Quantcast
St. Augustine of Hippo- Confessions BOOK XIII
AUTHOR: Augustine
PUBLISHED ON: March 27, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN

St. Augustine of Hippo: CONFESSIONS
“New Advent Catholic Supersite”

St. Augustine of Hippo
Confessions

BOOK XIII.

OF THE GOODNESS OF GOD EXPLAINED IN THE CREATION OF THINGS, AND
OF THE TRINITY AS FOUND IN THE FIRST WORDS OF GENESIS. THE STORY
CONCERNING THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD (GEN. I.) IS ALLEGORICALLY
EXPLAINED, AND HE APPLIES IT TO THOSE ‘THINGS WHICH GOD WORKS FOR
SANCTIFIED AND BLESSED MAN. FINALLY, HE MAKES AN END OF THIS WORK,
HAVING IMPLORED ETERNAL REST FROM GOD.

CHAP. I.- HE CALLS UPON GOD, AND PROPOSES TO  HIMSELF TO WORSHIP HIM.

I. I CALL upon Thee, my God, my mercy, who madest me, and who
didst not forget me, though forgetful of Thee. I call Thee into’ my
soul, which by the desire which Thou inspirest in it Thou preparest
for Thy reception. Do not Thou forsake me calling upon Thee, who
didst anticipate me before I called, and didst importunately urge
with manifold calls that I should hear Thee from afar, and be
converted, and call upon Thee who calledst me. For Thou, 0 Lord,
hast blotted out all my evil deserts, that Thou mightest not repay
into my hands wherewith I have fallen from Thee, and Thou hast
anticipated all my good deserts, that Thou mightest repay into Thy
hands wherewith Thou madest me; because before I was, Thou wast, nor
was I [anything] to which Thou mightest grant being. And yet behold,
I am, out of Thy goodness, anticipating all this which Thou hast
made me, and of which Thou hast made me. For neither hadst Thou
stood in need of me, nor am I such a good as to! be helpful unto
Thee. my Lord and God; not that I may so serve Thee as though Thou
weft fatigued in working, or lest Thy power may be less if lacking
my assistance nor that, like the land, I may so cultivate Thee that
Thou wouldest be uncultivated did I cultivate Thee not but that I
may serve and worship Thee, to the end that I may have well-being
from Thee; from whom it is that! am one susceptible of well-being.

CHAP. II. –ALL CREATURES SUBSIST FROM THE! PLENITUDE OF DIVINE
GOODNESS.

2. For of the plenitude of Thy goodness Thy creature subsists,
that a good, which could profit Thee nothing, nor though of Thee was
equal to Thee, might yet be, since it could be made of a Thee. For
what did heaven and earth, which Thou madest in the beginning,
deserve of Thee? Let those spiritual and corporeal natures, which
Thou in Thy wisdom madest, declare what they deserve of Thee to
depend thereon, — even the inchoate and formless, each in its own
kind, either spiritual or corporeal, going into excess, and into
remote unlikeness unto Thee (the spiritual, though formless, more
excellent than if it were a formed body; and the corporeal, though
formless, more excellent than if it were altogether nothing), and
thus they as formless would depend upon Thy Word, unless by the same
Word they were recalled to Thy Unity, and endued with form, and from
Thee, the one sovereign Good, were all made very good. How have they
deserved of Thee, that they should be even formless, since they
would not be even this except from Thee?

3. How has corporeal matter deserved of Thee, to be even
invisible and formless. since it were not even this hadst Thou not
made it; and therefore since it was not, it could not deserve of
Thee that it should be made? Or how could the inchoate spiritual
creature. deserve of Thee, that even it should flow darksomely like
the deep,- unlike Thee, had it not been by the same Word turned to
that by Whom it was created, and by Him so enlightened become light,
although not equally, yet conformably to that Form which is equal
unto Thee? For as to a body, to be is not all one with being
beautiful, for then it could not be deformed; so also to a created
spirit, to live is not all one with living wisely, for then it would
be wise unchangeably. But it is good for it always to hold fast
unto Thee. lest, in turning from Thee, it lose that light which it
hath obtained in turning to Thee,
and relapse into a light resembling the darksome deep. For even we
ourselves, who in respect of the soul are a spiritual creature,
having turned away from Thee, our light, were in that life
“sometimes darkness; “‘ and do labour amidst the remains of our
darkness, until in Thy Only One we become Thy righteousness, like
the mountains of God. For we have been Thy judgmentS, which are like
the great deep.’

CHAP. III. — GENESIS I. 3,–OF “LIGHT,” — HE UNDERSTANDS AS IT
IS SEEN IN THE SPIRITUAL CREATURE.

4. But what Thou saidst in the beginning of the creation, “Let
there be light, and there was light,”. I do not unfitly understand
of the spiritual creature; because there was even then a kind of
life, which Thou mightest illuminate. But as it had not deserved of
Thee that it should be such a life as could be enlightened, so
neither, when it already was, hath it deserved of Thee that it
should be enlightened. For neither could its formlessness be
pleasing unto Thee,unless it became light,- not by merely existing,
but by beholding the illuminating light, and cleaving unto it; so
also, that it lives, and lives happily? it owes to nothing
whatsoever but to Thy grace; being converted by means of a better
change unto that which can be changed neither into better nor into
worse; the which Thou only art because Thou only simply art, to whom
it is not one thing to live, another to live blessedly, since Thou
art Thyself Thine own Blessedness.

CHAP, IV.- ALL THINGS HAVE BEEN CREATED BY THE GRACE OF GOD, AND
ARE NOT OF HIM AS STANDING IN NEED OF CREATED THINGS.

5. What, therefore, could there be wanting unto Thy good, which
Thou Thyself art, although these things had either never been, or
had remained formless, — the which Thou madest not out of any want,
but out of the plenitude of Thy goodness, restraining them and
converting them to form not as though Thy joy were perfected by
them? For to Thee, being perfect. their imperfection is displeasing,
and therefore were they perfected by Thee, and were pleasing unto
Thee; but not as if Thou wert imperfect, and wert to be perfected in
their perfection. For Thy good Spirit was borne over the waters,
not borne up by them as if He rested upon them.

For those in whom Thy. good Spirit is said to rest. He causes to
rest in Himself. But Thy incorruptible and unchangeable will, which
in itself is all-sufficient for itself, was borne over that life
which Thou hadst made, to which to live is not all one with living
happily, since, flowing in its own darkness, it liveth also; for
which it remaineth to be converted unto Him by whom it was made, and
to live more and more by” the fountain of life,” and in His light to
“see light, and to be perfected, and enlightened, and made happy.

CHAP. V.- HE RECOGNISES THE TRINITY IN THE FIRST TWO VERSES OF
GENESIS.

6. Behold now, the Trinity appears unto me in an enigma, which
Thou, O my God, art, since [Thou, O Father, in the Beginning of our
wisdom, — Which is Thy Wisdom, born of Thyself,!equal and
co-eternal unto Thee,–that is, in!Thy Son, hast created heaven and
earth. Many;things have we said of the heaven of heavens, and of the
earth invisible and formless, and of the darksome deep, in reference
to the wandering defects of its spiritual deformity, were it not
converted unto Him from whom was its life, such as it was, and by
His enlightening became a beauteous life, and the heaven of that
heaven which was afterwards set between water and water. And under
the name of God, I now held the Father, who made these things; and
under the name of the Beginning, the Son, in whom He made these
things; and believing, as I did, that my God was the Trinity, I
sought further in His holy words, and behold, Thy Spirit was borne
over the waters. Behold the Trinity, 0 my God, Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost,–the Creator of all creation.

CHAP. VI. –WHY THE HOLY GHOST SHOULD HAVE BEEN MENTIONED AFTER
THE MENTION OF HEAVEN AND EARTH.

