Early Church Fathers
17 Ps. lxiv. 10.
18 Sallust, De Bello Catil. c. 9.
19 Ps. xlv. 2.
20 Ps. lxxvi. 7.
21 Ps. vii. 15.
22 Ps. vii. 15.
23 Ps.cxxxix. 7, 8
24 "For even souls, in their very sins, strive after nothing else but some kind of likeness of God, in a proud and preposterous, and, so to say, slavish liberty. So neither could our first parents have been persuaded to sin unless it had been said, `Ye shall be as gods.0' "-Aug. De Trin. xi. 5.
25 Jonah i. and iv.
26 Ps. cxvi. 12.
27 Rev. iii. 5.
28 Luke iv. 23.
29 Rom. vi. 21.
30 Ps. xix. 12
31 Matt. xxv. 21.
1 The early Fathers strongly reprobated stage-plays, and those who went to them were excluded from baptism. This is not to be wondered at, when we learn that "even the laws of Rome prohibited actors from being enrolled as citizens" (De Civ. Dei, ii. 14), and that they were accounted infamous (Tertullian, De Spectac. sec. xxii.). See also Tertullian, De Pudicitia, c. vii
2 See i. 9, note, above.
3 An allusion, probably, as Watts suggests, to the sea of Sodom, which, according to Tacitus (Hist. book v.), throws up bitumen "at stated seasons of the year." Tacitus likewise alludes to its pestiferous odour, and to its being deadly to birds and fish. See also Gen. xiv. 3, 10.
4 Song of the Three Holy Children, verse 3.
5 2 Cor. ii. 16.
6 Eversores. "These for their boldness were like our `Roarers,0' and for their jeering like the worser sort of those that would be called `The Wits.0' "-W. W. "This appears to have been a name which a pestilent and savage set of persons gave themselves, licentious alike in speech and action. Augustin names them again, De Vera Relig. c. 40; Ep. 185 ad Bonifac. c. 4; and below, v. c. 12; whence they seemed to have consisted mainly of Carthaginian students, whose savage life is mentioned again, ib. c. 8."-E. B. P.
7 Up to the time of Cicero the Romans employed the term sapientia for filosofi/a (Monboddo's Ancient Metaphys. i. 5). It is interesting to watch the effect of the philosophy in which they had been trained on the writings of some of the Fathers. Even Justin Martyr, the first after the "Apostolic," has traces of this influence. See the account of his search for "wisdom," and conversion, in his Dialogue with Trypho, ii. and iii.
8 Luke xv. 18.
9 See above, note 1.
10 Col. ii. 8, 9.
11 In connection with the opinion Augustin formed of the Scriptures before and after his conversion, it is interesting to recall Fénélon's glowing description of the literary merit of the Bible. The whole passage might well be quoted did space permit:-"L'Ecriture surpasse en naïveté, en vivacité, en grandeur, tous les écrivains de Rome et de la Grèce. Jamais Homère même n'a approché de la sublimité de Moïse dans ses cantiques....Jamais nulle ode Grecque ou Latine n'a pu atteindre à la hauteur des Psaumes....Jamais Homerè ni aucun autre poëte n'a égalé Isaïe peignant la majesté de Dieu....Tantôt ce prophète à toute la douceur et toute la tendresse d'une églogue, dans les riantes peintures qu'il fait de la paix, tantôt il s' élevè jusqu' à laisser tout au-dessous de lui. Mais qu'y a-t-il, dans l'antiquité profane, de comparable au tendre Jérémie, déplorant les maux de son peuple; ou à Nahum, voyant de loin, en esprit, tomber la superbe Ninive sous les efforts d'une armée innombrable? On croit voir cette armée, ou croft entendre le bruit des armes et des chariots; tout est dépeint d'une manière vive qui saisit l'imagination; il laisse Homère loin derrière lui....Enfin, il y a autant de différence entre les poëtes profanes et les prophètes, qu'il y en a entre le véritable enthousiasme et le faux."-Sur l' Eloq. de la Chaire, Dial. iii.
12 That is probably the "spiritual" meaning on which Ambrose (vi. 6, below) laid so much emphasis. How different is the attitude of mind indicated in xi. 3 from the spiritual pride which beset him at this period of his life! When converted he became as a little child, and ever looked to God as a Father, from whom he must receive both light and strength. He speaks, on Ps. cxlvi., of the Scriptures, which were plain to "the little ones," being obscured to the mocking spirit of the Manichaeans. See also below, iii. 14, note.
13 So, in Book xxii. sec. 13 of his reply to Faustus, he charges them with "professing to believe the New Testament in order to entrap the unwary;" and again, in sec. 15, he says: " They claim the impious liberty of holding and teaching, that whatever they deem favourable to their heresy was said by Christ and the apostles; while they have the profane boldness to say, that whatever in the same writings is unfavourable to them is a spurious interpolation." They professed to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, but affirmed (ibid. xx. 6) "that the Father dwells in a secret light, the power of the Son in the sun, and His wisdom in the moon, and the Holy Spirit in the air." It was this employment of the phraseology of Scripture to convey doctrines utterly unscriptural that rendered their teaching such a snare to the unwary. See also below, v. 12, note.
14 1 John ii. 4.
15 There was something peculiarly enthralling to an ardent mind like Augustin's in the Manichaean system. That system was kindred in many ways to modern Rationalism. Reason was exalted at the expense of faith. Nothing was received on mere authority, and the disciple's inner consciousness was the touchstone of truth. The result of this is well pointed out by Augustin (Con. Faust, xxxii. sec. 19): "Your design, clearly, is to deprive Scripture of all authority, and to make every man's mind the judge what passage of Scripture he is to approve of, and what to disapprove of. This is not to be subject to Scripture in matters of faith, but to make Scripture subject to you. Instead of making the high authority of Scripture the reason of approval, every man makes his approval the reason for thinking a passage correct." Compare also Con. Faust, xi. sec. 2, and xxxii. sec. 16.
16 Jas. i. 17.
17 Ps. lxix. 3.
18 Luke xv. 16; and see below, vi. sec. 3, note.
19 See below, xii. sec. 6, note.
20 "Of this passage St. Augustin is probably speaking when he says, `Praises bestowed on bread in simplicity of heart, let him (Petilian) defame, if he will, by the ludicrous title of poisoning and corrupting frenzy.0' Augustin meant in mockery, that by verses he could get his bread; his calumniator seems to have twisted the word to signify a love-potion.-Con. Lit. Petiliani, iii. 16."-E. B. P.
21 Prov. ix. 18.
22 Prov. ix. 13.
23 Prov. ix. 14, 17.
24 The strange mixture of the pensive philosophy of Persia with Gnosticism and Christianity, propounded by Manichaeeus, attempted to solve this question, which was "the great object of heretical inquiry" (Mansel's Gnostics, lec. i.). It was Augustin's desire for knowledge concerning it that united him to this sect, and which also led him to forsake it, when he found therein nothing but empty fables (De Lib. Arb. i. sec. 4). Manichaeus taught that evil and good were primeval, and had independent existences. Augustin, on the other hand, maintains that it was not possible for evil so to exist (De Civ. Dei, xi. sec. 22) but, as he here states, evil is "a privation of good." The evil will has a causa deficiens, but not a causa efficiens (ibid. xii. 6), as is exemplified in the fall of the angels.
25 I Kings xviii. 40.
26 John iv. 24.
27 Gen. i. 27 see vi. sec. 4, note.
28 Heb. xi. 8-40.
29 I Cor. iv. 3.