The Marriage Epistle (A Fathers Epistles Book 99)
Now concerning the contribution for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia… Let all your things be done with charity. Greet one another with a holy kiss I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Some time before 2 Corinthians was written, Paul paid them a second visit 2 Corinthians ; to check some rising disorder 2 Corinthians ; , and wrote them a letter, now lost 1 Corinthians They had also been visited by Apollos Acts , perhaps by Peter 1 Corinthians , and by some Jewish Christians who brought with them letters of commendation from Jerusalem 1 Corinthians ; 2 Corinthians ; ; Paul wrote this letter to correct what he saw as erroneous views in the Corinthian church.
Several sources informed Paul of conflicts within the church at Corinth: Apollos Acts , a letter from the Corinthians, the "household of Chloe", and finally Stephanas and his two friends who had visited Paul ; Paul then wrote this letter to the Corinthians, urging uniformity of belief "that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you", and expounding Christian doctrine.
Titus and a brother whose name is not given were probably the bearers of the letter to the church at Corinth 2 Corinthians ; , 16— In general, divisions within the church at Corinth seem to be a problem, and Paul makes it a point to mention these conflicts in the beginning. Specifically, pagan roots still hold sway within their community. Paul wants to bring them back to what he sees as correct doctrine, stating that God has given him the opportunity to be a "skilled master builder" to lay the foundation and let others build upon it 1 Cor Later, Paul wrote about immorality in Corinth by discussing an immoral brother, how to resolve personal disputes, and sexual purity.follow link
Book of Revelation
However, the Greek word for "wife" is the same word for "woman". The Early Church Fathers including Tertullian , Jerome , and Augustine state the Greek word is ambiguous and the women in 1 Corinthians were women ministering to the Apostles as women ministered to Christ cf Matthew , Luke —3 , and were not wives,  and assert they left their "offices of marriage" to follow Christ. Paul also argues that married people must please their spouses, just as every Christian must please God. The letter is also notable for mentioning the role of women in churches , that for instance they must remain silent 1 Cor.
Their silence was unique to the particular situation in the Corinthian gatherings at that time, and on this reading, Paul did not intend his words to be universalized for all women of all churches of all eras. He states that Christ died for our sins, and was buried, and rose on the third day according to the scriptures 1 Cor. Paul then asks: "Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? Throughout the letter, Paul presents issues that are troubling the community in Corinth and offers ways to fix them. Paul states that this letter is to "admonish" them as beloved children.
They are expected to become imitators of Jesus and follow the ways in Christ as he, Paul, teaches in all his churches 1 Cor. This epistle contains some well-known phrases, including: "all things to all men" , "through a glass, darkly" , and "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child" John Chrysostom , Doctor of the Church, wrote a commentary on 1 Corinthians, formed by 44 homilies . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Corinthian disambiguation.
Pauline literature. I Corinthians II Corinthians. Galatians Ephesians. Philippians Colossians. I Thessalonians II Thessalonians. Pastoral epistles. Philemon Hebrews. Paul the Apostle. Related literature. Lost epistles Apocalypse of Paul. Coptic Apocalypse of Paul. Corinthians to Paul Acts of Paul. Paul and Thecla Peter and Paul. Prayer of Paul. See also. Apostle Christian Pauline Christianity. Matthew Mark Luke John.
Further information: Authorship of the Pauline epistles. X Abingdon Press, , p. Presbyterian Publishing Corp. The Oxford Bible Commentary. Full and perfect love there reigns, for God is all in all. They love and praise, they praise and love Him evermore. Blessed, perfectly and forever blessed, shall I too be, if, when my poor body shall be dissolved,. It is incorporated in the Meditations of Augustin, and the ideas originated in part with him, but were not brought into poetical form till long afterwards by Peter Damiani.
He left no will, for in his voluntary poverty he had no earthly property to dispose of, except his library; this he bequeathed to the church, and it was fortunately preserved from the depredations of the Arian barbarians. Soon after his death Hippo was taken and destroyed by the Vandals. A few decades later the whole West-Roman empire fell in ruins. The culmination of the African church was the beginning of its decline. But the work of Augustin could not perish. His ideas fell like living seed into the soil of Europe, and produced abundant fruits in nations and countries of which he had never heard.
Augustin, the man with upturned eye, with pen in the left hand, and a burning heart in the right as he is usually represented , is a philosophical and theological genius of the first order, towering like a pyramid above his age, and looking down commandingly upon succeeding centuries. He had a mind uncommonly fertile and deep, bold and soaring; and with it, what is better, a heart full of Christian love and humility. He stands of right by the side of the greatest philosophers of antiquity and of modern times. We meet him alike on the broad highways and the narrow footpaths, on the giddy Alpine heights and in the awful depths of speculation, wherever philosophical thinkers before him or after him have trod.
As a theologian he is facile princeps, at least surpassed by no church father, schoolman, or reformer. With royal munificence he scattered ideas in passing, which have set in mighty motion other lands and later times. He combined the creative power of Tertullian with the churchly spirit of Cyprian, the speculative intellect of the Greek church with the practical tact of the Latin. He was a Christian philosopher and a philosophical theologian to the full.
It was his need and his delight to wrestle again and again with the hardest problems of thought, and to comprehend to the utmost the divinely revealed matter of the faith. The Metaphysician and the Christian believer coalesced in him. His meditatio passes with the utmost ease into oratio, and his oratio into meditatio.
With profundity he combined an equal clearness and sharpness of thought. He was an extremely skilful and a successful dialectician, inexhaustible in arguments and in answers to the objections of his adversaries. He has enriched Latin literature with a greater store of beautiful, original, and pregnant proverbial sayings, than any classic author, or any other teacher of the church.
He had a creative and decisive hand in almost every dogma of the Latin church, completing some, and advancing others. The centre of his system is the free redeeming grace of God in Christ, operating through the actual, historical church. He is evangelical or Pauline in his doctrine of sin and grace, but catholic that is, old-catholic, not Roman Catholic in his doctrine of the church.
