Writings of Augustine. The Confessions of St. Augustin
The Confessions of St. Augustin
St. Aurelius Augustin, Bishop of Hippo
In Thirteen Books
Translated and Annotated by J.G. Pilkington, M.A.,
Vicar of St. Mark's, West Hackney; And Sometime
Clerical Secretary of the Bishop of London's Fund.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff,
New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
The design of his confessions being declared, he seeks from God the
knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and begins to expound the words of
Genesis I. I, concerning the creation of the world. The questions of
rash disputers being refuted, "What did God before he created the
world?" That he might the better overcome his opponents, he adds a
copious disquisition concerning time.
Chapter I.--By Confession He Desires to Stimulate Towards God His Own
Love and That of His Readers.
1. O Lord, since eternity is Thine, art Thou ignorant of the things
which I say unto Thee? Or seest Thou at the time that which cometh to
pass in time? Why, therefore, do I place before Thee so many relations
of things? Not surely that Thou mightest know them through me, but
that I may awaken my own love and that of my readers towards Thee,
that we may all say, "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised."
 I have already said, and shall say, for the love of Thy love do
I this. For we also pray, and yet Truth says, "Your Father knoweth
what things ye have need of before ye ask Him."  Therefore do we
make known unto Thee our love, in confessing unto Thee our own
miseries and Thy mercies upon us, that Thou mayest free us altogether,
since Thou hast begun, that we may cease to be wretched in ourselves,
and that we may be blessed in Thee; since Thou hast called us, that we
may be poor in spirit, and meek, and mourners, and hungering and
athirst after righteousness, and merciful, and pure in heart, and
peacemakers.  Behold, I have told unto Thee many things, which I
could and which I would, for Thou first wouldest that I should confess
unto Thee, the Lord my God, for Thou art good, since Thy "mercy
endureth for ever." 
 Ps. xcvi. 4. See note 3, page 45, above.
 Matt. vi. 8.
 Matt. v. 3-9.
 Ps. cxviii. 1.
Chapter II.--He Begs of God that Through the Holy Scriptures He May Be
Led to Truth.
2. But when shall I suffice with the tongue of my pen to express all
Thy exhortations, and all Thy terrors, and comforts, and guidances,
whereby Thou hast led me to preach Thy Word and to dispense Thy
Sacrament  unto Thy people? And if I suffice to utter these
things in order, the drops  of time are dear to me. Long time
have I burned to meditate in Thy law, and in it to confess to Thee my
knowledge and ignorance, the beginning of Thine enlightening, and the
remains of my darkness, until infirmity be swallowed up by strength.
And I would not that to aught else those hours should flow away, which
I find free from the necessities of refreshing my body, and the care
of my mind, and of the service which we owe to men, and which, though
we owe not, even yet we pay. 
3. O Lord my God, hear my prayer, and let Thy mercy regard my longing,
since it bums not for myself alone, but because it desires to benefit
brotherly charity; and Thou seest into my heart, that so it is. I
would sacrifice to Thee the service of my thought and tongue; and do
Thou give what I may offer unto Thee. For "I am poor and needy,"
 Thou rich unto all that call upon Thee,  who free from
care carest for us. Circumcise from all rashness and from all lying my
inward and outward lips.  Let Thy Scriptures be my chaste
delights. Neither let me be deceived in them, nor deceive out of them.
 Lord, hear and pity, O Lord my God, light of the blind, and
strength of the weak; even also light of those that see, and strength
of the strong, hearken unto my soul, and hear it crying "out of the
depths."  For unless Thine ears be present in the depths also,
whither shall we go? whither shall we cry? "The day is Thine, and the
night also is Thine."  At Thy nod the moments flee by. Grant
thereof space for our meditations amongst the hidden things of Thy
law, nor close it against us who knock. For not in vain hast Thou
willed that the obscure secret of so many pages should be written. Nor
is it that those forests have not their harts,  betaking
themselves therein, and ranging, and walking, and feeding, lying down,
and ruminating. Perfect me, O Lord, and reveal them unto me. Behold,
Thy voice is my joy, Thy voice surpasseth the abundance of pleasures.
Give that which I love, for I do love; and this hast Thou given.
Abandon not Thine own gifts, nor despise Thy grass that thirsteth. Let
me confess unto Thee whatsoever I shall have found in Thy books, and
let me hear the voice of praise, and let me imbibe Thee, and reflect
on the wonderful things of Thy law;  even from the beginning,
wherein Thou madest the heaven and the earth, unto the everlasting
kingdom of Thy holy city that is with Thee.
4. Lord, have mercy on me and hear my desire. For I think that it is
not of the earth, nor of gold and silver, and precious stones, nor
gorgeous apparel, nor honours and powers, nor the pleasures of the
flesh, nor necessaries for the body, and this life of our pilgrimage;
all which are added to those that seek Thy kingdom and Thy
righteousness.  Behold, O Lord my God, whence is my desire. The
unrighteous have told me of delights, but not such as Thy law, O Lord.
 Behold whence is my desire. Behold, Father, look and see, and
approve; and let it be pleasing in the sight of Thy mercy, that I may
find grace before Thee, that the secret things of Thy Word may be
opened unto me when I knock.  I beseech, by our Lord Jesus
Christ, Thy Son, "the Man of Thy right hand, the Son of man, whom Thou
madest strong for Thyself,"  as Thy Mediator and ours, through
whom Thou hast sought us, although not seeking Thee, but didst seek us
that we might seek Thee,  --Thy Word through whom Thou hast made
all things,  and amongst them me also, Thy Only-begotten,
through whom Thou hast called to adoption the believing people, and
therein me also. I beseech Thee through Him, who sitteth at Thy right
hand, and "maketh intercession for us,"  "in whom are hid all
treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  Him  do I seek in Thy
books. Of Him did Moses write;  this saith Himself; this saith
 He very touchingly alludes in Serm. ccclv. 2 to the way in
which he was forced against his will (as was frequently the custom in
those days), first, to become a presbyter (A.D. 391), and, four years
later, coadjutor to Valerius, Bishop of Hippo (Ep. xxxi. 4, and Ep.
ccxiii. 4), whom on his death he succeeded. His own wish was to
establish a monastery, and to this end he sold his patrimony, "which
consisted of only a few small fields" (Ep. cxxvi. 7). He absolutely
dreaded to become a bishop, and as he knew his name was highly
esteemed in the Church, he avoided cities in which the see was vacant.
His former backsliding had made him humble; and he tells us in the
sermon above referred to, "Cavebam hoc, et agebam quantam poteram, ut
in loco humili salvarer ne in alto periclitarer." Augustin also
alludes to his ordination in Ep. xxi., addressed to Bishop Valerius.
 "He alludes to the hour-glasses of his time, which went by
water, as ours do now by sand."--W. W.
 Augustin, in common with other bishops, had his time much
invaded by those who sought his arbitration or judicial decision in
secular matters, and in his De Op. Monach. sec. 37, he says, what many
who have much mental toil will readily appreciate, that he would
rather have spent the time not occupied in prayer and the study of the
Scriptures in working with his hands, as did the monks, than have to
bear these tumultuosissimas perplexitates. In the year 426 we find him
(Ep. ccxiii) designating Eraclius, in public assembly, as his
successor in the see, and to relieve him (though, meanwhile, remaining
a presbyter) of these anxious duties. See vi. sec. 15, and note 1,
above; and also ibid. sec. 3.
 Ps. lxxxvi. 1.
 Rom. x. 12.
 Ex. vi. 12.
 Augustin is always careful to distinguish between the certain
truths of faith and doctrine which all may know, and the mysteries of
Scripture which all have not the ability equally to apprehend. "Among
the things," he says (De Doctr. Christ. ii. 14), "that are plainly
laid down in Scripture, are to be found all matters that concern
faith, and the manner of life." As to the Scriptures that are obscure,
he is slow to come to conclusions, lest he should "be deceived in them
or deceive out of them." In his De Gen. ad Lit. i. 37, he gives a
useful warning against forcing our own meaning on Scripture in
doubtful questions, and, ibid. viii. 5, we have the memorable words:
"Melius est dubitare de rebus occultis, quam litigare de incertis."
For examples of how careful he is in such matters not to go beyond
what is written, see his answer to the question raised by Evodius,--a
question which reminds us of certain modern speculations (see The
Unseen Universe, arts. 61, 201, etc.),--whether the soul on departing
from the body has not still a body of some kind, and at least some of
the senses proper to a body; and also (Ep. clxiv.) his endeavours to
unravel Evodius' difficulties as to Christ's preaching to the spirits
in prison (1 Pet. iii. 18-21). Similarly, he says, as to the
Antichrist of 2 Thess. ii. 1-7 (De Civ. Dei, xx. 19): "I frankly
confess I know not what he means. I will, nevertheless, mention such
conjectures as I have heard or read." See notes, pp. 64 and 92, above.
 Ps. cxxx. 1.
 Ps. lxxiv. 16.
 Ps. xxix. 9. In his comment on this place as given in the Old
Version, "vox Domini perficientis cervos," he makes the forest with
its thick darkness to symbolize the mysteries of Scripture, where the
harts ruminating thereon represent the pious Christian meditating on
those mysteries (see vi. sec. 3, note, above). In this same passage he
speaks of those who are thus being perfected as overcoming the
poisoned tongues. This is an allusion to the fabled power the stags
had of enticing serpents from their holes by their breath, and then
destroying them. Augustin is very fond of this kind of fable from
natural history. In his Enarr. in Ps. cxxix. and cxli., we have
similar allusions to the supposed habits of stags; and, ibid. ci., we
have the well-known fable of the pelican in its charity reviving its
young, and feeding them with its own blood. This use of fables was
very common with the mediæval writers, and those familiar with the
writings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries will recall many
illustrations of it amongst the preachers of those days.
 Ps. xxvi. 7.
 Matt. vi. 33.
 Ps. cxix. 85.
 See p. 48, note 5, above.
 Ps. lxxx. 17.
 See note 9, p. 74, above.
 John i. 3.
 Rom. viii. 34.
 Col. ii. 3.
 Many mss., however, read ipsos, and not ipsum.
 John v. 4-6.
Chapter III.--He Begins from the Creation of the World--Not
Understanding the Hebrew Text.
5. Let me hear and understand how in the beginning Thou didst make the
heaven and the earth.  Moses wrote this; he wrote and
departed,--passed hence from Thee to Thee. Nor now is he before me;
for if he were I would hold him, and ask him, and would adjure him by
Thee that he would open unto me these things, and I would lend the
ears of my body to the sounds bursting forth from his mouth. And
should he speak in the Hebrew tongue, in vain would it beat on my
senses, nor would aught touch my mind; but if in Latin, I should know
what he said. But whence should I know whether he said what was true?
But if I knew this even, should I know it from him? Verily within me,
within in the chamber of my thought, Truth, neither Hebrew,  nor
Greek, nor Latin, nor barbarian, without the organs of voice and
tongue, without the sound of syllables, would say, "He speaks the
truth," and I, forthwith assured of it, confidently would say unto
that man of Thine, "Thou speakest the truth." As, then, I cannot
inquire of him, I beseech Thee,--Thee, O Truth, full of whom he spake
truth,--Thee, my God, I beseech, forgive my sins; and do Thou, who
didst give to that Thy servant to speak these things, grant to me also
to understand them.
 Gen. i. 1.
 Augustin was not singular amongst the early Fathers in not
knowing Hebrew, for of the Greeks only Origen, and of the Latins
Jerome, knew anything of it. We find him confessing his ignorance both
here and elsewhere (Enarr. in Ps. cxxxvi. 7, and De Doctr. Christ. ii.
22); and though he recommends a knowledge of Hebrew as well as Greek,
to correct "the endless diversity of the Latin translators" (De Doctr.
Christ. ii. 16); he speaks as strongly as does Grinfield, in his
Apology for the Septuagint, in favour of the claims of that version to
"biblical and canonical authority" (Eps. xxviii., lxxi., and lxxv.; De
Civ. Dei, xviii. 42, 43; De Doctr. Christ. ii. 22). He discountenanced
Jerome's new translation, probably from fear of giving offence, and,
as we gather from Ep. lxxi. 5, not without cause. From the tumult he
there describes as ensuing upon Jerome's version being read, the
outcry would appear to have been as great as when, on the change of
the old style of reckoning to the new, the ignorant mob clamoured to
have back their eleven days!
Chapter IV.--Heaven and Earth Cry Out that They Have Been Created by
6. Behold, the heaven and earth are; they proclaim that they were
made, for they are changed and varied. Whereas whatsoever hath not
been made, and yet hath being, hath nothing in it which there was not
before; this is what it is to be changed and varied. They also
proclaim that they made not themselves; "therefore we are, because we
have been made; we were not therefore before we were, so that we could
have made ourselves." And the voice of those that speak is in itself
an evidence. Thou, therefore, Lord, didst make these things; Thou who
art beautiful, for they are beautiful; Thou who art good, for they are
good; Thou who art, for they are. Nor even so are they beautiful, nor
good, nor are they, as Thou their Creator art; compared with whom they
are neither beautiful, nor good, nor are at all.  These things
we know, thanks be to Thee. And our knowledge, compared with Thy
knowledge, is ignorance.
 It was the doctrine of Aristotle that excellence of character
is the proper object of love, and in proportion as we recognise such
excellence in others are we attracted to become like them (see
Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics, book iv. c. 5, sec. 4). If this be true
of the creature, how much more should it be so of the Creator, who is
the perfection of all that we can conceive of goodness and truth.
Compare De Trin. viii. 3-6, De Vera Relig. 57, and an extract from
Athanese Coquerel in Archbishop Thomson's Bampton Lectures, note 73.
Chapter V.--God Created the World Not from Any Certain Matter, But in
His Own Word.
7. But how didst Thou make the heaven and the earth, and what was the
instrument of Thy so mighty work? For it was not as a human worker
fashioning body from body, according to the fancy of his mind, in
somewise able to assign a form which it perceives in itself by its
inner eye.  And whence should he be able to do this, hadst not
Thou made that mind? And he assigns to it already existing, and as it
were having a being, a form, as clay, or stone, or wood, or gold, or
such like. And whence should these things be, hadst not Thou appointed
them? Thou didst make for the workman his body,--Thou the mind
commanding the limbs,--Thou the matter whereof he makes anything,
 --Thou the capacity whereby he may apprehend his art, and see
within what he may do without,--Thou the sense of his body, by which,
as by an interpreter, he may from mind unto matter convey that which
he doeth, and report to his mind what may have been done, that it
within may consult the truth, presiding over itself, whether it be
well done. All these things praise Thee, the Creator of all. But how
dost Thou make them? How, O God, didst Thou make heaven and earth?
Truly, neither in the heaven nor in the earth didst Thou make heaven
and earth; nor in the air, nor in the waters, since these also belong
to the heaven and the earth; nor in the whole world didst Thou make
the whole world; because there was no place wherein it could be made
before it was made, that it might be; nor didst Thou hold anything in
Thy hand wherewith to make heaven and earth. For whence couldest Thou
have what Thou hadst not made, whereof to make anything? For what is,
save because Thou art? Therefore Thou didst speak and they were made,
 and in Thy Word Thou madest these things. 
 See x. sec 40, note 6, and sec. 53, above.
 That is, the artificer makes, God creates. The creation of
matter is distinctively a doctrine of revelation. The ancient
philosophers believed in the eternity of matter. As Lucretius puts it
(i. 51): "Nullam rem e nihilo gigni divinitus unquam." See Burton,
Bampton Lectures, lect. iii. and notes 18-21, and Mansel, Bampton
Lectures, lect. iii. note 12. See also p. 76, note 8, above, for the
Manichæan doctrine as to the hule; and The Unseen Universe, arts. 85,
86, 151, and 160, for the modern doctrine of "continuity." See also
Kalisch, Commentary on Gen. i. 1.
 Ps. xxxiii. 9.
 Ibid. ver. 6.
Chapter VI.--He Did Not, However, Create It by a Sounding and Passing
8. But how didst Thou speak? Was it in that manner in which the voice
came from the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son"?  For that
voice was uttered and passed away, began and ended. The syllables
sounded and passed by, the second after the first, the third after the
second, and thence in order, until the last after the rest, and
silence after the last. Hence it is clear and plain that the motion of
a creature expressed it, itself temporal, obeying Thy Eternal will.
And these thy words formed at the time, the outer ear conveyed to the
intelligent mind, whose inner ear lay attentive to Thy eternal word.
But it compared these words sounding in time with Thy eternal word in
silence, and said, "It is different, very different. These words are
far beneath me, nor are they, since they flee and pass away; but the
Word of my Lord remaineth above me for ever." If, then, in sounding
and fleeting words Thou didst say that heaven and earth should be
made, and didst thus make heaven and earth, there was already a
corporeal creature before heaven and earth by whose temporal motions
that voice might take its course in time. But there was nothing
corporeal before heaven and earth; or if there were, certainly Thou
without a transitory voice hadst created that whence Thou wouldest
make the passing voice, by which to say that the heaven and the earth
should be made. For whatsoever that were of which such a voice was
made, unless it were made by Thee, it could not be at all. By what
word of Thine was it decreed that a body might be made, whereby these
words might be made?
 Matt. xvii. 5.
Chapter VII.--By His Co-Eternal Word He Speaks, and All Things are
9. Thou callest us, therefore, to understand the Word, God with Thee,
God,  which is spoken eternally, and by it are all things spoken
eternally. For what was spoken was not finished, and another spoken
until all were spoken; but all things at once and for ever. For
otherwise have we time and change, and not a true eternity, nor a true
immortality. This I know, O my God, and give thanks. I know, I confess
to Thee, O Lord, and whosoever is not unthankful to certain truth,
knows and blesses Thee with me. We know, O Lord, we know; since in
proportion as anything is not what it was, and is what it was not, in
that proportion does it die and arise. Not anything, therefore, of Thy
Word giveth place and cometh into place again, because it is truly
immortal and eternal. And, therefore, unto the Word co-eternal with
Thee, Thou dost at once and for ever say all that Thou dost say; and
whatever Thou sayest shall be made, is made; nor dost Thou make
otherwise than by speaking; yet all things are not made both together
and everlasting which Thou makest by speaking.
 John i. 1.
Chapter VIII.--That Word Itself is the Beginning of All Things, in the
Which We are Instructed as to Evangelical Truth.
10. Why is this, I beseech Thee, O Lord my God? I see it, however; but
how I shall express it, I know not, unless that everything which
begins to be and ceases to be, then begins and ceases when in Thy
eternal Reason it is known that it ought to begin or cease where
nothing beginneth or ceaseth. The same is Thy Word, which is also "the
Beginning," because also It speaketh unto us.  Thus, in the
gospel He speaketh through the flesh; and this sounded outwardly in
the ears of men, that it might be believed and sought inwardly, and
that it might be found in the eternal Truth, where the good and only
Master teacheth all His disciples. There, O Lord, I hear Thy voice,
the voice of one speaking unto me, since He speaketh unto us who
teacheth us. But He that teacheth us not, although He speaketh,
speaketh not to us. Moreover, who teacheth us, unless it be the
immutable Truth? For even when we are admonished through a changeable
creature, we are led to the Truth immutable. There we learn truly
while we stand and hear Him, and rejoice greatly "because of the
Bridegroom's voice,"  restoring us to that whence we are. And,
therefore, the Beginning, because unless It remained, there would not,
where we strayed, be whither to return. But when we return from error,
it is by knowing that we return. But that we may know, He teacheth us,
because He is the Beginning and speaketh unto us.
 John viii. 25, Old Ver. Though some would read, Qui et
loquitur, making it correspond to the Vulgate, instead of Quia et
loquitur, as above, the latter is doubtless the correct reading, since
we find the text similarly quoted in Ev. Joh. Tract. xxxviii. 11,
where he enlarges on "The Beginning," comparing principium with arche.
It will assist to the understanding of this section to refer to the
early part of the note on p. 107, above, where the Platonic view of
the Logos, as endiathetos and prophorikos, or in the "bosom of the
Father" and "made flesh," is given; which terminology, as Dr. Newman
tells us (Arians, pt. i. c. 2, sec. 4), was accepted by the Church.
Augustin, consistently with this idea, says (on John viii. 25, as
above): "For if the Beginning, as it is in itself, had remained so
with the Father as not to receive the form of a servant and speak as
man with men, how could they have believed in Him, since their weak
hearts could not have heard the word intelligently without some voice
that would appeal to their senses? Therefore, said He, believe me to
be the Beginning; for that you may believe, I not only am, but also
speak to you." Newman, as quoted above, may be referred to for the
significance of arche as applied to the Son, and ibid. sec. 3, also,
on the "Word." For the difference between a mere "voice" and the
"Word," compare Aug. Serm. ccxciii. sec. 3, and Origen, In Joann. ii.
 John iii. 29.
Chapter IX.--Wisdom and the Beginning.
11. In this Beginning, O God, hast Thou made heaven and earth,--in Thy
Word, in Thy Son, in Thy Power, in Thy Wisdom, in Thy Truth,
wondrously speaking and wondrously making. Who shall comprehend? who
shall relate it? What is that which shines through me, and strikes my
heart without injury, and I both shudder and burn? I shudder inasmuch
as I am unlike it; and I burn inasmuch as I am like it. It is Wisdom
itself that shines through me, clearing my cloudiness, which again
overwhelms me, fainting from it, in the darkness and amount of my
punishment. For my strength is brought down in need,  so that I
cannot endure my blessings, until Thou, O Lord, who hast been gracious
to all mine iniquities, heal also all mine infirmities; because Thou
shalt also redeem my life from corruption, and crown me with Thy
loving-kindness and mercy, and shalt satisfy my desire with good
things, because my youth shall be renewed like the eagle's.  For
by hope we are saved; and through patience we await Thy promises.
 Let him that is able hear Thee discoursing within. I will with
confidence cry out from Thy oracle, How wonderful are Thy works, O
Lord, in Wisdom hast Thou made them all.  And this Wisdom is the
Beginning, and in that Beginning hast Thou made heaven and earth.
 Ps. xxxi. 10.
 Ps. ciii. 3-5.
 Rom. viii. 24, 25.
 Ps. civ. 24.
Chapter X.--The Rashness of Those Who Inquire What God Did Before He
Created Heaven and Earth.
12. Lo, are they not full of their ancient way, who say to us, "What
was God doing before He made heaven and earth? For if," say they, "He
were unoccupied, and did nothing, why does He not for ever also, and
from henceforth, cease from working, as in times past He did? For if
any new motion has arisen in God, and a new will, to form a creature
which He had never before formed, however can that be a true eternity
where there ariseth a will which was not before? For the will of God
is not a creature, but before the creature; because nothing could be
created unless the will of the Creator were before it. The will of
God, therefore, pertaineth to His very Substance. But if anything hath
arisen in the Substance of God which was not before, that Substance is
not truly called eternal. But if it was the eternal will of God that
the creature should be, why was not the creature also from eternity?"
Chapter XI.--They Who Ask This Have Not as Yet Known the Eternity of
God, Which is Exempt from the Relation of Time.
13. Those who say these things do not as yet understand Thee, O Thou
Wisdom of God, Thou light of souls; not as yet do they understand how
these things be made which are made by and in Thee. They even
endeavour to comprehend things eternal; but as yet their heart flieth
about in the past and future motions of things, and is still wavering.
Who shall hold it and fix it, that it may rest a little, and by
degrees catch the glory of that everstanding eternity, and compare it
with the times which never stand, and see that it is incomparable; and
that a long time cannot become long, save from the many motions that
pass by, which cannot at the same instant be prolonged; but that in
the Eternal nothing passeth away, but that the whole is present; but
no time is wholly present; and let him see that all time past is
forced on by the future, and that all the future followeth from the
past, and that all, both past and future, is created and issues from
that which is always present? Who will hold the heart of man, that it
may stand still, and see how the still-standing eternity, itself
neither future nor past, uttereth the times future and past? Can my
hand accomplish this, or the hand of my mouth by persuasion bring
about a thing so great? 
 See note 12, p. 174, below.
Chapter XII.--What God Did Before the Creation of the World.
14. Behold, I answer to him who asks, "What was God doing before He
made heaven and earth?" I answer not, as a certain person is reported
to have done facetiously (avoiding the pressure of the question), "He
was preparing hell," saith he, "for those who pry into mysteries." It
is one thing to perceive, another to laugh,--these things I answer
not. For more willingly would I have answered, "I know not what I know
not," than that I should make him a laughing-stock who asketh deep
things, and gain praise as one who answereth false things. But I say
that Thou, our God, art the Creator of every creature; and if by the
term "heaven and earth" every creature is understood, I boldly say,
"That before God made heaven and earth, He made not anything. For if
He did, what did He make unless the creature?" And would that I knew
whatever I desire to know to my advantage, as I know that no creature
was made before any creature was made.
Chapter XIII.--Before the Times Created by God, Times Were Not.
15. But if the roving thought of any one should wander through the
images of bygone time, and wonder that Thou, the God Almighty, and
All-creating, and All-sustaining, the Architect of heaven and earth,
didst for innumerable ages refrain from so great a work before Thou
wouldst make it, let him awake and consider that he wonders at false
things. For whence could innumerable ages pass by which Thou didst not
make, since Thou art the Author and Creator of all ages? Or what times
should those be which were not made by Thee? Or how should they pass
by if they had not been? Since, therefore, Thou art the Creator of all
times, if any time was before Thou madest heaven and earth, why is it
said that Thou didst refrain from working? For that very time Thou
madest, nor could times pass by before Thou madest times. But if
before heaven and earth there was no time, why is it asked, What didst
Thou then? For there was no "then" when time was not.
