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The Confessions Of Saint Augustine




   I call upon Thee, O my God, my mercy, Who createdst me, and forgottest

   not me, forgetting Thee. I call Thee into my soul which, by the longing

   Thyself inspirest into her, Thou preparest for Thee. Forsake me not now

   calling upon Thee, whom Thou preventedst before I called, and urgedst

   me with much variety of repeated calls, that I would hear Thee from

   afar, and be converted, and call upon Thee, that calledst after me; for

   Thou, Lord, blottedst out all my evil deservings, so as not to repay

   into my hands, wherewith I fell from Thee; and Thou hast prevented all

   my well deservings, so as to repay the work of Thy hands wherewith Thou

   madest me; because before I was, Thou wert; nor was I any thing, to

   which Thou mightest grant to be; and yet behold, I am, out of Thy

   goodness, preventing all this which Thou hast made me, and whereof Thou

   hast made me. For neither hadst Thou need of me, nor am I any such

   good, as to be helpful unto Thee, my Lord and God; not in serving Thee,

   as though Thou wouldest tire in working; or lest Thy power might be

   less, if lacking my service: nor cultivating Thy service, as a land,

   that must remain uncultivated, unless I cultivated Thee: but serving

   and worshipping Thee, that I might receive a well-being from Thee, from

   whom it comes, that I have a being capable of well-being.




   For of the fulness of Thy goodness, doth Thy creature subsist, that so

   a good, which could no ways profit Thee, nor was of Thee (lest so it

   should be equal to Thee), might yet be since it could be made of Thee.

   For what did heaven and earth, which Thou madest in the Beginning,

   deserve of Thee? Let those spiritual and corporeal natures which Thou

   madest in Thy Wisdom, say wherein they deserved of Thee, to depend

   thereon (even in that their several inchoate and formless state,

   whether spiritual or corporeal, ready to fall away into an immoderate

   liberty and far-distant unlikeliness unto Thee;--the spiritual, though

   without form, superior to the corporeal though formed, and the

   corporeal though without form, better than were it altogether nothing),

   and so to depend upon Thy Word, as formless, unless by the same Word

   they were brought back to Thy Unity, indued with form and from Thee the

   One Sovereign Good were made all very good. How did they deserve of

   Thee, to be even without form, since they had not been even this, but

   from Thee?


   How did corporeal matter deserve of Thee, to be even invisible and

   without form? seeing it were not even this, but that Thou madest it,

   and therefore because it was not, could not deserve of Thee to be made.

   Or how could the inchoate spiritual creature deserve of Thee, even to

   ebb and flow darksomely like the deep,--unlike Thee, unless it had been

   by the same Word turned to that, by Whom it was created, and by Him so

   enlightened, become light; though not equally, yet conformably to that

   Form which is equal unto Thee? For as in a body, to be, is not one with

   being beautiful, else could it not be deformed; so likewise to a

   created spirit to live, is not one with living wisely; else should it

   be wise unchangeably. But good it is for it always to hold fast to

   Thee; lest what light it hath obtained by turning to Thee, it lose by

   turning from Thee, and relapse into life resembling the darksome deep.

   For we ourselves also, who as to the soul are a spiritual creature,

   turned away from Thee our light, were in that life sometimes darkness;

   and still labour amidst the relics of our darkness, until in Thy Only

   One we become Thy righteousness, like the mountains of God. For we have

   been Thy judgments, which are like the great deep.




   That which Thou saidst in the beginning of the creation, Let there be

   light, and there was light; I do, not unsuitably, understand of the

   spiritual creature: because there was already a sort of life, which

   Thou mightest illuminate. But as it had no claim on Thee for a life,

   which could be enlightened, so neither now that it was, had it any, to

   be enlightened. For neither could its formless estate be pleasing unto

   Thee, unless it became light, and that not by existing simply, but by

   beholding the illuminating light, and cleaving to it; so that, that it

   lived, and lived happily, it owes to nothing but Thy grace, being

   turned by a better change unto That which cannot be changed into worse

   or better; which Thou alone art, because Thou alone simply art; unto

   Thee it being not one thing to live, another to live blessedly, seeing

   Thyself art Thine own Blessedness.




   What then could he wanting unto Thy good, which Thou Thyself art,

   although these things had either never been, or remained without form;

   which thou madest, not out of any want, but out of the fulness of Thy

   goodness, restraining them and converting them to form, not as though

   Thy joy were fulfilled by them? For to Thee being perfect, is their

   imperfection displeasing, and hence were they perfected by Thee, and

   please Thee; not as wert Thou imperfect, and by their perfecting wert

   also to be perfected. For Thy good Spirit indeed was borne over the

   waters, not borne up by them, as if He rested upon them. For those, on

   whom Thy good Spirit is said to rest, He causes to rest in Himself. But

   Thy incorruptible and unchangeable will, in itself all-sufficient for

   itself, was borne upon that life which Thou hadst created; to which,

   living is not one with happy living, seeing it liveth also, ebbing and

   flowing in its own darkness: for which it remaineth to be converted

   unto Him, by Whom it was made, and to live more and more by the

   fountain of life, and in His light to see light, and to be perfected,

   and enlightened, and beautified.




   Lo, now the Trinity appears unto me in a glass darkly, which is Thou my

   God, because Thou, O Father, in Him Who is the Beginning of our wisdom,

   Which is Thy Wisdom, born of Thyself, equal unto Thee and coeternal,

   that is, in Thy Son, createdst heaven and earth. Much now have we said

   of the Heaven of heavens, and of the earth invisible and without form,

   and of the darksome deep, in reference to the wandering instability of

   its spiritual deformity, unless it had been converted unto Him, from

   Whom it had its then degree of life, and by His enlightening became a

   beauteous life, and the heaven of that heaven, which was afterwards set

   between water and water. And under the name of God, I now held the

   Father, who made these things, and under the name of Beginning, the

   Son, in whom He made these things; and believing, as I did, my God as

   the Trinity, I searched further in His holy words, and to, Thy Spirit

   moved upon the waters. Behold the Trinity, my God, Father, and Son, and

   Holy Ghost, Creator of all creation.




   But what was the cause, O true-speaking Light?--unto Thee lift I up my

   heart, let it not teach me vanities, dispel its darkness; and tell me,

   I beseech Thee, by our mother charity, tell me the reason, I beseech

   Thee, why after the mention of heaven, and of the earth invisible and

   without form, and darkness upon the deep, Thy Scripture should then at

   length mention Thy Spirit? Was it because it was meet that the

   knowledge of Him should be conveyed, as being "borne above"; and this

   could not be said, unless that were first mentioned, over which Thy

   Spirit may be understood to have been borne. For neither was He borne

   above the Father, nor the Son, nor could He rightly be said to be borne

   above, if He were borne over nothing. First then was that to be spoken

   of, over which He might be borne; and then He, whom it was meet not

   otherwise to be spoken of than as being borne. But wherefore was it not

   meet that the knowledge of Him should be conveyed otherwise, than as

   being borne above?