The Pauline element comes forward mainly in the Pelagian controversy, the catholic-churchly in the Donatist; but each is modified by the other. Baur incorrectly makes freedom the fundamental idea of the Augustinian system. But this much better suits the Pelagian; while Augustin started like Calvin and Schleiermacher from the idea of the absolute dependence of man upon God. He changed his idea of freedom during the Pelagian controversy. Baur draws an ingenious and suggestive comparison between Augustin and Origen, the two greatest intellects among the church fathers.
How far both towered above their times, is most clearly manifest in the very fact that they alone, of all the theologians of the first six centuries, became the creators of distinct systems, each proceeding from a definite idea, and each completely carried out; and this fact proves also how much the one system has that is analogous to the other.
The one system, like the other, is founded upon the idea of freedom; in both there is a specific act, by which the entire development of human life is determined; and in both this is an act which lies far outside of the temporal consciousness of the individual; with this difference alone, that in one system the act belongs to each separate individual himself, and only falls outside of his temporal life and consciousness; in the other, it lies within the sphere of the temporal history of man, but is only the act of one individual.
If in the system of Origen nothing gives greater offence than the idea of the pre-existence and fall of souls, which seems to adopt heathen ideas into the Christian faith, there is in the system of Augustin the same overleaping of individual life and consciousness, in order to explain from an act in the past the present sinful condition of man; but the pagan Platonic point of view is exchanged for one taken from the Old Testament. What therefore essentially distinguishes the system of Augustin from that of Origen, is only this: the fall of Adam is substituted for the pre-temporal fall of souls, and what in Origen still wears a heathen garb, puts on in Augustin a purely Old Testament form.
The learning of Augustin was not equal to his genius, nor as extensive as that of Origen and Eusebius, but still considerable for his time, and superior to that of any of the Latin fathers, with the single exception of Jerome. He had received in the schools of Madaura and Carthage the usual philosophical and rhetorical preparation for the forum, which stood him in good stead also in theology. He was familiar with Latin literature, and was by no means blind to the excellencies of the classics, though he placed them far below the higher beauty of the Holy Scriptures.
The Hortensius of Cicero a lost work inspired him during his university course with enthusiasm for philosophy and for the knowledge of truth for its own sake; the study of Platonic and Neo-Platonic works in the Latin version of the rhetorician Victorinus kindled in him an incredible fire; 2 though in both he missed the holy name of Jesus and the cardinal virtues of love and humility, and found in them only beautiful ideals without power to conform Edition: current; Page: [ 9 ] him to them. His City of God, his book on heresies, and other writings, show an extensive knowledge of ancient philosophy, poetry, and history, sacred and secular.
But his knowledge of Greek literature was mostly derived from Latin translations. With the Greek language, as he himself frankly and modestly confesses, he had, in comparison with Jerome, but a superficial acquaintance. Hence, with all his extraordinary familiarity with the Latin Bible, he made many mistakes in exposition.
He was rather a thinker than a scholar, and depended mainly on his own resources, which were always abundant. Erasmus Ep. Non arbitror alium esse doctorem, in quem opulentus ille ac benignus Spiritus dotes suas omnes largius effuderit, quam in Augustinum. Baur, without sympathy with his views, speaks enthusiastically of the man and his genius. His scholarship was not equal to his intellect; yet even that is sometimes set too low, when it is asserted that he had no acquaintance at all with the Greek language; for this is incorrect, though he had attained no great proficiency in Greek.
Bindemann a Lutheran divine begins his thorough monograph vol. Augustin is one of the greatest personages in the church. He is second in importance to none of the teachers who have wrought most in the church since the apostolic time; and it can well be said that among the church fathers the first place is due to him, and in the time of the Reformation a Luther alone, for fulness and depth of thought and grandeur of character, may stand by his side.
Gangauf, put him on an equality with the greatest philosophers, and discern in him a providential personage endowed by the Spirit of God for the instruction of all ages. A striking characterization is that of the Old Catholic Dr. No one of the other fathers has left so luminous traces of his existence. Though we find among them many rich and powerful minds, yet we find in none the forces of personal character, Edition: current; Page: [ 10 ] mind, heart, and will, so largely developed and so harmoniously working.
No one surpasses him in wealth of perceptions and dialectical sharpness of thoughts, in depth and fervour of religious sensibility, in greatness of aims and energy of action. He therefore also marks the culmination of the patristic age, and has been elevated by the acknowledgment of succeeding times as the first and the universal church father. And as Paul among the Apostles pre-eminently determined the development of Christianity, and became, more than all others, the expression of the Christian mind, to which men ever afterwards return, as often as in the life of the church that mind becomes turbid, to draw from him, as the purest fountain, a fresh understanding of the gospel doctrine,—so has Augustin turned the Christian nations since his time for the most part into his paths, and become pre-eminently their trainer and teacher, in the study of whom they always gain a renewal and deepening of their Christian consciousness.
Not the middle age alone, but the Reformation also, was ruled by him, and whatever to this day boasts of the Christian spirit, is connected at least in part with Augustin. Glyn, , Vol. Biography, I. Shedd, in the Introduction to his edition of the Confessions , has furnished a truthful and forcible description of the mind and heart of St.
SEMIPHORAS and SCHEMHAMPHORAS
I add the striking judgment of the octogenarian historian Dr. We find in him both the sharp understanding which makes salvation depend on the clearly defined dogma of the church, and the loving absorption of the heart in God which scarcely needs any more the aid of the church. His writings reflect all kinds of Christian thoughts, which lie a thousand years apart and appear to be contradictions. How were they possible in so systematic a thinker? Just as much as they were possible in Christianity, of which he was a microcosmus.