16. Nor dost Thou by time precede time; else wouldest not Thou precede
all times. But in the excellency of an ever-present eternity, Thou
precedest all times past, and survivest all future times, because they
are future, and when they have come they will be past; but "Thou art
the same, and Thy years shall have no end."  Thy years neither
go nor come; but ours both go and come, that all may come. All Thy
years stand at once since they do stand; nor were they when departing
excluded by coming years, because they pass not away; but all these of
ours shall be when all shall cease to be. Thy years are one day, and
Thy day is not daily, but today; because Thy today yields not with
tomorrow, for neither doth it follow yesterday. Thy today is eternity;
therefore didst Thou beget the Co-eternal, to whom Thou saidst, "This
day have I begotten Thee."  Thou hast made all time; and before
all times Thou art, nor in any time was there not time.
 Ps. cii. 27.
 Ps. ii. 7, and Heb. v. 5.
Chapter XIV.--Neither Time Past Nor Future, But the Present Only,
17. At no time, therefore, hadst Thou not made anything, because Thou
hadst made time itself. And no times are co-eternal with Thee, because
Thou remainest for ever; but should these continue, they would not be
times. For what is time? Who can easily and briefly explain it? Who
even in thought can comprehend it, even to the pronouncing of a word
concerning it? But what in speaking do we refer to more familiarly and
knowingly than time? And certainly we understand when we speak of it;
we understand also when we hear it spoken of by another. What, then,
is time? If no one ask of me, I know; if I wish to explain to him who
asks, I know not. Yet I say with confidence, that I know that if
nothing passed away, there would not be past time; and if nothing were
coming, there would not be future time; and if nothing were, there
would not be present time. Those two times, therefore, past and
future, how are they, when even the past now is not; and the future is
not as yet? But should the present be always present, and should it
not pass into time past, time truly it could not be, but eternity. If,
then, time present--if it be time--only comes into existence because
it passes into time past, how do we say that even this is, whose cause
of being is that it shall not be--namely, so that we cannot truly say
that time is, unless because it tends not to be?
Chapter XV.--There is Only a Moment of Present Time.
18. And yet we say that "time is long and time is short;" nor do we
speak of this save of time past and future. A long time past, for
example, we call a hundred years ago; in like manner a long time to
come, a hundred years hence. But a short time past we call, say, ten
days ago: and a short time to come, ten days hence. But in what sense
is that long or short which is not? For the past is not now, and the
future is not yet. Therefore let us not say, "It is long;" but let us
say of the past, "It hath been long," and of the future, "It will be
long." O my Lord, my light, shall not even here Thy truth deride man?
For that past time which was long, was it long when it was already
past, or when it was as yet present? For then it might be long when
there was that which could be long, but when past it no longer was;
wherefore that could not be long which was not at all. Let us not,
therefore, say, "Time past hath been long;" for we shall not find what
may have been long, seeing that since it was past it is not; but let
us say "that present time was long, because when it was present it was
long." For it had not as yet passed away so as not to be, and
therefore there was that which could be long. But after it passed,
that ceased also to be long which ceased to be.
19. Let us therefore see, O human soul, whether present time can be
long; for to thee is it given to perceive and to measure periods of
time. What wilt thou reply to me? Is a hundred years when present a
long time? See, first, whether a hundred years can be present. For if
the first year of these is current, that is present, but the other
ninety and nine are future, and therefore they are not as yet. But if
the second year is current, one is already past, the other present,
the rest future. And thus, if we fix on any middle year of this
hundred as present, those before it are past, those after it are
future; wherefore a hundred years cannot be present. See at least
whether that year itself which is current can be present. For if its
first month be current, the rest are future; if the second, the first
hath already passed, and the remainder are not yet. Therefore neither
is the year which is current as a whole present; and if it is not
present as a whole, then the year is not present. For twelve months
make the year, of which each individual month which is current is
itself present, but the rest are either past or future. Although
neither is that month which is current present, but one day only: if
the first, the rest being to come, if the last, the rest being past;
if any of the middle, then between past and future.
20. Behold, the present time, which alone we found could be called
long, is abridged to the space scarcely of one day. But let us discuss
even that, for there is not one day present as a whole. For it is made
up of four-and-twenty hours of night and day, whereof the first hath
the rest future, the last hath them past, but any one of the
intervening hath those before it past, those after it future. And that
one hour passeth away in fleeting particles. Whatever of it hath flown
away is past, whatever remaineth is future. If any portion of time be
conceived which cannot now be divided into even the minutest particles
of moments, this only is that which may be called present; which,
however, flies so rapidly from future to past, that it cannot be
extended by any delay. For if it be extended, it is divided into the
past and future; but the present hath no space. Where, therefore, is
the time which we may call long? Is it nature? Indeed we do not say,
"It is long," because it is not yet, so as to be long; but we say, "It
will be long." When, then, will it be? For if even then, since as yet
it is future, it will not be long, because what may be long is not as
yet; but it shall be long, when from the future, which as yet is not,
it shall already have begun to be, and will have become present, so
that there could be that which may be long; then doth the present time
cry out in the words above that it cannot be long.
Chapter XVI.--Time Can Only Be Perceived or Measured While It is
21. And yet, O Lord, we perceive intervals of times, and we compare
them with themselves, and we say some are longer, others shorter. We
even measure by how much shorter or longer this time may be than that;
and we answer, "That this is double or treble, while that is but once,
or only as much as that." But we measure times passing when we measure
them by perceiving them; but past times, which now are not, or future
times, which as yet are not, who can measure them? Unless, perchance,
any one will dare to say, that that can be measured which is not.
When, therefore, time is passing, it can be perceived and measured;
but when it has passed, it cannot, since it is not.
Chapter XVII.--Nevertheless There is Time Past and Future.
2. I ask, Father, I do not affirm. O my God, rule and guide me. "Who
is there who can say to me that there are not three times (as we
learned when boys, and as we have taught boys), the past, present, and
future, but only present, because these two are not? Or are they also;
but when from future it becometh present, cometh it forth from some
secret place, and when from the present it becometh past, doth it
retire into anything secret? For where have they, who have foretold
future things, seen these things, if as yet they are not? For that
which is not cannot be seen. And they who relate things past could not
relate them as true, did they not perceive them in their mind. Which
things, if they were not, they could in no wise be discerned. There
are therefore things both future and past.
Chapter XVIII.--Past and Future Times Cannot Be Thought of But as
23. Suffer me, O Lord, to seek further; O my Hope, let not my purpose
be confounded. For if there are times past and future, I desire to
know where they are. But if as yet I do not succeed, I still know,
wherever they are, that they are not there as future or past, but as
present. For if there also they be future, they are not as yet there;
if even there they be past, they are no longer there. Wheresoever,
therefore, they are, whatsoever they are, they are only so as present.
Although past things are related as true, they are drawn out from the
memory,--not the things themselves, which have passed, but the words
conceived from the images of the things which they have formed in the
mind as footprints in their passage through the senses. My childhood,
indeed, which no longer is, is in time past, which now is not; but
when I call to mind its image, and speak of it, I behold it in the
present, because it is as yet in my memory. Whether there be a like
cause of foretelling future things, that of things which as yet are
not the images may be perceived as already existing, I confess, my
God, I know not. This certainly I know, that we generally think before
on our future actions, and that this premeditation is present; but
that the action whereon we premeditate is not yet, because it is
future; which when we shall have entered upon, and have begun to do
that which we were premeditating, then shall that action be, because
then it is not future, but present.
24. In whatever manner, therefore, this secret preconception of future
things may be, nothing can be seen, save what is. But what now is is
not future, but present. When, therefore, they say that things future
are seen, it is not themselves, which as yet are not (that is, which
are future); but their causes or their signs perhaps are seen, the
which already are. Therefore, to those already beholding them, they
are not future, but present, from which future things conceived in the
mind are foretold. Which conceptions again now are, and they who
foretell those things behold these conceptions present before them.
Let now so multitudinous a variety of things afford me some example. I
behold daybreak; I foretell that the sun is about to rise. That which
I behold is present; what I foretell is future,--not that the sun is
future, which already is; but his rising, which is not yet. Yet even
its rising I could not predict unless I had an image of it in my mind,
as now I have while I speak. But that dawn which I see in the sky is
not the rising of the sun, although it may go before it, nor that
imagination in my mind; which two are seen as present, that the other
which is future may be foretold. Future things, therefore, are not as
yet; and if they are not as yet, they are not. And if they are not,
they cannot be seen at all; but they can be foretold from things
present which now are, and are seen.
Chapter XIX.--We are Ignorant in What Manner God Teaches Future
25. Thou, therefore, Ruler of Thy creatures, what is the method by
which Thou teachest souls those things which are future? For Thou hast
taught Thy prophets. What is that way by which Thou, to whom nothing
is future, dost teach future things; or rather of future things dost
teach present? For what is not, of a certainty cannot be taught. Too
far is this way from my view; it is too mighty for me, I cannot attain
unto it;  but by Thee I shall be enabled, when Thou shalt have
granted it, sweet light of my hidden eyes.
 Ps. cxxxix. 6.
Chapter XX.--In What Manner Time May Properly Be Designated.
26. But what now is manifest and clear is, that neither are there
future nor past things. Nor is it fitly said, "There are three times,
past, present and future;" but perchance it might be fitly said,
"There are three times; a present of things past, a present of things
present, and a present of things future." For these three do somehow
exist in the soul, and otherwise I see them not: present of things
past, memory; present of things present, sight; present of things
future, expectation. If of these things we are permitted to speak, I
see three times, and I grant there are three. It may also be said,
"There are three times, past, present and future," as usage falsely
has it. See, I trouble not, nor gainsay, nor reprove; provided always
that which is said may be understood, that neither the future, nor
that which is past, now is. For there are but few things which we
speak properly, many things improperly; but what we may wish to say is
Chapter XXI.--How Time May Be Measured.
27. I have just now said, then, that we measure times as they pass,
that we may be able to say that this time is twice as much as that
one, or that this is only as much as that, and so of any other of the
parts of time which we are able to tell by measuring. Wherefore, as I
said, we measure times as they pass. And if any one should ask me,
"Whence dost thou know?" I can answer, "I know, because we measure;
nor can we measure things that are not; and things past and future are
not." But how do we measure present time, since it hath not space? It
is measured while it passeth; but when it shall have passed, it is not
measured; for there will not be aught that can be measured. But
whence, in what way, and whither doth it pass while it is being
measured? Whence, but from the future? Which way, save through the
present? Whither, but into the past? From that, therefore, which as
yet is not, through that which hath no space, into that which now is
not. But what do we measure, unless time in some space? For we say not
single, and double, and triple, and equal, or in any other way in
which we speak of time, unless with respect to the spaces of times. In
what space, then, do we measure passing time? Is it in the future,
whence it passeth over? But what yet we measure not, is not. Or is it
in the present, by which it passeth? But no space, we do not measure.
Or in the past, whither it passeth? But that which is not now, we
Chapter XXII.--He Prays God that He Would Explain This Most Entangled
28. My soul yearns to know this most entangled enigma. Forbear to shut
up, O Lord my God, good Father,--through Christ I beseech
Thee,--forbear to shut up these things, both usual and hidden, from my
desire, that it may be hindered from penetrating them; but let them
dawn through Thy enlightening mercy, O Lord. Of whom shall I inquire
concerning these things? And to whom shall I with more advantage
confess my ignorance than to Thee, to whom these my studies, so
vehemently kindled towards Thy Scriptures, are not troublesome? Give
that which I love; for I do love, and this hast Thou given me. Give,
Father, who truly knowest to give good gifts unto Thy children. 
Give, since I have undertaken to know, and trouble is before me until
Thou dost open it.  Through Christ, I beseech Thee, in His name,
Holy of Holies, let no man interrupt me. For I believed, and therefore
do I speak.  This is my hope; for this do I live, that I may
contemplate the delights of the Lord.  Behold, Thou hast made my
days old,  and they pass away, and in what manner I know not.
And we speak as to time and time, times and times,--"How long is the
time since he said this?" "How long the time since he did this?" and,
"How long the time since I saw that?" and, "This syllable hath double
the time of that single short syllable." These words we speak, and
these we hear; and we are understood, and we understand. They are most
manifest and most usual, and the same things again lie hid too deeply,
and the discovery of them is new.
 Matt. vii. 11.
 Ps. lxxiii. 16.
 Ps. cxvi. 10.
 Ps. xxvii. 4.
 Ps. xxxix. 5.
Chapter XXIII.--That Time is a Certain Extension.
29. I have heard from a learned man that the motions of the sun, moon,
and stars constituted time, and I assented not.  For why should
not rather the motions of all bodies be time? What if the lights of
heaven should cease, and a potter's wheel run round, would there be no
time by which we might measure those revolutions, and say either that
it turned with equal pauses, or, if it were moved at one time more
slowly, at another more quickly, that some revolutions were longer,
others less so? Or while we were saying this, should we not also be
speaking in time? Or should there in our words be some syllables long,
others short, but because those sounded in a longer time, these in a
shorter? God grant to men to see in a small thing ideas common to
things great and small. Both the stars and luminaries of heaven are
"for signs and for seasons, and for days and years."  No doubt
they are; but neither should I say that the circuit of that wooden
wheel was a day, nor yet should he say that therefore there was no
30. I desire to know the power and nature of time, by which we measure
the motions of bodies, and say (for example) that this motion is twice
as long as that. For, I ask, since "day" declares not the stay only of
the sun upon the earth, according to which day is one thing, night
another, but also its entire circuit from east even to
east,--according to which we say, "So many days have passed" (the
nights being included when we say "so many days," and their spaces not
counted apart),--since, then, the day is finished by the motion of the
sun, and by his circuit from east to east, I ask, whether the motion
itself is the day, or the period in which that motion is completed, or
both? For if the first be the day, then would there be a day although
the sun should finish that course in so small a space of time as an
hour. If the second, then that would not be a day if from one sunrise
to another there were but so short a period as an hour, but the sun
must go round four-and-twenty times to complete a day. If both,
neither could that be called a day if the sun should run his entire
round in the space of an hour; nor that, if, while the sun stood
still, so much time should pass as the sun is accustomed to accomplish
his whole course in from morning to morning. I shall not therefore now
ask, what that is which is called day, but what time is, by which we,
measuring the circuit of the sun, should say that it was accomplished
in half the space of time it was wont, if it had been completed in so
small a space as twelve hours; and comparing both times, we should
call that single, this double time, although the sun should run his
course from east to east sometimes in that single, sometimes in that
double time. Let no man then tell me that the motions of the heavenly
bodies are times, because, when at the prayer of one the sun stood
still in order that he might achieve his victorious battle, the sun
stood still, but time went on. For in such space of time as was
sufficient was that battle fought and ended.  I see that time,
then, is a certain extension. But do I see it, or do I seem to see it?
Thou, O Light and Truth, wilt show me.
 Compare Gillies (Analysis of Aristotle, c. 2, p. 138): "As our
conception of space originates in that of body, and our conception of
motion in that of space, so our conception of time originates in that
of motion; and particularly in those regular and equable motions
carried on in the heavens, the parts of which, from their perfect
similarity to each other, are correct measures of the continuous and
successive quantity called Time, with which they are conceived to
co-exist. Time, therefore, may be defined the perceived number of
successive movements; for, as number ascertains the greater or lesser
quantity of things numbered, so time ascertains the greater or lesser
quantity of motion performed." And with this accords Monboddo's
definition of time (Ancient Metaphysics, vol. i. book 4, chap. i.), as
"the measure of the duration of things that exist in succession by the
motion of the heavenly bodies." See xii. sec. 40, and note, below.
 Gen. i. 14.
 Josh. x. 12-14.
Chapter XXIV.--That Time is Not a Motion of a Body Which We Measure by
31. Dost Thou command that I should assent, if any one should say that
time is "the motion of a body?" Thou dost not command me. For I hear
that no body is moved but in time. This Thou sayest; but that the very
motion of a body is time, I hear not; Thou sayest it not. For when a
body is moved, I by time measure how long it may be moving from the
time in which it began to be moved till it left off. And if I saw not
whence it began, and it continued to be moved, so that I see not when
it leaves off, I cannot measure unless, perchance, from the time I
began until I cease to see. But if I look long, I only proclaim that
the time is long, but not how long it may be because when we say, "How
long," we speak by comparison, as, "This is as long as that," or,
"This is double as long as that," or any other thing of the kind. But
if we were able to note down the distances of places whence and
whither cometh the body which is moved, or its parts, if it moved as
in a wheel, we can say in how much time the motion of the body or its
part, from this place unto that, was performed. Since, then, the
motion of a body is one thing, that by which we measure how long it is
another, who cannot see which of these is rather to be called time?
For, although a body be sometimes moved, sometimes stand still, we
measure not its motion only, but also its standing still, by time; and
we say, "It stood still as much as it moved;" or, "It stood still
twice or thrice as long as it moved;" and if any other space which our
measuring hath either determined or imagined, more or less, as we are
accustomed to say. Time, therefore, is not the motion of a body.
Chapter XXV.--He Calls on God to Enlighten His Mind.
32. And I confess unto Thee, O Lord, that I am as yet ignorant as to
what time is, and again I confess unto Thee, O Lord, that I know that
I speak these things in time, and that I have already long spoken of
time, and that very "long" is not long save by the stay of time. How,
then, know I this, when I know not what time is? Or is it, perchance,
that I know not in what wise I may express what I know? Alas for me,
that I do not at least know the extent of my own ignorance! Behold, O
my God, before Thee I lie not. As I speak, so is my heart. Thou shalt
light my candle; Thou, O Lord my God, wilt enlighten my darkness.
 Ps. viii. 28.
Chapter XXVI.--We Measure Longer Events by Shorter in Time.
33. Doth not my soul pour out unto Thee truly in confession that I do
measure times? But do I thus measure, O my God, and know not what I
measure? I measure the motion of a body by time; and the time itself
do I not measure? But, in truth, could I measure the motion of a body,
how long it is, and how long it is in coming from this place to that,
unless I should measure the time in which it is moved? How, therefore,
do I measure this very time itself? Or do we by a shorter time measure
a longer, as by the space of a cubit the space of a crossbeam? For
thus, indeed, we seem by the space of a short syllable to measure the
space of a long syllable, and to say that this is double. Thus we
measure the spaces of stanzas by the spaces of the verses, and the
spaces of the verses by the spaces of the feet, and the spaces of the
feet by the spaces of the syllables, and the spaces of long by the
spaces of short syllables; not measuring by pages (for in that manner
we measure spaces, not times), but when in uttering the words they
pass by, and we say, "It is a long stanza because it is made up of so
many verses; long verses, because they consist of so many feet; long
feet, because they are prolonged by so many syllables; a long
syllable, because double a short one." But neither thus is any certain
measure of time obtained; since it is possible that a shorter verse,
if it be pronounced more fully, may take up more time than a longer
one, if pronounced more hurriedly. Thus for a stanzas, thus for a
foot, thus for a syllable. Whence it appeared to me that time is
nothing else than protraction; but of what I know not. It is wonderful
to me, if it be not of the mind itself. For what do I measure, I
beseech Thee, O my God, even when I say either indefinitely, "This
time is longer than that;" or even definitely, "This is double that?"
That I measure time, I know. But I measure not the future, for it is
not yet; nor do I measure the present, because it is extended by no
space; nor do I measure the past, because it no longer is. What,
therefore, do I measure? Is it times passing, not past? For thus had I
Chapter XXVII.--Times are Measured in Proportion as They Pass by.
34. Persevere, O my mind, and give earnest heed. od is our helper; He
made us, and not we ourselves.  Give heed, where truth dawns.
Lo, suppose the voice of a body begins to sound, and does sound, and
sounds on, and lo! it ceases,--it is now silence, and that voice is
past and is no longer a voice. It was future before it sounded, and
could not be measured, because as yet it was not; and now it cannot,
because it no longer is. Then, therefore, while it was sounding, it
might, because there was then that which might be measured. But even
then it did not stand still, for it was going and passing away. Could
it, then, on that account be measured the more? For, while passing, it
was being extended into some space of time, in which it might be
measured, since the present hath no space. If, therefore, then it
might be measured, lo! suppose another voice hath begun to sound, and
still soundeth, in a continued tenor without any interruption, we can
measure it while it is sounding; for when it shall have ceased to
sound, it will be already past, and there will not be that which can
be measured. Let us measure it truly, and let us say how much it is.
But as yet it sounds, nor can it be measured, save from that instant
in which it began to sound, even to the end in which it left off. For
the interval itself we measure from some beginning unto some end. On
which account, a voice which is not yet ended cannot be measured, so
that it may be said how long or how short it may be; nor can it be
said to be equal to another, or single or double in respect of it, or
the like. But when it is ended, it no longer is. In what manner,
therefore, may it be measured? And yet we measure times; still not
those which as yet are not, nor those which no longer are, nor those
which are protracted by some delay, nor those which have no limits.
We, therefore, measure neither future times, nor past, nor present,
nor those passing by; and yet we do measure times.
35. Deus Creator omnium; this verse of eight syllables alternates
between short and long syllables. The four short, then, the first,
third, fifth and seventh, are single in respect of the four long, the
second, fourth, sixth, and eighth. Each of these hath a double time to
every one of those. I pronounce them, report on them, and thus it is,
as is perceived by common sense. By common sense, then, I measure a
long by a short syllable, and I find that it has twice as much. But
when one sounds after another, if the former be short the latter long,
how shall I hold the short one, and how measuring shall I apply it to
the long, so that I may find out that this has twice as much, when
indeed the long does not begin to sound unless the short leaves off
sounding? That very long one I measure not as present, since I measure
it not save when ended. But its ending is its passing away. What,
then, is it that I can measure? Where is the short syllable by which I
measure? Where is the long one which I measure? Both have sounded,
have flown, have passed away, and are no longer; and still I measure,
and I confidently answer (so far as is trusted to a practised sense),
that as to space of time this syllable is single, that double. Nor
could I do this, unless because they have past, and are ended.
Therefore do I not measure themselves, which now are not, but
something in my memory, which remains fixed.
36. In thee, O my mind, I measure times.  Do not overwhelm me
with thy clamour. That is, do not overwhelm thyself with the multitude
of thy impressions. In thee, I say, I measure times; the impression
which things as they pass by make on thee, and which, when they have
passed by, remains, that I measure as time present, not those things
which have passed by, that the impression should be made. This I
measure when I measure times. Either, then, these are times, or I do
not measure times. What when we measure silence, and say that this
silence hath lasted as long as that voice lasts? Do we not extend our
thought to the measure of a voice, as if it sounded, so that we may be
able to declare something concerning the intervals of silence in a
given space of time? For when both the voice and tongue are still, we
go over in thought poems and verses, and any discourse, or dimensions
of motions; and declare concerning the spaces of times, how much this
may be in respect of that, not otherwise than if uttering them we
should pronounce them. Should any one wish to utter a lengthened
sound, and had with forethought determined how long it should be, that
man hath in silence verily gone through a space of time, and,
committing it to memory, he begins to utter that speech, which sounds
until it be extended to the end proposed; truly it hath sounded, and
will sound. For what of it is already finished hath verily sounded,
but what remains will sound; and thus does it pass on, until the
present intention carry over the future into the past; the past
increasing by the diminution of the future, until, by the consumption
of the future, all be past.
 Ps. c. 3.
 With the argument in this and the previous sections, compare
Dr. Reid's remarks in his Intellectual Powers, iii. 5: "We may measure
duration by the succession of thoughts in the mind, as we measure
length by inches or feet, but the notion or idea of duration must be
antecedent to the mensuration of it, as the notion of length is
antecedent to its being measured....Reason, from the contemplation of
finite extended things, leads us necessarily to the belief of an
immensity that contains them. In like manner, memory gives us the
conception and belief of finite intervals of duration. From the
contemplation of these, reason leads us necessarily to the belief of
an eternity, which comprehends all things that have a beginning and an
end." The student will with advantage examine a monograph on this
subject by C. Fortlage, entitled, Aurelii Augustini doctrina de
tempore ex libro xi. Confessionum depromta, Aristotelicæ, Kantianæ,
aliarumque theoriarium recensione aucta, et congruis hodiernæ
philosophiæ ideis amplificata (Heidelbergæ, 1836). He says that
amongst all the philosophers none have so nearly approached truth as
Chapter XXVIII.--Time in the Human Mind, Which Expects, Considers, and
37. But how is that future diminished or consumed which as yet is not?
Or how doth the past, which is no longer, increase, unless in the mind
which enacteth this there are three things done? For it both expects,
and considers, and remembers, that that which it expecteth, through
that which it considereth, may pass into that which it remembereth.
Who, therefore, denieth that future things as yet are not? But yet
there is already in the mind the expectation of things future. And who
denies that past things are now no longer? But, however, there is
still in the mind the memory of things past. And who denies that time
present wants space, because it passeth away in a moment? But yet our
consideration endureth, through which that which may be present may
proceed to become absent. Future time, which is not, is not therefore
long; but a "long future" is "a long expectation of the future." Nor
is time past, which is now no longer, long; but a long past is "a long
memory of the past."
38. I am about to repeat a psalm that I know. Before I begin, my
attention is extended to the whole; but when I have begun, as much of
it as becomes past by my saying it is extended in my memory; and the
life of this action of mine is divided between my memory, on account
of what I have repeated, and my expectation, on account of what I am
about to repeat; yet my consideration is present with me, through
which that which was future may be carried over so that it may become
past. Which the more it is done and repeated, by so much (expectation
being shortened) the memory is enlarged, until the whole expectation
be exhausted, when that whole action being ended shall have passed
into memory. And what takes place in the entire psalm, takes place
also in each individual part of it, and in each individual syllable:
this holds in the longer action, of which that psalm is perchance a
portion; the same holds in the whole life of man, of which all the
actions of man are parts; the same holds in the whole age of the sons
of men, of which all the lives of men are parts.
Chapter XXIX.--That Human Life is a Distraction But that Through the
Mercy of God He Was Intent on the Prize of His Heavenly Calling.
