Early Church Fathers
30 The law of the development of revelation implied in the above passage is one to which Augustin frequently resorts in confutation of objections such as those to which he refers in the previous and following sections. It may likewise be effectively used when similar objections are raised by modern sceptics. In the Rabbinical books there is a tradition of the wanderings of the children of Israel, that not only did their clothes not wax old (Deut. xxix. 5) during those forty years, but that they grew with their growth. The written word is as it were the swaddling-clothes of the holy child Jesus; and as the revelation concerning Him-the Word Incarnate-grew, did the written word grow. God spoke in sundry parts !polue/mrwj@ and in divers manners unto the fathers by the prophets (Heb. i. 1); but when the "fulness of the time was come" (Gal. iv. 4), He completed the revelation in His Son. Our Lord indicates this principle when He speaks of divorce in Matt. xix. 8. "Moses," he says, "because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so." (See Con. Faust. xix. 26, 29.) When objections, then, as to obsolete ritual usages, or the sins committed by Old Testament worthies are urged, the answer is plain: the ritual has become obsolete, because only intended for the infancy of revelation, and the sins, while recorded in, are not approved by Scripture, and those who committed them will be judged according to the measure of revelation they received. See also De Ver. Relig. xvii.; in Ps. lxxiii. 1, liv. 22; Con. Faust. xxii. 25; Trench, Hulsean Lecs. iv., v. (1845); and Candlish's Reason and Revelation, pp. 58-75.
31 Job xiv. 1.
32 Here, as at the end of sec. 17, he alludes to the typical and allegorical character of Old Testament histories. Though he does not with Origen go so far as to disparage the letter of Scripture (see De Civ. Dei, xiii. 21), but upholds it, he constantly employs the allegorical principle. He (alluding to the patriarchs) goes so far, indeed, as to say (Con Faust, xxii. 24), that "not only the speech but the life of these men was prophetic; and the whole kingdom of the Hebrews was like a great prophet;" and again: "We may discover a prophecy of the coming of Christ and of the Church both in what they said and what they did". This method of interpretation he first learned from Ambrose. See note on "the letter killeth," etc. (below, vi. sec. 6), for the danger attending it. On the general subject, reference may also be made to his in Ps. cxxxvi. 3; Serm. 2; De Tentat. Abr. sec. 7; and De Civ. Dei, xvii. 3.
33 Deut. vi. 5, and Matt. xxii. 37-39.
34 Ps. cxliv. 9 "St. Augustin (Quaest in Exod. ii. qu. 71) mentions the two modes of dividing the ten commandments into three and seven, or four and six, and gives what appear to have been his own private reasons for preferring the first. Both commonly existed in his day, but the Anglican mode appears to have been the most usual. It occurs in Origen, Greg. Naz., Jerome, Ambrose, Chrys. St. Augustin alludes to his division again, Serm. 8, 9, de x. Chordis, and sec. 33 on this psalm: `To the first commandment there belong three strings because God is trine. To the other, i.e., the love of our neighbour, seven strings. These let us join to those three, which belong to the love of God, if we would on the psaltery of ten strings sing a new song.0'"-E.B.P.
35 Ps xxvii 12, Vulg.
36 Rom. i. 24-29.
37 Acts ix. 5.
38 Ps. cii. 20.
39 The Manichaeans, hke the deistical writers of the last century, attacked the spoiling of the Egyptians, the slaughter of the Canaanites, and such episodes. Referring to the former, Augustin says (Con Faust. xxii. 71), "Then, as for Faustus' objection to the spoiling of the Egyptians, he knows not what he says. In this Moses not only did not sin, but it would have been sin not to do it. It was by the command of God, who, from His knowledge both of the actions and of the hearts of men, can decide upon what every one should be made to suffer, and through whose agency. The people at that time were still carnal, and engrossed with earthly affection; while the Egyptians were in open rebellion against God, for they used the gold, God's creature, in the service of idols, to the dishonour of the Creator, and they had grievously oppressed strangers by making them work without pay. Thus the Egyptians deserved the punishment, and the Israelites were suitably employed in inflicting it." For an exhaustive vindication of the conduct of the children of Israel as the agents of God in punishing the Canaanites, see Graves on the Pentateuch, Part iii. lecture I. See also De Civ. Dei, i. 26; and Quaest. in Jos. 8, 16, etc.
40 See note on sec. 14, above.
41 i. e. Manichaean saint.
