Newly translated and edited
THE OCCASION AND PURPOSE OF THIS "MANUAL"
1I Cor. 1:20.
2Wis. 6:26 (Vulgate).
4A later interpolation, not found in the best MSS., adds, "As no one can exist from himself, so also no
one can be wise in himself save only as he is enlightened by Him of whom it is written, 'All wisdom is
from God' [Ecclus. 1:1]."
6A transliteration of the Greek εγχειριδιον, literally, a handbook or manual.
whom the Scriptures (rightly called divine) were composed, men who were divinely aided in their senses and their minds to see and even to foresee the things about which they testify.
THE CREED AND THE LORD'S PRAYER AS GUIDES TO THEINTERPRETATION OF THETHEOLOGICAL VIRTUES OF FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE
7Cf. Gal. 5:6.
8Cf. I Cor. 13:10, 11.
9I Cor. 3:11.
10Already, very early in his ministry (397), Augustine had written De agone Christiano, in which hehad reviewed and refuted a full score of heresies threatening the orthodox faith.11The Apostles' Creed. Cf. Augustine's early essay On Faith and the Creed.12Joel 2:32.
believe in the punishment of the impious? Yet he does not hope for it, and whoever believes that such a punishment is threatening him and draws back in horror from it is more rightly said to fear than to hope. A poet, distinguishing between these two feelings, said,
"Let those who dread be allowed to hope,"14
but another poet, and a better one, did not put it rightly:
"Here, if I could have hoped for [i.e., foreseen] such a grievous blow..." 15
Indeed, some grammarians use this as an example of inaccurate language and comment, "He said 'to hope' when he should have said 'to fear.'"
Therefore faith may refer to evil things as well as to good, since we believe in both the good and evil. Yet faith is good, not evil. Moreover, faith refers to things past and present and future. For we believe that Christ died; this is a past event. We believe that he sitteth at the Father's right hand; this is present. We believe that he will come as our judge; this is future. Again, faith has to do with our own affairs and with those of others. For everyone believes, both about himself and other persons--and about things as well--that at some time he began to exist and that he has not existed forever. Thus, not only about men, but even about angels, we believe many things that have a bearing on religion.
But hope deals only with good things, and only with those which lie in the future, and which pertain to the man who cherishes the hope. Since this is so, faith must be distinguished from hope: they are different terms and likewise different concepts. Yet faith and hope have this in common: they refer to what is not seen, whether this unseen is believed in or hoped for. Thus in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which is used by the enlightened defenders of the catholic rule of faith, faith is said to be "the conviction of things not seen."16 However, when a man maintains that neither words nor witnesses nor even arguments, but only the evidence of present experience, determine his faith, he still ought not to be called absurd or told, "You have seen; therefore you have not believed." For it does not follow that unless a thing is not seen it cannot be believed. Still it is better for us to use the term "faith," as we are taught in "the sacred eloquence,"17 to refer to things not seen. And as for hope, the apostle says: "Hope that is seen is not hope. For if a man sees a thing, why does he hope for it? If, however, we hope for what we do not see, we then wait for it in patience."18 When, therefore, our good is believed to be future, this is the same thing as hoping for it.
What, then, shall I say of love, without which faith can do nothing? There can be no true hope without love. Indeed, as the apostle James says, "Even the demons believe and tremble."19
Yet they neither hope nor love. Instead, believing as we do that what we hope for and love is coming to pass, they tremble. Therefore, the apostle Paul approves and commends the faith that works by love and that cannot exist without hope. Thus it is that love is not without hope, hope is not without love, and neither hope nor love are without faith.
14Lucan, Pharsalia, II, 15.15Virgil, Aeneid, IV, 419. The context of this quotation is Dido's lament over Aeneas' prospectiveabandonment of her. She is saying that if she could have foreseen such a disaster, she would havebeen able to bear it. Augustine's criticism here is a literalistic quibble.16Heb. 11:1.
17Sacra eloquia--a favorite phrase of Augustine's for the Bible.18Rom. 8:24, 25 (Old Latin).
GOD THE CREATOR OF ALL;AND THE GOODNESS OF ALL CREATION
20One of the standard titles of early Greek philosophical treatises was περι φνσεωζ, which would translate into Latin as De rerum natura. This is, in fact, the title of Lucretius' famous poem, the greatest philosophical work written in classical Latin. 21This basic motif appears everywhere in Augustine's thought as the very foundation of his whole system. 22This section (Chs. III and IV) is the most explicit statement of a major motif which pervades the whole of Augustinian metaphysics. We see it in his earliest writings, Soliloquies, 1, 2, and De ordine, II, 7. It is obviously a part of the Neoplatonic heritage which Augustine appropriated for his Christian philosophy. The good is positive, constructive, essential; evil is privative, destructive,
THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
parasitic on the good. It has its origin, not in nature, but in the will. Cf. Confessions, Bk. VII, Chs.III, V, XII-XVI; On Continence, 14-16; On the Gospel of John, Tractate XCVIII, 7; City of God, XI,17; XII, 7-9.23 Isa. 5:20.
evil." For this amounts to finding fault with God's work, because man is an entity of God's creation. It also means that we are praising the defects in this particular man because he is a wicked person. Thus, every entity, even if it is a defective one, in so far as it is an entity, is good. In so far as it is defective, it is evil.
THE KINDS AND DEGREES OF ERROR
16. This being the case, when that verse of Maro's gives us pleasure,
"Happy is he who can understand the causes of things,"28
it still does not follow that our felicity depends upon our knowing the causes of the great physical processes in the world, which are hidden in the secret maze of
25This refers to Aristotle's well-known principle of "the excluded middle."
27Cf. Matt. 12:33.
28Virgil, Georgios, II, 490.
"Whence earthquakes, whose force swells the sea to flood,
so that they burst their bounds and then subside again,"29
and other such things as this.
But we ought to know the causes of good and evil in things, at least as far as men may do so in this life, filled as it is with errors and distress, in order to avoid these errors and distresses. We must always aim at that true felicity wherein misery does not distract, nor error mislead. If it is a good thing to understand the causes of physical motion, there is nothing of greater concern in these matters which we ought to understand than our own health. But when we are in ignorance of such things, we seek out a physician, who has seen how the secrets of heaven and earth still remain hidden from us, and what patience there must be in unknowing.
17. Although we should beware of error wherever possible, not only in great matters but in small ones as well, it is impossible not to be ignorant of many things. Yet it does not follow that one falls into error out of ignorance alone. If someone thinks he knows what he does not know, if he approves as true what is actually false, this then is error, in the proper sense of the term. Obviously, much depends on the question involved in the error, for in one and the same question one naturally prefers the instructed to the ignorant, the expert to the blunderer, and this with good reason. In a complex issue, however, as when one man knows one thing and another man knows something else, if the former knowledge is more useful and the latter is less useful or even harmful, who in this latter case would not prefer ignorance? There are some things, after all, that it is better not to know than to know. Likewise, there is sometimes profit in error--but on a journey, not in morals.30 This sort of thing happened to us once, when we mistook the way at a crossroads and did not go by the place where an armed gang of Donatists lay in wait to ambush us. We finally arrived at the place where we were going, but only by a roundabout way, and upon learning of the ambush, we were glad to have erred and gave thanks to God for our error. Who would doubt, in such a situation, that the erring traveler is better off than the unerring brigand? This perhaps explains the meaning of our finest poet, when he speaks for an unhappy lover:
"When I saw [her] I was undone,
and fatal error swept me away,"31
for there is such a thing as a fortunate mistake which not only does no harm but actually does some good.
But now for a more careful consideration of the truth in this business. To err means nothing more than to judge as true what is in fact false, and as false what is true. It means to be certain about the uncertain, uncertain about the certain, whether it be certainly true or certainly false. This sort of error in the mind is deforming and improper, since the fitting and proper thing would be to be able to say, in speech or judgment: "Yes, yes. No, no."32 Actually, the wretched lives we lead come partly from this: that sometimes if they are not to be entirely lost, error is unavoidable. It is different in that higher life where Truth itself is the life of our souls, where none deceives and none is deceived. In this life men deceive and are deceived, and are actually worse off when they deceive by lying than when they are deceived by believing lies. Yet our rational mind shrinks from falsehood, and naturally avoids error as much as it can, so that even a deceiver is unwilling to be
29Ibid., 479.30Sed in via pedum, non in via morum.
31Virgil, Eclogue, VIII, 42. The context of the passage is Damon's complaint over his faithless Nyssa;he is here remembering the first time he ever saw her--when he was twelve! Cf. Theocritus, II, 82.32Cf. Matt. 5:37.
deceived by somebody else.33 For the liar thinks he does not deceive himself and that he deceives only those who believe him. Indeed, he does not err in his lying, if he himself knows what the truth is. But he is deceived in this, that he supposes that his lie does no harm to himself, when actually every sin harms the one who commits it more that it does the one who suffers it.
THE PROBLEM OF LYING
33Cf. Confessions, Bk. X, Ch. XXIII.
34Ad consentium contra mendacium, CSEL (J. Zycha, ed.), Vol. 41, pp. 469-528; also Migne, PL, 40,
c. 517-548; English translation by H.B. Jaffee in Deferrari, St. Augustine: Treatises on Various Subjects (The Fathers of the Church, New York, 1952), pp. 113-179. This had been written about a year earlier than the Enchiridion. Augustine had also written another treatise On Lying much earlier, c. 395; see De mendacio in CSEL (J. Zycha, ed.), Vol. 41, pp. 413-466; Migne, PL, 40, c. 487-518; English translation by M.S. Muldowney in Deferrari, op. cit., pp. 47-109. This summary of his position here represents no change of view whatever on this question. 35Sallust, The War with Catiline, X, 6-7.
man to be deceived so as not to believe what would lead him to life eternal, or what would lead to eternal death. But it is a small evil to be deceived by crediting a falsehood as the truth in a matter where one brings on himself some temporal setback which can then be turned to good use by being borne in faithful patience--as for example, when someone judges a man to be good who is actually bad, and consequently has to suffer evil on his account. Or, take the man who believes a bad man to be good, yet suffers no harm at his hand. He is not badly deceived nor would the prophetic condemnation fall on him: "Woe to those who call evil good." For we should understand that this saying refers to the things in which men are evil and not to the men themselves. Hence, he who calls adultery a good thing may be rightly accused by the prophetic word. But if he calls a man good supposing him to be chaste and not knowing that he is an adulterer, such a man is not deceived in his doctrine of good and evil, but only as to the secrets of human conduct. He calls the man good on the basis of what he supposed him to be, and this is undoubtedly a good thing. Moreover, he calls adultery bad and chastity good. But he calls this particular man good in ignorance of the fact that he is an adulterer and not chaste. In similar fashion, if one escapes an injury through an error, as I mentioned before happened to me on that journey, there is even something good that accrues to a man through his mistakes. But when I say that in such a case a man may be deceived without suffering harm therefrom, or even may gain some benefit thereby, I am not saying that error is not a bad thing, nor that it is a positively good thing. I speak only of the evil which did not happen or the good which did happen, through the error, which was not caused by the error itself but which came out of it. Error, in itself and by itself, whether a great error in great matters or a small error in small affairs, is always a bad thing. For who, except in error, denies that it is bad to approve the false as though it were the truth, or to disapprove the truth as though it were falsehood, or to hold what is certain as if it were uncertain, or what is uncertain as if it were certain? It is one thing to judge a man good who is actually bad--this is an error. It is quite another thing not to suffer harm from something evil if the wicked man whom we supposed to be good actually does nothing harmful to us. It is one thing to suppose that this particular road is the right one when it is not. It is quite another thing that, from this error--which is a bad thing--something good actually turns out, such as being saved from the onslaught of wicked men.