The numerous writings of Augustin, the composition of which extended through four and forty years, are a mine of Christian knowledge, and experience. They abound in lofty ideas, noble sentiments, devout effusions, clear statements of truth, strong arguments against error, and passages of fervid eloquence and undying beauty, but also in innumerable repetitions, fanciful opinions, and playful conjectures of his uncommonly fertile brain. His style is full of life and vigour and ingenious plays on words, but deficient in simplicity, purity and elegance, and by no means free from the vices of a degenerate rhetoric, wearisome prolixity, and from that vagabunda loquacitas, with which his adroit opponent, Julian of Eclanum, charged him.
He would rather, as he said, be blamed by grammarians, than not understood by the people; and he bestowed little care upon his style, though he many a time rises in lofty poetic flight. He made no point of literary renown, but, impelled by love to God and to the church, he wrote from the fulness of his mind and heart. His literary career for us commences in his pious retreat at Cassiciacum where he prepared himself for a public profession of his faith.
He appears first, in the works composed at Cassiciacum, Rome, and near Tagaste, as a Christian philosopher, after his ordination to the priesthood as a theologian.
The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (Part 2)
Yet even in his theological works he everywhere manifests the metaphysical and speculative bent of his mind. He never abandoned or depreciated reason, he only subordinated it to faith and made it subservient to the defence of revealed truth. Faith is the pioneer of reason, and discovers the territory which reason explores. The following is a classified view of his most important works.
Autobiographical works. To these belong the Confessions and the Retractations: the former acknowledging his sins, the latter retracting his theoretical errors. In the one he subjects his life, in the other his writings, to close criticism; and these productions therefore furnish the best standard for judging of his entire labours. The Confessions are the most profitable, at least the most edifying, product of his pen; indeed, we may say, the most edifying book in all the patristic literature.
They were accordingly the most read even during his lifetime, 4 and they have been the most frequently published since. He finds a response in every human soul that struggles through the temptations of nature and the labyrinth of error to the knowledge of Edition: current; Page: [ 12 ] truth and the beauty of holiness, and after many sighs and tears finds rest and peace in the arms of a merciful Saviour.
The style is not free from the faults of an artificial rhetoric, involved periods and far-fetched paronomasias; but these defects are more than atoned for by passages of unfading beauty, the devout spirit and psalm-like tone of the book. It is the incense of a sacred mysticism of the heart which rises to the throne on high. The wisdom of some parts of the Confessions may be doubted.
Augustin composed the Confessions about the year , ten years after his conversion. The first nine books contain, in the form of a continuous prayer and confession before God, a general sketch of his earlier life, of his conversion, and of his return to Africa in the thirty-fourth year of his age. The salient points in these books are the engaging history of his conversion in Milan, and the story of the last days of his noble mother in Ostia, spent as it were at the very gate of heaven and in full assurance of a blessed reunion at the throne of glory.
Some of his changes were reactionary and no improvements, especially those on the freedom of the will, and on religious toleration. In all essential points, nevertheless, his theological system remained the same from his conversion to this time. The Retractations give beautiful evidence of his love of truth, his conscientiousness, and his humility. To this same class should be added the Letters of Augustin, of which the Benedictine editors, in their second volume, give two hundred and seventy including letters to Augustin in chronological order from ad to ad These letters treat, sometimes very minutely, Edition: current; Page: [ 13 ] of all the important questions of his time, and give us an insight of his cares, his official fidelity, his large heart, and his effort to become, like Paul, all things to all men.
Philosophical treatises, in dialogue; almost all composed in his earlier life; either during his residence on the country-seat Cassiciacum in the vicinity of Milan, where he spent half a year before his baptism in instructive and stimulating conversation, in a sort of academy or Christian Platonic banquet with Monnica, his son Adeodatus, his brother Navigius, his friend Alypius, and some cousins and pupils; or during his second residence in Rome; or soon after his return to Africa.
Other philosophical works on grammar, dialectics or ars bene disputandi , rhetoric, geometry, and arithmetic, are lost. These works exhibit as yet little that is specifically Christian and churchly; but they show a Platonism seized and consecrated by the spirit of Christianity, full of high thoughts, ideal views, and discriminating argument.
They were designed to present the different stages of human thought by which he himself had reached the knowledge of the truth, and to serve others as steps to the sanctuary. They form an elementary introduction to his theology. He afterwards, in his Retractations, withdrew many things contained in them, like the Platonic view of the pre-existence Edition: current; Page: [ 14 ] of the soul, and the Platonic idea that the acquisition of knowledge is a recollection or excavation of the knowledge hidden in the mind.
Yet he could never cease to philosophise, and even his later works, especially De Trinitate, and De Civitate Dei, are full of profound speculations. In the history of philosophy he deserves a place in the highest rank, and has done greater service to the science of sciences than any other father, Clement of Alexandria and Origen not excepted. The philosophical opinions of Augustin are ably and clearly summed up by Ueberweg as follows: 2.
From the undeniable existence and possession by man of some truth, he concludes to the existence of God as the truth per se; but our conviction of the existence of the material world he regards as only an irresistible belief. Combating heathen religion and philosophy, Augustin defends the doctrines and institutions peculiar to Christianity, and maintains, in particular, against the Neo-Platoniste, whom he rates most highly among all the ancient philosophers, the Christian these that salvation is to be found in Christ alone, that divine worship is due to no other being beside the triune God, since he created all things himself, and did not commission inferior beings, gods, demons, or angels to create the material world; that the soul with its body will rise again to eternal salvation or damnation, but will not return periodically to renewed life upon the earth; that the soul does not exist before the body, and that the latter is not the prison of the former, but that the soul begins to exist at the same time with the body; that the world both had a beginning and is perishable, and that only God and the souls of angels and men are eternal.
Against the Donatists, Augustin maintains the unity of the Church. In opposition to Pelagius and the Pelagians, he asserts that divine grace is not conditioned on human worthiness, and maintains the doctrine of absolute predestination, or, that from the mass of men who, through the disobedience of Adam in whom all mankind were present potentially , have sunk into corruption and sin, some are chosen by the free election of God to be monuments of his grace, and are brought to believe and be saved, while the greater number, as monuments of his justice, are left to eternal damnation.