   Hence let him that is able, follow with his understanding Thy Apostle,

   where he thus speaks, Because Thy love is shed abroad in our hearts by

   the Holy Ghost which is given unto us: and where concerning spiritual

   gifts, he teacheth and showeth unto us a more excellent way of charity;

   and where he bows his knee unto Thee for us, that we may know the

   supereminent knowledge of the love of Christ. And therefore from the

   beginning, was He borne supereminent above the waters. To whom shall I

   speak this? how speak of the weight of evil desires, downwards to the

   steep abyss; and how charity raises up again by Thy Spirit which was

   borne above the waters? to whom shall I speak it? how speak it? For it

   is not in space that we are merged and emerge. What can be more, and

   yet what less like? They be affections, they be loves; the uncleanness

   of our spirit flowing away downwards with the love of cares, and the

   holiness of Thine raising us upward by love of unanxious repose; that

   we may lift our hearts unto Thee, where Thy Spirit is borne above the

   waters; and come to that supereminent repose, when our soul shall have

   passed through the waters which yield no support.




   Angels fell away, man's soul fell away, and thereby pointed the abyss

   in that dark depth, ready for the whole spiritual creation, hadst not

   Thou said from the beginning, Let there be light, and there had been

   light, and every obedient intelligence of Thy heavenly City had cleaved

   to Thee, and rested in Thy Spirit, Which is borne unchangeably over

   every thing changeable. Otherwise, had even the heaven of heavens been

   in itself a darksome deep; but now it is light in the Lord. For even in

   that miserable restlessness of the spirits, who fell away and

   discovered their own darkness, when bared of the clothing of Thy light,

   dost Thou sufficiently reveal how noble Thou madest the reasonable

   creature; to which nothing will suffice to yield a happy rest, less

   than Thee; and so not even herself. For Thou, O our God, shalt lighten

   our darkness: from Thee riseth our garment of light; and then shall our

   darkness be as the noon day. Give Thyself unto me, O my God, restore

   Thyself unto me: behold I love, and if it be too little, I would love

   more strongly. I cannot measure so as to know, how much love there yet

   lacketh to me, ere my life may run into Thy embracements, nor turn

   away, until it be hidden in the hidden place of Thy Presence. This only

   I know, that woe is me except in Thee: not only without but within

   myself also; and all abundance, which is not my God, is emptiness to





   But was not either the Father, or the Son, borne above the waters? if

   this means, in space, like a body, then neither was the Holy Spirit;

   but if the unchangeable supereminence of Divinity above all things

   changeable, then were both Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost borne upon

   the waters. Why then is this said of Thy Spirit only, why is it said

   only of Him? As if He had been in place, Who is not in place, of Whom

   only it is written, that He is Thy gift? In Thy Gift we rest; there we

   enjoy Thee. Our rest is our place. Love lifts us up thither, and Thy

   good Spirit lifts up our lowliness from the gates of death. In Thy good

   pleasure is our peace. The body by its own weight strives towards its

   own place. Weight makes not downward only, but to his own place. Fire

   tends upward, a stone downward. They are urged by their own weight,

   they seek their own places. Oil poured below water, is raised above the

   water; water poured upon oil, sinks below the oil. They are urged by

   their own weights to seek their own places. When out of their order,

   they are restless; restored to order, they are at rest. My weight, is

   my love; thereby am I borne, whithersoever I am borne. We are inflamed,

   by Thy Gift we are kindled; and are carried upwards; we glow inwardly,

   and go forwards. We ascend Thy ways that be in our heart, and sing a

   song of degrees; we glow inwardly with Thy fire, with Thy good fire,

   and we go; because we go upwards to the peace of Jerusalem: for

   gladdened was I in those who said unto me, We will go up to the house

   of the Lord. There hath Thy good pleasure placed us, that we may desire

   nothing else, but to abide there for ever.




   Blessed creature, which being itself other than Thou, has known no

   other condition, than that, so soon as it was made, it was, without any

   interval, by Thy Gift, Which is borne above every thing changeable,

   borne aloft by that calling whereby Thou saidst, Let there be light,

   and there was light. Whereas in us this took place at different times,

   in that we were darkness, and are made light: but of that is only said,

   what it would have been, had it not been enlightened. And, this is so

   spoken, as if it had been unsettled and darksome before; that so the

   cause whereby it was made otherwise, might appear, namely, that being

   turned to the Light unfailing it became light. Whoso can, let him

   understand this; let him ask of Thee. Why should he trouble me, as if I

   could enlighten any man that cometh into this world?




   Which of us comprehendeth the Almighty Trinity? and yet which speaks

   not of It, if indeed it be It? Rare is the soul, which while it speaks

   of It, knows what it speaks of. And they contend and strive, yet,

   without peace, no man sees that vision. I would that men would consider

   these three, that are in themselves. These three be indeed far other

   than the Trinity: I do but tell, where they may practise themselves,

   and there prove and feel how far they be. Now the three I spake of are,

   To Be, to Know, and to Will. For I Am, and Know, and Will: I Am Knowing

   and Willing: and I Know myself to Be, and to Will: and I Will to Be,

   and to Know. In these three then, let him discern that can, how

   inseparable a life there is, yea one life, mind, and one essence, yea

   lastly how inseparable a distinction there is, and yet a distinction.

   Surely a man hath it before him; let him look into himself, and see,

   and tell me. But when he discovers and can say any thing of these, let

   him not therefore think that he has found that which is above these

   Unchangeable, which Is unchangeably, and Knows unchangeably, and Wills

   unchangeably; and whether because of these three, there is in God also

   a Trinity, or whether all three be in Each, so that the three belong to

   Each; or whether both ways at once, wondrously, simply and yet

   manifoldly, Itself a bound unto Itself within Itself, yet unbounded;

   whereby It is, and is Known unto Itself and sufficeth to itself,

   unchangeably the Self-same, by the abundant greatness of its

   Unity,--who can readily conceive this? who could any ways express it?

   who would, any way, pronounce thereon rashly?




   Proceed in thy confession, say to the Lord thy God, O my faith, Holy,

   Holy, Holy, O Lord my God, in Thy Name have we been baptised, Father,

   Son, and Holy Ghost; in Thy Name do we baptise, Father, Son, and Holy

   Ghost, because among us also, in His Christ did God make heaven and

   earth, namely, the spiritual and carnal people of His Church. Yea and

   our earth, before it received the form of doctrine, was invisible and

   without form; and we were covered with the darkness of ignorance. For

   Thou chastenedst man for iniquity, and Thy judgments were like the

   great deep unto him. But because Thy Spirit was borne above the waters,

   Thy mercy forsook not our misery, and Thou saidst, Let there be light,

   Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent ye, let there

   be light. And because our soul was troubled within us, we remembered

   Thee, O Lord, from the land of Jordan, and that mountain equal unto

   Thyself, but little for our sakes: and our darkness displeased us, we

   turned unto Thee and there was light. And, behold, we were sometimes

   darkness, but now light in the Lord.




   But as yet by faith and not by sight, for by hope we are saved; but

   hope that is seen, is not hope. As yet doth deep call unto deep, but

   now in the voice of Thy water-spouts. As yet doth he that saith, I

   could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even he

   as yet, doth not think himself to have apprehended, and forgetteth

   those things which are behind, and reacheth forth to those which are

   before, and groaneth being burthened, and his soul thirsteth after the

   Living God, as the hart after the water-brooks, and saith, When shall I

   come? desiring to be clothed upon with his house which is from heaven,

   and calleth upon this lower deep, saying, Be not conformed to this

   world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. And, be not

   children in understanding, but in malice, be ye children, that in

   understanding ye may be perfect; and O foolish Galatians, who hath

   bewitched you? But now no longer in his own voice; but in Thine who

   sentest Thy Spirit from above; through Him who ascended up on high, and

   set open the flood-gates of His gifts, that the force of His streams

   might make glad the city of God. Him doth this friend of the Bridegroom

   sigh after, having now the first-fruits of the Spirit laid up with Him,

   yet still groaning within himself, waiting for the adoption, to wit,

   the redemption of his body; to Him he sighs, a member of the Bride; for

   Him he is jealous, as being a friend of the Bridegroom; for Him he is

   jealous, not for himself; because in the voice of Thy water-spouts, not

   in his own voice, doth he call to that other depth, over whom being

   jealous he feareth, lest as the serpent beguiled Eve through his

   subtilty, so their minds should be corrupted from the purity that is in

   our Bridegroom Thy only Son. O what a light of beauty will that be,

   when we shall see Him as He is, and those tears be passed away, which

   have been my meat day and night, whilst they daily say unto me, Where

   is now Thy God?