39. But "because Thy loving-kindness is better than life," 
behold, my life is but a distraction,  and Thy right hand upheld
me  in my Lord, the Son of man, the Mediator between Thee,
 The One, and us the many,--in many distractions amid many
things,--that through Him I may apprehend in whom I have been
apprehended, and may be recollected from my old days, following The
One, forgetting the things that are past; and not distracted, but
drawn on,  not to those things which shall be and shall pass
away, but to those things which are before,  not distractedly,
but intently, I follow on for the prize of my heavenly calling, 
where I may hear the voice of Thy praise, and contemplate Thy
delights,  neither coming nor passing away. But now are my years
spent in mourning.  And Thou, O Lord, art my comfort, my Father
everlasting. But I have been divided amid times, the order of which I
know not; and my thoughts, even the inmost bowels of my soul, are
mangled with tumultuous varieties, until I flow together unto Thee,
purged and molten in the fire of Thy love. 
 Ps. lxiii. 3.
 Distentio. It will be observed that there is a play on the word
throughout the section.
 Ps. lxiii. 8.
 1 Tim. ii. 5.
 Non distentus sed extentus. So in Serm. cclv. 6, we have: "Unum
nos extendat, ne multa distendant, et abrumpant ab uno."
 Phil. iii. 13.
 Phil. iii. 14. Many wish to attain the prize who never
earnestly pursue it. And it may be said here in view of the subject of
this book, that there is no stranger delusion than that which
possesses the idle and the worldly as to the influence of time in
ameliorating their condition. They have "good intentions," and hope
that time in the future may do for them what it has not in the past.
But in truth, time merely affords an opportunity for energy and life
to work. To quote that lucid and nervous thinker, Bishop Copleston
(Remains, p. 123): "One of the commonest errors is to regard time as
agent. But in reality time does nothing and is nothing. We use it as a
compendious expression for all those causes which operate slowly and
imperceptibly; but, unless some positive cause is in action, no change
takes place in the lapse of one thousand years; e. g., a drop of water
encased in a cavity of silex."
 Ps. xxvi. 7.
 Ps. xxvii. 4.
 Ps. xxxi. 10.
Chapter XXX.--Again He Refutes the Empty Question, "What Did God
Before the Creation of the World?"
40. And I will be immoveable, and fixed in Thee, in my mould, Thy
truth; nor will I endure the questions of men, who by a penal disease
thirst for more than they can hold, and say, "What did God make before
He made heaven and earth?" Or, "How came it into His mind to make
anything, when He never before made anything?" Grant to them, O Lord,
to think well what they say, and to see that where there is no time,
they can not say "never." What, therefore, He is said "never to have
made," what else is it but to say, that in no time was it made? Let
them therefore see that there could be no time without a created
being,  and let them cease to speak that vanity. Let them also
be extended unto those things which are before,  and understand
that thou, the eternal Creator of all times, art before all times, and
that no times are co-eternal with Thee, nor any creature, even if
there be any creature beyond all times.
 He argues similarly in his De Civ. Dei, xi. 6: "That the world
and time had but one beginning."
 Phil. iii. 13.
Chapter XXXI.--How the Knowledge of God Differs from that of Man.
41. O Lord my God, what is that secret place of Thy mystery, and how
far thence have the consequences of my transgressions cast me? Heal my
eyes, that I may enjoy Thy light. Surely, if there be a mind, so
greatly abounding in knowledge and foreknowledge, to which all things
past and future are so known as one psalm is well known to me, that
mind is exceedingly wonderful, and very astonishing; because whatever
is so past, and whatever is to come of after ages, is no more
concealed from Him than was it hidden from me when singing that psalm,
what and how much of it had been sung from the beginning, what and how
much remained unto the end. But far be it that Thou, the Creator of
the universe, the Creator of souls and bodies,--far be it that Thou
shouldest know all things future and past. Far, far more wonderfully,
and far more mysteriously, Thou knowest them.  For it is not as
the feelings of one singing known things, or hearing a known song,
are--through expectation of future words, and in remembrance of those
that are past--varied, and his senses divided, that anything happeneth
unto Thee, unchangeably eternal, that is, the truly eternal 
Creator of minds. As, then, Thou in the Beginning knewest the heaven
and the earth without any change of Thy knowledge, so in the Beginning
didst Thou make heaven and earth without any distraction of Thy
action.  Let him who understandeth confess unto Thee; and let
him who understandeth not, confess unto Thee. Oh, how exalted art
Thou, and yet the humble in heart are Thy dwelling-place; for Thou
raisest up those that are bowed down,  and they whose exaltation
Thou art fall not.
 Dean Mansel's argument, in his Bampton Lectures, as to our
knowledge of the Infinite, is well worthy of consideration. He refers
to Augustin's views on the subject of this book in note 13 to his
third lecture, and in the text itself says: "The limited character of
all existence which can be conceived as having a continuous duration,
or as made up of successive moments, is so far manifest that it has
been assumed almost as an axiom, by philosophical theologians, that in
the existence of God there is no distinction between past, present,
and future. `In the changes of things,' say Augustin, `there is a past
and a future; in God there is a present, in which neither past nor
future can be.' `Eternity,' says Beethius, `is the perfect possession
of interminable life, and of all that life at once;' and Aquinas,
accepting the definition, adds, `Eternity has no succession, but
exists all together.' But whether this assertion be literally true or
not (and this we have no means of ascertaining), it is clear that such
a mode of existence is altogether inconceivable by us, and that the
words in which it is described represent not thought, but the refusal
to think at all." See notes to xiii. 12, below.
 "With God, indeed, all things are arranged and fixed; and when
He seemeth to act upon sudden motive, He doth nothing but what He
foreknew that He should do from eternity" (Aug. in Ps. cvi. 35). With
this passage may well be compared Dean Mansel's remarks (Bampton
Lectures, lect. vi., and notes 23-25) on the doctrine, that the world
is but a machine and is not under the continual government and
direction of God. See also note 4, on p. 80 and note 2 on p. 136,
 See p. 166, note 2.
 Ps. cxlvi. 8.
He continues his explanation of the first Chapter of Genesis according
to the Septuagint, and by its assistance he argues, especially,
concerning the double heaven, and the formless matter out of which the
whole world may have been created; afterwards of the interpretations
of others not disallowed, and sets forth at great length the sense of
the Holy Scripture.
Chapter I .--The Discovery of Truth is Difficult, But God Has Promised
that He Who Seeks Shall Find.
1. My heart, O Lord, affected by the words of Thy Holy Scripture, is
much busied in this poverty of my life; and therefore, for the most
part, is the want of human intelligence copious in language, because
inquiry speaks more than discovery, and because demanding is longer
than obtaining, and the hand that knocks is more active than the hand
that receives. We hold the promise; who shall break it? "If God be for
us, who can be against us?"  "Ask, and ye shall have; seek, and
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one
that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that
knocketh it shall be opened."  These are Thine own promises; and
who need fear to be deceived where the Truth promiseth?
 Rom. viii. 31.
 Matt. vii. 7, 8.
Chapter II.--Of the Double Heaven,--The Visible, and the Heaven of
2. The weakness of my tongue confesseth unto Thy Highness, seeing that
Thou madest heaven and earth. This heaven which I see, and this earth
upon which I tread (from which is this earth that I carry about me),
Thou hast made. But where is that heaven of heavens,  O Lord, of
which we hear in the words of the Psalm, The heaven of heavens are the
Lord's, but the earth hath He given to the children of men? 
Where is the heaven, which we behold not, in comparison of which all
this, which we behold, is earth? For this corporeal whole, not as a
whole everywhere, hath thus received its beautiful figure in these
lower parts, of which the bottom is our earth; but compared with that
heaven of heavens, even the heaven of our earth is but earth; yea,
each of these great bodies is not absurdly called earth, as compared
with that, I know not what manner of heaven, which is the Lord's, not
the sons' of men.
 That is, not the atmosphere which surrounds the earth, as when
we say, "the birds of heaven" (Jer. iv. 25), "the dew of heaven" (Gen.
xxvii. 28); nor that "firmament of heaven" (Gen. i. 17) in which the
stars have their courses; nor both these together; but that "third
heaven" to which Paul was "caught up" (2 Cor. xii. 1) in his rapture,
and where God most manifests His glory, and the angels do Him homage.
 Ps. cxv. 16, after the LXX., Vulgate, and Syriac.
Chapter III.--Of the Darkness Upon the Deep, and of the Invisible and
3. And truly this earth was invisible and formless,  and there
was I know not what profundity of the deep upon which there was no
light,  because it had no form. Therefore didst Thou command
that it should be written, that darkness was upon the face of the
deep; what else was it than the absence of light?  For had there
been light, where should it have been save by being above all, showing
itself aloft, and enlightening? Darkness therefore was upon it,
because the light above was absent; as silence is there present where
sound is not. And what is it to have silence there, but not to have
sound there? Hast not Thou, O Lord, taught this soul which confesseth
unto Thee? Hast not Thou taught me, O Lord, that before Thou didst
form and separate this formless matter, there was nothing, neither
colour, nor figure, nor body, nor spirit? Yet not altogether nothing;
there was a certain formlessness without any shape.
 Gen. i. 2, as rendered by the Old Ver. from the LXX.: aoratos
kai akataskeuastos. Kalisch in his Commentary translates T+¹H+W+u
W+oB+¹H+W+u: "dreariness and emptiness."
 The reader should keep in mind in reading what follows the
Manichæan doctrine as to the kingdom of light and darkness. See notes,
pp. 68 and 103, above.
 Compare De Civ. Dei, xi. 9, 10.
Chapter IV.--From the Formlessness of Matter, the Beautiful World Has
4. What, then, should it be called, that even in some ways it might be
conveyed to those of duller mind, save by some conventional word? But
what, in all parts of the world, can be found nearer to a total
formlessness than the earth and the deep? For, from their being of the
lowest position, they are less beautiful than are the other higher
parts, all transparent and shining. Why, therefore, may I not consider
the formlessness of matter--which Thou hadst created without shape,
whereof to make this shapely world--to be fittingly intimated unto men
by the name of earth invisible and formless?
Chapter V.--What May Have Been the Form of Matter.
5. So that when herein thought seeketh what the sense may arrive at,
and saith to itself, "It is no intelligible form, such as life or
justice, because it is the matter of bodies; nor perceptible by the
senses, because in the invisible and formless there is nothing which
can be seen and felt;--while human thought saith these things to
itself, it may endeavour either to know it by being ignorant, or by
knowing it to be ignorant.
Chapter VI.--He Confesses that at One Time He Himself Thought
Erroneously of Matter.
6. But were I, O Lord, by my mouth and by my pen to confess unto Thee
the whole, whatever Thou hast taught me concerning that matter, the
name of which hearing beforehand, and not understanding (they who
could not understand it telling me of it), I conceived  it as
having innumerable and varied forms. And therefore did I not conceive
it; my mind revolved in disturbed order foul and horrible "forms," but
yet "forms;" and I called it formless, not that it lacked form, but
because it had such as, did it appear, my mind would turn from, as
unwonted and incongruous, and at which human weakness would be
disturbed. But even that which I did conceive was formless, not by the
privation of all form, but in comparison of more beautiful forms; and
true reason persuaded me that I ought altogether to remove from it all
remnants of any form whatever, if I wished to conceive matter wholly
without form; and I could not. For sooner could I imagine that that
which should be deprived of all form was not at all, than conceive
anything between form and nothing,--neither formed, nor nothing,
formless, nearly nothing. And my mind hence ceased to question my
spirit, filled (as it was) with the images of formed bodies, and
changing and varying them according to its will; and I applied myself
to the bodies themselves, and looked more deeply into their
mutability, by which they cease to be what they had been, and begin to
be what they were not; and this same transit from form unto form I
have looked upon to be through some formless condition, not through a
very nothing; but I desired to know, not to guess. And if my voice and
my pen should confess the whole unto Thee, whatsoever knots Thou hast
untied for me concerning this question, who of my readers would endure
to take in the whole? Nor yet, therefore, shall my heart cease to give
Thee honour, and a song of praise, for those things which it is not
able to express. For the mutability of mutable things is itself
capable of all those forms into which mutable things are changed. And
this mutability, what is it? Is it soul? Is it body? Is it the outer
appearance of soul or body? Could it be said, "Nothing were
something," and "That which is, is not," I would say that this were
it; and yet in some manner was it already, since it could receive
these visible and compound shapes.
 See iii. sec. 11, and p. 103, note, above.
Chapter VII.--Out of Nothing God Made Heaven and Earth.
7. And whence and in what manner was this, unless from Thee, from whom
are all things, in so far as they are? But by how much the farther
from Thee, so much the more unlike unto Thee; for it is not distance
of place. Thou, therefore, O Lord, who art not one thing in one place,
and otherwise in another, but the Self-same, and the Self-same, and
the Self-same,  Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, didst in
the beginning,  which is of Thee, in Thy Wisdom, which was born
of Thy Substance, create something, and that out of nothing. 
For Thou didst create heaven and earth, not out of Thyself, for then
they would be equal to Thine Only-begotten, and thereby even to Thee;
 and in no wise would it be right that anything should be equal
to Thee which was not of Thee. And aught else except Thee there was
not whence Thou mightest create these things, O God, One Trinity, and
Trine Unity; and, therefore, out of nothing didst Thou create heaven
and earth,--a great thing and a small,because Thou art Almighty and
Good, to make all things good, even the great heaven and the small
earth. Thou wast, and there was nought else from which Thou didst
create heaven and earth; two such things, one near unto Thee, the
other near to nothing,  --one to which Thou shouldest be
superior, the other to which nothing should be inferior.
 See ix. sec. 11, above.
 See p. 166, note, above.
 See p. 165, note 2, above.
 In the beginning of sec. 10, book xi. of his De Civ. Dei, he
similarly argues that the world was, not like the Son, "begotten of
the simple good," but "created." See also note 8, p. 76, above.
 "Because at the first creation, it had no form nor thing in
Chapter VIII.--Heaven and Earth Were Made "In the Beginning;"
Afterwards the World, During Six Days, from Shapeless Matter.
8. But that heaven of heavens was for Thee, O Lord; but the earth,
which Thou hast given to the sons of men,  to be seen and
touched, was not such as now we see and touch. For it was invisible
and "without form,"  and there was a deep over which there was
not light; or, darkness was over the deep, that is, more than in the
deep. For this deep of waters, now visible, has, even in its depths, a
light suitable to its nature, perceptible in some manner unto fishes
and creeping things in the bottom of it. But the entire deep was
almost nothing, since hitherto it was altogether formless; yet there
was then that which could be formed. For Thou, O Lord, hast made the
world of a formless matter, which matter, out of nothing, Thou hast
made almost nothing, out of which to make those great things which we,
sons of men, wonder at. For very wonderful is this corporeal heaven,
of which firmament, between water and water, the second day after the
creation of light, Thou saidst, Let it be made, and it was made.
 Which firmament Thou calledst heaven, that is, the heaven of
this earth and sea, which Thou madest on the third day, by giving a
visible shape to the formless matter which Thou madest before all
days. For even already hadst Thou made a heaven before all days, but
that was the heaven of this heaven; because in the beginning Thou
hadst made heaven and earth. But the earth itself which Thou hadst
made was formless matter, because it was invisible and without form,
and darkness was upon the deep. Of which invisible and formless earth,
of which formlessness, of which almost nothing, Thou mightest make all
these things of which this changeable world consists, and yet
consisteth not; whose very changeableness appears in this, that times
can be observed and numbered in it. Because times are made by the
changes of things, while the shapes, whose matter is the invisible
earth aforesaid, are varied and turned.
 Ps. cxv. 16.
 Gen. i. 2.
 Gen. i. 6-8.
Chapter IX.--That the Heaven of Heavens Was an Intellectual Creature,
But that the Earth Was Invisible and Formless Before the Days that It
9. And therefore the Spirit, the Teacher of Thy servant  when He
relates that Thou didst in the Beginning create heaven and earth, is
silent as to times, silent as to days. For, doubtless, that heaven of
heavens, which Thou in the Beginning didst create, is some
intellectual creature, which, although in no wise co-eternal unto
Thee, the Trinity, is yet a partaker of Thy eternity, and by reason of
the sweetness of that most happy contemplation of Thyself, doth
greatly restrain its own mutability, and without any failure, from the
time in which it was created, in clinging unto Thee, surpasses all the
rolling change of times. But this shapelessness--this earth invisible
and without form--has not itself been numbered among the days. For
where there is no shape nor order, nothing either cometh or goeth; and
where this is not, there certainly are no days, nor any vicissitude of
spaces of times.
 Of Moses.
Chapter X.--He Begs of God that He May Live in the True Light, and May
Be Instructed as to the Mysteries of the Sacred Books.
10. Oh, let Truth, the light of my heart,  not my own darkness,
speak unto me! I have descended to that, and am darkened. But thence,
even thence, did I love Thee. I went astray, and remembered Thee. I
heard Thy voice behind me bidding me return, and scarcely did I hear
it for the tumults of the unquiet ones. And now, behold, I return
burning and panting after Thy fountain. Let no one prohibit me; of
this will I drink, and so have life. Let me not be my own life; from
myself have I badly lived,--death was I unto myself; in Thee do I
revive. Do Thou speak unto me; do Thou discourse unto me. In Thy books
have I believed, and their words are very deep. 
 See note 2, p. 76, above.
 As Gregory the Great has it, Revelation is a river broad and
deep, "In quo et agnus ambulet, et elephas natet." And these deep
things of God are to be learned only by patient searching. We must,
says St. Chrysostom (De Prec. serm. ii.), dive down into the sea as
those who would fetch up pearls from its depths. The very
mysteriousness of Scripture is, doubtless, intended by God to
stimulate us to search the Scriptures, and to strengthen our spiritual
insight (Enar. in Ps. cxlvi. 6). See also, p. 48, note 5; p. 164, note
2, above; and the notes on pp. 370, 371, below.
Chapter XI.--What May Be Discovered to Him by God.
11. Already hast Thou told me, O Lord, with a strong voice, in my
inner ear, that Thou art eternal, having alone immortality. 
Since Thou art not changed by any shape or motion, nor is Thy will
altered by times, because no will which changes is immortal. This in
Thy sight is clear to me, and let it become more and more clear, I
beseech Thee; and in that manifestation let me abide more soberly
under Thy wings. Likewise hast Thou said to me, O Lord, with a strong
voice, in my inner ear, that Thou hast made all natures and
substances, which are not what Thou Thyself art, and yet they are; and
that only is not from Thee which is not, and the motion of the will
from Thee who art, to that which in a less degree is, because such
motion is guilt and sin;  and that no one's sin doth either hurt
Thee, or disturb the order of Thy rule,  either first or last.
This, in Thy sight, is clear to me and let it become more and more
clear, I beseech Thee; and in that manifestation let me abide more
soberly under Thy wings.
12. Likewise hast Thou said to me, with a strong voice, in my inner
ear, that that creature, whose will Thou alone art, is not co-eternal
unto Thee, and which, with a most persevering purity  drawing
its support from Thee, doth, in place and at no time, put forth its
own mutability;  and Thyself being ever present with it, unto
whom with its entire affection it holds itself, having no future to
expect nor conveying into the past what it remembereth, is varied by
no change, nor extended into any times.  O blessed one,--if any
such there be,--in clinging unto Thy Blessedness; blest in Thee, its
everlasting Inhabitant and its Enlightener! Nor do I find what the
heaven of heavens, which is the Lord's, can be better called than
Thine house, which contemplateth Thy delight without any defection of
going forth to another; a pure mind, most peacefully one, by that
stability of peace of holy spirits,  the citizens of Thy city
"in the heavenly places," above these heavenly places which are seen.
13. Whence the soul, whose wandering has been made far away, may
understand, if now she thirsts for Thee, if now her tears have become
bread to her, while it is daily said unto her "Where is thy God?"
 if she now seeketh of Thee one thing, and desireth that she may
dwell in Thy house all the days of her life.  And what is her
life but Thee? And what are Thy days but Thy eternity, as Thy years
which fail not, because Thou art the same? Hence, therefore, can the
soul, which is able, understand how far beyond all times Thou art
eternal; when Thy house, which has not wandered from Thee, although it
be not co-eternal with Thee, yet by continually and unfailingly
clinging unto Thee, suffers no vicissitude of times. This in Thy sight
is clear unto me, and may it become more and more clear unto me, I
beseech Thee; and in this manifestation may I abide more soberly under
14. Behold, I know not what shapelessness there is in those changes of
these last and lowest creatures. And who shall tell me, unless it be
some one who, through the emptiness of his own heart, wanders and is
staggered by his own fancies? Who, unless such a one, would tell me
that (all figure being diminished and consumed), if the formlessness
only remain, through which the thing was changed and was turned from
one figure into another, that that can exhibit the changes of times?
For surely it could not be, because without the change of motions
times are not, and there is no change where there is no figure.
 1 Tim. vi. 16.
 For Augustin's view of evil as a "privation of good," see p.
64, note 1, above, and with it compare vii. sec. 22, above; Con.
Secundin. c. 12; and De Lib. Arb. ii. 53. Parker, in his Theism,
Atheism, etc. p. 119, contends that God Himself must in some way be
the author of evil, and a similar view is maintained by
Schleiermacher, Christliche Glaube, sec. 80.
 See ii. sec. 13, and v. sec. 2, notes 4, 9, above.
 See iv. sec. 3, and note 1, above.
 See sec. 19, below.
 See xi. sec. 38, above, and sec. 18, below.
 See xiii. sec. 50, below.
 Eph. i. 20, etc.
 Ps. xlii. 2, 3, 10.
 Ps. xxvii. 4.
Chapter XII.--From the Formless Earth God Created Another Heaven and a
Visible and Formed Earth.
15. Which things considered as much as Thou givest, O my God, as much
as Thou excitest me to "knock," and as much as Thou openest unto me
when I knock,  two things I find which Thou hast made, not
within the compass of time, since neither is co-eternal with Thee.
One, which is so formed that, without any failing of contemplation,
without any interval of change, although changeable, yet not changed,
it may fully enjoy Thy eternity and unchangeableness; the other, which
was so formless, that it had not that by which it could be changed
from one form into another, either of motion or of repose, whereby it
might be subject unto time. But this Thou didst not leave to be
formless, since before all days, in the beginning Thou createdst
heaven and earth,--these two things of which I spoke. But the earth
was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep. 
By which words its shapelessness is conveyed unto us, that by degrees
those minds may be drawn on which cannot wholly conceive the privation
of all form without coming to nothing,--whence another heaven might be
created, and another earth visible and well-formed, and water
beautifully ordered, and whatever besides is, in the formation of this
world, recorded to have been, not without days, created; because such
things are so that in them the vicissitudes of times may take place,
on account of the appointed changes of motions and of forms. 
 Matt. vii. 7.
 Gen. i. 2.
 See end of sec. 40, below.
Chapter XIII.--Of the Intellectual Heaven and Formless Earth, Out of
Which, on Another Day, the Firmament Was Formed.
16. Meanwhile I conceive this, O my God, when I hear Thy Scripture
speak, saying, In the beginning God made heaven and earth; but the
earth was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep,
and not stating on what day Thou didst create these things. Thus,
meanwhile, do I conceive, that it is on account of that heaven of
heavens, that intellectual heaven, where to understand is to know all
at once,--not "in part," not "darkly," not "through a glass," 
but as a whole, in manifestation, "face to face;" not this thing now,
that anon, but (as has been said) to know at once without any change
of times; and on account of the invisible and formless earth, without
any change of times; which change is wont to have "this thing now,
that anon," because, where there is no form there can be no
distinction between "this" or "that;"--it is, then, on account of
these two,--a primitively formed, and a wholly formless; the one
heaven, but the heaven of heavens, the other earth, but the earth
invisible and formless;--on account of these two do I meanwhile
conceive that Thy Scripture said without mention of days, "In the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth." For immediately it
added of what earth it spake. And when on the second day the firmament
is recorded to have been created, and called heaven, it suggests to us
of which heaven He spake before without mention of days.
 1 Cor. xiii. 12.
Chapter XIV.--Of the Depth of the Sacred Scripture, and Its Enemies.
17. Wonderful is the depth of Thy oracles, whose surface is before us,
inviting the little ones; and yet wonderful is the depth, O my God,
wonderful is the depth.  It is awe to look into it; and awe of
honour, and a tremor of love. The enemies thereof I hate vehemently.
 Oh, if Thou wouldest slay them with Thy two-edged sword, 
that they be not its enemies! For thus do I love, that they should be
slain unto themselves that they may live unto Thee. But behold others
not reprovers, but praisers of the book of Genesis,--"The Spirit of
God," say they, "Who by His servant Moses wrote these things, willed
not that these words should be thus understood. He willed not that it
should be understood as Thou sayest, but as we say." Unto whom, O God
of us all, Thyself being Judge, do I thus answer.
 See p. 112, note 2, and p. 178, note 2, above. See also Trench,
Hulsean Lectures (1845), lect. 6, "The Inexhaustibility of Scripture."
 Ps. cxxxix. 21.
 Ps. cxlix. 6. He refers to the Manichæans (see p. 71, note l).
In his comment on this place, he interprets the "two-edged sword" to
mean the Old and New Testament, called two-edged, he says, because it
speaks of things temporal and eternal.
Chapter XV.--He Argues Against Adversaries Concerning the Heaven of
18. "Will you say that these things are false, which, with a strong
voice, Truth tells me in my inner ear, concerning the very eternity of
the Creator, that His substance is in no wise changed by time, nor
that His will is separate from His substance? Wherefore, He willeth
not one thing now, another anon, but once and for ever He willeth all
things that He willeth; not again and again, nor now this, now that;
nor willeth afterwards what He willeth not before, nor willeth not
what before He willed. Because such a will is mutable and no mutable
thing is eternal; but our God is eternal.  Likewise He tells me,
tells me in my inner ear, that the expectation of future things is
turned to sight when they have come; and this same sight is turned to
memory when they have passed. Moreover, all thought which is thus
varied is mutable, and nothing mutable is eternal; but our God is
eternal." These things I sum up and put together, and I find that my
God, the eternal God, hath not made any creature by any new will, nor
that His knowledge suffereth anything transitory.
