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St. Augustine of Hippo- Confessions BOOK XII

Written by: Augustine    Posted on: 03/27/2003

Category: Classic Christian Library

Source: CCN

St. Augustine of Hippo: CONFESSIONS "New Advent Catholic Supersite"

St. Augustine of Hippo Confessions

BOOK XII.

HE CONTINUES HIS EXPLANATION OF THE FIRST CHAPTER OF GENESIS ACCORDING TO THE SEPTUAGINT, AND BY ITS ASSISTANCE HE ARGUES, ESPECIALLY, CONCERNING THE DOUBLE HEAVEN, AND THE FORMLESS MATTER OUT OF WHICH THE WHOLE WORLD MAY HAVE BEEN CREATED; AFTERWARDS OF THE INTERPRETATIONS OF OTHERS NOT DISALLOWED, AND SETS FORTH AT GREAT LENGTH TIlE SENSE OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURE.

CHAP. I.--THE DISCOVERY OF TRUTH IS DIFFICULT, BUT GOD HAS PROMISED THAT HE WHO SEEKS SHALL FIND.

I. My heart, 0 Lord, affected by the words of Thy Holy Scripture, is much busied in this poverty of my life; and therefore, for the most part, is the want of human intelligence copious in language, because inquiry speaks more than discovery, and because demanding is longer than obtaining, and the hand that knocks is more active than the hand that receives. We hold the promise; who shall break it? "If God be for us, who can be against us?. "Ask, and ye shall have; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.'. These are Thine own promises; and who need fear to be deceived where the Truth promiseth?

CHAP. II. -- OF THE DOUBLE HEAVEN,--THE VISIBLE, AND THE HEAVEN OF HEAVENS.

2. The weakness of my tongue confesseth unto Thy Highness, seeing that Thou madest heaven and earth. This heaven which I see, and this earth upon which I tread (from which is this earth that I carry about me), Thou hast made. But where is Chat heaven of heavens, O Lord, of which we hear in the words of the Psalm, The heaven of heavens are the Lord's, I but the earth hath He given to the children of men. Where is the heaven, which we behold not, in comparison of which all this, which we behold, is earth? For this corporeal whole, not as a whole everywhere, hath thus received its beautiful figure in these lower parts, of which the bottom is our earth; but compared with that heaven of heavens, even the heaven of our earth is but earth; yea, each of these great bodies is not absurdly called earth, as compared with that, I know not what manner of heaven, which is the Lord's, not the sons' of men.

CHAP. III.--OF THE DARKNESS UPON THE DEEP, AND OF THE INVISIBLE AND FORMLESS EARTH.

3. And truly this earth was invisible and formless. and there was I know not what profundity of the deep upon which there was no light,' because it had no form. Therefore didst Thou command that it should be written, that darkness was upon the face of the deep; what else was it than the absence of light?. For had there been light, where should it have been save by being above all, showing itself aloft, and enlightening? Where, therefore, light was as yet not, why was it that darkness was present, unless because light was absent? Darkness therefore was upon it, because the light above was absent; as silence is there present where sound is not. And what is it to have silence there, but not to have sound there? Hast not Thou, 0 Lord, taught this soul which confesseth unto Thee? Hast not Thou taught me, 0 Lord, that before Thou didst form and separate this formless matter, there was nothing, neither colour, nor figure, nor body, nor spirit? Yet not altogether nothing; there was a certain formlessness without any shape.

CHAP. IV.--FROM THE FORMLESSNESS OF MATTER, THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD HAS ARISEN.

4. What, then, should it be called, that even in some ways it might be conveyed to those of duller mind, save by some conventional word? But what, in all parts of the world, can be found nearer to a total formlessness than the earth and! the deep? For, from their being of the lowest position, they are less beautiful than are the other higher parts, all transparent and shining. Why, therefore, may I not consider the formlessness of matter--which Thou hadst created without shape, whereof to make this shapely world--to be fittingly intimated unto men by the name of earth invisible and formless?

CHAP. V.--WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN THE FORM OF MATTER.

S. So that when herein thought seeketh what the sense may arrive at, and saith to itself, "It is no intelligible form, such as life or justice, because it is the matter of bodies; nor perceptible by the senses, because in the invisible and formless there is nothing which can be seen and felt;--while human thought saith these things to itself, it may endeavour either to know it by being ignorant, or by knowing it to be ignorant.

