Early Church Fathers
152 Ps. cix. 22.
153 See his De Civ. Dei, v. 20, where he compares the truly pious man, who attributes all his good to God's mercy, "giving thanks for what in him is healed, and pouring out prayers for the healing of that which is yet unhealed," with the philosophers who make their chief end pleasure or human glory.
154 See xii. sec. 35, below.
155 See ix. sec. 10, note, above, and xi. sec. 39, below.
156 Heb. xii. 1.
157 See p. 153, note 7, above.
158 Ps. xxxi. 22.
159 It would be easy so to do, since even amongst believers, as we find from Evodius' letter to Augustin (Ep. clvi.), there was a prevalent belief that the blessed dead visited the earth, and that visions had an important bearing on human affairs. See also Augustin's answer to Evodius, in Ep. clix.; Chrysostom, De Sacer. vi. 4; and on Visions, See sec. 41, note, above.
160 Eph. ii. 2.
161 See note 5, p. 69, above.
162 2 Cor. xi. 14.
163 In his De Civ. Dei, x. 24, in speaking of the Incarnation of Christ as a mystery unintelligible to Porphyry's pride, he has a similar passage, in which he speaks of the "true and benignant Mediator," and the "malignant and deceitful mediators." See vii. sec. 24, above.
164 Rom. vi. 23.
165 See notes 3, p. 71, and 9 and 11, p. 74, above.
166 1 Tim. ii. 5.
167 Not that our Lord is to be supposed, as some have held, to have been under the law of death in Adam, because "in Adam all die" (1 Cor. xv. 22; see the whole of c. 23, in De Civ. Dei, xiii, and compare ix. sec. 34, note 3, above); for he says in Serm. ccxxxii. 5: "As there was nothing in us from which life could spring, so there was nothing in Him from which death could come." He laid down His life (John x. 18), and as being partaker of the divine nature, could see no corruption (Acts ii. 27). This is the explanation Augustin gives in his comment on Ps. lxxxv. 5 (quoted in the next section) of Christ's being "free among the dead." So also in his De Trin. xiii. 18, he says he was thus free because "solus enim a debito mortis liber est mortuus." The true analogy between the first and second Adam is surely then to be found in our Lord's being free from the law of death by reason of His divine nature, and Adam before his transgression being able to avert death by partaking of the Tree of Life. Christ was, it is true, a child of Adam, but a child of Adam miraculously born. See note 3, p. 73, above.
168 See De Trin. iv. 2; and Trench, Hulsean Lectures (1845), latter part of lect. iv.
169 Medius, alluding to mediator immediately before. See his De Civ. Dei, ix. 15, and xi. 2, for an enlargement of this distinction between Christ as man and Christ as the Word. Compare also De Trin. i. 20 and xiii. 13; and Mansel, Bampton Lectures, lect. v. note 20.
170 Some Mss. omit Cum spiritu sancto.
171 Christ did not, as in the words of a well-known hymn, "change the wrath to love." For, as Augustin remarks in a very beautiful passage in Ev. Joh. Tract. cx. 6, God loved us before the foundation of the world, and the reconcilement wrought by Christ must not be "so understood as if the Son reconciled us unto Him in this respect, that He now began to love those whom He formerly hated, in the same way as enemy is reconciled to enemy, so that thereafter they become friends, and mutual love takes the place of their mutual hatred; but we were reconciled unto Him who already loved us, but with whom we were at enmity because of our sin. Whether I say the truth on this let the apostle testify, when he says: `God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us0' " (Rom. v. 8, 9). He similarly applies the text last quoted in his De Trin. xiii. 15. See also ibid. sec. 21, where he speaks of the wrath of God, and ibid. iv. 2. Compare Archbishop Thomson, Bampton Lectures, lect. vii., and note 95.
172 Rom. viii. 34, which is not "for us wicked ones," but "for us all," as the Authorized Version has it; and we must not narrow the words. Augustin, in Ev. Joh. Tract. cx. 2, it will be remembered, when commenting on John xvii. 21, "that they all may be one...that the world may believe Thou hast sent me," limits "the world" to the believing world, and continues (ibid.sec. 4), "Ipsi sunt enim mundus, non permanens inimicus, qualis est mundis damnationi praedestinatus." On Christ being a ransom for all, see Archbishop Thomson, Bampton Lectures, lect. vii. part 5, and note 101.
173 Phil. ii. 6, 8.
174 Ps. lxxxviii. 5; See sec. 68, note, above.
175 John x. 18.
176 Ps. ciii. 3.
177 Rom. viii. 34.
178 See note 11, p. 140, above.
179 John i. 14.
180 Ps. lv. 7.
181 2 Cor. v. 15.
182 Ps. lv. 22.
183 Ps. cxix. 18.
184 Col. ii. 3. Compare Dean Mansel, Bampton Lectures, lect. v. and note 22.
185 Ps. cxix. 122, Old Ver. He may perhaps here allude to the spiritual pride of the Donatists, who, holding rigid views as to purity of discipline, disparaged both his life and doctrine, pointing to his Manichaeanism and the sinfulness of 1ife before baptism. In his Answer to Petilian, iii. 11, 20, etc., and Serm. 3, sec. 19, on Ps. xxxvi., he alludes at length to the charges brought against him, referring then finally to his own confessions in book iii. above.
186 Ps. xxii. 26. Augustin probably alludes here to the Lord's Supper, in accordance with the general Patristic interpretation.
