Writings of Augustine. On the Trinity, De Trinitate

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The Fifteen Books of Aurelius Augustinus, Bishop of Hippo,

on the Trinity, de Trinitate

Translated by the Rev. Arthur West Haddan, B.D., Hon. Canon of Worchester, and Rector of Barton-on-the-Heath, Warwickshire.

Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.

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Book XIII.


The inquiry is prosecuted respecting knowledge, in which, as distinguished from wisdom, Augustin had begun in the former book to look for a kind of trinity. And occasion is taken of commending Christian faith, and of explaining how the faith of believers is one and common. Next, that all desire blessedness, yet that all have not the faith whereby we arrive at blessedness; and that this faith is defined in Christ, who in the flesh rose from the dead; and that no one is set free from the dominion of the devil through forgiveness of sins, save through Him. It is shown also at length that it was needful that the devil should be conquered by Christ, not by power, but by righteousness. Finally, that when the words of this faith are committed to memory, there is in the mind a kind of trinity, since there are, first, in the memory the sounds of the words, and this even when the man is not thinking of them; and next, the mind's eye of his recollection is formed thereupon when he thinks of them; and, lastly, the will, when he so thinks and remembers, combines both.


Chapter 1.--The Attempt is Made to Distinguish Out of the Scriptures the Offices of Wisdom and of Knowledge. That in the Beginning of John Some Things that are Said Belong to Wisdom, Some to Knowledge. Some Things There are Only Known by the Help of Faith. How We See the Faith that is in Us. In the Same Narrative of John, Some Things are Known by the Sense of the Body, Others Only by the Reason of the Mind.

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1. In the book before this, viz. the twelfth of this work, we have done enough to distinguish the office of the rational mind in temporal things, wherein not only our knowing but our action is concerned, from the more excellent office of the same mind, which is employed in contemplating eternal things, and is limited to knowing alone. But I think it more convenient that I should insert somewhat out of the Holy Scriptures, by which the two may more easily be distinguished.

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2. John the Evangelist has thus begun his Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without was Him not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth." [792] This entire passage, which I have here taken from the Gospel, contains in its earlier portions what is immutable and eternal, the contemplation of which makes us blessed; but in those which follow, eternal things are mentioned in conjunction with temporal things. And hence some things there belong to knowledge, some to wisdom, according to our previous distinction in the twelfth book. For the words,--"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not:"--require a contemplative life, and must be discerned by the intellectual mind; and the more any one has profited in this, the wiser without doubt will he become. But on account of the verse, "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not," faith certainly was necessary, whereby that which was not seen might be believed. For by "darkness" he intended to signify the hearts of mortals turned away from light of this kind, and hardly able to behold it; for which reason he subjoins, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe." But here we come to a thing that was done in time, and belongs to knowledge, which is comprised in the cognizance of facts. And we think of the man John under that phantasy which is impressed on our memory from the notion of human nature. And whether men believe or not, they think this in the same manner. For both alike know what man is, the outer part of whom, that is, his body, they have learned through the eyes of the body; but of the inner, that is, the soul, they possess the knowledge in themselves, because they also themselves are men, and through intercourse with men; so that they are able to think what is said, "There was a man, whose name was John," because they know the names also by interchange of speech. But that which is there also, viz. "sent from God," they who hold at all, hold by faith; and they who do not hold it by faith, either hesitate through doubt, or deride it through unbelief. Yet both, if they are not in the number of those over-foolish ones, who say in their heart "There is no God," [793] when they hear these words, think both things, viz. both what God is, and what it is to be sent from God; and if they do not do this as the things themselves really are, they do it at any rate as they can.

3. Further, we know from other sources the faith itself which a man sees to be in his own heart, if he believes, or not to be there, if he does not believe: but not as we know bodies, which we see with the bodily eyes, and think of even when absent through the images of themselves which we retain in memory; nor yet as those things which we have not seen, and which we frame howsoever we can in thought from those which we have seen, and commit them to memory, that we may recur to them when we will, in order that therein we may similarly by recollection discern them, or rather discern the images of them, of what sort soever these are which we have fixed there; nor again as a living man, whose soul we do not indeed see, but conjecture from our own, and from corporeal motions gaze also in thought upon the living man, as we have learnt him by sight. Faith as not so seen in the heart in which it is, by him whose it is; but most certain knowledge holds it fast, and conscience proclaims it. Although therefore we are bidden to believe on this account, because we cannot see what we are bidden to believe; nevertheless we see faith itself in ourselves, when that faith is in us; because faith even in absent things is present, and faith in things which are without us is within, and faith in things which are not seen is itself seen, and itself none the less comes into the hearts of men in time; and if any cease to be faithful and become unbelievers, then it perishes from them. And sometimes faith is accommodated even to falsehoods; for we sometimes so speak as to say, I put faith in him, and he deceived me. And this kind of faith, if indeed it too is to be called faith, perishes from the heart without blame, when truth is found and expels it. But faith in things that are true, passes, as one should wish it to pass, into the things themselves. For we must not say that faith perishes, when those things which were believed are seen. For is it indeed still to be called faith, when faith, according to the definition in the Epistle to the Hebrews, is the evidence of things not seen? [794]

4. In the words which follow next, "The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe;" the action, as we have said, is one done in time. For to bear witness even to that which is eternal, as is that light that is intelligible, is a thing done in time. And of this it was that John came to bear witness who "was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." For he adds "That was the true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." Now they who know the Latin language, understand all these words, from those things which they know: and of these, some have become known to us through the senses of the body, as man, as the world itself, of which the greatness is so evident to our sight; as again the sounds of the words themselves, for hearing also is a sense of the body; and some through the reason of the mind, as that which is said, "And His own received Him not;" for this means, that they did not believe in Him; and what belief is, we do not know by any sense of the body, but by the reason of the mind. We have learned, too, not the sounds, but the meanings of the words themselves, partly through the sense of the body, partly through the reason of the mind. Nor have we now heard those words for the first time, but they are words we had heard before. And we were retaining in our memory as things known, and we here recognized, not only the words themselves, but also what they meant. For when the bisyllabic word mundus is uttered, then something that is certainly corporeal, for it is a sound, has become known through the body, that is, through the ear. But that which it means also, has become known through the body, that is, through the eyes of the flesh. For so far as the world is known to us at all, it is known through sight. But the quadri-syllabic word crediderunt reaches us, so far as its sound, since that is a corporeal thing, through the ear of the flesh; but its meaning is discoverable by no sense of the body, but by the reason of the mind. For unless we knew through the mind what the word crediderunt meant, we should not understand what they did not do, of whom it is said, "And His own received Him not." The sound then of the word rings upon the ears of the body from without, and reaches the sense which is called hearing. The species also of man is both known to us in ourselves, and is presented to the senses of the body from without, in other men; to the eyes, when it is seen; to the ears, when it is heard; to the touch, when it is held and touched; and it has, too, its image in our memory, incorporeal indeed, but like the body. Lastly, the wonderful beauty of the world itself is at hand from without, both to our gaze, and to that sense which is called touch, if we come in contact with any of it: and this also has its image within in our memory, to which we revert, when we think of it either in the enclosure of a room, or again in darkness. But we have already sufficiently spoken in the eleventh book of these images of corporeal things; incorporeal indeed, yet having the likeness of bodies, and belonging to the life of the outer man. But we are treating now of the inner man, and of his knowledge, namely, that knowledge which is of things temporal and changeable; into the purpose and scope of which, when anything is assumed, even of things belonging to the outer man, it must be assumed for this end, that something may thence be taught which may help rational knowledge. And hence the rational use of those things which we have in common with irrational animals belongs to the inner man; neither can it rightly be said that this is common to us with the irrational animals.

Footnotes

[792] John i. 1-14 [793] Ps. xiv. 1 [794] Heb. xi. 1


Chapter 2.--Faith a Thing of the Heart, Not of the Body; How It is Common and One and the Same in All Believers. The Faith of Believers is One, No Otherwise than the Will of Those Who Will is One.

5. But faith, of which we are compelled, by reason of the arrangement of our subject, to dispute somewhat more at length in this book: faith I say, which they who have are called the faithful, and they who have not, unbelievers, as were those who did not receive the Son of God coming to His own; although it is wrought in us by hearing, yet does not belong to that sense of the body which is called hearing, since it is not a sound; nor to the eyes of this our flesh, since it is neither color nor bodily form; nor to that which is called touch, since it has nothing of bulk; nor to any sense of the body at all, since it is a thing of the heart, not of the body; nor is it without apart from us, but deeply seated within us; nor does any man see it in another, but each one in himself. Lastly, it is a thing that can both be feigned by pretence, and be thought to be in him in whom it is not. Therefore every one sees his own faith in himself; but does not see, but believes, that it is in another; and believes this the more firmly, the more he knows the fruits of it, which faith is wont to work by love. [795] And therefore this faith is common to all of whom the evangelist subjoins, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God;" common I say, not as any form of a bodily object is common, as regards sight, to the eyes of all to whom it is present, for in some way the gaze of all that behold it is informed by the same one form; but as the human countenance can be said to be common to all men; for this is so said that yet each certainly has his own. We say certainly with perfect truth, that the faith of believers is impressed from one doctrine upon the heart of each several person who believes the same thing. But that which is believed is a different thing from the faith by which it is believed. For the former is in things which are said either to be, or to have been or to be about to be; but the latter is in the mind of the believer, and is visible to him only whose it is; although not indeed itself but a faith like it, is also in others. For it is not one in number, but in kind; yet on account of the likeness, and the absence of all difference, we rather call it one than many. For when, too, we see two men exceedingly alike, we wonder, and say that both have one countenance. It is therefore more easily said that the souls were many,--a several soul, of course, for each several person--of whom we read in the Acts of the Apostles, that they were of one soul, [796] --than it is, where the apostle speaks of "one faith," [797] for any one to venture to say that there are as many faiths as there are faithful. And yet He who says, "O woman, great is thy faith;" [798] and to another, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" [799] intimates that each has his own faith. But the like faith of believers is said to be one, in the same way as a like will of those who will is said to be one; since in the case also of those who have the same will, the will of each is visible to himself, but that of the other is not visible, although he wills the same thing; and if it intimate itself by any signs, it is believed rather than seen. But each being conscious of his own mind certainly does not believe, but manifestly sees outright, that this is his own will.

Footnotes

[795] Gal. v. 6 [796] Acts iv. 32 [797] Eph. iv. 5 [798] Matt. xv. 28 [799] Matt. xiv. 31


Chapter 3.--Some Desires Being the Same in All, are Known to Each. The Poet Ennius.

6. There is, indeed, so closely conspiring a harmony in the same nature living and using reason, that although one knows not what the other wills, yet there are some wills of all which are also known to each; and although each man does not know what any other one man wills, yet in some things he may know what all will. And hence comes that story of the comic actor's witty joke, who promised that he would say in the theatre, in some other play, what all had in their minds, and what all willed; and when a still greater crowd had come together on the day appointed, with great expectation, all being in suspense and silent, is affirmed to have said: You will to buy cheap, and sell dear. And mean actor though he was, yet all in his words recognized what themselves were conscious of, and applauded him with wonderful goodwill, for saying before the eyes of all what was confessedly true, yet what no one looked for. And why was so great expectation raised by his promising that he would say what was the will of all, unless because no man knows the wills of other men? But did not he know that will? Is there any one who does not know it? Yet why, unless because there are some things which not unfitly each conjectures from himself to be in others, through sympathy or agreement either in vice or virtue? But it is one thing to see one's own will; another to conjecture, however certainly, what is another's. For, in human affairs, I am as certain that Rome was built as that Constantinople was, although I have seen Rome with my eyes, but know nothing of the other city, except what I have believed on the testimony of others. And truly that comic actor believed it to be common to all to will to buy cheap and sell dear, either by observing himself or by making experiment also of others. But since such a will is in truth a fault, every one can attain the counter virtue, or run into the mischief of some other fault which is contrary to it, whereby to resist and conquer it. For I myself know a case where a manuscript was offered to a man for purchase, who perceived that the vendor was ignorant of its value, and was therefore asking something very small, and who thereupon gave him, though not expecting it, the just price, which was much more. Suppose even the case of a man possessed with wickedness so great as to sell cheap what his parents left to him, and to buy dear, in order to waste it on his own lusts? Such wanton extravagance, I fancy, is not incredible; and if such men are sought, they may be found, or even fall in one's way although not sought; who, by a wickedness more than that of the theatre, make a mock of the theatrical proposition or declaration, by buying dishonor at a great price, while selling lands at a small one. We have heard, too, of persons that, for the sake of distribution, have bought corn at a higher price, and sold it to their fellow-citizens at a lower one. And note also what the old poet Ennius has said: that "all mortals wish themselves to be praised;" wherein, doubtless, he conjectured what was in others, both by himself, and by those whom he knew by experience; and so seems to have declared what it is that all men will. Lastly, if that comic actor himself, too, had said, You all will to be praised, no one of you wills to be abused; he would have seemed in like manner to have expressed what all will. Yet there are some who hate their own faults, and do not desire to be praised by others for that for which they are displeased with themselves; and who thank the kindness of those who rebuke them, when the purpose of that rebuke is their own amendment. But if he had said, You all will to be blessed, you do not will to be wretched; he would have said something which there is no one that would not recognize in his own will. For whatever else a man may will secretly, he does not withdraw from that will, which is well known to all men, and well known to be in all men.


Chapter 4.--The Will to Possess Blessedness is One in All, But the Variety of Wills is Very Great Concerning that Blessedness Itself.

7. It is wonderful, however, since the will to obtain and retain blessedness is one in all, whence comes, on the other hand, such a variety and diversity of wills concerning that blessedness itself; not that any one is unwilling to have it, but that all do not know it. For if all knew it, it would not be thought by some to be in goodness of mind; by others, in pleasure of body; by others, in both; and by some in one thing, by others in another. For as men find special delight in this thing or that, so have they placed in it their idea of a blessed life. How, then, do all love so warmly what not all know? Who can love what he does not know?--a subject which I have already discussed in the preceding books. [800] Why, therefore, is blessedness loved by all, when it is not known by all? Is it perhaps that all know what it is itself, but all do not know where it is to be found, and that the dispute arises from this?--as if, forsooth, the business was about some place in this world, where every one ought to will to live who wills to live blessedly; and as if the question where blessedness is were not implied in the question what it is. For certainly, if it is in the pleasure of the body, he is blessed who enjoys the pleasure of the body; if in goodness of mind, he has it who enjoys this; if in both, he who enjoys both. When, therefore, one says, to live blessedly is to enjoy the pleasure of the body; but another, to live blessedly is to enjoy goodness of mind; is it not, that either both know, or both do not know, what a blessed life is? How, then, do both love it, if no one can love what he does not know? Or is that perhaps false which we have assumed to be most true and most certain, viz. that all men will to live blessedly? For if to live blessedly is, for argument's sake, to live according to goodness of mind, how does he will to live blessedly who does not will this? Should we not say more truly, That man does not will to live blessedly, because he does not wish to live according to goodness, which alone is to live blessedly? Therefore all men do not will to live blessedly; on the contrary, few wish it; if to live blessedly is nothing else but to live according to goodness of mind, which many do not will to do. Shall we, then, hold that to be false of which the Academic Cicero himself did not doubt (although Academics doubt every thing), who, when he wanted in the dialogue Hortensius to find some certain thing, of which no one doubted, from which to start his argument, says, We certainly all will to be blessed? Far be it from me to say this is false. But what then? Are we to say that, although there is no other way of living blessedly than living according to goodness of mind, yet even he who does not will this, wills to live blessedly? This, indeed, seems too absurd. For it is much as if we should say, Even he who does not will to live blessedly, wills to live blessedly. Who could listen to, who could endure, such a contradiction? And yet necessity thrusts us into this strait, if it is both true that all will to live blessedly, and yet all do not will to live in that way in which alone one can live blessedly.

