine mysteries, both 1754

Quotidiana, i.e. each day till evening.


He clearly means the Apostolic office and presidency in general. For illustration, see St. Cyprian on the

Unity of the Church, §. 3 and 4. vid. Oxf. Tr. p. 134, and note. 1756

The plural “successiones.” Compare Con. Faustus, b. xiii. § 13, xxxii. § 19, xxxiii. § 6, 9.




al. strength.



Section 35

to be unwilling to learn from such as interpret them, and to wish to condemn them unlearned?


Section 36

36. Wherefore, if either our reasoning or our discourse hath in any way moved you, and if you have, as I believe, a true care for yourself, I would you would listen to me, and with pious faith, lively hope, and simple charity, entrust yourself to good teachers of Catholic Christianity; and cease not to pray unto God Himself, by Whose goodness alone we were created, and suffer punishment by His justice, and are set free by His mercy. Thus there will be wanting to you neither precepts and treatises of most learned and truly Christian men, nor books, nor calm thoughts themselves, whereby you may easily find what you are seeking. For do you abandon utterly those wordy and wretched men, (for what other milder name can I use?) who, whilst they seek to excess whence is evil, find nothing but evil. And on this question they often rouse their hearers to inquire; but after that they have been roused, they teach them such lessons as that it were preferable even to sleep for ever, than than thus to be awake. For in place of lethargic they make them frantic, between which diseases, both being usually fatal, there is still this difference, that lethargic persons die without doing violence to others; but the frantic person many who are sound, and specially they who wish to help him, have reason to fear. For neither is God the author of evil, nor hath it ever repented Him that He hath done aught, nor is He troubled by storm of any passion of soul, nor is a small part of earth His Kingdom: He neither approves nor commands any sins or wickedness, He never lies. For these and such like used to move us, when they used them to make great and threatening assaults, and charged this as being the system of teaching of the Old Testament, which is most false. Thus then I allow that they do right in censuring these. What then have I learnt? What think you, save that, when these are censured, the Catholic system of teaching is not censured. Thus what I had learnt among them that is true, I hold, what is false that I had thought I reject. But the Catholic Church hath taught me many other things also, which those men of bloodless bodies, but coarse minds, cannot aspire unto; that is to say, that God is not corporeal, that no part of Him can be perceived by corporeal eyes, that nothing of His Substance or Nature can any way suffer violence or change, or is compounded or formed; and if you grant me these, (for we may not think otherwise concerning God,) all their devices are overthrown. But how it is, that neither God begot or created evil, nor yet is there, or hath there been ever, any nature and substance, which God either begot not or created not, and yet that He setteth us free from evil, is proved by reasons so necessary, that it cannot at all be matter of doubt; especially to you and such as you; that is, if to a good disposition there be added piety and a certain peace of mind, without which nothing at all can be understood concerning so great matters. And here there is no rumor concerning smoke, and I know not what Persian vain fable, unto which it is enough to lend an ear, and soul not subtile, but absolutely childish. Far altogether, far otherwise is the truth, than as the Manichees dote. But since this discourse of ours hath gone much further than I thought, here let us end the book; in which I wish you to remember, that I have not yet begun to refute the Manichees, and that I have not yet assailed that non-

Section 36

sense; and that neither have I unfolded any thing great concerning the Catholic Church itself, but that I have only wished to root out of you, if I could, a false notion concerning true Christians that was maliciously or ignorantly suggested to us, and to arouse you to learn certain great and divine things. Wherefore let this volume be as it is; but when your soul 1760 366becomes more calmed, I shall perhaps be more ready in what remains.


cf. Retr.b. i. ch. 14. 6. “But in the end of the book I say, ‘But since this discourse of ours, &c.’ This I did

not say in such sort as though I had not hitherto written anything against the Manichæans, or had not committed to writing anything at all about Catholic doctrine, when so many volumes before published were witnesses that I had not been silent on either subject; but in this book written to him I had not yet begun to refute the Manichæans, and had not yet attacked those follies, nor had I as yet opened anything great concerning the Catholic Church itself; because I hoped that after that beginning made, I should write to that same person what I had not yet here written.”


On the Creed.

On the Creed:


A Sermon to the Catechumens. [De Symbolo Ad Catechumenos.] Translated by the Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford

Section 1 1. Receive, my children, the Rule of Faith, which is called the Symbol (or Creed 1761). And when ye have received it, write it in your heart, and be daily saying it to yourselves; before ye sleep, before ye go forth, arm you with your Creed. The Creed no man writes so as it may be able to be read: but for rehearsal of it, lest haply forgetfulness obliterate what care hath delivered, let your memory be your record-roll: 1762 what ye are about to hear, that are ye to believe; and what ye shall have believed, that are about to give back with your tongue. For the Apostle says, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.�1763 For this is the Creed which ye are to rehearse and to repeat in answer. These words which ye have heard are in the Divine Scriptures scattered up and down: but thence gathered and reduced into one, that the memory of slow persons might not be distressed; that every person may be able to say, able to hold, what he believes. For have ye now merely heard that God is Almighty? But ye begin to have him for your father, when ye have been born by the church as your Mother.