19. What, therefore, will ye say, ye objectors? Are these things
false? "No," they say. "What is this? Is it false, then, that every
nature already formed, or matter formable, is only from Him who is
supremely good, because He is supreme? . . . . Neither do we deny
this," say they. "What then? Do you deny this, that there is a certain
sublime creature, clinging with so chaste a love with the true and
truly eternal God, that although it be not co-eternal with Him, yet it
separateth itself not from Him, nor floweth into any variety and
vicissitude of times, but resteth in the truest contemplation of Him
only?" Since Thou, O God, showest Thyself unto him, and sufficest him,
who loveth Thee as much as Thou commandest, and, therefore, he
declineth not from Thee, nor toward himself.  This is the house
of God,  not earthly, nor of any celestial bulk corporeal, but a
spiritual house and a partaker of Thy eternity, because without
blemish for ever. For Thou hast made it fast for ever and ever; Thou
hast given it a law, which it shall not pass.  Nor yet is it
co-eternal with Thee, O God, because not without beginning, for it was
20. For although we find no time before it, for wisdom was created
before all things,  --not certainly that Wisdom manifestly
co-eternal and equal unto Thee, our God, His Father, and by Whom all
things were created, and in Whom, as the Beginning, Thou createdst
heaven and earth; but truly that wisdom which has been created,
namely, the intellectual nature,  which, in the contemplation of
light, is light. For this, although created, is also called wisdom.
But as great as is the difference between the Light which enlighteneth
and that which is enlightened,  so great is the difference
between the Wisdom that createth and that which hath been created; as
between the Righteousness which justifieth, and the righteousness
which has been made by justification. For we also are called Thy
righteousness; for thus saith a certain servant of Thine: "That we
might be made the righteousness of God in Him."  Therefore,
since a certain created wisdom was created before all things, the
rational and intellectual mind of that chaste city of Thine, our
mother which is above, and is free,  and "eternal in the
heavens"  (in what heavens, unless in those that praise Thee,
the "heaven of heavens,"  because this also is the "heaven of
heavens," which is the Lord's)--although we find not time before it,
because that which hath been created before all things also precedeth
the creature of time, yet is the Eternity of the Creator Himself
before it, from Whom, having been created, it took the beginning,
although not of time,--for time as yet was not,--yet of its own very
21. Hence comes it so to be of Thee, our God, as to be manifestly
another than Thou, and not the Self-same.  Since, although we
find time not only not before it, but not in it (it being proper ever
to behold Thy face, nor is ever turned aside from it, wherefore it
happens that it is varied by no change), yet is there in it that
mutability itself whence it would become dark and cold, but that,
clinging unto Thee with sublime love, it shineth and gloweth from Thee
like a perpetual noon. O house, full of light and splendour! I have
loved thy beauty, and the place of the habitation of the glory of my
Lord,  thy builder and owner. Let my wandering sigh after thee;
and I speak unto Him that made thee, that He may possess me also in
thee, seeing He hath made me likewise. "I have gone astray, like a
lost sheep;"  yet upon the shoulders of my Sheperd,  thy
builder, I hope that I may be brought back to thee.
22. "What say ye to me, O ye objectors whom I was addressing, and who
yet believe that Moses was the holy servant of God, and that his books
were the oracles of the Holy Ghost? Is not this house of God, not
indeed co-eternal with God, yet, according to its measure, eternal in
the heavens,  where in vain you seek for changes of times,
because you will not find them? For that surpasseth all extension, and
every revolving space of time, to which it is ever good to cleave fast
to God."  "It is," say they. "What, therefore, of those things
which my heart cried out unto my God, when within it heard the voice
of His praise, what then do you contend is false? Or is it because the
matter was formless, wherein, as there was no form, there was no
order? But where there was no order there could not be any change of
times; and yet this `almost nothing,' inasmuch as it was not
altogether nothing, was verily from Him, from Whom is whatever is, in
what state soever anything is." "This also," say they, "we do not
 See xi. sec. 41, above.
 In his De Vera Relig. c. 13, he says: "We must confess that the
angels are in their nature mutable as God is Immutable. Yet by that
will with which they love God more than themselves, they remain firm
and staple in Him, and enjoy His majesty, being most willingly subject
to Him alone."
 In his Con. Adv. Leg. et Proph. i. 2, he speaks of all who are
holy, whether angels or men, as being God's dwelling-place.
 Ps. cxlviii. 6.
 Ecclus. i. 4.
 "Pet. Lombard. lib. sent. 2, dist. 2, affirms that by Wisdom,
Ecclus. i. 4, the angels be understood, the whole spiritual
intellectual nature; namely, this highest heaven, in which the angels
were created, and it by them instantly filled."--W. W.
 On God as the Father of Lights, see p. 76, note 2. In addition
to the references there given, compare in Ev. Joh. Tract. ii. sec. 7;
xiv. secs. 1, 2; and xxxv. sec. 3. See also p. 373, note, below.
 2 Cor. v. 21.
 Gal. iv. 26.
 2 Cor. v. 1.
 Ps. cxlviii. 4.
 Against the Manichæans. See iv. sec. 26, and part 2 of note on
p. 76, above.
 Ps. xxvi. 8.
 Ps. cxix. 176.
 Luke xv. 5.
 2 Cor. v. l.
 Ps. lxxiii. 28.
Chapter XVI.--He Wishes to Have No Intercourse with Those Who Deny
23. With such as grant that all these things which Thy truth indicates
to my mind are true, I desire to confer a little before Thee, O my
God. For let those who deny these things bark and drown their own
voices with their clamour as much as they please; I will endeavour to
persuade them to be quiet, and to suffer Thy word to reach them. But
should they be unwilling, and should they repel me, I beseech, O my
God, that Thou "be not silent to me."  Do Thou speak truly in my
heart, for Thou only so speakest, and I will send them away blowing
upon the dust from without, and raising it up into their own eyes; and
will myself enter into my chamber,  and sing there unto Thee
songs of love,--groaning with groaning unutterable  in my
pilgrimage, and remembering Jerusalem, with heart raised up towards
it,  Jerusalem my country, Jerusalem my mother, and Thyself, the
Ruler over it, the Enlightener, the Father, the Guardian, the Husband,
the chaste and strong delight, the solid joy, and all good things
ineffable, even all at the same time, because the one supreme and true
Good. And I will not be turned away until Thou collect all that I am,
from this dispersion  and deformity, into the peace of that very
dear mother, where are the first-fruits of my spirit,  whence
these things are assured to me, and Thou conform and confirm it for
ever, my God, my Mercy. But with reference to those who say not that
all these things which are true and false, who honour Thy Holy
Scripture set forth by holy Moses, placing it, as with us, on the
summit of an authority  to be followed, and yet who contradict
us in some particulars, I thus speak: Be Thou, O our God, judge
between my confessions and their contradictions.
 Ps. xxviii. 1.
 Isa. xxvi. 20.
 Rom. viii. 26.
 Baxter has a noteworthy passage on our heavenly citizenship in
his Saints' Rest: "As Moses, before he died, went up into Mount Nebo,
to take a survey of the land of Canaan, so the Christian ascends the
Mount of Contemplation, and by faith surveys his rest....As Daniel in
his captivity daily opened his window towards Jerusalem, though far
out of sight, when he went to God in his devotions, so may the
believing soul, in this captivity of the flesh, look towards
`Jerusalem which is above' (Gal. iv. 26). And as Paul was to the
Colossians (ii. 5) so may the believer be with the glorified spirits,
`though absent in the flesh,' yet with them `in the spirit,' joying
and beholding their heavenly `order.' And as the lark sweetly sings
while she soars on high, but is suddenly silenced when she falls to
the earth, so is the frame of the soul most delightful and divine
while it keeps in the views of God by contemplation. Alas, we make
there too short a stay, fall down again, and lay by our music!"
(Fawcett's Ed. p. 327).
 See ii. sec. 1; ix. sec. 10; x. sec. 40, note; ibid. sec. 65;
and xi. sec. 39, above.
 See ix. sec. 24, above; and xiii. sec. 13, below.
 See p. 118, note 12, above.
Chapter XVII.--He Mentions Five Explanations of the Words of Genesis
24. For they say, "Although these things be true, yet Moses regarded
not those two things, when by divine revelation he said, `In the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth.'  Under the name
of heaven he did not indicate that spiritual or intellectual creature
which always beholds the face of God; nor under the name of earth,
that shapeless matter." "What then?" "That man," say they, "meant as
we say; this it is that he declared by those words." "What is that?"
"By the name of heaven and earth," say they, "did he first wish to set
forth, universally and briefly, all this visible world, that
afterwards by the enumeration of the days he might distribute, as if
in detail, all those things which it pleased the Holy Spirit thus to
reveal. For such men were that rude and carnal people to which he
spoke, that he judged it prudent that only those works of God as were
visible should be entrusted to them." They agree, however, that the
earth invisible and formless, and the darksome deep (out of which it
is subsequently pointed out that all these visible things, which are
known to all, were made and set in order during those "days"), may not
unsuitably be understood of this formless matter.
25. What, now, if another should say "That this same formlessness and
confusion of matter was first introduced under the name of heaven and
earth, because out of it this visible world, with all those natures
which most manifestly appear in it, and which is wont to be called by
the name of heaven and earth, was created and perfected"? But what if
another should say, that "That invisible and visible nature is not
inaptly called heaven and earth; and that consequently the universal
creation, which God in His wisdom hath made,--that is, `in the
begining,'--was comprehended under these two words. Yet, since all
things have been made, not of the substance of God, but out of nothing
 (because they are not that same thing that God is, and there is
in them all a certain mutability, whether they remain, as doth the
eternal house of God, or be changed, as are the soul and body of man),
therefore, that the common matter of all things invisible and
visible,--as yet shapeless, but still capable of form,--out of which
was to be created heaven and earth (that is, the invisible and visible
creature already formed), was spoken of by the same names by which the
earth invisible and formless and the darkness upon the deep would be
called; with this difference, however, that the earth invisible and
formless is understood as corporeal matter, before it had any manner
of form, but the darkness upon the deep as spiritual matter, before it
was restrained at all of its unlimited fluidity, and before the
enlightening of wisdom."
26. Should any man wish, he may still say, "That the already perfected
and formed natures, invisible and visible, are not signified under the
name of heaven and earth when it is read, `In the beginning God
created the heaven and the earth;' but that the yet same formless
beginning of things, the matter capable of being formed and made, was
called by these names, because contained in it there were these
confused things not as yet distinguished by their qualities and forms,
the which now being digested in their own orders, are called heaven
and earth, the former being the spiritual, the latter the corporeal
 Gen. i. 1.
 See p. 165, note 4, above.
Chapter XVIII.--What Error is Harmless in Sacred Scripture.
27. All which things having been heard and considered, I am unwilling
to contend about words,  for that is profitable to nothing but
to the subverting of the hearers.  But the law is good to edify,
if a man use it lawfully;  for the end of it "is charity out of
a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."
 And well did our Master know, upon which two commandments He
hung all the Law and the Prophets.  And what doth it hinder me,
O my God, Thou light of my eyes in secret, while ardently confessing
these things,--since by these words many things may be understood, all
of which are yet true,--what, I say, doth it hinder me, should I think
otherwise of what the writer thought than some other man thinketh?
Indeed, all of us who read endeavour to trace out and to understand
that which he whom we read wished to convey; and as we believe him to
speak truly, we dare not suppose that he has spoken anything which we
either know or suppose to be false. Since, therefore, each person
endeavours to understand in the Holy Scriptures that which the writer
understood, what hurt is it if a man understand what Thou, the light
of all true-speaking minds, dost show him to be true although he whom
he reads understood not this, seeing that he also understood a Truth,
not, however, this Truth?
 See p. 164, note 2, above.
 2 Tim. ii. 14.
 1 Tim. i. 8.
 Ibid. ver. 5.
 Matt. xxii. 40. For he says in his Con. Faust. xvii. 6,
remarking on John i. 17, a text which he often quotes in this
connection: "The law itself by being fulfilled becomes grace and
truth. Grace is the fulfilment of love." And so in ibid. xix. 27 we
read: "From the words, `I came not to destroy the law but to fulfil
it,' we are not to understand that Christ by His precepts filled up
what was wanting in the law; but what the literal command failed in
doing from the pride and disobedience of men is accomplished by
grace....So, the apostle says, `faith worketh by love.'" So, again, we
read in Serm. cxxv.: "Quia venit dare caritatem, et caritas perficit
legem; merito dixit non veni legem solvere sed implere." And hence in
his letter to Jerome (Ep. clxvii. 19), he speaks of the "royal law" as
being "the law of liberty, which is the law of love." See p. 348, note
Chapter XIX.--He Enumerates the Things Concerning Which All Agree.
28. For it is true, O Lord, that Thou hast made heaven and earth; it
is also true, that the Beginning is Thy Wisdom, in Which Thou hast
made all things.  It is likewise true, that this visible world
hath its own great parts, the heaven and the earth, which in a short
compass comprehends all made and created natures. It is also true,
that everything mutable sets before our minds a certain want of form,
whereof it taketh a form, or is changed and turned. It is true, that
that is subject to no times which so cleaveth to the changeless form
as that, though it be mutable, it is not changed. It is true, that the
formlessness, which is almost nothing, cannot have changes, of times.
It is true, that that of which anything is made may by a certain mode
of speech be called by the name of that thing which is made of it;
whence that formlessness of which heaven and earth were made might it
be called "heaven and earth." It is true, that of all things having
form, nothing is nearer to the formless than the earth and the deep.
It is true, that not only every created, and formed thing, but also
whatever is capable of creation and of form, Thou hast made, "by whom
are all things."  It is true, that everything that is formed
from that which is formless was formless before it was formed.
 Ps. civ. 24. See p. 297 note 1, above.
 1 Cor. viii. 6.
Chapter XX.--Of the Words, "In the Beginning," Variously Understood.
29. From all these truths, of which they doubt not whose inner eye
Thou hast granted to see such things, and who immoveably believe
Moses, Thy servant, to have spoken in the spirit of truth; from all
these, then, he taketh one who saith, "In the beginning God created
the heaven and the earth,"--that is, "In His Word, co-eternal with
Himself, God made the intelligible and the sensible, or the spiritual
and corporeal creature." He taketh another, who saith, "In the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth,"--that is, "In His
Word, co-eternal with Himself, God made the universal mass of this
corporeal world, with all those manifest and known natures which it
containeth." He, another, who saith, "In the beginning God created the
heaven and the earth," that is, "In His Word, co-eternal with Himself,
God made the formless matter of the spiritual  and corporeal
creature." He, another, who saith, "In the beginning God created the
heaven and the earth,"--that is, "In His Word, co-eternal with
Himself, God made the formless matter of the corporeal creature,
wherein heaven and earth lay as yet confused, which being now
distinguished and formed, we, at this day, see in the mass of this
world." He, another, who saith, "In the beginning God created heaven
and earth,"--that is, "In the very beginning of creating and working,
God made that formless matter confusedly containing heaven and earth,
out of which, being formed, they now stand out, and are manifest, with
all the things that are in them."
 Augustin, in his letter to Jerome (Ep. clxvi. 4) on "The origin
of the human soul," says: "The soul, whether it be termed material or
immaterial, has a certain nature of its own, created from a substance
superior to the elements of this world." And in his De Gen. ad Lit.
vii. 10, he speaks of the soul being formed from a certain "spiritual
matter," even as flesh was formed from the earth. It should be
observed that at one time Augustin held to the theory that the souls
of infants were created by God out of nothing at each fresh birth, and
only rejected this view for that of its being generated by the parents
with the body under the pressure of the Pelagian controversy. The
first doctrine was generally held by the Schoolmen; and William of
Conches maintained this belief on the authority of
Augustin,--apparently being unaware of any modification in his
opinion: "Cum Augustino," he says (Victor Cousin, Ouvrages ined.
d'Abelard, p. 673), "credo et sentio quotidie novas animas nom ex
traduce non ex aliqua substantia, sed ex nihilo, solo jussu creatoris
creari." Those who held the first-named belief were called Creatiani;
those who held the second, Truduciani. It may be noted as to the word
"Traduciani," that Tertullian, in his De Anima, chaps. 24-27, etc.,
frequently uses the word tradux in this connection. Augustin, in his
Retractations, ii. 45, refers to his letter to Jerome, and urges that
if so obscure a matter is to be discussed at all, that solution only
should be received: "Quæ contraria non sit apertissimis rebus quas de
originati peccato fides catholica novit in parvulis, nisi regenerentur
in Christo, sine dubitatione damnandis." On Tertullian's views, see
Bishop Kays, p. 178, etc.
Chapter XXI.--Of the Explanation of the Words, "The Earth Was
30. And as concerns the understanding of the following words, out of
all those truths he selected one to himself, who saith, "But the earth
was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep,"--that
is, "That corporeal thing, which God made, was as yet the formless
matter of corporeal things, without order, without light." He taketh
another, who saith, "But the earth was invisible and without form, and
darkness was upon the deep,"--that is, "This whole, which is called
heaven and earth, was as yet formless and darksome matter, out of
which the corporeal heaven and the corporeal earth were to be made,
with all things therein which are known to our corporeal senses." He,
another, who saith, "But the earth was invisible and without form, and
darkness was upon the deep,"--that is, "This whole, which is called
heaven and earth, was as yet a formless and darksome matter, out of
which were to be made that intelligible heaven, which is otherwise
called the heaven of heavens, and the earth, namely, the whole
corporeal nature, under which name may also be comprised this
corporeal heaven,--that is, from which every invisible and visible
creature would be created." He, another, who saith, "But the carth was
invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep,"--"The
Scripture called not that formlessness by the name of heaven and
earth, but that formlessness itself," saith he, "already was, which he
named the earth invisible and formless and the darksome deep, of which
he had said before, that God had made the heaven and the earth,
namely, the spiritual and corporeal creature." He, another, who saith,
"But the earth was invisible and formless, and darkness was upon the
deep,"--that is, "There was already a formless matter, whereof the
Scripture before said, that God had made heaven and earth, namely, the
entire corporeal mass of the world, divided into two very great parts,
the superior and the inferior, with all those familiar and known
creatures which are in them."
Chapter XXII.--He Discusses Whether Matter Was from Eternity, or Was
Made by God. 
31. For, should any one endeavour to contend against these last two
opinions, thus,--"If you will not admit that this formlessness of
matter appears to be called by the name of heaven and earth, then
there was something which God had not made out of which He could make
heaven and earth; for Scripture hath not told us that God made this
matter, unless we understand it to be implied in the term of heaven
and earth, or of earth only, when it is said, `In the beginning God
created heaven and earth,' as that which follows, but the earth was
invisible and formless, although it was pleasing to him so to call the
formless matter, we may not yet understand any but that which God made
in that text which hath been already written, `God made heaven and
earth.'" The maintainers of either one or the other of these two
opinions which we have put last will, when they have heard these
things, answer and say, "We deny not indeed that this formless matter
was created by God, the God of whom are all things, very good; for, as
we say that that is a greater good which is created and formed, so we
acknowledge that that is a minor good which is capable of creation and
form, but yet good. But yet the Scripture hath not declared that God
made this formlessness, any more than it hath declared many other
things; as the `Cherubim,' and `Seraphim,'  and those of which
the apostle distinctly speaks, `Thrones,' `Dominions,'
`Principalities,' `Powers,'  all of which it is manifest God
made. Or if in that which is said, `He made heaven and earth,' all
things are comprehended, what do we say of the waters upon which the
Spirit of God moved? For if they are understood as incorporated in the
word earth, how then can formless matter be meant in the term earth
when we see the waters so beautiful? Or if it be so meant, why then is
it written that out of the same formlessness the firmament was made
and called heaven, and yet it is not written that the waters were
made? For those waters, which we perceive flowing in so beautiful a
manner, remain not formless and invisible. But if, then, they received
that beauty when God said, Let the water which is under the firmament
be gathered together,  so that the gathering be the very
formation, what will be answered concerning the waters which are above
the firmament, because if formless they would not have deserved to
receive a seat so honourable, nor is it written by what word they were
formed? If, then, Genesis is silent as to anything that God has made,
which, however, neither sound faith nor unerring understanding
doubteth that God hath made,  let not any sober teaching dare to
say that these waters were co-eternal with God because we find them
mentioned in the book of Genesis; but when they were created, we find
not. Why--truth instructing us--may we not understand that that
formless matter, which the Scripture calls the earth invisible and
without form, and the darksome deep,  have been made by God out
of nothing, and therefore that they are not co-eternal with Him,
although that narrative hath failed to tell when they were made?"
 See xi. sec. 7, and note, above; and xii. sec. 33, and note,
below. See also the subtle reasoning of Dean Mansel (Bampton Lectures,
lect. ii.), on the inconsequence of receiving the idea of the creation
out of nothing on other than Christian principles. And compare
Coleridge, The Friend, iii. 213.
 Isa. vi. 2, and xxxvii. 16.
 Col. i. 16.
 Gen. i. 9.
 See p. 165, note 4, above.
 See p. 176, note 5, above.
Chapter XXIII.--Two Kinds of Disagreements in the Books to Be
32. These things, therefore, being heard and perceived according to my
weakness of apprehension, which I confess unto Thee, O Lord, who
knowest it, I see that two sorts of differences may arise when by
signs anything is related, even by true reporters,--one concerning the
truth of the things, the other concerning the meaning of him who
reports them. For in one way we inquire, concerning the forming of the
creature, what is true; but in another, what Moses, that excellent
servant of Thy faith, would have wished that the reader and hearer
should understand by these words. As for the first kind, let all those
depart from me who imagine themselves to know as true what is false.
And as for the other also, let all depart from me who imagine Moses to
have spoken things that are false. But let me be united in Thee, O
Lord, with them, and in Thee delight myself with them that feed on Thy
truth, in the breadth of charity; and let us approach together unto
the words of Thy book, and in them make search for Thy will, through
the will of Thy servant by whose pen Thou hast dispensed them.
Chapter XXIV.--Out of the Many True Things, It is Not Asserted
Confidently that Moses Understood This or That.
33. But which of us, amid so many truths which occur to inquirers in
these words, understood as they are in different ways, shall so
discover that one interpretation as to confidently say "that Moses
thought this," and "that in that narrative he wished this to be
understood," as confidently as he says "that this is true," whether he
thought this thing or the other? For behold, O my God, I Thy servant,
who in this book have vowed unto Thee a sacrifice of confession, and
beseech Thee that of Thy mercy I may pay my vows unto Thee, 
behold, can I, as I confidently assert that Thou in Thy immutable word
hast created all things, invisible and visible, with equal confidence
assert that Moses meant nothing else than this when he wrote, "In the
beginning God created. the heaven and the earth."  No. Because
it is not as clear to me that this was in his mind when he wrote these
things, as I see it to be certain in Thy truth. For his thoughts might
be set upon the very beginning of the creation when he said, "In the
beginning;" and he might wish it to be understood that, in this place,
"the heaven and the earth" were no formed and perfected nature,
whether spiritual or corporeal, but each of them newly begun, and as
yet formless. Because I see, that which-soever of these had been said,
it might have been said truly; but which of them he may have thought
in these words, I do not so perceive. Although, whether it were one of
these, or some other meaning which has not been mentioned by me, that
this great man saw in his mind when he used these words, I make no
doubt but that he saw it truly, and expressed it suitably.
 Ps. xxii. 25.
 It is curious to note here Fichte's strange idea (Anweisung zum
seligen Leben, Werke, v. 479), that St. John, at the commencement of
his Gospel, in his teaching as to the "Word," intended to confute the
Mosaic statement, which Fichte--since it ran counter to that idea of
"the absolute" which he made the point of departure in his
philosophy--antagonizes as a heathen and Jewish error. On "In the
Beginning," see p. 166, note 2, above.
Chapter XXV.--It Behoves Interpreters, When Disagreeing Concerning
Obscure Places, to Regard God the Author of Truth, and the Rule of
34. Let no one now trouble me by saying, Moses thought not as you say,
but as I say." For should he ask me, "Whence knowest thou that Moses
thought this which you deduce from his words?" I ought to take it
contentedly,  and reply perhaps as I have before, or somewhat
more fully should he be obstinate. But when he says, "Moses meant not
what you say, but what I say," and yet denies not what each of us
says, and that both are true, O my God, life of the poor, in whose
bosom there is no contradiction, pour down into my heart Thy
soothings, that I may patiently bear with such as say this to me; not
because they are divine, and because they have seen in the heart of
Thy servant what they say, but because they are proud, and have not
known the opinion of Moses, but love their own,--not because it is
true, but because it is their own. Otherwise they would equally love
another true opinion, as I love what they say when they speak what is
true; not because it is theirs, but because it is true, and therefore
now not theirs because true. But if they therefore love that because
it is true, it is now both theirs and mine, since it is common to all
the lovers of truth. But because they contend that Moses meant not
what I say, but I what they themselves say, this I neither like nor
love; because, though it were so, yet that rashness is not of
knowledge, but of audacity; and not vision, but vanity brought it
forth. And therefore, O Lord, are Thy judgments to be dreaded, since
Thy truth is neither mine, nor his, nor another's, but of all of us,
whom Thou publicly callest to have it in common, warning us terribly
not to hold it as specially for ourselves, lest we be deprived of it.
For whosoever claims to himself as his own that which Thou appointed
to all to enjoy, and desires that to be his own which belongs to all,
is forced away from what is common to all to that which is his
own--that is, from truth to falsehood. For he that "speaketh a lie,
speaketh of his own." 