   Behold, I too say, O my God, Where art Thou? see, where Thou art! in

   Thee I breathe a little, when I pour out my soul by myself in the voice

   of joy and praise, the sound of him that keeps holy-day. And yet again

   it is sad, because it relapseth, and becomes a deep, or rather

   perceives itself still to be a deep. Unto it speaks my faith which Thou

   hast kindled to enlighten my feet in the night, Why art thou sad, O my

   soul, and why dost thou trouble me? Hope in the Lord; His word is a

   lanthorn unto thy feet: hope and endure, until the night, the mother of

   the wicked, until the wrath of the Lord, be overpast, whereof we also

   were once children, who were sometimes darkness, relics whereof we bear

   about us in our body, dead because of sin; until the day break, and the

   shadows fly away. Hope thou in the Lord; in the morning I shall stand

   in Thy presence, and contemplate Thee: I shall for ever confess unto

   Thee. In the morning I shall stand in Thy presence, and shall see the

   health of my countenance, my God, who also shall quicken our mortal

   bodies, by the Spirit that dwelleth in us, because He hath in mercy

   been borne over our inner darksome and floating deep: from Whom we have

   in this pilgrimage received an earnest, that we should now be light:

   whilst we are saved by hope, and are the children of light, and the

   children of the day, not the children of the night, nor of the

   darkness, which yet sometimes we were. Betwixt whom and us, in this

   uncertainty of human knowledge, Thou only dividest; Thou, who provest

   our hearts, and callest the light, day, and the darkness, night. For

   who discerneth us, but Thou? And what have we, that we have not

   received of Thee? out of the same lump vessels are made unto honour,

   whereof others also are made unto dishonour.




   Or who, except Thou, our God, made for us that firmament of authority

   over us in Thy Divine Scripture? as it is said, For heaven shall be

   folded up like a scroll; and now is it stretched over us like a skin.

   For Thy Divine Scripture is of more eminent authority, since those

   mortals by whom Thou dispensest it unto us, underwent mortality. And

   Thou knowest, Lord, Thou knowest, how Thou with skins didst clothe men,

   when they by sin became mortal. Whence Thou hast like a skin stretched

   out the firmament of Thy book, that is, Thy harmonizing words, which by

   the ministry of mortal men Thou spreadest over us. For by their very

   death was that solid firmament of authority, in Thy discourses set

   forth by them, more eminently extended over all that be under it; which

   whilst they lived here, was not so eminently extended. Thou hadst not

   as yet spread abroad the heaven like a skin; Thou hadst not as yet

   enlarged in all directions the glory of their deaths.


   Let us look, O Lord, upon the heavens, the work of Thy fingers; clear

   from our eyes that cloud, which Thou hast spread under them. There is

   Thy testimony, which giveth wisdom unto the little ones: perfect, O my

   God, Thy praise out of the mouth of babes and sucklings. For we know no

   other books, which so destroy pride, which so destroy the enemy and the

   defender, who resisteth Thy reconciliation by defending his own sins. I

   know not, Lord, I know not any other such pure words, which so persuade

   me to confess, and make my neck pliant to Thy yoke, and invite me to

   serve Thee for nought. Let me understand them, good Father: grant this

   to me, who am placed under them: because for those placed under them,

   hast Thou established them.


   Other waters there be above this firmament, I believe immortal, and

   separated from earthly corruption. Let them praise Thy Name, let them

   praise Thee, the supercelestial people, Thine angels, who have no need

   to gaze up at this firmament, or by reading to know of Thy Word. For

   they always behold Thy face, and there read without any syllables in

   time, what willeth Thy eternal will; they read, they choose, they love.

   They are ever reading; and that never passes away which they read; for

   by choosing, and by loving, they read the very unchangeableness of Thy

   counsel. Their book is never closed, nor their scroll folded up; seeing

   Thou Thyself art this to them, and art eternally; because Thou hast

   ordained them above this firmament, which Thou hast firmly settled over

   the infirmity of the lower people, where they might gaze up and learn

   Thy mercy, announcing in time Thee Who madest times. For Thy mercy, O

   Lord, is in the heavens, and Thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. The

   clouds pass away, but the heaven abideth. The preachers of Thy word

   pass out of this life into another; but Thy Scripture is spread abroad

   over the people, even unto the end of the world. Yet heaven and earth

   also shall pass away, but Thy words shall not pass away. Because the

   scroll shall be rolled together: and the grass over which it was

   spread, shall with the goodliness of it pass away; but Thy Word

   remaineth for ever, which now appeareth unto us under the dark image of

   the clouds, and through the glass of the heavens, not as it is: because

   we also, though the well-beloved of Thy Son, yet it hath not yet

   appeared what we shall be. He looketh through the lattice of our flesh,

   and He spake us tenderly, and kindled us, and we ran after His odours.

   But when He shall appear, then shall we be like Him, for we shall see

   Him as He is. As He is, Lord, will our sight be.




   For altogether, as Thou art, Thou only knowest; Who art unchangeably,

   and knowest unchangeably, and willest unchangeably. And Thy Essence

   Knoweth, and Willeth unchangeably; and Thy Knowledge Is, and Willeth

   unchangeably; and Thy Will Is, and Knoweth unchangeably. Nor seemeth it

   right in Thine eyes, that as the Unchangeable Light knoweth Itself, so

   should it be known by the thing enlightened, and changeable. Therefore

   is my soul like a land where no water is, because as it cannot of

   itself enlighten itself, so can it not of itself satisfy itself. For so

   is the fountain of life with Thee, like as in Thy light we shall see





   Who gathered the embittered together into one society? For they have

   all one end, a temporal and earthly felicity, for attaining whereof

   they do all things, though they waver up and down with an innumerable

   variety of cares. Who, Lord, but Thou, saidst, Let the waters be

   gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear, which

   thirsteth after Thee? For the sea also is Thine, and Thou hast made it,

   and Thy hands prepared the dry land. Nor is the bitterness of men's

   wills, but the gathering together of the waters, called sea; for Thou

   restrainest the wicked desires of men's souls, and settest them their

   bounds, how far they may be allowed to pass, that their waves may break

   one against another: and thus makest Thou it a sea, by the order of Thy

   dominion over all things.


   But the souls that thirst after Thee, and that appear before Thee

   (being by other bounds divided from the society of the sea), Thou

   waterest by a sweet spring, that the earth may bring forth her fruit,

   and Thou, Lord God, so commanding, our soul may bud forth works of

   mercy according to their kind, loving our neighbour in the relief of

   his bodily necessities, having seed in itself according to its

   likeness, when from feeling of our infirmity, we compassionate so as to

   relieve the needy; helping them, as we would be helped; if we were in

   like need; not only in things easy, as in herb yielding seed, but also

   in the protection of our assistance, with our best strength, like the

   tree yielding fruit: that is, well-doing in rescuing him that suffers

   wrong, from the hand of the powerful, and giving him the shelter of

   protection, by the mighty strength of just judgment.