42 According to this extraordinary system, it was the privilege of the "elect" to set free in eating such parts of the divine substance as were imprisoned in the vegetable creation (Con. Faust. xxxi. 5) They did not marry or work in the fields, and led an ascetic life, the "hearers" or catechumens being privileged to provide them with food. The "elect" passed immediately on dying into the realm of light, while, as a reward for their service, the souls of the "hearers" after death transmigrated into plants (from which they might be most readily freed), or into the "elect," so as, in their turn, to pass away into the realm of light. See Con. Faust. v. 10, xx. 23; and in Ps. cxl.
43 Augustin frequently alludes to their conduct to the poor, in refusing to give them bread or the fruits of the earth, lest in eating they should defile the portion of God contained therein. But to avoid the odium of their conduct, they would inconsequently give money whereby food might be bought. See in Ps. cxl. sec. 12; and De Mor. Manich. 36, 37, and 53.
44 Ps. cxliv. 7.
45 He alludes here to that devout manner of the Eastern ancients, who used to lie flat on their faces in prayer.-W. W.
46 Symbolical of the rule of faith. See viii. sec. 30, below.
47 Ps. lxxxviii. 1.
48 We can easily understand that Augustin's dialectic skill would render him a formidable opponent, while, with the zeal of a neophyte, he urged those difficulties of Scripture (De Agon. Christ. iv ) which the Manichaeans knew so well how to employ. In an interesting passage (De Duab. Anim. con. Manich. ix.) he tells us that his victories over "inexperienced persons" stimulated him to fresh conquests, and thus kept him bound longer than he would otherwise have been in the chains of this heresy.
1 Augustin tells us that he went not beyond the rank of a "hearer," because he found the Manichaean teachers readier in refuting others than in establishing their own views, and seems only to have looked for some esoteric doctrine to have been disclosed to him under their materialistic teaching as to God-viz. that He was an unmeasured Light that extended all ways but one, infinitely (Serm. iv. sec 5.)-rather than to have really accepted it.-De Util. Cred. Praef. See also iii. sec. 18, notes 1 and 2, above.
2 Ps. cxvi. 17
3 I Pet. ii. 2.
4 John vi. 27.
5 Ps. lxxiv. 21.
6 Isa. xlii. 3, and Matt. xii. 20.
7 Ps. iv. 2.
8 "He alone is truly pure who waiteth on God, and keepeth himself to Him alone " (Aug. De Vita Beata, sec. 18). "Whoso seeketh God is pure, because the soul hath in God her legitimate husband. Whosoever seeketh of God anything besides God, doth not love God purely. If a wife loved her husband because he is rich, she is not pure, for she loveth not her husband but the gold of her husband" (Aug. Serm. 137). "Whoso seeks from God any other reward but God, and for it would serve God, esteems what he wishes to receive more than Him from whom he would receive it. What, then? hath God no reward? None, save Himself. The reward of God is God Himself. This it loveth; if it love aught beside, it is no pure love. You depart from the immortal flame, you will be chilled, corrupted. Do not depart; it will be thy corruption, will be fornication in thee" (Aug. in Ps. lxxii. sec. 32). "The pure fear of the Lord (Ps xix. 9) is that wherewith the Church, the more ardently she loveth her husband, the more diligently she avoids offending Him, and therefore love, when perfected, casteth not out this fear, but it remaineth for ever and ever" (Aug.in loc.). "Under the name of pure fear is signified that will whereby we must needs be averse from sin, and avoid sin, not through the constant anxiety of infirmity, but through the tranquillity of affection" (De Civ. Dei, xiv. sec. 65).-E. B. P.
9 See note on sec. 9, below.
10 "Indisputably we must take care, lest the mind, believing that which it does not see, feign to itself something which is not, and hope for and love that which is false. For in that case it will not be charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned, which is the end of the commandment" (De Trin. viii. sec. 6). And again (Confessions, i. 1): "For who can call on Thee, not knowing Thee? For he that knoweth Thee not may call on Thee as other than Thou art."