35. Hearken, O God, Thou best Judge! Truth itself, hearken to what I
shall say to this gainsayer; hearken, for before Thee I say it, and
before my brethren who use Thy law lawfully, to the end of charity;
 hearken and behold what I shall say to him, if it be pleasing
unto Thee. For this brotherly and peaceful word do I return unto him:
"If we both see that that which thou sayest is true, and if we both
see that what I say is true, where, I ask, do we see it? Certainly not
I in thee, nor thou in me, but both in the unchangeable truth itself,
 which is above our minds." When, therefore, we may not contend
about the very light of the Lord our God, why do we contend about the
thoughts of. our neighbour, which we cannot so see as incommutable
truth is seen; when, if Moses himself had appeared to us and said,
"This I meant," not so should we see it, but believe it? Let us not,
then, "be puffed up for one against the other,"  above that
which is written; let us love the Lord our God with all our heart,
with all our soul, and with all our mind, and our neighbour as
ourself.  As to which two precepts of charity, unless we believe
that Moses meant whatever in these books he did mean, we shall make
God a liar when we think otherwise concerning our fellow-servants'
mind than He hath taught us. Behold, now, how foolish it is, in so
great an abundance of the truest opinions which can be extracted from
these words, rashly to affirm which of them Moses particularly meant;
and with pernicious contentions to offend charity itself, on account
of which he hath spoken all the things whose words we endeavour to
 See p. 48, note, and p. 164, note 2, above.
 John viii. 44.
 1 Tim. i. 8.
 As to all truth being God's, see vii. sec. 16, and note 3,
above; and compare x. sec. 65, above.
 1 Cor. iv. 6.
 Mark xii. 30, 31.
Chapter XXVI.--What He Might Have Asked of God Had He Been Enjoined to
Write the Book of Genesis.
36. And yet, O my God, Thou exaltation of my humility, and rest of my
labour, who hearest my confessions, and forgivest my sins, since Thou
commandest me that I should love my neighbour as myself, I cannot
believe that Thou gavest to Moses, Thy most faithful servant, a less
gift than I should wish and desire for myself from Thee, had I been
born in his time, and hadst Thou placed me in that position that
through the service of my heart and of my tongue those books might be
distributed, which so long after were to profit all nations, and
through the whole world, from so great a pinnacle of authority, were
to surmount the words of all false and proud teachings. I should have
wished truly had I then been Moses (for we all come from the same
mass; and what is man, saving that Thou art mindful of him?  ).
I should then, had I been at that time what he was, and enjoined by
Thee to write the book of Genesis, have wished that such a power of
expression and such a method of arrangement should be given me, that
they who cannot as yet understand how God creates might not reject the
words as surpassing their powers; and they who are already able to do
this, would find, in what true opinion soever they had by thought
arrived at, that it was not passed over in the few words of Thy
servant; and should another man by the light of truth have discovered
another, neither should that fail to be found in those same words.
 Ps. viii. 8.
Chapter XXVII.--The Style of Speaking in the Book of Genesis is Simple
37. For as a fountain in a limited space is more plentiful, and
affords supply for more streams over larger spaces than any one of
those streams which, after a wide interval, is derived from the same
fountain; so the narrative of Thy dispenser, destined to benefit many
who were likely to discourse thereon, does, from a limited measure of
language, overflow into streams of clear truth, whence each one may
draw out for himself that truth which he can concerning these
subjects,--this one that truth, that one another, by larger
circumlocutions of discourse. For some, when they read or hear these
words, think that God as a man or some mass gifted with immense power,
by some new and sudden resolve, had, outside itself, as if at distant
places, created heaven and earth, two great bodies above and below,
wherein all things were to be contained. And when they hear, God said,
Let it be made, and it was made, they think of words begun and ended,
sounding in times and passing away, after the departure of which that
came into being which was commanded to be; and whatever else of the
kind their familiarity with the world  would suggest. In whom,
being as yet little ones,  while their weakness by this humble
kind of speech is carried on as if in a mother's bosom, their faith is
healthfully built up, by which they have and hold as certain that God
made all natures, which in wondrous variety their senses perceive on
every side. Which words, if any one despising them, as if trivial,
with proud weakness shall have stretched himself beyond his fostering
cradle, he will, alas, fall miserably. Have pity, O Lord God, lest
they who pass by trample on the unfledged bird; and send Thine angel,
who may restore it to its nest that it may live until it can fly.
 "Ex familiaritate carnis," literally, "from familiarity with
 "Parvulis animalibus."
 In allusion, perhaps, to Prov. xxvii. 8: "As a bird that
wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place."
Chapter XXVIII.--The Words, "In the Beginning," And, "The Heaven and
the Earth," Are Differently Understood.
38. But others, to whom these words are no longer a nest, but shady
fruit-bowers, see the fruits concealed in them, fly around rejoicing,
and chirpingly search and pluck them. For they see when they read or
hear these words, O God, that all times past and future are surmounted
by Thy eternal and stable abiding, and still that there is no temporal
creature which Thou hast not made. And by Thy will, because it is that
which Thou art, Thou hast made all things, not by any changed will,
nor by a will which before was not,--not out of Thyself, in Thine own
likeness, the form of all things, but out of nothing, a formless
unlikeness which should be formed by Thy likeness (having recourse to
Thee the One, after their settled capacity, according as it has been
given to each thing in his kind), and might all be made very good;
whether they remain around Thee, or, being by degrees removed in time
and place, make or undergo beautiful variations. These things they
see, and rejoice in the light of Thy truth, in the little degree they
39. Again, another of these directs his attention to that which is
said, "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth," and
beholdeth Wisdom,--the Beginning,  because It also speaketh unto
us.  Another likewise directs his attention to the same words,
and by "beginning" understands the commencement of things created; and
receives it thus,--In the beginning He made, as if it were said, He at
first made. And among those who understand "In the beginning" to mean,
that "in Thy Wisdom Thou hast created heaven and earth," one believes
the matter out of which the heaven and earth were to be created to be
there called "heaven and earth;" another, that they are natures
already formed and distinct; another, one formed nature, and that a
spiritual, under the name of heaven, the other formless, of corporeal
matter, under the name of earth. But they who under the name of
"heaven and earth" understand matter as yet formless, out of which
were to be formed heaven and earth, do not themselves understand it in
one manner; but one, that matter out of which the intelligible and the
sensible creature were to be completed; another, that only out of
which this sensible corporeal mass was to come, holding in its vast
bosom these visible and prepared natures. Nor are they who believe
that the creatures already set in order and arranged are in this place
called heaven and earth of one accord; but the one, both the invisible
and visible; the other, the visible only, in which we admire the
luminous heaven and darksome earth, and the things that are therein.
 See p. 166, note 2.
 John viii. 23.
Chapter XXIX.--Concerning the Opinion of Those Who Explain It "At
First He Made."
40. But he who does not otherwise understand, "In the beginning He
made," than if it were said, "At first He made," can only truly
understand heaven and earth of the matter of heaven and earth, namely,
of the universal, that is, intelligible and corporeal creation. For if
he would have it of the universe. as already formed, it might rightly
be asked of him: "If at first God made this, what made He afterwards?"
And after the universe he will find nothing; thereupon must he, though
unwilling, hear, "How is this first, if there is nothing afterwards?"
But when he says that God made matter first formless, then formed, he
is not absurd if he be but able to discern what precedes by eternity,
what by time, what by choice, what by origin. By eternity, as God is
before all things; by time, as the flower is before the fruit; by
choice, as the fruit is before the flower; by origin, as sound is
before the tune. Of these four, the first and last which I have
referred to are with much difficulty understood; the two middle very
easily. For an uncommon and too lofty vision it is to behold, O Lord,
Thy Eternity, immutably making things mutable, and thereby before
them. Who is so acute of mind as to be able without great labour to
discover how the sound is prior to the tune, because a tune is a
formed sound; and a thing not formed may exist, but that which
existeth not cannot be formed?  So is the matter prior to that
which is made from it; not prior because it maketh it, since itself is
rather made, nor is it prior by an interval of time. For we do not as
to time first utter formless sounds without singing, and then adapt or
fashion them into the form of a song, just as wood or silver from
which a chest or vessel is made. Because such materials do by time
also precede the forms of the things which are made from them; but in
singing this is not so. For when it is sung, its sound is heard at the
same time; seeing there is not first a formless sound, which is
afterwards formed into a song. For as soon as it shall have first
sounded it passeth away; nor canst thou find anything of it, which
being recalled thou canst by art compose. And, therefore, the song is
absorbed in its own sound, which sound of it is its matter. Because
this same is formed that it may be a tune; and therefore, as I was
saying, the matter of the sound is prior to the form of the tune, not
before through any power of making it a tune; for neither is a sound
the composer of the tune, but is sent forth from the body and is
subjected to the soul of the singer, that from it he may form a tune.
Nor is it first in time, for it is given forth together with the tune;
nor first in choice, for a sound is not better than a tune, since a
tune is not merely a sound, but a beautiful sound. But it is first in
origin, because the tune is not formed that it may become a sound, but
the sound is formed that it may become a tune. By this example, let
him who is able understand that the matter of things was first made,
and called heaven and earth, because out of it heaven and earth were
made. Not that it was made first in time, because the forms of things
give rise to time,  but that was formless; but now, in time, it
is perceived together with its form. Nor yet can anything be related
concerning that matter, unless as if it were prior in time, while it
is considered last (because things formed are assuredly superior to
things formless), and is preceded by the Eternity of the Creator, so
that there might be out of nothing that from which something might be
 See a similar argument in his Con. adv. Leg. et Proph. i. 9;
and sec. 29, and note, above.
 See xi. sec. 29, above, and Gillies' note thereon; and compare
with it Augustin's De. Gen. ad Lit. v. 5: "In vain we inquire after
time before the creation as though we could find time before time, for
if there were no motion of the spiritual or corporeal creatures
whereby through the present the future might succeed the past, there
would be no time at all. But the creature could not have motion unless
it were. Time, therefore, begins rather from the creation, than
creation from time, but both are from God."
Chapter XXX.--In the Great Diversity of Opinions, It Becomes All to
Unite Charity and Divine Truth.
41. In this diversity of true opinions let Truth itself beget concord;
 and may our God have mercy upon us, that we may use the law
lawfully,  the end of the commandment, pure charity.  And
by this if any one asks of me, "Which of these was the meaning of Thy
servant Moses?" these were not the utterances of my confessions,
should I not confess unto Thee, "I know not;" and yet I know that
those opinions are true, with the exception of those carnal ones
concerning which I have spoken what I thought well. However, these
words of Thy Book affright not those little ones of good hope,
treating few of high things in a humble fashion, and few things in
varied ways.  But let all, whom I acknowledge to see and speak
the truth in these words, love one another, and equally love Thee, our
God, fountain of truth,--if we thirst not for vain things, but for it;
yea, let us so honour this servant of Thine, the dispenser of this
Scripture, full of Thy Spirit, as to believe that when Thou revealedst
Thyself to him, and he wrote these things, he intended that which in
them chiefly excels both for light of truth and fruitfulness of
 See p. 164, note 2, above.
 1 Tim. i. 8.
 See p. 183, note, above; and on the supremacy of this law of
love, may be compared Jeremy Taylor's curious story (Works, iv. 477,
Eden's ed.): "St. Lewis, the king, having sent Ivo, Bishop of
Chartres, on an embassy, the bishop met a woman on the way, grave,
sad, fantastic, and melancholy, with fire in one hand, and water in
the other. He asked what those symbols meant. She answered, `My
purpose is with fire to burn Paradise, and with my water to quench the
flames of hell, that men may serve God without the incentives of hope
and fear, and purely for the love of God.'"
 See end of note 17, p. 197, below.
Chapter XXXI.--Moses is Supposed to Have Perceived Whatever of Truth
Can Be Discovered in His Words.
42. Thus, when one shall say, "He [Moses] meant as I do," and another,
"Nay, but as I do," I suppose that I am speaking more religiously when
I say, "Why not rather as both, if both be true?" And if there be a
third truth, or a fourth, and if any one seek any truth altogether
different in those words, why may not he be believed to have seen all
these, through whom one God hath tempered the Holy Scriptures to the
senses of many, about to see therein things true but different? I
certainly,--and I fearlessly declare it from my heart,--were I to
write anything to have the highest authority, should prefer so to
write, that whatever of truth any one might apprehend concerning these
matters, my words should re-echo, rather than that I should set down
one true opinion so clearly on this as that I should exclude the rest,
that which was false in which could not offend me. Therefore am I
unwilling, O my God, to be so headstrong as not to believe that from
Thee this man [Moses] hath received so much. He, surely, when he wrote
those words, perceived and thought whatever of truth we have been able
to discover, yea, and whatever we have not been able, nor yet are
able, though still it may be found in them.
Chapter XXXII.--First, the Sense of the Writer is to Be Discovered,
Then that is to Be Brought Out Which Divine Truth Intended.
43. Finally, O Lord, who art God, and not flesh and blood, if man doth
see anything less, can anything lie hid from "Thy good Spirit," who
shall "lead me into the land of uprightness,"  which Thou
Thyself, by those words, wert about to reveal to future readers,
although he through whom they were spoken, amid the many
interpretations that might have been found, fixed on but one? Which,
if it be so, let that which he thought on be more exalted than the
rest. But to us, O Lord, either point out the same, or any other true
one which may be pleasing unto Thee; so that whether Thou makest known
to us that which Thou didst to that man of Thine, or some other by
occasion of the same words, yet Thou mayest feed us, not error deceive
us.  Behold, O Lord my God, how many things we have written
concerning a few words,--how many, I beseech Thee! What strength of
ours, what ages would suffice for all Thy books after this manner?
Permit me, therefore, in these more briefly to confess unto Thee, and
to select some one true, certain, and good sense, that Thou shall
inspire, although many senses offer themselves, where many, indeed, I
may; this being the faith of my confession, that if I should say that
which Thy minister felt, rightly and profitably, this I should strive
for; the which if I shall not attain, yet I may say that which Thy
Truth willed through Its words to say unto me, which said also unto
him what It willed.
 Ps. cxliii. 10.
 Augustin, as we have seen (see notes, pp. 65 and 92), was
frequently addicted to allegorical interpretation, but he, none the
less, laid stress on the necessity of avoiding obscure and allegorical
passages when it was necessary to convince the opponent of
Christianity (De Unit. Eccl. ch. 5). It should also be noted that,
however varied the meaning deduced from a doubtful Scripture, he ever
maintained that such meaning must be sacræ fidei congruam. Compare De
Gen. ad Lit. end of book i.; and ibid. viii. 4 and 7. See also notes,
pp. 164 and 178, above.
Of the goodness of God explained in the creation of things, and of the
Trinity as found in the first words of Genesis. The story concerning
the origin of the world (Gen. I.) is allegorically explained, and he
applies it to those things which God works for sanctified and blessed
man. Finally, he makes an end of this work, having implored eternal
rest from God.
Chapter I.--He Calls Upon God, and Proposes to Himself to Worship Him.
1. I Call upon Thee, my God, my mercy, who madest me, and who didst
not forget me, though forgetful of Thee. I call Thee into  my
soul, which by the desire which Thou inspirest in it Thou preparest
for Thy reception. Do not Thou forsake me calling upon Thee, who didst
anticipate me before I called, and didst importunately urge with
manifold calls that I should hear Thee from afar, and be converted,
and call upon Thee who calledst me. For Thou, O Lord, hast blotted out
all my evil deserts, that Thou mightest not repay into my hands
wherewith I have fallen from Thee, and Thou hast anticipated all my
good deserts, that Thou mightest repay into Thy hands wherewith Thou
madest me; because before I was, Thou wast, nor was I [anything] to
which Thou mightest grant being. And yet behold, I am, out of Thy
goodness, anticipating all this which Thou hast made me, and of which
Thou hast made me. For neither hadst Thou stood in need of me, nor am
I such a good as to be helpful unto Thee,  my Lord and God; not
that I may so serve Thee as though Thou wert fatigued in working, or
lest Thy power may be less if lacking my assistance nor that, like the
land, I may so cultivate Thee that Thou wouldest be uncultivated did I
cultivate Thee not but that I may serve and worship Thee, to the end
that I may have well-being from Thee; from whom it is that I am one
susceptible of well-being.
 See i. sec. 2, above.
 Similar views as to God's not having need of us, though He
created us, and as to our service being for our and not His advantage,
will be found in his De Gen. ad Lit. viii. 11; and Con. Adv. Leg. et
Proph. i. 4.
Chapter II.--All Creatures Subsist from the Plenitude of Divine
2. For of the plenitude of Thy goodness Thy creature subsists, that a
good, which could profit Thee nothing, nor though of Thee was equal to
Thee, might yet be, since it could be made of Thee. For what did
heaven and earth, which Thou madest in the beginning, deserve of Thee?
Let those spiritual and corporeal natures, which Thou in Thy wisdom
madest, declare what they deserve of Thee to depend thereon,--even the
inchoate and formless, each in its own kind, either spiritual or
corporeal, going into excess, and into remote unlikeness unto Thee
(the spiritual, though formless, more excellent than if it were a
formed body; and the corporeal, though formless, more excellent than
if it were altogether nothing), and thus they as formless would depend
upon Thy Word, unless by the same Word they were recalled to Thy
Unity, and endued with form, and from Thee, the one sovereign Good,
were all made very good. How have they deserved of Thee, that they
should be even formless, since they would not be even this except from
3. How has corporeal matter deserved of Thee, to be even invisible and
formless,  since it were not even this hadst Thou not made it;
and therefore since it was not, it could not deserve of Thee that it
should be made? Or how could the inchoate spiritual creature 
deserve of Thee, that even it should flow darksomely like the
deep,--unlike Thee, had it not been by the same Word turned to that by
Whom it was created, and by Him so enlightened become light, although
not equally, yet conformably to that Form which is equal unto Thee?
For as to a body, to be is not all one with being beautiful, for then
it could not be deformed; so also to a created spirit, to live is not
all one with living wisely, for then it would be wise unchangeably.
But it is good  for it always to hold fast unto Thee, 
lest, in turning from Thee, it lose that light which it hath obtained
in turning to Thee, and relapse into a light resembling the darksome
deep. For even we ourselves, who in respect of the soul are a
spiritual creature, having turned away from Thee, our light, were in
that life "sometimes darkness;"  and do labour amidst the
remains of our darkness, until in Thy Only One we become Thy
righteousness, like the mountains of God. For we have been Thy
judgments, which are like the great deep. 
 Gen. i. 2.
 In his De Gen. ad Lit. i. 5, he maintains that the spiritual
creature may have a formless life, since it has its form--its wisdom
and happiness--by being turned to the Word of God, the Immutable Light
 Ps. lxxiii. 28.
 Similarly, in his De Civ. Dei, xii. 1, he argues that true
blessedness is to be attained "by adhering to the Immutable Good, the
Supreme God." This, indeed, imparts the only true life (see note, p.
133, above); for, as Origen says (in S. Joh. ii. 7), "the good man is
he who truly exists," and "to be evil and to be wicked are the same as
not to be." See notes, pp. 75 and 151, above.
 Eph. v. 8.
 Ps. xxxvi. 6, as in the Vulgate, which renders the Hebrew more
correctly than the Authorized Version. This passage has been variously
interpreted. Augustin makes "the mountains of God" to mean the saints,
prophets, and apostles, while "the great deep" he interprets of the
wicked and sinful. Compare in Ev. Joh. Tract. i. 2; and in Ps. xxxv.
7, sec. 10.
Chapter III.--Genesis I. 3,--Of "Light,"--He Understands as It is Seen
in the Spiritual Creature.
4. But what Thou saidst in the beginning of the creation, "Let there
be light, and there was light,"  I do not unfitly understand of
the spiritual creature; because there was even then a kind of life,
which Thou mightest illuminate. But as it had not deserved of Thee
that it should be such a life as could be enlightened, so neither,
when it already was, hath it deserved of Thee that it should be
enlightened. For neither could its formlessness be pleasing unto Thee,
unless it became light,--not by merely existing, but by beholding the
illuminating light, and cleaving unto it; so also, that it lives, and
lives happily,  it owes to nothing whatsoever but to Thy grace;
being converted by means of a better change unto that which can be
changed neither into better nor into worse; the which Thou only art
because Thou only simply art, to whom it is not one thing to live,
another to live blessedly, since Thou art Thyself Thine own
 Gen. i. 3.
 Compare the end of chap. 24 of book xi of the De Civ. Dei,
where he says that the life and light and joy of the holy city which
is above is in God.
Chapter IV.--All Things Have Been Created by the Grace of God, and are
Not of Him as Standing in Need of Created Things.
5. What, therefore, could there be wanting unto Thy good, which Thou
Thyself art, although these things had either never been, or had
remained formless,--the which Thou madest not out of any want, but out
of the plenitude of Thy goodness, restraining them and converting them
to form not as though Thy joy were perfected by them? For to Thee,
being perfect, their imperfection is displeasing, and therefore were
they perfected by Thee, and were pleasing unto Thee; but not as if
Thou wert imperfect, and wert to be perfected in their perfection. For
Thy good Spirit was borne over the waters,  not borne up by them
as if He rested upon them. For those in whom Thy good Spirit is said
to rest,  He causes to rest in Himself. But Thy incorruptible
and unchangeable will, which in itself is all-sufficient for itself,
was borne over that life which Thou hadst made, to which to live is
not all one with living happily, since, flowing in its own darkness,
it liveth also; for which it remaineth to be converted unto Him by
whom it was made, and to live more and more by "the fountain of life,"
and in His light to "see light,"  and to be perfected, and
enlightened, and made happy.
 Gen. i. 2.
 Num. xi. 25.
 Ps. xxxvi. 9.
Chapter V.--He Recognises the Trinity in the First Two Verses of
6. Behold now, the Trinity appears unto me in an enigma, which Thou, O
my God, art, since Thou, O Father, in the Beginning of our
wisdom,--Which is Thy Wisdom, born of Thyself, equal and co-eternal
unto Thee,--that is, in Thy Son, hast created heaven and earth. Many
things have we said of the heaven of heavens, and of the earth
invisible and formless, and of the darksome deep, in reference to the
wandering defects of its spiritual deformity, were it not converted
unto Him from whom was its life, such as it was, and by His
enlightening became a beauteous life, and the heaven of that heaven
which was afterwards set between water and water. And under the name
of God, I now held the Father, who made these things; and under the
name of the Beginning,  the Son, in whom He made these things;
and believing, as I did, that my God was the Trinity, I sought further
in His holy words, and behold, Thy Spirit was borne over the waters.
Behold the Trinity, O my God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,--the
Creator of all creation.
 See also xi. sec. 10, and note, above.
Chapter VI.--Why the Holy Ghost Should Have Been Mentioned After the
Mention of Heaven and Earth.
7. But what was the cause, O Thou true-speaking Light? Unto Thee do I
lift up my heart, let it not teach me vain things; disperse its
darkness, and tell me, I beseech Thee, by our mother charity, tell me,
I beseech Thee, the reason why, after the mention of heaven, and of
the earth invisible and formless, and darkness upon the deep, Thy
Scripture should then at length mention Thy Spirit? Was it because it
was meet that it should be spoken of Him that He was "borne over," and
this could not be said, unless that were first mentioned "over" which
Thy Spirit may be understood to have been "borne?" For neither was He
"borne over" the Father, nor the Son, nor could it rightly be said
that He was "borne over" if He were "borne over" nothing. That,
therefore, was first to be spoken of "over" which He might be "borne;"
and then He, whom it was not meet to mention otherwise than as having
been "borne." Why, then, was it not meet that it should otherwise be
mentioned of Him, than as having been "borne over?"
Chapter VII.--That the Holy Spirit Brings Us to God.
8. Hence let him that is able now follow Thy apostle with his
understanding where he thus speaks, because Thy love "is shed abroad
in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us;"  and
where, "concerning spiritual gifts," he teacheth and showeth unto us a
more excellent way of charity;  and where he bows his knees unto
Thee for us, that we may know the super-eminent knowledge of the love
of Christ.  And, therefore, from the beginning was He
super-eminently "borne above the waters." To whom shall I tell this?
How speak of the weight of lustful desires, pressing downwards to the
steep abyss? and how charity raises us up again, through Thy Spirit
which was "borne over the waters?" To whom shall I tell it? How tell
it? For neither are there places in which we are merged and emerge.
 What can be more like, and yet more unlike? They be affections,
they be loves; the filthiness of our spirit flowing away downwards
with the love of cares, and the sanctity of Thine raising us upwards
by the love of freedom from care; that we may lift our hearts 
unto Thee where Thy Spirit is "borne over the waters;" and that we may
come to that pre-eminent rest, when our soul shall have passed through
the waters which have no substance. 
 Rom. v. 5.
 1 Cor. xii. 1, 31.
 Eph. iii. 14-19.
 "Neque enim loca sunt quibus mergimur et emergimus."
 Watts remarks here: "This sentence was generally in the Church
service and communion. Nor is there scarce any one old liturgy but
hath it, Sursum corda, Habemus ad Dominum." Palmer, speaking of the
Lord's Supper, says, in his Origines Liturgicæ., iv. 14, that
"Cyprian, in the third century, attested the use of the form, `Lift up
your hearts,' and its response, in the liturgy of Africa (Cyprian, De
Orat. Dom. p. 152, Opera, ed. Fell). Augustin, at the beginning of the
fifth century, speaks of these words as being used in all churches"
(Aug. De Vera Relig. iii. ). We find from the same writer, ibid. v. 5,
that in several churches this sentence was used in the office of
 "Sine substantia," the Old Ver. rendering of Ps. cxxiv. 5. The
Vulgate gives "aquam intolerabilem." The Authorized Version, however,
correctly renders the Hebrew by "proud waters," that is, swollen.
Augustin, in in Ps. cxxiii. 5, sec. 9, explains the "aqua sine
substantia," as the water of sins; "for," he says, "sins have not
substance; they have weakness, not substance; want, not substance."
Chapter VIII.--That Nothing Whatever, Short of God, Can Yield to the
Rational Creature a Happy Rest.
9. The angels fell, the soul of man fell  and they have thus
indicated the abyss in that dark deep, ready for the whole spiritual
creation, unless Thou hadst said from the beginning, "Let there be
light," and there had been light, and every obedient intelligence of
Thy celestial City had cleaved to Thee, and rested in Thy Spirit,
which unchangeably is "borne over" everything changeable. Otherwise,
even the heaven of heavens itself would have been a darksome deep,
whereas now it is light in the Lord. For even in that wretched
restlessness of the spirits who fell away, and, when unclothed of the
garments of Thy light, discovered their own darkness, dost Thou
sufficiently disclose how noble Thou hast made the rational creature;
to which nought which is inferior to Thee will suffice to yield a
happy rest,  and so not even herself. For Thou, O our God, shalt
enlighten our darkness;  from Thee are derived our garments of
light,  and then shall our darkness be as the noonday. 