7. But what was the cause, O Thou true-speaking Light? Unto Thee
do I lift up my heart, let it not teach me vain things; disperse its
darkness, and tell me, I beseech Thee, by our mother charity, tell
me, I beseech Thee, the reason why, after the mention of heaven, and
of the earth invisible and formless, and darkness upon the deep, Thy
Scripture should then at length mention Thy Spirit? Was it because
it was meet that it should be spoken of Him that He was “borne
over,” and this could not be said, unless that were first mentioned
“over” which Thy Spirit may be understood to have been “borne?” For
neither was He “borne over”

   
the Father, nor the Son, nor could it rightly be said that He was
“borne over” if He were “borne over” nothing. That, therefore, was
first to be spoken of” over” which He might be “borne; “and then He,
whom it was not meet to mention otherwise than as having been
“borne.” Why, then, was it not meet that it should otherwise be
mentioned of Him, than as having been “borne over?”

CHAP. VII.- THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT BRINGS US TO GOD.

8. Hence let him that is able now follow Thy apostle with his
understanding where he thus speaks, because Thy love “is shed abroad
in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us; “‘ and
where, “concerning spiritual gifts,” he teacheth and showeth unto us
a more excellent way of charity; and where he bows his knees unto
Thee for us, that we may know the super-eminent knowledge of the
love of Christ. And, therefore, from the beginning was He
super-eminently” borne above the waters.” To whom shall I
tell this? How speak of the weight of lustful desires, pressing
downwards to the steep abyss? and how charity raises us up again,
through Thy Spirit which was “borne over the waters?” To whom shall
I tell it? How tell it? For neither are there places in which we are
merged and emerge. What can be more like, and yet more unlike? They
be affections they be loves; the filthiness of our spirit flowing
away downwards with the love of cares, and the sanctity of Thine
raising us upwards by the love of freedom from care; that we may
lift our hearts unto Thee where Thy Spirit is “borne over the
waters;” and that we may come to that pre-eminent rest, when our
soul shall have passed through the waters which have no substance.

CHAP. VIII. –THAT NOTHING WHATEVER, SHORT OF GOD, CAN YIELD TO
THE RATIONAL CREATURE A HAPPY REST.

9. The angels fell, the soul of man fell? and they have thus
indicated the abyss in that dark deep, ready for the whole spiritual
creation, unless Thou hadst said from the beginning, “Let there be
light,” and there had been light, and every obedient intelligence of
Thy celestial City had cleaved to Thee, and rested in Thy Spirit,
which unchangeably is “borne over” everything changeable. Otherwise,
even the heaven of heavens itself would have been a darksome deep,
whereas now it is light in the Lord. For even in that wretched
restlessness of the spirits who fell away, and, when unclothed of
the garments of Thy light, discovered their own darkness, dost Thou
sufficiently disclose how noble Thou hast made the rational
creature; to which nought which is inferior to Thee will suffice to
yield a happy rest, and so not even herself. For Thou, 0 our God,
shalt enlighten our darkness; from Thee are derived our garments
of light,’ and then shall our darkness be as the noonday.” Give
Thyself unto me, O my God, restore Thyself unto me; behold, I love
Thee, and if it be too little, let me love Thee more strongly.
cannot measure my love, so that I may come to know how much there is
yet wanting in me, ere my life run into Thy embracements, and not be
turned away until it be hidden in the secret place of Thy
Presence. This only I know, that woe is me except in Thee, — not
only without, but even also within myself; and all plenty which is
not my God is poverty to me.’

CHAP. IX.–WHY THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS ONLY  “BORNE OVER” THE WATERS.

10. But was not either the Father or the Son “borne over the
waters?” If we understand this to mean in space, as a body, then
neither was the Holy Spirit; but if the incommutable super-eminence
of Divinity above everything mutable, then both Father, and Son, and
Holy Ghost were borne “over the waters.” Why, then, is this said of
Thy Spirit only? Why is it said of Him alone? As if He had been in
place who is not in place, of whom only it is written, that He is
Thy gift. In Thy gift we rest; there we enjoy Thee. Our rest is our
‘.place. Love lifts us up thither, and Thy good Spirit lifteth our
lowliness from the gates of death? In Thy good pleasure lies our
peace. The body by its own weight gravitates towards its own place.
Weight goes not downward only, but to its own place. Fire tends
upwards, a stone downwards. They are propelled by their own weights,
they seek their own places. Oil poured under the water is raised
above the water; water poured upon oil sinks under the oil. They are
propelled by their own weights, they seek their own places. Out of
order, they are restless; restored to order, they are at rest. My
weight is my love. by it am I borne whithersoever I am borne. By
Thy Gift we are inflamed, and are borne upwards; we wax hot
inwardly, and go forwards. We ascend Thy ways that be in our heart,
and sing a song of degrees; we glow inwardly with Thy fire, with Thy
good fire, and we go, because we go upwards to the peace of
Jerusalem; for glad was I when they said unto me, “Let us go into
the. house of the Lord.” There hath Thy good pleasure placed us,
that we may desire no other thing than to dwell. there for ever.

CHAP. X.- THAT NOTHING AROSE SAVE BY THE GIFT OF GOD.

11. Happy creature, which, though in itself it was other than
Thou, hath known no other state than that as soon as it was made, it
was, without any interval of time, by Thy Gift, which is borne over
everything mutable, raised up by that calling whereby Thou saidst,
“Let there be light, and there was light.” Whereas in us there is a
difference of times, in that we were darkness, and are made light;
but of that it is only said what it would have been had it not been
enlightened. And this is so spoken as if it had been fleeting and
darksome before; that so the cause whereby it was made to be
otherwise might appear, –that is to say, being turned to the
unfailing Light it might become light. Let him who is able
understand this; and let him who is not, ask of Thee. Why should he
trouble me, as if I could enlighten any “man that cometh into the
world?”

CHAP. XI. –THAT THE SYMBOLS OF THE TRINITY IN MAN, TO BE, TO
KNOW, AND TO WILL, ARE NEVER THOROUGHLY EXAMINED.

12. Which of us understandeth the Almighty Trinity. And yet
which speaketh not of It, if indeed it be It? Rare is that soul
which, ‘while it speaketh of It, knows what it speaketh of. And they
contend and strive, but no one without peace seeth that vision. I
could wish that men would consider these three things that are in
themselves. These three are far other than the Trinity; but I speak
of things in which’ they may exercise and prove themselves, and feel
how far other they be.” But the three things I speak of are, To Be,
to Know, and to Will. For I Am, and I Know, and I Will; I Am Knowing
and Willing; and I Know myself to Be and to Will; and I Will to Be
and to Know. In these three, therefore, let him who can see how
inseparable a life there is,- even one life, one mind, and one
essence; finally, how inseparable is the distinction, and yet a
distinction. Surely a man hath it before him; let him look into
himself, and see, and tell me. But
when he discovers and can say anything of these, let him not then
think that he has discovered that which is above these Unchangeable,
which Is unchangeably, and Knows unchangeably, and Wills
unchangeably. And whether on account of these three there is also,
where they are, a Trinity; or whether these three be in Each, so
that the three belong to Each; or whether both ways at once,
wondrously, simply, and vet diversely, in Itself a limit unto
Itself, yet illimitable; whereby It is, and is known unto Itself,
and sufficeth to Itself, unchangeably the Self-same, by the abundant
magnitude of its Unity, — who can readily conceive? Who in any wise
express it? Who in any way rashly pronounce thereon?

CHAP. XII.- ALLEGORICAL EXPLANATION OF GENESIS, CHAP. I.,
CONCERNING THE ORIGIN OF THE CHURCH AND ITS WORSHIP.

13. Proceed in thy confession, say to the Lord thy God, O my
faith, Holy, Holy, Holy, O Lord my God, in Thy name have we been
baptized, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in Thy name do we baptize,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,’ because among us also in His Christ
did God make heaven and earth, namely, the spiritual and carnal
people of His Church? Yea, and our earth, before it received the
“form of doctrine,”. was invisible and formless, and we were
covered with the darkness of ignorance. For Thou correctest man for
iniquity? and “Thy judgments are a great deep.” But because Thy
Spirit was “borne over the waters,”. Thy mercy forsook not our
misery. and Thou saidst, “Let there be light,” “Repent ye, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent ye, let there be light. And
because our soul was troubled within us. we remembered Thee, O
Lord, from the land of Jordan, and that mountain ‘ equal unto
Thyself, but little for our sakes; and upon our being displeased
with our darkness, we turned unto Thee, “and there was light.” And,
behold, we were sometimes darkness, but now light in the Lord.