DISPUTED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LIMITSOF KNOWLEDGE AND CERTAINTY IN VARIOUS MATTERS
20. I do not rightly know whether errors of this sort should be called sins-when one thinks well of a wicked man, not knowing what his character really is, or when, instead of our physical perception, similar perceptions occur which we experience in the spirit (such as the illusion of the apostle Peter when he thought he was seeing a vision but was actually being liberated from fetters and chains by the angel36) Or in perceptual illusions when we think something is smooth which is actually rough, or something sweet which is bitter, something fragrant which is putrid, that a noise is thunder when it is actually a wagon passing by, when one takes this man for that, or when two men look alike, as happens in the case of twins--whence our poet speaks of "a pleasant error for parents"37--I say I do not know whether these and other such errors should be called sins.
Nor am I at the moment trying to deal with that knottiest of questions which baffled the most acute men of the Academy, whether a wise man ought ever to affirm anything positively lest he be involved in the error of affirming as true what may be false, since all questions, as they assert, are either mysterious [occulta] or
36Cf. Acts 12:9. 37Virgil, Aeneid, X, 392.
uncertain. On these points I wrote three books in the early stages of my conversion because my further progress was being blocked by objections like this which stood at the very threshold of my understanding.38 It was necessary to overcome the despair of being unable to attain to truth, which is what their arguments seemed to lead one to. Among them every error is deemed a sin, and this can be warded off only by a systematic suspension of positive assent. Indeed they say it is an error if someone believes in what is uncertain. For them, however, nothing is certain in human experience, because of the deceitful likeness of falsehood to the truth, so that even if what appears to be true turns out to be true indeed, they will still dispute it with the most acute and even shameless arguments.
Among us, on the other hand, "the righteous man lives by faith."39 Now, if you take away positive affirmation,40 you take away faith, for without positive affirmation nothing is believed. And there are truths about things unseen, and unless they are believed, we cannot attain to the happy life, which is nothing less than life eternal. It is a question whether we ought to argue with those who profess themselves ignorant not only about the eternity yet to come but also about their present existence, for they [the Academics] even argue that they do not know what they cannot help knowing. For no one can "not know" that he himself is alive. If he is not alive, he cannot "not know" about it or anything else at all, because either to know or to "not know" implies a living subject. But, in such a case, by not positively affirming that they are alive, the skeptics ward off the appearance of error in themselves, yet they do make errors simply by showing themselves alive; one cannot err who is not alive. That we live is therefore not only true, but it is altogether certain as well. And there are many things that are thus true and certain concerning which, if we withhold positive assent, this ought not to be regarded as a higher wisdom but actually a sort of dementia.
21. In those things which do not concern our attainment of the Kingdom of God, it does not matter whether they are believed in or not, or whether they are true or are supposed to be true or false. To err in such questions, to mistake one thing for another, is not to be judged as a sin or, if it is, as a small and light one. In sum, whatever kind or how much of an error these miscues may be, it does not involve the way that leads to God, which is the faith of Christ which works through love. This way of life was not abandoned in that error so dear to parents concerning the twins.41 Nor did the apostle Peter deviate from this way when he thought he saw a vision and so mistook one thing for something else. In his case, he did not discover the actual situation until after the angel, by whom he was freed, had departed from him. Nor did the patriarch Jacob deviate from this way when he believed that his son, who was in fact alive, had been devoured by a wild beast. We may err through false impressions of this kind, with our faith in God still safe, nor do we thus leave the way that leads us to him. Nevertheless, such mistakes, even if they are not sins, must still be listed among the evils of this life, which is so readily subject to vanity that we judge the false for true, reject the true for the false, and hold as uncertain what is actually certain. For even if these mistakes do not affect that faith by which we move forward to affirm truth and eternal beatitude, yet they are not unrelated to the misery in which we still exist. Actually, of course, we would be deceived in nothing at all, either in our souls or our physical senses, if we were already enjoying that true and perfected happiness.
22. Every lie, then, must be called a sin, because every man ought to speak
38This refers to one of the first of the Cassiciacum dialogues, Contra Academicos. The gist ofAugustine's refutation of skepticism is in III, 23ff. Throughout his whole career he continued tomaintain this position: that certain knowledge begins with self-knowledge. Cf. Confessions, Bk. V,Ch. X, 19; see also City of God, XI, xxvii.39Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17.
40A direct contrast between suspensus assenso--the watchword of the Academics--and assensio, thebadge of Christian certitude.41See above, VII, 90.
what is in his heart--not only when he himself knows the truth, but even when he errs and is deceived, as a man may be. This is so whether it be true or is only supposed to be true when it is not. But a man who lies says the opposite of what is in his heart, with the deliberate intent to deceive. Now clearly, language, in its proper function, was developed not as a means whereby men could deceive one another, but as a medium through which a man could communicate his thought to others. Wherefore to use language in order to deceive, and not as it was designed to be used, is a sin.
Nor should we suppose that there is any such thing as a lie that is not a sin, just because we suppose that we can sometimes help somebody by lying. For we could also do this by stealing, as when a secret theft from a rich man who does not feel the loss is openly given to a pauper who greatly appreciates the gain. Yet no one would say that such a theft was not a sin. Or again, we could also "help" by committing adultery, if someone appeared to be dying for love if we would not consent to her desire and who, if she lived, might be purified by repentance. But it cannot be denied that such an adultery would be a sin. If, then, we hold chastity in such high regard, wherein has truth offended us so that although chastity must not be violated by adultery, even for the sake of some other good, yet truth may be violated by lying? That men have made progress toward the good, when they will not lie save for the sake of human values, is not to be denied. But what is rightly praised in such a forward step, and perhaps even rewarded, is their good will and not their deceit. The deceit may be pardoned, but certainly ought not to be praised, especially among the heirs of the New Covenant to whom it has been said, "Let your speech be yes, yes; no, no: for what is more than this comes from evil."42 Yet because of what this evil does, never ceasing to subvert this mortality of ours, even the joint heirs of Christ themselves pray, "Forgive us our debts."43
THE PLIGHT OF MAN AFTER THE FALL
42Matt. 5:37. 43Matt. 6:12.
freedom of the will in order that he might rule him by rational command and deter him by the threat of death. He even placed him in the happiness of paradise in a sheltered nook of life [in umbra vitae] where, by being a good steward of righteousness, he would rise to better things.
THE REPLACEMENT OF THE FALLEN ANGELS BYELECT MEN (28-30); THE NECESSITY OF GRACE (30-32)
He serves freely who freely does the will of his master. Accordingly he who is slave to sin is free to sin. But thereafter he will not be free to do right unless he is delivered from the bondage of sin and begins to be the servant of righteousness. This, then, is true liberty: the joy that comes in doing what is right. At the same time, it is also devoted service in obedience to righteous precept.
But how would a man, bound and sold, get back his liberty to do good, unless he could regain it from Him whose voice saith, "If the Son shall make you free, then you will be free indeed"49? But before this process begins in man, could anyone glory in his good works as if they were acts of his free will, when he is not yet free to act rightly? He could do this only if, puffed up in proud vanity, he were merely boasting. This attitude is what the apostle was reproving when he said, "By grace you have been saved by faith."50
31. And lest men should arrogate to themselves saving faith as their own work and not understand it as a divine gift, the same apostle who says somewhere else that he had "obtained mercy of the Lord to be trustworthy"51 makes here an additional comment: "And this is not of yourselves, rather it is a gift of God--not
45Cf. Luke 20:36. 46Rom. 4:17. 47Wis. 11:20. 48II Peter 2:19. 49John 8:36. 50Eph. 2:8. 51I Cor. 7:25.
because of works either, lest any man should boast."52 But then, lest it be supposed that the faithful are lacking in good works, he added further, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God hath prepared beforehand for us to walk in them."53
We are then truly free when God ordereth our lives, that is, formeth and createth us not as men--this he hath already done--but also as good men, which he is now doing by his grace, that we may indeed be new creatures in Christ Jesus.54 Accordingly, the prayer: "Create in me a clean heart, O God."55 This does not mean, as far as the natural human heart is concerned, that God hath not already created this.
32. Once again, lest anyone glory, if not in his own works, at least in the determination of his free will, as if some merit had originated from him and as if the freedom to do good works had been bestowed on him as a kind of reward, let him hear the same herald of grace, announcing: "For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to do according to his good will."56 And, in another place: "It is not therefore a matter of man's willing, or of his running, but of God's showing mercy."57 Still, it is obvious that a man who is old enough to exercise his reason cannot believe, hope, or love unless he wills it, nor could he run for the prize of his high calling in God without a decision of his will. In what sense, therefore, is it "not a matter of human willing or running but of God's showing mercy," unless it be that "the will itself is prepared by the Lord," even as it is written?58 This saying, therefore, that "it is not a matter of human willing or running but of God's showing mercy," means that the action is from both, that is to say, from the will of man and from the mercy of God. Thus we accept the dictum, "It is not a matter of human willing or running but of God's showing mercy," as if it meant, "The will of man is not sufficient by itself unless there is also the mercy of God." By the same token, the mercy of God is not sufficient by itself unless there is also the will of man. But if we say rightly that "it is not a matter of human willing or running but of God's showing mercy," because the will of man alone is not enough, why, then, is not the contrary rightly said, "It is not a matter of God's showing mercy but of a man's willing," since the mercy of God by itself alone is not enough? Now, actually, no Christian would dare to say, "It is not a matter of God's showing mercy but of man's willing," lest he explicitly contradict the apostle. The conclusion remains, therefore, that this saying: "Not man's willing or running but God's showing mercy," is to be understood to mean that the whole process is credited to God, who both prepareth the will to receive divine aid and aideth the will which has been thus prepared.59
52Eph. 2:8, 9.
54Cf. Gal. 6:15; II Cor. 5:17.
58Prov. 8:35 (LXX).
59From the days at Cassiciacum till the very end, Augustine toiled with the mystery of the primacyof God's grace and the reality of human freedom. Of two things he was unwaveringly sure, eventhough they involved him in a paradox and the appearance of confusion. The first is that God's graceis not only primary but also sufficient as the ground and source of human willing. And against thePelagians and other detractors from grace, he did not hesitate to insist that grace is irresistible andinviolable. Cf. On Grace and Free Will, 99, 41-43; On the Predestination of the Saints, 19:10; On theGift of Perseverance, 41; On the Soul and Its Origin, 16; and even the Enchiridion, XXIV, 97.