Apologetic works against Pagans and Jews. Among these the twenty-two books, De Civitate Dei, are still well worth reading. They form the deepest and richest apologetic work of antiquity; begun in , after the occupation of Rome by the Gothic king Alaric, finished in , and often separately published. They condense his entire theory of the world and of man, and are the first attempt at a comprehensive philosophy of universal history under the dualistic view of two antagonistic currents or organized forces, a kingdom of this world which is doomed to final destruction, and a kingdom of God which will last forever.
From the Protestant point of view Augustin erred in identifying the kingdom of God with the visible Catholic Church, which is only a part of it. Polemic-Thfological works. These are the most copious sources of the history of Christian doctrine in the patristic age. Augustin, with all the firmness of his convictions, was free from personal antipathy, and used the pen of controversy in the genuine Christian spirit, fortiter in re, suaviter in modo.
Having himself belonged for nine years to this sect, Augustin was the better fitted for the task of refuting it, as Paul was peculiarly prepared for the confutation of the Pharisaic Judaism. His doctrine of the nature of evil is particularly valuable. He has triumphantly demonstrated for all time, that evil is not a corporeal thing, nor in any way substantial, but a product of the free will of the creature, a perversion of substance in itself good, a corruption of the nature created by God. Episcopum, the last anti-Donatistic work These works are the chief patristic authority of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Church and against the sects.
They are thoroughly Romanizing in spirit and aim, and least satisfactory to Protestant readers. The result of persecution was that both Catholics and Donatists in North Africa were overwhelmed in ruin first by the barbarous Vandals, who were Arian heretics, and afterwards by the Mohammedan conquerors.
By far the most important of these are the fifteen books De Trinitate ;—the most profound and discriminating production of the ancient church on the Trinity, in no respect inferior to the kindred works of Athanasius and the two Gregories, and for centuries final to the dogma. The Collatio cum Maximino Ariano, an obscure babbler, belongs to the year The numerous anti-Pelagian works of Augustin are his most influential and most valuable, at least for Protestants. They were written between the years and These anti-Pelagian writings contain what is technically called the Augustinian system of theology, which was substantially adopted by the Lutheran Church, yet without the decree of reprobation, and in a more rigorous logical form by the Calvinistic Confessions.
The system gives all glory to God, does full justice to the sovereignty of divine grace, effectually humbles and yet elevates and fortifies man, and furnishes the strongest stimulus to gratitude and the firmest foundation of comfort. It makes all bright and lovely in the circle of the elect. But it is gloomy and repulsive in its negative aspect towards the non-elect. And yet this Augustinian system, especially in its severest Calvinistic form, has promoted civil and religious liberty, and trained the most virtuous, independent, and heroic types of Christians, as the Huguenots, the Puritans, the Covenanters, and the Pilgrim Fathers.
It is still a mighty moral power, and will not lose its hold upon earnest characters until some great theological genius produces from the inexhaustible mine of the Scriptures a more satisfactory solution of the awful problem which the universal reign of sin and death presents to the thinking mind. In Augustin the anti-Pelagian system was checked and moderated by his churchly and sacramental views, and we cannot understand him without keeping both in view. The same apparent contradiction we find in Luther, but he broke entirely with the sacerdotal system of Edition: current; Page: [ 18 ] Rome, and made the doctrine of justification by faith the chief article of his creed, which Augustin never could have done.
Exegetical works. The best of these are: De Genesi ad literam The Genesis word for word , in twelve books, an extended exposition of the first three chapters of Genesis, particularly the history of the creation literally interpreted, though with many mystical and allegorical interpretations also written between and ; 1 Enarrationes in Psalmos mostly sermons ; 2 hundred and twenty-four Homilies on the Gospel of John and ; 3 ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John ; the Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount ; the Harmony of the Gospels De consensu evangelistarum, ; the Epistle to the Galatians ; and an unfinished commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.
Augustin deals more in lively, profound, and edifying thoughts on the Scriptures than in proper grammatical and historical exposition, for which neither he nor his readers had the necessary linguistic knowledge, disposition, or taste. He grounded his theology less upon exegesis than upon his Christian and churchly mind saturated with Scriptural truths. He excels in spiritual insight, and is suggestive even when he misses the natural meaning. Ethical and Ascetic works. Among these belong three hundred and ninety-six Sermones mostly very short de Scripturis on texts of Scripture , de tempore festival sermons , de sanctis in memory of apostles, martyrs, and saints , and de diversis on various occasions , some of them dictated by Augustin, some taken down by hearers.
Jovinianum ; De virginitate ; De fide et operibus ; De adulterinis conjugiis, on 1 Cor. As we survey this enormous literary labor, augmented by many other treatises and letters now lost, and as we consider his episcopal labors, his many journeys, and his adjudications of controversies among the faithful, which often robbed him of whole days, we must be really astounded at the fidelity, exuberance, energy, and perseverance of this father of the church. Surely, such a life was worth the living. In conclusion we must add some observations respecting the influence of Augustin on the Church and the world since his time, and his position with reference to the great antagonism of Catholicism and Protestantism.
All the church fathers are, indeed, the common inheritance of both parties; but no other of them has produced so permanent effects on both, and no other stands in so high regard with both, as Augustin. Upon the Greek Church alone has he exercised little or no influence; for this Church stopped with the undeveloped synergistic anthropology of the previous age, and rejects most decidedly, as a Latin heresy, the doctrine of the double procession of the Holy Spirit the Filioque for which Augustin is chiefly responsible.
In all these great intellectual conflicts he was in general the champion of the cause of Christian truth against dangerous errors. Through his influence the canon of Holy Scripture including, indeed, the Old Testament Apocrypha was fixed in its present form by the councils of Hippo and Carthage He developed the Nicene dogma of the Trinity, in opposition to tritheism on the one hand, and Sabellianism on the other, but also with the doubtful addition of the Filioque, and in opposition to the Greek, gave it the form in which it has ever since prevailed in the West.