Rom. x. 10

Section 2

2. Of this, then, ye have now received, have meditated, and having meditated have held, that ye should say, “I believe in God the Father Almighty.” God is Almighty, and yet, though Almighty, He cannot die, cannot be deceived, cannot lie; and, as the Apostle says, “cannot deny Himself.”1764 How many things that He cannot do, and yet is Almighty! yea therefore is Almighty, because He cannot do these things. For if He could die, He were not Almighty; if to lie, if to be deceived, if to do unjustly, were possible for Him, He were not Almighty: because if this were in Him, He should not be worthy to be Almighty. To our Almighty Father, it is quite impossible to sin. He does whatsoever He will: that is Omnipotence. He does whatsoever He rightly will, whatsoever He justly will: but whatsoever is evil to do, He wills not. There is no resisting one who is Almighty, that He should not do what He will. It was He Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, invisible and visible. Invisible such as are in heaven, thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, archangels, angels: all, if we shall live aright, our fellow-citizens. He made in heaven the things visible; the sun, the moon, the stars. With its terrestrial animals He adorned the earth, filled the air with things that fly, the land with them that walk and creep, the sea with them that swim: all He filled with their own proper creatures. He made also man after His own image and likeness, in the mind: for in that is the image of God. This is the reason why the mind cannot be comprehended even by itself, because in it is the image of God. To this end were we made, that over the other creatures we should bear rule: but through sin in the first man we fell, and are all come into an inheritance of death. We were brought low, became mortal, were filled with fears, with errors: this by desert of sin: with which desert and guilt is every man born.1765 This is the reason why, as ye have seen to-day, as ye know, even little children undergo exsufflation, exorcism; to drive away from them the power of the devil their enemy, which deceived man that it might possess mankind. It is not then the creature of God that in infants undergoes exorcism or exsufflation: but he under whom are all that are born with 1766 370sin; for he is the first of sinners. And for this cause by reason of one who fell and brought all into death, there was sent One without sin, Who should bring unto life, by delivering them from sin, all that believe on Him.


2 Tim. ii. 13


Gen. i-iii



Section 3

3. For this reason we believe also in His Son, that is to say, God the Father Almighty’s, “His Only Son, our Lord.” When thou hearest of the Only Son of God, acknowledge Him God. For it could not be that God’s Only Son should not be God. What He is, the same did He beget, though He is not that Person Whom He begot. If He be truly Son, He is that which the Father is; if He be not that which the Father is, He is not truly Son. Observe mortal and earthly creatures: what each is, that it engendereth. Man besets not an ox, sheep besets not dog, nor dog sheep. Whatever it be that begetteth, that which it is, it begetteth. Hold ye therefore boldly, firmly, faithfully, that the Begotten of God the Father is what Himself is, Almighty. These mortal creatures engender by corruption. Does God so beget? He that is begotten mortal generates that which himself is; the Immortal generates what He is: corruptible begets corruptible, Incorruptible begets Incorruptible: the corruptible begets corruptibly, Incorruptible, Incorruptibly: yea, so begetteth what Itself is, that One begets One, and therefore Only. Ye know, that when I pronounced to you the Creed, so I said, and so ye are bounden to believe; that we “believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ His Only Son.” Here too, when thou believest that He is the Only, believe Him Almighty: for it is not to be thought that God the Father does what He will, and God the Son does not what He will. One Will of Father and Son, because one Nature. For it is impossible for the will of the Son to be any whit parted from the Father’s will. God and God; both one God: Almighty and Almighty; both One Almighty.

Section 4

4. We do not bring in two Gods as some do, who say, “God the Father and God the Son, but greater God the Father and lesser God the Son.” They both are what? Two Gods? Thou blushest to speak it, blush to believe it. Lord God the Father, thou sayest, and Lord God the Son: and the Son Himself saith, “No man can serve two Lords.” 1767 In His family shall we be in such wise, that, like as in a great house where there is the father of a family and he hath a son, so we should say, the greater Lord, the lesser Lord? Shrink from such a thought. If ye make to yourselves such like in your heart, ye set up idols in the “one soul.” Utterly repel it. First believe, then understand. Now to whom God gives that when he has believed he soon understands; that is God’s gift, not human frailness. Still, if ye do not yet understand, believe: One God the Father, God Christ the Son of God. Both are what? One God. And how are both said to be One God? How? Dost thou marvel? In the Acts of the Apostles, “There was,” 1768 it says, “in the believers, one soul and one heart.” There were many souls, faith had made them one. So many thousands of souls were there; they loved each other, and many are one: they loved God in the fire of charity, and from being many they are come to the oneness of beauty. If all those many souls the dearness of love 1769 made one soul, what must be the dearness of love in God, where is no diversity, but entire equality! If on earth and among men there could be so great charity as of so many souls to make one soul, where Father from Son, Son from Father, hath been ever inseparable, could They both be other than One God? Only, those souls might be called both many souls and one soul; but God, in Whom is ineffable and highest conjunction, may be called One God, not two Gods.


Matt. vi. 24


Acts iv. 32



Section 5

5. The Father doeth what He will, and what He will doeth the Son. Do not imagine an Almighty Father and a not Almighty Son: it is error, blot it out within you, let it not cleave in your memory, let it not be drunk into your faith, and if haply any of you shall have drunk it in, let him vomit it up. Almighty is the Father, Almighty the Son. If Almighty begat not Almighty, He begat not very Son. For what say we, brethren, if the Father being greater begat a Son less than He? What said I, begat? Man engenders, being greater, a son being less: it is true: but that is because the one grows old, the other grows up, and by very growing attains to the form of his father. The Son of God, if He groweth not because neither can God wax old, was begotten perfect. And being begotten perfect, if He groweth not, and remained not less, He is equal. For that ye may know Almighty begotten of Almighty, hear Him Who is Truth. That which of Itself Truth saith, is true. What saith Truth? What saith the Son, 1770 Who is Truth? “Whatsoever things the Father doeth, these also the Son likewise doeth.” The Son is Almighty, in doing all things that He willeth to do. For if the Father doeth some things which the Son doeth not, the Son said falsely, “Whatsoever things the Father doeth, 371these also the Son doeth likewise.” But because the Son spake truly, believe it: “Whatsoever things the Father doeth, these also the Son doeth likewise,” and ye have believed in the Son that He is Almighty. Which word although ye said not in the Creed, yet this is it that ye expressed when ye believed in the Only Son, Himself God. Hath the Father aught that the Son hath not? This Arian heretic blasphemers say, not I. But what say I? If the Father hath aught 1771 that the Son hath not, the Son lieth in saying, “All things that the Father hath, are Mine.” Many and innumerable are the testimonies by which it is proved that the Son is Very Son of God the Father, and the Father God hath His Very-begotten Son God, and Father and Son is One God.