Footnotes

[800] Bks. viii. c. 4, etc., x. c. 1.


Chapter 5.--Of the Same Thing.

8. Or is, perhaps, the deliverance from our difficulties to be found in this, that, since we have said that every one places his idea of a blessed life in that which has most pleased him, as pleasure pleased Epicurus, and goodness Zeno, and something else pleased other people, we say that to live blessedly is nothing else but to live according to one's own pleasure: so that it is not false that all will to live blessedly, because all will that which pleases each? For if this, too, had been proclaimed to the people in the theatre, all would have found it in their own wills. But when Cicero, too, had propounded this in opposition to himself, he so refuted it as to make them blush who thought so. For he says: "But, behold! people who are not indeed philosophers, but who yet are prompt to dispute, say that all are blessed, whoever live as they will;" which is what we mean by, as pleases each. But by and by he has subjoined: "But this is indeed false. For to will what is not fitting, is itself most miserable; neither is it so miserable not to obtain what one wills, as to will to obtain what one ought not." Most excellently and altogether most truly does he speak. For who can be so blind in his mind, so alienated from all light of decency, and wrapped up in the darkness of indecency, as to call him blessed, because he lives as he will, who lives wickedly and disgracefully; and with no one restraining him, no one punishing, and no one daring even to blame him, nay more, too, with most people praising him, since, as divine Scripture says, "The wicked is praised in his heart's desire: and he who works iniquity is blessed," [801] gratifies all his most criminal and flagitious desires; when, doubtless, although even so he would be wretched, yet he would be less wretched, if he could have had nothing of those things which he had wrongly willed? For every one is made wretched by a wicked will also, even though it stop short with will but more wretched by the power by which the longing of a wicked will is fulfilled. And, therefore, since it is true that all men will to be blessed, and that they seek for this one thing with the most ardent love, and on account of this seek everything which they do seek; nor can any one love that of which he does not know at all what or of what sort it is, nor can be ignorant what that is which he knows that he wills; it follows that all know a blessed life. But all that are blessed have what they will, although not all who have what they will are forewith blessed. But they are forewith wretched, who either have not what they will, or have that which they do not rightly will. Therefore he only is a blessed man, who both has all things which he wills, and wills nothing ill.

Footnotes

[801] Ps. x. 3


Chapter 6.--Why, When All Will to Be Blessed, that is Rather Chosen by Which One Withdraws from Being So.

9. Since, then, a blessed life consists of these two things, and is known to all, and dear to all; what can we think to be the cause why, when they cannot have both, men choose, out of these two, to have all things that they will, rather than to will all things well, even although they do not have them? Is it the depravity itself of the human race, in such wise that, while they are not unaware that neither is he blessed who has not what he wills, nor he who has what he wills wrongly, but he who both has whatsoever good things he wills, and wills no evil ones, yet, when both are not granted of those two things in which the blessed life consists, that is rather chosen by which one is withdrawn the more from a blessed life (since he certainly is further from it who obtains things which he wickedly desired, than he who only does not obtain the things which he desired); whereas the good will ought rather to be chosen, and to be preferred, even if it do not obtain the things which it seeks? For he comes near to being a blessed man, who wills well whatsoever he wills, and wills things, which when he obtains, he will be blessed. And certainly not bad things, but good, make men blessed, when they do so make them. And of good things he already has something, and that, too, a something not to be lightly esteemed,--namely, the very good will itself; who longs to rejoice in those good things of which human nature is capable, and not in the performance or the attainment of any evil; and who follows diligently, and attains as much as he can, with a prudent, temperate, courageous, and right mind, such good things as are possible in the present miserable life; so as to be good even in evils, and when all evils have been put an end to, and all good things fulfilled, then to be blessed.


Chapter 7.--Faith is Necessary, that Man May at Some Time Be Blessed, Which He Will Only Attain in the Future Life. The Blessedness of Proud Philosophers Ridiculous and Pitiable.

10. And on this account, faith, by which men believe in God, is above all things necessary in this mortal life, most full as it is of errors and hardships. For there are no good things whatever, and above all, not those by which any one is made good, or those by which he will become blessed, of which any other source can be found whence they come to man, and are added to man, unless it be from God. But when he who is good and faithful in these miseries shall have come from this life to the blessed life, then will truly come to pass what now is absolutely impossible,--namely, that a man may live as he will. [802] For he will not will to live badly in the midst of that felicity, nor will he will anything that will be wanting, nor will there be wanting anything which he shall have willed. Whatever shall be loved, will be present; nor will that be longed for, which shall not be present. Everything which will be there will be good, and the supreme God will be the supreme good and will be present for those to enjoy who love Him; and what altogether is most blessed, it will be certain that it will be so forever. But now, indeed, philosophers have made for themselves, according to the pleasure of each, their own ideals of a blessed life; that they might be able, as it were by their own power, to do that, which by the common conditions of mortals they were not able to do,--namely, to live as they would. For they felt that no one could be blessed otherwise than by having what he would, and by suffering nothing which he would not. And who would not will, that the life whatsoever it be, with which he is delighted, and which he therefore calls blessed, were so in his own power, that he could have it continually? And yet who is in this condition? Who wills to suffer troubles in order that he may endure them manfully, although he both wills and is able to endure them if he does suffer them? Who would will to live in torments, even although he is able to live laudably by holding fast to righteousness in the midst of them through patience? They who have endured these evils, either in wishing to have or in fearing to lose what they loved, whether wickedly or laudably, have thought of them as transitory. For many have stretched boldly through transitory evils to good things which will last. And these, doubtless, are blessed through hope, even while actually suffering such transitory evils, through which they arrive at good things which will not be transitory. But he who is blessed through hope is not yet blessed: for he expects, through patience, a blessedness which he does not yet grasp. Whereas he, on the other hand, who is tormented without any such hope, without any such reward, let him use as much endurance as he pleases, is not truly blessed, but bravely miserable. For he is not on that account not miserable, because he would be more so if he also bore misery impatiently. Further, even if he does not suffer those things which he would not will to suffer in his own body, not even then is he to be esteemed blessed, inasmuch as he does not live as he wills. For to omit other things, which, while the body remains unhurt, belong to those annoyances of the mind, without which we should will to live, and which are innumerable; he would will, at any rate, if he were able, so to have his body safe and sound, and so to suffer no inconveniences from it, as to have it within his own control, or even to have it with an imperishableness of the body itself; and because he does not possess this, and hangs in doubt about it, he certainly does not live as he wills. For although he may be ready from fortitude to accept, and bear with an equal mind, whatever adversities may happen to him, yet he had rather they should not happen, and prevents them if he is able; and he is in such way ready for both alternatives, that, as much as is in him, he wishes for the one and shuns the other; and if he have fallen into that which he shuns, he therefore bears it willingly, because that could not happen which he willed. He bears it, therefore, in order that he may not be crushed; but he would not willingly be even burdened. How, then, does he live as he wills? Is it because he is willingly strong to bear what he would not will to be put upon him? Then he only wills what he can, because he cannot have what he wills. And here is the sum-total of the blessedness of proud mortals, I know not whether to be laughed at, or not rather to be pitied, who boast that they live as they will, because they willingly bear patiently what they are unwilling should happen to them. For this, they say, is like Terence's wise saying,--

"Since that cannot be which you will, will that which thou canst." [803]

That this is aptly said, who denies? But it is advice given to the miserable man, that he may not be more miserable. And it is not rightly or truly said to the blessed man, such as all wish themselves to be, That cannot be which you will. For if he is blessed, whatever he wills can be; since he does not will that which cannot be. But such a life is not for this mortal state, neither will it come to pass unless when immortality also shall come to pass. And if this could not be given at all to man, blessedness too would be sought in vain, since it cannot be without immortality.

Footnotes

[802] [The prophet Nathan enunciates the same truth, in his words to David, "Go do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee." 2 Sam. vii. 3.--W.G.T.S.] [803] Andreia, Act ii. Scene i, v. 5, 6.


Chapter 8.--Blessedness Cannot Exist Without Immortality.

11. As, therefore, all men will to be blessed, certainly, if they will truly, they will also to be immortal; for otherwise they could not be blessed. And further, if questioned also concerning immortality, as before concerning blessedness, all reply that they will it. But blessedness of what quality soever, such as is not so, but rather is so called, is sought, nay indeed is feigned in this life, whilst immortality is despaired of, without which true blessedness cannot be. Since he lives blessedly, as we have already said before, and have sufficiently proved and concluded, who lives as he wills, and wills nothing wrongly. But no one wrongly wills immortality, if human nature is by God's gift capable of it; and if it is not capable of it, it is not capable of blessedness. For, that a man may live blessedly, he must needs live. And if life quits him by his dying, how can a blessed life remain with him? And when it quits him, without doubt it either quits him unwilling, or willing, or neither. If unwilling, how is the life blessed which is so within his will as not to be within his power? And whereas no one is blessed who wills something that he does not have, how much less is he blessed who is quitted against his will, not by honor, nor by possessions, nor by any other thing, but by the blessed life itself, since he will have no life at all? And hence, although no feeling is left for his life to be thereby miserable (for the blessed life quits him, because life altogether quits him), yet he is wretched as long as he feels, because he knows that against his will that is being destroyed for the sake of which he loves all else, and which he loves beyond all else. A life therefore cannot both be blessed, and yet quit a man against his will, since no one becomes blessed against his will; and hence how much more does it make a man miserable by quitting him against his will, when it would make him miserable if he had it against his will! But if it quit him with his will, even so how was that a blessed life, which he who had it willed should perish? It remains then for them to say, that neither of these is in the mind of the blessed man; that is, that he is neither unwilling nor willing to be quitted by a blessed life, when through death life quits him altogether; for that he stands firm with an even heart, prepared alike for either alternative. But neither is that a blessed life which is such as to be unworthy of his love whom it makes blessed. For how is that a blessed life which the blessed man does not love? Or how is that loved, of which it is received indifferently, whether it is to flourish or to perish? Unless perhaps the virtues, which we love in this way on account of blessedness alone, venture to persuade us that we do not love blessedness itself. Yet if they did this, we should certainly leave off loving the virtues themselves, when we do not love that on account of which alone we loved them. And further, how will that opinion be true, which has been so tried, and sifted, and thoroughly strained, and is so certain, viz. that all men will to be blessed, if they themselves who are already blessed neither will nor do not will to be blessed? Or if they will it, as truth proclaims, as nature constrains, in which indeed the supremely good and unchangeably blessed Creator has implanted that will: if, I say, they will to be blessed who are blessed, certainly they do not will to be not blessed. But if they do not will not to be blessed, without doubt they do not will to be annihilated and perish in regard to their blessedness. But they cannot be blessed except they are alive; therefore they do not will so to perish in regard to their life. Therefore, whoever are either truly blessed or desire to be so, will to be immortal. But he does not live blessedly who has not that which he wills. Therefore it follows that in no way can life be truly blessed unless it be eternal.


Chapter 9.--We Say that Future Blessedness is Truly Eternal, Not Through Human Reasonings, But by the Help of Faith. The Immortality of Blessedness Becomes Credible from the Incarnation of the Son of God.

12. Whether human nature can receive this, which yet it confesses to be desirable, is no small question. But if faith be present, which is in those to whom Jesus has given power to become the sons of God, then there is no question. Assuredly, of those who endeavor to discover it from human reasonings, scarcely a few, and they endued with great abilities, and abounding in leisure, and learned with the most subtle learning, have been able to attain to the investigation of the immortality of the soul alone. And even for the soul they have not found a blessed life that is stable, that is, true; since they have said that it returns to the miseries of this life even after blessedness. And they among them who are ashamed of this opinion, and have thought that the purified soul is to be placed in eternal happiness without a body, hold such opinions concerning the past eternity of the world, as to confute this opinion of theirs concerning the soul; a thing which here it is too long to demonstrate; but it has been, as I think, sufficiently explained by us in the twelfth book of the City of God. [804] But that faith promises, not by human reasoning, but by divine authority, that the whole man, who certainly consists of soul and body, shall be immortal, and on this account truly blessed. And so, when it had been said in the Gospel, that Jesus has given "power to become the sons of God to them who received Him;" and what it is to have received Him had been shortly explained by saying, "To them that believe on His name;" and it was further added in what way they are to become sons of God, viz., "Which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God;"--lest that infirmity of men which we all see and bear should despair of attaining so great excellence, it is added in the same place, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;" [805] that, on the contrary, men might be convinced of that which seemed incredible. For if He who is by nature the Son of God was made the Son of man through mercy for the sake of the sons of men,--for this is what is meant by "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" men,--how much more credible is it that the sons of men by nature should be made the sons of God by the grace of God, and should dwell in God, in whom alone and from whom alone the blessed can be made partakers of that immortality; of which that we might be convinced, the Son of God was made partaker of our mortality?

Footnotes

[804] C. 20. [805] John i. 12-14


Chapter 10.--There Was No Other More Suitable Way of Freeing Man from the Misery of Mortality Than The Incarnation of the Word. The Merits Which are Called Ours are the Gifts of God.

13. Those then who say, What, had God no other way by which He might free men from the misery of this mortality, that He should will the only-begotten Son, God co-eternal with Himself, to become man, by putting on a human soul and flesh, and being made mortal to endure death?--these, I say, it is not enough so to refute, as to assert that that mode by which God deigns to free us through the Mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, is good and suitable to the dignity of God; but we must show also, not indeed that no other mode was possible to God, to whose power all things are equally subject, but that there neither was nor need have been any other mode more appropriate for curing our misery. For what was so necessary for the building up of our hope, and for the freeing the minds of mortals cast down by the condition of mortality itself, from despair of immortality, than that it should be demonstrated to us at how great a price God rated us, and how greatly He loved us? But what is more manifest and evident in this so great proof hereof, than that the Son of God, unchangeably good, remaining what He was in Himself, and receiving from us and for us what He was not, apart from any loss of His own nature, and deigning to enter into the fellowship of ours, should first, without any evil desert of His own, bear our evils; and so with unobligated munificence should bestow His own gifts upon us, who now believe how much God loves us, and who now hope that of which we used to despair, without any good deserts of our own, nay, with our evil deserts too going before?