CHAP. VI.--HE CONFESSES THAT AT ONE TIME HE HIMSELF THOUGHT ERRONEOUSLY OF MATTER.

6. But were I, O Lord, by my mouth and by my pen to confess unto Thee the whole, whatever Thou hast taught me concerning that matter, the name of which hearing beforehand, and not understanding (they who could not understand it telling me of it), I conceive. it as having innumerable and varied forms. And therefore did I not conceive it; my mind revolved in disturbed order foul and horrible "forms," but yet "forms;" and I called it formless, not that it lacked form, but because it had such as, did it appear, my mind would turn from, as unwonted and incongruous, and at which human weakness would be disturbed. But even that which I did conceive was formless, not by the privation of all form, but in comparison of more beautiful forms; and true reason persuaded me that I ought altogether to remove from it all remnants of any form whatever, if I wished to conceive matter wholly without form; and I could not. For sooner could I imagine that that which should be deprived of all form was not at all, than conceive anything between form and nothing,--neither formed, nor nothing, formless, nearly nothing. And my mind hence ceased to question my spirit, filled (as it was) with the images of formed bodies, and changing and varying them according to its will; and I applied myself to the bodies themselves, and looked more deeply into their mutability, by which the. y cease to be what they had. been, and begin to be what they were not; and. this same transit from form unto form I have looked upon to be through some formless condition, not through a very nothing; but I desired to know, not to guess. And if my voice and my pen should confess the whole unto Thee, whatsoever knots Thou hast untied for me,concerning this question, who of my readers would endure to take in the whole? Nor yet, therefore, shall my heart cease to give Thee honour, and a song of praise, for those things which it is not able to express. For the mutability of mutable things is itself capable of all those forms into which mutable things are changed. And this mutability, what is it? Is it soul? Is it body? Is it the outer appearance of soul or body? Could it be said, "Nothing were something," and "That which is, is not," I would say that this were it; and yet in some manner was it already, since it could receive these visible and compound shapes.

CHAP. VII.--OUT OF NOTHING GOD MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH.

7. And whence and in what manner was this, unless from Thee, from whom are all things, in so far as they are? But by how much the farther from Thee, so much the more unlike unto Thee; for it is not distance of place. Thou, therefore, O Lord, who art not one thing in one place, and otherwise in another, but the Self-same, and the Self-same, and the Self-same? Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God- Almighty, didst in the beginning, which is of Thee, in Thy Wisdom, which was born of Thy Substance, create something, and that out of nothing. For Thou didst create heaven and earth, not out of Thyself, for then they would be equal to Thine Only-begotten, and thereby even to Thee. and in no wise would it be right that anything should be equal to Thee which was not of Thee. And aught else except Thee there was not whence Thou mightest create these things, O God, One Trinity, and Trine Unity; and, therefore, out of nothing didst Thou create heaven and earth,--a great thing and a small,because Thou art Almighty and Good, to make all things good, even the great heaven and the I small earth. Thou wast, and there was nought else from which Thou didst create heaven and earth; two such things, one near unto Thee, the other near to nothing,6--one to which Thou shouldest be superior, the other to which nothing should be inferior.

   

CHAP. VIII.--HEAVEN AND EARTH WERE MADE "IN THE BEGINNING;" AFTERWARDS THE WORLD, DURING SIX DAYS, FROM SHAPELESS MATTER.

8. But that heaven of heavens was for Thee, O Lord; but the earth, which Thou hast given to the sons of men,x to be seen and touched, was not such as now we see and touch. For ff was invisible and "without form, and there was a deep over which there was not light; or, darkness was over the deep, that is, more than in the deep. For this deep of waters, now visible, has, even in its depths, a light suitable to its nature, perceptible in some manner unto fishes and creeping things in the bottom of it. But the entire deep was almost nothing, since hitherto it was altogether formless; yet there was then that which could be formed. For Thou, O Lord, hast made the world of a formless matter, which matter, out of nothing, Thou hast made almost nothing, out of which to make those great things which we, sons of men, wonder at. For very wonderful is this corporeal heaven, of which firmament, between water and water, the second day after the creation of light, Thou saidst, Let it be made, and it was made? Which firmament Thou calledst heaven, that is, the heaven of this earth and sea, which Thou madest on the third day, by giving a visible shape to the formless matter which Thou madest before all days. For even already hadst Thou made a heaven before all days, but that was the heaven of this heaven; because in the beginning Thou hadst made heaven and earth. But the earth itself which Thou hadst made was formless matter, because it was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep. Of which invisible and formless earth, of which formlessness, of which almost nothing, Thou mightest make all these things of which this changeable world consists, and yet consisteth not; whose very changeableness appears in this, that times can be observed and numbered in it. Because times are made by the changes of things, while the shapes, whose matter is the invisible earth aforesaid, are varied and turned.