John v. 19


John xvi. 15

Section 6

6. But this Only Son of God, the Father Almighty, let us see what He did for us, what He suffered for us. “Born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary.” He, so great God, equal with the Father, born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, born lowly, that thereby He might heal the proud. Man exalted himself and fell; God humbled Himself and raised him up. Christ’s lowliness, what is it? God hath stretched out an hand to man laid low. We fell, He descended: we lay low, He stooped. Let us lay hold and rise, that we fall not into punishment. So then His stooping to us is this, “Born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary.” His very Nativity too as man, it is lowly, and it is lofty. Whence lowly? That as man He was born of men. Whence lofty? That He was born of a virgin. A virgin conceived, a virgin bore, and after the birth was a virgin still.

Section 7

7. What next? “Suffered under Pontius Pilate.” He was in office as governor and was the judge, this same Pontius Pilate, what time as Christ suffered. In the name of the judge there is a mark of the times, when He suffered under Pontius Pilate: when He suffered, “was crucified, dead, and buried.” Who? what? for whom? Who? God’s Only Son, our Lord. What? Crucified, dead, and buried. For whom? for ungodly and sinners. Great condescension, great grace! “What shall I render unto the Lord for all that He hath bestowed on me?”1772


Ps. cxvi. 12

Section 8

8. He was begotten before all times, before all worlds. “Begotten before.” Before what, He in Whom is no before? Do not in the least imagine any time before that Nativity of Christ whereby He was begotten of the Father; of that Nativity I am speaking by which He is Son of God Almighty, His Only Son our Lord; of that am I first speaking. Do not imagine in this Nativity a beginning of time; do not imagine any space of eternity in which the Father was and the Son was not. Since when the Father was, since then the Son. And what is that “since,” where is no beginning? Therefore ever Father without beginning, ever Son without beginning. And how, thou wilt say, was He begotten, if He have no beginning? Of eternal, coeternal. At no time was the Father, and the Son not, and yet Son of Father was begotten. Whence is any manner of similitude to be had? We are among things of earth, we are in the visible creature. Let the earth give me a similitude: it gives none. Let the element of the waters give me some similitude: it hath not whereof to give. Some animal give me a similitude: neither can this do it. An animal indeed engenders, both what engenders and what is engendered: but first is the father, and then is born the son. Let us find the coeval and imagine it coeternal. If we shall be able to find a father coeval with his son, and son coeval with his father, let us believe God the Father coeval with His Son, and God the Son coeternal with His Father. On earth we can find some coeval, we cannot find any coeternal. Let us stretch 1773 the coeval and imagine it coeternal. Some one, it may be, will put you on the stretch, 1774 by saying, “When is it possible for a father to be found coeval with his son, or son coeval with his father? That the father may beget he goes before in age; that the son may be begotten, he comes after in age: but this father coeval with son, or son with father, how can it be?” Imagine to yourselves fire as father, its shining as son; see, we have found the coevals. From the instant that the fire begins to be, that instant it begets the shining: neither fire before shining, nor shining after fire. And if we ask, which begets which? the fire the shining, or the shining the fire? Immediately ye conceive by natural sense, by the innate wit of your minds ye all cry out, The fire the shining, not the shining the fire. Lo, here you have a father beginning; lo, a son at the same time, neither going before nor coming after. Lo, here then is a father beginning, lo, a son at the same time beginning. If I have shown you a father beginning, and a son at the same time beginning, believe the Father not beginning, and with Him the Son not beginning either; the one eternal, the other coeternal. If ye get on with your learning, 372ye understand: take pains to get on. The being born, ye have; but also the growing, ye ought to have; because no man begins with being perfect. As for the Son of God, indeed, He could be born perfect, because He was begotten without time, coeternal with the Father, long before all things, not in age, but in eternity. He then was begotten coeternal, of which generation the Prophet said, “His generation who shall declare?” 1775 begotten of the Father without 1773





Is. liii. 8. [See R.V.]

Section 8

time, He was born of the Virgin in the fullness of times. This nativity had times going before it. In opportunity of time, when He would, when He knew, then was He born: for He was not born without His will. None of us is born because he will, and none of us dies when he will: He, when He would, was born; when He would, He died: how He would, He was born of a Virgin: how He would, He died; on the cross. Whatever He would, He did: because He was in such wise Man that, unseen,1776 He was God; God assuming, Man assumed;1777 One Christ, God and Man.


Ut lateret Deus


Susceptor susceptus


Section 9

9. Of His cross what shall I speak, what say? This extremest kind of death He chose, that not any kind of death might make His Martyrs afraid. The doctrine He shewed in His life as Man, the example of patience He demonstrated in His Cross. There, you have the work, that He was crucified; example of the work, the Cross; reward of the work, Resurrection. He shewed us in the Cross what we ought to endure, He shewed in the Resurrection what we have to hope. Just like a consummate task-master in the matches of the arena, He said, Do, and bear; do the work and receive the prize; strive in the match and thou shall be crowned. What is the work? Obedience. What the prize? Resurrection without death. Why did I add, “without death?” Because “Lazarus rose, and died: Christ rose again, “dieth no more, death will no longer have dominion over Him.”1778