14. Since those also which are called our deserts, are His gifts. For, that faith may work by love, [806] "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." [807] And He was then given, when Jesus was glorified by the resurrection. For then He promised that He Himself would send Him, and He sent Him; [808] because then, as it was written and foretold of Him, "He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." [809] These gifts constitute our deserts, by which we arrive at the chief good of an immortal blessedness. "But God," says the apostle, "commendeth His love towards as, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." To this he goes on to add, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Those whom he first calls sinners he afterwards calls the enemies of God; and those whom he first speaks of as justified by His blood, he afterwards speaks of as reconciled by the death of the Son of God; and those whom he speaks of first as saved from wrath through Him, he afterwards speaks of as saved by His life. We were not, therefore, before that grace merely anyhow sinners, but in such sins that we were enemies of God. But the same apostle calls us above several times by two appellations, viz. sinners and enemies of God,--one as if the most mild, the other plainly the most harsh,--saying, "For if when we were yet weak, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." [810] Those whom he called weak, the same he called ungodly. Weakness seems something slight; but sometimes it is such as to be called impiety. Yet except it were weakness, it would not need a physician, who is in the Hebrew Jesus, in the Greek Soter, but in our speech Saviour. And this word the Latin language had not previously, but could have seeing that it could have it when it wanted it. And this foregoing sentence of the apostle, where he says, "For when we were yet weak, in due time He died for the ungodly," coheres with those two following sentences; in the one of which he spoke of sinners, in the other of enemies of God, as though he referred each severally to each, viz. sinners to the weak, the enemies of God to the ungodly.

Footnotes

[806] Gal. v. 5 [807] Rom. v. 4, 5 [808] John xx. 22, vii. 39, and xv. 26 [809] Eph. iv. 8 and Ps. lxviii. 18 [810] Rom. v. 6-10


Chapter 11.--A Difficulty, How We are Justitified in the Blood of the Son of God.

15. But what is meant by "justified in His blood?" What power is there in this blood, I beseech you, that they who believe should be justified in it? And what is meant by "being reconciled by the death of His Son?" Was it indeed so, that when God the Father was wroth with us, He saw the death of His Son for us, and was appeased towards us? Was then His Son already so far appeased towards us, that He even deigned to die for us; while the Father was still so far wroth, that except His Son died for us, He would not be appeased? And what, then, is that which the same teacher of the Gentiles himself says in another place: "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; how has He not with Him also freely given us all things?" [811] Pray, unless the Father had been already appeased, would He have delivered up His own Son, not sparing Him for us? Does not this opinion seem to be as it were contrary to that? In the one, the Son dies for us, and the Father is reconciled to us by His death; in the other, as though the Father first loved us, He Himself on our account does not spare the Son, He Himself for us delivers Him up to death. But I see that the Father loved us also before, not only before the Son died for us, but before He created the world; the apostle himself being witness, who says, "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." [812] Nor was the Son delivered up for us as it were unwillingly, the Father Himself not sparing Him; for it is said also concerning Him, "Who loved me, and delivered up Himself for me." [813] Therefore together both the Father and the Son, and the Spirit of both, work all things equally and harmoniously; yet we are justified in the blood of Christ, and we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son. And I will explain, as I shall be able, here also, how this was done, as much as may seem sufficient.

Footnotes

[811] Rom. viii. 31, 32 [812] Eph. i. 4 [813] Gal. ii. 20


Chapter 12.--All, on Account of the Sin of Adam, Were Delivered into the Power of the Devil.

16. By the justice of God in some sense, the human race was delivered into the power of the devil; the sin of the first man passing over originally into all of both sexes in their birth through conjugal union, and the debt of our first parents binding their whole posterity. This delivering up is first signified in Genesis, where, when it had been said to the serpent, "Dust shalt thou eat," it was said to the man, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shall return." [814] In the words, "Unto dust shalt thou return," the death of the body is fore-announced, because he would not have experienced that either, if he had continued to the end upright as he was made; but in that it is said to him whilst still living, "Dust thou art," it is shown that the whole man was changed for the worse. For "Dust thou art" is much the same as, "My spirit shall not always remain in these men, for that they also are flesh." [815] Therefore it was at that time shown, that he was delivered to him, in that it had been said to him, "Dust shall thou eat." But the apostle declares this more clearly, where he says: "And you who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of unfaithfulness; among whom we also had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." [816] The "children of unfaithfulness" are the unbelievers; and who is not this before he becomes a believer? And therefore all men are originally under the prince of the power of the air, "who worketh in the children of unfaithfulness." And that which I have expressed by "originally" is the same that the apostle expresses when he speaks of themselves who "by nature" were as others; viz. by nature as it has been depraved by sin, not as it was created upright from the beginning. But the way in which man was thus delivered into the power of the devil, ought not to be so understood as if God did this, or commanded it to be done; but that He only permitted it, yet that justly. For when He abandoned the sinner, the author of the sin immediately entered. Yet God did not certainly so abandon His own creature as not to show Himself to him as God creating and quickening, and among penal evils bestowing also many good things upon the evil. For He hath not in anger shut up His tender mercies. [817] Nor did He dismiss man from the law of His own power, when He permitted him to be in the power of the devil; since even the devil himself is not separated from the power of the Omnipotent, as neither from His goodness. For whence do even the evil angels subsist in whatever manner of life they have, except through Him who quickens all things? If, therefore, the commission of sins through the just anger of God subjected man to the devil, doubtless the remission of sins through the merciful reconciliation of God rescues man from the devil.

Footnotes

[814] Gen. iii. 14-19 [815] Gen. vi. 3. "Strive with man," A.V. [816] Eph. ii. 1-3 [817] Ps. lxxvii. 9


Chapter 13.--Man Was to Be Rescued from the Power of the Devil, Not by Power, But by Righteousness.

17. But the devil was to be overcome, not by the power of God, but by His righteousness. For what is more powerful than the Omnipotent? Or what creature is there of which the power can be compared to the power of the Creator? But since the devil, by the fault of his own perversity, was made a lover of power, and a forsaker and assailant of righteousness,--for thus also men imitate him so much the more in proportion as they set their hearts on power, to the neglect or even hatred of righteousness, and as they either rejoice in the attainment of power, or are inflamed by the lust of it,--it pleased God, that in order to the rescuing of man from the grasp of the devil, the devil should be conquered, not by power, but by righteousness; and that so also men, imitating Christ, should seek to conquer the devil by righteousness, not by power. Not that power is to be shunned as as though it were something evil; but the order must be preserved, whereby righteousness is before it. For how great can be the power of mortals? Therefore let mortals cleave to righteousness; power will be given to immortals. And compared to this, the power, how great soever, of those men who are called powerful on earth, is found to be ridiculous weakness, and a pitfall is dug there for the sinner, where the wicked seem to be most powerful. And the righteous man says in his song, "Blessed is the man whom Thou chasteneth, O Lord, and teachest him out of Thy law: that Thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance, until righteousness return unto judgment, and all who follow it are upright in heart." [818] At this present time, then, in which the might of the people of God is delayed, "the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance," how bitter and unworthy things soever it may suffer in its humility and weakness; "until the righteousness," which the weakness of the pious now possesses, "shall return to judgment," that is, shall receive the power of judging; which is preserved in the end for the righteous when power in its due order shall have followed after righteousness going before. For power joined to righteousness, or righteousness added to power, constitutes a judicial authority. But righteousness belongs to a good will; whence it was said by the angels when Christ was born: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will." [819] But power ought to follow righteousness, not to go before it; and accordingly it is placed in "second," that is, prosperous fortune; and this is called "second," [820] from "following." For whereas two things make a man blessed, as we have argued above, to will well, and to be able to do what one wills, people ought not to be so perverse, as has been noted in the same discussion, as that a man should choose from the two things which make him blessed, the being able to do what he wills, and should neglect to will what he ought; whereas he ought first to have a good will, but great power afterwards. Further, a good will must be purged from vices, by which if a man is overcome, he is in such wise overcome as that he wills evil; and then how will his will be still good? It is to be wished, then, that power may now be given, but power against vices, to conquer which men do not wish to be powerful, while they wish to be so in order to conquer men; and why is this, unless that, being in truth conquered, they feignedly conquer, and are conquerors not in truth, but in opinion? Let a man will to be prudent, will to be strong, will to be temperate, will to be just; and that he may be able to have these things truly, let him certainly desire power, and seek to be powerful in himself, and (strange though it be) against himself for himself. But all the other things which he wills rightly, and yet is not able to have, as, for instance, immortality and true and full felicity, let him not cease to long for, and let him patiently expect.

Footnotes

[818] Ps. xciv. 12-15 [819] Luke ii. 14 [820] Res secundoe


Chapter 14.--The Unobligated Death of Christ Has Freed Those Who Were Liable to Death.

18. What, then, is the righteousness by which the devil was conquered? What, except the righteousness of Jesus Christ? And how was he conquered? Because, when he found in Him nothing worthy of death, yet he slew Him. And certainly it is just, that we whom he held as debtors, should be dismissed free by believing in Him whom he slew without any debt. In this way it is that we are said to be justified in the blood of Christ. [821] For so that innocent blood was shed for the remission of our sins. Whence He calls Himself in the Psalms, "Free among the dead." [822] For he only that is dead is free from the debt of death. Hence also in another psalm He says, "Then I restored that which I seized not;" [823] meaning sin by the thing seized, because sin is laid hold of against what is lawful. Whence also He says, by the mouth of His own Flesh, as is read in the Gospel: "For the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me," that is, no sin; but "that the world may know," He says, "that I do the commandment of the Father; arise, let us go hence." [824] And hence He proceeds to His passion, that He might pay for us debtors that which He Himself did not owe. Would then the devil be conquered by this most just right, if Christ had willed to deal with him by power, not by righteousness? But He held back what was possible to Him, in order that He might first do what was fitting. And hence it was necessary that He should be both man and God. For unless He had been man, He could not have been slain; unless He had been God, men would not have believed that He would not do what He could, but that He could not do what He would; nor should we have thought that righteousness was preferred by Him to power, but that He lacked power. But now He suffered for us things belonging to man, because He was man; but if He had been unwilling, it would have been in His power to not so to suffer, because He was also God. And righteousness was therefore made more acceptable in humility, because so great power as was in His Divinity, if He had been unwilling, would have been able not to suffer humility; and thus by Him who died, being thus powerful, both righteousness was commended, and power promised, to us, weak mortals. For He did one of these two things by dying, the other by rising again. For what is more righteous, than to come even to the death of the cross for righteousness? And what more powerful, than to rise from the dead, and to ascend into heaven with that very flesh in which He was slain? And therefore He conquered the devil first by righteousness, and afterwards by power: namely, by righteousness, because He had no sin, and was slain by him most unjustly; but by power, because having been dead He lived again, never afterwards to die. [825] But He would have conquered the devil by power, even though He could not have been slain by him: although it belongs to a greater power to conquer death itself also by rising again, than to avoid it by living. But the reason is really a different one, why we are justified in the blood of Christ, when we are rescued from the power of the devil through the remission of sins: it pertains to this, that the devil is conquered by Christ by righteousness, not by power. For Christ was crucified, not through immortal power, but through the weakness which He took upon Him in mortal flesh; of which weakness nevertheless the apostle says, "that the weakness of God is stronger than men." [826]

Footnotes

[821] Rom. v. 9 [822] Ps. lxxxviii. 5 [823] Ps. lxix. 4 [824] John xiv. 30-31 [825] Rom. vi. 9 [826] 1 Cor. i. 25


Chapter 15.--Of the Same Subject.

19. It is not then difficult to see that the devil was conquered, when he who was slain by Him rose again. It is something more, and more profound of comprehension, to see that the devil was conquered when he thought himself to have conquered, that is, when Christ was slain. For then that blood, since it was His who had no sin at all, was poured out for the remission of our sins; that, because the devil deservedly held those whom, as guilty of sin, he bound by the condition of death, he might deservedly loose them through Him, whom, as guilty of no sin, the punishment of death undeservedly affected. The strong man was conquered by this righteousness, and bound with this chain, that his vessels might be spoiled, [827] which with himself and his angels had been vessels of wrath while with him, and might be turned into vessels of mercy. [828] For the Apostle Paul tells us, that these words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself were spoken from heaven to him when he was first called. For among the other things which he heard, he speaks also of this as said to him thus: "For I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen from me, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open the eyes of the blind, and to turn them from darkness [to light], and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified, and faith that is in me." [829] And hence the same apostle also, exhorting believers to the giving of thanks to God the Father, says: "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins." [830] In this redemption, the blood of Christ was given, as it were, as a price for us, by accepting which the devil was not enriched, but bound: [831] that we might be loosened from his bonds, and that he might not with himself involve in the meshes of sins, and so deliver to the destruction of the second and eternal death, [832] any one of those whom Christ, free from all debt, had redeemed by pouring out His own blood unindebtedly; but that they who belong to the grace of Christ, foreknown, and predestinated, and elected before the foundation of the world [833] should only so far die as Christ Himself died for them, i.e. only by the death of the flesh, not of the spirit.

Footnotes

[827] Mark iii. 27 [828] Rom. ix. 22, 23 [829] Acts xxvi. 16-18 [830] Col. i. 13, 14 [831] [In this representation of Augustin, the relics of that misconception which appears in the earlier soteriology, paricularly that of Irenæus, are seen: namely, that the death of Christ ransoms the sinner from Satan. Certain texts which teach that redemption delivers from the captivity to sin and Satan, were interpreted to teach deliverance from the claims of Satan. Augustin's soteriology is more free from this error than that of Irenæus, yet not entirely free from it. The doctrine of justification did not obtain its most consistent and complete statement in the Patristic church.--W.G.T.S.] [832] Apoc. xxi. 8 [833] 1 Pet. i. 20


Chapter 16.--The Remains of Death and the Evil Things of the World Turn to Good for the Elect. How Fitly the Death of Christ Was Chosen, that We Might Be Justified in His Blood. What the Anger of God is.

