Early Church Fathers
54 Ps. c. 3.
55 With the argument in this and the previous sections, compare Dr. Reid's remarks in his Intellectual Powers, iii. 5: "We may measure duration by the succession of thoughts in the mind, as we measure length by inches or feet, but the notion or idea of duration must be antecedent to the mensuration of it, as the notion of length is antecedent to its being measured....Reason, from the contemplation of finite extended things, leads us necessarily to the belief of an immensity that contains them. In like manner, memory gives us the conception and belief of finite intervals of duration. From the contemplation of these, reason leads us necessarily to the belief of an eternity, which comprehends all things that have a beginning and an end." The student will with advantage examine a monograph on this subject by C. Fortlage, entitled, Aurelii Augustini doctrina de tempore ex libro xi. Confessionum depromta, Aristotelicae, Kantianae, aliarumque theoriarium recensione aucta, et congruis hodiernae philosophiae ideis amplificata (Heidelbergae, 1836). He says that amongst all the philosophers none have so nearly approached truth as Augustin.
56 Ps. lxiii. 3.
57 Distentio. It will be observed that there is a play on the word throughout the section.
58 Ps. lxiii. 8.
59 1 Tim. ii. 5.
60 Non distentus sed extentus. So in Serm. cclv. 6, we have: "Unum nos extendat, ne multa distendant, et abrumpant ab uno."
61 Phil iii. 13.
62 Phil. iii. 14. Many wish to attain the prize who never earnestly pursue it. And it may be said here in view of the subject of this book, that there is no stranger delusion than that which possesses the idle and the worldly as to the influence of time in ameliorating their condition. They have "good intentions," and hope that time in the future may do for them what it has not in the past. But in truth, time merely affords an opportunity for energy and life to work. To quote that lucid and nervous thinker, Bishop Copleston (Remains, p. 123): "One of the commonest errors is to regard time as agent. But in reality time does nothing and is nothing. We use it as a compendious expression for all those causes which operate slowly and imperceptibly; but, unless some positive cause is in action, no change takes place in the lapse of one thousand years; e. g., a drop of water encased in a cavity of silex."
63 Ps. xxvi. 7.
64 Ps. xxvii. 4.
65 Ps. xxxi. 10.
66 He argues similarly in his De Civ. Dei, xi. 6: "That the world and time had but one beginning."
67 Phil. iii. 13.
68 Dean Mansel's argument, in his Bampton Lectures, as to our knowledge of the Infinite, is well worthy of consideration. He refers to Augustin's views on the subject of this book in note 13 to his third lecture, and in the text itself says: "The limited character of all existence which can be conceived as having a continuous duration, or as made up of successive moments, is so far manifest that it has been assumed almost as an axiom, by philosophical theologians, that in the existence of God there is no distinction between past, present, and future. `In the changes of things,0' say Augustin, `there is a past and a future; in God there is a present, in which neither past nor future can be.0' `Eternity,0' says Beethius, `is the perfect possession of interminable life, and of all that life at once;0' and Aquinas, accepting the definition, adds, `Eternity has no succession, but exists all together.0' But whether this assertion be literally true or not (and this we have no means of ascertaining), it is clear that such a mode of existence is altogether inconceivable by us, and that the words in which it is described represent not thought, but the refusal to think at all." See notes to xiii. 12, below.
69 "With God, indeed, all things are arranged and fixed; and when He seemeth to act upon sudden motive, He doth nothing but what He foreknew that He should do from eternity" (Aug.in Ps. cvi. 35). With this passage may well be compared Dean Mansel's remarks (Bampton Lectures, lect. vi., and notes 23-25) on the doctrine, that the world is but a machine and is not under the continual government and direction of God. See also note 4, on p. 80 and note 2 on p. 136, above.
70 See p. 166, note 2.
71 Ps. cxlvi. 8.
1 Rom. viii. 31.
2 Matt. vii. 7, 8.
3 That is, not the atmosphere which surrounds the earth, as when we say, "the birds of heaven" (Jer. iv. 25), "the dew of heaven" (Gen. xxvii. 28); nor that "firmament of heaven" (Gen. i. 17) in which the stars have their courses; nor both these together; but that "third heaven" to which Paul was "caught up" (2 Cor. xii. 1) in his rapture, and where God most manifests His glory, and the angels do Him homage.
4 Ps. cxv. 16, after the LXX., Vulgate, and Syriac.
5 Gen. i. 2, as rendered by the Old Ver. from the LXX.: a0o/ratoj kai' a0kataskeu/astoj . Kalisch in his Commentary translates tokok/ ogr)#$'/ohnd
: "dreariness and emptiness."
6 The reader should keep in mind in reading what follows 0the Manichaean doctrine as to the kingdom of light and darkness. See notes, pp. 68 and 103, above.
7 Compare De Civ. Dei, xi. 9, 10.
8 See iii. sec. 11, and p. 103, note, above.
9 See ix. sec. 11, above.
10 See p. 166, note, above.
11 See p. 165, note 2, above.
12 In the beginning of sec. 10, book xi. of his De Civ. Dei, he similarly argues that the world was, not like the Son, "begotten of the simple good," but "created." See also note 8, p. 76, above.
13 "Because at the first creation, it had no form nor thing in it."-W. W.
14 Ps. cxv. 16.
15 Gen. i. 2.
16 Gen. i. 6-8.
17 Of Moses.
18 See note 2, p. 76, above.
19 As Gregory the Great has it, Revelation is a river broad and deep, "In quo et agnus ambulet, et elephas natet." And these deep things of God are to be learned only by patient searching. We must, says St. Chrysostom (De Prec. serm. ii.), dive down into the sea as those who would fetch up pearls from its depths. The very mysteriousness of Scripture is, doubtless, intended by God to stimulate us to search the Scriptures, and to strengthen our spiritual insight (Enar. in Ps. cxlvi. 6). See also, p. 48, note 5; p. 164, note 2, above; and the notes on pp. 370, 371, below.
20 1 Tim. vi. 16.
21 For Augustin's view of evil as a "privation of good," See p. 64, note 1, above, and with it compare vii. sec. 22, above; Con. Secundin. c. 12; and De Lib. Arb. ii. 53. Parker, in his Theism, Atheism, etc. p. 119, contends that God Himself must in some way be the author of evil, and a similar view is maintained by Schleiermacher, Christliche Glaube, sec. 80.
22 See ii. sec. 13, and v. sec. 2, notes 4, 9, above.
23 See iv. sec. 3, and note 1, above.
24 See sec. 19, below.