Give Thyself unto me, O my God, restore Thyself unto me; behold, I
love Thee, and if it be too little, let me love Thee more strongly. I
cannot measure my love, so that I may come to know how much there is
yet wanting in me, ere my life run into Thy embracements, and not be
turned away until it be hidden in the secret place of Thy Presence.
 This only I know, that woe is me except in Thee,--not only
without, but even also within myself; and all plenty which is not my
God is poverty to me. 
 We may note here that Augustin maintains the existence of the
relationship between these two events. He says in his Enchiridion, c.
xxix., that "the restored part of humanity will 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 (Luke xx. 36).
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."
He speaks to the same effect at the close of ch. 1 of his De Civ. Dei,
xxii. This doctrine was enlarged upon by some of the writers of the
 See his De Civ. Dei, xxii. 1, where he beautifully compares sin
to blindness, in that it makes us miserable in depriving us of the
sight of God. Also his De Cat. Rud. sec. 24, where he shows that the
restlessness and changefulness of the world cannot give rest. Comp. p.
46, note 7, above.
 Ps. xviii. 28.
 Ps. civ. 2.
 Ps. cxxxix. 12.
 Ps. xxxi. 20. "In abscondito vultus tui," Old Ver. Augustin in
his comment on this passage (Enarr. 4, sec. 8) gives us his
interpretation. He points out that the refuge of a particular place
(e.g. the bosom of Abraham) is not enough. We must have God with us
here as our refuge, and then we will be hidden in His countenance
hereafter; or in other words, if we receive Him into our heart now, He
will hereafter receive us into His countenance--Ille post hoc seculum
excipiet te vultu suo. For heaven is a prepared place for a prepared
people, and we must be fitted to live with Him there by going to Him
now, and this, to quote from his De Serm. Dom. in Mon. i. 27, "not
with a slow movement of the body, but with the swift impulse of love."
 See p. 133, note 2, above.
Chapter IX.--Why the Holy Spirit Was Only "Borne Over" The Waters.
10. But was not either the Father or the Son "borne over the waters?"
If we understand this to mean in space, as a body, then neither was
the Holy Spirit; but if the incommutable super-eminence of Divinity
above everything mutable, then both Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost
were borne "over the waters." Why, then, is this said of Thy Spirit
only? Why is it said of Him alone? As if He had been in place who is
not in place, of whom only it is written, that He is Thy gift? 
In Thy gift we rest; there we enjoy Thee. Our rest is our place. Love
lifts us up thither, and Thy good Spirit lifteth our lowliness from
the gates of death.  In Thy good pleasure lies our peace. 
The body by its own weight gravitates towards its own place. Weight
goes not downward only, but to its own place. Fire tends upwards, a
stone downwards. They are propelled by their own weights, they seek
their own places. Oil poured under the water is raised above the
water; water poured upon oil sinks under the oil. They are propelled
by their own weights, they seek their own places. Out of order, they
are restless; restored to order, they are at rest. My weight is my
love;  by it am I borne whithersoever I am borne. By Thy Gift we
are inflamed, and are borne upwards; we wax hot inwardly, and go
forwards. We ascend Thy ways that be in our heart,  and sing a
song of degrees; we glow inwardly with Thy fire, with Thy good fire,
and we go, because we go upwards to the peace of Jerusalem; for glad
was I when they said unto me, "Let us go into the house of the Lord."
 There hath Thy good pleasure placed us, that we may desire no
other thing than to dwell there for ever.
 See De Trin. xv. 17-19.
 Ps. ix. 13.
 Luke ii. 14, Vulg.
 Compare De Civ. Dei, xi. 28: "For the specific gravity of
bodies is, as it were, their love, whether they are carried downwards
by their weight, or upwards by their levity."
 Ps. lxxxiv. 5.
 Ps. cxxii. 1.
Chapter X.--That Nothing Arose Save by the Gift of God.
11. Happy creature, which, though in itself it was other than Thou,
hath known no other state than that as soon as it was made, it was,
without any interval of time, by Thy Gift, which is borne over
everything mutable, raised up by that calling whereby Thou saidst,
"Let there be light, and there was light." Whereas in us there is a
difference of times, in that we were darkness, and are made light;
 but of that it is only said what it would have been had it not
been enlightened. And this is so spoken as if it had been fleeting and
darksome before; that so the cause whereby it was made to be otherwise
might appear,--that is to say, being turned to the unfailing Light it
might become light. Let him who is able understand this; and let him
who is not,  ask of Thee. Why should he trouble me, as if I
could enlighten any "man that cometh into the world?" 
 Eph. v. 8.
 Et qui non potest, which words, however, some mss. omit,
reading, Qui potest intelligat; a te petat.
 John i. 9; see p. 76, note 2, and p. 181, note 2, above.
Chapter XI.--That the Symbols of the Trinity in Man, to Be, to Know,
and to Will, are Never Thoroughly Examined.
12. Which of us understandeth the Almighty Trinity?  And yet
which speaketh not of It, if indeed it be It? Rare is that soul which,
while it speaketh of It, knows what it speaketh of. And they contend
and strive, but no one without peace seeth that vision. I could wish
that men would consider these three things that are in themselves.
These three are far other than the Trinity; but I speak of things in
which they may exercise and prove themselves, and feel how far other
they be.  But the three things I speak of are, To Be, to Know,
and to Will. For I Am, and I Know, and I Will; I Am Knowing and
Willing; and I Know myself to Be and to Will; and I Will to Be and to
Know. In these three, therefore, let him who can see how inseparable a
life there is,--even one life, one mind, and one essence; finally, how
inseparable is the distinction, and yet a distinction. Surely a man
hath it before him; let him look into himself, and see, and tell me.
But when he discovers and can say anything of these, let him not then
think that he has discovered that which is above these Unchangeable,
which Is unchangeably, and Knows unchangeably, and Wills unchangeably.
And whether on account of these three there is also, where they are, a
Trinity; or whether these three be in Each, so that the three belong
to Each; or whether both ways at once, wondrously, simply, and vet
diversely, in Itself a limit unto Itself, yet illimitable; whereby It
is, and is known unto Itself, and sufficeth to Itself, unchangeably
the Self-same, by the abundant magnitude of its Unity,--who can
readily conceive? Who in any wise express it? Who in any way rashly
 As Augustin constantly urges of God, "Cujus nulla scientia est
in anima, nisi scire quomodo eum nesciat" (De Ord. ii. 18), so we may
say of the Trinity. The objectors to the doctrine sometimes speak as
if it were irrational (Mansel's Bampton Lectures, lect. vi., notes 9,
10). But while the doctrine is above reason, it is not contrary
thereto; and, as Dr. Newman observes in his Grammar of Assent, v. 2 (a
book which the student should remember has been written since his
union with the Roman Church), though the doctrine be mysterious, and,
when taken as a whole, transcends all our experience, there is that on
which the spiritual life of the Christian can repose in its
"propositions taken one by one, and that not in the case of
intellectual and thoughtful minds only, but of all religious minds
whatever, in the case of a child or a peasant as well as of a
philosopher." With the above compare the words of Leibnitz in his
"Discours de la Conformité de la Foi avec la Raison," sec. 56: "Il en
est de même des autres mystères, où les esprits modérés trouveront
toujours une explication suffisante pour croire, et jamais autant
qu'il en faut pour comprendre. Il nous suffit d'un certain ce que
c'est (ti esti); mais le comment (pos) nous passe, et ne nous est
point nécessaire" (Euvres de Locke et Leibnitz). See also p. 175, note
1, above, on the "incomprehensibility" of eternity.
 While giving illustrations of the Trinity like the above, he
would not have a man think "that he has discovered that which is above
these, Unchangeable." (See also De Trin. xv. 5, end.) He is very fond
of such illustrations. In his De Civ. Dei, xi. 26, 27, for example, we
have a parallel to this in our text, in the union of existence,
knowledge, and love in man; in his De Trin. ix. 4, 17, 18, we have
mind, knowledge, and love; ibid. x. 19, memory, understanding, and
will; and ibid. xi. 16, memory, thought, and will. In his De Lib. Arb.
ii. 7, again, we have the doctrine illustrated by the union of being,
life, and knowledge in man. He also finds illustrations of the
doctrine in other created things, as in their measure, weight, and
number (De Trin. xi. 18), and their existence, figure, and order (De
Vera Relig. xiii.). The nature of these illustrations would at first
sight seem to involve him in the Sabellian heresy, which denied the
fulness of the Godhead to each of the three Persons of the Trinity;
but this is only in appearance. He does not use these illustrations as
presenting anything analogous to the union of the three Persons in the
Godhead, but as dimly illustrative of it. He declares his belief in
the Athanasian doctrine, which, as Dr. Newman observes (Grammar of
Assent, v. 2), "may be said to be summed up in this very formula on
which St. Augustin lays so much stress,--`Tres et Unus,' not merely
`Unum.' " Nothing can be clearer than his words in his De Civ. Dei,
xi. 24: "When we inquire regarding each singly, it is said that each
is God and Almighty; and when we speak of all together, it is said
that there are not three Gods, nor three Almighties, but one God
Almighty." Compare with this his De Trin. vii., end of ch. 11, where
the language is equally emphatic. See also Mansel, as above, lect. vi.
and notes 11 and 12.
Chapter XII.--Allegorical Explanation of Genesis, Chap. I., Concerning
the Origin of the Church and Its Worship.
13. Proceed in thy confession, say to the Lord thy God, O my faith,
Holy, Holy, Holy, O Lord my God, in Thy name have we been baptized,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in Thy name do we baptize, Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost,  because among us also in His Christ did God
make heaven and earth, namely, the spiritual and carnal people of His
Church.  Yea, and our earth, before it received the "form of
doctrine,"  was invisible and formless, and we were covered with
the darkness of ignorance. For Thou correctest man for iniquity,
 and "Thy judgments are a great deep."  But because Thy
Spirit was "borne over the waters,"  Thy mercy forsook not our
misery,  and Thou saidst, "Let there be light," "Repent ye, for
the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  Repent ye, let there be
light.  And because our soul was troubled within us,  we
remembered Thee, O Lord, from the land of Jordan, and that mountain
 equal unto Thyself, but little for our sakes; and upon our
being displeased with our darkness, we turned unto Thee, "and there
was light." And, behold, we were sometimes darkness, but now light in
the Lord. 
 Matt. xxviii. 19.
 He similarly interprets "heaven and earth" in his De Gen. ad
Lit. ii. 4. With this compare Chrysostom's illustration in his De
Pænit. hom. 8. The Church is like the ark of Noah, yet different from
it. Into that ark as the animals entered, so they came forth. The fox
remained a fox, the hawk a hawk, and the serpent a serpent. But with
the spiritual ark it is not so, for in it evil dispositions are
changed. This illustration of Chrysostom is used with an effective but
rough eloquence by the Italian preacher Segneri, in his Quaresimale,
serm. iv. sec.
 Rom. vi. 17.
 Ps. xxxix. 11.
 Ps. xxxvi. 6.
 Gen. i. 3.
 See p. 47, note 10, above.
 Matt. iii. 2.
 "His putting repentance and light together is, for that baptism
was anciently called illumination, as Heb. vi. 4, Ps. xlii. 2."--W. W.
See also p. 118, note 4, part 1, above, for the meaning of
 Ps. xlii. 6.
 That is, Christ. See p. 130, note 8, part 2, above; and compare
the De Div. Quæst., lxxxiii. 6.
 Eph. v. 8.
Chapter XIII.--That the Renewal of Man is Not Completed in This World.
14. But as yet "by faith, not by sight,"  for "we are saved by
hope; but hope that is seen is not hope."  As yet deep calleth
unto deep  but in "the noise of Thy waterspouts."  And as
yet doth he that saith, I "could not speak unto you as unto spiritual,
but as unto carnal,"  even he, as yet, doth not count himself to
have apprehended, and forgetteth those things which are behind, and
reacheth forth to those things which are before,  and groaneth
being burdened;  and his soul thirsteth after the living God, as
the hart after the water-brooks, and saith, "When shall I come?"
 "desiring to be clothed upon with his house which is from
heaven;"  and calleth upon this lower deep, saying, "Be not
conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your
mind."  And, "Be not children in understanding, howbeit in
malice be ye children," that in "understanding ye may be perfect;"
 and "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?"  But
now not in his own voice, but in Thine who sentest Thy Spirit from
above;  through Him who "ascended up on high,"  and set
open the flood-gates of His gifts,  that the force of His
streams might make glad the city of God.  For, for Him doth "the
friend of the bridegroom"  sigh, having now the first-fruits of
the Spirit laid up with Him, yet still groaning within himself,
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of his body; 
to Him he sighs, for he is a member of the Bride; for Him is he
jealous, for he is the friend of the Bridegroom;  for Him is he
jealous, not for himself; because in the voice of Thy "waterspouts,"
 not in his own voice, doth he call on that other deep, for whom
being jealous he feareth, lest that, as the serpent beguiled Eve
through his subtilty, so their minds should be corrupted from the
simplicity that is in our Bridegroom, Thine only Son.  What a
light of beauty will that be when "we shall see Him as He is," 
and those tears be passed away which "have been my meat day and night,
while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?" 
 2 Cor. v. 7.
 Rom. viii. 24.
 The "deep" Augustin interprets (as do the majority of Patristic
commentators), in Ps. xli. 8, sec. 13, to be the heart of man; and the
"deep" that calls unto it, is the preacher who has his own "deep" of
infirmity, even as Peter had.
 Ps. xlii. 7.
 1 Cor. iii. 1.
 Phil. iii. 13.
 2 Cor. v. 2, 4.
 Ps. xlii. 1, 2.
 2 Cor. v. 2.
 Rom. xii. 2.
 1 Cor. xiv. 20 (margin).
 Gal. iii. 1.
 Acts ii. 19.
 Eph. iv. 8.
 Mal. iii. 10.
 Ps. xlvi. 4.
 John iii. 29.
 Rom. viii. 23.
 John iii. 29.
 Ps. xlii. 7.
 2 Cor. xi. 3, and 1 John iii. 3.
 Ibid. ver. 2.
 Ps. xlii. 3.
Chapter XIV.--That Out of the Children of the Night and of the
Darkness, Children of the Light and of the Day are Made.
15. And so say I too, O my God, where art Thou? Behold where Thou art!
In Thee I breathe a little, when I pour out my soul by myself in the
voice of joy and praise, the sound of him that keeps holy-day. 
And yet it is "cast down," because it relapses and becomes a deep, or
rather it feels that it is still a deep. Unto it doth my faith speak
which Thou hast kindled to enlighten my feet in the night, "Why art
thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope
thou in God;"  His "word is a lamp unto my feet."  Hope
and endure until the night,--the mother of the wicked,--until the
anger of the Lord be overpast,  whereof we also were once
children who were sometimes darkness,  the remains whereof we
carry about us in our body, dead on account of sin,  "until the
day break and the shadows flee away."  "Hope thou in the Lord."
In the morning I shall stand in Thy presence, and contemplate Thee;
 I shall for ever confess unto Thee.  In the morning I
shall stand in Thy presence, and shall see "the health of my
countenance,"  my God, who also shall quicken our mortal bodies
by the Spirit that dwelleth in us,  because in mercy He was
borne over our inner darksome and floating deep. Whence we have in
this pilgrimage received "an earnest"  that we should now be
light, whilst as yet we "are saved by hope,"  and are the
children of light, and the children of the day,--not the children of
the night nor of the darkness,  which yet we have been. 
Betwixt whom and us, in this as yet uncertain state of human
knowledge, Thou only dividest, who provest our hearts  and
callest the light day, and the darkness night.  For who
discerneth us but Thou? But what have we that we have not received of
Thee?  Out of the same lump vessels unto honour, of which others
also are made to dishonour. 
 Ibid. ver. 4.
 Ibid. ver. 5.
 Ps. cxix. 105.
 Job xiv. 13.
 Eph. ii. 3, and v. 8.
 Rom. viii. 10.
 Cant. ii. 17.
 Ps. v. 3.
 Ps. xxx. 12.
 Ps. xliii. 5.
 Rom. viii. 11.
 2 Cor. i. 22.
 Rom. viii. 24.
 Though of the light, we are not yet in the light; and though,
in this grey dawn of the coming day, we have a foretaste of the vision
that shall be, we cannot hope, as he says in Ps. v. 4, to "see Him as
He is" until the darkness of sin be overpast.
 Eph. v. 8, and 1 Thess. v. 5.
 Ps. vii. 9.
 Gen. i. 5.
 1 Cor. iv. 7.
 Rom. ix. 21.
Chapter XV.--Allegorical Explanation of the Firmament and Upper Works,
16. Or who but Thou, our God, made for us that firmament  of
authority over us in Thy divine Scripture?  As it is said, For
heaven shall be folded up like a scroll;  and now it is extended
over us like a skin.  For Thy divine Scripture is of more
sublime authority, since those mortals through whom Thou didst
dispense it unto us underwent mortality. And Thou knowest, O Lord,
Thou knowest, how Thou with skins didst clothe men  when by sin
they became mortal. Whence as a skin hast Thou stretched out the
firmament of Thy Book;  that is to say, Thy harmonious words,
which by the ministry of mortals Thou hast spread over us. For by
their very death is that solid firmament of authority in Thy
discourses set forth by them more sublimely extended above all things
that are under it, the which, while they were living here, was not so
eminently extended.  Thou hadst not as yet spread abroad the
heaven like a skin; Thou hadst not as yet noised everywhere the report
of their deaths.
17. Let us look, O Lord, "upon the heavens, the work of Thy fingers;"
 clear from our eyes that mist with which Thou hast covered
them. There is that testimony of Thine which giveth wisdom unto the
little ones.  Perfect, O my God, Thy praise out of the mouth of
babes and sucklings.  Nor have we known any other books so
destructive to pride, so destructive to the enemy and the defender,
 who resisteth Thy reconciliation in defence of his own sins.
 I know not, O Lord, I know not other such "pure"  words
which so persuade me to confession, and make my neck submissive to Thy
yoke, and invite me to serve Thee for nought. Let me understand these
things, good Father. Grant this to me, placed under them; because Thou
hast established these things for those placed under them.
18. Other "waters" there be "above" this "firmament," I believe
immortal, and removed from earthly corruption. Let them praise Thy
Name,--those super-celestial people, Thine angels, who have no need to
look up at this firmament, or by reading to attain the knowledge of
Thy Word,--let them praise Thee. For they always behold Thy face,
 and therein read without any syllables in time what Thy eternal
will willeth. They read, they choose, they love.  They are
always reading; and that which they read never passeth away. For, by
choosing and by loving, they read the very unchangeableness of Thy
counsel. Their book is not closed, nor is the scroll folded up, 
because Thou Thyself art this to them, yea, and art so eternally;
because Thou hast appointed them above this firmament, which Thou hast
made firm over the weakness of the lower people, where they might look
up and learn Thy mercy, announcing in time Thee who hast made times.
"For Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and Thy faithfulness
reacheth unto the clouds."  The clouds pass away, but the heaven
remaineth. The preachers of Thy Word pass away from this life into
another; but Thy Scripture is spread abroad over the people, even to
the end of the world. Yea, both heaven and earth shall pass away, but
Thy Words shall not pass away.  Because the scroll shall be
rolled together,  and the grass over which it was spread shall
with its goodliness pass away; but Thy Word remaineth for ever, 
which now appeareth unto us in the dark image of the clouds, and
through the glass of the heavens, not as it is;  because we
also, although we be the well-beloved of Thy Son, yet it hath not yet
appeared what we shall be.  He looketh through the lattice
 of our flesh, and He is fair-speaking, and hath inflamed us,
and we run after His odours.  But "when He shall appear, then
shall we be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."  As He is,
O Lord, shall we see Him, although the time be not yet.
 Gen. i. 6.
 See sec. 33, below, and references there given.
 Isa. xxxiv. 4, and Rev. vi. 14.
 Ps. civ. 2; in the Vulg. being, "extendens cælum sicut pellem."
The LXX. agrees with the Vulg. in translating K+uaJ+°R+iJ+E+oH+, "as a
curtain," by "as a skin."
 Gen. iii. 21. Skins he makes the emblems of mortality, as being
taken from dead animals. See p. 112, note 8, above.
 That is, the firmament of Scripture was after man's sin
stretched over him as a parchment scroll,--stretched over him for his
enlightenment by the ministry of mortal men. This idea is enlarged on
in Ps. viii. 4, sec. 7, etc., xviii. sec. 2, xxxii. 6, 7, and cxlvi.
8, sec. 15.
 We have the same idea in Ps. ciii. sec. 8: "Cum enim viverent
nondum erat extenta pellis, nondum erat extentum cælum, ut tegeret
 Ps. viii. 3.
 Ps. xix. 7. See p. 62, note 6, above.
 Ps. viii. 2.
 He alludes to the Manichæans. See notes, pp. 67, 81, and 87.
 See part 2 of note 8 on p. 76, above.
 Ps. xix. 8.
 Matt. xviii. 10.
 "Legunt, eligunt, et diligunt."
 Isa. xxxiv. 4.
 Ps. xxxvi. 5.
 Matt. xxiv. 35.
 Isa. xxxiv. 4.
 Isa. xl. 6-8. The law of storms, and that which regulates the
motions of the stars or the ebbing and flowing of the tides, may
change at the "end of the world." But the moral law can know no
change, for while the first is arbitrary, the second is absolute. On
the difference between moral and natural law, see Candlish, Reason and
Revelation, "Conscience and the Bible."
 1 Cor. xiii. 12.
 1 John iii. 2.
 Cant. ii. 9.
 Cant. i. 3.
 1 John iii. 2.
Chapter XVI.--That No One But the Unchangeable Light Knows Himself.
19. For altogether as Thou art, Thou only knowest, Who art
unchangeably, and knowest unchangeably, and willest unchangeably. And
Thy Essence Knoweth and Willeth unchangeably; and Thy Knowledge Is,
and Willeth unchangeably; and Thy Will Is, and Knoweth unchangeably.
Nor doth it appear just to Thee, that as the Unchangeable Light
knoweth Itself, so should It be known by that which is enlightened and
changeable.  Therefore unto Thee is my soul as "land where no
water is,"  because as it cannot of itself enlighten itself, so
it cannot of itself satisfy itself. For so is the fountain of life
with Thee, like as in Thy light we shall see light. 
 See Dean Mansel on this place (Bampton Lectures, lect. v. note
18), who argues that revelation is clear and devoid of mystery when
viewed as intended "for our practical guidance," and not as a matter
of speculation. He says: "The utmost deficiency that can be charged
against human faculties amounts only to this, that we cannot say that
we know God as God knows Himself,--that the truth of which our finite
minds are susceptible may, for aught we know, be but the passing
shadow of some higher reality, which exists only in the Infinite
Intelligence." He shows also that this deficiency pertains to the
human faculties as such, and that, whether they set themselves to
consider the things of nature or revelation. See also p. 193, note 8,
above, and notes, pp. 197, 198, below.
 Ps. lxiii. 1.
 Ps. xxxvi. 9.
Chapter XVII.--Allegorical Explanation of the Sea and the
Fruit-Bearing Earth--Verses 9 and 11.
20. Who hath gathered the embittered together into one society? For
they have all the same end, that of temporal and earthly happiness, on
account of which they do all things, although they may fluctuate with
an innumerable variety of cares. Who, O Lord, unless Thou, saidst, Let
the waters be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land
appear,  which "thirsteth after Thee"?  For the sea also
is Thine, and Thou hast made it, and Thy hands prepared the dry land.
 For neither is the bitterness of men's wills, but the gathering
together of waters called sea; for Thou even curbest the wicked
desires of men's souls, and fixest their bounds, how far they may be
permitted to advance,  and that their waves may be broken
against each other; and thus dost Thou make it a sea, by the order of
Thy dominion over all things.
21. But as for the souls that thirst after Thee, and that appear
before Thee (being by other bounds divided from the society of the
sea), them Thou waterest by a secret and sweet spring, that the earth
may bring forth her fruit,  and, Thou, O Lord God, so
commanding, our soul may bud forth works of mercy according to their
kind,  --loving our neighbour in the relief of his bodily
necessities, having seed in itself according to its likeness, when
from our infirmity we compassionate even to the relieving of the
needy; helping them in a like manner as we would that help should be
brought unto us if we were in a like need; not only in the things that
are easy, as in "herb yielding seed," but also in the protection of
our assistance, in our very strength, like the tree yielding fruit;
that is, a good turn in delivering him who suffers an injury from the
hand of the powerful, and in furnishing him with the shelter of
protection by the mighty strength of just judgment.
 Gen. i. 9. In his comment on Psalm lxiv. 6 (sec. 9), he
interprets "the sea," allegorically, of the wicked world. Hence were
the disciples called "fishers of men." If the fishers have taken us in
the nets of faith, we are to rejoice, because the net will be dragged
to the shore. On the providence of God, regulating the wickedness of
men, see p. 79, note 4, above.
 Ps. cxliii. 6, and lxiii. 1.
 Ps. xcv. 5.
 Ps. civ. 9, and Job xxxviii. 11, 12.
 Gen. i. 11. As he interprets (see sec. 20, note, above) the sea
as the world, so he tells us in Ps. lxvi. 6, sec. 8, that when the
earth, full of thorns, thirsted for the waters of heaven, God in His
mercy sent His apostles to preach the gospel, whereon the earth
brought forth that fruit which fills the world; that is, the earth
bringing forth fruit represents the Church.
 Ps. lxxxv. 11.