20. For although the death, too, of the flesh itself came originally from the sin of the first man, yet the good use of it has made most glorious martyrs. And so not only that death itself, bat all the evils of this world, and the griefs and labors of men, although they come from the deserts of sins, and especially of original sin, whence life itself too became bound by the bond of death, yet have fitly remained, even when sin is forgiven; that man might have wherewith to contend for truth, and whereby the goodness of the faithful might be exercised; in order that the new man through the new covenant might be made ready among the evils of this world for a new world, by bearing wisely the misery which this condemned life deserved, and by rejoicing soberly because it will be finished, but expecting faithfully and patiently the blessedness which the future life, being set free, will have for ever. For the devil being cast forth from his dominion, and from the hearts of the faithful, in the condemnation and faithlessness of whom he, although himself also condemned, yet reigned, is only so far permitted to be an adversary according to the condition of this mortality, as God knows to be expedient for them: concerning which the sacred writings speak through the mouth of the apostle: "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." [834] And those evils which the faithful endure piously, are of profit either for the correction of sins, or for the exercising and proving of righteousness, or to manifest the misery of this life, that the life where will be that true and perpetual blessedness may be desired more ardently, and sought out more earnestly. But it is on their account that these evils are still kept in being, of whom the apostle says: "For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called to be holy according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified." It is of these who are predestinated, that not one shall perish with the devil; not one shall remain even to death under the power of the devil. And then follows what I have already cited above: [835] "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; how has He not with Him also freely given us all things?" [836]

21. Why then should the death of Christ not have come to pass? Nay, rather, why should not that death itself have been chosen above all else to be brought to pass, to the passing by of the other innumerable ways which He who is omnipotent could have employed to free us; that death, I say, wherein neither was anything diminished or changed from His divinity, and so great benefit was conferred upon men, from the humanity which He took upon Him, that a temporal death, which was not due, was rendered by the eternal Son of God, who was also the Son of man, whereby He might free them from an eternal death which was due? The devil was holding fast our sins, and through them was fixing us deservedly in death. He discharged them, who had none of His own, and who was led by him to death undeservedly. That blood was of such price, that he who even slew Christ for a time by a death which was not due, can as his due detain no one, who has put on Christ, in the eternal death which was due. Therefore "God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified in His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Justified, he says, in His blood,--justified plainly, in that we are freed from all sin; and freed from all sin, because the Son of God, who knew no sin, was slain for us. Therefore "we shall be saved from wrath through Him;" from the wrath certainly of God, which is nothing else but just retribution. For the wrath of God is not, as is that of man, a perturbation of the mind; but it is the wrath of Him to whom Holy Scripture says in another place, "But Thou, O Lord, mastering Thy power, judgest with calmness." [837] If, therefore, the just retribution of God has received such a name, what can be the right understanding also of the reconciliation of God, unless that then such wrath comes to an end? Neither were we enemies to God, except as sins are enemies to righteousness; which being forgiven, such enmities come to an end, and they whom He Himself justifies are reconciled to the Just One. And yet certainly He loved them even while still enemies, since "He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all," when we were still enemies. And therefore the apostle has rightly added: "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son," by which that remission of sins was made, "much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved in His life." Saved in life, who were reconciled by death. For who can doubt that He will give His life for His friends, for whom, when enemies, He gave His death? "And not only so," he says, "but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." "Not only," he says, "shall we be saved," but "we also joy;" and not in ourselves, but "in God;" nor through ourselves, "but through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement," as we have argued above. Then the apostle adds, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned;" [838] etc.: in which he disputes at some length concerning the two men; the one the first Adam, through whose sin and death we, his descendants, are bound by, as it were, hereditary evils; and the other the second Adam, who is not only man, but also God, by whose payment for us of what He owed not, we are freed from the debts both of our first father and of ourselves. Further, since on account of that one the devil held all who were begotten through his corrupted carnal concupiscence, it is just that on account of this one he should loose all who are regenerated through His immaculate spiritual grace.

Footnotes

[834] 1 Cor. x. 13 [835] C. 2. [836] Rom. viii. 28-32 [837] Wisd. xii. 18 [838] Rom. v. 8, 12


Chapter 17.--Other Advantages of the Incarnation.

22. There are many other things also in the incarnation of Christ, displeasing as it is to the proud, that are to be observed and thought of advantageously. And one of them is, that it has been demonstrated to man what place he has in the things which God has created; since human nature could so be joined to God, that one person could be made of two substances, and thereby indeed of three--God, soul, and flesh: so that those proud malignant spirits, who interpose themselves as mediators to deceive, although as if to help, do not therefore dare to place themselves above man because they have not flesh; and chiefly because the Son of God deigned to die also in the same flesh, lest they, because they seem to be immortal, should therefore succeed in getting themselves worshipped as gods. Further, that the grace of God might be commended to us in the man Christ without any precedent merits; because not even He Himself obtained by any precedent merits that He should be joined in such great unity with the true God, and should become the Son of God, one Person with Him; but from the time when He began to be man, from that time He is also God; whence it is said, "The Word was made flesh." [839] Then, again, there is this, that the pride of man, which is the chief hindrance against his cleaving to God, can be confuted and healed through such great humility of God. Man learns also how far he has gone away from God; and what it is worth to him as a pain to cure him, when he returns through such a Mediator, who both as God assists men by His divinity, and as man agrees with men by His weakness. For what greater example of obedience could be given to us, who had perished through disobedience, than God the Son obedient to God the Father, even to the death of the cross? [840] Nay, wherein could the reward of obedience itself be better shown, than in the flesh of so great a Mediator, which rose again to eternal life? It belonged also to the justice and goodness of the Creator, that the devil should be conquered by the same rational creature which he rejoiced to have conquered, and by one that came from that same race which, by the corruption of its origin through one, he held altogether.

Footnotes

[839] John i. 14 [840] Phil. ii. 8


Chapter 18.--Why the Son of God Took Man Upon Himself from the Race of Adam, and from a Virgin.

23. For assuredly God could have taken upon Himself to be man, that in that manhood He might be the Mediator between God and men, from some other source, and not from the race of that Adam who bound the human race by his sin; as He did not create him whom He first created, of the race of some one else. Therefore He was able, either so, or in any other mode that He would, to create yet one other, by whom the conqueror of the first might be conquered. But God judged it better both to take upon Him man through whom to conquer the enemy of the human race, from the race itself that had been conquered; and yet to do this of a virgin, whose conception, not flesh but spirit, not lust but faith, preceded. [841] Nor did that concupiscence of the flesh intervene, by which the rest of men, who derive original sin, are propagated and conceived; but holy virginity became pregnant, not by conjugal intercourse, but by faith,--lust being utterly absent,--so that that which was born from the root of the first man might derive only the origin of race, not also of guilt. For there was born, not a nature corrupted by the contagion of transgression, but the one only remedy of all such corruptions. There was born, I say, a Man having nothing at all, and to have nothing at all, of sin; through whom they were to be born again so as to be freed from sin, who could not be born without sin. For although conjugal chastity makes a right use of the carnal concupiscence which is in our members; yet it is liable to motions not voluntary, by which it shows either that it could not have existed at all in paradise before sin, or if it did, that it was not then such as that sometimes it should resist the will. But now we feel it to be such, that in opposition to the law of the mind, and even if there is no question of begetting, it works in us the incitement of sexual intercourse; and if in this men yield to it, then it is satisfied by an act of sin; if they do not, then it is bridled by an act of refusal: which two things who could doubt to have been alien from paradise before sin? For neither did the chastity that then was do anything indecorous, nor did the pleasure that then was suffer anything unquiet. It was necessary, therefore, that this carnal concupiscence should be entirely absent, when the offspring of the Virgin was conceived; in whom the author of death was to find nothing worthy of death, and yet was to slay Him in order that he might be conquered by the death of the Author of life: the conqueror of the first Adam, who held fast the human race, conquered by the second Adam, and losing the Christian race, freed out of the human race from human guilt, through Him who was not in the guilt, although He was of the race; that that deceiver might be conquered by that race which he had conquered by guilt. And this was so done, in order that man may not be lifted up, but "that he that glorieth should glory in the Lord." [842] For he who was conquered was only man; and he was therefore conquered, because he lusted proudly to be a god. But He who conquered was both man and God; and therefore He so conquered, being born of a virgin, because God in humility did not, as He governs other saints, so govern that Man, but bare Him [as a Son]. These so great gifts of God, and whatever else there are, which it is too long for us now upon this subject both to inquire and to discuss, could not exist unless the Word had been made flesh.

Footnotes

[841] Luke i. 26-32 [842] 2 Cor. x. 17


Chapter 19.--What in the Incarnate Word Belongs to Knowledge, What to Wisdom.

24. And all these things which the Word made flesh did and bare for us in time and place, belong, according to the distinction which we have undertaken to demonstrate, to knowledge, not to wisdom. And as the Word is without time and without place, it is co-eternal with the Father, and in its wholeness everywhere; and if any one can, and as much as he can, speak truly concerning this Word, then his discourse will pertain to wisdom. And hence the Word made flesh, which is Christ Jesus, has the treasures both of wisdom and of knowledge. For the apostle, writing to the Colossians, says: "For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God which is Christ Jesus: in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." [843] To what extent the apostle knew all those treasures, how much of them he had penetrated, and in them to how great things he had reached, who can know? Yet, for my part, according to that which is written, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal; for to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;" [844] if these two are in such way to be distinguished from each other, that wisdom is to be assigned to divine things, knowledge to human, I acknowledge both in Christ, and so with me do all His faithful ones. And when I read, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us," I understand by the Word the true Son of God, I acknowledge in the flesh the true Son of man, and both together joined into one Person of God and man, by an ineffable copiousness of grace. And on account of this, the apostle goes on to say, "And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." [845] If we refer grace to knowledge, and truth to wisdom, I think we shall not swerve from that distinction between these two things which we have commended. For in those things that have their origin in time, this is the highest grace, that man is joined with God in unity of person; but in things eternal the highest truth is rightly attributed to the Word of God. But that the same is Himself the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,--this took place, in order that He Himself in things done for us in time should be the same for whom we are cleansed by the same faith, that we may contemplate Him steadfastly in things eternal. And those distinguished philosophers of the heathen who have been able to understand and discern the invisible things of God by those things which are made, have yet, as is said of them, "held down the truth in iniquity;" [846] because they philosophized without a Mediator, that is, without the man Christ, whom they neither believed to be about to come at the word of the prophets, nor to have come at that of the apostles. For, placed as they were in these lowest things, they could not but seek some media through which they might attain to those lofty things which they had understood; and so they fell upon deceitful spirits, through whom it came to pass, that "they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." [847] For in such forms also they set up or worshipped idols. Therefore Christ is our knowledge, and the same Christ is also our wisdom. He Himself implants in us faith concerning temporal things, He Himself shows forth the truth concerning eternal things. Through Him we reach on to Himself: we stretch through knowledge to wisdom; yet we do not withdraw from one and the same Christ, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge." But now we speak of knowledge, and will hereafter speak of wisdom as much as He Himself shall grant. And let us not so take these two things, as if it were not allowable to speak either of the wisdom which is in human things, or of the knowledge which is in divine. For after a laxer custom of speech, both can be called wisdom, and both knowledge. Yet the apostle could not in any way have written, "To one is given the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge," except also these several things had been properly called by the several names, of the distinction between which we are now treating.

Footnotes

[843] Col. ii. 1-3 [844] 1 Cor. xii. 7, 8 [845] John i. 14 [846] Rom. i. 23; detinuerum. [847] Rom. i. 18, 20


Chapter 20.--What Has Been Treated of in This Book. How We Have Reached by Steps to a Certain Trinity, Which is Found in Practical Knowledge and True Faith.

25. Now, therefore, let us see what this prolix discourse has effected, what it has gathered, whereto it has reached. It belongs to all men to will to be blessed; yet all men have not faith, whereby the heart is cleansed, and so blessedness is reached. And thus it comes to pass, that by means of the faith which not all men will, we have to reach on to the blessedness which every one wills. All see in their own heart that they will to be blessed; and so great is the agreement of human nature on this subject, that the man is not deceived who conjectures this concerning another's mind, out of his own: in short, we know ourselves that all will this. But many despair of being immortal, although no otherwise can any one be that which all will, that is, blessed. Yet they will also to be immortal if they could; but through not believing that they can, they do not so live that they can. Therefore faith is necessary, that we may attain blessedness in all the good things of human nature, that is, of both soul and body. But that same faith requires that this faith be limited in Christ, who rose in the flesh from the dead, not to die any more; and that no one is freed from the dominion of the devil, through the forgiveness of sins, save by Him; and that in the abiding place of the devil, life must needs be at once miserable and never-ending, which ought rather to be called death than life. All which I have also argued, so far as space permitted, in this book, while I have already said much on the subject in the fourth book of this work as well; [848] but in that place for one purpose, here for another,--namely, there, that I might show why and how Christ was sent in the fullness of time by the Father, [849] on account of those who say that He who sent and He who was sent cannot be equal in nature; but here, in order to distinguish practical knowlege from contemplative wisdom.

26. For we wished to ascend, as it were, by steps, and to seek in the inner man, both in knowledge and in wisdom, a sort of trinity of its own special kind, such as we sought before in the outer man; in order that we may come, with a mind more practised in these lower things, to the contemplation of that Trinity which is God, according to our little measure, if indeed, we can even do this, at least in a riddle and as through a glass. [850] If, then, any one have committed to memory the words of this faith in their sounds alone, not knowing what they mean, as they commonly who do not know Greek hold in memory Greek words, or similarly Latin ones, or those of any other language of which they are ignorant, has not he a sort of trinity in his mind? because, first, those sounds of words are in his memory, even when he does not think thereupon; and next, the mental vision (acies) of his act of recollection is formed thence when he conceives of them; and next, the will of him who remembers and thinks unites both. Yet we should by no means say that the man in so doing busies himself with a trinity of the interior man, but rather of the exterior; because he remembers, and when he wills, contemplates as much as he wills, that alone which belongs to the sense of the body, which is called hearing. Nor in such an act of thought does he do anything else than deal with images of corporeal things, that is, of sounds. But if he holds and recollects what those words signify, now indeed something of the inner man is brought into action; not yet, however, ought he to be said or thought to live according to a trinity of the inner man, if he does not love those things which are there declared, enjoined, promised. For it is possible for him also to hold and conceive these things, supposing them to be false, in order that he may endeavor to disprove them. Therefore that will, which in this case unites those things which are held in the memory with those things which are thence impressed on the mind's eye in conception, completes, indeed, some kind of trinity, since itself is a third added to two others; but the man does not live according to this, when those things which are conceived are taken to be false, and are not accepted. But when those things are believed to be true, and those things which therein ought to be loved, are loved, then at last the man does live according to a trinity of the inner man; for every one lives according to that which he loves. But how can things be loved which are not known, but only believed? This question has been already treated of in former books; [851] and we found, that no one loves what he is wholly ignorant of, but that when things not known are said to be loved, they are loved from those things which are known. And now we so conclude this book, that we admonish the just to live by faith, [852] which faith worketh by love, [853] so that the virtues also themselves, by which one lives prudently, boldly, temperately, and justly, be all referred to the same faith; for not otherwise can they be true virtues. And yet these in this life are not of so great worth, as that the remission of sins, of some kind or other, is not sometimes necessary here; and this remission comes not to pass, except through Him, who by His own blood conquered the prince of sinners. Whatsoever ideas are in the mind of the faithful man from this faith, and from such a life, when they are contained in the memory, and are looked at by recollection, and please the will, set forth a kind of trinity of its own sort. [854] But the image of God, of which by His help we shall afterwards speak, is not yet in that trinity; a thing which will then be more apparent, when it shall have been shown where it is, which the reader may expect in a succeeding book.