CHAP. IX.--THAT THE HEAVEN OF HEAVENS WAS AN INTELLECTUAL CREATURE, BUT THAT THE EARTH WAS INVISIBLE AND FORMLESS BEFORE THE DAYS THAT IT WAS MADE.

9. And therefore the Spirit, the Teacher of Thy servant. when He relates that Thou didst in the Beginning create heaven and earth, is silent as to times, silent as to days. For, doubtless, that heaven of heavens, which Thou in the Beginning didst create, is some intellectual creature, which, although in no wise co-eternal unto Thee, the Trinity, is yet a partaker of Thy eternity, and by reason of the sweetness of that most happy contemplation of Thyself, doth greatly restrain its own mutability,' and without any failure, from the time in which it was created, in clinging unto Thee, surpasses all the rolling change of times. But this shapelessness---this earth invisible and without form--has not itself been numbered among the days. For where there is no shape nor order, nothing either cometh or goeth; and where this is not, there certainly are no days, nor any vicissitude of spaces of times.

CHAP. X.--HE BEGS OF GOD THAT HE MAY LIVE IN THE TRUE LIGHT, AND MAY BE INSTRUCTED AS TO THE MYSTERIES OF THE SACRED BOOKS.

10. Oh, let Truth, the light of my heart. not my own darkness, speak unto me! I have descended to that, and am darkened. But thence, even thence, did I love Thee. I went astray, and remembered Thee: I heard Thy voice behind me bidding me return, and scarcely did I hear it for the tumults of the unquiet ones. And now, behold, I return burning and panting after Thy fountain. Let no one prohibit me; of this will I drink, and so have life. Let me not be my own life; from myself have I badly lived,Neath was I unto myself; in Thee do I revive. Do Thou speak unto me; do Thou discourse unto me. In Thy books have I believed, and their words are very deep.

CHAP. XI.--WHAT MAY BE DISCOVERED TO HIM BY GOD.

11. Already hast Thou told me, 0 Lord, with a strong voice, in my inner ear, 'that Thou art eternal, having alone immortality. Since Thou art not changed by any shape or motion, nor is Thy will altered by times, because no will which changes is immortal. This in Thy sight is clear to me, and let it become more and more clear, I beseech Thee; and in that manifestation let me abide more soberly under Thy wings. Likewise hast Thou said to me, 0 Lord, with a strong voice, in my inner ear, that Thou hast made all natures and substances, which are not what Thou Thyself art, and yet they are; and that only is not from Thee which is not, and the motion of the will from Thee who art, to that which in a less degree is, because such motion is guilt and sin; x and that no one's sin doth either hurt Thee, or disturb the order of Thy rule. either first or last. This, in Thy sight, is clear to me and let it become more and more clear, I beseech Thee; and in that manifestation let me abide more soberly under Thy wings.

12. Likewise hast Thou said to me, with a strong voice, in my inner ear, that that creature, whose will Thou alone art, is not co-eternal unto Thee, and which, with a most persevering purit. drawing its support from Thee, doth, in place and at no time, put forth its own mutability; ' and Thyself being ever present with it, unto whom with its entire affection it holds itself, having no future to expect nor conveying into the past what it remembereth, is varied by no change, nor extended into any times.s O blessed one,--if any such there be,--in clinging unto Thy Blessedness; blest in Thee, its everlasting Inhabitant and its Enlightener! Nor do I find what the heaven of heavens, which is the Lord's, can be better called than Thine house, which contemplateth Thy delight without any defection of going forth to another; a pure mind, most peacefully one, by that stability of peace of holy spirits. the citizens of Thy city "in the heavenly places," above these heavenly places which are seen.