In this form the dogma received classical expression from his school in the falsely so called Athanasian Creed, which is not recognized by the Greek Church, and which better deserves the name of the Augustinian Creed. Augustin is also the principal theological creator of the Latin-Catholic system as distinct from the Greek Catholicism on the one hand, and from evangelical Protestantism on the other.
He ruled the entire theology of the middle age, and became the father of scholasticism in virtue of his dialectic mind, and the father of mysticism in virtue of his devout heart, without being responsible for the excesses of either system. For scholasticism thought to comprehend the divine with the understanding, and lost itself at last in empty dialectics; and mysticism Edition: current; Page: [ 20 ] endeavoured to grasp the divine with feeling, and easily strayed into misty sentimentalism; Augustin sought to apprehend the divine with the united power of mind and heart, of bold thought and humble faith.
All this cannot possibly be explained without an interior affinity. It was, indeed, a full and unconditional surrender of his mind and heart to God, but it was at the same time a submission of his private judgment to the authority of the church which led him to the faith of the gospel.
He did not indeed enter a cloister, like Luther, whose conversion in Erfurt was likewise essentially catholic, but he lived in his house in the simplicity of a monk, and made and kept the vow of voluntary poverty and celibacy. In this church he had found rescue from the shipwreck of his life, the home of true Christianity, firm ground for his thinking, satisfaction for his heart, and a commensurate field for the wide range of his powers.
He was the first to give a clear and fixed definition of the sacrament, as a visible sign of invisible grace, resting on divine appointment; but he knows nothing of the number seven; this was a much later enactment. In the doctrine of baptism he is entirely Catholic, though in logical contradiction with his dogma of predestination; he maintained the necessity of baptism for salvation on the ground of John iii.
He certainly can not be quoted in favor of transubstantiation. He was the chief authority of Ratramnus and Berengar in their opposition to this dogma. Thus even truly great and good men have unintentionally, through mistaken zeal, become the authors of incalculable mischief. But, on the other hand, Augustin is, of all the fathers, nearest to evangelical Protestantism, and may be called, in respect of his doctrine of sin and grace, the first forerunner of the Reformation.
The Lutheran and Reformed churches have ever conceded to him, without scruple, the cognomen of Saint, and claimed him as one of the most enlightened witnesses of the truth and most striking examples of the marvellous power of divine grace in the transformation of a sinner. It is worthy of mark, that his Pauline doctrines, which are most nearly Edition: current; Page: [ 22 ] akin to Protestantism, are the later and more mature parts of his system, and that just these found great acceptance with the laity. The Pelagian controversy, in which he developed his anthropology, marks the culmination of his theological and ecclesiastical career, and his latest writings were directed against the Pelagian Julian and the Semi-Pelagians in Gaul, who were brought to his notice by two friendly laymen, Prosper and Hilary.
These anti-Pelagian works have wrought mightily, it is most true, upon the Catholic church, and have held in check the Pelagianizing tendencies of the hierarchical and monastic system, but they have never passed into its blood and marrow. They waited for a favourable future, and nourished in silence an opposition to the prevailing system. In the middle age the better sects, which attempted to simplify, purify, and spiritualize the reigning Christianity by return to the Holy Scriptures, and the Reformers before the Reformation, such as Wiclif, Hus, Wessel, resorted most, after the apostle Paul, to the bishop of Hippo as the representative of the doctrine of free grace.
The Reformers were led by his writings into a deeper understanding of Paul, and so prepared for their great vocation. No church teacher did so much to mould Luther and Calvin; none furnished them so powerful weapons against the dominant Pelagianism and formalism; none is so often quoted by them with esteem and love. All the Reformers in the outset, Melanchthon and Zwingle among them, adopted his denial of free will and his doctrine of predestination, and sometimes even went beyond him into the abyss of supralapsarianism, to cut out the last roots of human merit and boasting.
The excess of Augustin and the Reformers in this direction is due to the earnestness and energy of their sense of sin and grace. The Pelagian looseness could never beget a reformer. He who would give others the conviction that he has a divine vocation for the church and for mankind, must himself be penetrated with the faith of an eternal, unalterable decree of God, and must cling to it in the darkest hours. In great men, and only in great men, great opposites and apparently antagonistic truths live together.
Small minds cannot hold them. The catholic, churchly, sacramental, and sacerdotal system stands in conflict with the evangelical Protestant Christianity of subjective, personal experience. The doctrine of universal baptismal regeneration, in particular, which presupposes a universal call at least within the church , can on principles of logic hardly be united with the doctrine of an absolute predestination, which limits the decree of redemption to a portion of the baptized.
Regeneration and election, with him, do not, as with Calvin, coincide. The former may exist without the latter, but the latter cannot exist without the former. Augustin assumes that many are actually born into the kingdom of grace only to perish again; Calvin holds that in the case of the non-elect baptism is an unmeaning ceremony; the one putting the delusion in the inward effect, the other in the outward form.
The sacramental, churchly system throws the main stress upon the baptismal regeneration, to the injury of the eternal election; the Calvinistic or Puritan system sacrifices the virtue of the sacrament to the election; the Lutheran and high Anglican systems seek a middle ground, without being able to give a satisfactory theological solution of the problem. The Anglican Church, however, allows the two opposite views, and sanctions the one in the baptismal service of the Book of Common Prayer, the other in her Thirty-nine Articles, and other standards, as interpreted by the low church or evangelical party in a moderately Calvinistic sense.
The church, with her strong, imposing organization and her firm system of doctrine, must save Christianity amidst the chaotic turmoil of the great migration, and must become a training-school for the barbarian nations of the middle age. In this process of training, next to the Holy Scriptures, the scholarship of Jerome and the theology and fertile ideas of Augustin were the most important intellectual agents. Augustin was held in so universal esteem that he could exert influence in all directions, and even in his excesses gave no offence. He was sufficiently catholic for the principle of church authority, and yet at the same time so free and evangelical that he modified its hierarchical and sacramental character, reacted against its tendencies to outward, mechanical ritualism, and kept alive a deep consciousness of sin and grace, and a spirit of fervent and truly Christian piety, until that spirit grew strong enough to break the shell of hierarchical tutelage, and enter a new stage of its development.