But he never drew from this deterministic emphasis the conclusion that man is unfree and everywhere roundly rejects the not illogical corollary of his theonomism, that man's will counts for little or nothing except as passive agent of God's will. He insists on responsibility on man's part in responding to the initiatives of grace. For this emphasis, which is characteristically directed to the faithful themselves, see On the Psalms, LXVIII, 7-8; On the Gospel of John, Tractate, 53:6-8; and
For a man's good will comes before many other gifts from God, but not all of them. One of the gifts it does not antedate is--just itself! Thus in the Sacred Eloquence we read both, "His mercy goes before me,"60 and also, "His mercy shall follow me."61 It predisposes a man before he wills, to prompt his willing. It follows the act of willing, lest one's will be frustrated. Otherwise, why are we admonished to pray for our enemies,62 who are plainly not now willing to live piously, unless it be that God is even now at work in them and in their wills?63 Or again, why are we admonished to ask in order to receive, unless it be that He who grants us what we will is he through whom it comes to pass that we will? We pray for enemies, therefore, that the mercy of God should go before them, as it goes before us; we pray for ourselves that his mercy shall follow us.
JESUS CHRIST THE MEDIATOR
even his severest anti-Pelagian tracts: On Grace and Free Will, 6-8, 10, 31 and On Admonition andGrace, 2-8.60Ps. 58:11 (Vulgate).
62Cf. Matt. 5:44.
63The theme that he had explored in Confessions, Bks. I-IX. See especially Bk. V, Chs. X, XIII; Bk.VII, Ch. VIII; Bk. IX, Ch. I.64Cf. Ps. 90:9.
68Rom. 5:9, 10.
among us,"70 so that we should then believe in "the only Son of God the Father Almighty, born of the Holy Spirit and Mary the Virgin." Yet it is indeed true that the Word was made flesh, the flesh being assumed by the Divinity, not the Divinity being changed into flesh. Of course, by the term "flesh" we ought here to understand "man," an expression in which the part signifies the whole, just as it is said, "Since by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified,"71 which is to say, no man shall be justified. Yet certainly we must say that in that assumption nothing was lacking that belongs to human nature.
But it was a nature entirely free from the bonds of all sin. It was not a nature born of both sexes with fleshly desires, with the burden of sin, the guilt of which is washed away in regeneration. Instead, it was the kind of nature that would be fittingly born of a virgin, conceived by His mother's faith and not her fleshly desires. Now if in his being born, her virginity had been destroyed, he would not then have been born of a virgin. It would then be false (which is unthinkable) for the whole Church to confess him "born of the Virgin Mary." This is the Church which, imitating his mother, daily gives birth to his members yet remains virgin. Read, if you please, my letter on the virginity of Saint Mary written to that illustrious man, Volusianus, whom I name with honor and affection.72
35. Christ Jesus, Son of God, is thus both God and man. He was God before all ages; he is man in this age of ours. He is God because he is the Word of God, for "the Word was God."73 Yet he is man also, since in the unity of his Person a rational soul and body is joined to the Word.
Accordingly, in so far as he is God, he and the Father are one. Yet in so far as he is man, the Father is greater than he. Since he was God's only Son--not by grace but by nature--to the end that he might indeed be the fullness of all grace, he was also made Son of Man--and yet he was in the one nature as well as in the other, one Christ. "For being in the form of God, he judged it not a violation to be what he was by nature, the equal of God. Yet he emptied himself, taking on the form of a servant,"74 yet neither losing nor diminishing the form of God.75 Thus he was made less and remained equal, and both these in a unity as we said before. But he is one of these because he is the Word; the other, because he was a man. As the Word, he is the equal of the Father; as a man, he is less. He is the one Son of God, and at the same time Son of Man; the one Son of Man, and at the same time God's Son. These are not two sons of God, one God and the other man, but one Son of God--God without origin, man with a definite origin--our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE INCARNATION AS PRIME EXAMPLEOF THE ACTION OF GOD'S GRACE
36. In this the grace of God is supremely manifest, commended in grand and visible fashion; for what had the human nature in the man Christ merited, that it, and no other, should be assumed into the unity of the Person of the only Son of God? What good will, what zealous strivings, what good works preceded this assumption by which that particular man deserved to become one Person with God? Was he a
72Epistle CXXXVII, written in 412 in reply to a list of queries sent to Augustine by the proconsul ofAfrica.73John 1:1.
74Phil. 2:6, 7.
75These metaphors for contrasting the "two natures" of Jesus Christ were favorite figures of speechin Augustine's Christological thought. Cf. On the Gospel of John, Tractate 78; On the Trinity, I, 7; II,2; IV, 19-20; VII, 3; New Testament Sermons, 76, 14.
man before the union, and was this singular grace given him as to one particularly deserving before God? Of course not! For, from the moment he began to be a man, that man began to be nothing other than God's Son, the only Son, and this because the Word of God assuming him became flesh, yet still assuredly remained God. Just as every man is a personal unity--that is, a unity of rational soul and flesh--so also is Christ a personal unity: Word and man.
Why should there be such great glory to a human nature--and this undoubtedly an act of grace, no merit preceding unless it be that those who consider such a question faithfully and soberly might have here a clear manifestation of God's great and sole grace, and this in order that they might understand how they themselves are justified from their sins by the selfsame grace which made it so that the man Christ had no power to sin? Thus indeed the angel hailed his mother when announcing to her the future birth: "Hail," he said, "full of grace." And shortly thereafter, "You have found favor with God."76 And this was said of her, that she was full of grace, since she was to be mother of her Lord, indeed the Lord of all. Yet, concerning Christ himself, when the Evangelist John said, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us," he added, "and we beheld his glory, a glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth."77 When he said, "The Word was made flesh," this means, "Full of grace." When he also said, "The glory of the only begotten of the Father," this means, "Full of truth." Indeed it was Truth himself, God's only begotten Son--and, again, this not by grace but by nature--who, by grace, assumed human nature into such a personal unity that he himself became the Son of Man as well.
37. This same Jesus Christ, God's one and only Son our Lord, was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Now obviously the Holy Spirit is God's gift, a gift that is itself equal to the Giver; wherefore the Holy Spirit is God also, not inferior to the Father and the Son. Now what does this mean, that Christ's birth in respect to his human nature was of the Holy Spirit, save that this was itself also a work of grace?
For when the Virgin asked of the angel the manner by which what he announced would come to pass (since she had known no man), the angel answered: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you; therefore the Holy One which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God."78 And when Joseph wished to put her away, suspecting adultery (since he knew she was not pregnant by him), he received a similar answer from the angel: "Do not fear to take Mary as your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit"79--that is, "What you suspect is from another man is of the Holy Spirit."
THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
38. Are we, then, to say that the Holy Spirit is the Father of Christ's human nature, so that as God the Father generated the Word, so the Holy Spirit generated the human nature, and that from both natures Christ came to be one, Son of God the Father as the Word, Son of the Holy Spirit as man? Do we suppose that the Holy Spirit is his Father through begetting him of the Virgin Mary? Who would dare to say such a thing? There is no need to show by argument how many absurd consequences such a notion has, when it is so absurd in itself that no believer's ear can bear to hear it. Actually, then, as we confess our Lord Jesus Christ, who is God
76Luke 1:28-30. 77John 1:14. 78Luke 1:35. 79Matt. 1:20.
from God yet born as man of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, there is in each nature (in both the divine and the human) the only Son of God the Father Almighty, from whom proceeds the Holy Spirit.
How, then, do we say that Christ is born of the Holy Spirit, if the Holy Spirit did not beget him? Is it because he made him? This might be, since through our Lord Jesus Christ--in the form of God--all things were made. Yet in so far as he is man, he himself was made, even as the apostle says: "He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."80 But since that creature which the Virgin conceived and bore, though it was related to the Person of the Son alone, was made by the whole Trinity--for the works of the Trinity are not separable--why is the Holy Spirit named as the One who made it? Is it, perhaps, that when any One of the Three is named in connection with some divine action, the whole Trinity is to be understood as involved in that action? This is true and can be shown by examples, but we should not dwell too long on this kind of solution.
For what still concerns us is how it can be said, "Born of the Holy Spirit," when he is in no wise the Son of the Holy Spirit? Now, just because God made [fecit] this world, one could not say that the world is the son of God, or that it is "born" of God. Rather, one says it was "made" or "created" or "founded" or "established" by him, or however else one might like to speak of it. So, then, when we confess, "Born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary," the sense in which he is not the Son of the Holy Spirit and yet is the son of the Virgin Mary, when he was born both of him and of her, is difficult to explain. But there is no doubt as to the fact that he was not born from him as Father as he was born of her as mother.
BAPTISM AND ORIGINAL SIN
41. Since he was begotten and conceived in no pleasure of carnal appetite-and therefore bore no trace of original sin--he was, by the grace of God (operating in a marvelous and an ineffable manner), joined and united in a personal unity with the only-begotten Word of the Father, a Son not by grace but by nature. And although he himself committed no sin, yet because of "the likeness of sinful flesh"81 in which he came, he was himself called sin and was made a sacrifice for the washing away of sins.
Indeed, under the old law, sacrifices for sins were often called sins.82 Yet he of whom those sacrifices were mere shadows was himself actually made sin. Thus, when the apostle said, "For Christ's sake, we beseech you to be reconciled to God," he straightway added, "Him, who knew no sin, he made to be sin for us that we might be made to be the righteousness of God in him."83 He does not say, as we read in some defective copies, "He who knew no sin did sin for us," as if Christ himself committed sin for our sake. Rather, he says, "He [Christ] who knew no sin, he [God] made to be sin for us." The God to whom we are to be reconciled hath thus made him the sacrifice for sin by which we may be reconciled.
He himself is therefore sin as we ourselves are righteousness--not our own but God's, not in ourselves but in him. Just as he was sin--not his own but ours, rooted not in himself but in us--so he showed forth through the likeness of sinful flesh, in which he was crucified, that since sin was not in him he could then, so to say, die to sin by dying in the flesh, which was "the likeness of sin." And since he had never lived in the old manner of sinning, he might, in his resurrection, signify the new life which is ours, which is springing to life anew from the old death in which we had been dead to sin.
"And they fill the belly with the armed warrior,"84
although they did this with many warriors. And in our own Scriptures we read: "Pray therefore to the Lord that he may take from us the serpent."85 It does not say "serpents," as it might, for they were suffering from many serpents. There are, moreover, innumerable other such examples.
Yet, when the original sin is signified by the use of the plural number, as we say when infants are baptized "unto the remission of sins," instead of saying "unto
82Cf. Hos. 4:8.
83II Cor. 5:20, 21.
84Virgil, Aeneid, II, 1, 20.85Num. 21:7 (LXX).
the remission of sin," then we have the converse expression in which the singular is expressed by the plural number. Thus in the Gospel, it is said of Herod's death, "For they are dead who sought the child's life"86; it does not say, "He is dead." And in Exodus: "They made," [Moses] says, "to themselves gods of gold," when they had made one calf. And of this calf, they said: "These are thy gods, O Israel, which brought you out of the land of Egypt,"87 here also putting the plural for the singular.
86Matt. 2:20. 87Ex. 32:4. 88Rom. 5:12. 89Deut. 5:9. 90Ezek. 18:2. 91Ps. 51:5.
