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St. Augustine of Hippo- Confessions BOOK XIII

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 XIII.

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAP. III. -- GENESIS I. 3,--OF "LIGHT," -- HE UNDERSTANDS AS IT IS SEEN IN THE SPIRITUAL CREATURE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAP. IX.--WHY THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS ONLY  "BORNE OVER" THE WATERS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23. For, indeed, to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, as if the greater light, on account of those who are delighted with the light of manifest truth, as in the beginning of the day; but to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, as if the lesser light; to another faith; to another the gift of healing; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another the discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues. And all these as stars. For all these worketh the one and self-same Spirit, dividing to every man his own as He willeth; and making stars appear manifestly, to profit withal. But the word of knowledge, wherein are contained all sacraments, which are varied in their periods like the moon, and the other conceptions of gifts, which are successively reckoned up as stars, inasmuc

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