Rom. vi. 9

Section 10

10. Scripture saith, “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord.”1779 When we read what great trials Job endured, it makes one shudder, it makes one shrink, it makes one quake. And what did he receive? The double of what he had lost. Let not a man therefore with an eye to temporal rewards be willing to have patience, and say to himself, “Let me endure loss, God will give me back sons twice as many; Job received double of all, and begat as many sons as he had buried.” Then is this not the double? Yes, precisely the double, because the former sons still lived. Let none say, “Let me bear evils, and God will repay me as He repaid Job:” that it be now no longer patience but avarice. For if it was not patience which that Saint had, nor a brave enduring of all that came upon him; the testimony which the Lord gave, whence should he have it? “Hast thou observed,” saith the Lord, “my servant Job? For there is not like him any on the earth, a man without fault,1780 true worshipper of God.” What a testimony, my brethren, did this holy man deserve of the Lord! And yet him a bad woman sought by her persuasion to deceive, she too representing that serpent, who, like as in Paradise he deceived the man whom God first made, so likewise here by suggesting blasphemy thought to be able to deceive a man who pleased God. What things he suffered, my brethren! Who can have so much to suffer in his estate, his house, his sons, his flesh, yea in his very wife who was left to be his tempter! But even her who was left, the devil would have taken away long ago, but that he kept her to be his helper: because by Eve he had mastered the first man, therefore had he kept an Eve. What things, then, he suffered! He lost all that he had; his house fell; would that were all! it crushed his sons also. And, to see that patience had great place in him, hear what he answered; “The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away; as it pleased the Lord, so hath it been done; 1781 blessed be the name of the Lord.” 1782 He hath taken what He gave, is He lost Who gave? He hath taken what He gave. As if he should say, He hath taken away all, let Him take all, send me away naked, and let me keep Him. What shall I lack if I have God? or what is the good of all else to me, if I have not God? Then it came to his flesh, he was stricken with a wound from head to foot; he was one running sore, one mass of crawling worms: and showed himself immovable in his God, stood fixed. The woman wanted, devil’s helper as she was not husband’s comforter, to put him up to blaspheme God. “How long,” said she, “dost thou suffer” so and so; “speak some word against the Lord,1783 and die.”1784 So then, because he had been brought low, he was to be exalted. And this the Lord did, in order to show it to men; as for


James v. 11




Lat. from LXX.


Job i. 21


Lat. from LXX.


Job ii. 9

Section 10

His servant, He kept greater things for him in heaven. So then Job who was brought low, 373He exalted; the devil who was lifted up, He brought low: for “He putteth down one and setteth up another.” 1785 But let not any man, my beloved brethren, when he suffers any such-like tribulations, look for a reward here: for instance, if he suffer any losses, let him not peradventure say, “The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away; as it pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord;” only with the mind to receive twice as much again. Let patience praise God, not avarice. If what thou hast lost thou seekest to receive back twofold, and therefore praisest God, it is of covetousness thou praisest, not of love. Do not imagine this to be the example of that holy man; thou deceivest thyself. When Job was enduring all, he was not hoping for to have twice as much again. Both in his first confession when he bore up under his losses, and bore out to the grave the dead bodies of his sons, and in the second when he was now suffering torments of sores in his flesh, ye may observe what I am saying. Of his former confession the words run thus: “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.”1786 He might have said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; He that took away can once more give; can bring back more than He took.” He said not this, but, “As it pleased the Lord,” said he, “so is it done:” because it pleases Him, let it please me: let not that which hath pleased the good Lord misplease His submissive servant; what pleased the Physician, not misplease the sick man. Hear his other confession: “Thou hast spoken,” said he to his wife, “like one of the foolish women. If we have received good at the hand of the Lord, why shall we not bear evil?” 1787 He did not add, what, if he had said it, would have been true. “The Lord is able both to bring back my flesh into its former condition, and that which He hath taken away from us, to make manifold more:” lest he should seem to have endured in hope of this. This was not what he said, not what he hoped. But, that we might be taught, did the Lord that for him, not hoping for it, by which we should be taught, that God was with him: because if He had not also restored to him those things, there was the crown indeed, but hidden, and we could not see it. And therefore what says the divine Scripture in exhorting to patience and hope of things future, not reward of things present? “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord.” Why is it, “the patience of Job,” and not, Ye have seen the end of Job himself? Thou wouldest open thy mouth for the “twice as much;” wouldest say, “Thanks be to God; let me bear up: I receive twice as much again, like Job.” “Patience of Job, end of the Lord.” The patience of Job we know, and the end of the Lord we know.1788 What end of the Lord? “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”


Ps. lxxv. 7


Job i. xxi


Job ii. 10


Ps. xxii. 1


Section 10

They are the words of the Lord hanging on the cross. He did as it were leave Him for present felicity, not leave Him for eternal immortality. In this is “the end of the Lord.” The Jews hold Him, the Jews insult, the Jews bind Him, crown Him with thorns, dishonor Him with spitting, scourge Him, overwhelm Him with revilings, hang Him upon the tree, pierce Him with a spear, last of all bury Him. He was as it were left: but by whom? By those insulting ones. Therefore thou shall but to this end have patience, that thou mayest rise again and not die, that is, never die, even as Christ. For so we read, “Christ rising from the dead henceforth dieth not.”1789


Rom. vi. 9. The Article of the descent into Hell appears not to have been included in this Creed.