13. Whence the soul, whose wandering has been made far away, may understand, if now she thirsts for Thee, if now her tears have become bread to her, while it is daily said unto her "Where is thy God?". if she now seeketh of Thee one thing, and desireth that she may dwell in Thy house all the days of her life? And what is her life but Thee? And what are Thy days but Thy eternity, as Thy years which fail not, because Thou art the same? Hence, therefore, can the soul, which is able, understand how far beyond all times Thou art eternal; when Thy house, which has not wandered from Thee, although it be not co-eternal with Thee, yet by continually and unfailingly clinging unto Thee, suffers no vicissitude of times. This in Thy sight is clear unto me, and may it become more and more clear unto me, I beseech Thee; and in this manifestation may I abide more soberly under Thy wings.

14. Behold, I know not what shapelessness there is in those changes of these last and lowest creatures. And who shall tell me, unless it be some one who, through the emptiness of his own heart, wanders and is staggered by his own fancies? Who, unless such a one, would tell me that (all figure being diminished and consumed), if the formlessness only remain, through which the thing was changed and was turned from one figure into another, that that can exhibit the changes of times? For surely it could not be, because without the change of motions times are not, and there is no change where there is no figure.

CHAP. XII.--FROM THE FORMLESS EARTH GOD CREATED ANOTHER HEAVEN AND A VISIBLE AND FORMED EARTH.

15. Which things considered as much as Thou givest, O my God, as much as Thou excitest me to "knock," and as much as Thou openest unto me when I knock, two things I find which Thou hast made, not within the compass of time, since neither is co-eternal with Thee. One, which is so formed that, without any failing of contemplation, without any interval of change, although changeable, yet not changed, it may fully enjoy Thy eternity and unchangeableness; the other, which was so formless, that it had not that by which it could be changed from one form into another, either of motion or of repose, whereby it might be subject unto time. But this Thou didst not leave to be formless, since before all days, in the beginning Thou createdst heaven and earth,--these two things of which I spoke. But the earth was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep.n By which words its shapelessness is conveyed unto us,that by degrees those minds may be drawn on which cannot wholly conceive the privation of all form without coming to nothing,--whence another heaven might be created, and another earth visible and well-formed, and water beautifully ordered, and whatever besides is, in the formation of this world, recorded to have been, not without days, created; because such things are so that in them the vicissitudes of times may take place, on account of the appointed changes of motions and of forms.

CHAP. XIII.---OF THE INTELLECTUAL HEAVEN AND FORMLESS EARTH, OUT OF WHICH, ON ANOTHER DAY, THE FIRMAMENT WAS FORMED.

16. Meanwhile I conceive this, O my God, when I hear Thy Scripture speak, saying, In the beginning God made heaven and earth; but the earth was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep, and not stating on what day Thou didst create these things. Thus, meanwhile, do I conceive, that it is on account of that heaven of heavens, that intellectual heaven, where to understand is to know all at once,--not "in part," not "darkly," not "through a glass," x but as a whole, in manifestation, "face to face;" not this thing now, that anon, but (as has been said) to know at once without any change of times; and on account of the invisible and formless earth, without any change of times; which change is wont to have "this thing now, that anon," because, where there is no form there can be no distinction between "this" or "that; "--it is, then, on account of these two,--a primitively formed, and a wholly formless; the one heaven, but the heaven of heavens, the other earth, but the earth invisible and formless;--on account of these two do I meanwhile conceive that Thy Scripture said without mention of days, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." For immediately it added of what earth it spake. And when on the second day the firmament is recorded to have been created, and called heaven, it suggests to us of which heaven He spake before without mention of days.

CHAP. XIV.---OF THE DEPTH OF THE SACRED SCRIPTURE, AND ITS ENEMIES.

17. Wonderful is the depth of Thy oracles, whose surface is before us, inviting the little ones; and yet wonderful is the depth, O my God, wonderful is the depth.' It is awe to look into it; and awe of honour, and a tremor of love. The enemies thereof I hate vehemently. Oh, if Thou wouldest slay them with Thy two-edged sword. that they be not its enemies! For thus do I love, that they should be slain unto themselves that they may live unto Thee. But behold others not reprovers, but praisers of the book of Genesis,--" The Spirit of God," say they, "Who by His servant Moses wrote these things, willed not that these words should be thus understood. He willed not that it should be understood as Thou sayest, but as we say." Unto whom, 0 God of us all, Thyself being Judge, do I thus answer.

CHAP. XV.--HE ARGUES AGAINST ADVERSARIES CONCERNING THE HEAVEN OF HEAVENS.