11 Hosea xii. 1.
12 Augustin classes the votaries of both wizards and astrologers (De Doctr. Christ. ii. 23; and De Civ. Dei, x. 9; compare also Justin Martyr, Apol. ii. c. 5) as alike "deluded and imposed on by the false angels, to whom the lowest part of the world has been put in subjection by the law of God's providence;" and he says, "All arts of this sort are either nullities, or are part of a guilty superstition springing out of a baleful fellowship between men and devils, and are to be utterly repudiated and avoided by the Christian, as the covenants of a false and treacherous friendship." It is remarkable that though these arts were strongly denounced in the Pentateuch, the Jews-acquiring them from the surrounding Gentile nations-have embedded them deeply in their oral law, said also to be given by Moses (e.g. in Moed Katon 28, and Shabbath 156, prosperity comes from the influence of the stars; in Shabbath 61 it is a question whether the influence of the stars or a charm has been effective; and in Sanhedrin 17 magic is one of the qualifications for the Sanhedrim). It might have been expected that the Christians, if only from that reaction against Judaism which shows itself in Origen's disparagement of the letter of the Old Testament Scriptures (see De Princip. iv. 15, 16), would have shrunk from such strange arts. But the influx of pagans, who had practiced them, into the Christian Church appears gradually to have leavened it in no slight degree. This is not only true of the Valentinians (see Kaye's Clement of Alex. vi.) and other heretics, but the influence of these contacts is seen even in the writings of the "orthodox." Those who can read between the lines will find no slight trace of this (after separating what they would conceive to be true from what is manifestly false) in the story told by Zonaras, in his Annals, of the controversy between the Rabbis and Sylvester, Bishop of Rome, before Constantine. The Jews were worsted in argument, and evidently thought an appeal to miracles might, from the Emperor's education, bring him over to their side. An ox is brought forth. The Jewish wonder-worker whispers a mystic name into its ear, and it falls dead; but Sylvester, according to the story, is quite equal to the occasion, and restores the animal to life again by uttering the name of the Redeemer. It may have been that the cessation of miracles may have gradually led unstable professors of Christianity to invent miracles; and, as Bishop Kaye observes (Tertullian, p. 95), "the success of the first attempts naturally encouraged others to practice similar impositions on the credulity of mankind." As to the time of the cessation of miracles, comparison may be profitably made of the views of Kaye, in the early part of c. ii. of his Tertullian, and of Blunt, in his Right Use of the Early Fathers, series ii. lecture 6.
13 Ps. xli.4.
14 John v. 14.
15 Rom. ii. 6, and Matt. xvi. 27.
16 Ps. li. 17
17 This physician was Vindicianus, the "acute old man" mentioned in vii. sec. 8, below, and again in Ep. 138, as "the most eminent physician of his day." Augustin's disease, however, could not be reached by his remedies. We are irresistibly reminded of the words of our great poet:-
"Canst thou minister to a mind diseased;
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow;
Raze out the written troubles of the brain;
And, with some sweet oblivious antidote,
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart!"-Macbeth, act. v. scene 3.
18 1 I Pet. v. 5, and Jas. iv. 6.
19 Rom.v. 5.
20 Ps. xciv. 1.
21 Ps. cvi. 2
22 Ps xxxvi. 6, and Rom. xi. 33.
23 See i. sec, 17, note 3, above.
24 Ps. xlii. 5.
26 The mind may rest in theories and abstractions, but the heart craves a being that it can love; and Archbishop Whately has shown in one of his essays that the idol worship of every age had doubtless its origin in the craving of mind and heart for an embodiment of the object of worship. "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us," says Philip (John xiv. 8), and he expresses the longing of the soul; and when the Lord replies, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," He reveals to us God's satisfaction of human wants in the incarnation of His Son. Augustin's heart was now thrown in upon itself, and his view of God gave him no consolation. It satisfied his mind, perhaps, in a measure, to think of God as a "corporeal brightness" (see iii. 12; iv. 3, 12, 31; v. 19, etc.) when free from trouble, but it could not satisfy him now. He had yet to learn of Him who is the very image of God-who by His divine power raised the dead to life again, while, with perfect human sympathy, He could "weep with those that wept,"-the "Son of Man" (not of a man, He being miraculously born, but of the race of men [anqrw=pou]), i. e. the Son of Mankind. See also viii. sec. 27, note, below.
27 For so it has ever been found to be:-
"Est quaedam flere voluptas;
Expletur lacrymis egeriturque dolor."
-Ovid, Trist. iv. 3, 38.
28 Ps. xxv. I5.
29 Horace, Carm. i. ode 3.
30 Ovid, Trist. iv. eleg. iv. 72.
31 Augustin's reference to this passage in his Retractions is quoted at the beginning of the book. He might have gone further than to describe his words here as declamatio levis, since the conclusion is not logical.