Chapter XVIII.--Of the Lights and Stars of Heaven--Of Day and Night,
22. Thus, O Lord, thus, I beseech Thee, let there arise, as Thou
makest, as Thou givest joy and ability,--let "truth spring out of the
earth, and righteousness look down from heaven," and let there be
"lights in the firmament."  Let us break our bread to the
hungry, and let us bring the houseless poor to our house.  Let
us clothe the naked, and despise not those of our own flesh. The which
fruits having sprung forth from the earth, behold, because it is good;
 and let our temporary light burst forth;  and let us,
from this inferior fruit of action, possessing the delights of
contemplation and of the Word of Life above, let us appear as lights
in the world,  clinging to the firmament of Thy Scripture. For
therein Thou makest it plain unto us, that we may distinguish between
things intelligible and things of sense, as if between the day and the
night; or between souls, given, some to things intellectual, others to
things of sense; so that now not Thou only in the secret of Thy
judgment, as before the firmament was made, dividest between the light
and the darkness, but Thy spiritual children also, placed and ranked
in the same firmament (Thy grace being manifest throughout the world),
may give light upon the earth, and divide between the day and night,
and be for signs of times; because "old things have passed away," and
"behold all things are become new;"  and "because our salvation
is nearer than when we believed;"  and because "the night is far
spent, the day is at hand;"  and because Thou wilt crown Thy
year with blessing,  sending the labourers of Thy goodness into
Thy harvest,  in the sowing of which others have laboured,
sending also into another field, whose harvest shall be in the end.
 Thus Thou grantest the prayers of him that asketh, and blessest
the years of the just;  but Thou art the same, and in Thy years
which fail not  Thou preparest a garner for our passing years.
For by an eternal counsel Thou dost in their proper seasons bestow
upon the earth heavenly blessings.
23. For, indeed, to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, as
if the greater light, on account of those who are delighted with the
light of manifest truth, as in the beginning of the day; but to
another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, as if the lesser
light;  to another faith; to another the gift of healing; to
another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another the
discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues. And all
these as stars. For all these worketh the one and self-same Spirit,
dividing to every man his own as He willeth;  and making stars
appear manifestly, to profit withal.  But the word of knowledge,
wherein are contained all sacraments,  which are varied in their
periods like the moon, and the other conceptions of gifts, which are
successively reckoned up as stars, inasmuch as they come short of that
splendour of wisdom in which the fore-mentioned day rejoices, are only
for the beginning of the night. For they are necessary to such as he
Thy most prudent servant could not speak unto as unto spiritual, but
as unto carnal  --even he who speaketh wisdom among those that
are perfect.  But the natural man, as a babe in Christ,--and a
drinker of milk,--until he be strengthened for solid meat,  and
his eye be enabled to look upon the Sun,  let him not dwell in
his own deserted night, but let him be contented with the light of the
moon and the stars. Thou reasonest these things with us, our All-wise
God, in Thy Book, Thy firmament, that we may discern all things in an
admirable contemplation, although as yet in signs, and in times, and
in days, and in years.
 Gen. i. 14.
 Isa. lviii. 7.
 Gen. i. 12.
 Isa. lviii. 8.
 Phil. ii. 15.
 2 Cor. v. 17.
 Rom. xiii. 11, 12.
 Rom. xiii. 11, 12.
 Ps. lxv. 11.
 Matt. ix. 38.
 Matt. xiii. 39.
 Prov. x. 6.
 Ps. cii. 27.
 Compare his De Trin. xii. 22-55, where, referring to 1 Cor.
xii. 8, he explains that "knowledge" has to do with action, or that by
which we use rightly things temporal; while wisdom has to do with the
contemplation of things eternal. See also in Ps. cxxxv. sec. 8.
 1 Cor. xii. 8-11.
 1 Cor. xii. 7.
 1 Cor. xiii. 2. The Authorized Version and the Vulgate render
more correctly, "mysteries." From Palmer (see p. 118, note 3, above),
we learn that "the Fathers gave the name of sacrament or mystery to
everything which conveyed one signification or property to unassisted
reason, and another to faith;" while, at the same time, they counted
Baptism and the Lord's Supper as the two great sacraments. The
sacraments, then, used in this sense are "varied in their periods,"
and Augustin, in Ps. lxxiii. 2, speaks of distinguishing between the
sacraments of the Old Testament and the sacraments of the New.
"Sacramenta novi Testamenti" he says, "dant salutem, sacramenta
veteris Testamenti promiserunt salvatorem." So also in Ps. xlvi. he
says: "Our Lord God varying, indeed, the sacraments of the words, but
commending unto us one faith, hath diffused through the sacred
Scriptures manifoldly and variously the faith in which we live, and by
which we live. For one and the same thing is said in many ways, that
it may be varied in the manner of speaking in order to prevent
aversion, but may be preserved as one with a view to concord."
 1 Cor. iii. 1.
 1 Cor. ii. 6.
 1 Cor. iii. 2, and Heb. v. 12. The allusion in our text is to
what is called the Disciplina Arcani of the early Church. Clement of
Alexandria, in his Stromata, enters at large into the matter of
esoteric teaching, and traces its use amongst the Hebrews, Greeks, and
Egyptians. Clement, like Chrysostom and other Fathers, supports this
principle of interpretation on the authority of St. Paul in Heb. v.
and vi., referred to by Augustin above. He says (as quoted by Bishop
Kaye, Clement of Alexandria, ch. iv. p. 183): "Babes must be fed with
milk, the perfect man with solid food; milk is catechetical
instruction, the first nourishment of the soul; solid food,
contemplation penetrating into all mysteries (he epoptike theoria),
the blood and flesh of the Word, the comprehension of the Divine power
and essence." Augustin, therefore, when he speaks of being "contented
with the light of the moon and stars," alludes to the partial
knowledge imparted to the catechumen during his probationary period
before baptism. It was only as competentes, and ready for baptism,
that the catechumens were taught the Lord's Prayer and the Creed. We
have already adverted to this matter in note 4 on p. 89, and need not
now do more than refer the reader to Dr. Newman's Arians. In ch. i.
sec. 3 of that work, there are some most interesting pages on this
subject, in its connection with the Catechetical School of Alexandria.
See also p. 118, note 8, above; Palmer, Origines Liturgicæ, iv. sec.
7: and note 1, below.
 Those ready for strong meat were called "illuminated" (see p.
118, note 4, above), as their eyes were "enabled to look upon the
Sun." We have frequent traces in Augustin's writings of the
Neo-Platonic doctrine that the soul has a capacity to see God, even as
the eye the sun. In Serm. lxxxviii. 6 he says: "Daretne tibi unde
videres solem quem fecit, et non tibi daret unde videres eum qui te
fecit, cum te ad imaginem suam fecerit?" And, referring to 1 John iii.
2, he tells us in Ep. xcii. 3, that not with the bodily eye shall we
see God, but with the inner, which is to be renewed day by day: "We
shall, therefore, see Him according to the measure in which we shall
be like Him; because now the measure in which we do not see Him is
according to the measure of our unlikeness to Him." Compare also
Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, c. 4: "Plato, indeed, says, that
the mind's eye is of such a nature, and has been given for this end,
that we may see that very Being who is the cause of all when the mind
is pure itself." Some interesting remarks on this subject, and on the
three degrees of divine knowledge as held by the Neo-Platonists, will
be found in John Smith's Select Discourses, pp. 2 and 165 (Cambridge
1860). On growth in grace, see note 4, p. 140, above.
Chapter XIX.--All Men Should Become Lights in the Firmament of Heaven.
24. But first, "Wash you, make you clean;"  put away iniquity
from your souls, and from before mine eyes, that the dry land may
appear. "Learn to do well; judge the fatherless; plead for the widow,"
 that the earth may bring forth the green herb for meat, and the
tree bearing fruit;  and come let us reason together, saith the
Lord,  that there may be lights in the firmament of heaven, and
that they may shine upon the earth.  That rich man asked of the
good Master what he should do to attain eternal life.  Let the
good Master, whom he thought a man, and nothing more, tell him (but He
is "good" because He is God)--let Him tell him, that if he would
"enter into life" he must "keep the commandments;"  let him
banish from himself the bitterness of malice and wickedness; 
let him not kill, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor bear false
witness; that the dry land may appear, and bud forth the honouring of
father and mother, and the love of our neighbour.  All these,
saith he, have I kept.  Whence, then, are there so many thorns,
if the earth be fruitful? Go, root up the woody thicket of avarice;
sell that thou hast, and be filled with fruit by giving to the poor,
and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and follow the Lord "if thou
wilt be perfect,"  coupled with those amongst whom He speaketh
wisdom, Who knoweth what to distribute to the day and to the night,
that thou also mayest know it, that for thee also there may be lights
in the firmament of heaven, which will not be unless thy heart be
there;  which likewise also will not be unless thy treasure be
there, as thou hast heard from the good Master. But the barren earth
was grieved,  and the thorns choked the word. 
25. But you, "chosen generation,  you weak things of the world,"
who have forsaken all things that you might "follow the Lord," go
after Him, and "confound the things which are mighty;"  go after
Him, ye beautiful feet,  and shine in the firmament,  that
the heavens may declare His glory, dividing between the light of the
perfect, though not as of the angels, and the darkness of the little,
though not despised ones. Shine over all the earth, and let the day,
lightened by the sun, utter unto day the word of wisdom; and let
night, shining by the moon, announce unto night the word of knowledge.
 The moon and the stars shine for the night, but the night
obscureth them not, since they illumine it in its degree. For behold
God (as it were) saying, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the
heaven." There came suddenly a sound from heaven, as it had been the
rushing of a mighty wind, and there appeared cloven tongues like as of
fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And there were made lights
in the firmament of heaven, having the word of life.  Run ye to
and fro everywhere, ye holy fires, ye beautiful fires; for ye are the
light of the world,  nor are ye put under a bushel.  He to
whom ye cleave is exalted, and hath exalted you. Run ye to and fro,
and be known unto all nations.
 "He alludes to the sacrament of Baptism."--W. W.
 Isa. i. 16, 19.
 Gen. i. 11, 30.
 Isa. i. l8.
 Gen. i. 15.
 Matt. xix. 16.
 Ibid. ver. 17.
 1 Cor. v. 8.
 Matt. xix. 16-19.
 Ibid. ver. 20.
 Ibid. ver. 21.
 Matt. vi. 21.
 Matt. xix. 22.
 Matt. xiii. 7, 22.
 1 Pet. ii. 9.
 1 Cor. i. 27.
 Isa. lii. 7.
 Dan. xii. 3.
 Ps. xix.
 Acts ii. 3.
 1 John i. 1.
 That is, as having their light from Him who is their central
Sun (see p. 76, note 2, above). For it is true of all Christians in
relation to their Lord, as he says of John the Baptist (Serm.
ccclxxxii. 7): "Johannes lumen illuminatum: Christus lumen
illuminans." See also note 1, above.
 Matt. v. 14.
Chapter XX.--Concerning Reptiles and Flying Creatures (Ver. 20),--The
Sacrament of Baptism Being Regarded.
26. Let the sea also conceive and bring forth your works, and let the
waters bring forth the moving creatures that have life.  For ye,
who "take forth the precious from the vile,"  have been made the
mouth of God, through which He saith, "Let the waters bring forth,"
not the living creature which the earth bringeth forth, but the moving
creature having life, and the fowls that fly above the earth. For Thy
sacraments, O God, by the ministry of Thy holy ones, have made their
way amid the billows of the temptations of the world, to instruct the
Gentiles in Thy Name, in Thy Baptism. And amongst these things, many
great works of wonder have been wrought, like as great whales; and the
voices of Thy messengers flying above the earth, near to the firmament
of Thy Book; that being set over them as an authority, under which
they were to fly whithersoever they were to go. For "there is no
speech, nor language, where their voice is not heard;" seeing their
sound  "hath gone through all the earth, and their words to the
end of the world," because Thou, O Lord, hast multiplied these things
by blessing. 
27. Whether do I lie, or do I mingle and confound, and not distinguish
between the clear knowledge of these things that are in the firmament
of heaven, and the corporeal works in the undulating sea and under the
firmament of heaven? For of those things whereof the knowledge is
solid and defined, without increase by generation, as it were lights
of wisdom and knowledge, yet of these self-same things the material
operations are many and varied; and one thing in growing from another
is multiplied by Thy blessing, O God, who hast refreshed the
fastidiousness of mortal senses; so that in the knowledge of our mind,
one thing may, through the motions of the body, be in many ways 
set out and expressed. These sacraments have the waters brought forth;
 but in Thy Word. The wants of the people estranged from the
eternity of Thy truth have produced them, but in Thy Gospel; because
the waters themselves have cast them forth, the bitter weakness of
which was the cause of these things being sent forth in Thy Word.
28. Now all things are fair that Thou hast made, but behold, Thou art
inexpressibly fairer who hast made all things; from whom had not Adam
fallen, the saltness of the sea would never have flowed from him,--the
human race so profoundly curious, and boisterously swelling, and
restlessly moving; and thus there would be no need that Thy dispensers
should work in many waters,  in a corporeal and sensible manner,
mysterious doings and sayings. For so these creeping and flying
creatures now present themselves to my mind, whereby men, instructed,
initiated, and subjected by corporeal sacraments, should not further
profit, unless their soul had a higher spiritual life, and unless,
after the word of admission, it looked forwards to perfection. 
 Gen. i. 20.
 Jer. xv. 19.
 Ps. xix. 3, 4. The word "sound" in this verse (as given in the
LXX. and Vulg.), is in the Hebrew Q+aW+uoM%, which is rightly rendered
in the Authorized Version a "line" or "rule." It may be noted, in
connection with Augustin's interpretation, that the word "firmament"
in the first verse of this psalm is the R+oQ+iJ+E+a of Gen. i. 7;
translated in both places by the LXX. stereoma. The "heavens" and the
"firmament" are constantly interpreted by the Fathers as referring to
the apostles and their firmness in teaching the word: and this is
supported by reference to St. Paul's quotation of the text in Rom. x.
18: "But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went
into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world."
 Gen. i. 4.
 See end of note 17, p. 197, above.
 "He alludes to Baptism in water, accompanied with the word of
the gospel; of the institution whereof man's misery was the
 See sec. 20, note, above.
 "He means that Baptism, which is the sacrament of initiation,
was not so profitable without the Lord's Supper, which ancients called
the sacrament of perfection or consummation."--W. W. Compare also sec.
24, note, and p. 140, note 3, above.
Chapter XXI.--Concerning the Living Soul, Birds, and Fishes (Ver.
24)--The Sacrament of the Eucharist Being Regarded.
29. And hereby, in Thy Word, not the depth of the sea, but the earth
parted from the bitterness of the waters,  bringeth forth not
the creeping and flying creature that hath life,  but the living
soul itself.  For now hath it no longer need of baptism, as the
heathen have, and as itself had when it was covered with the
waters,--for no other entrance is there into the kingdom of heaven,
 since Thou hast appointed that this should be the
entrance,--nor does it seek great works of miracles by which to cause
faith; for it is not such that, unless it shall have seen signs and
wonders, it will not believe,  when now the faithful earth is
separated from the waters of the sea, rendered bitter by infidelity;
and "tongues are for a sign, not to those that believe, but to those
that believe not."  Nor then doth the earth, which Thou hast
founded above the waters,  stand in need of that flying kind
which at Thy word the waters brought forth. Send Thy word forth into
it by Thy messengers. For we relate their works, but it is Thou who
workest in them, that in it they may work out a living soul. The earth
bringeth it forth, because the earth is the cause that they work these
things in the soul; as the sea has been the cause that they wrought
upon the moving creatures that have life, and the fowls that fly under
the firmament of heaven, of which the earth hath now no need; although
it feeds on the fish which was taken out of the deep, upon that table
which Thou hast prepared in the presence of those that believe. 
For therefore He was raised from the deep, that He might feed the dry
land; and the fowl, though bred in the sea, is yet multiplied upon the
earth. For of the first preachings of the Evangelists, the infidelity
of men was the prominent cause; but the faithful also are exhorted,
and are manifoldly blessed by them day by day. But the living soul
takes its origin from the earth, for it is not profitable, unless to
those already among the faithful, to restrain themselves from the love
of this world, that so their soul may live unto Thee, which was dead
while living in pleasures,  --in death-bearing pleasures, O
Lord, for Thou art the vital delight of the pure heart.
30. Now, therefore, let Thy ministers work upon the earth,--not as in
the waters of infidelity, by announcing and speaking by miracles, and
sacraments, and mystic words; in which ignorance, the mother of
admiration, may be intent upon them, in fear of those hidden signs.
For such is the entrance unto the faith for the sons of Adam forgetful
of Thee, while they hide themselves from Thy face,  and become a
darksome deep. But let Thy ministers work even as on the dry land,
separated from the whirlpools of the great deep; and let them be an
example unto the faithful, by living before them, and by stimulating
them to imitation. For thus do men hear not with an intent to hear
merely, but to act also. Seek the Lord, and your soul shall live,
 that the earth may bring forth the living soul. "Be not
conformed to this world."  Restrain yourselves from it; the soul
lives by avoiding those things which it dies by affecting. Restrain
yourselves from the unbridled wildness of pride, from the indolent
voluptuousness of luxury, and from the false name of knowledge; 
so that wild beasts may be tamed, the cattle subdued, and serpents
harmless. For these are the motions of the mind in allegory; that is
to say, the haughtiness of pride, the delight of lust, and the poison
of curiosity are the motions of the dead soul; for the soul dies not
so as to lose all motion, because it dies by forsaking the fountain of
life,  and so is received by this transitory world, and is
conformed unto it.
31. But Thy Word, O God, is the fountain of eternal life, and passeth
not away; therefore this departure is kept in check by Thy word when
it is said unto us, "Be not conformed unto this world,"  so that
the earth may bring forth a living soul in the fountain of life,--a
soul restrained in Thy Word, by Thy Evangelists, by imitating the
followers of Thy Christ.  For this is after his kind; because a
man is stimulated to emulation by his friend.  "Be ye," saith
he, "as I am, for I am as you are."  Thus in the living soul
shall there be good beasts, in gentleness of action. For Thou hast
commanded, saying, Go on with thy business in meekness, and thou shalt
be beloved by all men;  and good cattle, which neither if they
eat, shall they over-abound, nor if they do not eat, have they any
want;  and good serpents, not destructive to do hurt, but "wise"
 to take heed; and exploring only so much of this temporal
nature as is sufficient that eternity may be "clearly seen, being
understood by the things that are."  For these animals are
subservient to reason,  when, being kept in check from a deadly
advance, they live, and are good.
 See sec. 20, note, and sec. 21, note, above.
 Gen. i. 20.
 Gen. ii. 7.
 John iii. 5.
 John iv. 48.
 1 Cor. xiv. 22.
 "Fundasti super aquas," which is the Old Ver. of Ps. cxxxvi. 6.
Augustin sometimes uses a version with "firmavit terram," which
corresponds to the LXX., but the Authorized Version renders the Hebrew
more accurately by "stretched out." In his comment on this place he
applies this text to baptism as being the entrance into the Church,
and in this he is followed by many mediæval writers.
 Ps. xxiii. 5. Many of the Fathers interpret this text of the
Lord's Supper, as Augustin does above. The fish taken out of the deep,
which is fed upon, means Christ, in accordance with the well-known
acrostic of IChThUS. "If," he says in his De Civ. Dei, xviii. 23, "you
join the initial letters of these five Greek words, Iesous Christos
Theou Huios Soter, which mean, `Jesus Christ the Son of God, the
Saviour,' they will make the word ichthus,--that is, `fish,' in which
word Christ is mystically understood, because He was able to live,
that is, to exist without sin in the abyss of this mortality as in the
depth of waters." So likewise we find Tertullian saying in his De
Bapt. chap. I.: "Nos pisciculi, secundum IChThUN nostrum Jesum
Christum in aqua nascimur; nec aliter quam in aqua permanendo salvi
sumus." See Bishop Kaye's Tertullian, pp. 43, 44; and sec. 34, below.
 1 Tim. v. 6.
 Gen. iii. 8.
 Ps. lxix. 32.
 Rom. xii. 2.
 1 Tim. vi. 20. See p. 153, note 7, above.
 Jer. ii. 13. See p. 133, note 2, and p. 129, note 8, above.
 Rom. xii. 2.
 1 Cor. xi. 1.
 See p. 71, note 3, above.
 Gal. iv. 12.
 Ecclus. iii. 17etc.
 1 Cor. viii. 8.
 Matt. x. 16.
 Rom. i. 20.
 In his De Gen. con. Manich. i. 20, he interprets the dominion
given to man over the beasts of his keeping in subjection the passions
of the soul, so as to attain true happiness.
Chapter XXII.--He Explains the Divine Image (Ver. 26) of the Renewal
of the Mind.
32. For behold, O Lord our God, our Creator, when our affections have
been restrained from the love of the world, by which we died by living
ill, and began to be a "living soul" by living well;  and Thy
word which Thou spakest by Thy apostle is made good in us, "Be not
conformed to this world;" next also follows that which Thou presently
subjoinedst, saying, "But be ye transformed by the renewing of your
mind,"  --not now after your kind, as if following your
neighbour who went before you, nor as if living after the example of a
better man (for Thou hast not said, "Let man be made after his kind,"
but, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"),  that
we may prove what Thy will is. For to this purpose said that dispenser
of Thine,--begetting children by the gospel,  --that he might
not always have them "babes," whom he would feed on milk, and cherish
as a nurse;  "be ye transformed," saith He, "by the renewing of
your mind, that he may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and
perfect will of God."  Therefore Thou sayest not, "Let man be
made," but, "Let us make man." Nor sayest Thou, "after his kind," but,
after "our image" and "likeness." Because, being renewed in his mind,
and beholding and apprehending Thy truth, man needeth not man as his
director  that he may imitate his kind; but by Thy direction
proveth what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of Thine.
And Thou teachest him, now made capable, to perceive the Trinity of
the Unity, and the Unity of the Trinity. And therefore this being said
in the plural, "Let us make man," it is yet subjoined in the singular,
"and God made man;" and this being said in the plural, "after our
likeness," is subjoined in the singular, "after the image of God."
 Thus is man renewed in the knowledge of God, after the image of
Him that created him;  and being made spiritual, he judgeth all
things,--all things that are to be judged,--"yet he himself is judged
of no man." 
 As Origen has it: "The good man is he who truly exists." See p.
190, note 6, above; and compare the use made of the idea in Archbishop
Thomson's Bampton Lectures, lect. i.
 Rom. xii. 2.
 Gen. i. 26.
 1 Cor. iv. 15.
 1 Thess. ii. 7.
 Rom. xii. 2.
 Jer. xxxi. 34.
 Gen. i. 27.
 Col. iii. 10.
 1 Cor. ii. 15.
Chapter XXIII.--That to Have Power Over All Things (Ver. 26) is to
Judge Spiritually of All.
33. But that he judgeth all things answers to his having dominion over
the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over all
cattle and wild beasts, and over all the earth, and over every
creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For this he doth by the
discernment of his mind, whereby he perceiveth the things "of the
Spirit of God;"  whereas, otherwise, man being placed in honour,
had no understanding, and is compared unto the brute beasts, and is
become like unto them.  In Thy Church, therefore, O our God,
according to Thy grace which Thou hast accorded unto it, since we are
Thy workmanship created in good works,  there are not only those
who are spiritually set over, but those also who are spiritually
subjected to those placed over them; for in this manner hast Thou made
man, male and female,  in Thy grace spiritual, where, according
to the sex of body, there is not male and female, because neither Jew
nor Greek, nor bond nor free.  Spiritual persons, therefore,
whether those that are set over, or those who obey, judge spiritually;
not of that spiritual knowledge which shines in the firmament, for
they ought not to judge as to an authority so sublime, nor doth it
behove them to judge of Thy Book itself, although there be something
that is not clear therein; because we submit our understanding unto
it, and esteem as certain that even that which is shut up from our
sight is rightly and truly spoken.  For thus man, although now
spiritual and renewed in the knowledge of God after His image that
created him, ought yet to be the "doer of the law, not the judge."
 Neither doth he judge of that distinction of spiritual and
carnal men, who are known to Thine eyes, O our God, and have not as
yet made themselves manifest unto us by works, that by their fruits we
may know them;  but Thou, O Lord, dost already know them, and
Thou hast divided and hast called them in secret, before the firmament
was made. Nor doth that man, though spiritual, judge the restless
people of this world; for what hath he to do to judge them that are
without,  knowing not which of them may afterwards come into the
sweetness of Thy grace, and which continue in the perpetual bitterness
34. Man, therefore, whom Thou hast made after Thine own image,
received not dominion over the lights of heaven, nor over the hidden
heaven itself, nor over the day and the night, which Thou didst call
before the foundation of the heaven, nor over the gathering together
of the waters, which is the sea; but he received dominion over the
fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and over all cattle, and
over all the earth, and over all creeping things which creep upon the
earth. For He judgeth and approveth what He findeth right, but
disapproveth what He findeth amiss, whether in the celebration of
those sacraments by which are initiated those whom Thy mercy searches
out in many waters; or in that in which the Fish  Itself is
exhibited, which, being raised from the deep, the devout earth feedeth
upon; or in the signs and expressions of words, subject to the
authority of Thy Book,--such signs as burst forth and sound from the
mouth, as it were flying under the firmament, by interpreting,
expounding, discoursing, disputing, blessing, calling upon Thee, so
that the people may answer, Amen. The vocal pronunciation of all which
words is caused by the deep of this world, and the blindness of the
flesh, by which thoughts cannot be seen, so that it is necessary to
speak aloud in the ears; thus, although flying fowls be multiplied
upon the earth, yet they derive their beginning from the waters. The
spiritual man judgeth also by approving what is right and reproving
what he finds amiss in the works and morals of the faithful, in their
alms, as if in "the earth bringing forth fruit;" and he judgeth of the
"living soul," rendered living by softened affections, in chastity, in
fastings, in pious thoughts; and of those things which are perceived
through the senses of the body. For it is now said, that he should
judge concerning those things in which he has also the power of
 1 Cor. ii. 14.
 Ps. xlix. 20.
 Eph. ii. 10.
 Gen. i. 27.
 Gal. iii. 28.