No other father could have acted more beneficently on the Catholicism of the middle age, and more successfully provided for the evangelical Reformation than St. Augustin, the worthy successor of Paul, and the precursor of Luther and Calvin. He had lived at the time of the Reformation, he would in all probability have taken the lead of the evangelical movement against the prevailing Pelagianism of the Roman Church, though he would not have gone so far as Luther or Calvin. For we must not forget that, notwithstanding their strong affinity, there is an important difference between Catholicism and Romanism or Popery.
They sustain a similar relation to each other as the Judaism of the Old Testament dispensation, which looked to, and prepared the way for, Christianity, and the Judaism after the crucifixion and after the destruction of Jerusalem, which is antagonistic to Christianity. Catholicism is the strength of Romanism, Romanism is the weakness of Catholicism.
Catholicism produced Jansenism, Popery condemned it. Popery never forgets and never learns anything, and can allow no change in doctrine except by way of addition , without sacrificing its fundamental principle of infallibility, and thus committing suicide. But Catholicism may ultimately burst the chains of Popery which have so long kept it confined, and may assume new life and vigour.
Such a personage as Augustin, still holding a mediating place between the two great divisions of Christendom, revered alike by both, and of equal influence with both, is furthermore a welcome pledge of the elevating prospect of a future reconciliation of Catholicism and Protestantism in a higher unity, conserving all the truths, losing all the errors, forgiving all the sins, forgetting all the enmities of both. These elements admit of an ultimate harmony in the perfect state of the church, corresponding to the union of the divine and human natures, which transcends the limits of finite thought and logical comprehension, and is yet completely realized in the person of Christ.
They are in fact united in the theological system of St. We believe in and hope for one holy catholic apostolic church, one communion of saints, one flock, one Shepherd. The more the different churches become truly Christian, the nearer they draw to Christ, and the more they labor for His kingdom which rises above them all, the nearer will they come to one another. For Christ is the common head and vital centre of all believers, and the divine harmony of all discordant human sects and creeds. In Christ, says Pascal, one of the greatest and noblest disciples of Augustin, In Christ all contradictions are solved.
How, indeed, could one fail to admire in the City of God the flight of genius, and in the Confessions, what is better still, the effusions of a great soul? There is in the book a wonderful combination of childlike piety and intellectual power. In his highest intellectual flights we find the breathings of faith and love, and, amid the profoundest expressions of penitential sorrow, gleams of his metaphysical genius appear.
The book is emphatically not an autobiography. That purpose is clearly explained in the fourth section of his Tenth Book. These two main ideas are embodied in the very meaning of the title of the book, the word confession having, as Augustin constantly urges, two meanings. Confession of our sins is well known, so well known to all the people, that whenever they hear the name of confession in the lessons, whether it is said in praise or of sin, they beat their breasts.
This undertone of penitence and praise which pervades the Confessions in all its episodes, like the golden threads which run through the texture of an Eastern garment, presents one of its peculiar charms. It would not be right to overlook a charge that has been brought against the book by Lord Byron. There is here no dwelling on his sin, or painting it so as to satisfy a prurient imagination.
His sin was dead; and he had carried it to its burial with tears of repentance. And when, ten years after his baptism, he sets himself, at the request of some, to a consideration of what he then was at the moment of making his confessions, 1 he refers hardly at all to this sin of his youth; and such allusions as he does make are of the most casual kind. Instead of enlarging upon it, he treats it as past, and only speaks of temptation and sin as they are common to all men.
Many of the French writers on the Confessions 2 institute a comparison in this matter between the confessions of Augustin and those of Rousseau. But however this may be, justice requires us to remember, in considering his transgression, that from his very childhood he had been surrounded by a condition of civilisation presenting manifold temptations. Now all these influences left their mark on Augustin. Augustin at this time, then, is not to be taken as a type of what Christianity produced. He is to a great extent the outgrowth of the Pagan influences of the time.
Considerations such as these may enable us to judge of his early sin more justly than if we measured it by our own privileges and opportunities. The style of Augustin is sometimes criticised as not having the refinement of Virgil, Horace, or Cicero. The words of a preacher, saith he, ought pungere, non palpare, to prick the heart, not to smooth and coax. The work of anorat or is too precarious for a minister of the gospel.
Gregory observed that our Saviour had not styled us the sugar but the salt of the earth, and Augustin observeth, that through Cyprian in one epistle showed much of a florid orator, to show he could do it, yet he never would do so any more, to show he would not. There are several features in the Confessions deserving of remark, as being of special interest to the philosopher, the historian or the divine.
Chiefest amongst these is the intense desire for knowledge and the love of truth which characterised Augustin. This love of knowledge is perhaps conveyed in the beautiful legend quoted by Nourisson, 4 of the monk wrapped in spirit, who expressed astonishment at not seeing Augustin among the elect in heaven. While from the time of his conversion we find him holding on to the fundamental doctrines of the faith with the tenacity of one who had experienced the hollowness of the teachings of philosophy, 5 this passion for truth led him to handle most freely subjects of speculation in things non-essential.
It is to this eager desire for truth in his many-sided mind that we owe those trains of thought that read like forecasts of modern opinion. We have called attention to some such anticipations of modern thought as they recur in the notes throughout the book; but the speculations on Memory, Time, and Creation, which occupy so large a space in Books Ten and Eleven, deserve more particular notice. The French essayists have entered very fully into these questions. He compares his theories with those of Malebranche, and, while recognising the practical and animated character of his descriptions, thinks him obscure in his delineation of the manner in which absent realities reproduce themselves on the memory.