THE MYSTERIES OF CHRIST'S MEDIATORIALWORK (48-49) AND JUSTIFICATION (50-55)
For his baptism is not with water alone, as John's was, but with the Holy Spirit as well. Thus, whoever believes in Christ is reborn by that same Spirit, of whom Christ also was born, needing not to be reborn. This is the reason for the Voice of the Father spoken over him at his baptism, "Today have I begotten thee,"95 which pointed not to that particular day on which he was baptized, but to that "day" of changeless eternity, in order to show us that this Man belonged to the personal Unity of the Only Begotten. For a day that neither begins with the close of yesterday nor ends with the beginning of tomorrow is indeed an eternal "today."
Therefore, he chose to be baptized in water by John, not thereby to wash away any sin of his own, but to manifest his great humility. Indeed, baptism found nothing in him to wash away, just as death found nothing to punish. Hence, it was in authentic justice, and not by violent power, that the devil was overcome and conquered: for, as he had most unjustly slain Him who was in no way deserving of death, he also did most justly lose those whom he had justly held in bondage as punishment for their sins. Wherefore, He took upon himself both baptism and death, not out of a piteous necessity but through his own free act of showing mercy--as part of a definite plan whereby One might take away the sin of the world, just as one man had brought sin into the world, that is, the whole human race.
92I Tim. 2:5.
94Luke 3:4; Isa. 40:3.
95Ps. 2:7; Heb. 5:5; cf. Mark 1:9-11.
passes on to speak of the great mystery of holy baptism in the cross of Christ, and to do this so that we may understand nothing other in the baptism of Christ than the likeness of the death of Christ. The death of Christ crucified is nothing other than the likeness of the forgiveness of sins--so that in the very same sense in which the death is real, so also is the forgiveness of our sins real, and in the same sense in which his resurrection is real, so also in us is there authentic justification.
He asks: "What, then, shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"98--for he had previously said, "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."99 And therefore he himself raised the question whether, because of the abundance of grace that follows sin, one should then continue in sin. But he answers, "God forbid!" and adds, "How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"100 Then, to show that we are dead to sin, "Do you not know that all we who were baptized in Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?"101
If, therefore, the fact that we are baptized into the death of Christ shows that we are dead to sin, then certainly infants who are baptized in Christ die to sin, since they are baptized into his own death. For there is no exception in the saying, "All we who are baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into his death." And the effect of this is to show that we are dead to sin.
Yet what sin do infants die to in being reborn except that which they inherit in being born? What follows in the epistle also pertains to this: "Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death; that, as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also united with him in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we are dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. For the death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives unto God. So also, reckon yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive unto God through Christ Jesus."102
Now, he had set out to prove that we should not go on sinning, in order that thereby grace might abound, and had said, "If we have died to sin, how, then, shall we go on living in it?" And then to show that we were dead to sin, he had added, "Know you not, that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" Thus he concludes the passage as he began it. Indeed, he introduced the death of Christ in order to say that even he died to sin. To what sin, save that of the flesh in which he existed, not as sinner, but in "the likeness of sin" and which was, therefore, called by the name of sin? Thus, to those baptized into the death of Christ--into which not only adults but infants as well are baptized--he says, "So also you should reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
53. Whatever was done, therefore, in the crucifixion of Christ, his burial, his resurrection on the third day, his ascension into heaven, his being seated at the Father's right hand--all these things were done thus, that they might not only signify their mystical meanings but also serve as a model for the Christian life which we lead here on the earth. Thus, of his crucifixion it was said, "And they that are Jesus Christ's have crucified their own flesh, with the passions and lusts thereof"103; and of his burial, "For we are buried with Christ by baptism into death"; of his resurrection, "Since Christ is raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also should walk with him in newness of life"; of his ascension and
98Rom. 6:1. 99Rom. 5:20. 100Rom. 6:2. 101Rom. 6:3. 102Rom. 6:4-11. 103Gal. 5:24.
session at the Father's right hand: "But if you have risen again with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."104
THE HOLY SPIRIT (56) AND THE CHURCH (57-60)
56. Now, when we have spoken of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God our Lord, in the brevity befitting our confession of faith, we go on to affirm that we believe also in the Holy Spirit, as completing the Trinity which is God; and after that we call to mind our faith "in holy Church." By this we are given to understand that the rational creation belonging to the free Jerusalem ought to be mentioned in a subordinate order to the Creator, that is, the supreme Trinity. For, of course, all that has been said about the man Christ Jesus refers to the unity of the Person of the Only Begotten.
Thus, the right order of the Creed demanded110 that the Church be made subordinate to the Trinity, as a house is subordinate to him who dwells in it, the temple to God, and the city to its founder. By the Church here we are to understand the whole Church, not just the part that journeys here on earth from rising of the sun to its setting, praising the name of the Lord111 and singing a new song of deliverance from its old captivity, but also that part which, in heaven, has always, from creation, held fast to God, and which never experienced the evils of a fall. This part, composed of the holy angels, remains in blessedness, and it gives help, even as
108Cf. Matt. 25:32, 33.
110Reading the classical Latin form poscebat (as in Scheel and PL) for the late form poxebat (as inRiviere and many old MSS.).111Cf. Ps. 113:3.
it ought, to the other part still on pilgrimage. For both parts together will make one eternal consort, as even now they are one in the bond of love--the whole instituted for the proper worship of the one God.112 Wherefore, neither the whole Church nor any part of it wishes to be worshiped as God nor to be God to anyone belonging to the temple of God--the temple that is being built up of "the gods" whom the uncreated God created.113 Consequently, if the Holy Spirit were creature and not Creator, he would obviously be a rational creature, for this is the highest of the levels of creation. But in this case he would not be set in the rule of faith before the Church, since he would then belong to the Church, in that part of it which is in heaven. He would not have a temple, for he himself would be a temple. Yet, in fact, he hath a temple of which the apostle speaks, "Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God?"114 In another place, he says of this body, "Know you not that your bodies are members of Christ?"115 How, then, is he not God who has a temple? Or how can he be less than Christ whose members are his temple? It is not that he has one temple and God another temple, since the same apostle says: "Know you not that you are the temple of God," and then, as if to prove his point, added, "and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
God therefore dwelleth in his temple, not the Holy Spirit only, but also Father and Son, who saith of his body--in which he standeth as Head of the Church on earth "that in all things he may be pre-eminent"116--"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again."117 Therefore, the temple of God---that is, of the supreme Trinity as a whole--is holy Church, the Universal Church in heaven and on the earth.
112Here reading unum deum (with Rivière and PL) against deum (in Scheel).113A hyperbolic expression referring to "the saints." Augustine's Scriptural backing for such anunusual phrase is Ps. 82:6 and John 10:34f. But note the firm distinction between ex diis quos facitand non factus Deus.114I Cor. 6:19.
115I Cor. 6:15.
118II Peter 2:4 (Old Latin).
120Ps. 148:2 (LXX).
than luminous bodies, with neither perception nor understanding.
59. Furthermore, who can explain the kind of bodies in which the angels appeared to men, so that they were not only visible, but tangible as well? And, again, how do they, not by impact of physical stimulus but by spiritual force, bring certain visions, not to the physical eyes but to the spiritual eyes of the mind, or speak something, not to the ears, as from outside us, but actually from within the human soul, since they are present within it too? For, as it is written in the book of the Prophets: "And the angel that spoke in me, said to me..."122 He does not say, "Spoke to me" but "Spoke in me." How do they appear to men in sleep, and communicate through dreams, as we read in the Gospel: "Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying..."123? By these various modes of presentation, the angels seem to indicate that they do not have tangible bodies. Yet this raises a very difficult question: How, then, did the patriarchs wash the angels' feet?124 How, also, did Jacob wrestle with the angel in such a tangible fashion?125
To ask such questions as these, and to guess at the answers as one can, is not a useless exercise in speculation, so long as the discussion is moderate and one avoids the mistake of those who think they know what they do not know.
PROBLEMS ABOUT HEAVENLY AND EARTHLYDIVISIONS OF THE CHURCH
62. Of course, the holy angels, taught by God--in the eternal contemplation of
122Zech. 1:9. 123Matt. 1:20. 124Gen. 18:4; 19:2. 125Gen. 32:24. 126Rom. 8:31, 32.
whose truth they are blessed--know how many of the human race are required to fill up the full census of that commonwealth. This is why the apostle says "that all things are restored to unity in Christ, both those in heaven and those on the earth in him."127 The part in heaven is indeed restored when the number lost from the angelic apostasy are replaced from the ranks of mankind. The part on earth is restored when those men predestined to eternal life are redeemed from the old state of corruption.
Thus by the single sacrifice, of which the many victims of the law were only shadows, the heavenly part is set at peace with the earthly part and the earthly reconciled to the heavenly. Wherefore, as the same apostle says: "For it pleased God that all plenitude of being should dwell in him and by him to reconcile all things to himself, making peace with them by the blood of his cross, whether those things on earth or those in heaven."128
63. This peace, as it is written, "passes all understanding." It cannot be known by us until we have entered into it. For how is the heavenly realm set at peace, save together with us; that is, by concord with us? For in that realm there is always peace, both among the whole company of rational creatures and between them and their Creator. This is the peace that, as it is said, "passes all understanding." But obviously this means our understanding, not that of those who always see the Father's face. For no matter how great our understanding may be, "we know in part, and we see in a glass darkly."129 But when we shall have become "equal to God's angels,"130 then, even as they do, "we shall see face to face."131 And we shall then have as great amity toward them as they have toward us; for we shall come to love them as much as we are loved by them.
In this way their peace will become known to us, since ours will be like theirs in kind and measure--nor will it then surpass our understanding. But the peace of God, which is there, will still doubtless surpass our understanding and theirs as well. For, of course, in so far as a rational creature is blessed, this blessedness comes, not from himself, but from God. Hence, it follows that it is better to interpret the passage, "The peace of God which passes all understanding," so that from the word "all" not even the understanding of the holy angels should be excepted. Only God's understanding is excepted; for, of course, his peace does not surpass his own understanding.
FORGIVENESS OF SINS IN THE CHURCH
64. The angels are in concord with us even now, when our sins are forgiven. Therefore, in the order of the Creed, after the reference to "holy Church" is placed the reference to "forgiveness of sins." For it is by this that the part of the Church on earth stands; it is by this that "what was lost and is found again"132 is not lost again. Of course, the gift of baptism is an exception. It is an antidote given us against original sin, so that what is contracted by birth is removed by the new birth--though it also takes away actual sins as well, whether of heart, word, or deed. But except for this great remission--the beginning point of a man's renewal, in which all guilt, inherited and acquired, is washed away--the rest of life, from the age of accountability (and no matter how vigorously we progress in righteousness), is not without the need for the forgiveness of sins. This is the case because the sons of
127Cf. Eph. 1:10. 128Col. 1:19, 20. 129Cf. I Cor. 13:9, 12 130Cf. Luke 20:36. 131I Cor. 13:12. 132Cf. Luke 15:24.