   So, Lord, so, I beseech Thee, let there spring up, as Thou doest, as

   Thou givest cheerfulness and ability, let truth spring out of the

   earth, and righteousness look down from heaven, and let there be lights

   in the firmament. Let us break our bread to the hungry, and bring the

   houseless poor to our house. Let us clothe the naked, and despise not

   those of our own flesh. Which fruits having sprung out of the earth,

   see it is good: and let our temporary light break forth; and ourselves,

   from this lower fruitfulness of action, arriving at the delightfulness

   of contemplation, obtaining the Word of Life above, appear like lights

   in the world, cleaving to the firmament of Thy Scripture. For there

   Thou instructest us, to divide between the things intellectual, and

   things of sense, as betwixt the day and the night; or between souls,

   given either to things intellectual, or things of sense, so that now

   not Thou only in the secret of Thy judgment, as before the firmament

   was made, dividest between the light and the darkness, but Thy

   spiritual children also set and ranked in the same firmament (now that

   Thy grace is laid open throughout the world), may give light upon the

   earth, and divide betwixt the day and the night, and be for signs of

   times, that old things are passed away, and, behold, all things are

   become new; and that our salvation is nearer than when we believed: and

   that the night is far spent, and the day is at hand: and that Thou wilt

   crown Thy year with blessing, sending the labourers of Thy goodness

   into Thy harvest, in sowing whereof, others have laboured, sending also

   into another field, whose harvest shall be in the end. Thus grantest

   Thou the prayers of him that asketh, and blessest the years of the

   just; but Thou art the same, and in Thy years which fail not, Thou

   preparest a garner for our passing years. For Thou by an eternal

   counsel dost in their proper seasons bestow heavenly blessings upon the

   earth. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, as it were

   the lesser light: to another faith; to another the gift with the light

   of perspicuous truth, as it were for the rule of the day. To another

   the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, as it were the lesser light:

   to another faith; to another the gift of healing; to another the

   working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of

   spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues. And all these as it were

   stars. For all these worketh the one and self-same spirit, dividing to

   every man his own as He will; and causing stars to appear manifestly,

   to profit withal. But the word of knowledge, wherein are contained all

   Sacraments, which are varied in their seasons as it were the moon, and

   those other notices of gifts, which are reckoned up in order, as it

   were stars, inasmuch as they come short of that brightness of wisdom,

   which gladdens the forementioned day, are only for the rule of the

   night. For they are necessary to such, as that Thy most prudent servant

   could not speak unto as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal; even he,

   who speaketh wisdom among those that are perfect. But the natural man,

   as it were a babe in Christ and fed on milk, until he be strengthened

   for solid meat and his eye be enabled to behold the Sun, let him not

   dwell in a night forsaken of all light, but be content with the light

   of the moon and the stars. So dost Thou speak to us, our All-wise God,

   in Thy Book, Thy firmament; that we may discern all things, in an

   admirable contemplation; though as yet in signs and in times, and in

   days, and in years.




   But first, wash you, be clean; put away evil from your souls, and from

   before mine eyes, that the dry land may appear. Learn to do good, judge

   the fatherless, plead for the widow, that the earth may bring forth the

   green herb for meat, and the tree bearing fruit; and come, let us

   reason together, saith the Lord, that there may be lights in the

   firmament of the heaven, and they may shine upon the earth. That rich

   man asked of the good Master, what he should do to attain eternal life.

   Let the good Master tell him (whom he thought no more than man; but He

   is good because He is God), let Him tell him, if he would enter into

   life, he must keep the commandments: let him put away from him the

   bitterness of malice and wickedness; not kill, not commit adultery, not

   steal, not bear false witness; that the dry land may appear, and bring

   forth the honouring of father and mother, and the love of our

   neighbour. All these (saith he) have I kept. Whence then so many

   thorns, if the earth be fruitful? Go, root up the spreading thickets of

   covetousness; sell that thou hast, and be filled with fruit, by giving

   to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and follow the

   Lord if thou wilt be perfect, associated with them, among whom He

   speaketh wisdom, Who knoweth what to distribute to the day, and to the

   night, that thou also mayest know it, and for thee there may be lights

   in the firmament of heaven; which will not be, unless thy heart be

   there: nor will that either be, unless there thy treasure be; as thou

   hast heard of the good Master. But that barren earth was grieved; and

   the thorns choked the word.


   But you, chosen generation, you weak things of the world, who have

   forsaken all, that ye may follow the Lord; go after Him, and confound

   the mighty; go after Him, ye beautiful feet, and shine ye in the

   firmament, that the heavens may declare His glory, dividing between the

   light of the perfect, though not as the angels, and the darkness of the

   little ones, though not despised. Shine over the earth; and let the

   day, lightened by the sun, utter unto day, speech of wisdom; and night,

   shining with the moon, show unto night, the word of knowledge. The moon

   and stars shine for the night; yet doth not the night obscure them,

   seeing they give it light in its degree. For behold God saying, as it

   were, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven; there came

   suddenly a sound from heaven, as it had been the rushing of a mighty

   wind, and there appeared cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat

   upon each of them. And there were made lights in the firmament of

   heaven, having the word of life. Run ye to and fro every where, ye holy

   fires, ye beauteous fires; for ye are the light of the world, nor are

   ye put under a bushel; He whom you cleave unto, is exalted, and hath

   exalted you. Run ye to and fro, and be known unto all nations.




   Let the sea also conceive and bring forth your works; and let the

   waters bring forth the moving creature that hath life. For ye,

   separating the precious from the vile, are made the mouth of God, by

   whom He saith, Let the waters bring forth, not the living creature

   which the earth brings forth, but the moving creature having life, and

   the fowls that fly above the earth. For Thy Sacraments, O God, by the

   ministry of Thy holy ones, have moved amid the waves of temptations of

   the world, to hallow the Gentiles in Thy Name, in Thy Baptism. And amid

   these things, many great wonders were wrought, as it were great whales:

   and the voices of Thy messengers flying above the earth, in the open

   firmament of Thy Book; that being set over them, as their authority

   under which they were to fly, whithersoever they went. For there is no

   speech nor language, where their voice is not heard: seeing their sound

   is gone through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world,

   because Thou, Lord, multipliedst them by blessing.


   Speak I untruly, or do I mingle and confound, and not distinguish

   between the lucid knowledge of these things in the firmament of heaven,

   and the material works in the wavy sea, and under the firmament of

   heaven? For of those things whereof the knowledge is substantial and

   defined, without any increase by generation, as it were lights of

   wisdom and knowledge, yet even of them, the material operations are

   many and divers; and one thing growing out of another, they are

   multiplied by Thy blessing, O God, who hast refreshed the

   fastidiousness of mortal senses; that so one thing in the understanding

   of our mind, may, by the motions of the body, be many ways set out, and

   expressed. These Sacraments have the waters brought forth; but in Thy

   word. The necessities of the people estranged from the eternity of Thy

   truth, have brought them forth, but in Thy Gospel; because the waters

   themselves cast them forth, the diseased bitterness whereof was the

   cause, why they were sent forth in Thy Word.