We have had occasion in the notes to refer to the Unseen Universe. It is curious, in connection with this part of our subject, to note Edition: current; Page: [ 32 ] that in leading up to the conclusion at which he arrives, M. Saisset quotes a passage from the City of God, 1 which contains an adumbration of the theory of the above work in regard to the eternity of the invisible universe.
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We have already, in a previous paragraph, briefly adverted to the influence Christianity and Paganism had one on the other. The history of Christianity has been a steady advance on Paganism and Pagan philosophy; but it can hardly be denied that in this advance there has been an absorption—and in some periods in no small degree—of some of their elements. As these matters have been examined in the notes, we need not do more than refer the reader to the Index of Subjects for the evidence to be obtained in this respect from the Confessions on such matters as Baptism, False Miracles, and Prayers for the Dead.
There is one feature in the Confessions which we should not like to pass unnoticed. A reference to the Retractations 4 will show that Augustin highly appreciated the spiritual use to which the book might be put in the edification of the brethren. We believe that it will prove most useful in this way; and spiritual benefit will accrue in proportion to the steadiness of its use. We would venture to suggest that Book X. It only remains to call attention to the principles on which this translation and its annotations have been made.
Sepher Shimmush Tehillim;
The text of the Benedictine edition has been followed; but the head-lines of the chapters are taken from the edition of Bruder, as being the more definite and full. After carefully translating the whole of the book, it has been compared, line by line, with the translation of Watts 9 one of the most nervous translations of the seventeenth century , and that of Dr. Pusey, which is confessedly founded upon that of Watts. Reference has also been made, in the case of obscure passages, to the French translation of Du Bois, and the English translation of the first Ten Books alluded to in the note on Bk.
The references to Scripture are in the words of the Authorized Version wherever the sense will bear it; and whenever noteworthy variations from our version occur, they are indicated by references to the old Italic version, or to the Vulgate. In some cases, where Augustin has clearly referred to the LXX. Two exceptions, however, must be made. Out of upwards of four hundred notes, some forty are taken from the annotations in Pusey and Watts, but in every case these have been indicated by the initials E. These annotations are very copious, and Dr. Augustin out of himself had been already adopted by M.
Du Bois in his Latin edition. The far greater part of these illustrations are taken from that edition. A Textual Index has been added, for the first time, to this edition, and both it and the Index of Subjects have been prepared with the greatest possible care. And, as far as pertaineth unto me, they wrought this in me when they were written, and this they work when they are read.
What some think of them they may have seen, but that they have given much pleasure, and do give pleasure, to many brethren I know. And in the Thirteenth Book chap. In these behold me that you may not praise me more than I deserve; there believe what is said of me, not by others, but by myself; there mark me, and see what I have been in myself, by myself; and if anything in me please you, join me in praising Him to whom, and not to myself, I desired praise to be given.
Indeed, we had destroyed ourselves, but He who made us has made us anew qui fecit, refecit. When, however, you find me in these books, pray for me that I may not fail, but be perfected ne deficiam, sed perficiar. Pray, my son, pray.
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I feel what I say; I know what I ask. Which words of mine, Pelagius at Rome, when they were mentioned in his presence by a certain brother and fellow-bishop of mine, could not bear. Moreover in those same books. I showed that I was granted to the faithful and daily tears of my mother, that I should not perish. There certainly I declared that God by His grace converted the will of men to the true faith, not only when they had been turned away from it, but even when they were opposed to it.
Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no end. But who is there that calls upon Thee without knowing Thee? For he that knows Thee not may call upon Thee as other than Thou art. Or perhaps we call on Thee that we may know Thee.
Biblical Interpretation and the Epistle to the Ephesians
Let me seek Thee, Lord, in calling on Thee, and call on Thee in believing in Thee; for Thou hast been preached unto us. O Lord, my faith calls on Thee,—that faith which Thou hast imparted to me, which Thou hast breathed into me through the incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of Thy preacher. And how shall I call upon my God—my God and my Lord? For when I call on Him I ask Him to come into me. And what place is there in me into which my God can come—into which God can come, even He who made heaven and earth? Is there anything in me, O Lord my God, that can contain Thee?
Do indeed the very heaven and the earth, which Thou hast made, and in which Thou hast made me, Edition: current; Page: [ 46 ] contain Thee? Or, as nothing could exist without Thee, doth whatever exists contain Thee? Why, then, do I ask Thee to come into me, since I indeed exist, and could not exist if Thou wert not in me? Or should I not rather say, that I could not exist unless I were in Thee from whom are all things, by whom are all things, in whom are all things? Where do I call Thee to, since Thou art in me, or whence canst Thou come into me?
Since, then, Thou fillest heaven and earth, do they contain Thee? Or, as they contain Thee not, dost Thou fill them, and yet there remains something over? And where dost Thou pour forth that which remaineth of Thee when the heaven and earth are filled? Or, indeed, is there no need that Thou who containest all things shouldest be contained of any, since those things which Thou fillest Thou fillest by containing them?
For the vessels which Thou fillest do not sustain Thee, since should they even be broken Thou wilt not be poured forth. And when Thou art poured forth on us, 4 Thou art not cast down, but we are uplifted; nor art Thou dissipated, but we are drawn together. But, as Thou fillest all things, dost Thou fill them with Thy whole self, or, as even all things cannot altogether contain Thee, do they contain a part, and do all at once contain the same part? Or has each its own proper part—the greater more, the smaller less? Is, then, one part of Thee greater, another less?
Or is it that Thou art wholly everywhere whilst nothing altogether contains Thee? For who is Lord but the Lord? Thou lovest, and burnest not; art jealous, yet free from care; repentest, and hast no sorrow; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy ways, leaving unchanged Thy plans; recoverest what Thou findest, having yet never lost; art never in want, whilst Thou rejoicest in gain; never covetous, though requiring usury.