God, as long as they live this mortal life, are in a conflict with death. And although it is truly said of them, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,"133 yet even as they are being led by the Spirit of God and, as sons of God, advance toward God, they are also being led by their own spirits so that, weighed down by the corruptible body and influenced by certain human feelings, they thus fall away from themselves and commit sin. But it matters how much. Although every crime is a sin, not every sin is a crime. Thus we can say of the life of holy men even while they live in this mortality, that they are found without crime. "But if we say that we have no sin," as the great apostle says, "we deceive even ourselves, and the truth is not in us."134
Indeed, many sins seem to be ignored and go unpunished; but their punishment is reserved for the future. It is not in vain that the day when the Judge of the living and the dead shall come is rightly called the Day of Judgment. Just so, on the other hand, some sins are punished here, and, if they are forgiven, will certainly bring no harm upon us in the future age. Hence, referring to certain temporal punishments, which are visited upon sinners in this life, the apostle, speaking to those whose sins are blotted out and not reserved to the end, says: "For if we judge ourselves truly we should not be judged by the Lord. But when we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we may not be condemned along with this world."140
134I John 1:8.
135In actione poenitentiae; cf. Luther's similar conception of poenitentiam agite in the 95 Theses andin De poenitentia.136Ps. 51:17.
138II Cor. 1:22.
139Ecclus. 40:1 (Vulgate).
140I Cor. 11:31, 32.
FAITH AND WORKS
67. There are some, indeed, who believe that those who do not abandon the name of Christ, and who are baptized in his laver in the Church, who are not cut off from it by schism or heresy, who may then live in sins however great, not washing them away by repentance, nor redeeming them by alms--and who obstinately persevere in them to life's last day--even these will still be saved, "though as by fire." They believe that such people will be punished by fire, prolonged in proportion to their sins, but still not eternal.
But those who believe thus, and still are Catholics, are deceived, as it seems to me, by a kind of merely human benevolence. For the divine Scripture, when consulted, answers differently. Moreover, I have written a book about this question, entitled Faith and Works,142 in which, with God's help, I have shown as best I could that, according to Holy Scripture, the faith that saves is the faith that the apostle Paul adequately describes when he says, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but the faith which works through love."143 But if faith works evil and not good, then without doubt, according to the apostle James "it is dead in itself."144 He then goes on to say, "If a man says he has faith, yet has not works, can his faith be enough to save him?"145
Now, if the wicked man were to be saved by fire on account of his faith only, and if this is the way the statement of the blessed Paul should be understood--"But he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire"146--then faith without works would be sufficient to salvation. But then what the apostle James said would be false. And also false would be another statement of the same Paul himself: "Do not err," he says; "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the unmanly, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God."147 Now, if those who persist in such crimes as these are nevertheless saved by their faith in Christ, would they not then be in the Kingdom of God?
68. But, since these fully plain and most pertinent apostolic testimonies cannot be false, that one obscure saying about those who build on "the foundation, which is Christ, not gold, silver, and precious stones, but wood, hay, and stubble"148-for it is about these it is said that they will be saved as by fire, not perishing on account of the saving worth of their foundation--such a statement must be
141This chapter supplies an important clue to the date of the Enchiridion and an interesting side light on Augustine's inclination to re-use "good material." In his treatise on The Eight Questions of Dulcitius (De octo Dulcitii quaestionibus), 1: 10-13, Augustine quotes this entire chapter as a part of his answer to the question whether those who sin after baptism are ever delivered from hell. The date of the De octo is 422 or, possibly, 423; thus we have a terminus ad quem for the date of the Enchiridion. Still the best text of De octo is Migne, PL, 40, c. 147-170, and the best English translation is in Deferrari, St. Augustine: Treatises on Various Subjects (The Fathers of the Church, New York, 1952), pp. 427-466. 142A short treatise, written in 413, in which Augustine seeks to combine the Pauline and Jacobite emphases by analyzing what kind of faith and what kind of works are both essential to salvation. The best text is that of Joseph Zycha in CSEL, Vol. 41, pp. 35-97; but see also Migne, PL, 40, c. 197-
230. There is an English translation by C.L. Cornish in A Library of Fathers of the Holy CatholicChurch; Seventeen Short Treatises, pp. 37-84.143Gal. 5:6.
146I Cor. 3:15.
147I Cor. 6:9, 10.
148I Cor. 3:11, 12.
interpreted so that it does not contradict these fully plain testimonies.
In fact, wood and hay and stubble may be understood, without absurdity, to signify such an attachment to those worldly things--albeit legitimate in themselves--that one cannot suffer their loss without anguish in the soul. Now, when such anguish "burns," and Christ still holds his place as foundation in the heart--that is, if nothing is preferred to him and if the man whose anguish "burns" would still prefer to suffer loss of the things he greatly loves than to lose Christ--then one is saved, "by fire." But if, in time of testing, he should prefer to hold onto these temporal and worldly goods rather than to Christ, he does not have him as foundation--because he has put "things" in the first place--whereas in a building nothing comes before the foundations.
Now, this fire, of which the apostle speaks, should be understood as one through which both kinds of men must pass: that is, the man who builds with gold, silver, and precious stones on this foundation and also the man who builds with wood, hay, and stubble. For, when he had spoken of this, he added: "The fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abides which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burns up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."149 Therefore the fire will test the work, not only of the one, but of both.
The fire is a sort of trial of affliction, concerning which it is clearly written elsewhere: "The furnace tries the potter's vessels and the trial of affliction tests righteous men."150 This kind of fire works in the span of this life, just as the apostle said, as it affects the two different kinds of faithful men. There is, for example, the man who "thinks of the things of God, how he may please God." Such a man builds on Christ the foundation, with gold, silver, and precious stones. The other man "thinks about the things of the world, how he may please his wife"151; that is, he builds upon the same foundation with wood, hay, and stubble. The work of the former is not burned up, since he has not loved those things whose loss brings anguish. But the work of the latter is burned up, since things are not lost without anguish when they have been loved with a possessive love. But because, in this second situation, he prefers to suffer the loss of these things rather than losing Christ, and does not desert Christ from fear of losing such things--even though he may grieve over his loss--"he is saved," indeed, "yet so as by fire." He "burns" with grief, for the things he has loved and lost, but this does not subvert nor consume him, secured as he is by the stability and the indestructibility of his foundation.
69. It is not incredible that something like this should occur after this life, whether or not it is a matter for fruitful inquiry. It may be discovered or remain hidden whether some of the faithful are sooner or later to be saved by a sort of purgatorial fire, in proportion as they have loved the goods that perish, and in proportion to their attachment to them. However, this does not apply to those of whom it was said, "They shall not possess the Kingdom of God,"152 unless their crimes are remitted through due repentance. I say "due repentance" to signify that they must not be barren of almsgiving, on which divine Scripture lays so much stress that our Lord tells us in advance that, on the bare basis of fruitfulness in alms, he will impute merit to those on his right hand; and, on the same basis of unfruitfulness, demerit to those on his left--when he shall say to the former, "Come, blessed of my Father, receive the Kingdom," but to the latter, "Depart into everlasting fire."153
149I Cor. 3:11-15.
151Cf. I Cor. 7:32, 33
152See above, XVIII, 67.
153Matt. 25:34, 41.
ALMSGIVING AND FORGIVENESS
157Cf. Luke 11 :41.
158This is a close approximation of the medieval lists of "The Seven Works of Mercy." Cf. J.T.McNeill, A History of the Cure of Souls, pp. 155, 161. (Harper & Brothers, 1951, New York.)159Matt. 5:44.
Such counsels are for the perfect sons of God. And although all the faithful should strive toward them and through prayer to God and earnest endeavor bring their souls up to this level, still so high a degree of goodness is not possible for so great a multitude as we believe are heard when, in prayer, they say, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Accordingly, it cannot be doubted that the terms of this pledge are fulfilled if a man, not yet so perfect that he already loves his enemies, still forgives from the heart one who has sinned against him and who now asks his forgiveness. For he surely seeks forgiveness when he asks for it when he prays, saying, "As we forgive our debtors." For this means, "Forgive us our debts when we ask for forgiveness, as we also forgive our debtors when they ask for forgiveness."
74. Again, if one seeks forgiveness from a man against whom he sinned-moved by his sin to seek it--he should no longer be regarded as an enemy, and it should not now be as difficult to love him as it was when he was actively hostile.
Now, a man who does not forgive from the heart one who asks forgiveness and is repentant of his sins can in no way suppose that his own sins are forgiven by the Lord, since the Truth cannot lie, and what hearer and reader of the gospel has not noted who it was who said, "I am the Truth"160? It is, of course, the One who, when he was teaching the prayer, strongly emphasized this sentence which he put in it, saying: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you your trespasses. But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offenses."161 He who is not awakened by such great thundering is not asleep, but dead. And yet such a word has power to awaken even the dead.
75. Now, surely, those who live in gross wickedness and take no care to correct their lives and habits, who yet, amid their crimes and misdeeds, continue to multiply their alms, flatter themselves in vain with the Lord's words, "Give alms; and, behold, all things are clean to you." They do not understand how far this saying reaches. In order for them to understand, let them notice to whom it was that he said it. For this is the context of it in the Gospel: "As he was speaking, a certain Pharisee asked him to dine with him. And he went in and reclined at the table. And the Pharisee began to wonder and ask himself why He had not washed himself before dinner. But the Lord said to him: 'Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but within you are still full of extortion and wickedness. Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside too? Nevertheless, give for alms what remains within; and, behold, all things are clean to you.'"162 Should we interpret this to mean that to the Pharisees, who had not the faith of Christ, all things are clean if only they give alms, as they deem it right to give them, even if they have not believed in him, nor been reborn of water and the Spirit? But all are unclean who are not made clean by the faith of Christ, of whom it is written, "Cleansing their hearts by faith."163 And as the apostle said, "But to them that are unclean and unbelieving nothing is clean; both their minds and consciences are unclean."164 How, then, should all things be clean to the Pharisees, even if they gave alms, but were not believers? Or, how could they be believers, if they were unwilling to believe in Christ and to be born again in his grace? And yet, what they
160John 14:6. 161Matt. 6:14, 15. 162Luke 11:37-41. 163Acts 15:9. 164Titus 1:15.
heard is true: "Give alms; and behold, all things are clean to you."
76. He who would give alms as a set plan of his life should begin with himself and give them to himself. For almsgiving is a work of mercy, and the saying is most true: "Have mercy upon your own soul, pleasing God."165 The purpose of the new birth is that we should become pleasing to God, who is justly displeased with the sin we contracted in birth. This is the first almsgiving, which we give to ourselves--when through the mercy of a merciful God we come to inquire about our wretchedness and come to acknowledge the just verdict by which we were put in need of that mercy, of which the apostle says, "Judgment came by that one trespass to condemnation."166 And the same herald of grace then adds (in a word of thanksgiving for God's great love), "But God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."167 Thus, when we come to a valid estimate of our wretchedness and begin to love God with the love he himself giveth us, we then begin to live piously and righteously.
But the Pharisees, while they gave as alms a tithing of even the least of their fruits, disregarded this "judgment and love of God." Therefore, they did not begin their almsgiving with themselves, nor did they, first of all, show mercy toward themselves. In reference to this right order of self-love, it was said, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."168
Therefore, when the Lord had reproved the Pharisees for washing themselves on the outside while inwardly they were still full of extortion and wickedness, he then admonished them also to give those alms which a man owes first to himself--to make clean the inner man: "However," he said, "give what remains as alms, and, behold, all things are clean to you." Then, to make plain the import of his admonition, which they had ignored, and to show them that he was not ignorant of their kind of almsgiving, he adds, "But woe to you, Pharisees"169--as if to say, "I am advising you to give the kind of alms which shall make all things clean to you." "But woe to you, for you tithe mint and rue and every herb"--"I know these alms of yours and you need not think I am admonishing you to give them up"--"and then neglect justice and the love of God." "This kind of almsgiving would make you clean from all inward defilement, just as the bodies which you wash are made clean by you." For the word "all" here means both "inward" and "outward"--as elsewhere we read, "Make clean the inside, and the outside will become clean."170
But, lest it appear that he was rejecting the kind of alms we give of the earth's bounty, he adds, "These things you should do"--that is, pay heed to the judgment and love of God--and "not omit the others"--that is, alms done with the earth's bounty.