   Now are all things fair that Thou hast made; but behold, Thyself art

   unutterably fairer, that madest all; from whom had not Adam fallen, the

   brackishness of the sea had never flowed out of him, that is, the human

   race so profoundly curious, and tempestuously swelling, and restlessly

   tumbling up and down; and then had there been no need of Thy dispensers

   to work in many waters, after a corporeal and sensible manner,

   mysterious doings and sayings. For such those moving and flying

   creatures now seem to me to mean, whereby people being initiated and

   consecrated by corporeal Sacraments, should not further profit, unless

   their soul had a spiritual life, and unless after the word of

   admission, it looked forwards to perfection.




   And hereby, in Thy Word, not the deepness of the sea, but the earth

   separated from the bitterness of the waters, brings forth, not the

   moving creature that hath life, but the living soul. For now hath it no

   more need of baptism, as the heathen have, and as itself had, when it

   was covered with the waters; (for no other entrance is there into the

   kingdom of heaven, since Thou hast appointed that this should be the

   entrance:) nor does it seek after wonderfulness of miracles to work

   belief; for it is not such, that unless it sees signs and wonders, it

   will not believe, now that the faithful earth is separated from the

   waters that were bitter with infidelity; and tongues are for a sign,

   not to them that believe, but to them that believe not. Neither then

   does that earth which Thou hast founded upon the waters, need that

   flying kind, which at Thy word the waters brought forth. Send Thou Thy

   word into it by Thy messengers: for we speak of their working, yet it

   is Thou that workest in them that they may work out a living soul in

   it. The earth brings it forth, because the earth is the cause that they

   work this in the soul; as the sea was the cause that they wrought upon

   the moving creatures that have life, and the fowls that fly under the

   firmament of heaven, of whom the earth hath no need; although it feeds

   upon that fish which was taken out of the deep, upon that table which

   Thou hast prepared in the presence of them that believe. For therefore

   was He taken out of the deep, that He might feed the dry land; and the

   fowl, though bred in the sea, is yet multiplied upon the earth. For of

   the first preachings of the Evangelists, man's infidelity was the

   cause; yet are the faithful also exhorted and blessed by them

   manifoldly, from day to day. But the living soul takes his beginning

   from the earth: for it profits only those already among the Faithful,

   to contain themselves from the love of this world, that so their soul

   may live unto Thee, which was dead while it lived in pleasures; in

   death-bringing pleasures, Lord, for Thou, Lord, art the life-giving

   delight of the pure heart.


   Now then let Thy ministers work upon the earth,--not as upon the waters

   of infidelity, by preaching and speaking by miracles, and Sacraments,

   and mystic words; wherein ignorance, the mother of admiration, might be

   intent upon them, out of a reverence towards those secret signs. For

   such is the entrance unto the Faith for the sons of Adam forgetful of

   Thee, while they hide themselves from Thy face, and become a darksome

   deep. But--let Thy ministers work now as on the dry land, separated

   from the whirlpools of the great deep: and let them be a pattern unto

   the Faithful, by living before them, and stirring them up to imitation.

   For thus do men hear, so as not to hear only, but to do also. Seek the

   Lord, and your soul shall live, that the earth may bring forth the

   living soul. Be not conformed to the world. Contain yourselves from it:

   the soul lives by avoiding what it dies by affecting. Contain

   yourselves from the ungoverned wildness of pride, the sluggish

   voluptuousness of luxury, and the false name of knowledge: that so the

   wild beasts may be tamed, the cattle broken to the yoke, the serpents,

   harmless. For these be the motions of our mind under an allegory; that

   is to say, the haughtiness of pride, the delight of lust, and the

   poison of curiosity, are the motions of a dead soul; for the soul dies

   not so as to lose all motion; because it dies by forsaking the fountain

   of life, and so is taken up by this transitory world, and is conformed

   unto it.


   But Thy word, O God, is the fountain of life eternal; and passeth not

   away: wherefore this departure of the soul is restrained by Thy word,

   when it is said unto us, Be not conformed unto this world; that so the

   earth may in the fountain of life bring forth a living soul; that is, a

   soul made continent in Thy Word, by Thy Evangelists, by following the

   followers of Thy Christ. For this is after his kind; because a man is

   wont to imitate his friend. Be ye (saith he) as I am, for I also am as

   you are. Thus in this living soul shall there be good beasts, in

   meekness of action (for Thou hast commanded, Go on with thy business in

   meekness, so shalt thou be beloved by all men); and good cattle, which

   neither if they eat, shall they over-abound, nor, if they eat not, have

   any lack; and good serpents, not dangerous, to do hurt, but wise to

   take heed; and only making so much search into this temporal nature, as

   may suffice that eternity be clearly seen, being understood by the

   things that are made. For these creatures are obedient unto reason,

   when being restrained from deadly prevailing upon us, they live, and

   are good.




   For behold, O Lord, our God, our Creator, when our affections have been

   restrained from the love of the world, by which we died through

   evil-living; and begun to be a living soul, through good living; and

   Thy word which Thou spokest by Thy apostle, is made good in us, Be not

   conformed to this world: there follows that also, which Thou presently

   subjoinedst, saying, But be ye transformed by the renewing of your

   mind; not now after your kind, as though following your neighbour who

   went before you, nor as living after the example of some better man

   (for Thou saidst not, "Let man be made after his kind," but, Let us

   make man after our own image and similitude), that we might prove what

   Thy will is. For to this purpose said that dispenser of Thine (who

   begat children by the Gospel), that he might not for ever have them

   babes, whom he must be fain to feed with milk, and cherish as a nurse;

   be ye transformed (saith he) by the renewing of your mind, that ye may

   prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

   Wherefore Thou sayest not, "Let man be made," but Let us make man. Nor

   saidst Thou, "according to his kind"; but, after our image and

   likeness. For man being renewed in his mind, and beholding and

   understanding Thy truth, needs not man as his director, so as to follow

   after his kind; but by Thy direction proveth what is that good, that

   acceptable, and perfect will of Thine: yea, Thou teachest him, now made

   capable, to discern the Trinity of the Unity, and the Unity of the

   Trinity. Wherefore to that said in the plural. Let us make man, is yet

   subjoined in the singular, And God made man: and to that said in the

   plural. After our likeness, is subjoined in the singular, After the

   image of God. Thus is man renewed in the knowledge of God, after the

   image of Him that created him: and being made spiritual, he judgeth all

   things (all things which are to be judged), yet himself is judged of no





   But that he judgeth all things, this answers to his having dominion

   over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over all

   cattle and wild beasts, and over all the earth, and over every creeping

   thing that creepeth upon the earth. For this he doth by the

   understanding of his mind, whereby he perceiveth the things of the

   Spirit of God; whereas otherwise, man being placed in honour, had no

   understanding, and is compared unto the brute beasts, and is become

   like unto them. In Thy Church therefore, O our God, according to Thy

   grace which Thou hast bestowed upon it (for we are Thy workmanship

   created unto good works), not those only who are spiritually set over,

   but they also who spiritually are subject to those that are set over

   them,--for in this way didst Thou make man male and female, in Thy

   grace spiritual, where, according to the sex of body, there is neither

   male nor female, because neither Jew nor Grecian, neither bond nor

   free.--Spiritual persons (whether such as are set over, or such as

   obey); do judge spiritually; not of that spiritual knowledge which

   shines in the firmament (for they ought not to judge as to so supreme

   authority), nor may they judge of Thy Book itself, even though

   something there shineth not clearly; for we submit our understanding

   unto it, and hold for certain, that even what is closed to our sight,

   is yet rightly and truly spoken. For so man, though now spiritual and

   renewed in the knowledge of God after His image that created him, ought

   to be a doer of the law, not a judge. Neither doth he judge of that

   distinction of spiritual and carnal men, who are known unto Thine eyes,

   O our God, and have not as yet discovered themselves unto us by works,

   that by their fruits we might know them: but Thou, Lord, dost even now

   know them, and hast divided and called them in secret, or ever the

   firmament was made. Nor doth he, though spiritual, judge the unquiet

   people of this world; for what hath he to do, to judge them that are

   without, knowing not which of them shall hereafter come into the

   sweetness of Thy grace; and which continue in the perpetual bitterness

   of ungodliness?