CHAP. XIII.- THAT THE RENEWAL OF MAN IS NOT COMPLETED IN THIS WORLD.

14. But as yet “by faith, not by sight,”. for “we are saved by
hope; but hope that is seen is not hope.” As yet deep calleth unto
deep, but.in “the noise of Thy waterspouts.” And as yet doth he
that saith, I “could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as
unto carnal,”. even he, as yet, doth not count himself to have
apprehended, and forgetteth those things which are behind, and
reacheth forth to those things which are before? and groaneth being
burdened; and his soul thirsteth after the living God, as the hart
after the water-brooks, and saith, “When shall I come?”,o,, desiring
to be clothed upon with his house which is from heaven; “” and
calleth upon this lower deep, saying, “Be not conformed to this
world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” And,
“Be not children in understanding, howbeit in malice be ye
children,” that in “understanding ye may be perfect; “‘s and “0
foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?”. But now not in his own
voice, but in Thine who sentest Thy Spirit from above;’s through Him
who “ascended up on high,”. and set open the flood-gates of His
gifts, that the force of His streams might make glad the city of
God.’s For, for Him doth “the friend of the bridegroom”. sigh,
having now the first-fruits of the Spirit laid up with Him, yet
still groaning within himself, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the
redemption of his body; 30 to Him he sighs, for. he is a member of
the Bride; for Him is he jealous, for he is the friend of the
Bridegroom; for Him is he jealous, not for himself; because in the
voice of Thy “waterspouts,”. not in his own voice, doth he call on
that other deep, for whom being jealous he feareth, lest that, as
the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so their minds should
be corrupted from the simplicity that is in our Bridegroom, Thine
only Son. What a light of beauty will that be when “we shall see
Him as He is,” . and those tears be passed away
which “have been my meat day and night, while they continually say
unto me, Where is thy God?”

CHAP. XIV. — THAT OUT OF THE CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT AND OF THE
DARKNESS, CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT AND OF THE DAY ARE MADE.

15. And so say I too, O my God, where art Thou? Behold where Thou
art! In Thee I breathe a little, when I pour out my soul by myself
in the voice of joy and praise, the sound of him that keeps
holy-day. And yet it is “cast down,” because it relapses and
becomes a deep, or rather it feels that it is still a deep. Unto it
doth my faith speak which Thou hast kindled to enlighten my feet in
the night, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou
disquieted in me? hope thou in God; His “word is a lamp unto my
feet. Hope and endure until the night, — the mother of the
wicked, — until the anger of the Lord be overpast. whereof we also
were once children who were sometimes darkness. the remains whereof
we carry about us in our body, dead on account of sin. “until the
day break and the shadows flee away. “Hope thou in the Lord.” In
the morning I shall stand in Thy presence, and contemplate Thee. I
shall for ever confess unto Thee. In the morning I shall stand in
Thy presence, and shall see “the health of my countenance,”. my
God, who also shall quicken our mortal bodies by the Spirit that
dwelleth in us, because in mercy He was borne over our inner
darksome and floating deep. Whence we have in this pilgrimage
received “an earnest”. that we should now be light, whilst as yet
we “are saved by hope,”. and are the children of light, and the
children of the day, — not the children of the night nor of the
darkness,
which yet we have been. Betwixt whom and us, in this as yet
uncertain state of human knowledge, Thou only dividest, who provest
our hearts. and callest the light day, and the darkness night.
For who discerneth us but Thou? But what have we that we have not
received of Thee?. Out of the same lump vessels unto honour, of
which others also are made to dishonour.

CHAP. XV. — ALLEGORICAL EXPLANATION OF THE FIRMAMENT AND UPPER
WORKS, VER. 6.

16. Or who but Thou, our God, made for us that firmament . of
authority over us in Thy divine Scripture?. As it is said, For
heaven shall be folded up like a scroll; and now it is extended
over us like a skin. For Thy divine Scripture is of more sublime
authority, since those mortals through whom Thou didst dispense it
unto us underwent mortality. And Thou knowest, O Lord, Thou knowest,
how Thou with skins didst clothe men . when by sin they became
mortal. Whence as a skin hast Thou stretched out the firmament of
Thy Book; that is to say, Thy harmonious words, which by the
ministry of mortals Thou hast spread over us. For by their very
death is that solid firmament of authority in Thy discourses set
forth by them more sublimely extended above all things that are
under it, the which, while they were living here, was not so
eminently extended. Thou hadst not as yet spread abroad the heaven
like a skin; Thou hadst not as yet noised everywhere the report of
their deaths.

17. Let us look, O Lord, “upon the heavens, the work of Thy
fingers;”. clear from our eyes that mist with which Thou hast
covered them. There is that testimony of Thine which giveth wisdom
unto the little ones. Perfect, O my God, Thy praise out of the
mouth of babes and sucklings.30 Nor have we known any other books so
destructive to pride, so destructive to the enemy and the
defender, who resisteth Thy reconciliation in defence of his own
sins. I know not, O Lord, I know not other such “pure” words which
so persuade me to confession, and make my neck submissive to Thy
yoke, and invite me to serve Thee for nought. Let me understand
these things, good Father. Grant this to me, placed under them;
because Thou hast established these things for those placed under
them.

18. Other “waters” there be “above” this “firmament,” I believe
immortal, and removed from earthly corruption. Let them praise Thy
Name, — those super-celestial people, Thine angels, who have no
need to look up at this firmament, or by reading to attain the
knowledge of Thy Word, — let them praise Thee. For they always
behold Thy face, and therein read without any syllables in time what
Thy eternal will willeth. They read, they choose, they love. They
are always reading; and that which they read never passeth away.
For, by choosing and by loving, they read the very unchangeableness
of Thy counsel. Their book is not closed, nor is the scroll folded
up, because Thou Thyself art this to them, yea, and art so
eternally; because Thou hast appointed them above this firmament,
which Thou hast made firm over the weakness of the lower people,
where they might look up and learn Thy mercy, announcing in time
Thee who hast made times. “For Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens,
and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” The clouds pass
away, but the heaven remaineth. The preachers of Thy Word pass away
from this life into another; but Thy Scripture is spread abroad over
the people, even to the end of the world. Yea, both heaven and earth
shall pass away, but Thy Words shall not pass away. Because the
scroll shall be rolled together, and the grass over which it was
spread shall with its goodliness pass away; but Thy Word remaineth
for ever, which now appeareth unto us in the dark image of the
clouds, and through the glass of the heavens, not as it is; because
we also, although we be the well-beloved of Thy Son, yet it hath not
yet appeared what we shall be. He looketh through the lattice of our
flesh, and He is fair-speaking, and hath inflamed us, and we run
after His odours. But “when He shall appear, then shall we be like
Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” As He is, O Lord, shall we see
Him, although the time be not yet.

CHAP. XVI. — THAT NO ONE BUT THE UNCHANGEABLE LIGHT KNOWS
HIMSELF.

19. For altogether as Thou art, Thou only knowest, Who art
unchangeably, and knowest unchangeably, and wiliest unchangeably.
And Thy Essence Knoweth and Willeth unchangeably; and Thy Knowledge
Is, and Willeth unchangeably; and Thy Will Is, and Knoweth
unchangeably. Nor doth it appear just to Thee, that as the
Unchangeable Light knoweth Itself, so should It be known by that
which is enlightened and changeable.” Therefore unto Thee is my soul
as “land where no water is,” because as it cannot of itself
enlighten itself, so it cannot of itself satisfy itself. For so is
the fountain of life with Thee, like as in Thy light we shall see
light.

CHAP. XVII. — ALLEGORICAL EXPLANATION OF THE SEA AND THE
FRUIT-BEARING EARTH — VERSES 10 AND 11.

20. Who hath gathered the embittered together into one society?
For they have all the same end, that of temporal and earthly
happiness, on account of which they do all things, although they may
fluctuate with an innumerable variety of cares. Who, O Lord, unless
Thou, saidst, Let the waters be gathered together into one place,
and let the dry land appear, which “thirsteth after Thee”? For the
sea also is Thine,and Thou hast made it, and Thy hands prepared the
dry land. For neither is the bitterness of men’s wills, but the
gathering together of waters called sea; for Thou even curbest the
wicked desires of men’s souls, and fixest their bounds, how far they
may be permitted to advance, and that their waves may be broken
against each other; and thus dost Thou make it a sea, by the order
of Thy dominion over all things.