77. Therefore, let them not deceive themselves who suppose that by giving alms--however profusely, and whether of their fruits or money or anything else--they purchase impunity to continue in the enormity of their crimes and the grossness of their wickedness. For not only do they do such things, but they also love them so much that they would always choose to continue in them--if they could do so with impunity. "But he who loves iniquity hates his own soul."171 And he who hates his own soul is not merciful but cruel to it. For by loving it after the world's way he hates it according to God's way of judging. Therefore, if one really wished to give alms to himself, that all things might become clean to him, he would hate his soul after the world's way and love it according to God's way. No one, however, gives any alms at all unless he gives from the store of Him who needs not anything.
165Ecclus. 30:24 (Vulgate).
171Ps. 10:6 (Vulgate).
"Accordingly," it is said, "His mercy shall go before me."172
PROBLEMS OF CASUISTRY
78. What sins are trivial and what are grave, however, is not for human but for divine judgment to determine. For we see that, in respect of some sins, even the apostle, by pardoning them, has conceded this point. Such a case is seen in what the venerable Paul says to married folks: "Do not deprive one another, except by consent for a time to give yourselves to prayer, and then return together lest Satan tempt you at the point of self-control."173 One could consider that it is not a sin for a married couple to have intercourse, not only for the sake of procreating children--which is the good of marriage--but also for the sake of the carnal pleasure involved. Thus, those whose self-control is weak could avoid fornication, or adultery, and other kinds of impurity too shameful to name, into which their lust might drag them through Satan's tempting. Therefore one could, as I said, consider this not a sin, had the apostle not added, "But I say this as a concession, not as a rule." Who, then, denies that it is a sin when he agrees that apostolic authority for doing it is given only by "concession"?
Another such case is seen where he says, "Dare any of you, having a case against another, bring it to be judged before the unrighteous and not the saints?"174 And a bit later: "If, therefore, you have cases concerning worldly things," he says, "you appoint those who are contemptible in the Church's eyes. I say this to shame you. Can it be that there is not a wise man among you, who could judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law with brother, and that in the presence of unbelievers."175 And here it might be thought that it was not a sin to bring suit against a brother, and that the only sin consisted in wishing it judged outside the Church, if the apostle had not added immediately, "Now therefore the whole fault among you is that you have lawsuits with one another."176 Then, lest someone excuse himself on this point by saying that he had a just cause and was suffering injustice which he wished removed by judicial sentence, the apostle directly resists such thoughts and excuses by saying: "Why not rather suffer iniquity? Why not rather be defrauded?"177 Thus we are brought back to that saying of the Lord: "If anyone would take your tunic and contend in court with you, let go your cloak also."178 And in another place: "If a man takes away your goods, seek them not back."179 Thus, he forbids his own to go to court with other men in secular suits. And it is because of this teaching that the apostle says that this kind of action is "a fault." Still, when he allows such suits to be decided in the Church, brothers judging brothers, yet sternly forbids such a thing outside the Church, it is clear that some concession is being made here for the infirmities of the weak.
Because of these and similar sins--and of others even less than these, such as offenses in words and thoughts--and because, as the apostle James confesses, "we all offend in many things,"180 it behooves us to pray to the Lord daily and often, and say, "Forgive us our debts," and not lie about what follows this petition, "As we also forgive our debtors."
172Ps. 58:11 (Vulgate); cf. Ps. 59:10 (R.S.V.).
173I Cor. 7:5 (mixed text).
174I Cor. 6:1.
175I Cor. 6:4-6.
176I Cor. 6:7a.
177I Cor. 6:7b.
180James 3:2 (Vulgate).
In the divine books such iniquity is called a "cry" (clamor). You have such a usage in the prophet Isaiah's reference to the evil vineyard: "I looked that he should perform justice, yet he did iniquity; not justice but a cry."184 So also is that passage in Genesis: "The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is multiplied,"185 for among these people such crimes were not only unpunished, but were openly committed, as if sanctioned by law.
So also in our times so many evils, even if not like those [of old], have come to be public customs that we not only do not dare excommunicate a layman; we do not dare degrade a clergyman for them. Thus, several years ago, when I was expounding the Epistle to the Galatians, where the apostle says, "I fear for you, lest perchance I have labored in vain among you," I was moved to exclaim: "Woe to the sins of men! We shrink from them only when we are not accustomed to them. As for those sins to which we are accustomed--although the blood of the Son of God was shed to wash them away--although they are so great that the Kingdom of God is wholly closed to them, yet, living with them often we come to tolerate them, and, tolerating them, we even practice some of them! But grant, O Lord, that we do not practice any of them which we could prohibit!" I shall someday know whether immoderate indignation moved me here to speak rashly.
THE TWO CAUSES OF SIN
81. I shall now mention what I have often discussed before in other places in my short treatises.186 We sin from two causes: either from not seeing what we ought to do, or else from not doing what we have already seen we ought to do. Of these two, the first is ignorance of the evil; the second, weakness.
We must surely fight against both; but we shall as surely be defeated unless we are divinely helped, not only to see what we ought to do, but also, as sound judgment increases, to make our love of righteousness victor over our love of those
181Matt. 5:22, 23.
182Gal. 4:11 (Vulgate).
183Ps. 10:3 (Vulgate).
184Isa. 5:7 (LXX).
185Gen. 18:20 (Vulgate with one change).
186For example, Contra Faust., XXII, 78; De pecc. meritis et remissione, I, xxxix, 70; ibid., II, xxii, 26;Quaest. in Heptateuch, 4:24; De libero arbitrio, 3:18, 55; De div. quaest., 83:26; De natura et gratia,67:81; Contra duas ep. Pelag., I:3, 7; I:13:27.
things because of which--either by desiring to possess them or by fearing to lose them--we fall, open-eyed, into known sin. In this latter case, we are not only sinners--which we are even when we sin through ignorance--but also lawbreakers: for we do not do what we should, and we do what we know already we should not.
Accordingly, we should pray for pardon if we have sinned, as we do when we say, "Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors." But we should also pray that God should guide us away from sin, and this we do when we say, "Lead us not into temptation"--and we should make our petitions to Him of whom it is said in the psalm, "The Lord is my light and my salvation"187; that, as Light, he may take away our ignorance, as Salvation, our weakness.
THE REALITY OF THE RESURRECTION
But who, then, would dare to deny--though he would not dare to affirm it either--that in the resurrection day what is lacking in the forms of things will be filled out? Thus, the perfection which time would have accomplished will not be lacking, any more than the blemishes wrought by time will still be present. Nature, then, will be cheated of nothing apt and fitting which time's passage would have
188II Tim. 2:25 (mixed text).
189Cf. Luke 22:61.
190Cf. John 20:22, 23.
191This libellus is included in Augustine's Sermons (LXXI, PL, 38, col. 445-467), to which Possidiusgave the title De blasphemia in Spiritum Sanctum. English translation in N-PNF, 1st Series, Vol. VI,Sermon XXI, pp. 318-332.192Sicut semina quae concepta non fuerint.
brought, nor will anything remain disfigured by anything adverse and contrary which time has wrought. But what is not yet a whole will become whole, just as what has been disfigured will be restored to its full figure.
193Jerome, Epistle to Vitalis, Ep. LXXII, 2; PL, 22, 674. Augustine also refers to similar phenomena in The City of God, XVI. viii, 2.
Accordingly, then, as far as the corruption which weighs down the soul and the vices through which "the flesh lusts against the spirit"194 are concerned, there will be no "flesh," but only body, since there are bodies that are called "heavenly bodies."195 This is why it is said, "Flesh and blood shall not inherit the Kingdom of God," and then, as if to expound what was said, it adds, "Neither shall corruption inherit incorruption."196 What the writer first called "flesh and blood" he later called "corruption," and what he first called "the Kingdom of God" he then later called "incorruption."
But, as far as the substance of the resurrection body is concerned, it will even then still be "flesh." This is why the body of Christ is called "flesh" even after the resurrection. Wherefore the apostle also says, "What is sown a natural body [corpus animale] rises as a spiritual body [corpus spirituale]."197 For there will then be such a concord between flesh and spirit--the spirit quickening the servant flesh without any need of sustenance therefrom--that there will be no further conflict within ourselves. And just as there will be no more external enemies to bear with, so neither shall we have to bear with ourselves as enemies within.
92. But whoever are not liberated from that mass of perdition (brought to pass through the first man) by the one Mediator between God and man, they will also rise again, each in his own flesh, but only that they may be punished together with the devil and his angels. Whether these men will rise again with all their faults and deformities, with their diseased and deformed members--is there any reason for us to labor such a question? For obviously the uncertainty about their bodily form and beauty need not weary us, since their damnation is certain and eternal. And let us not be moved to inquire how their body can be incorruptible if it can suffer--or corruptible if it cannot die. For there is no true life unless it be lived in happiness; no true incorruptibility save where health is unscathed by pain. But where an unhappy being is not allowed to die, then death itself, so to say, dies not; and where pain perpetually afflicts but never destroys, corruption goes on endlessly. This state is called, in the Scripture, "the second death."198
93. Yet neither the first death, in which the soul is compelled to leave its
194Gal. 5:17. 195I Cor. 15:40. 196I Cor. 15:50. 197I Cor. 15:44. 198Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14.
body, nor the second death, in which it is not allowed to leave the body undergoing punishment, would have befallen man if no one had sinned. Surely, the lightest of all punishments will be laid on those who have added no further sin to that originally contracted. Among the rest, who have added further Sins to that one, they will suffer a damnation somewhat more tolerable in proportion to the lesser degree of their iniquity.