   Man therefore, whom Thou hast made after Thine own image, received not

   dominion over the lights of heaven, nor over that hidden heaven itself,

   nor over the day and the night, which Thou calledst before the

   foundation of the heaven, nor over the gathering together of the

   waters, which is the sea; but He received dominion over the fishes of

   the sea, and the fowls of the air, and over all cattle, and over all

   the earth, and over all creeping things which creep upon the earth. For

   He judgeth and approveth what He findeth right, and He disalloweth what

   He findeth amiss, whether in the celebration of those Sacraments by

   which such are initiated, as Thy mercy searches out in many waters: or

   in that, in which that Fish is set forth, which, taken out of the deep,

   the devout earth feedeth upon: or in the expressions and signs of

   words, subject to the authority of Thy Book,--such signs, as proceed

   out of the mouth, and sound forth, flying as it were under the

   firmament, by interpreting, expounding, discoursing disputing,

   consecrating, or praying unto Thee, so that the people may answer,

   Amen. The vocal pronouncing of all which words, is occasioned by the

   deep of this world, and the blindness of the flesh, which cannot see

   thoughts; So that there is need to speak aloud into the ears; so that,

   although flying fowls be multiplied upon the earth, yet they derive

   their beginning from the waters. The spiritual man judgeth also by

   allowing of what is right, and disallowing what he finds amiss, in the

   works and lives of the faithful; their alms, as it were the earth

   bringing forth fruit, and of the living soul, living by the taming of

   the affections, in chastity, in fasting, in holy meditations; and of

   those things, which are perceived by the senses of the body. Upon all

   these is he now said to judge, wherein he hath also power of





   But what is this, and what kind of mystery? Behold, Thou blessest

   mankind, O Lord, that they may increase and multiply, and replenish the

   earth; dost Thou not thereby give us a hint to understand something?

   why didst Thou not as well bless the light, which Thou calledst day;

   nor the firmament of heaven, nor the lights, nor the stars, nor the

   earth, nor the sea? I might say that Thou, O God, who created created

   us after Thine Image, I might say, that it had been Thy good pleasure

   to bestow this blessing peculiarly upon man; hadst Thou not in like

   manner blessed the fishes and the whales, that they should increase and

   multiply, and replenish the waters of the sea, and that the fowls

   should be multiplied upon the earth. I might say likewise, that this

   blessing pertained properly unto such creatures, as are bred of their

   own kind, had I found it given to the fruit-trees, and plants, and

   beasts of the earth. But now neither unto the herbs, nor the trees, nor

   the beasts, nor serpents is it said, Increase and multiply;

   notwithstanding all these as well as the fishes, fowls, or men, do by

   generation increase and continue their kind.


   What then shall I say, O Truth my Light? "that it was idly said, and

   without meaning?" Not so, O Father of piety, far he it from a minister

   of Thy word to say so. And if I understand not what Thou meanest by

   that phrase, let my betters, that is, those of more understanding than

   myself, make better use of it, according as Thou, my God, hast given to

   each man to understand. But let my confession also be pleasing in Thine

   eyes, wherein I confess unto Thee, that I believe, O Lord, that Thou

   spokest not so in vain; nor will I suppress, what this lesson suggests

   to me. For it is true, nor do I see what should hinder me from thus

   understanding the figurative sayings of Thy Bible. For I know a thing

   to be manifoldly signified by corporeal expressions, which is

   understood one way by the mind; and that understood many ways in the

   mind, which is signified one way by corporeal expression. Behold, the

   single love of God and our neighbour, by what manifold sacraments, and

   innumerable languages, and in each several language, in how innumerable

   modes of speaking, it is corporeally expressed. Thus do the offspring

   of the waters increase and multiply. Observe again, whosoever readest

   this; behold, what Scripture delivers, and the voice pronounces one

   only way, In the Beginning God created heaven and earth; is it not

   understood manifoldly, not through any deceit of error, but by various

   kinds of true senses? Thus do man's offspring increase and multiply.


   If therefore we conceive of the natures of the things themselves, not

   allegorically, but properly, then does the phrase increase and

   multiply, agree unto all things, that come of seed. But if we treat of

   the words as figuratively spoken (which I rather suppose to be the

   purpose of the Scripture, which doth not, surely, superfluously ascribe

   this benediction to the offspring of aquatic animals and man only);

   then do we find "multitude" to belong to creatures spiritual as well as

   corporeal, as in heaven and earth, and to righteous and unrighteous, as

   in light and darkness; and to holy authors who have been the ministers

   of the Law unto us, as in the firmament which is settled betwixt the

   waters and the waters; and to the society of people yet in the

   bitterness of infidelity, as in the sea; and to the zeal of holy souls,

   as in the dry land; and to works of mercy belonging to this present

   life, as in the herbs bearing seed, and in trees bearing fruit; and to

   spiritual gifts set forth for edification, as in the lights of heaven;

   and to affections formed unto temperance, as in the living soul. In all

   these instances we meet with multitudes, abundance, and increase; but

   what shall in such wise increase and multiply that one thing may be

   expressed many ways, and one expression understood many ways; we find

   not, except in signs corporeally expressed, and in things mentally

   conceived. By signs corporeally pronounced we understand the

   generations of the waters, necessarily occasioned by the depth of the

   flesh; by things mentally conceived, human generations, on account of

   the fruitfulness of reason. And for this end do we believe Thee, Lord,

   to have said to these kinds, Increase and multiply. For in this

   blessing, I conceive Thee to have granted us a power and a faculty,

   both to express several ways what we understand but one; and to

   understand several ways, what we read to be obscurely delivered but in

   one. Thus are the waters of the sea replenished, which are not moved

   but by several significations: thus with human increase is the earth

   also replenished, whose dryness appeareth in its longing, and reason

   ruleth over it.




   I would also say, O Lord my God, what the following Scripture minds me

   of; yea, I will say, and not fear. For I will say the truth, Thyself

   inspiring me with what Thou willedst me to deliver out of those words.

   But by no other inspiration than Thine, do I believe myself to speak

   truth, seeing Thou art the Truth, and every man a liar. He therefore

   that speaketh a lie, speaketh of his own; that therefore I may speak

   truth, I will speak of Thine. Behold, Thou hast given unto us for food

   every herb bearing seed which is upon all the earth; and every tree, in

   which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed. And not to us alone, but

   also to all the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the earth, and

   to all creeping things; but unto the fishes and to the great whales,

   hast Thou not given them. Now we said that by these fruits of the earth

   were signified, and figured in an allegory, the works of mercy which

   are provided for the necessities of this life out of the fruitful

   earth. Such an earth was the devout Onesiphorus, unto whose house Thou

   gavest mercy, because he often refreshed Thy Paul, and was not ashamed

   of his chain. Thus did also the brethren, and such fruit did they bear,

   who out of Macedonia supplied what was lacking to him. But how grieved

   he for some trees, which did not afford him the fruit due unto him,

   where he saith, At my first answer no man stood by me, but all men

   forsook me. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. For

   these fruits are due to such as minister the spiritual doctrine unto us

   out of their understanding of the divine mysteries; and they are due to

   them, as men; yea and due to them also, as the living soul, which

   giveth itself as an example, in all continency; and due unto them also,

   as flying creatures, for their blessings which are multiplied upon the

   earth, because their sound went out into all lands.