21. But as for the souls that thirst after Thee, and that appear
before Thee (being by other bounds divided from the society of the
sea), them Thou waterest by a secret and sweet spring, that the
earth may bring forth her fruit, and,

Thou, O Lord God, so commanding, our soul may bud forth works of
mercy according to their kind, — loving our neighbour in the relief
of his bodily necessities, having seed in itself according to its
likeness, when from our infirmity we compassionate even to the
relieving of the needy; helping them in a like manner as we would
that help should be brought unto us if we were in a like need; not
only in the things that are easy, as in “herb yielding seed,” but
also in the protection of our assistance, in our very strength, like
the tree yielding fruit; that is, a good turn in delivering him who
suffers an injury from the hand of the powerful, and in furnishing
him with the shelter of protection by the mighty strength of just
judgment.

CHAP. XVIII. — OF THE LIGHTS AND STARS OF  HEAVEN — OF DAY AND NIGHT,
VER. 14.

22. Thus, O Lord, thus, I beseech Thee, let there arise, as Thou
makest, as Thou givest joy and ability, — let “truth spring out of
the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven,” and let there
be “lights in the firmament. Let us break our bread to the hungry,
and let us bring the houseless poor to our house. Let us clothe the
naked, and despise not those of our own flesh. The which fruits
having sprung forth from the earth, behold, because it is good; and
let our temporary light burst forth; and let us, from this inferior
fruit of action, possessing the delights of contemplation and of the
Word of Life above, let us appear as lights in the world, clinging
to the firmament of Thy Scripture. For therein Thou makest it plain
unto us, that we may distinguish between things intelligible and
things of sense, as if between the day and the night; or between
souls, given, some to things intellectual, others to things of
sense; so that now not Thou only in the secret of Thy judgment, as
before the firmament was made, dividest between the light and the
darkness, but Thy spiritual children also, placed and ranked in the
same firmament (Thy grace being manifest throughout the world), may
give light upon the earth, and divide between the day and night, and
be for signs of times; because “old things have passed away,” and
“behold all things are become new;” and “because our salvation is
nearer than when we believed;” and because “the night is far spent,
the day is at hand;” and because Thou wilt crown Thy year with
blessing, sending the labourers of Thy goodness into Thy harvest, in
the sowing of which others have laboured, sending also into another
field, whose harvest shall be in the end. Thus Thou grantest the
prayers of him that asketh, and blessest the years of the just; but
Thou art the same, and in Thy years which fail not Thou preparest a
garner for our passing years. For by an eternal counsel Thou dost in
their proper seasons bestow upon the earth heavenly blessings.

23. For, indeed, to one is given by the Spirit the word of
wisdom, as if the greater light, on account of those who are
delighted with the light of manifest truth, as in the beginning of
the day; but to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, as
if the lesser light; to another faith; to another the gift of
healing; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to
another the discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of
tongues. And all these as stars. For all these worketh the one and
self-same Spirit, dividing to every man his own as He willeth; and
making stars appear manifestly, to profit withal. But the word of
knowledge, wherein are contained all sacraments, which are varied in
their periods like the moon, and the other conceptions of gifts,
which are successively reckoned up as stars, inasmuch as they come
short of that splendour of wisdom in which the fore-entioned day
rejoices, are only for the beginning of the night. For they are
necessary to such as he Thy most prudent servant could not speak
unto as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal — even he who speaketh
wisdom among those that are perfect. But the natural man, as a babe
in Christ, — and a drinker of milk, — until he be strengthened for
solid meat, and his eye be enabled to look upon
the Sun, let him not dwell in his own deserted night, but let him be
contented with the light of the moon and the stars. Thou reasonest
these things with us, our All-wise God, in Thy Book, Thy firmament,
that we may discern all things in an admirable contemplation,
although as yet in signs, and in times, and in days, and in years.

CHAP. XIX. — ALL MEN SHOULD BECOME LIGHTS IN
  THE FIRMAMENT OF HEAVEN.

24. But first, “Wash you, make you clean;” put away iniquity from
your souls, and from before mine eyes, that the dry land may appear.
“Learn to do well; judge the fatherless; plead for the widow,” that
the earth may bring forth the green herb for meat, and the tree
bearing fruit; and come let us reason together, saith the Lord, that
there may be lights in the firmament of heaven, and that they may
shine upon the earth. That rich man asked of the good Master what he
should do to attain eternal life. Let the good Master, whom he
thought a man, and nothing more, tell him (but He is “good” because
He is God) — let Him tell him, that if he would “enter into life”
he must “keep the commandments;” let him banish from himself the
bitterness of malice and wickedness; let him not kill, nor commit
adultery, nor steal, nor bear false witness; that the dry land may
appear, and bud forth the honouring of father and mother, and the
love of our neighbour. All these, saith he, have I kept.

Whence, then, are there so many thorns, if the earth be fruitful?
Go, root up the woody thicket of avarice; sell that thou hast, and
be filled with fruit by giving to the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven; and follow the Lord “if thou wilt be perfect,”
coupled with those amongst whom He speaketh wisdom, Who knoweth what
to distribute to the day and to the night, that thou also mayest
know it, that for thee also there may be lights in the firmament of
heaven, which will not be unless thy heart be there; which likewise
also will not be unless thy treasure be there, as thou hast heard
from the good Master. But the barren earth was grieved, and the
thorns choked the word.

25. But you, “chosen generation,” you weak things of the world,”
who have forsaken all things that you might “follow the Lord,” go
after Him, and “confound the things which are mighty;” go after Him,
ye beautiful feet, and shine in the firmament, that the heavens may
declare His glory, dividing between the light of the perfect, though
not as of the angels, and the darkness of the little, though not
despised ones. Shine over all the earth, and let the day, lightened
by the sun, utter unto day the word of wisdom; and let night,
shining by the moon, announce unto night the word of knowledge. The
moon and the stars shine for the night, but the night obscureth them
not, since they illumine it in its degree. For behold God (as it
were) saying, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven.”
There came suddenly a sound from heaven, as it had been the rushing
of a mighty wind, and there appeared cloven tongues like as of fire,
and it sat upon each of them. And there were made lights in the
firmament of heaven, having the word of life. Run ye to and fro
everywhere, ye holy fires, ye beautiful fires; for ye are the light
of the world, nor are ye put under a bushel. He to whom ye cleave is
exalted, and hath exalted you. Run ye to and fro, and be known unto
all nations.

   

CHAP. XX. — CONCERNING REPTILES AND FLYING CREATURES (VER. 20),
— THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM BEING REGARDED.

26. Let the sea also conceive and bring forth your works, and let
the waters bring forth the moving creatures that have life. For ye,
who “take forth the precious from the vile,” have been made the
mouth of God, through which He saith, “Let the waters bring forth,”
not the living creature which the earth bringeth forth, but the
moving creature having life, and the fowls that fly above the earth.
For Thy sacraments, O God, by the ministry of Thy holy ones, have
made their way amid the billows of the temptations of the world, to
instruct the Gentiles in Thy Name, in Thy Baptism. And amongst these
things, many great works of wonder have been wrought, like as great
whales; and the voices of Thy messengers flying above the earth,
near to the firmament of Thy Book; that being set over them as an
authority, under which they were to fly whithersoever they were to
go. For “there is no speech, nor language, where their voice is not
heard;” seeing their sound “hath gone through all the earth, and
their words to the end of the world,” because Thou, O Lord, hast
multiplied these things by blessing.

27. Whether do I lie, or do I mingle and confound, and not
distinguish between the clear knowledge of these things that are in
the firmament of heaven, and the corporeal works in the undulating
sea and under the firmament of heaven? For of those things whereof
the knowledge is solid and defined, without increase by generation,
as it were lights of wisdom and knowledge, yet of these self-same
things the material operations are many and varied; and one thing in
growing from another is multiplied by Thy blessing, O God, who hast
refreshed the fastidiousness of mortal senses; so that in the
knowledge of our mind, one thing may, through the motions of the
body, be in many ways set out and expressed. These sacraments have
the waters brought forth; but in Thy Word. The wants of the people
estranged from the eternity of Thy truth have produced them, but in
Thy Gospel; because the waters themselves have cast them forth, the
bitter weakness of which was the cause of these things being sent
forth in Thy Word.