Section 11

11. “He ascended into heaven:” believe. “He sitteth at the right hand of the Father:” believe. By sitting, understand dwelling: as [in Latin] we say of any person, “In that country he dwelt (sedit) three years.” The Scripture also has that expression, that such an one dwelt (sedisse) in a city for such a time.1790 Not meaning that he sat and never rose up? On this account the dwellings of men are called seats (sedes).1791 Where people are seated (in this sense), are they always sitting? Is there no rising, no walking, no lying down? And yet they are called seats (sedes). In this way, then, believe an inhabiting of Christ on the right hand of God the Father: He is there. And let not your heart say to you, What is He doing? Do not want to seek what is not permitted to find: He is there; it suffices you. He is blessed, and from blessedness which is called the right hand of the Father, of very blessedness the name is, right hand of the Father. For if we shall take it carnally, then because He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, the Father will be on His left hand. Is it consistent with piety so to put Them together, the Son on the right, the Father on the left? There it is all right-hand, because no misery is there.


1 Kings ii. 38. LXX.


Cf. Serm. 214, n. 8. Ben.

Section 12

12. “Thence He shall come to judge the quick and dead.” The quick, who shall be alive 374and remain; the dead, who shall have gone before. It may also be understood thus: The living, the just; the dead, the unjust. For He judges both, rendering unto each his own. To the just He will say in the judgment, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.” 1792 For this prepare yourselves, for these things hope, for this live, and so live, for this believe, for this be baptized, that it may be said to you, “Come ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” To them on the left hand, what? “Go into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”1793 Thus will they be judged by Christ, the quick and the dead. We have spoken of Christ’s first nativity, which is without time; spoken of the other in the fullness of time, Christ’s nativity of the Virgin; spoken of the passion of Christ; spoken of the coming of Christ to judgment. The whole is spoken, that was to be spoken of Christ, God’s Only Son, our Lord. But not yet is the Trinity perfect.


Matt. xxv. 34


Matt. xxv. 41

Section 13

13. It follows in the Creed, “And in the Holy Ghost.” This Trinity, one God, one nature, one substance, one power; highest equality, no division, no diversity, perpetual dearness of love.1794 Would ye know the Holy Ghost, that He is God? Be baptized, and ye will be His temple. The Apostle says, “Know ye not that your bodies are the temple within you of the Holy Ghost, Whom ye have of God?”1795 A temple is for God: thus also Solomon, king and prophet, was bidden to build a temple for God. If he had built a temple for the sun or moon or some star or some angel, would not God condemn him? Because therefore he built a temple for God he showed that he worshipped God. And of what did he build? Of wood and stone, because God deigned to make unto Himself by His servant an house on earth, where He might be asked, where He might be had in mind. Of which blessed Stephen says, “Solomon built Him an house; howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made by hand.”1796 If then our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost, what manner of God is it that built a temple for the Holy Ghost? But it was God. For if our bodies be a temple of the Holy Ghost, the same built this temple for the Holy Ghost, that built our bodies. Listen to the Apostle saying, “God hath tempered the body, giving unto that which lacked the greater honor;”1797 when he was speaking of the different members that there should be no schisms in the body. God created our body. The grass, God created; our body Who created? How do we prove that the grass is God’s creating? He that clothes, the same creates. Read the Gospel, “If then the grass of the fields,” saith it, “which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, God so clotheth.”1798 He, then, creates Who clothes. And the Apostle: “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but a bare grain, as perchance of wheat, or of some other corn; but God giveth it a body as He would, and to each one of seeds its proper body.”1799 If then it be God that builds our bodies, God that builds our members, and our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost, doubt not that the Holy Ghost is God. And do not add as it were a third God; because Father and Son and Holy Ghost is One God. So believe ye.




1 Cor. vi. 19


Acts vii. 47, 48


1 Cor. xii. 24


Matt. vi. 30


1 Cor. xv. 36–38

Section 14

14. It follows after commendation of the Trinity, “The Holy Church.” God is pointed out, and His temple. “For the temple of God is holy,” says the Apostle, “which (temple) are ye.”1800 This same is the holy Church, the one Church, the true Church, the catholic Church, fighting against all heresies: fight, it can: be fought down, it cannot. As for heresies, they went all out of it, like as unprofitable branches pruned from the vine: but itself abideth in its root, in its Vine, in its charity. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”1801


1 Cor. iii. 17


Matt. xvi. 18. [See R.V.]

Section 15

15. “Forgiveness of sins.” Ye have [this article of] the Creed perfectly in you when ye receive Baptism. Let none say, “I have done this or that sin: perchance that is not forgiven me.” What hast thou done? How great a sin hast thou done? Name any heinous thing thou hast committed, heavy, horrible, which thou shudderest even to think of: have done what thou wilt: hast thou killed Christ? There is not than that deed any worse, because also than Christ there is nothing better. What a dreadful thing is it to kill Christ! Yet the Jews killed Him, and many afterwards believed on Him and drank His blood: they are forgiven the sin which they committed. When ye have been baptized, hold fast a good life in the commandments of God, that ye may guard your Baptism even unto the end. I do not tell you that ye will live here without sin; but they are venial, without which this life is not. For the sake of all sins was Baptism provided; for the sake of light sins, without which we cannot be, was 1802 375prayer provided. What hath the Prayer? “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our 1803 debtors.” Once for all we have washing in Baptism, every day we have washing in prayer. Only, do not commit those things for which ye must needs be separated from Christ’s body: which be far from you! For those whom ye have seen doing penance, 1804 have committed heinous things, either adulteries or some enormous crimes: for these they do penance. Because if theirs had been light sins, to blot out these daily prayer would suffice.




Matt. vi. 12. [See R.V.]


“Agere pœnitentiam.”

Section 16

16. In three ways then are sins remitted in the Church; by Baptism, by prayer, by the greater humility of penance; yet God doth not remit sins but to the baptized. The very sins which He remits first, He remits not but to the baptized. When? when they are baptized. The sins which are after remitted upon prayer, upon penance, to whom He remits, it is to the baptized that He remitteth. For how can they say, “Our Father,” who are not yet born sons? The Catechumens, so long as they be such, have upon them all their sins. If Catechumens, how much more Pagans? how much more heretics? But to heretics we do not change their baptism. Why? because they have baptism in the same way as a deserter has the soldier’s mark:1805 just so these also have Baptism; they have it, but to be condemned thereby, not crowned. And yet if the deserter himself, being amended, begin to do duty as a soldier, does any man dare to change his mark?