Footnotes

[848] Cc. 19-21. [849] Gal. iv. 4 [850] 1 Cor. xiii. 12 [851] Bk. viii. cc. 8 seqq., and Bk. x. c. 1, etc. [852] Rom. i. 17 [853] Gal. v. 6 [854] [The ternary is this: 1. The idea of a truth or fact held in the memory. 2. The contemplation of it as thus recollected. 3. The love of it. This last is the "will" that "unites" the first two.--W.G.T.S.]

.


Book XIV.


The true wisdom of man is treated of; and it is shown that the image of God, which man is in respect to his mind, is not placed properly in transitory things, as in memory, understanding, and love, whether of faith itself as existing in time, or even of the mind as busied with itself, but in things that are permanent; and that this wisdom is then perfected, when the mind is renewed in the knowledge of God, according to the image of Him who created man after His own Image, and thus attains to wisdom, wherein that which is contemplated is eternal.


Chapter 1.--What the Wisdom is of Which We are Here to Treat. Whence the Name of Philosopher Arose. What Has Been Already Said Concerning the Distinction of Knowledge and Wisdom.

1. We must now discourse concerning wisdom; not the wisdom of God, which without doubt is God, for His only-begotten Son is called the wisdom of God; [855] but we will speak of the wisdom of man, yet of true wisdom, which is according to God, and is His true and chief worship, which is called in Greek by one term, theosebeia. And this term, as we have already observed, when our own countrymen themselves also wished to interpret it by a single term, was by them rendered piety, whereas piety means more commonly what the Greeks call eusebeia. But because theosebeia cannot be translated perfectly by any one word, it is better translated by two, so as to render it rather by "the worship of God." That this is the wisdom of man, as we have already laid down in the twelfth book [856] of this work, is shown by the authority of Holy Scripture, in the book of God's servant Job, where we read that the Wisdom of God said to man, "Behold piety, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is knowledge;" [857] or, as some have translated the Greek word epistemen, "learning," [858] which certainly takes its name from learning, [859] whence also it may be called knowledge. For everything is learned in order that it may be known. Although the same word, indeed, [860] is employed in a different sense, where any one suffers evils for his sins, that he may be corrected. Whence is that in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "For what son is he to whom the father giveth not discipline?" And this is still more apparent in the same epistle: "Now no chastening [861] for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." [862] Therefore God Himself is the chiefest wisdom; but the worship of God is the wisdom of man, of which we now speak. For "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." [863] It is in respect to this wisdom, therefore, which is the worship of God, that Holy Scripture says, "The multitude of the wise is the welfare of the world." [864]

2. But if to dispute of wisdom belongs to wise men, what shall we do? Shall we dare indeed to profess wisdom, lest it should be mere impudence for ourselves to dispute about it? Shall we not be alarmed by the example of Pythagoras?--who dared not profess to be a wise man, but answered that he was a philosopher, i.e., a lover of wisdom; whence arose the name, that became thenceforth so much the popular name, that no matter how great the learning wherein any one excelled, either in his own opinion or that of others, in things pertaining to wisdom, he was still called nothing more than philosopher. Or was it for this reason that no one, even of such as these, dared to profess himself a wise man,--because they imagined that a wise man was one without sin? But our Scriptures do not say this, which say, "Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee." [865] For doubtless he who thinks a man ought to be rebuked, judges him to have sin. However, for my part, I dare not profess myself a wise man even in this sense; it is enough for me to assume, what they themselves cannot deny, that to dispute of wisdom belongs also to the philosopher, i.e., the lover of wisdom. For they have not given over so disputing who have professed to be lovers of wisdom rather than wise men.

3. In disputing, then, about wisdom, they have defined it thus: Wisdom is the knowledge of things human and divine. And hence, in the last book, I have not withheld the admission, that the cognizance of both subjects, whether divine or human, may be called both knowledge and wisdom. [866] But according to the distinction made in the apostle's words, "To one is given the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge," [867] this definition is to be divided, so that the knowledge of things divine shall be called wisdom, and that of things human appropriate to itself the name of knowledge; and of the latter I have treated in the thirteenth book, not indeed so as to attribute to this knowledge everything whatever that can be known by man about things human, wherein there is exceeding much of empty vanity and mischievous curiosity, but only those things by which that most wholesome faith, which leads to true blessedness, is begotten, nourished, defended, strengthened; and in this knowledge most of the faithful are not strong, however exceeding strong in the faith itself. For it is one thing to know only what man ought to believe in order to attain to a blessed life, which must needs be an eternal one; but another to know in what way this belief itself may both help the pious, and be defended against the impious, which last the apostle seems to call by the special name of knowledge. And when I was speaking of this knowledge before, my especial business was to commend faith, first briefly distinguishing things eternal from things temporal, and there discoursing of things temporal; but while deferring things eternal to the present book, I showed also that faith respecting things eternal is itself a thing temporal, and dwells in time in the hearts of believers, and yet is necessary in order to attain the things eternal themselves. [868] I argued also, that faith respecting the things temporal which He that is eternal did and suffered for us as man, which manhood He bare in time and carried on to things eternal, is profitable also for the obtaining of things eternal; and that the virtues themselves, whereby in this temporal and mortal life men live prudently, bravely, temperately, and justly, are not true virtues, unless they are referred to that same faith, temporal though it is, which leads on nevertheless to things eternal.

Footnotes

[855] Ecclus. xxiv. 5. and 1 Cor. i. 24 [856] C. 14. [857] Job xxviii. 28 [858] Disciplina, disco [859] Disciplina, disco [860] Disciplina [861] Disciplina [862] Heb. xii. 7, 11 [863] 1 Cor. iii. 19 [864] Wisd. vi. 26 [865] Prov. ix. 8 [866] Bk. xiii. cc. 1, 19. [867] 1 Cor. xiii. 12 [868] Bk. xiii. c. 7.


Chapter 2.--There is a Kind of Trinity in the Holding, Contemplating, and Loving of Faith Temporal, But One that Does Not Yet Attain to Being Properly an Image of God.

4. Wherefore since, as it is written, "While we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight;" [869] undoubtedly, so long as the just man lives by faith, [870] howsoever he lives according to the inner man, although he aims at truth and reaches on to things eternal by this same temporal faith, nevertheless in the holding, contemplating, and loving this temporal faith, we have not yet reached such a trinity as is to be called an image of God; lest that should seem to be constituted in things temporal which ought to be so in things eternal. For when the human mind sees its own faith, whereby it believes what it does not see, it does not see a thing eternal. For that will not always exist, which certainly will not then exist, when this pilgrimage, whereby we are absent from God, in such way that we must needs walk by faith, shall be ended, and that sight shall have succeeded it whereby we shall see face to face; [871] just as now, because we believe although we do not see, we shall deserve to see, and shall rejoice at having been brought through faith to sight. For then it will be no longer faith, by which that is believed which is not seen; but sight, by which that is seen which is believed. And then, therefore, although we remember this past mortal life, and call to mind by recollection that we once believed what we did not see, yet that faith will be reckoned among things past and done with, not among things present and always continuing. And hence also that trinity which now consists in the remembering, contemplating, and loving this same faith while present and continuing, will then be found to be done with and past, and not still enduring. And hence it is to be gathered, that if that trinity is indeed an image of God, then this image itself would have to be reckoned, not among things that exist always, but among things transient.

Footnotes

[869] 2 Cor. v. 6, 7 [870] Rom. i. 17 [871] 1 Cor. xiii. 12


Chapter 3.--A Difficulty Removed, Which Lies in the Way of What Has Just Been Said.

But far be it from us to think, that while the nature of the soul is immortal, and from the first beginning of its creation thenceforth never ceases to be, yet that that which is the best thing it has should not endure for ever with its own immortality. Yet what is there in its nature as created, better than that it is made after the image of its Creator? [872] We must find then what may be fittingly called the image of God, not in the holding, contemplating, and loving that faith which will not exist always, but in that which will exist always.

5. Shall we then scrutinize somewhat more carefully and deeply whether the case is really thus? For it may be said that this trinity does not perish even when faith itself shall have passed away; because, as now we both hold it by memory, and discern it by thought, and love it by will; so then also, when we shall both hold in memory, and shall recollect, that we once had it, and shall unite these two by the third, namely will, the same trinity will still continue. Since, if it have left in its passage as it were no trace in us, doubtless we shall not have ought of it even in our memory, whereto to recur when recollecting it as past, and by the third, viz. purpose, coupling both these, to wit, what was in our memory though we were not thinking about it, and what is formed thence by conception. But he who speaks thus, does not perceive, that when we hold, see, and love in ourselves our present faith, we are concerned with a different trinity as now existing, from that trinity which will exist, when we shall contemplate by recollection, not the faith itself, but as it were the imagined trace of it laid up in the memory, and shall unite by the will, as by a third, these two things, viz. that which was in the memory of him who retains, and that which is impressed thence upon the vision of the mind of him who recollects. And that we may understand this, let us take an example from things corporeal, of which we have sufficiently spoken in the eleventh book. [873] For as we ascend from lower to higher things, or pass inward from outer to inner things, we first find a trinity in the bodily object which is seen, and in the vision of the seer, which, when he sees it, is informed thereby, and in the purpose of the will which combines both. Let us assume a trinity like this, when the faith which is now in ourselves is so established in our memory as the bodily object we spoke of was in place, from which faith is formed the conception in recollection, as from that bodily object was formed the vision of the beholder; and to these two, to complete the trinity, will is to be reckoned as a third, which connects and combines the faith established in the memory, and a sort of effigy of that faith impressed upon the vision of recollection; just as in that trinity of corporeal vision, the form of the bodily object that is seen, and the corresponding form wrought in the vision of the beholder, are combined by the purpose of the will. Suppose, then, that this bodily object which was beheld was dissolved and had perished, and that nothing at all of it remained anywhere, to the vision of which the gaze might have recourse; are we then to say, that because the image of the bodily object thus now past and done with remains in the memory, whence to form the conception in recollecting, and to have the two united by will as a third, therefore it is the same trinity as that former one, when the appearance of the bodily object posited in place was seen? Certainly not, but altogether a different one: for, not to say that that was from without, while this is from within; the former certainly was produced by the appearance of a present bodily object, the latter by the image of that object now past. So, too, in the case of which we are now treating, to illustrate which we have thought good to adduce this example, the faith which is even now in our mind, as that bodily object was in place, while held, looked at, loved, produces a sort of trinity; but that trinity will exist no more, when this faith in the mind, like that bodily object in place, shall no longer exist. But that which will then exist, when we shall remember it to have been, but not now to be, in us, will doubtless be a different one. For that which now is, is wrought by the thing itself, actually present and attached to the mind of one who believes; but that which shall then be, will be wrought by the imagination of a past thing left in the memory of one who recollects.

Footnotes

[872] Gen. i. 27 [873] Cc. 2 sq.


Chapter 4.--The Image of God is to Be Sought in the Immortality of the Rational Soul. How a Trinity is Demonstrated in the Mind.

6. Therefore neither is that trinity an image of God, which is not now, nor is that other an image of God, which then will not be; but we must find in the soul of man, i.e., the rational or intellectual soul, that image of the Creator which is immortally implanted in its immortality. For as the immortality itself of the soul is spoken with a qualification; since the soul too has its proper death, when it lacks a blessed life, which is to be called the true life of the soul; but it is therefore called immortal, because it never ceases to live with some life or other, even when it is most miserable;--so, although reason or intellect is at one time torpid in it, at another appears small, and at another great, yet the human soul is never anything save rational or intellectual; and hence, if it is made after the image of God in respect to this, that it is able to use reason and intellect in order to understand and behold God, then from the moment when that nature so marvellous and so great began to be, whether this image be so worn out as to be almost none at all, or whether it be obscure and defaced, or bright and beautiful, certainly it always is. Further, too, pitying the defaced condition of its dignity, divine Scripture tells us, that "although man walks in an image, yet he disquieteth himself in vain; he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them." [874] It would not therefore attribute vanity to the image of God, unless it perceived it to have been defaced. Yet it sufficiently shows that such defacing does not extend to the taking away its being an image, by saying, "Although man walks in an image." Wherefore in both ways that sentence can be truly enunciated; in that, as it is said, "Although man walketh in an image, yet he disquieteth himself in vain," so it may be said, "Although man disquieteth himself in vain, yet he walketh in an image." For although the nature of the soul is great, yet it can be corrupted, because it is not the highest; and although it can be corrupted, because it is not the highest, yet because it is capable and can be partaker of the highest nature, it is a great nature. Let us seek, then, in this image of God a certain trinity of a special kind, with the aid of Him who Himself made us after His own image. For no otherwise can we healthfully investigate this subject, or arrive at any result according to the wisdom which is from Him. But if the reader will either hold in remembrance and recollect what we have said of the human soul or mind in former books, and especially in the tenth, or will carefully re-peruse it in the passages wherein it is contained, he will not require here any more lengthy discourse respecting the inquiry into so great a thing.

7. We said, then, among other things in the tenth book, that the mind of man knows itself. For the mind knows nothing so much as that which is close to itself; and nothing is more close to the mind than itself. We adduced also other evidences, as much as seemed sufficient, whereby this might be most certainly proved.

Footnotes

[874] Ps. xxxix. 7


Chapter 5.--Whether the Mind of Infants Knows Itself.