   But they are fed by these fruits, that are delighted with them; nor are

   they delighted with them, whose God is their belly. For neither in them

   that yield them, are the things yielded the fruit, but with what mind

   they yield them. He therefore that served God, and not his own belly, I

   plainly see why he rejoiced; I see it, and I rejoice with him. For he

   had received from the Philippians, what they had sent by Epaphroditus

   unto him: and yet I perceive why he rejoiced. For whereat he rejoiced

   upon that he fed; for, speaking in truth, I rejoiced (saith he) greatly

   in the Lord, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished

   again, wherein ye were also careful, but it had become wearisome unto

   you. These Philippians then had now dried up, with a long weariness,

   and withered as it were as to bearing this fruit of a good work; and he

   rejoiceth for them, that they flourished again, not for himself, that

   they supplied his wants. Therefore subjoins he, not that I speak in

   respect of want, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith

   to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound;

   every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full, and to

   be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need. I can do all things

   through Him which strengtheneth me.


   Whereat then rejoicest thou, O great Paul? whereat rejoicest thou?

   whereon feedest thou, O man, renewed in the knowledge of God, after the

   image of Him that created thee, thou living soul, of so much

   continency, thou tongue like flying fowls, speaking mysteries? (for to

   such creatures, is this food due;) what is it that feeds thee? joy.

   Hear we what follows: notwithstanding, ye have well done, that ye did

   communicate with my affliction. Hereat he rejoiceth, hereon feedeth;

   because they had well done, not because his strait was eased, who saith

   unto Thee, Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; for that he

   knew to abound, and to suffer want, in Thee Who strengthenest him. For

   ye Philippians also know (saith he), that in the beginning of the

   Gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no Church communicated with me

   as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in

   Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Unto these good

   works, he now rejoiceth that they are returned; and is gladdened that

   they flourished again, as when a fruitful field resumes its green.


   Was it for his own necessities, because he said, Ye sent unto my

   necessity? Rejoiceth he for that? Verily not for that. But how know we

   this? Because himself says immediately, not because I desire a gift,

   but I desire fruit. I have learned of Thee, my God, to distinguish

   betwixt a gift, and fruit. A gift, is the thing itself which he gives,

   that imparts these necessaries unto us; as money, meat, drink,

   clothing, shelter, help: but the fruit, is the good and right will of

   the giver. For the Good Master said not only, He that receiveth a

   prophet, but added, in the name of a prophet: nor did He only say, He

   that receiveth a righteous man, but added, in the name of a righteous

   man. So verily shall the one receive the reward of a prophet, the

   other, the reward of a righteous man: nor saith He only, He that shall

   give to drink a cup of cold water to one of my little ones; but added,

   in the name of a disciple: and so concludeth, Verily I say unto you, he

   shall not lose his reward. The gift is, to receive a prophet, to

   receive a righteous man, to give a cup of cold water to a disciple: but

   the fruit, to do this in the name of a prophet, in the name of a

   righteous man, in the name of a disciple. With fruit was Elijah fed by

   the widow that knew she fed a man of God, and therefore fed him: but by

   the raven was he fed with a gift. Nor was the inner man of Elijah so

   fed, but the outer only; which might also for want of that food have





   I will then speak what is true in Thy sight, O Lord, that when carnal

   men and infidels (for the gaining and initiating whom, the initiatory

   Sacraments and the mighty workings of miracles are necessary, which we

   suppose to be signified by the name of fishes and whales) undertake the

   bodily refreshment, or otherwise succour Thy servant with something

   useful for this present life; whereas they be ignorant, why this is to

   be done, and to what end; neither do they feed these, nor are these fed

   by them; because neither do the one do it out of an holy and right

   intent; nor do the other rejoice at their gifts, whose fruit they as

   yet behold not. For upon that is the mind fed, of which it is glad. And

   therefore do not the fishes and whales feed upon such meats, as the

   earth brings not forth until after it was separated and divided from

   the bitterness of the waves of the sea.




   And Thou, O God, sawest every thing that Thou hadst made, and, behold,

   it was very good. Yea we also see the same, and behold, all things are

   very good. Of the several kinds of Thy works, when Thou hadst said "let

   them be," and they were, Thou sawest each that it was good. Seven times

   have I counted it to be written, that Thou sawest that that which Thou

   madest was good: and this is the eighth, that Thou sawest every thing

   that Thou hadst made, and, behold, it was not only good, but also very

   good, as being now altogether. For severally, they were only good; but

   altogether, both good, and very good. All beautiful bodies express the

   same; by reason that a body consisting of members all beautiful, is far

   more beautiful than the same members by themselves are, by whose

   well-ordered blending the whole is perfected; notwithstanding that the

   members severally be also beautiful.




   And I looked narrowly to find, whether seven, or eight times Thou

   sawest that Thy works were good, when they pleased Thee; but in Thy

   seeing I found no times, whereby I might understand that Thou sawest so

   often, what Thou madest. And I said, "Lord, is not this Thy Scripture

   true, since Thou art true, and being Truth, hast set it forth? why then

   dost Thou say unto me, that in Thy seeing there be no times'; whereas

   this Thy Scripture tells me, that what Thou madest each day, Thou

   sawest that it was good: and when I counted them, I found how often."

   Unto this Thou answerest me, for Thou art my God, and with a strong

   voice tellest Thy servant in his inner ear, breaking through my

   deafness and crying, "O man, that which My Scripture saith, I say: and

   yet doth that speak in time; but time has no relation to My Word;

   because My Word exists in equal eternity with Myself. So the things

   which ye see through My Spirit, I see; like as what ye speak by My

   Spirit, I speak. And so when ye see those things in time, I see them

   not in time; as when ye speak in time, I speak them not in time."




   And I heard, O Lord my God, and drank up a drop of sweetness out of Thy

   truth, and understood, that certain men there be who mislike Thy works;

   and say, that many of them Thou madest, compelled by necessity; such as

   the fabric of the heavens, and harmony of the stars; and that Thou

   madest them not of what was Thine, but that they were otherwhere and

   from other sources created, for Thee to bring together and compact and

   combine, when out of Thy conquered enemies Thou raisedst up the walls

   of the universe; that they, bound down by the structure, might not

   again be able to rebel against Thee. For other things, they say Thou

   neither madest them, nor even compactedst them, such as all flesh and

   all very minute creatures, and whatsoever hath its root in the earth;

   but that a mind at enmity with Thee, and another nature not created by

   Thee, and contrary unto Thee, did, in these lower stages of the world,

   beget and frame these things. Frenzied are they who say thus, because

   they see not Thy works by Thy Spirit, nor recognise Thee in them.




   But they who by Thy Spirit see these things, Thou seest in them.

   Therefore when they see that these things are good, Thou seest that

   they are good; and whatsoever things for Thy sake please, Thou pleasest

   in them, and what through Thy Spirit please us, they please Thee in us.