Section 17

17. We believe also “the resurrection of the flesh,” which went before in Christ: that the body too may have hope of that which went before in its Head. The Head of the Church, Christ: the Church, the body of Christ. Our Head is risen, ascended into heaven: where the Head, there also the members. In what way the resurrection of the flesh? Lest any should chance to think it like as Lazarus’s resurrection, that thou mayest know it to be not so, it is added, “Into life everlasting.” God regenerate you! God preserve and keep you! God bring you safe unto Himself, Who is the Life Everlasting. Amen.

Moral Treatises of St. Augustin


On Continence. [De Continentia.]

Translated by Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford. ST. Augustinspeaks of his work On Continencein Ep.231, Ad Darium Comitem. [See vol. 1. of this edition, p. 584.—P.S.] Possidius, Ind. c. 10, mentions it, and it is cited in the Collectaneaof Bede or Florus, and by Eugypius. Erasmus is therefore wrong in ascribing it to Hugo on the ground of the style, which is not unlike that of the earlier discourses. It is evidently a discourse, and probably for that reason unnoticed in the Retractations. The Manichæan heresy is impugned after the manner of his early works.—(Abridged from Benedictine ed.vol. vi.)

Section 1

1. Itis difficult to treat of the virtue of the soul, which is called Continence, in a manner fully suitable and worthy; but He, whose great gift this virtue is, will help our littleness under the burden of so great a weight. For He, who bestows it upon His faithful ones when they are continent, Himself gives discourse of it to His ministers when they speak. Lastly, of so great a matter purposing to speak what Himself shall grant, in the first place we say and prove that Continence is the gift of God. 1806 We have it written in the Book of Wisdom, that no one can be continent, unless God grant it. But the Lord, concerning that greater and more glorious Continence itself, whereby there is continence from the marriage bond, says, 1807 “Not all can receive this saying, but they to whom it is given.” And since marriage chastity also itself cannot be guarded, unless there be Continence from unlawful intercourse, the Apostle declared both to be the gift of God, when He spake of both lives, that is, both that of marriage and that without marriage, saying, “I would that all men were so as myself; but each hath his own gift from God; one in this manner, another in that manner.”1808


Wis. viii. 21


Matt. xix. 11


1 Cor. vii. 7

Section 2

2. And lest it should seem that necessary Continence was to be hoped for from the Lord only in respect of the lust of the lower parts of the flesh, it is also sung in the Psalm; “Set, O Lord, a watch to my mouth, and a door of Continence around my lips.” 1809 But in this witness of the divine speech, if we understand “mouth” as we ought to understand it, we perceive how great a gift of God Continence there set is. Forsooth it is little to contain the mouth of the body, lest any thing burst forth thence, which is not for the better, through the sound of the voice. For there is, within, the mouth of the heart, where he, who spake these words, and wrote them for us to speak, desired of the Lord that the watch and door of Continence should be set for him. For many things we say not with the mouth of the body, and cry aloud with the heart: but there goes forth from the mouth of the body no word of any thing, whereof there is silence in the heart. Therefore what flows not forth 380thence, sounds not abroad: but what flows forth thence, if it be evil, although it move not the tongue, defiles the soul. Therefore Continence must be set there, where the conscience even of them who are silent speaks. For it is brought to pass by means of the door of Continence, that there go not forth thence that, which, even when the lips of the flesh are closed, pollutes the life of him that hath the thought.


Ps. cxli. 3

Section 3

3. Lastly, to show more plainly the inner mouth, which by these words he meant, after having said, “Set a watch, O Lord, to my mouth, and a door of Continence around my lips,” he added straightway, “Cause not my heart to fall aside into evil words.” 1810 The falling aside of the heart, what is it but the consent? For he hath not yet spoken, whosoever in his heart hath with no falling aside of the heart consented unto suggestions that meet him of each several thing that is seen. But, if he hath consented, he hath already spoken in his heart, although he hath not uttered sound by the mouth; although he hath not done with hand or any part whatever of the body, yet hath he done what in his thought he hath already determined that he is to do: guilty by the divine laws, although hidden to human senses; the word having been spoken in the heart, no deed having been committed through the body. But in no case would he have moved the limb without, in a deed, the beginning of which deed had not gone before within in word. For it is no lie that is written, that “the beginning of every work is a word.”1811 Forsooth men do many things with mouth closed, tongue quiet, voice bridled; but yet they do nothing by work of the body, which they have not before spoken in the heart. And through this since there are many sins in inward sayings which are not in outward deeds, whereas there are none in outward deeds, which do not go before in inward sayings, there will be purity of innocence from both, if the door of Continence be set around the inward lips.


Ps. cxli. 4. [See R.V.]


Ecclus. xxxvii. 16. LXX.