What, then, is to be said of the mind of an infant, which is still so small, and buried in such profound ignorance of things, that the mind of a man which knows anything shrinks from the darkness of it? Is that too to be believed to know itself; but that, as being too intent upon those things which it has begun to perceive through the bodily senses, with the greater delight in proportion to their novelty, it is not able indeed to be ignorant of itself, but is also not able to think of itself? Moreover, how intently it is bent upon sensible things that are without it, may be conjectured from this one fact, that it is so greedy of sensible light, that if any one through carelessness, or ignorance of the possible consequences, place a light at nighttime where an infant is lying down, on that side to which the eyes of the child so lying down can be bent, but its neck cannot be turned, the gaze of that child will be so fixed in that direction, that we have known some to have come to squint by this means, in that the eyes retained that form which habit in some way impressed upon them while tender and soft. [875] In the case, too, of the other bodily senses, the souls of infants, as far as their age permits, so narrow themselves as it were, and are bent upon them, that they either vehemently detest or vehemently desire that only which offends or allures through the flesh, but do not think of their own inward self, nor can be made to do so by admonition; because they do not yet know the signs that express admonition, whereof words are the chief, of which as of other things they are wholly ignorant. And that it is one thing not to know oneself, another not to think of oneself, we have shown already in the same book. [876]

8. But let us pass by the infantine age, since we cannot question it as to what goes on within itself, while we have ourselves pretty well forgotten it. Let it suffice only for us hence to be certain, that when man has come to be able to think of the nature of his own mind, and to find out what is the truth, he will find it nowhere else but in himself. And he will find, not what he did not know, but that of which he did not think. For what do we know, if we do not know what is in our own mind; when we can know nothing at all of what we do know, unless by the mind?

Footnotes

[875] [This occurred in the the case of Edward Irving. Oliphant's Life of Irving.--W.G.T.S.] [876] Bk. x. c. 5.


Chapter 6.--How a Kind of Trinity Exists in the Mind Thinking of Itself. What is the Part of Thought in This Trinity.

The function of thought, however, is so great, that not even the mind itself can, so to say, place itself in its own sight, except when it thinks of itself; and hence it is so far the case, that nothing is in the sight of the mind, except that which is being thought of, that not even the mind itself, whereby we think whatever we do think, can be in its own sight otherwise than by thinking of itself. But in what way it is not in its own sight when it is not thinking of itself, while it can never be without itself, as though itself were one thing, and the sight of itself another, it is not in my power to discover. For this is not unreasonably said of the eye of the body; for the eye itself of the body is fixed in its own proper place in the body, but its sight extends to things external to itself, and reaches even to the stars. And the eye is not in its own sight, since it does not look at itself, unless by means of a mirror, as is said above; [877] a thing that certainly does not happen when the mind places itself in its own sight by thinking of itself. Does it then see one part of itself by means of another part of itself, when it looks at itself in thought, as we look at some of our members, which can be in our sight, with other also of our members, viz. with our eyes? What can be said or thought more absurd? For by what is the mind removed, except by itself? or where is it placed so as to be in its own sight, except before itself? Therefore it will not be there, where it was, when it was not in its own sight; because it has been put down in one place, after being taken away from another. But if it migrated in order to be beheld, where will it remain in order to behold? Is it as it were doubled, so as to be in this and in that place at the same time, viz. both where it can behold, and where it can be beheld; that in itself it may be beholding, and before itself beheld? If we ask the truth, it will tell us nothing of the sort since it is but feigned images of bodily objects of which we conceive when we conceive thus; and that the mind is not such, is very certain to the few minds by which the truth on such a subject can be inquired. It appears, therefore, that the beholding of the mind is something pertaining to its nature, and is recalled to that nature when it conceives of itself, not as if by moving through space, but by an incorporeal conversion; but when it is not conceiving of itself, it appears that it is not indeed in its own sight, nor is its own perception formed from it, but yet that it knows itself as though it were to itself a remembrance of itself. Like one who is skilled in many branches of learning: the things which he knows are contained in his memory, but nothing thereof is in the sight of his mind except that of which he is conceiving; while all the rest are stored up in a kind of secret knowledge, which is called memory. The trinity, then, which we were setting forth, was constituted in this way: first, we placed in the memory the object by which the perception of the percipient was formed; next, the conformation, or as it were the image which is impressed thereby; lastly, love or will as that which combines the two. When the mind, then, beholds itself in conception, it understands and cognizes itself; it begets, therefore, this its own understanding and cognition. For an incorporeal thing is understood when it is beheld, and is cognized when understood. Yet certainly the mind does not so beget this knowledge of itself, when it beholds itself as understood by conception, as though it had before been unknown to itself; but it was known to itself, in the way in which things are known which are contained in the memory, but of which one is not thinking; since we say that a man knows letters even when he is thinking of something else, and not of letters. And these two, the begetter and the begotten, are coupled together by love, as by a third, which is nothing else than will, seeking or holding fast the enjoyment of something. We held, therefore, that a trinity of the mind is to be intimated also by these three terms, memory, intelligence, will.

9. But since the mind, as we said near the end of the same tenth book, always remembers itself, and always understands and loves itself, although it does not always think of itself as distinguished from those things which are not itself; we must inquire in what way understanding (intellectus) belongs to conception, while the notion (notitia) of each thing that is in the mind, even when one is not thinking of it, is said to belong only to the memory. For if this is so, then the mind had not these three things: viz. the remembrance, the understanding, and the love of itself; but it only remembered itself, and afterwards, when it began to think of itself, then it understood and loved itself.

Footnotes

[877] Bk. x. c. 3.


Chapter 7.--The Thing is Made Plain by an Example. In What Way the Matter is Handled in Order to Help the Reader.

Wherefore let us consider more carefully that example which we have adduced, wherein it was shown that not knowing a thing is different from not thinking [conceiving] of it; and that it may so happen that a man knows something of which he is not thinking, when he is thinking of something else, not of that. When any one, then, who is skilled in two or more branches of knowledge is thinking of one of them, though he is not thinking of the other or others, yet he knows them. But can we rightly say, This musician certainly knows music, but he does not now understand it, because he is not thinking of it; but he does now understand geometry, for of that he is now thinking? Such an assertion, as far as appears, is absurd. What, again, if we were to say, This musician certainly knows music, but he does not now love it, while he is not now thinking of it; but he does now love geometry, because of that he is now thinking,--is not this similarly absurd? But we say quite correctly, This person whom you perceive disputing about geometry is also a perfect musician, for he both remembers music, and understands, and loves it; but although he both knows and loves it, he is not now thinking of it, since he is thinking of geometry, of which he is disputing. And hence we are warned that we have a kind of knowledge of certain things stored up in the recesses of the mind, and that this, when it is thought of, as it were, steps forth in public, and is placed as if openly in the sight of the mind; for then the mind itself finds that it both remembers, and understands, and loves itself, even although it was not thinking of itself, when it was thinking of something else. But in the case of that of which we have not thought for a long time, and cannot think of it unless reminded; that, if the phrase is allowable, in some wonderful way I know not how, we do not know that we know. In short, it is rightly said by him who reminds, to him whom he reminds, You know this, but you do not know that you know it; I will remind you, and you will find that you know what you had thought you did not know. Books, too, lead to the same results, viz. those that are written upon subjects which the reader under the guidance of reason finds to be true; not those subjects which he believes to be true on the faith of the narrator, as in the case of history; but those which he himself also finds to be true, either of himself, or in that truth itself which is the light of the mind. But he who cannot contemplate these things, even when reminded, is too deeply buried in the darkness of ignorance, through great blindness of heart and too wonderfully needs divine help, to be able to attain to true wisdom.

10. For this reason I have wished to adduce some kind of proof, be it what it might, respecting the act of conceiving, such as might serve to show in what way, out of the things contained in the memory, the mind's eye is informed in recollecting, and some such thing is begotten, when a man conceives, as was already in him when, before he conceived, he remembered; because it is easier to distinguish things that take place at successive times, and where the parent precedes the offspring by an interval of time. For if we refer ourselves to the inner memory of the mind by which it remembers itself, and to the inner understanding by which it understands itself, and to the inner will by which it loves itself, where these three always are together, and always have been together since they began to be at all, whether they were being thought of or not; the image of this trinity will indeed appear to pertain even to the memory alone; but because in this case a word cannot be without a thought (for we think all that we say, even if it be said by that inner word which belongs to no separate language), this image is rather to be discerned in these three things, viz. memory, intelligence, will. And I mean now by intelligence that by which we understand in thought, that is, when our thought is formed by the finding of those things, which had been at hand to the memory but were not being thought of; and I mean that will, or love, or preference which combines this offspring and parent, and is in some way common to both. Hence it was that I tried also, viz. in the eleventh book, to lead on the slowness of readers by means of outward sensible things which are seen by the eyes of the flesh; and that I then proceeded to enter with them upon that power of the inner man whereby he reasons of things temporal, deferring the consideration of that which dominates as the higher power, by which he contemplates things eternal. And I discussed this in two books, distinguishing the two in the twelfth, the one of them being higher and the other lower, and that the lower ought to be subject to the higher; and in the thirteenth I discussed, with what truth and brevity I could, the office of the lower, in which the wholesome knowledge of things human is contained, in order that we may so act in this temporal life as to attain that which is eternal; since, indeed, I have cursorily included in a single book a subject so manifold and copious, and one so well known by the many and great arguments of many and great men, while manifesting that a trinity exists also in it, but not yet one that can be called an image of God.


Chapter 8.--The Trinity Which is the Image of God is Now to Be Sought in the Noblest Part of the Mind.

11. But we have come now to that argument in which we have undertaken to consider the noblest part of the human mind, by which it knows or can know God, in order that we may find in it the image of God. For although the human mind is not of the same nature with God, yet the image of that nature than which none is better, is to be sought and found in us, in that than which our nature also has nothing better. But the mind must first be considered as it is in itself, before it becomes partaker of God; and His image must be found in it. For, as we have said, although worn out and defaced by losing the participation of God, yet the image of God still remains. [878] For it is His image in this very point, that it is capable of Him, and can be partaker of Him; which so great good is only made possible by its being His image. Well, then, the mind remembers, understands, loves itself; if we discern this, we discern a trinity, not yet indeed God, but now at last an image of God. The memory does not receive from without that which it is to hold; nor does the understanding find without that which it is to regard, as the eye of the body does; nor has will joined these two from without, as it joins the form of the bodily object and that which is thence wrought in the vision of the beholder; nor has conception, in being turned to it, found an image of a thing seen without, which has been somehow seized and laid up in the memory, whence the intuition of him that recollects has been formed, will as a third joining the two: as we showed to take place in those trinities which were discovered in things corporeal, or which were somehow drawn within from bodily objects by the bodily sense; of all which we have discoursed in the eleventh book. [879] Nor, again, as it took place, or appeared to do so, when we went on further to discuss that knowledge, which had its place now in the workings of the inner man, and which was to be distinguished from wisdom; of which knowledge the subject-matter was, as it were, adventitious to the mind, and either was brought thither by historical information,--as deeds and words, which are performed in time and pass away, or which again are established in the nature of things in their own times and places,--or arises in the man himself not being there before, whether on the information of others, or by his own thinking,--as faith, which we commended at length in the thirteenth book, or as the virtues, by which, if they are true, one so lives well in this mortality as to live blessedly in that immortality which God promises. These and other things of the kind have their proper order in time, and in that order we discerned more easily a trinity of memory, sight, and love. For some of such things anticipate the knowledge of learners. For they are knowable also before they are known, and beget in the learner a knowledge of themselves. And they either exist in their own proper places, or have happened in time past; although things that are past do not themselves exist, but only certain signs of them as past, the sight or hearing of which makes it known that they have been and have passed away. And these signs are either situate in the places themselves, as e.g. monuments of the dead or the like; or exist in written books worthy of credit, as is all history that is of weight and approved authority; or are in the minds of those who already know them; since what is already known to them is knowable certainly to others also, whose knowledge it has anticipated, and who are able to know it on the information of those who do know it. And all these things, when they are learned, produce a certain kind of trinity, viz. by their own proper species, which was knowable also before it was known, and by the application to this of the knowledge of the learner, which then begins to exist when he learns them, and by will as a third which combines both; and when they are known, yet another trinity is produced in the recollecting of them, and this now inwardly in the mind itself, from those images which, when they were learned, were impressed upon the memory, and from the informing of the thought when the look has been turned upon these by recollection, and from the will which as a third combines these two. But those things which arise in the mind, not having been there before, as faith and other things of that kind, although they appear to be adventitious, since they are implanted by teaching, yet are not situate without or transacted without, as are those things which are believed; but began to be altogether within in the mind itself. For faith is not that which is believed, but that by which it is believed; and the former is believed, the latter seen. Nevertheless, because it began to be in the mind, which was a mind also before these things began to be in it, it seems to be somewhat adventitious, and will be reckoned among things past, when sight shall have succeeded, and itself shall have ceased to be. And it makes now by its presence, retained as it is, and beheld, and loved, a different trinity from that which it will then make by means of some trace of itself, which in passing it will have left in the memory: as has been already said above.

Footnotes

[878] Supra, c. iv. [879] Cc. 2 sq.


Chapter 9.--Whether Justice and the Other Virtues Cease to Exist in the Future Life.

12. There is, however, some question raised, whether the virtues likewise by which one lives well in this present mortality, seeing that they themselves begin also to be in the mind, which was a mind none the less when it existed before without them, cease also to exist at that time when they have brought us to things eternal. For some have thought that they will cease, and in the case of three--prudence, fortitude, temperance--such an assertion seems to have something in it; but justice is immortal, and will rather then be made perfect in us than cease to be. Yet Tullius, the great author of eloquence, when arguing in the dialogue Hortensius, says of all four: "If we were allowed, when we migrated from this life, to live forever in the islands of the blessed, as fables tell, what need were there of eloquence when there would be no trials, or what need, indeed, of the very virtues themselves? For we should not need fortitude when nothing of either toil or danger was proposed to us; nor justice, when there was nothing of anybody else's to be coveted; nor temperance, to govern lasts that would not exist; nor, indeed, should we need prudence, when there was no choice offered between good and evil. We should be blessed, therefore, solely by learning and knowing nature, by which alone also the life of the gods is praiseworthy. And hence we may perceive that everything else is a matter of necessity, but this is one of free choice." This great orator, then, when proclaiming the excellence of philosophy, going over again all that he had learned from philosophers, and excellently and pleasantly explaining it, has affirmed all four virtues to be necessary in this life only, which we see to be full of troubles and mistakes; but not one of them when we shall have migrated from this life, if we are permitted to live there where is a blessed life; but that blessed souls are blessed only in learning and knowing, i.e. in the contemplation of nature, than which nothing is better and more lovable. It is that nature which created and appointed all other natures. And if it belongs to justice to be subject to the government of this nature then justice is certainly immortal; nor will it cease to be in that blessedness, but will be such and so great that it cannot be more perfect or greater. Perhaps, too, the other three virtues--prudence although no longer with any risk of error, and fortitude without the vexation of bearing evils, and temperance without the thwarting of lust--will exist in that blessedness: so that it may be the part of prudence to prefer or equal no good thing to God; and of fortitude, to cleave to Him most steadfastly; and of temperance, to be pleased by no harmful defect. But that which justice is now concerned with in helping the wretched, and prudence in guarding against treachery, and fortitude in bearing troubles patiently, and temperance in controlling evil pleasures, will not exist there, where there will be no evil at all. And hence those acts of the virtues which are necessary to this mortal life, like the faith to which they are to be referred, will be reckoned among things past; and they make now a different trinity, whilst we hold, look at, and love them as present, from that which they will then make, when we shall discover them not to be, but to have been, by certain traces of them which they will have left in passing in the memory; since then, too, there will be a trinity, when that trace, be it of what sort it may, shall be retained in the memory, and truly recognized, and then these two be joined by will as a third.