28. Now all things are fair that Thou hast made, but behold, Thou
art inexpressibly fairer who hast made all things; from whom had not
Adam fallen, the saltness of the sea would never have flowed from
him, — the human race so profoundly curious, and boisterously
swelling, and restlessly moving; and thus there would be no need
that Thy dispensers should work in many waters, in a corporeal and
sensible manner, mysterious doings and sayings. For so these
creeping and flying creatures now present themselves to my mind,
whereby men, instructed, initiated, and subjected by corporeal
sacraments, should not further profit, unless their soul had a
higher spiritual life, and unless, after the word of admission, it
looked forwards to perfection.

CHAP. XXI. — CONCERNING THE LIVING SOUL, BIRDS, AND FISHES (VER.
24) — THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST BEING REGARDED.

29. And hereby, in Thy Word, not the depth of the sea, but the
earth parted from the bitterness of the waters, bringeth forth not
the creeping and flying creature that hath life, but the living soul
itself. For now hath it no longer need of baptism, as the heathen
have, and as itself had when it was covered with the waters, — for
no other entrance is there into the kingdom of heaven, since Thou
hast appointed that this should be the entrance, — nor does it seek
great works of miracles by which to cause faith; for it is not such
that, unless it shall have seen signs and wonders, it will not
believe, when now the faithful earth is separated from the waters of
the sea, rendered bitter by infidelity; and “tongues are for a sign,
not to those that believe, but to those that believe not.” Nor then
doth the earth, which Thou hast founded above the waters, stand in
need of that flying kind which at Thy word the waters brought forth.
Send Thy word forth into it by Thy messengers. For we relate their
works, but it is Thou who workest in them, that in it they may work
out a living soul. The earth bringeth it forth, because the
earth is the cause that they work these things in the soul; as the
sea has been the cause that they wrought upon the moving creatures
that have life, and the fowls that fly under the firmament of
heaven, of which the earth hath now no need; although it feeds on
the fish which was taken out of the deep, upon that table which Thou
hast prepared in the presence of those that believe. For therefore
He was raised from the deep, that He might feed the dry land; and
the fowl, though bred in the sea, is yet multiplied upon the earth.
For of the first preachings of the Evangelists, the infidelity of
men was the prominent cause; but the faithful also are exhorted, and
are manifoldly blessed by them day by day. But the living soul takes
its origin from the earth, for it is not profitable, unless to those
already among the faithful, to restrain themselves from the love of
this world, that so their soul may live unto Thee, which was dead
while living in pleasures, — in death-bearing pleasures, O Lord,
for Thou art the vital delight of the pure heart.

30. Now, therefore, let Thy ministers work upon the earth, — not
as in the waters of infidelity, by announcing and speaking by
miracles, and sacraments, and mystic words; in which ignorance, the
mother of admiration, may be intent upon them, in fear of those
hidden signs. For such is the entrance unto the faith for the sons
of Adam forgetful of Thee, while they hide themselves from Thy face,
and become a darksome deep. But let Thy ministers work even as on
the dry land, separated from the whirlpools of the great deep; and
let them be an example unto the faithful, by living before them, and
by stimulating them to imitation. For thus do men hear not with an
intent to hear merely, but to act also. Seek the Lord, and your soul
shall live, that the earth may bring forth the living soul. “Be not
conformed to this world.” Restrain yourselves from it; the soul
lives by avoiding those things which it dies by affecting. Restrain
yourselves from the unbridled wildness of pride, from the indolent
voluptuousness of luxury, and from the false name of knowledge; so
that wild beasts may be tamed, the cattle subdued, and serpents
harmless. For these are the motions of the mind in allegory; that is
to say, the haughtiness of pride, the delight of lust, and the
poison of curiosity are the motions of the dead soul; for the soul
dies not so as to lose all motion, because it dies by forsaking the
fountain of life, and so is received by this transitory world, and
is conformed unto it.

31. But Thy Word, O God, is the fountain of eternal life, and
passeth not away; therefore this departure is kept in check by Thy
word when it is said unto us, “Be not conformed unto this world,” so
that the earth may bring forth a living soul in the fountain of
life, — a soul restrained in Thy Word, by Thy Evangelists, by
imitating the followers of Thy Christ. For this is after his kind;
because a man is stimulated to emulation by his friend. “Be ye,”
saith he, “as I am, for I am as you are.” Thus in the living soul
shall there be good beasts, in gentleness of action. For Thou hast
commanded, saying, Go on with thy business in meekness, and thou
shalt be beloved by all men; and good cattle, which neither if they
eat, shall they over-abound, nor if they do not eat, have they any
want; and good serpents, not destructive to do hurt, but “wise” to
take heed; and exploring only so much of this temporal nature as is
sufficient that eternity may be “clearly seen, being understood by
the things that are.” For these animals are subservient to reason,
when, being kept in check from a deadly advance, they live, and are
good.

CHAP. XXII. — HE EXPLAINS THE DIVINE IMAGE (VER. 26) OF THE
RENEWAL OF THE MIND.

32. For behold, O Lord our God, our Creator, when our affections
have been restrained from the love of the world, by which we died by
living ill, and began to be a “living soul” by living well; and Thy
word which Thou spakest by Thy apostle is made good in us, “Be not
conformed to this world;” next also follows that which Thou
presently subjoinedst, saying, “But be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind,” — not now after your kind, as if following
your neighbour who went before you, nor as if living after the
example of a better man (for Thou hast not said, “Let man be made
after his kind,” but, “Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness”), that we may prove what Thy will is. For to
this purpose said that dispenser of Thine, — begetting children by
the gospel, — that he might not always have them “babes,” whom he
would feed on milk, And cherish as a nurse; “be ye transformed,”
saith He, “by the renewing of your mind, that he may prove what is
that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Therefore Thou
sayest not, “Let man be made,” but, “Let us make man.” Nor sayest
Thou, “after his kind,” but, after “our image” and “likeness.”
Because, being renewed in his mind, and beholding and apprehending
Thy truth, man needeth not man as his director that he may imitate
his kind; but by Thy direction proveth what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect will of Thine. And Thou teachest him, now
made capable, to perceive the Trinity of the Unity, and the Unity of
the Trinity. And therefore this being said in the plural, “Let us
make man,” it is yet subjoined in the singular, “and God made man;”
and this being said in the plural, “after our likeness,” is
subjoined in the singular, “after the image of God.” Thus is man
renewed in the knowledge of God, after the image of Him that created
him; and being made spiritual, he judgeth all things, — all things
that are to be judged, — “yet he himself is judged of no man.”

CHAP. XXIII. — THAT TO HAVE POWER OVER ALL THINGS (VER. 26) IS
TO JUDGE SPIRITUALLY OF ALL.

33. But that he judgeth all things answers to his having dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over
all cattle and wild beasts, and over all the earth, and over every
creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For this he doth by the
discernment of his mind, whereby he perceiveth the things “of the
Spirit of God; whereas, otherwise, man being placed in honour, had
no understanding, and is compared unto the brute beasts, and is
become like unto them. In Thy Church, therefore, O our God,
according to Thy grace which Thou hast accorded unto it, since we
are Thy workmanship created in good works, there are not only those
who are spiritually set over, but those also who are spiritually
subjected to those placed over them; for in this manner hast Thou
made man, male and female, in Thy grace spiritual, where, according
to the sex of body, there is not male and female, because neither
Jew nor Greek, nor bond nor free. Spiritual persons, therefore,
whether those that are set over, or those who obey, judge
spiritually; not of that spiritual knowledge which shines in the
firmament, for they ought not to judge as to an authority so
sublime, nor doth it behove them to judge of Thy Book itself,
although there be something that is not clear therein; because we
submit our understanding unto it, and esteem as certain that even
that which is shut up from our sight is rightly and truly spoken.
For thus man, although now spiritual and renewed in the knowledge of
God after His image that created him, ought yet to be the “doer of
the law, not the judge.” Neither doth he judge of that distinction
of spiritual and carnal men, who are known to Thine eyes, O our God,
and have not as yet made themselves manifest unto us by works, that
by their fruits we may know them; but Thou, O Lord, dost already
know them, and Thou hast divided and hast called them in secret,
before the firmament was made. Nor doth that man, though spiritual,
judge the restless people of this world; for what hath he to do to
judge them that are without, knowing not which of them may
afterwards come into the sweetness of Thy grace, and which continue
in the perpetual bitterness of impiety?