Section 4

4. For which cause our Lord Himself also with His own mouth saith, “Cleanse what are within, and what are without will be clean.” 1812 And, also, in another place, when He was refuting the foolish speeches of the Jews, in that they spake evil against His disciples, eating with unwashen hands; “Not what entereth into the mouth,” said He, “defileth the man: but what cometh forth out of the mouth, that defileth the man.” 1813 Which sentence, if the whole of it be taken of the mouth of the body, is absurd. For neither doth vomit defile him, whom food defileth not. Forsooth food entereth into the mouth, vomit proceedeth forth out of the mouth. But without doubt the former words relate to the mouth of the flesh, where He says, “Not what entereth into the mouth defileth the man,” but the latter words to the mouth of the heart, where He saith, “But what proceedeth forth out of the mouth, this defileth the man.”1814 Lastly, when the Apostle Peter sought of Him an explanation of this as of a parable, He answered, “Are ye also yet without understanding? understand ye not, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?” Here surely we perceive the mouth of the flesh, into which the food enters. But in what He next adds, in order that we might recognize the mouth of the heart, the slowness of our heart would not follow, did not the Truth deign to walk even with the slow. For He saith, “But what things go forth from the mouth, go out of the heart;” as though He should say, When you hear it said “from the mouth,” understand “from the heart.” I say both, but I set forth one by the other. The inner man hath an inner mouth, and this the inner ear discerns: what things go forth from this mouth, go out of the heart, and they defile the man. Then having left the term mouth, which may be understood also of the body, He shows more openly what He is saying. “For from the heart go out,” saith He, “evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are what defile the man.” There is surely no one of those evils, which can be committed also by the members of the body, but that the evil thoughts go before and defile the man, although something hinder the sinful and wicked deeds of the body from following. For if, because power is not given, the hand is free from the murder of a man, is the heart of the murderer forsooth therefore clean from sin? Or if she be chaste, whom one unchaste wishes to commit adultery with, hath he on that account failed to commit adultery with her in his heart? Or if the harlot be not found in the brothel, doth he, who seeks her, on that account fail to commit fornication in his heart? Or if time and place be wanting to one who wishes to hurt his neighbor by a lie, hath he on that account failed already to speak false witness with his inner mouth? Or if any one fearing men, dare not utter aloud blasphemy with tongue of flesh, is he on this account guiltless of this crime, who saith in his heart, “There is no God.” 1815 Thus all the 1812

Matt. xxiii. 26


Matt. xv. 11


Matt. xv. 17–20


Ps. xiv. 1

Section 4

other evil deeds of men, which no motion of the body performs, of which no sense of the body is conscious, have their own secret criminals, who are also polluted by consent alone in thought, that is, by evil words of the inner mouth. Into which he (the Psalmist) fearing lest his heart should fall aside, asks of the Lord that the door of Continence be set around the lips of this mouth, to contain the heart, that it fall not aside into evil words: but contain it, by not suffering thought to proceed to consent: for thus, according to the precept of the Apostle, sin reigneth not in our mortal body, nor do we yield our members as weapons of unrighteousness unto sin. 1816 From fulfilling which precept they are surely far removed, who on this account turn not their members to sin, because no power is allowed them; and if this be present, straightway by the motions of their members, as of weapons, they show, who reigneth in them within. Wherefore so far as is in themselves, they yield their members weapons of unrighteousness unto sin; because this is what they wish, which for this reason they yield not, because they are not able. 381


Rom. vi. 12, 13


Section 5

5. And on this account that, which, the parts that beget being bridled by modesty, is most chiefly and properly to be called Continence, is violated by no transgression, if the higher Continence, concerning which we have been some time speaking, be preserved in the heart. For this reason the Lord, after He had said, “For from the heart go forth evil thoughts,” then went on to add what it is that belongs to evil thoughts, “murders, adulteries,” and the rest. He spake not of all; but, having named certain by way of instance, He taught that we are to understand others also. Of which there is no one that can take place, unless an evil thought have gone before, whereby that is prepared within which is done without, and going forth out of the mouth of the heart already defiles the man, although, through no power being granted, it be not done without by means of the members of the body. When therefore a door of Continence hath been set in the mouth of the heart, whence go out all that defile the man, if nothing such be permitted to go out thence, there followeth a purity, wherein now the conscience may rejoice; although there be not as yet that perfection, wherein Continence shall not strive with vice. But now, so long as “the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh,” 1817 it is enough for us not to consent unto the evils which we feel in us. But, when that consent takes place, then there goeth out of the mouth of the heart what defileth the man. But when through Continence consent is withheld, the evil of the lust of the flesh, against which the lust of the spirit fights, is not suffered to harm.


Gal. v. 17

Section 6 6. But it is one thing to fight well, which now is, when the strife1818 of death is resisted; 1819 another thing not to have an adversary, which will then be, when death, “the last enemy,” shall be destroyed. For Continence also itself, when it curbs and restrains lusts, at once both seeks the good unto the immortality of which we aim, and rejects the evil with which in this mortality we contend. Of the one it is forsooth the lover and beholder, but of the other both the enemy and witness: both seeking what becomes, and fleeing what misbecomes. Assuredly Continence would not labor in curbing lusts, if we had no wishes contrary to what is becoming, if there were no opposition on the part of evil lust unto our good will. The Apostle cries aloud, “I know,” saith he, “that there dwelleth not in me, that is in my flesh, good. For to will lieth near to me, but to accomplish good I find not.”1820 For now good can be done, so far as that there be no assent given unto evil lust: but good will be accomplished, when the evil lust itself shall come to an end. And also the same teacher of the Gentiles cries aloud, “I take pleasure together with the law of God after the inner man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind.”1821


(Reading νεῖκος.)