 In his De Civ. Dei, xi. 3, he defines very distinctly (as he
does in other of his writings) the knowledge received "by sight"--that
is, by experience, as distinguished from that which is received "by
faith"--that is, by revelation (2 Cor. v. 7). He, in common with all
the Fathers who had knowledge of the Pagan philosophy, would feel how
utterly that philosophy had failed to "find out" (Job xi. 7) with
certitude anything as to God and His character,--the Creation of the
world,--the Atonement wrought by Christ,--the doctrine of the
Resurrection, as distinguished from the Immortality of the Soul,--our
Immortal Destiny after death, or "the Restitution of all things." As
to the knowledge of God, see Justin Martyr's experience in the schools
of philosophy, Dialogue with Trypho, ch. ii.; and on the doctrine of
Creation, see p. 165, note 4. On the "Restitution of all things,"
etc., reference may be made to Mansel's Gnostics, who points out
(Introd. p. 3) that "in the Greek philosophical systems the idea of
evil holds a very subordinate and insignificant place, and that the
idea of redemption seems not to be recognised at all." He shows
further (ibid. p. 4), that "there is no idea of the delivery of the
creature from the bondage of corruption. The great year of the Stoics,
the commencement of the new cycle which takes its place after the
destruction of the old world, is but a repetition of the old evil."
See also p. 164, note 2, above.
 Jas. iv. 11.
 Matt. viii. 20.
 1 Cor. v. 12.
 See sec. 29, note.
Chapter XXIV.--Why God Has Blessed Men, Fishes, Flying Creatures, and
Not Herbs and the Other Animals (Ver. 28).
35. But what is this, and what kind of mystery is it? Behold, Thou
blessest men, O Lord, that they may "be fruitful and multiply, and
replenish the earth;"  in this dost Thou not make a sign unto us
that we may understand something? Why hast Thou not also blessed the
light, which Thou calledst day, nor the firmament of heaven, nor the
lights, nor the stars, nor the earth, nor the sea? I might say, O our
God, that Thou, who hast created us after Thine Image,--I might say,
that Thou hast willed to bestow this gift of blessing especially upon
man, hadst Thou not in like manner blessed the fishes and the whales,
that they should be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the waters of
the sea, and that the fowls should be multiplied upon the earth.
Likewise might I say, that this blessing belonged properly unto such
creatures as are propagated from their own kind, if I had found it in
the shrubs, and the fruit trees, and beasts of the earth. But now is
it not said either unto the herbs, or trees, or beasts, or serpents,
"Be fruitful and multiply;" since all these also, as well as fishes,
and fowls, and men, do by propagation increase and preserve their
36. What, then, shall I say, O Thou Truth, my Light,--"that it was
idly and vainly said?" Not so, O Father of piety; far be it from a
minister of Thy word to say this. But if I understand not what Thou
meanest by that phrase, let my betters--that is, those more
intelligent than I--use it better, in proportion as Thou, O my God,
hast given to each to understand. But let my confession be also
pleasing before Thine eyes, in which I confess to Thee that I believe,
O Lord, that Thou hast not thus spoken in vain; nor will I be silent
as to what this lesson suggests to me. For it is true, nor do I see
what should prevent me from thus understanding the figurative sayings
 of Thy books. For I know a thing may be manifoldly signified by
bodily expression which is understood in one manner by the mind; and
that that may be manifoldly understood in the mind which is in one
manner signified by bodily expression. Behold, the single love of God
and of our neighbour, by what manifold sacraments and innumerable
languages, and in each several language in how innumerable modes of
speaking, it is bodily expressed. Thus do the young of the waters
increase and multiply. Observe again, whosoever thou art who readest;
behold what Scripture delivers, and the voice pronounces in one only
way, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth;" is it not
manifoldly understood, not by any deceit of error, but by divers kinds
of true senses?  Thus are the offspring of men "fruitful" and do
37. If, therefore, we conceive of the natures of things, not
allegorically, but properly, then does the phrase, "be fruitful and
multiply," correspond to all things which are begotten of seed. But if
we treat those words as taken figuratively (the which I rather suppose
the Scripture intended, which doth not, verily, superfluously
attribute this benediction to the offspring of marine animals and man
only), then do we find that "multitude" belongs also to creatures both
spiritual and corporeal, as in heaven and in earth; and to souls both
righteous and unrighteous, as in light and darkness; and to holy
authors, through whom the law has been furnished unto us, as in the
firmament  which has been firmly placed betwixt waters and
waters; and to the society of people yet endued with bitterness, as in
the sea; and to the desire of holy souls, as in the dry land; and to
works of mercy pertaining to this present life, as in the seed-bearing
herbs and fruit-bearing trees; and to spiritual gifts shining forth
for edification, as in the lights of heaven; and to affections formed
unto temperance, as in the living soul. In all these cases we meet
with multitudes, abundance, and increase; but what shall thus "be
fruitful and multiply," that one thing may be expressed in many ways,
and one expression understood in many ways, we discover not, unless in
signs corporeally expressed, and in things mentally conceived. We
understand the signs corporeally pronounced as the generations of the
waters, necessarily occasioned by carnal depth; but things mentally
conceived we understand as human generations, on account of the
fruitfulness of reason. And therefore do we believe that to each kind
of these it has been said by Thee, O Lord, "Be fruitful and multiply."
For in this blessing I acknowledge that power and faculty has been
granted unto us, by Thee, both to express in many ways what we
understand but in one, and to understand in many ways what we read as
obscurely delivered but in one. Thus are the waters of the sea
replenished, which are not moved but by various significations; thus
even with the human offspring is the earth also replenished, the
dryness  whereof appeareth in its desire, and reason ruleth over
 Gen. i. 28.
 See p. 92, note 1, above.
 See p. 189, note 2, above.
 See p. 199, note 3, above.
 See sec. 21, and note, above.
Chapter XXV.--He Explains the Fruits of the Earth (Ver. 29) of Works
38. I would also say, O Lord my God, what the following Scripture
reminds me of; yea, I will say it without fear. For I will speak the
truth, Thou inspiring me as to what Thou willest that I should say out
of these words. For by none other than Thy inspiration do I believe
that I can speak the truth, since Thou art the Truth, but every man a
liar.  And therefore he that "speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his
own;"  therefore that I may speak the truth, I will speak of
Thine. Behold, Thou hast given unto us for food "every herb bearing
seed," which is upon the face of all the earth, "and every tree in the
which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed."  Nor to us only,
but to all the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the earth, and
to all creeping things;  but unto the fishes, and great whales,
Thou hast not given these things. Now we were saying, that by these
fruits of the earth works of mercy were signified and figured in an
allegory, the which are provided for the necessities of this life out
of the fruitful earth. Such an earth was the godly Onesiphorus, unto
whose house Thou didst give mercy, because he frequently refreshed Thy
Paul, and was not ashamed of his chain.  This did also the
brethren, and such fruit did they bear, who out of Macedonia supplied
what was wanting unto him.  But how doth he grieve for certain
trees, which did not afford him the fruit due unto him, when he saith,
"At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I
pray God that it may not be laid to their charge."  For these
fruits are due to those who minister spiritual  doctrine,
through their understanding of the divine mysteries; and they are due
to them as men. They are due to them, too, as to the living soul,
supplying itself as an example in all continency; and due unto them
likewise as flying creatures, for their blessings which are multiplied
upon the earth, since their sound went out into all lands. 
 Rom. iii. 4, and Ps. cxvi. 11.
 John viii. 44.
 Gen. i. 29.
 Ibid. ver. 30.
 2 Tim. i. 16.
 2 Cor. xi. 9.
 2 Tim. iv. 16.
 "Rationalem. An old epithet to most of the holy things. So,
reasonable service, Rom. xii. 1, logikon gala; 1 Pet. ii. 2, sincere
milk. Clem. Alex. calls Baptism so, Pedag. i. 6. And in Constitut.
Apost. vi. 23, the Eucharist is styled, a reasonable Sacrifice. The
word was used to distinguish Christian mysteries from Jewish.
Rationale est spirituale."--W. W.
 Ps. xix. 4.
Chapter XXVI.--In the Confessing of Benefits, Computation is Made Not
as to The "Gift," But as to the "Fruit,"--That Is, the Good and Right
Will of the Giver.
39. But they who are delighted with them are fed by those fruits; nor
are they delighted with them "whose god is their belly."  For
neither in those that yield them are the things given the fruit, but
in what spirit they give them. Therefore he who serves God and not his
own belly,  I plainly see why he may rejoice; I see it, and I
rejoice with him exceedingly. For he hath received from the
Philippians those things which they had sent from Epaphroditus; 
but yet I see why he rejoiced. For whereat he rejoices, upon that he
feeds; for speaking in truth, "I rejoiced," saith he, "in the Lord
greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again,
wherein ye were also careful,"  but it had become wearisome unto
you. These Philippians, then, by protracted wearisomeness, had become
enfeebled, and as it were dried up, as to bringing forth this fruit of
a good work; and he rejoiceth for them, because they flourished again,
not for himself, because they ministered to his wants. Therefore, adds
he, "not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned in
whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. I know both how to be
abased, and I know how to abound everywhere and in all things I am
instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to
suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth
40. Whereat, then, dost thou rejoice in all things, O great Paul?
Whereat dost thou rejoice? Whereon dost thou feed, O man, renewed in
the knowledge of God, after the image of Him that created thee, thou
living soul of so great continency, and thou tongue like flying fowls,
speaking mysteries,--for to such creatures is this food due,--what is
that which feeds thee? Joy. Let us hear what follows.
"Notwithstanding," saith he, "ye have well done that ye did
communicate with My affliction."  Hereat doth he rejoice, hereon
doth he feed; because they have well done,  not because his
strait was relieved, who saith unto thee, "Thou hast enlarged me when
I was in distress;"  because he knew both "to abound and to
suffer need,"  in Thee Who strengthenest him. For, saith he, "ye
Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I
departed from Macedonia, no Church communicated with me as concerning
giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent
once and again unto my necessity."  Unto these good works he now
rejoiceth that they have returned; and is made glad that they
flourished again, as when a fruitful field recovers its greenness.
41. Was it on account of his own necessities that he said, "Ye have
sent unto my necessity? Rejoiceth he for that? Verily not for that.
But whence know we this? Because he himself continues, "Not because I
desire a gift, but I desire fruit."  From Thee, O my God, have I
learned to distinguish between a "gift" and "fruit." A gift is the
thing itself which he gives who bestows these necessaries, as money,
food, drink, clothing, shelter, aid; but the fruit is the good and
right will of the giver. For the good Master saith not only, "He that
receiveth a prophet," but addeth, "in the name of a prophet." Nor
saith He only, "He that receiveth a righteous man," but addeth, "in
the name of a righteous man." So, verily, the former shall receive the
reward of a prophet, the latter that of a righteous man. Nor saith He
only, "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a
cup of cold water," but addeth, "in the name of a disciple" and so
concludeth, "Verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his
reward."  The gift is to receive a prophet, to receive a
righteous man, to hand a cup of cold water to a disciple; but the
fruit is to do this in the name of a prophet, in the name of a
righteous man, in the name of a disciple. With fruit was Elijah fed by
the widow, who knew that she fed a man of God, and on this account fed
him; but by the raven was he fed with a gift. Nor was the inner man
 of Elijah fed, but the outer only, which might also from want
of such food have perished.
 Phil. iii. 19.
 Rom. xvi. 18.
 Phil. iv. 18.
 Ibid. ver. 10.
 Ibid. vers. 11-13.
 Phil. iv. 14.
 Compare p. 160, note 2, above.
 Ps. iv. 1.
 Compare his De Bono Conjug. ch. xxi., where he points out that
while any may suffer need and abound, to know how to suffer belongs
only to great souls, and to know how to abound to those whom abundance
does not corrupt.
 Phil. iv. 15, 16.
 Ibid. ver. 17.
 Matt. x. 41, 42.
 1 Kings xvii. See p. 133, note 2, above.
Chapter XXVII.--Many are Ignorant as to This, and Ask for Miracles,
Which are Signified Under the Names Of "Fishes" And "Whales."
42. Therefore will I speak before Thee, O Lord, what is true, when
ignorant men and infidels (for the initiating and gaining of whom the
sacraments of initiation and great works of miracles are necessary,
 which we believe to be signified under the name of "fishes" and
"whales") undertake that Thy servants should be bodily refreshed, or
should be otherwise succoured for this present life, although they may
be ignorant wherefore this is to be done, and to what end; neither do
the former feed the latter, nor the latter the former; for neither do
the one perform these things through a holy and right intent, nor do
the other rejoice in the gifts of those who behold not as yet the
fruit. For on that is the mind fed wherein it is gladdened. And,
therefore, fishes and whales are not fed on such food as the earth
bringeth not forth until it had been separated and divided from the
bitterness of the waters of the sea.
 We have already referred (p. 69, note 5, above) to the
cessation of miracles. Augustin has a beautiful passage in Serm.
ccxliv. 8, on the evidence which we have in the spread of
Christianity--it doing for us what miracles did for the early Church.
Compare also De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8. And he frequently alludes, as, for
example, in Ps. cxxx., to "charity" being more desirable than the
power of working miracles.
Chapter XXVIII.--He Proceeds to the Last Verse, "All Things are Very
Good,"--That Is, the Work Being Altogether Good.
43. And Thou, O God, sawest everything that Thou hadst made, and
behold it was very good.  So we also see the same, and behold
all are very good. In each particular kind of Thy works, when Thou
hadst said, "Let them be made," and they were made, Thou sawest that
it was good. Seven times have I counted it written that Thou sawest
that that which Thou madest was "good;" and this is the eighth, that
Thou sawest all things that Thou hadst made, and behold they are not
only good, but also "very good," as being now taken together. For
individually they were only good, but all taken together they were
both good and very good. All beautiful bodies also express this; for a
body which consists of members, all of which are beautiful, is by far
more beautiful than the several members individually are by whose
well-ordered union the whole is completed, though these members also
be severally beautiful. 
 Gen. i. 31.
 In his De Gen. con. Manich. i. 21, he enlarges to the same
effect on Gen. i. 31.
Chapter XXIX.--Although It is Said Eight Times that "God Saw that It
Was Good," Yet Time Has No Relation to God and His Word.
44. And I looked attentively to find whether seven or eight times Thou
sawest that Thy works were good, when they were pleasing unto Thee;
but in Thy seeing I found no times, by which I might understand that
thou sawest so often what Thou madest. And I said, "O Lord,! is not
this Thy Scripture true, since Thou art true, and being Truth hast set
it forth? Why, then, dost Thou say unto me that in thy seeing there
are no times, while this Thy Scripture telleth me that what Thou
madest each day, Thou sawest to be good; and when I counted them I
found how often?" Unto these things Thou repliest unto me, for Thou
art my God, and with strong voice tellest unto Thy servant in his
inner ear, bursting through my deafness, and crying, "O man, that
which My Scripture saith, I say; and yet doth that speak in time; but
time has no reference to My Word, because My Word existeth in equal
eternity with Myself. Thus those things which ye see through My
Spirit, I see, just as those things which ye speak through My Spirit,
I speak. And so when ye see those things in time, I see them not in
time; as when ye speak them in time, I speak them not in time."
Chapter XXX.--He Refutes the Opinions of the Manichæans and the
Gnostics Concerning the Origin of the World.
45. And I heard, O Lord my God, and drank up a drop of sweetness from
Thy truth, and understood that there are certain men to whom Thy works
are displeasing, who say that many of them Thou madest being compelled
by necessity;--such as the fabric of the heavens and the courses of
the stars, and that Thou madest them not of what was Thine, but, that
they were elsewhere and from other sources created; that Thou mightest
bring together and compact and interweave, when from Thy conquered
enemies Thou raisedst up the walls of the universe, that they, bound
down by this structure, might not be able a second time to rebel
against Thee. But, as to other things, they say Thou neither madest
them nor compactedst them,--such as all flesh and all very minute
creatures, and whatsoever holdeth the earth by its roots; but that a
mind hostile unto Thee and another nature not created by Thee, and in
everywise contrary unto Thee, did, in these lower places of the world,
beget and frame these things.  Infatuated are they who speak
thus, since they see not Thy works through Thy Spirit, nor recognise
Thee in them.
 He alludes in the above statements to the heretical notions of
the Manichæans. Their speculations on these matters are enlarged on in
note 8 on p. 76.
Chapter XXXI.--We Do Not See "That It Was Good" But Through the Spirit
of God Which is in Us.
46. But as for those who through Thy Spirit see these things, Thou
seest in them. When therefore, they see that these things are good,
Thou seest that they are good; and whatsoever things for Thy sake are
pleasing, Thou art pleased in them; and those things which through Thy
Spirit are pleasing unto us, are pleasing unto Thee in us. "For what
man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in
him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we," saith he, "have received not the spirit of the world, but the
Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely
given to us of God."  And I am reminded to say, "Truly, `the
things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God;' how, then, do we
also know `what things are given us by God'?" It is answered unto me,
"Because the things which we know by His Spirit, even these `knoweth
no man, but the Spirit of God.' For, as it is rightly said unto those
who were to speak by the Spirit of God, `It is not ye that speak,'
 so is it rightly said to them who know by the Spirit of God,
`It is not ye that know.' None the less, then, is it rightly said to
those that see by the Spirit of God, `It is not ye that see;' so
whatever they see by the Spirit of God that it is good, it is not
they, but God who `sees that it is good.'" It is one thing, then, for
a man to suppose that to be bad which is good, as the fore-named do;
another, that what is good a man should see to be good (as Thy
creatures are pleasing unto many, because they are good, whom,
however, Thou pleasest not in them when they wish to enjoy them rather
than enjoy Thee); and another, that when a man sees a thing to be
good, God should in him see that it is good,--that in truth He may be
loved in that which He made,  who cannot be loved unless by the
Holy Ghost, which He hath given. "Because the love of God is shed
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us;" 
by whom we see that whatsoever in any degree is, is good. Because it
is from Him who Is not in any degree, but He Is that He Is.
 1 Cor. ii. 12.
 Matt. x. 20.
 See the end of note 1, p. 74.
 Rom. v. 5.
Chapter XXXII.--Of the Particular Works of God, More Especially of
47. Thanks to Thee, O Lord. We behold the heaven and the earth,
whether the corporeal part, superior and inferior, or the spiritual
and corporeal creature; and in the embellishment of these parts,
whereof the universal mass of the world or the universal creation
consisteth, we see light made, and divided from the darkness. We see
the firmament of heaven,  whether the primary body of the world
between the spiritual upper waters and the corporeal lower waters,
or--because this also is called heaven--this expanse of air, through
which wander the fowls of heaven, between the waters which are in
vapours borne above them, and which in clear nights drop down in dew,
and those which being heavy flow along the earth. We behold the waters
gathered together through the plains of the sea; and the dry land both
void and formed, so as to be visible and compact, and the matter of
herbs and trees. We behold the lights shining from above,--the sun to
serve the day, the moon and the stars to cheer the night; and that by
all these, times should be marked and noted. We behold on every side a
humid element, fruitful with fishes, beasts, and birds; because the
density of the air, which bears up the flights of birds, is increased
by the exhalation of the waters.  We behold the face of the
earth furnished with terrestrial creatures, and man, created after Thy
image and likeness, in that very image and likeness of Thee (that is,
the power of reason and understanding) on account of which he was set
over all irrational creatures. And as in his soul there is one power
which rules by directing, another made subject that it might obey, so
also for the man was corporeally made a woman,  who, in the mind
of her rational understanding should also have a like nature, in the
sex, however, of her body should be in like manner subject to the sex
of her husband, as the appetite of action is subjected by reason of
the mind, to conceive the skill of acting rightly. These things we
behold, and they are severally good, and all very good.
 In his Retractations, ii. 6, he says: "Non satis considerate
dictum est; res enem in abdito est valde."
 Compare De Gen. con. Manich. ii. 15.
 "`Concipiendam,' or the reading may be `concupiscendam,'
according to St. Augustin's interpretation of Gen. iii. 16, in the De
Gen. con. Manich. ii. 15. `As an instance hereof was woman made, who
is in the order of things made subject to the man; that what appears
more evidently in two human beings, the man and the woman, may be
contemplated in the one, man; viz. that the inward man, as it were
manly reason, should have in subjection the appetite of the soul,
whereby we act through the bodily members.'"--E. B. P.
Chapter XXXIII.--The World Was Created by God Out of Nothing.
48. Let Thy works praise Thee, that we may love Thee; and let us love
Thee, that Thy works may praise Thee, the which have beginning and end
from time,--rising and setting, growth and decay, form and privation.
They have therefore their successions of morning and evening, partly
hidden, partly apparent; for they were made from nothing by Thee, not
of Thee, nor of any matter not Thine, or which was created before, but
of concreted matter (that is, matter at the same time created by
Thee), because without any interval of time Thou didst form its
formlessness.  For since the matter of heaven and earth is one
thing, and the form of heaven and earth another, Thou hast made the
matter indeed of almost nothing, but the form of the world Thou hast
formed of formless matter; both, however, at the same time, so that
the form should follow the matter with no interval of delay.
 See p. 165, note 4, above.
Chapter XXXIV.--He Briefly Repeats the Allegorical Interpretation of
Genesis (Ch. I.), and Confesses that We See It by the Divine Spirit.
49. We have also examined what Thou willedst to be shadowed forth,
whether by the creation, or the description of things in such an
order. And we have seen that things severally are good, and all things
very good,  in Thy Word, in Thine Only-Begotten, both heaven and
earth, the Head and the body of the Church, in Thy predestination
before all times, without morning and evening. But when Thou didst
begin to execute in time the things predestinated, that Thou mightest
make manifest things hidden, and adjust our disorders (for our sins
were over us, and we had sunk into profound darkness away from thee,
and Thy good Spirit was borne over us to help us in due season), Thou
didst both justify the ungodly,  and didst divide them from the
wicked; and madest firm the authority of Thy Book between those above,
who would be docile unto Thee, and those under, who would be subject
unto them; and Thou didst collect the society of unbelievers into one
conspiracy, in order that the zeal of the faithful might appear, and
that they might bring forth works of mercy unto Thee, even
distributing unto the poor earthly riches, to obtain heavenly. And
after this didst Thou kindle certain lights in the firmament, Thy holy
ones, having the word of life, and shining with an eminent authority
preferred by spiritual gifts; and then again, for the instruction of
the unbelieving Gentiles, didst Thou out of corporeal matter produce
the sacraments and visible miracles, and sounds of words according to
the firmament of Thy Book, by which the faithful should be blessed.
Next didst Thou form the living soul of the faithful, through
affections ordered by the vigour of continency; and afterwards, the
mind subjected to Thee alone, and needing to imitate no human
authority,  Thou didst renew after Thine image and likeness; and
didst subject its rational action to the excellency of the
understanding, as the woman to the man; and to all Thy ministries,
necessary for the perfecting of the faithful in this life, Thou didst
will that, for their temporal uses, good things, fruitful in the
future time, should be given by the same faithful.  We behold
all these things, and they are very good, because Thou dost see them
in us,--Thou who hast given unto us Thy Spirit, whereby we might see
them, and in them love Thee.
 Gen. i. 31.
 Rom. iv. 5.
 See p. 165, note 2, above.
 "The peace of heaven," says Augustin in his De Civ. Dei, xix.
17, "alone can be truly called and esteemed the peace of the
reasonable creatures, consisting as it does in the perfectly ordered
and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God. When we
shall have reached that peace, this mortal life shall give place to
one that is eternal, and our body shall be no more this animal body
which by its corruption weighs down the soul, but a spiritual body
feeling no want, and in all its members subjected to the will." See p.
111, note 8 (end), above.
Chapter XXXV.--He Prays God for that Peace of Rest Which Hath No
50. O Lord God, grant Thy peace unto us, for Thou hast supplied us
with all things,--the peace of rest, the peace of the Sabbath, which
hath no evening. For all this most beautiful order of things, "very
good" (all their courses being finished), is to pass away, for in them
there was morning and evening.
Chapter XXXVI.--The Seventh Day, Without Evening and Setting, the
Image of Eternal Life and Rest in God.
51. But the seventh day is without any evening, nor hath it any
setting, because Thou hast sanctified it to an everlasting continuance
that that which Thou didst after Thy works, which were very good,
resting on the seventh day, although in unbroken rest Thou madest them
that the voice of Thy Book may speak beforehand unto us, that we also
after our works (therefore very good, because Thou hast given them
unto us) may repose in Thee also in the Sabbath of eternal life.
Chapter XXXVII.--Of Rest in God Who Ever Worketh, and Yet is Ever at
52. For even then shalt Thou so rest in us, as now Thou dost work in
us; and thus shall that be Thy rest through us, as these are Thy works
through us.  But Thou, O Lord, ever workest, and art ever at
rest. Nor seest Thou in time, nor movest Thou in time, nor restest
Thou in time; and yet Thou makest the scenes of time, and the times
themselves, and the rest which results from time.
 Compare his De Gen. ad Lit. iv. 9: "For as God is properly said
to do what we do when He works in us, so is God properly said to rest
when by His gift we rest."
Chapter XXXVIII.--Of the Difference Between the Knowledge of God and
of Men, and of the Repose Which is to Be Sought from God Only.
53. We therefore see those things which Thou madest, because they are;
but they are because Thou seest them. And we see without that they
are, and within that they are good, but Thou didst see them there,
when made, where Thou didst see them to be made. And we were at
another time moved to do well, after our hearts had conceived of Thy
Spirit; but in the former time, forsaking Thee, we were moved to do
evil; but Thou, the One, the Good God, hast never ceased to do good.
And we also have certain good works, of Thy gift, but not eternal;
after these we hope to rest in Thy great hallowing. But Thou, being
the Good, needing no good, art ever at rest, because Thou Thyself art
Thy rest. And what man will teach man to understand this? Or what
angel, an angel? Or what angel, a man? Let it be asked of Thee, sought
in Thee, knocked for at Thee; so, even so shall it be received, so
shall it be found, so shall it be opened.  Amen.
 Matt. vii. 7.
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