34. Man, therefore, whom Thou hast made after Thine own image,
received not dominion over the lights of heaven, nor over the hidden
heaven itself, nor over the day and the night, which Thou didst call
before the foundation of the heaven, nor over the gathering together
of the waters, which is the sea; but he received dominion over the
fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and over all cattle,
and over all the earth, and over all creeping things which creep
upon the earth. For He judgeth and approveth what He findeth right,
but disapproveth what He findeth amiss, whether in the celebration
of those sacraments by which are
initiated those whom Thy mercy searches out in many waters; or in
that in which the Fish Itself is exhibited, which, being raised from
the deep, the devout earth feedeth upon; or in the signs and
expressions of words, subject to the authority of Thy Book, — such
signs as burst forth and sound from the mouth, as it were flying
under the firmament, by interpreting, expounding, discoursing,
disputing, blessing, calling upon Thee, so that the people may
answer, Amen. The vocal pronunciation of all which words is caused
by the deep of this world, and the blindness of the flesh, by which
thoughts cannot be seen, so that it is necessary to speak aloud in
the ears; thus, although flying fowls be multiplied upon the earth,
yet they derive their beginning from the waters. The spiritual man
judgeth also by approving what is right and reproving what he finds
amiss in the works and morals of the faithful, in their alms, as if
in “the earth bringing forth fruit;” and he judgeth of the “living
soul,” rendered living by softened affections, in chastity, in
fastings, in pious thoughts; and of those things which are perceived
through the senses of the body. For it is now said, that he should
judge concerning those things in which he has also the power of
correction.

CHAP. XXIV. — WHY GOD HAS BLESSED MEN, FISHES,
  FLYING CREATURES, AND NOT HERBS AND THE OTHER ANIMALS (VER. 28).

35. But what is this, and what kind of mystery is it? Behold,
Thou blessest men, O Lord, that they may “be fruitful and multiply,
and replenish the earth;” in this dost Thou not make a sign unto us
that we may understand something? Why hast Thou not also blessed the
light, which Thou calledst day, nor the firmament of heaven, nor the
lights, nor the stars, nor the earth, nor the sea? I might say, O
our God, that Thou, who hast created us after Thine Image, — I
might say, that Thou hast willed to bestow this gift of blessing
especially upon man, hadst Thou not in like manner blessed the
fishes and the whales, that they should be fruitful and multiply,
and replenish the waters of the sea, and that the fowls should be
multiplied upon the earth. Likewise might I say, that this blessing
belonged properly unto such creatures as are propagated from their
own kind, if I had found it in the shrubs, and the fruit trees, and
beasts of the earth. But now is it not said either unto the herbs,
or trees, or beasts, or serpents, “Be fruitful and multiply;” since
all these also, as well as fishes, and fowls, and men, do by
propagation increase and preserve their kind.

36. What, then, shall I say, O Thou Truth, my Light, — “that it
was idly and vainly said?” Not so, O Father of piety; far be it from
a minister of Thy word to say this. But if I understand not what
Thou meanest by that phrase, let my betters — that is, those more
intelligent than I — use it better, in proportion as Thou, O my
God, hast given to each to understand. But let my confession be also
pleasing before Thine eyes, in which I confess to Thee that I
believe, O Lord, that Thou hast not thus spoken in vain; nor will I
be silent as to what this lesson suggests to me. For it is true, nor
do I see what should prevent me from thus understanding the
figurative saying. of Thy books. For I know a thing may be
manifoldly signified by bodily expression which is understood in one
manner by the mind; and that that may be manifoldly understood in
the mind which is in one manner signified by bodily expression.
Behold, the single love of God and of our neighbour, by what
manifold sacraments and innumerable languages, and in each several
language in how innumerable modes of speaking, it is bodily
expressed. Thus do the young of the waters increase and multiply.
Observe again, whosoever thou art who readest; behold what Scripture
delivers, and the voice pronounces in one only way, “In the
beginning God created heaven and earth;” is it not manifoldly
understood, not by any deceit of error, but by divers kinds of true
senses. Thus are the offspring of men “fruitful” and do “multiply.”

37. If, therefore, we conceive of the natures of things, not
allegorically, but properly, then does the phrase, “be fruitful and
multiply,” correspond to all things which are begotten of seed. But if we treat
those words as taken figuratively (the which I rather suppose the
Scripture intended, which doth not, verily, superfluously attribute
this benediction to the offspring of marine animals and man only),
then do we find that “multitude” belongs also to creatures both
spiritual and corporeal, as in heaven and in earth; and to souls
both righteous and unrighteous, as in light and darkness; and to
holy authors, through whom the law has been furnished unto us, as in
the firmamen. which has been firmly placed betwixt waters and
waters; and to the society of people yet endued with bitterness, as
in the sea; and to the desire of holy souls, as in the dry land; and
to works of mercy pertaining to this present life, as in the
seed-bearing herbs and fruit-bearing trees; and to spiritual gifts
shining forth for edification, as in the lights of heaven; and to
affections formed unto temperance, as in the living soul. In all
these cases we meet with multitudes, abundance, and increase; but
what shall thus “be fruitful and multiply,”
that one thing may be expressed in many ways, and one expression
understood in many ways, we discover not, unless in signs
corporeally expressed, and in things mentally conceived. We
understand the signs corporeally pronounced as the generations of
the waters, necessarily occasioned by carnal depth; but things
mentally conceived we understand as human generations, on account of
the fruitfulness of reason. And therefore do we believe that to each
kind of these it has been said by Thee, O Lord, “Be fruitful and
multiply.” For in this blessing I acknowledge that power and faculty
has been l granted unto us, by Thee, both to express in many ways
what we understand but in one, and to understand in many ways what
we read as obscurely delivered but in one. Thus are the waters of
the sea replenished, which are not moved but by various
significations; thus even with the human offspring is the earth also
replenished, the drynes. whereof appeareth in its desire, and
reason ruleth over it.

CHAP. XXV. — HE EXPLAINS THE FRUITS OF THE EARTH (VER. 29) OF
WORKS OF MERCY.

38. I would also say, O Lord my God, what the following Scripture
reminds me of; yea, I will say it without fear. For I will speak the
truth, Thou inspiring me as to what Thou wiliest that I should say
out of these words. For by none other than Thy inspiration do I
believe that I can speak the truth, since Thou art the Truth, but
every man a liar? And therefore he that “speaketh a lie, he speaketh
of his own; . therefore that I may speak the truth, I will speak of
Thine. Behold, Thou hast given unto us for food “every herb bearing
seed,” which is upon the face of all the earth, “and every tree in
the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed.” Nor to us only,
but to all the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the earth, and
to all creeping things;s but unto the fishes, and great whales, Thou
hast not given these things. Now we were saying, that by these
fruits of the earth works of mercy were signified and figured in an
allegory, the which are provided for the necessities of this life
out of the fruitful earth. Such an earth was the godly Onesiphorus,
unto whose house Thou didst give mercy, because he frequently
refreshed Thy Paul, and was not ashamed of his chain. This did also
the brethren, and such fruit did they bear, who out of Macedonia
supplied what was wanting unto him. But how doth he grieve for
certain trees, which did not afford him the fruit due unto hi.m,
when he saith, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men
forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”
For these fruits are due to those who minister spiritual. doctrine,
through their understanding of the divine mysteries; and they are
due to them as men. They are due to them, too, as to the living
soul, supplying itself as an example in all continency; and due unto
them likewise as flying creatures, for their blessings which are
multiplied upon the earth, since their sound went out into all
lands?

CHAP. XXVI. — IN THE CONFESSING OF BENEFITS, COMPUTATION IS MADE
NOT AS TO THE GIFT,” BUT AS TO THE FRUIT,” — THAT IS, THE GOOD
AND RIGHT WILL OF THE GIVER.