18. "Will you say that these things are false, which, with a strong voice, Truth tells me in my inner ear, concerning the very eternity of the Creator, that His substance is in no wise changed by time, nor that His will is separate from His substance? Wherefore, He willeth not one thing now, another anon, but once and for ever He willeth all things that He willeth; not again and again, nor now this, now that; nor willeth afterwards what He willeth not before, nor willeth not what before He willed. Because such a will is mutable and no mutable thing is eternal; but our God is eternal.s Likewise He tells me, tells me in my inner ear, that the expectation of future things is turned to sight when they have come; and this same sight is turned to memory when they have passed. Moreover, all thought which is thus varied is mutable, and nothing mutable is eternal; but our God is eternal." These things I sum up and put together, and I find that my God, the eternal God, hath not made any creature by any new will, nor that His knowledge suffereth anything transitory.

19. What, therefore, will ye say, ye objectors? Are these things false? "No," they say. "What is this? Is it false, then, that every nature already formed, or matter formable, is only from Him who is supremely good, because He is supreme? . . . . Neither do we deny this," say they. "What then? Do you deny this, that there is a certain sublime creature, clinging with so chaste a love with the true and truly eternal God, that although it be not co-eternal with Him, yet it separateth itself not from Him, nor floweth into any variety and vicissitude of times, but resteth in the truest contemplation of Him only?" Since Thou, O God, showest Thyself unto him, and sufficest him, who loveth Thee as muce as Thou commandest, and, therefore, he declineth not from Thee, nor toward himself. This is the house of God, not earthly, nor of any celestial bulk corporeal, but a spiritual house and a partaker of Thy eternity, because without blemish for ever. For Thou hast made it fast for ever and ever; Thou hast 'given it a law, which it shall not pass? Nor yet is it co-eternal with Thee, O God, because not without beginning, for it was made.

20. For although we find no time before it, for wisdom was created before all things. -- not certainly that Wisdom manifestly co-eternal and equal unto Thee, our God, His Father, and by Whom all things were created, and in Whom, as the Beginning, Thou createdst heaven and earth; but truly that wisdom which has been created, namely, the intellectual nature,t which, in the contemplation of light, is light. For this, although created, is also called wisdom. But as great as is the difference between the Light which enlighteneth and that which is enlightened? so great is the difference between the Wisdom that createth and that which hath been created; as between the Righteousness which justifieth, and the righteousness which has been made by justification. For we also are called Thy righteousness; for thus saith a certain servant of Thine: "That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.'s Therefore, since a certain created wisdom was created before all things, the rational and intellectual mind of that chaste city of Thine, our mother which is above, and is free,' and "eternal in the heavens. (in what heavens, unless in those that praise Thee, the "heaven of heavens," because this also is the "heaven of heavens," which is the Lord's) --although we find not time before it, because that which hath been created before all things also precedeth the creature of time, yet is the Eternity of the Creator Himself before it, from Whom, having been created, it took the beginning, although not of time,--for time as yet was not,--yet of its own very nature.

21. Hence comes it so to be of Thee, our God, as to be manifestly another than Thou, and not the Self-same. Since, although we find time not only not before it, but not in it (it being proper ever to behold Thy face, nor is ever turned aside from it, wherefore it happens that it is varied by no change), yet is there in it that mutability itself whence it would become dark and cold, but that, clinging unto Thee with sublime love, it shineth and gloweth from Thee like a perpetual noon. O house, full of light and splendour! I have loved thy beauty, and the place of the habitation of the glory of my Lord, thy builder and owner. Let my wandering sigh after thee; and I speak unto Him that made thee, that He may possess me also in thee, seeing He hath made me likewise. "I have gone astray, like a lost sheep;. yet upon the shoulders of my Sheperd. thy builder, I hope that I may be brought back to thee.

22. "What say ye to me, O ye objectors whom I was addressing, and who yet believe that Moses was the holy servant of God, and that his books were the oracles of the Holy Ghost? Is not this house of God, not indeed co-eternal with God, yet, according to its measure, eternal in the heavens, n where in vain you seek for changes of times, because you will not find them? For that surpasseth all extension, and every revolving space of time, to which it is ever good to cleave fast to God."  "It is," say they. "What, therefore, of those things which my heart cried out unto my God, when within it heard the voice of His praise, what then do you contend is false? Or is it because the matter was formless, wherein, as there was no form, there was no order? But where there was no order there could not be any change of times; and yet this ' almost nothing,' inasmuch as it was not altogether nothing, was verily from Him, from Whom is whatever is, in what state soever anything is.""This also," say they, "we do not deny."