1 Cor. xv. 55; ib. 26


Rom. vii. 18


Rom. vii. 22, 23

Section 7

7. This conflict none experience in themselves, save such as war on the side of the virtues, and war down the vices: nor doth any thing storm the evil of lust, save the good of Continence. But there are, who, being utterly ignorant of the law of God, account not evil lusts among their enemies, and through wretched blindness being slaves to them, over and above think themselves also blessed, by satisfying them rather than taming them. But whoso through the Law have come to know them, (“For through the Law is the knowledge of sin,”1822 and, “Lust,” saith he, “I knew not, unless the Law should say, Thou shalt not lust after,”1823 and yet are overcome by their assault, because they live under the Law, whereby what is good is commanded, but not also given: they live not under Grace, which gives through the Holy Spirit what is commanded through the Law: unto these the Law therefore 382entered, that in them the offense might abound. The prohibition increased the lust, and made it unconquered: 1824 that there might be transgression also, which without the Law was not, although there was sin, “For where there is not Law, neither is there transgression.”1825 Thus the Law, Grace not helping, forbidding sin, became over and above the strength of sin; whence the Apostle saith, “The Law is the strength of sin.” 1826 Nor is it to be wondered at, that man’s weakness even from the good Law added strength to evil, whilst it trusts to fulfill the Law itself of its own strength. Forsooth being ignorant of the righteousness of God,1827 which He gives unto the weak, and wishing to establish his own, of which the weak is void, he was not made subject to the righteousness of God, reprobate and proud. But if the Law, as a schoolmaster, lead unto Grace one made an offender, as though for this purpose more grievously wounded, that he may desire a Physician; against the baneful sweetness, whereby lust prevailed, the Lord gives a sweetness that worketh good, that by it Continence may the more delight, and “our land giveth her fruit,”1828 whereby the soldier is fed, who by the help of the Lord wars down sin.


Rom. iii. 20


Rom. vii. 7. [See R.V.]


Rom. v. 20


Rom. iv. 15


1 Cor. xv. 56


Rom. x. 3


Ps. lxxxv. 12

Section 8

8. Such soldiers the Apostolic trumpet enkindles for battle with that sound, “Therefore let not,” saith he, “sin reign in your mortal body to obey its lusts; nor yield your members weapons of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as living in place of dead, and your members weapons of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not rule over you. For ye are not under the law, but under Grace.”1829 And in another place, “Therefore,” saith he, “brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye shall live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if by the Spirit ye shall mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”1830 This therefore is the business in hand, so long as this our mortal life under Grace lasts, that sin, that is the lust of sin, (for this he in this place calls by the name of sin,) reign not in this our mortal body. But it is then shown to reign, if obedience be yielded to its desires. There is therefore in us lust of sin, which must not be suffered to reign; there are its desires, which we must not obey, lest obeying it reign over us. Wherefore let not lust usurp our members, but let Continence claim them for herself; that they be weapons of righteousness unto God, that they be not weapons of unrighteousness unto sin; for thus sin shall not rule over us. For we are not under the Law, which indeed commandeth what is good yet giveth it not: but we are under Grace, which, making us to love that which the Law commands, is able to rule over the free.


Rom. vi. 12, 13, 14


Rom. viii. 12, 13, 14

Section 9

9. And also, when he exhorts us, that we live not after the flesh, lest we die, but that by the Spirit we mortify the deeds of the flesh, that we may live; surely the trumpet which sounds, shows the war in which we are engaged, and enkindles us to contend keenly, and to do our enemies to death,1831 that we be not done to death by them. But who those enemies are, it hath set forth plainly enough. For those are they, whom it willed should be done to death by us, that is to say, the works of the flesh. For so it saith, “But if by the Spirit ye shall mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live.” And in order that we may know what these are, let us hear the same in like manner writing unto the Galatians, and saying, “But the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornications, uncleannesses, luxuries, idolatry, witchcrafts, hatreds, contentions, emulations, wraths, strifes, heresies, envyings, drunkennesses, revellings, and such like; of which I foretell to you, as I have foretold, that they who do such things shall not possess the kingdom of God.”1832 For the very war there also was he showing, that he should speak of these, and unto the death-doing of these enemies was he calling up the soldiers of Christ by the same heavenly and spiritual trumpet. For he had said above, “But I say, walk in the Spirit, and perform ye not the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. For these are opposed one to the other, that ye do not what ye would. But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the Law.”1833 Therefore being set under Grace, he would have them have that conflict against the works of the flesh. And in order to point out these works of the flesh, he added what I have mentioned above. “But the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornications,” and the rest, whether what he mentioned, or whether what he admonished were to be understood, chiefly as he added, “and such like.” Lastly, in this battle, against what is in a manner the carnal army leading forth as it were another spiritual line, “But the fruit of the Spirit is,” saith he, “charity, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, continence; against such there 1834 383is no law.” He saith not “against these,” lest they should be thought to be alone: although even were he to say this, we ought to understand all, whatever goods of the same kind we could think of: but he saith, “against such,” that is to say, both these and whatsoever are such like. However, in that among the goods of which he made mention, he set Continence in the last1835 place, (concerning which we have now undertaken to treat, and on account of which we have already said much,) he willed that it should in an especial manner cleave to our minds. Forsooth this same is of great avail in this case, wherein the Spirit lusteth against the flesh; forasmuch as in a certain way it crucifies the lusts of the flesh. Whence,




Gal. v. 19–21


Gal. v. 16-18. [See R.V.]


Gal. v. 22, 23


Vulg. adds, “patientia, modestia, castitas.”

Section 9

after the Apostle had thus spoken, he added straightway, “But they who are Jesus Christ’s have crucified their own flesh, with the passions and lusts.”1836 This is the acting of Continence: thus the works of the flesh are done to death. But they do to death those, whom falling away from Continence lust draweth into consent to do such works.


Gal. v. 24


Section 10

10. But in order that we fall not away from Continence, we ought to watch specially against those snares of the suggestions of the devil, that we presume not of our own strength. For, “Cursed is every one that setteth his hope in man.” 1837 And who is he, but man? We cannot therefore truly say that he setteth not his hope in man, who setteth it in himself. For this also, to “live after man,” what is it but to “live after the flesh?” Whoso therefore is tempted by such a suggestion, let him hear, and, if he have any Christian feeling, let him tremble. Let him hear, I say, “If ye shall live after the flesh, ye shall die.”


Jer. xvii. 5

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series  
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series  

Series I, Volume 3, Part II