   For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man,

   which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no one, but the

   Spirit of God. Now we (saith he) have received, not the spirit of this

   world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things

   that are freely given to us of God. And I am admonished, "Truly the

   things of God knoweth no one, but the Spirit of God: how then do we

   also know, what things are given us of God?" Answer is made me;

   "because the things which we know by His Spirit, even these no one

   knoweth, but the Spirit of God. For as it is rightly said unto those

   that were to speak by the Spirit of God, it is not ye that speak: so is

   it rightly said to them that know through the Spirit of God, It is not

   ye that know.' And no less then is it rightly said to those that see

   through the Spirit of God, It is not ye that see'; so whatsoever

   through the Spirit of God they see to be good, it is not they, but God

   that sees that it is good." It is one thing then for a man to think

   that to be ill which is good, as the forenamed do; another, that that

   which is good, a man should see that it is good (as Thy creatures be

   pleasing unto many, because they be good, whom yet Thou pleasest not in

   them, when they prefer to enjoy them, to Thee); and another, that when

   a man sees a thing that it is good, God should in him see that it is

   good, so, namely, that He should be loved in that which He made, Who

   cannot be loved, but by the Holy Ghost which He hath given. Because the

   love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Which is

   given unto us: by Whom we see that whatsoever in any degree is, is

   good. For from Him it is, who Himself Is not in degree, but what He Is,





   Thanks to Thee, O Lord. We behold the heaven and earth, whether the

   corporeal part, superior and inferior, or the spiritual and corporeal

   creature; and in the adorning of these parts, whereof the universal

   pile of the world, or rather the universal creation, doth consist, we

   see light made, and divided from the darkness. We see the firmament of

   heaven, whether that primary body of the world, between the spiritual

   upper waters and the inferior corporeal waters, or (since this also is

   called heaven) this space of air through which wander the fowls of

   heaven, betwixt those waters which are in vapours borne above them, and

   in clear nights distill down in dew; and those heavier waters which

   flow along the earth. We behold a face of waters gathered together in

   the fields of the sea; and the dry land both void, and formed so as to

   be visible and harmonized, yea and the matter of herbs and trees. We

   behold the lights shining from above, the sun to suffice for the day,

   the moon and the stars to cheer the night; and that by all these, times

   should be marked and signified. We behold on all sides a moist element,

   replenished with fishes, beasts, and birds; because the grossness of

   the air, which bears up the flights of birds, thickeneth itself by the

   exhalation of the waters. We behold the face of the earth decked out

   with earthly creatures, and man, created after Thy image and likeness,

   even through that Thy very image and likeness (that is the power of

   reason and understanding), set over all irrational creatures. And as in

   his soul there is one power which has dominion by directing, another

   made subject, that it might obey; so was there for the man, corporeally

   also, made a woman, who in the mind of her reasonable understanding

   should have a parity of nature, but in the sex of her body, should be

   in like manner subject to the sex of her husband, as the appetite of

   doing is fain to conceive the skill of right-doing from the reason of

   the mind. These things we behold, and they are severally good, and

   altogether very good.




   Let Thy works praise Thee, that we may love Thee; and let us love Thee,

   that Thy works may praise Thee, which from time have beginning and

   ending, rising and setting, growth and decay, form and privation. They

   have then their succession of morning and evening, part secretly, part

   apparently; for they were made of nothing, by Thee, not of Thee; not of

   any matter not Thine, or that was before, but of matter concreated

   (that is, at the same time created by Thee), because to its state

   without form, Thou without any interval of time didst give form. For

   seeing the matter of heaven and earth is one thing, and the form

   another, Thou madest the matter of merely nothing, but the form of the

   world out of the matter without form: yet both together, so that the

   form should follow the matter, without any interval of delay.




   We have also examined what Thou willedst to be shadowed forth, whether

   by the creation, or the relation of things in such an order. And we

   have seen, that things singly are good, and together very good, in Thy

   Word, in Thy Only-Begotten, both heaven and earth, the Head and the

   body of the Church, in Thy predestination before all times, without

   morning and evening. But when Thou begannest to execute in time the

   things predestinated, to the end Thou mightest reveal hidden things,

   and rectify our disorders; for our sins hung over us, and we had sunk

   into the dark deep; and Thy good Spirit was borne over us, to help us

   in due season; and Thou didst justify the ungodly, and dividest them

   from the wicked; and Thou madest the firmament of authority of Thy Book

   between those placed above, who were to he docile unto Thee, and those

   under, who were to be subject to them: and Thou gatheredst together the

   society of unbelievers into one conspiracy, that the zeal of the

   faithful might appear, and they might bring forth works of mercy, even

   distributing to the poor their earthly riches, to obtain heavenly. And

   after this didst Thou kindle certain lights in the firmament, Thy Holy

   ones, having the word of life; and shining with an eminent authority

   set on high through spiritual gifts; after that again, for the

   initiation of the unbelieving Gentiles, didst Thou out of corporeal

   matter produce the Sacraments, and visible miracles, and forms of words

   according to the firmament of Thy Book, by which the faithful should be

   blessed and multiplied. Next didst Thou form the living soul of the

   faithful, through affections well ordered by the vigour of continency:

   and after that, the mind subjected to Thee alone and needing to imitate

   no human authority, hast Thou renewed after Thy image and likeness; and

   didst subject its rational actions to the excellency of the

   understanding, as the woman to the man; and to all Offices of Thy

   Ministry, necessary for the perfecting of the faithful in this life,

   Thou willedst, that for their temporal uses, good things, fruitful to

   themselves in time to come, be given by the same faithful. All these we

   see, and they are very good, because Thou seest them in us, Who hast

   given unto us Thy Spirit, by which we might see them, and in them love





   O Lord God, give peace unto us: (for Thou hast given us all things;)

   the peace of rest, the peace of the Sabbath, which hath no evening. For

   all this most goodly array of things very good, having finished their

   courses, is to pass away, for in them there was morning and evening.




   But the seventh day hath no evening, nor hath it setting; because Thou

   hast sanctified it to an everlasting continuance; that that which Thou

   didst after Thy works which were very good, resting the seventh day,

   although Thou madest them in unbroken rest, that may the voice of Thy

   Book announce beforehand unto us, that we also after our works

   (therefore very good, because Thou hast given them us), shall rest in

   Thee also in the Sabbath of eternal life.




   For then shalt Thou rest in us, as now Thou workest in us; and so shall

   that be Thy rest through us, as these are Thy works through us. But

   Thou, Lord, ever workest, and art ever at rest. Nor dost Thou see in

   time, nor art moved in time, nor restest in a time; and yet Thou makest

   things seen in time, yea the times themselves, and the rest which

   results from time.




   We therefore see these things which Thou madest, because they are: but

   they are, because Thou seest them. And we see without, that they are,

   and within, that they are good, but Thou sawest them there, when made,

   where Thou sawest them, yet to be made. And we were at a later time

   moved to do well, after our hearts had conceived of Thy Spirit; but in

   the former time we were moved to do evil, forsaking Thee; but Thou, the

   One, the Good God, didst never cease doing good. And we also have some

   good works, of Thy gift, but not eternal; after them we trust to rest

   in Thy great hallowing. But Thou, being the Good which needeth no good,

   art ever at rest, because Thy rest is Thou Thyself. And what man can

   teach man to understand this? or what Angel, an Angel? or what Angel, a

   man? Let it be asked of Thee, sought in Thee, knocked for at Thee; so,

   so shall it be received, so shall it be found, so shall it be opened.



   Gratias Tibi Domine








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