39. But they who are delighted with them are fed by those fruits;
nor are they delighted with them “whose god is their belly.” For
neither,in those that yield them are the things given the fruit, but
in what spirit they give them.

Therefore he who serves God and not his own belly, I plainly
see why he may rejoice; I see it, and I rejoice with him
exceedingly. For he hath received from the Philippians those things
which they had sent from Epaphroditus; but yet I see why he
rejoiced. For whereat he rejoices, upon that he feeds; for speaking
in truth, “I rejoiced,” saith he, “in the Lord greatly, that now at
the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also
careful,”. but it had become wearisome unto you. These Philippians,
then, by protracted wearisomeness, had become enfeebled, and as it
were dried up, as to bringing forth this fruit of a good work; and
he rejoiceth for them, because they flourished again, not for
himself, because they ministered to his wants. Therefore, adds he,
“not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned in
whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. I know both how to be
abused, and I know how to abound everywhere and in all things I am
instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to
suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

40. Whereat, then, dost thou rejoice in all things, O great Paul?
Whereat dost thou rejoice? Whereon dost thou feed, O man, re
newed in the knowledge of God, after the image of Him that created
thee, thou living soul of so great continency, and thou tongue like
flying fowls, speaking mysteries, — for to such creatures is this
food due, — what is that which feeds thee? Joy. Let us hear what
follows. “Notwithstanding,” saith he, “ye have well done that ye did
communicate with My affliction. Hereat doth he rejoice, hereon
doth he feed; because they have well done. not because his strait
was relieved, who saith unto thee, “Thou hast enlarged me when I was
in distress; . because he knew both “to abound and to suffer need,”
in Thee Who strengthenest him. For, saith he, “ye Philippians know
also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from
Macedonia, no Church communicated with me as concerning giving and
receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and
again unto my necessity.” Unto these good works he now rejoiceth
that they have returned; and is made glad that they flourished
again, as when a fruitful field recovers its greenness.

41. Was it on account of his own necessities that he said, “Ye
have sent unto my necessity “? Rejoiceth he for that? Verily not for
that. But whence know we this? Because he himself continues, “Not
because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit. From Thee, O my God,
have I learned to distinguish between a “gift” and “fruit.” A gift
is the thing itself which he gives who bestows these necessaries, as
money, food, drink, clothing, shelter, aid; but the fruit is the
good and right will of the giver. For the good Master saith not
only, “He that receiveth a prophet,” but addeth, “in the name of a
prophet.” Nor saith He only, “He that receiveth a righteous man,”
but addeth, “in the name of a righteous man.” So, verily, the former
shall receive the reward of a prophet, the latter that of a
righteous man. Nor saith He only, “Whosoever shall give to drink
unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water,” but addeth, “in
the name of a disciple” and so concludeth, “Verily I say unto you,
he shall in no wise lose his reward.” The gift is to receive a
prophet, to receive a righteous man, to hand a cup of cold water to
a disciple; but the fruit is to do this in the name of a prophet, in
the name of a righteous man, in the name of a disciple. With fruit
was Elijah fed by the widow, who knew that she fed a man of God, and
on this account fed him; but by the raven was he fed with a gift.
Nor was the inner man of Elijah fed, but the outer only, which
might also from want of such food have perished.

CHAP. XXVII. — MANY ARE IGNORANT AS TO THIS, AND ASK FOR
MIRACLES, WHICH ARE SIGNIFIED UNDER THE NAMES OF “FISHES” AND
“WHALES.”

42. Therefore will I speak before Thee, O Lord, what is true,
when ignorant men and infidels (for the initiating and gaining of
whom the sacraments of initiation and great works of miracles are
necessary. which we believe to be signified under the name of
“fishes” and “whales”) undertake that Thy servants should be bodily
refreshed, or should be otherwise succoured for this present life,
although they may be ignorant wherefore this is to be done, and to
what end; neither do the former feed the latter, nor the latter the
former; for neither do the one perform these things through a holy
and right intent, nor do the other rejoice in the gifts of those who
behold not as yet the fruit. For on that is the mind fed wherein it
is gladdened. And, therefore, fishes and whales are not fed on such
food as the earth bringeth not forth until it had been separated and
divided from the bitterness of the waters of the sea.

CHAP. XXVIII. — HE PROCEEDS TO THE LAST VERSE, ALL THINGS ARE
VERY GOOD,” — THAT IS, THE WORK BEING ALTOGETHER GOOD.

43. And Thou, O God, sawest everything that Thou hadst made, and
behold it was very good? So we also see the same, and behold all are
very good. In each particular kind of Thy works, when Thou hadst
said, “Let them be made,” and they were made, Thou sawest that it
was good. Seven times have I counted it written that Thou sawest
that that which Thou madest was “good;” and this is the eighth, that
Thou sawest all things that Thou hadst made, and behold they are not
only good, but also “very good,” as being now taken together. For
individually they were only good, but all taken together they were
both good and very good. All beautiful bodies also express this; for
a body which consists of members, all of which are beautiful, is by
far more beautiful than the several members individually are by
whose well-ordered union the whole is completed, though these
members also be severally beautiful.

   
CHAP. XXIX.- ALTHOUGH IT IS SAID EIGHT TIMES THAT GOD SAW THAT IT
WAS GOOD,” YET TIME HAS NO RELATION TO GOD AND HIS WORD.

44. And I looked attentively to find whether seven or eight times
Thou sawest that Thy works were good, when they were pleasing unto
Thee; but in Thy seeing I found no times, by, which I,night
understand that thou sawest so often what Thou madest. And I said,
“0 Lord,! is not this Thy Scripture true, since Thou art true, and
being Truth hast set it forth? Why, then, dost Thou say unto me that
in thy seeing there are no times, while this Thy Scripture telleth
me that what Thou madest each day, Thou sawest to be good; and when
I counted them I found how often?” Unto these things Thou repliest
unto me, for Thou art my God, and with strong voice tellest unto Thy
servant in his inner ear, bursting through my deafness, and crying,
“O man, that which My Scripture saith, I say; and yet doth that
speak in time; but time has no reference to My Word, because My Word
existeth in equal eternity with Myself. Thus those things which ye
see through My] Spirit, I see, just as those things which ye speak
through My Spirit, I speak. And so when ye see those things in time,
I see them not in time; as when ye speak them in time, I speak them
not in time.”

CHAP. XXX.- HE REFUTES THE OPINIONS OF THE MANICHAEANS AND THE
GNOSTICS CONCERNING THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD.

45. And I heard, O Lord my God, and drank up a drop of sweetness
from Thy truth, and understood that there are certain men to whom
Thy works are displeasing, who say that many of them Thou madest
being compelled by necessity;- such as the fabric of the heavens and
the courses of the stars, and that Thou madest them not of what was
Thine, but, that they were elsewhere and from other sources created;
that Thou mightest bring together and compact and interweave, when
from Thy conquered enemies Thou raisedst up the walls of the
universe, that they, bound down by this structure, might not be able
a second time to rebel against Thee. But, as to other things, they
say Thou neither madest them nor compactedst them, — such as all
flesh and all very minute creatures, and whatsoever holdeth the
earth by its roots; but that a mind hostile unto Thee and another
nature not created b Thee, and in eve wise contrary. They did, in
these lower places of the world, beget and frame these things.’
Infatuated are they who speak thus, since they see not Thy works
through Thy Spirit, nor recognise Thee in them.

CHAP. XXXI. WE DO NOT SEE THAT IT WAS GOOD” BUT THROUGH THE
SPIRIT OF GOD WHICH IS IN US.

