Early Church Fathers
43 Tom. viii. p. 611 sqq.
1 Ps. cxlv. 3, and cxlvii. 5.
2 Jas. iv. 6, and 1 Pet. v. 5.
3 Augustin begins with praise, and the whole book vibrates with praise. He says elsewhere (in Ps. cxlix.), that "as a new song fits not well an old man's lips, he should sing a new song who is a new creature and is living a new life;" and so from the time of his new birth, the "new song" of praise went up from him, and that "not of the lip only," but (ibid. cxlviii.) conscientia lingua vita.
4 And the rest which the Christian has here is but an earnest of the more perfect rest hereafter, when, as Augustin says (De Gen. ad. Lit.. xii. 26), " all virtue will be to love what one sees, and the highest felicity to have what one loves." [Watts, followed by Pusey, and Shedd, missed the paronomasia of the Latin: "cor nostrum inquietum est donec requiescat in Te," by translating: "our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee." It is the finest sentence in the whole book, and furnishes one of the best arguments for Christianity as the only religion which leads to that rest in God.-P. S.]
5 Rom. x. 14.
6 Ps. xxii. 26.
7 Matt. vii. 7
8 That is, Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, who was instrumental in his conversion (vi. sec. 1; viii. sec. 28, etc.). "Before conversion," as Leighton observes on I Pet. ii. 1, 2, "wit or eloquence may draw a man to the word, and possibly prove a happy bait to catch him (as St. Augustin reports of his hearing St. Ambrose), but, once born again, then it is the milk itself that he desires for itself."
9 Ps. cxxxix. 8.
10 Rom. xi. 36.
11 Jer. xxiii. 24.
12 Acts ii. 18.
13 In this section, and constantly throughout the Confessions, he adverts to the materialistic views concerning God held by the Manichaeans. See also sec. 10; iii. sec. 12; iv. sec. 31, etc. etc.
14 Ps. xviii. 31.
15 Matt. xxv. 27.
16 Supererogatur tibi, ut debeas.
17 "As it is impossible for mortal, imperfect, and perishable man to comprehend the immortal, perfect and eternal, we cannot expect that he should be able to express in praise the fulness of God's attributes. The Talmud relates of a rabbi, who did not consider the terms, `the great, mighty, and fearful God,0' which occur in the daily prayer, as being sufficient, but added some more attributes-`What!0' exclaimed another rabbi who was present, `imaginest thou to be able to exhaust the praise of God? Thy praise is blasphemy. Thou hadst better be quiet.0' Hence the Psalmist's exclamation, after finding that the praises of God were inexhaustible: hlhx h@ypwIr io
, `Silence is praise to Thee.0' "-Breslau.
18 Ps. xxxv. 3.
19 Moriar ne moriar, ut eam videam. See Ex. xxxiii. 20.
20 Ps. xix. 12, 13. "Be it that sin may never see the light, that it may be like a child born and buried in the womb; yet as that child is a man, a true man, there closeted in that hidden frame of nature, so sin is truly sin, though it never gets out beyond the womb which did conceive and enliven it."-Sedgwick.
21 Ps. cxvi. 10.
22 Ps. xxxii. 5.
23 Job ix. 3.
24 Ps xxvi. 12, Vulg. "The danger of ignorance is not less than its guilt. For of all evils a secret evil is most to be deprecated, of all enemies a concealed enemy is the worst. Better the precipice than the pitfall; better the tortures of curable disease than the painlessness of mortification; and so, whatever your soul's guilt and danger, better to be aware of it. However alarming, however distressing self-knowledge may be, better that than the tremendous evils of self-ignorance."-Caird.
25 Ps. cxxx. 3.
26 Gen. xviii. 27.
27 Jer. xii. 15.
28 Prov. xxi. 31.
29 "Mercy," says Binning, "hath but its name from misery, and is no other thing than to lay another's misery to heart."
30 Ps. c. 3.
31 Mal. iii. 6.
32 Ps. cii. 27.
34 Ex. xvi. 15. This is one of the alternative translations put against " it is manna" in the margin of the authorized version. It is the literal significance of the Hebrew, and is so translated in most of the old English versions. Augustin indicates thereby the attitude of faith. Many things we are called on to believe (to use the illustration of Locke) which are above reason, but none that are contrary to reason. We are but as children in relation to God, and may therefore only expect to know "parts of His ways." Even in the difficulties of Scripture he sees the goodness of God. "God," he says, "has in Scripture clothed His mysteries with clouds, that man's love of truth might be inflamed by the difficulty of finding them out. For if they were only such as were readily understood, truth would not be eagerly sought, nor would it give pleasure when found."-De Ver. Relig. c. 17.
35 John xv. 2.
36 Ps. xcii. 1.
37 Ps. li. 5.
38 See some interesting remarks on this subject in Whately's Logic, Int. sec. 5.
39 Ps. ix. 9, and xlvi. 1, and xlviii. 3.
40 Ps. xxii. 2, Vulg.
41 "A rite in the Western churches, on admission as a catechumen, previous to baptism, denoting the purity and uncorruptedness and discretion required of Christians. See S. Aug. De Catechiz. rudib. c. 26; Concil. Carth. 3, can. 5; and Liturgies in Assem. Cod. Liturg. t. i."-E. B. P. See also vi. 1, note, below.
42 Gal. iv. 10.
43 Baptism was in those days frequently (and for similar reasons to the above) postponed till the hour of death approached. The doctors of the Church endeavoured to discourage this, and persons baptized on a sick-bed ("clinically") were, if they recovered, looked on with suspicion. The Emperor Constantine was not baptized till the close of his life, and he is censured by Dr. Newman (Arians iii. sec. 1) for presuming to speak of questions which divided the Arians and the Orthodox as "unimportant," while he himself was both unbaptized and uninstructed. On the postponing of baptism with a view to unrestrained enjoyment of the world, and on the severity of the early Church towards sins committed after baptism,see Kaye's Tertullian, pp. 234-241.