THE SOLUTION TO PRESENT SPIRITUAL ENIGMAS TO BEAWAITED IN THE LIFE OF THE WORLD TO COME
Then, in the clearest light of wisdom, will be seen what now the pious hold by faith, not yet grasping it in clear understanding--how certain, immutable, and effectual is the will of God, how there are things he can do but doth not will to do, yet willeth nothing he cannot do, and how true is what is sung in the psalm: "But our God is above in heaven; in heaven and on earth he hath done all things whatsoever that he would."202 This obviously is not true, if there is anything that he willed to do and did not do, or, what were worse, if he did not do something because
199Ps. 100:1 (Vulgate); cf. Ps. 101:1 (R.S.V.). 200Matt. 11:21. 201This is one of the rare instances in which a textual variant in Augustine's text affects a basic issue in the interpretation of his doctrine. All but one of the major old editions, up to and including Migne, here read: Nec utique deus injuste noluit salvos fiere eum possent salvi esse SI VELLENT (if they willed it). This would mean the attribution of a decisive role in human salvation to the human will and would thus stand out in bold relief from his general stress in the rest of the Enchiridion and elsewhere on the primacy and even irresistibility of grace. The Jansenist edition of Augustine, by Arnauld in 1648, read SI VELLET (if He willed it) and the reading became the subject of acrimonious controversy between the Jansenists and the Molinists. The Maurist edition reads si vellet, on the strength of much additional MS. evidence that had not been available up to that time. In modern times, the si vellet reading has come to have the overwhelming support of the critical editors, although Rivière still reads si vellent. Cf. Scheel, 76-77 (See Bibl.); Rivière, 402-403; J.=G. Krabinger,
S. Aurelii Augustini Enchiridion (Tübingen, 1861 ), p. 116; Faure-Passaglia, S. Aurelii AugustiniEnchiridion (Naples, 1847), p. 178; and H. Hurter, Sanctorum Patrum opuscula selecta (Innsbruck,1895), p. 123.202Cf. Ps. 113:11 (a mixed text; composed inexactly from Ps. 115:3 and Ps. 135:6; an interesting
instance of Augustine's sense of liberty with the texts of Scripture. Here he is doubtless quoting from
man's will prevented him, the Omnipotent, from doing what he willed. Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen. He either allows it to happen or he actually causes it to happen.
Now, when we ask for the reason why not all are saved, the customary answer is: "Because they themselves have not willed it." But this cannot be said of infants, who have not yet come to the power of willing or not willing. For, if we could attribute to their wills the infant squirmings they make at baptism, when they resist as hard as they can, we would then have to say that they were saved against their will. But the Lord's language is clearer when, in the Gospel, he reproveth the unrighteous city: "How often," he saith, "would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks, and you would not."204 This sounds as if God's will had been overcome by human wills and as if the weakest, by not willing, impeded the Most Powerful so that he could not do what he willed. And where is that omnipotence by which "whatsoever he willed in heaven and on earth, he has done," if he willed to gather the children of Jerusalem together, and did not do so? Or, is it not rather the case that, although Jerusalem did not will that her children be gathered together by him, yet, despite her unwillingness, God did indeed gather together those children of hers whom he would? It is not that "in heaven and on earth" he hath willed and done some things, and willed other things and not done them. Instead, "all things whatsoever he willed, he hath done."
PREDESTINATION AND THE JUSTICE OF GOD
98. Furthermore, who would be so impiously foolish as to say that God cannot turn the evil wills of men--as he willeth, when he willeth, and where he willeth--toward the good? But, when he acteth, he acteth through mercy; when he doth not act, it is through justice. For, "he hath mercy on whom he willeth; and whom he willeth, he hardeneth."205
Now when the apostle said this, he was commending grace, of which he had just spoken in connection with the twin children in Rebecca's womb: "Before they had yet been born, or had done anything good or bad, in order that the electing purpose of God might continue--not through works but through the divine calling--it
203I Tim. 2:4. 204Matt. 23:37. 205Rom. 9:18.
was said of them, 'The elder shall serve the younger.' "206 Accordingly, he refers to another prophetic witness, where it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau have I hated."207 Then, realizing how what he said could disturb those whose understanding could not penetrate to this depth of grace, he adds: "What therefore shall we say to this? Is there unrighteousness in God? God forbid!"208 Yet it does seem unfair that, without any merit derived from good works or bad, God should love the one and hate the other. Now, if the apostle had wished us to understand that there were future good deeds of the one, and evil deeds of the other--which God, of course, foreknew--he would never have said "not of good works" but rather "of future works." Thus he would have solved the difficulty; or, rather, he would have left no difficulty to be solved. As it is, however, when he went on to exclaim, "God forbid!"--that is, "God forbid that there should be unfairness in God"--he proceeds immediately to add (to prove that no unfairness in God is involved here), "For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will show pity to whom I will show pity.'"209 Now, who but a fool would think God unfair either when he imposes penal judgment on the deserving or when he shows mercy to the undeserving? Finally, the apostle concludes and says, "Therefore, it is not a question of him who wills nor of him who runs but of God's showing mercy."210
Thus, both the twins were "by nature children of wrath,"211 not because of any works of their own, but because they were both bound in the fetters of damnation originally forged by Adam. But He who said, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," loved Jacob in unmerited mercy, yet hated Esau with merited justice. Since this judgment [of wrath] was due them both, the former learned from what happened to the other that the fact that he had not, with equal merit, incurred the same penalty gave him no ground to boast of his own distinctive merits--but, instead, that he should glory in the abundance of divine grace, because "it is not a question of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God's showing mercy."212 And, indeed, the whole visage of Scripture and, if I may speak so, the lineaments of its countenance, are found to exhibit a mystery, most profound and salutary, to admonish all who carefully look thereupon "that he who glories, should glory in the Lord."213
99. Now, after the apostle had commended God's mercy in saying, "So then, there is no question of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God's showing mercy," next in order he intends to speak also of his judgment--for where his mercy is not shown, it is not unfairness but justice. For with God there is no injustice. Thus, he immediately added, "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I raised you up, that I may show through you my power, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth."214 Then, having said this, he draws a conclusion that looks both ways, that is, toward mercy and toward judgment: "Therefore," he says, "he hath mercy on whom he willeth, and whom he willeth he hardeneth." He showeth mercy out of his great goodness; he hardeneth out of no unfairness at all. In this way, neither does he who is saved have a basis for glorying in any merit of his own; nor does the man who is damned have a basis for complaining of anything except what he has fully merited. For grace alone separates
206Rom. 9:11, 12.
207Cf. Mal. 1:2, 3 and Rom. 9:13.
210Rom. 9:15; see above, IX, 32.
213I Cor. 1 :31; cf. Jer. 9:24. The religious intention of Augustine's emphasis upon divine sovereigntyand predestination is never so much to account for the doom of the wicked as to underscore the sheerand wonderful gratuity of salvation.214Rom. 9:17; cf. Ex. 9:16.
the redeemed from the lost, all having been mingled together in the one mass of perdition, arising from a common cause which leads back to their common origin. But if any man hears this in such a way as to say: "Why then does he find fault? For who resists his will?"215--as if to make it seem that man should not therefore be blamed for being evil because God "hath mercy on whom he willeth and whom he willeth he hardeneth"--God forbid that we should be ashamed to give the same reply as we see the apostle giving: "O man, who are you to reply to God? Does the molded object say to the molder, 'Why have you made me like this?' Or is not the potter master of his clay, to make from the same mass one vessel for honorable, another for ignoble, use?"216
There are some stupid men who think that in this part of the argument the apostle had no answer to give; and, for lack of a reasonable rejoinder, simply rebuked the audacity of his gainsayer. But what he said--"O man, who are you?"--has actually great weight and in an argument like this recalls man, in a single word, to consider the limits of his capacity and, at the same time, supplies an important explanation.
For if one does not understand these matters, who is he to talk back to God? And if one does understand, he finds no better ground even then for talking back. For if he understands, he sees that the whole human race was condemned in its apostate head by a divine judgment so just that not even if a single member of the race were ever saved from it, no one could rail against God's justice. And he also sees that those who are saved had to be saved on such terms that it would show--by contrast with the greater number of those not saved but simply abandoned to their wholly just damnation--what the whole mass deserved and to what end God's merited judgment would have brought them, had not his undeserved mercy interposed. Thus every mouth of those disposed to glory in their own merits should be stopped, so that "he that glories may glory in the Lord."217
THE TRIUMPH OF GOD'S SOVEREIGN GOOD WILL
215Rom. 9:19. 216Rom. 9:20, 21. 217I Cor. 1:31. 218Ps. 110:2 (Vulgate).
under no circumstances can it ever be evil. For example, it is a good son's will that his father live, whereas it is God's good will that he should die. Or, again, it can happen that a man of evil will can will something that God also willeth with a good will--as, for example, a bad son wills that his father die and this is also God's will. Of course, the former wills what God doth not will, whereas the latter does will what God willeth. Yet the piety of the one, though he wills not what God willeth, is more consonant with God's will than is the impiety of the other, who wills the same thing that God willeth. There is a very great difference between what is fitting for man to will and what is fitting for God--and also between the ends to which a man directs his will--and this difference determines whether an act of will is to be approved or disapproved. Actually, God achieveth some of his purposes--which are, of course, all good--through the evil wills of bad men. For example, it was through the ill will of the Jews that, by the good will of the Father, Christ was slain for us--a deed so good that when the apostle Peter would have nullified it he was called "Satan" by him who had come in order to be slain.219 How good seemed the purposes of the pious faithful who were unwilling that the apostle Paul should go to Jerusalem, lest there he should suffer the things that the prophet Agabus had predicted!220 And yet God had willed that he should suffer these things for the sake of the preaching of Christ, and for the training of a martyr for Christ. And this good purpose of his he achieved, not through the good will of the Christians, but through the ill will of the Jews. Yet they were more fully his who did not will what he willed than were those who were willing instruments of his purpose--for while he and the latter did the very same thing, he worked through them with a good will, whereas they did his good will with their ill will.
102. But, however strong the wills either of angels or of men, whether good or evil, whether they will what God willeth or will something else, the will of the Omnipotent is always undefeated. And this will can never be evil, because even when it inflicts evils, it is still just; and obviously what is just is not evil. Therefore, whether through pity "he hath mercy on whom he willeth," or in justice "whom he willeth, he hardeneth," the omnipotent God never doth anything except what he doth will, and doth everything that he willeth.
LIMITS OF GOD'S PLAN FOR HUMAN SALVATION
103. Accordingly, when we hear and read in sacred Scripture that God "willeth that all men should be saved,"221 although we know well enough that not all men are saved, we are not on that account to underrate the fully omnipotent will of God. Rather, we must understand the Scripture, "Who will have all men to be saved," as meaning that no man is saved unless God willeth his salvation: not that there is no man whose salvation he doth not will, but that no one is saved unless He willeth it. Moreover, his will should be sought in prayer, because if he willeth, then what he willeth must necessarily be. And, indeed, it was of prayer to God that the apostle was speaking when he made that statement. Thus, we are also to understand what is written in the Gospel about Him "who enlighteneth every man."222 This means that there is no man who is enlightened except by God.
In any case, the word concerning God, "who will have all men to be saved," does not mean that there is no one whose salvation he doth not will--he who was unwilling to work miracles among those who, he said, would have repented if he had wrought them--but by "all men" we are to understand the whole of mankind, in
219Matt. 16:23. 220Acts 21:10-12. 221I Tim. 2:4. 222John 1:9.
every single group into which it can be divided: kings and subjects; nobility and plebeians; the high and the low; the learned and unlearned; the healthy and the sick; the bright, the dull, and the stupid; the rich, the poor, and the middle class; males, females, infants, children, the adolescent, young adults and middle-aged and very old; of every tongue and fashion, of all the arts, of all professions, with the countless variety of wills and minds and all the other things that differentiate people. For from which of these groups doth not God will that some men from every nation should be saved through his only begotten Son our Lord? Therefore, he doth save them since the Omnipotent cannot will in vain, whatsoever he willeth.