46. But as for those who through Thy Spirit, I see these things,
Thou seest in them. When: therefore, they see that these things are
good, Thou seest that they are good; and whatsoever, L things for
Thy sake are pleasing, Thou art pleased ‘l in them; and those things
which through Thy Spirit are pleasing unto us, are pleasing unto
Thee in us. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the
spirit of a man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth
no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we,” saith he, “have received not
the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we
might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” ‘ And I
am reminded to say, “Truly, ‘ the things of God knoweth no man, but
the Spirit of God;’ how, then, do we also know what things are I
given us by God ‘?” It is answered unto me, J” Because the things
which we know by His Spirit, even these knoweth no man, but
the!Spirit of God.’ For, as it is rightly said unto, those who were
to speak by the Spirit of God, ‘ It is not ye that speak,’. so is
it rightly said to. I them who know by the Spirit of God, It is not
e that know’ None the less, then, is it not, have said to those that
see by the Spirit of God, It is not ye that see;’ so whatever they
see by the Spirit of God that it is good, it is not they, but God
who ‘sees that it is good.'” It is one thing, then, for a man to
suppose that to be bad which is good, as the fore-named do; another,
that what is good a man should see to be good (as Thy creatures are
pleasing unto many, because they are good, whom, however, Thou
pleasest not in them when they wish to enjoy. them rather than enjoy
Thee); and another, that when a man these a thing to be good, God
should in him see that it is good,- that in truth He may be loved in
that which He made? who cannot be loved unless by the Holy Ghost,
which He hath given. “Because the love of God is shed abroad in our
hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us; “s by whom we see
that whatsoever in any degree is, is good. t Because it is from Him
who Is not in any degree, but He Is that He Is.

CHAP. XXXII. — OF THE PARTICULAR WORKS OF GOD, MORE ESPECIALLY
OF MAN.

47- Thanks to Thee, O Lord. We behold the heaven and the earth,
whether the corporeal part, superior and inferior, or the spiritual and corporeal
creature; and in the embellishment of these parts, whereof the
universal mass of the world or the universal creation consisteth, we
see light made, and divided from the darkness. We see the firmament
of heaven,’ whether the primary body of the world between the
spiritual upper waters and the corporeal lower waters, or — because
this also is called heaven- this expanse of air, through which
wander the fowls of heaven, between the waters which are in vapours
borne above them, and which in clear nights drop down in dew, and
those which being heavy flow along the earth. We behold the waters
gathered together through the plains of the sea; and the dry land
both void and formed, so as to be visible and compact, and the
matter of herbs and trees. We behold the lights shining from above,
— the sun to serve the day, the moon and the stars to cheer the
night; and that by all these, times should be marked and noted. We
behold on every side a humid element, fruitful with fishes, beasts,
and birds; because the density of the air, which bears up the
flights of birds, is increased by the exhalation of the waters. We
behold the face of the earth furnished with terrestrial creatures,
and man, created after Thy image and likeness, in that’ very image
and likeness of Thee (that is, the power of reason and
understanding) on account of which he was set over all irrational
creatures. And as in his soul there is one power which rules by
directing, another made subject that it might obey, so also for the
man was corporeally made a woman? who, in the mind of her rational
understanding should also have a like nature, in the sex, however,
of her body should be in like manner subject to the sex of her
husband, as the appetite of action is subjected by reason of the
mind, to conceive the skill of acting rightly. These things we
behold, and they are severally good, and all very good.

CHAP. XXXIII. — THE WORLD WAS CREATED BY GOD OUT OF NOTHING.

48. Let Thy works praise Thee, that we may love Thee; and let us
love Thee, that Thy works may praise Thee, the which have beginning
and end from time, — rising and setting, growth and decay, form and
privation. They have therefore their successions of morning and
evening, partly hidden, partly apparent; for they were made from
nothing by Thee, not of Thee, nor of any matter not Thine, or which
was created before, but of concreted matter (that is, matter at the
same time created by Thee), because without any interval of time
Thou didst form its formlessness. For since the matter of heaven
and earth is one thing, and the form of heaven and earth another,
Thou hast made the matter indeed of almost nothing, but the form of
the world Thou hast formed of formless matter; both, however, at the
same time, so that the form should follow the matter with no
interval of delay.

CHAP. XXXIV.- HE BRIEFLY REPEATS THE ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION
OF GENESIS (CH. I.), AND CONFESSES THAT WE SEE IT BY THE DIVINE SPIRIT.

49. We have also examined what Thou willedst to be shadowed
forth, whether by the creation, or the description of things in such
an order. And we have seen that things severally are good, and all
things very good, in Thy Word, in Thine Only-Begotten, both heaven
and earth, the Head and the body of the Church, in Thy
predestination before all times, without morning and evening. But
when Thou didst begin to execute in time the things predestinated,
that Thou mightest make manifest things hidden, and adjust our
disorders (for our sins were over us, and we had sunk into profound
darkness away from thee, and Thy good Spirit was borne over us to
help us in due season), Thou didst both justify the. ungodly. and
didst divide them from the wicked; and madest firm the authority of
Thy Book between those above, who would be docile unto Thee, and
those under, who would be subject unto them; and Thou didst collect
the society of unbelievers into one conspiracy, in order that the
zeal of the faithful might appear, and that they might bring forth
works of mercy unto Thee, even distributing unto the poor earthly
riches, to obtain heavenly. And after this didst Thou kindle certain
lights in the firmament, Thy holy ones, having the word of life, and
shining with an eminent authority preferred by spiritual gifts; and
then again, for the instruction of the unbelieving Gentiles, didst
Thou out of corporeal matter produce the sacraments and visible
miracles, and sounds of words according to the firmament be Thy
Book, by which the faithful should of blessed. Next didst Thou form
the living soul of the faithful, through affections ordered by the
vigour of continency; and afterwards, the mind
subjected to Thee alone, and needing to imitate no human authority
Thou didst renew after Thine image and likeness; and didst subject
its rational action to the excellency of the understanding, as the
woman to the man; and to all Thy ministries, necessary for the
perfecting of the faithful in this life, Thou didst will that, for
their temporal uses, good things, fruitful in the future time,
should be given by the same faithful. We behold all these things,
and they are very good, because Thou dost see them in us, — Thou
who hast given unto us Thy Spirit, whereby we might see them, and in
them love Thee.

CHAP. XXXV.- HE PRAYS GOD FOR THAT PEACE OF REST WHICH HATH NO
EVENING.

50. O Lord God, grant Thy peace unto us,for Thou hast supplied us
with all things, — the peace of rest, the peace of the Sabbath,
which hath no evening. For all this most beautiful order of things,
“very good” (all their courses being finished), is to pass away, for
in them there was morning and evening.

CHAP. XXXVI. — THE SEVENTH DAY, WITHOUT EVENING AND SETTING, THE
IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE AND REST IN GOD.

51. But the seventh day is without any evening, nor hath it any
setting, because Thou hast sanctified it to an everlasting
continuance that that which Thou didst after Thy works, which were
very good, resting on the seventh day, although in unbroken rest
Thou madest them that the voice of Thy Book may speak beforehand
unto us, that we also after our works (therefore very good, because
Thou hast given them unto us) may repose in Thee also in the Sabbath
of eternal life.

CHAP. XXXVII.– OF REST IN GOD WHO EVER WORKETH, AND YET IS EVER
AT REST.

52. For even then shalt Thou so rest in us, as now Thou dost work
in us; and thus shall that be Thy rest through us, as these are Thy
works through us. But Thou, O Lord, ever workest, and art ever at
rest. Nor seest Thou in time, nor movest Thou in time, nor restest
Thou in time; and yet Thou makest the scenes of time, and the times
themselves, and the rest which results from time.

CHAP. XXXVIII.- OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
AND OF MEN, AND OF THE REPOSE WHICH IS TO BE SOUGHT FROM GOD ONLY.

53. We therefore see those things which Thou madest, because they
are; but they are because Thou se, est them. And we see without that
they are, and within that they are good, but Thou didst see them
there, when made, where Thou didst see them to be made. And we were
at another time moved to do well, after our hearts had conceived of
Thy Spirit; but in the former time, forsaking Thee, we were moved to
do evil but Thou, the One, the Good God, hast never ceased to do
good. And we also have certain good works, of Thy gift, but not
eternal; after these we hope to rest in Thy great hallowing. But
Thou, being the Good, needing no good, art ever at rest, because
Thou Thyself art Thy rest. And what man will teach man to understand
this? Or what angel, an angel? Or what angel, a man? Let it be asked
of Thee, sought in Thee, knocked for at Thee; so, even so shall it
be received, so shall it be found, so shall it be opened. Amen.

Doc Viewed 9928 times

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.