1 Ps. xcvi. 4. See note 3, page 45, above.
2 Matt. vi. 8.
3 Matt. v. 3-9.
4 Ps. cxviii. 1.
5 He very touchingly alludes in Serm. ccclv. 2 to the way in which he was forced against his will (as was frequently the custom in those days), first, to become a presbyter (A.D. 391), and, four years later, coadjutor to Valerius, Bishop of Hippo (Ep. xxxi. 4, and Ep. ccxiii. 4), whom on his death he succeeded. His own wish was to establish a monastery, and to this end he sold his patrimony, "which consisted of only a few small fields" (Ep. cxxvi. 7). He absolutely dreaded to become a bishop, and as he knew his name was highly esteemed in the Church, he avoided cities in which the see was vacant. His former backsliding had made him humble; and he tells us in the sermon above referred to, "Cavebam hoc, et agebam quantam poteram, ut in loco humili salvarer ne in alto periclitarer". Augustin also alludes to his ordination in Ep. xxi., addressed to Bishop Valerius.
6 "He alludes to the hour-glasses of his time, which went by water, as ours do now by sand."-W. W.
7 Augustin, in common with other bishops, had his time much invaded by those who sought his arbitration or judicial decision in secular matters, and in his De Op. Monach. sec. 37, he says, what many who have much mental toil will readily appreciate, that he would rather have spent the time not occupied in prayer and the study of the Scriptures in working with his hands, as did the monks, than have to bear these tumultuosissimas perplexitates. In the year 426 we find him (Ep. ccxiii) designating Eraclius, in public assembly, as his successor in the see, and to relieve him (though, meanwhile, remaining a presbyter) of these anxious duties. See vi. sec. 15, and note 1, above; and also ibid. sec. 3.
8 Ps. lxxxvi. 1.
9 Rom. x. 12.
10 Ex. vi. 12.
11 Augustin is always careful to distinguish between the certain truths of faith and doctrine which all may know, and the mysteries of Scripture which all have not the ability equally to apprehend. "Among the things," he says (De Doctr. Christ. ii. 14), "that are plainly laid down in Scripture, are to be found all matters that concern faith, and the manner of life." As to the Scriptures that are obscure, he is slow to come to conclusions, lest he should "be deceived in them or deceive out of them." In his De Gen. ad Lit. i. 37, he gives a useful warning against forcing our own meaning on Scripture in doubtful questions, and, ibid. viii. 5, we have the memorable words: "Melius est dubitare de rebus occultis, quam litigare de incertis." For examples of how careful he is in such matters not to go beyond what is written, see his answer to the question raised by Evodius,-a question which reminds us of certain modern speculations (see The Unseen Universe, arts. 61, 201, etc.),-whether the soul on departing from the body has not still a body of some kind, and at least some of the senses proper to a body; and also (Ep. clxiv.) his endeavours to unravel Evodius' difficulties as to Christ's preaching to the spirits in prison (1 Pet. iii. 18-21). Similarly, he says, as to the Antichrist of 2 Thess. ii. 1-7 (De Civ. Dei, xx. 19): "I frankly confess I know not what he means. I will, nevertheless, mention such conjectures as I have heard or read." See notes, pp. 64 and 92, above.
12 Ps. cxxx. 1.
13 Ps. lxxiv. 16.
14 Ps. xxix. 9. In his comment on this place as given in the Old Version, "vox Domini perficientis cervos," he makes the forest with its thick darkness to symbolize the mysteries of Scripture, where the harts ruminating thereon represent the pious Christian meditating on those mysteries (See vi. sec. 3, note, above). In this same passage he speaks of those who are thus being perfected as overcoming the poisoned tongues. This is an allusion to the fabled power the stags had of enticing serpents from their holes by their breath, and then destroying them, Augustin is very fond of this kind of fable from natural history. In his Enarr. in Ps. cxxix. and cxli., we have similar allusions to the supposed habits of stags; and, ibid. ci., we have the well-known fable of the pelican in its charity reviving its young, and feeding them with its own blood. This use of fables was very common with the mediaeval writers, and those familiar with the writings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries will recall many illustrations of it amongst the preachers of those days.
15 Ps. xxvi. 7.
16 Matt. vi. 33.
17 Ps. cxix. 85.
18 See p. 48, note 5, above.
19 Ps. lxxx. 17.
20 See note 9, p. 74, above.
21 John i. 3.
22 Rom. viii. 34.
23 Col. ii. 3.
24 Many Mss., however, read ipsos, and not ipsum.
25 John v. 4-6.
26 Gen. i. 1.
27 Augustin was not singular amongst the early Fathers in not knowing Hebrew, for of the Greeks only Origen, and of the Latins Jerome, knew anything of it. We find him confessing his ignorance both here and elsewhere (Enarr. in Ps. cxxxvi. 7, and De Doctr. Christ. ii. 22); and though he recommends a knowledge of Hebrew as well as Greek, to correct "the endless diversity of the Latin translators" (De Doctr. Christ. ii. 16); he speaks as strongly as does Grinfield, in his Apology for the Septuagint, in favour of the claims of that version to "biblical and canonical authority" (Eps. xxviii., lxxi., and lxxv.; De Civ. Dei, xviii. 42, 43; De Doctr. Christ. ii. 22). He discountenanced Jerome's new translation, probably from fear of giving offence, and, as we gather from Ep. lxxi. 5, not with out cause. From the tumult he there describes as ensuing upon Jerome's version being read, the outcry would appear to have been as great as when, on the change of the old style of reckoning to the new, the ignorant mob clamoured to have back their eleven days!