CHAP. XVI. -- HE WISHES TO HAVE NO INTERCOURSE WITH THOSE WHO DENY DIVINE TRUTH.

23. With such as grant that all these things which Thy truth indicates to my mind are true, I desire to confer a little before Thee, 0 my God. For let those who deny these things bark and drown their own voices with their clamour as much as they please; I will endeavour to persuade them to be quiet, and to suffer Thy word to reach them. But should they be unwilling, and should they repel me, I beseech, O my God, that Thou "be not silent to me."  Do Thou speak truly in my heart, for Thou only so speakest, and I will send them away blowing upon the dust from without, and raising it up into their own eyes; and will myself enter into my chamber, and sing there unto Thee songs of love,--groaning with groaning unutterable. in my pilgrimage, and remembering Jerusalem, with heart raised up towards it,

Jerusalem my country, Jerusalem my mother, and Thyself, the Ruler over it, the Enlightener, the Father, the Guardian, the Husband, the chaste and strong delight,' the solid joy, and all good things ineffable, even all at the same time, because the one supreme and true Good. And I will not be turned away until Thou collect all that I am, from this dispersio. and deformity, into the peace of that very dear mother, where are the first-fruits of my spirit, whence these things are assured to me, and Thou conform and confirm it for ever, my God, my Mercy. But with reference to those who say not that all these things which are true and false, who honour Thy Holy Scripture set forth by holy Moses, placing it, as with us, on the summit of an authority. to be followed, and yet who contradict us in some particulars, I thus speak: Be Thou, O,our God, judge between my confessions and their contradictions.

CHAP. XVII.--HE MENTIONS FIVE EXPLANATIONS OF THE WORDS OF GENESIS i. I.

24. For they say, "Although these things be true, yet Moses regarded not those two things, when by divine revelation he said, ' In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.. Under the name of heaven he did not indicate that spiritual or intellectual creature which always beholds the face of God; nor under the name of earth, that shapeless matter." ' What then?" "'that man," say they, "meant as we say; this it is that he declared by those words." "What is that?" "By the name of heaven and earth," say they, "did he first wish to set forth, universally and briefly, all this visible world, that afterwards by the enumeration of the days he might distribute, as if in detail, all those things which it pleased the Holy Spirit thus to reveal. For such men were that rude and carnal people to which he spoke, that he judged it prudent that only those works of God as were visible should be entrusted to them." They agree, however, that the earth invisible and formless, and the darksome deep (out of which it is subsequently pointed out that all these visible things, which are known to all, were made and set in order during those" days"), may not unsuitably be understood of this formless matter.

25. What, now, if another should say "That this same formlessness and confusion of matter was first introduced under the name of heaven and earth, because out of it this visible world, with all those natures which most manifestly appear in it, and which is wont to be called by the name of heaven and earth, was created and perfected "? But what if another should say, that "That invisible and visible nature is not inaptly called heaven and earth; and that consequently the universal creation, which God in His wisdom hath made,--that is, ' in the begining,'--was comprehended under these two words. Yet, since all things have been made, not of the substance of God, but out of nothings (because they are not that same thing that God is, and there is in them all a certain mutability, whether they remain, as doth the eternal house of God, or. be changed, as are the soul and body of man), therefore, that the common matter of all things invisible and visible,--as yet shapeless, but still capable of form,--out of which was to be created heaven and earth (that is, the invisible and visible creature already formed), was spoken of by the same names by which the earth invisible and formless and the darkness upon the deep would be called; with this difference, however, that the earth invisible and formless is understood as corporeal matter, before it had any manner of form, but the darkness upon the deep as spiritual matter, before it was restrained at all of its unlimited fluidity, and before the enlightening of wisdom."

26. should any man wish, he may still say, "That the already perfected and formed natures, invisible and visible, are not signified under the name of heaven and earth when it is read, ' In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;' but that the yet same formless beginning of things, the matter capable of being formed and made, was called by these names, because contained in it there were these confused things not as yet distinguished by their qualities and forms, the which now being digested in their own orders, are called heaven and earth, the former being the spiritual, the latter the corporeal creature. ' '
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