Chapter 10.--How a Trinity is Produced by the Mind Remembering, Understanding, and Loving Itself.

13. In the knowledge of all these temporal things which we have mentioned, there are some knowable things which precede the acquisition of the knowledge of them by an interval of time, as in the case of those sensible objects which were already real before they were known, or of all those things that are learned through history; but some things begin to be at the same time with the knowing of them,--just as, if any visible object, which did not exist before at all, were to rise up before our eyes, certainly it does not precede our knowing it; or if there be any sound made where there is some one to hear, no doubt the sound and the hearing that sound begin and end simultaneously. Yet none the less, whether preceding in time or beginning to exist simultaneously, knowable things generate knowledge, and are not generated by knowledge. But when knowledge has come to pass, whenever the things known and laid up in memory are reviewed by recollection, who does not see that the retaining them in the memory is prior in time to the sight of them in recollection, and to the uniting of the two things by will as a third? In the mind, howver, it is not so. For the mind is not adventitious to itself, as though there came to itself already existing, that same self not already existing, from somewhere else, or did not indeed come from somewhere else, but that in the mind itself already existing, there was born that same mind not already existing; just as faith, which before was not, arises in the mind which already was. Nor does the mind see itself, as it were, set up in its own memory by recollection subsequently to the knowing of itself, as though it was not there before it knew itself; whereas,doubtless, from the time when it began to be, it has never ceased to remember, to understand, and to love itself, as we have already shown. And hence, when it is turned to itself by thought, there arises a trinity, in which now at length we can discern also a word; since it is formed from thought itself, will uniting both. Here, then, we may recognize, more than we have hitherto done, the image of which we are in search.


Chapter 11.--Whether Memory is Also of Things Present.

14. But some one will say, That is not memory by which the mind, which is ever present to itself, is affirmed to remember itself; for memory is of things past, not of things present. For there are some, and among them Cicero, who, in treating of the virtues, have divided prudence into these three--memory, understanding, forethought: to wit, assigning memory to things past, understanding to things present, forethought to things future; which last is certain only in the case of those who are prescient of the future; and this is no gift of men, unless it be granted from above, as to the prophets. And hence the book of Wisdom, speaking of men, "The thoughts of mortals," it says, "are fearful, and our forethought uncertain." [880] But memory of things past, and understanding of things present, are certain: certain, I mean, respecting things incorporeal, which are present; for things corporeal are present to the sight of the corporeal eyes. But let any one who denies that there is any memory of things present, attend to the language used even in profane literature, where exactness of words was more looked for than truth of things. "Nor did Ulysses suffer such things, nor did the Ithacan forget himself in so great a peril." [881] For when Virgil said that Ulysses did not forget himself, what else did he mean, except that he remembered himself? And since he was present to himself, he could not possibly remember himself, unless memory pertained to things present. And, therefore, as that is called memory in things past which makes it possible to recall and remember them; so in a thing present, as the mind is to itself, that is not unreasonably to be called memory, which makes the mind at hand to itself, so that it can be understood by its own thought, and then both be joined together by love of itself.

Footnotes

[880] Wisd. ix. 14 [881] Æneid, iii. 628, 629.


Chapter 12.--The Trinity in the Mind is the Image of God, in that It Remembers, Understands, and Loves God, Which to Do is Wisdom.

15. This trinity, then, of the mind is not therefore the image of God, because the mind remembers itself, and understands and loves itself; but because it can also remember, understand, and love Him by whom it was made. And in so doing it is made wise itself. But if it does not do so, even when it remembers, understands, and loves itself, then it is foolish. Let it then remember its God, after whose image it is made, and let it understand and love Him. Or to say the same thing more briefly, let it worship God, who is not made, by whom because itself was made, it is capable and can be partaker of Him; wherefore it is written, "Behold, the worship of God, that is wisdom." [882] And then it will be wise, not by its own light, but by participation of that supreme Light; and wherein it is eternal, therein shall reign in blessedness. For this wisdom of man is so called, in that it is also of God. For then it is true wisdom; for if it is human, it is vain. Yet not so of God, as is that wherewith God is wise. For He is not wise by partaking of Himself, as the mind is by partaking of God. But as we call it the righteousness of God, not only when we speak of that by which He Himself is righteous, but also of that which He gives to man when He justifies the ungodly, which latter righteousness the apostle commending, says of some, that "not knowing the righteousness of God and going about to establish their own righteousness,they are not subject to the righteousness of God;" [883] so also it may be said of some, that not knowing the wisdom of God and going about to establish their own wisdom, they are not subject to the wisdom of God.

16. There is, then, a nature not made, which made all other natures, great and small, and is without doubt more excellent than those which it has made, and therefore also than that of which we are speaking; viz. than the rational and intellectual nature, which is the mind of man, made after the image of Him who made it. And that nature, more excellent than the rest, is God. And indeed "He is not far from every one of us," as the apostle says, who adds, "For in Him we live, and are moved, and have our being." [884] And if this were said in respect to the body, it might be understood even of this corporeal world; for in it too in respect to the body, we live, and are moved, and have our being. And therefore it ought to be taken in a more excellent way, and one that is spiritual, not visible, in respect to the mind, which is made after His image. For what is there that is not in Him, of whom it is divinely written, "For of Him, and through Him, and in Him, are all things"? [885] If, then, all things are in Him, in whom can any possibly live that do live, or be moved that are moved, except in Him in whom they are? Yet all are not with Him in that way in which it is said to Him, "I am continually with Thee." [886] Nor is He with all in that way in which we say, The Lord be with you. And so it is the especial wretchedness of man not to be with Him, without whom he cannot be. For, beyond a doubt, he is not without Him in whom he is; and yet if he does not remember, and understand, and love Him, he is not with Him. And when any one absolutely forgets a thing, certainly it is impossible even to remind him of it.

Footnotes

[882] Job xxviii. 28 [883] Rom. x. 3 [884] Acts xvii. 27, 28 [885] Rom. xi. 36 [886] Ps. lxxiii. 23


Chapter 13.--How Any One Can Forget and Remember God.

17. Let us take an instance for the purpose from visible things. Somebody whom you do not recognize, says to you, You know me; and in order to remind you, tells you where, when, and how he became known to you; and if, after the mention of every sign by which you might be recalled to remembrance, you still do not recognize him, then you have so come to forget, as that the whole of that knowledge is altogether blotted out of your mind; and nothing else remains, but that you take his word for it who tells you that you once knew him; or do not even do that, if you do not think the person who speaks to you to be worthy of credit. But if you do remember him, then no doubt you return to your own memory, and find in it that which had not been altogether blotted out by forgetfulness. Let us return to that which led us to adduce this instance from the intercourse of men. Among other things, the 9th Psalm says, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations. that forget God;" [887] and again the 22d Psalm, "All the ends of the world shall be reminded, and turned unto the Lord." [888] These nations, then, will not so have forgotten God as to be unable to remember Him when reminded of Him; yet, by forgetting God, as though forgetting their own life, they had been turned into death, i.e. into hell. [889] But when reminded they are turned to the Lord, as though coming to life again by remembering their proper life which they had forgotten. It is read also in the 94th Psalm, "Perceive now, ye who are unwise among the people; and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall He not hear?" etc. [890] For this is spoken to those, who said vain things concerning God through not understanding Him.

Footnotes

[887] Ps. ix. 17 [888] Ps. xxii. 27 [889] [Augustin here understands "Sheol," to denote the place of retribution for the wicked.--W.G.T.S.] [890] Ps. xciv. 8, 9


Chapter 14.--The Mind Loves God in Rightly Loving Itself; And If It Love Not God, It Must Be Said to Hate Itself. Even a Weak and Erring Mind is Always Strong in Remembering, Understanding, and Loving Itself. Let It Be Turned to God, that It May Be Blessed by Remembering, Understanding, and Loving Him.

18. But there are yet more testimonies in the divine Scriptures concerning the love of God. For in it, those other two [namely, memory and understanding] are understood by consequence, inasmuch as no one loves that which he does not remember, or of which he is wholly ignorant. And hence is that well known and primary commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God." [891] The human mind, then, is so constituted, that at no time does it not remember, and understand, and love itself. But since he who hates any one is anxious to injure him, not undeservedly is the mind of man also said to hate itself when it injures itself. For it wills ill to itself through ignorance, in that it does not think that what it wills is prejudicial to it; but it none the less does will ill to itself, when it wills what would be prejudicial to it. And hence it is written, "He that loveth iniquity, hateth his own soul." [892] He, therefore, who knows how to love himself, loves God; but he who does not love God, even if he does love himself,--a thing implanted in him by nature,--yet is not unsuitably said to hate himself, inasmuch as he does that which is adverse to himself, and assails himself as though he were his own enemy. And this is no doubt a terrible delusion, that whereas all will to profit themselves, many do nothing but that which is most pernicious to themselves. When the poet was describing a like disease of dumb animals, "May the gods," says he, "grant better things to the pious, and assign that delusion to enemies. They were rending with bare teeth their own torn limbs." [893] Since it was a disease of the body he was speaking of, why has he called it a delusion, unless because, while nature inclines every animal to take all the care it can of itself, that disease was such that those animals rent those very limbs of theirs which they desired should be safe and sound? But when the mind loves God, and by consequence, as has been said remembers and understands Him, then it is rightly enjoined also to love its neighbor as itself; for it has now come to love itself rightly and not perversely when it loves God, by partaking of whom that image not only exists, but is also renewed so as to be no longer old, and restored so as to be no longer defaced, and beatified so as to be no longer unhappy. For although it so love itself, that, supposing the alternative to be proposed to it, it would lose all things which it loves less than itself rather than perish; still, by abandoning Him who is above it, in dependence upon whom alone it could guard its own strength, and enjoy Him as its light, to whom it is sung in the Psalm, "I will guard my strength in dependence upon Thee," [894] and again, "Draw near to Him, and be enlightened," [895] --it has been made so weak and so dark, that it has fallen away unhappily from itself too, to those things that are not what itself is, and which are beneath itself, by affections that it cannot conquer, and delusions from which it sees no way to return. And hence, when by God's mercy now penitent, it cries out in the Psalms, "My strength faileth me; as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me." [896]

19. Yet, in the midst of these evils of weakness and delusion, great as they are, it could not lose its natural memory, understanding and love of itself. And therefore what I quoted above [897] can be rightly said, "Although man walketh in an image, surely he is disquieted in vain: he heapeth up treasures, and knoweth not who shall gather them." [898] For why does he heap up treasures, unless because his strength has deserted him, through which he would have God, and so lack nothing? And why cannot he tell for whom he shall gather them, unless because the light of his eyes is taken from him? And so he does not see what the Truth saith, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?" [899] Yet because even such a man walketh in an image, and the man's mind has remembrance, understanding, and love of itself; if it were made plain to it that it could not have both, while it was permitted to choose one and lose the other, viz. either the treasures it has heaped up, or the mind; who is so utterly without mind, as to prefer to have the treasures rather than the mind? For treasures commonly are able to subvert the mind, but the mind that is not subverted by treasures can live more easily and unencumberedly without any treasures. But who will be able to possess treasures unless it be by means of the mind? For if an infant, born as rich as you please, although lord of everything that is rightfully his, yet possesses nothing if his mind be unconscious, how can any one possibly possess anything whose mind is wholly lost? But why say of treasures, that anybody, if the choice be given him, prefers going without them to going without a mind; when there is no one that prefers, nay, no one that compares them, to those lights of the body, by which not one man only here and there, as in the case of gold, but every man, possesses the very heaven? For every one possesses by the eyes of the body whatever he gladly sees. Who then is there, who, if he could not keep both, but must lose one, would not rather lose his treasures than his eyes? And yet if it were put to him on the same condition, whether he would rather lose eyes than mind, who is there with a mind that does not see that he would rather lose the former than the latter? For a mind without the eyes of the flesh is still human, but the eyes of the flesh without a mind are bestial. And who would not rather be a man, even though blind in fleshly sight, than a beast that can see?

20. I have said thus much, that even those who are slower of understanding, to whose eyes or ears this book may come, might be admonished, however briefly, how greatly even a weak and erring mind loves itself, in wrongly loving and pursuing things beneath itself. Now it could not love itself if it were altogether ignorant of itself, i.e. if it did not remember itself, nor understand itself by which image of God within itself it has such power as to be able to cleave to Him whose image it is. For it is so reckoned in the order, not of place, but of natures, as that there is none above it save Him. When, finally, it shall altogether cleave to Him, then it will be one spirit, as the apostle testifies, saying, "But he who cleaves to the Lord is one spirit." [900] And this by its drawing near to partake of His nature, truth, and blessedness, yet not by His increasing in His own nature, truth and blessedness. In that nature, then, when it happily has cleaved to it, it will live unchangeably, and will see as unchangeable all that it does see. Then, as divine Scripture promises, "His desire will be satisfied with good things," [901] good things unchangeable,--the very Trinity itself, its own God, whose image it is. And that it may not ever thenceforward suffer wrong, it will be in the hidden place of His presence, [902] filled with so great fullness of Him, that sin thenceforth will never delight it. But now, when it sees itself, it sees something not unchangeable.

Footnotes

[891] Deut. vi. 5 [892] Ps. xi. 5 [893] Virg. Georg. iii. 513-514. [894] Ps. lix. 9 [895] Ps. xxxiv. 5 [896] Ps. xxxviii. 10 [897] C. 4. [898] Ps. xxxix. 6 [899] Luke xii. 20 [900] 1 Cor. vi. 17 [901] Ps. ciii. 5 [902] Ps. xxxi. 20


Chapter 15.--Although the Soul Hopes for Blessedness, Yet It Does Not Remember Lost Blessedness, But Remembers God and the Rules of Righteousness. The Unchangeable Rules of Right Living are Known Even to the Ungodly.