Thou payest debts while owing nothing; and when Thou forgivest debts, losest nothing. Yet, O my God, my life, my holy joy, what is this that I have said? And what saith any man when He speaks of Thee? Yet woe to them that keep silence, seeing that even they who say most are as the dumb. Who will send Thee into my heart to inebriate it, so that I may forget my woes, and embrace Thee, my only good? What art Thou to me? Have compassion on me, that I may speak. What am I to Thee that Thou demandest my love, and unless I give it Thee art angry, and threatenest me with great sorrows?
Is it, then, a light sorrow not to love Thee? Hide not Thy face from me. Let me die, lest I die, if only I may see Thy face. Cramped is the dwelling of my soul; do Thou expand it, that Thou mayest enter in. It is in ruins, restore Thou it. There is that about it which must offend Thine eyes; I confess and Edition: current; Page: [ 47 ] know it, but who will cleanse it?
Cleanse me from my secret sins, 1 O Lord, and keep Thy servant from those of other men. I believe, and therefore do I speak; 2 Lord, Thou knowest. Have I not confessed my transgressions unto Thee, O my God; and Thou hast put away the iniquity of my heart? Yet perhaps even Thou deridest me; but when Thou art turned to me Thou wilt have compassion on me. Yet, as I have heard from my parents, from whose substance Thou didst form me,—for I myself cannot remember it,—Thy merciful comforts sustained me.
For Thou didst cause me not to want more than Thou gavest, and those who nourished me willingly to give me what Thou gavest them. For they, by an instinctive affection, were anxious to give me what Thou hadst abundantly supplied. It was, in truth, good for them that my good should come from them, though, indeed, it was not from them, but by them; for from Thee, O God, are all good things, and from my God is all my safety.
For at that time I knew how to suck, to be satisfied when comfortable, and to cry when in pain—nothing beyond. Afterwards I began to laugh,—at first in sleep, then when waking. For this I have heard mentioned of myself, and I believe it though I cannot remember it , for we see the same in other infants.
And now little by little I realized where I was, and wished to tell my wishes to those who might satisfy them, but I could not; for my wants were within me, while they were without, and could not by any faculty of theirs enter into my soul. So I cast about limbs and voice, making the few and feeble signs I could, like, though indeed not much like, unto what I wished; and when I was not satisfied—either not being understood, or because it would have been injurious to me—I grew indignant that my elders were not subject unto me, and that those on whom I had no claim did not wait on me, and avenged myself on them by tears.
That infants are such I have been able to learn by watching them; and they, though unknowing, have better shown me that I was such an one than my nurses who knew it. And, behold, my infancy died long ago, and I live. For of that something has been made known to me, and I have myself seen women with child. And what, O God, my joy, preceded that life? Was I, indeed, anywhere, or anybody? For no one can tell me these things, neither father nor mother, nor the experience of others, nor my own memory.
Dost Thou laugh at me for asking such things, and command me to praise and confess Thee for what I know? I give thanks to Thee, Lord of heaven and earth, giving praise to Thee for that my first being and infancy, of which I have no memory; for Thou hast granted to man that from others he should come to conclusions as to himself, and that he should believe many things concerning himself on the authority of feeble women. Even then I had life and being; and Edition: current; Page: [ 48 ] as my infancy closed I was already seeking for signs by which my feelings might be made known to others.
Whence could such a creature come but from Thee, O Lord? Or shall any man be skilful enough to fashion himself? What is it to me if any understand not? Hearken, O God! Alas for the sins of men! Man saith this, and Thou dost compassionate him; for Thou didst create him, but didst not create the sin that is in him.
Who bringeth to my remembrance the sin of my infancy? For before Thee none is free from sin, not even the infant which has lived but a day upon the earth. Who bringeth this to my remembrance? Doth not each little one, in whom I behold that which I do not remember of myself?
In what, then, did I sin? Is it that I cried for the breast? If I should now so cry,—not indeed for the breast, but for the food suitable to my years,—I should be most justly laughed at and rebuked. What I then did deserved rebuke; but as I could not understand those who rebuked me, neither custom nor reason suffered me to be rebuked.
For as we grow we root out and cast from us such habits. Or was it good, even for a time, to strive to get by crying that which, if given, would be hurtful—to be bitterly indignant that those who were free and its elders, and those to whom it owed its being, besides many others wiser than it, who would not give way to the nod of its good pleasure, were not subject unto it—to endeavour to harm, by struggling as much as it could, because those commands were not obeyed which only could have been obeyed to its hurt?
I myself have seen and known an infant to be jealous though it could not speak. It became pale, and cast bitter looks on its foster-brother. Who is ignorant of this? Mothers and nurses tell us that they appease these things by I know not what remedies; and may this be taken for innocence, that when the fountain of milk is flowing fresh and abundant, one who has need should not be allowed to share it, though needing that nourishment to sustain life? Yet we look leniently on these things, not because they are not faults, nor because the faults are small, but because they will vanish as age increases.
For although you may allow these things now, you could not bear them with equanimity if found in an older person. But behold, I pass by that time, for what have I to do with that, the memories of which I cannot recall? Did I not, then, growing out of the state of infancy, come to boyhood, or rather did it not come to me, and succeed to infancy?
Nor did my infancy depart for whither went it? I remember this, and I afterwards observed how I first learned to speak, for my elders did not teach me words in any set method, as they did letters afterwards; but I myself, when I was unable to say all I wished and to whomsoever I desired, by means of the whimperings and broken utterances and various motions of my limbs, which I used to enforce my wishes, repeated the sounds in my memory by the mind, O my God, which Thou gavest me.
When they called anything by name, and moved the body towards it while they spoke, I saw and gathered that the thing they wished to point out was called by the name they then uttered; and that they did mean this was made plain by the motion of the body, even by the natural language of all nations expressed by the countenance, glance of the eye, movement of other members, and by the sound of the voice indicating the affections of the mind, as it seeks, possesses, rejects, or avoids. So it was that by frequently hearing words, in duly placed sentences, I gradually gathered what things they were the signs of; and having formed my mouth to the utterance of these signs, I thereby expressed my will.
O my God!