Now, the apostle had enjoined that prayers should be offered "for all men"223 and especially "for kings and all those of exalted station,"224 whose worldly pomp and pride could be supposed to be a sufficient cause for them to despise the humility of the Christian faith. Then, continuing his argument, "for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour"225-- that is, to pray even for such as these [kings]--the apostle, to remove any warrant for despair, added, "Who willeth that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth."226 Truly, then, God hath judged it good that through the prayers of the lowly he would deign to grant salvation to the exalted--a paradox we have already seen exemplified. Our Lord also useth the same manner of speech in the Gospel, where he saith to the Pharisees, "You tithe mint and rue and every herb."227 Obviously, the Pharisees did not tithe what belonged to others, nor all the herbs of all the people of other lands. Therefore, just as we should interpret "every herb" to mean "every kind of herb," so also we can interpret "all men" to mean "all kinds of men." We could interpret it in any other fashion, as long as we are not compelled to believe that the Omnipotent hath willed anything to be done which was not done. "He hath done all things in heaven and earth, whatsoever he willed,"228 as Truth sings of him, and surely he hath not willed to do anything that he hath not done. There must be no equivocation on this point.
THE DESTINY OF MAN
223I Tim. 2:1. 224I Tim. 2:2. 225I Tim. 2:3. 226I Tim. 2:4. 227Luke 11:42. 228Ps. 135:6.
to be miserable, but have no power whatsoever to will it.
And, just as in our present state, our soul is unable to will unhappiness for ourselves, so then it will be forever unable to will iniquity. But the ordered course of God's plan was not to be passed by, wherein he willed to show how good the rational creature is that is able not to sin, although one unable to sin is better.229 So, too, it was an inferior order of immortality--but yet it was immortality--in which man was capable of not dying, even if the higher order which is to be is one in which man will be incapable of dying.230
Man was, therefore, made upright, and in such a fashion that he could either continue in that uprightness--though not without divine aid--or become perverted by his own choice. Whichever of these two man had chosen, God's will would be done, either by man or at least concerning him. Wherefore, since man chose to do his own will instead of God's, God's will concerning him was done; for, from the same mass of perdition that flowed out of that common source, God maketh "one vessel for honorable, another for ignoble use"234; the ones for honorable use through his mercy, the ones for ignoble use through his judgment; lest anyone glory in man, or-what is the same thing--in himself.
108. Now, we could not be redeemed, even through "the one Mediator
229Another example of Augustine's wordplay. Man's original capacities included both the power notto sin and the power to sin (posse non peccare et posse peccare). In Adam's original sin, man lost theposse non peccare (the power not to sin) and retained the posse peccare (the power to sin)--which hecontinues to exercise. In the fulfillment of grace, man will have the posse peccare taken away andreceive the highest of all, the power not to be able to sin, non posse peccare. Cf. On Correction andGrace XXXIII.230Again, a wordplay between posset non mori and non possit mori.231Prov. 8:35 (LXX).
233Cf. John 1:16.
between God and man, Man himself, Christ Jesus,"235 if he were not also God. For when Adam was made--being made an upright man--there was no need for a mediator. Once sin, however, had widely separated the human race from God, it was necessary for a mediator, who alone was born, lived, and was put to death without sin, to reconcile us to God, and provide even for our bodies a resurrection to life eternal--and all this in order that man's pride might be exposed and healed through God's humility. Thus it might be shown man how far he had departed from God, when by the incarnate God he is recalled to God; that man in his contumacy might be furnished an example of obedience by the God-Man; that the fount of grace might be opened up; that even the resurrection of the body--itself promised to the redeemed--might be previewed in the resurrection of the Redeemer himself; that the devil might be vanquished by that very nature he was rejoicing over having deceived--all this, however, without giving man ground for glory in himself, lest pride spring up anew. And if there are other advantages accruing from so great a mystery of the Mediator, which those who profit from them can see or testify--even if they cannot be described--let them be added to this list.
"THE LAST THINGS"
235I Tim. 2:5 (mixed text). 236Rom. 14:10; II Cor. 5:10.
eternal, with no power to die to it. The condition of both societies will then be fixed and endless. But in the first city, some will outrank others in bliss, and in the second, some will have a more tolerable burden of misery than others.
THE PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN LIVING: FAITH AND HOPE
114. Thus, from our confession of faith, briefly summarized in the Creed (which is milk for babes when pondered at the carnal level but food for strong men when it is considered and studied spiritually), there is born the good hope of the faithful, accompanied by a holy love.241 But of these affirmations, all of which ought faithfully to be believed, only those which have to do with hope are contained in the
237Cf. Ps. 77:9.
240Cf. Ps. 31:19.
241Note the artificial return to the triadic scheme of the treatise: faith, hope, and love.
Lord's Prayer. For "cursed is everyone," as the divine eloquence testified, "who rests his hope in man."242 Thus, he who rests his hope in himself is bound by the bond of this curse. Therefore, we should seek from none other than the Lord God whatever it is that we hope to do well, or hope to obtain as reward for our good works.
117. And now regarding love, which the apostle says is greater than the other two--that is, faith and hope--for the more richly it dwells in a man, the better the man in whom it dwells. For when we ask whether someone is a good man, we are not asking what he believes, or hopes, but what he loves. Now, beyond all doubt, he who loves aright believes and hopes rightly. Likewise, he who does not love believes in vain, even if what he believes is true; he hopes in vain, even if what he hopes for is generally agreed to pertain to true happiness, unless he believes and hopes for this: that he may through prayer obtain the gift of love. For, although it is true that he cannot hope without love, it may be that there is something without which, if he does not love it, he cannot realize the object of his hopes. An example of this would
242Jer. 17:5. 243Matt. 6:9, 10. 244Matt. 6:11-13. 245Luke 11:2-4.
be if a man hopes for life eternal--and who is there who does not love that?--and yet does not love righteousness, without which no one comes to it.
Now this is the true faith of Christ which the apostle commends: faith that works through love. And what it yet lacks in love it asks that it may receive, it seeks that it may find, and knocks that it may be opened unto it.246 For faith achieves what the law commands [fides namque impetrat quod lex imperat]. And, without the gift of God--that is, without the Holy Spirit, through whom love is shed abroad in our hearts--the law may bid but it cannot aid [jubere lex poterit, non juvare]. Moreover, it can make of man a transgressor, who cannot then excuse himself by pleading ignorance. For appetite reigns where the love of God does not.247
118. When, in the deepest shadows of ignorance, he lives according to the flesh with no restraint of reason--this is the primal state of man.248 Afterward, when "through the law the knowledge of sin"249 has come to man, and the Holy Spirit has not yet come to his aid--so that even if he wishes to live according to the law, he is vanquished--man sins knowingly and is brought under the spell and made the slave of sin, "for by whatever a man is vanquished, of this master he is the slave"250. The effect of the knowledge of the law is that sin works in man the whole round of concupiscence, which adds to the guilt of the first transgression. And thus it is that what was written is fulfilled: "The law entered in, that the offense might abound."251 This is the second state of man.252
But if God regards a man with solicitude so that he then believes in God's help in fulfilling His commands, and if a man begins to be led by the Spirit of God, then the mightier power of love struggles against the power of the flesh.253 And although there is still in man a power that fights against him--his infirmity being not yet fully healed--yet he [the righteous man] lives by faith and lives righteously in so far as he does not yield to evil desires, conquering them by his love of righteousness. This is the third stage of the man of good hope.
A final peace is in store for him who continues to go forward in this course toward perfection through steadfast piety. This will be perfected beyond this life in the repose of the spirit, and, at the last, in the resurrection of the body.
Of these four different stages of man, the first is before the law, the second is under the law, the third is under grace, and the fourth is in full and perfect peace. Thus, also, the history of God's people has been ordered by successive temporal epochs, as it pleased God, who "ordered all things in measure and number and weight."254 The first period was before the law; the second under the law, which was given through Moses; the next, under grace which was revealed through the first Advent of the Mediator."255 This grace was not previously absent from those to whom it was to be imparted, although, in conformity to the temporal dispensations, it was veiled and hidden. For none of the righteous men of antiquity could find salvation apart from the faith of Christ. And, unless Christ had also been known to them, he could not have been prophesied to us--sometimes openly and sometimes obscurely--through their ministry.
119. Now, in whichever of these four "ages"--if one can call them that--the
247Another wordplay on cupiditas and caritas.248An interesting resemblance here to Freud's description of the Id, the primal core of our
250II Peter 2:19.
252Compare the psychological notion of the effect of external moral pressures and their power to
arouse guilt feelings, as in Freud's notion of "superego."
254Wis. 11:21 (Vulgate).
255Cf. John 1:17.
grace of regeneration finds a man, then and there all his past sins are forgiven him and the guilt he contracted in being born is removed by his being reborn. And so true is it that "the Spirit breatheth where he willeth"256 that some men have never known the second "age" of slavery under the law, but begin to have divine aid directly under the new commandment.
120. Yet, before a man can receive the commandment, he must, of course, live according to the flesh. But, once he has been imbued with the sacrament of rebirth, no harm will come to him even if he then immediately depart this life--"Wherefore on this account Christ died and rose again, that he might be the Lord of both the living and the dead."'257 Nor will the kingdom of death have dominion over him for whom He, who was "free among the dead,"258 died.
THE END OF ALL THE LAW
121. All the divine precepts are, therefore, referred back to love, of which the apostle says, "Now the end of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience and a faith unfeigned."259 Thus every commandment harks back to love. For whatever one does either in fear of punishment or from some carnal impulse, so that it does not measure up to the standard of love which the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in our hearts--whatever it is, it is not yet done as it should be, although it may seem to be. Love, in this context, of course includes both the love of God and the love of our neighbor and, indeed, "on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets"260--and, we may add, the gospel and the apostles, for from nowhere else comes the voice, "The end of the commandment is love,"261 and, "God is love."262
Therefore, whatsoever things God commands (and one of these is, "Thou shalt not commit adultery"263) and whatsoever things are not positively ordered but are strongly advised as good spiritual counsel (and one of these is, "It is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman"264)--all of these imperatives are rightly obeyed only when they are measured by the standard of our love of God and our love of our neighbor in God [propter Deum]. This applies both in the present age and in the world to come. Now we love God in faith; then, at sight. For, though mortal men ourselves, we do not know the hearts of mortal men. But then "the Lord will illuminate the hidden things in the darkness and will make manifest the cogitations of the heart; and then shall each one have his praise from God"265--for what will be praised and loved in a neighbor by his neighbor is just that which, lest it remain hidden, God himself will bring to light. Moreover, passion decreases as love increases266 until love comes at last to that fullness which cannot be surpassed, "for greater love than this no one has, that a man lay down his life for his friends."267 Who, then, can explain how great the power of love will be, when there will be no passion [cupiditas] for it to restrain or overcome? For, then, the supreme state of
258Cf. Ps. 88:5.
262I John 4:16.
263Ex. 20:14; Matt. 5:27; etc.
264I Cor. 7:1.
265I Cor. 4:5.
266Minuitur autem cupiditas caritate crescente.
true health [summa sanitas] will have been reached, when the struggle with death shall be no more.
122. But somewhere this book must have an end. You can see for yourself whether you should call it an Enchiridion, or use it as one. But since I have judged that your zeal in Christ ought not to be spurned and since I believe and hope for good things for you through the help of our Redeemer, and since I love you greatly as one of the members of his body, I have written this book for you--may its usefulness match its prolixity!--on Faith, Hope, and Love.