21. And of this certainly it feels no doubt, that it is wretched, and longs to be blessed nor can it hope for the possibility of this on any other ground than its own changeableness for if it were not changeable, then, as it could not become wretched after being blessed, so neither could it become blessed after being wretched. And what could have made it wretched under an omnipotent and good God, except its own sin and the righteousness of its Lord? And what will make it blessed, unless its own merit, and its Lord's reward? But its merit, too, is His grace, whose reward will be its blessedness; for it cannot give itself the righteousness it has lost, and so has not. For this it received when man was created, and assuredly lost it by sinning. Therefore it receives righteousness, that on account of this it may deserve to receive blessedness; and hence the apostle truly says to it, when beginning to be proud as it were of its own good, "For what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?" [903] But when it rightly remembers its own Lord, having received His Spirit, then, because it is so taught by an inward teaching, it feels wholly that it cannot rise save by His affection freely given, nor has been able to fall save by its own defection freely chosen. Certainly it does not remember its own blessedness; since that has been, but is not, and it has utterly forgotten it, and therefore cannot even be reminded of it. [904] But it believes what the trustworthy Scriptures of its God tell of that blessedness, which were written by His prophet, and tell of the blessedness of Paradise, and hand down to us historical information of that first both good and ill of man. And it remembers the Lord its God; for He always is, nor has been and is not, nor is but has not been; but as He never will not be, so He never was not. And He is whole everywhere. And hence it both lives, and is moved, and is in Him; [905] and so it can remember Him. Not because it recollects the having known Him in Adam or anywhere else before the life of this present body, or when it was first made in order to be implanted in this body; for it remembers nothing at all of all this. Whatever there is of this, it has been blotted out by forgetfulness. But it is reminded, that it may be turned to God, as though to that light by which it was in some way touched, even when turned away from Him. For hence it is that even the ungodly think of eternity, and rightly blame and rightly praise many things in the morals of men. And by what rules do they thus judge, except by those wherein they see how men ought to live, even though they themselves do not so live? And where do they see these rules? For they do not see them in their own [moral] nature; since no doubt these things are to be seen by the mind, and their minds are confessedly changeable, but these rules are seen as unchangeable by him who can see them at all; nor yet in the character of their own mind, since these rules are rules of righteousness, and their minds are confessedly unrighteous. Where indeed are these rules written, wherein even the unrighteous recognizes what is righteous, wherein he discerns that he ought to have what he himself has not? Where, then, are they written, unless in the book of that Light which is called Truth? whence every righteous law is copied and transferred (not by migrating to it, but by being as it were impressed upon it) to the heart of the man that worketh righteousness; as the impression from a ring passes into the wax, yet does not leave the ring. But he who worketh not, and yet sees how he ought to work, he is the man that is turned away from that light, which yet touches him. But he who does not even see how he ought to live, sins indeed with more excuse, because he is not a transgressor of a law that he knows; but even he too is just touched sometimes by the splendor of the everywhere present truth, when upon admonition he confesses.

Footnotes

[903] 1 Cor. iv. 7 [904] [In the case of knowledge that is remembered, there is something latent and potential--as when past acquisitions are recalled by a voluntary act of recollection. The same is true of innate ideas--these also are latent, and brought into consciousness by reflection. But no man can either remember, or elicit, his original holiness and blessedness, because this is not latent and potential, but wholly lost by the fall.--W.G.T.S.] [905] Acts xvii. 28


Chapter 16.--How the Image of God is Formed Anew in Man.

22. But those who, by being reminded, are turned to the Lord from that deformity whereby they were through worldly lusts conformed to this world, are formed anew from the world, when they hearken to the apostle, saying, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye formed again in the renewing of your mind;" [906] that that image may begin to be formed again by Him by whom it had been formed at first. For that image cannot form itself again, as it could deform itself. He says again elsewhere: "Be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put ye on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." [907] That which is meant by "created after God," is expressed in another place by "after the image of God." [908] But it lost righteousness and true holiness by sinning, through which that image became defaced and tarnished; and this it recovers when it is formed again and renewed. But when he says, "In the spirit of your mind," he does not intend to be understood of two things, as though mind were one, and the spirit of the mind another; but he speaks thus, because all mind is spirit, but all spirit is not mind. For there is a Spirit also that is God, [909] which cannot be renewed, because it cannot grow old. And we speak also of a spirit in man distinct from the mind, to which spirit belong the images that are formed after the likeness of bodies; and of this the apostle speaks to the Corinthians, where he says, "But if I shall have prayed with a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." [910] For he speaks thus, when that which is said is not understood; since it cannot even be said, unless the images of the corporeal articulate sounds anticipate the oral sound by the thought of the spirit. The soul of man is also called spirit, whence are the words in the Gospel, "And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit;" [911] by which the death of the body, through the spirit's leaving it, is signified. We speak also of the spirit of a beast, as it is expressly written in the book of Solomon called Ecclesiastes; "Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?" [912] It is written too in Genesis, where it is said that by the deluge all flesh died which "had in it the spirit of life." [913] We speak also of the spirit, meaning the wind, a thing most manifestly corporeal; whence is that in the Psalms, "Fire and hail, snow and ice, the spirit of the storm." [914] Since spirit, then, is a word of so many meanings, the apostle intended to express by "the spirit of the mind" that spirit which is called the mind. As the same apostle also, when he says, "In putting off the body of the flesh," [915] certainly did not intend two things, as though flesh were one, and the body of the flesh another; but because body is the name of many things that have no flesh (for besides the flesh, there are many bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial), he expressed by the body of the flesh that body which is flesh. In like manner, therefore, by the spirit of the mind, that spirit which is mind. Elsewhere, too, he has even more plainly called it an image, while enforcing the same thing in other words. "Do you," he says, "putting off the old man with his deeds, put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge of God after the image of Him that created him." [916] Where the one passage reads, "Put ye on the new man, which is created after God," the other has, "Put ye on the new man, which is renewed after the image of Him that created him."

In the one place he says, "After God;" in the other, "After the image of Him that created him." But instead of saying, as in the former passages "In righteousness and true holiness," he has put in the latter, "In the knowledge of God." This renewal, then, and forming again of the mind, is wrought either after God, or after the image of God. But it is said to be after God, in order that it may not be supposed to be after another creature; and to be after the image of God, in order that this renewing may be understood to take place in that wherein is the image of God, i.e. in the mind. Just as we say, that he who has departed from the body a faithful and righteous man, is dead after the body, not after the spirit. For what do we mean by dead after the body, unless as to the body or in the body, and not dead as to the soul or in the soul? Or if we want to say he is handsome after the body, or strong after the body, not after the mind; what else is this, than that he is handsome or strong in body, not in mind? And the same is the case with numberless other instances. Let us not therefore so understand the words, "After the image of Him that created him," as though it were a different image after which he is renewed, and not the very same which is itself renewed.

Footnotes

[906] Rom. xii. 2 [907] Eph. iv. 23, 24 [908] Gen. i. 27 [909] John iv. 24 [910] 1 Cor. xiv. 14 [911] John xix. 30 [912] Eccles. iii. 21 [913] Gen. vii. 22 [914] Ps. cxlviii. 8 [915] Col. ii. 11 [916] Col. iii. 9, 10


Chapter 17.--How the Image of God in the Mind is Renewed Until the Likeness of God is Perfected in It in Blessedness.

23. Certainly this renewal does not take place in the single moment of conversion itself, as that renewal in baptism takes place in a single moment by the remission of all sins; for not one, be it ever so small, remains unremitted. But as it is one thing to be free from fever, and another to grow strong again from the infirmity which the fever produced; and one thing again to pluck out of the body a weapon thrust into it, and another to heal the wound thereby made by a prosperous cure; so the first cure is to remove the cause of infirmity, and this is wrought by the forgiving of all sins; but the second cure is to heal the infirmity itself, and this takes place gradually by making progress in the renewal of that image: which two things are plainly shown in the Psalm, where we read, "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities," which takes place in baptism; and then follows, "and healeth all thine infirmities;" [917] and this takes place by daily additions, while this image is being renewed. [918] And the apostle has spoken of this most expressly, saying, "And though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day by day." [919] And "it is renewed in the knowledge of God, i.e. in righteousness and true holiness," according to the testimonies of the apostle cited a little before. He, then, who is day by day renewed by making progress in the knowledge of God, and in righteousness and true holiness, transfers his love from things temporal to things eternal, from things visible to things intelligible, from things carnal to things spiritual; and diligently perseveres in bridling and lessening his desire for the former, and in binding himself by love to the latter. And he does this in proportion as he is helped by God. For it is the sentence of God Himself, "Without me ye can do nothing." [920] And when the last day of life shall have found any one holding fast faith in the Mediator in such progress and growth as this, he will be welcomed by the holy angels, to be led to God, whom he has worshipped, and to be made perfect by Him; and so will receive in the end of the world an incorruptible body, in order not to punishment, but to glory. For the likeness of God will then be perfected in this image, when the sight of God shall be perfected. And of this the Apostle Paul speaks: "Now we see through a glass, in an enigma, but then face to face." [921] And again: "But we with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord." [922] And this is what happens from day to day in those that make good progress.

Footnotes

[917] Ps. ciii. 3 [918] [Justification is instantaneous: sanctification is gradual. Baptism is the sign, not the cause, of the former. "As many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized with reference to (eis) his death;" and "are intombed with him by the baptism that has reference to (eis) his death." Rom. vi. 3, 4. According to St. Paul, baptism supposes a trust in the atonement of Christ, and is a seal of it. In saying that "the forgiveness of all thine iniquity takes place in baptism," Augustin is liable to be understood as teaching the efficiency of baptism in producing forgiveness. This is the weak side of the Post Nicene soteriology.--W.G.T.S.] [919] 2 Cor. iv. 16 [920] John xv. 5 [921] 1 Cor. xiii. 12 [922] 2 Cor. iii. 18


Chapter 18.--Whether the Sentence of John is to Be Understood of Our Future Likeness with the Son of God in the Immortality Itself Also of the Body.

24. But the Apostle John says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." [923] Hence it appears, that the full likeness of God is to take place in that image of God at that time when it shall receive the full sight of God. And yet this may also possibly seem to be said by the Apostle John of the immortality of the body. For we shall be like to God in this too, but only to the Son, because He only in the Trinity took a body, in which He died and rose again, and which He carried with Him to heaven above. For this, too, is called an image of the Son of God, in which we shall have, as He has, an immortal body, being conformed in this respect not to the image of the Father or of the Holy Spirit, but only of the Son, because of Him alone is it read and received by a sound faith, that "the Word was made flesh." [924] And for this reason the apostle says, "Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren." [925] "The first-born" certainly "from the dead," [926] according to the same apostle; by which death His flesh was sown in dishonor, and rose again in glory. According to this image of the Son, to which we are conformed in the body by immortality, we also do that of which the same apostle speaks, "As we have borne the image of the earthy, so shall we also bear the image of the heavenly;" [927] to wit, that we who are mortal after Adam, may hold by a true faith, and a sure and certain hope, that we shall be immortal after Christ. For so can we now bear the same image, not yet in sight, but in faith; not yet in fact, but in hope. For the apostle, when he said this, was speaking of the resurrection of the body.

Footnotes

[923] 1 John iii. 2 [924] John i. 14 [925] Rom. viii. 29 [926] Col. i. 18 [927] 1 Cor. xv. 43, 49


Chapter 19.--John is Rather to Be Understood of Our Perfect Likeness with the Trinity in Life Eternal. Wisdom is Perfected in Happiness.

25. But in respect to that image indeed, of which it is said, "Let us make man after our image and likeness," [928] we believe,--and, after the utmost search we have been able to make, understand,--that man was made after the image of the Trinity, because it is not said, After my, or After thy image. And therefore that place too of the Apostle John must be understood rather according to this image, when he says, "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is;" because he spoke too of Him of whom he had said, "We are the sons of God." [929] And the immortality of the flesh will be perfected in that moment of the resurrection, of which the Apostle Paul says, "In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." [930] For in that very twinkling of an eye, before the judgment, the spiritual body shall rise again in power, in incorruption, in glory, which is now sown a natural body in weakness, in corruption, in dishonor. But the image which is renewed in the spirit of the mind in the knowledge of God, not outwardly, but inwardly, from day to day, shall be perfected by that sight itself; which then after the judgment shall be face to face, but now makes progress as through a glass in an enigma. [931] And we must understand it to be said on account of this perfection, that "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." For this gift will be given to us at that time, when it shall have been said, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you." [932] For then will the ungodly be taken away, so that he shall not see the glory of the Lord, [933] when those on the left hand shall go into eternal punishment, while those on the right go into life eternal. [934] But "this is eternal life," as the Truth tells us; "to know Thee," He says, "the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." [935]

26. This contemplative wisdom, which I believe is properly called wisdom as distinct from knowledge in the sacred writings; but wisdom only of man, which yet man has not except from Him, by partaking of whom a rational and intellectual mind can be made truly wise;--this contemplative wisdom, I say, it is that Cicero commends, in the end of the dialogue Hortensius, when he says: "While, then, we consider these things night and day, and sharpen our understanding, which is the eye of the mind, taking care that it be not ever dulled, that is, while we live in philosophy; we, I say, in so doing, have great hope that, if, on the one hand, this sentiment and wisdom of ours is mortal and perishable, we shall still, when we have discharged our human offices, have a pleasant setting, and a not painful extinction, and as it were a rest from life: or if, on the other, as ancient philosophers thought,--and those, too, the greatest and far the most celebrated,--we have souls eternal and divine, then must we needs think, that the more these shall have always kept in their own proper course, i.e. in reason and in the desire of inquiry, and the less they shall have mixed and entangled themselves in the vices and errors of men, the more easy ascent and return they will have to heaven." And then he says, adding this short sentence, and finishing his discourse by repeating it: "Wherefore, to end my discourse at last, if we wish either for a tranquil extinction, after living in the pursuit of these subjects, or if to migrate without delay from this present home to another in no little measure better, we must bestow all our labor and care upon these pursuits." And here I marvel, that a man of such great ability should promise to men living in philosophy, which makes man blessed by contemplation of truth, "a pleasant setting after the discharge of human offices, if this our sentiment and wisdom is mortal and perishable;" as if that which we did not love, or rather which we fiercely hated, were then to die and come to nothing, so that its setting would be pleasant to us! But indeed he had not learned this from the philosophers, whom he extols with great praise; but this sentiment is redolent of that New Academy, wherein it pleased him to doubt of even the plainest things. But from the philosophers that were greatest and far most celebrated, as he himself confesses, he had learned that souls are eternal. For souls that are eternal are not unsuitably stirred up by the exhortation to be found in "their own proper course," when the end of this life shall have come, i.e. "in reason and in the desire of inquiry," and to mix and entangle themselves the less in the vices and errors of men, in order that they may have an easier return to God. But that course which consists in the love and investigation of truth does not suffice for the wretched, i.e. for all mortals who have only this kind of reason, and are without faith in the Mediator; as I have taken pains to prove, as much as I could, in former books of this work, especially in the fourth and thirteenth.

Footnotes

[928] Gen. i. 26 [929] John iii. 2 [930] 1 Cor. xv. 52 [931] 1 Cor. xiii. 12 [932] Matt. xxv. 34 [933] Isa. xxvi. 10 [934] Matt. xxv. 46 [935] John xvii. 3
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