Early Church Fathers
Of the goodness of God explained in the creation of things, and of the Trinity as found in the first words of Genesis. The story concerning the origin of the world (Gen. I.) is allegorically explained, and he applies it to those things which God works for sanctified and blessed man. Finally, he makes an end of this work, having implored eternal rest from God.
1. I Call upon Thee, my God, my mercy, who madest me, and who didst not forget me, though forgetful of Thee. I call Thee into1 my soul, which by the desire which Thou inspirest in it Thou preparest for Thy reception. Do not Thou forsake me calling upon Thee, who didst anticipate me before I called, and didst importunately urge with manifold calls that I should hear Thee from afar, and be converted, and call upon Thee who calledst me. For Thou, O Lord, hast blotted out all my evil deserts, that Thou mightest not repay into my hands wherewith I have fallen from Thee, and Thou hast anticipated all my good deserts, that Thou mightest repay into Thy hands wherewith Thou madest me; because before I was, Thou wast, nor was I [anything] to which Thou mightest grant being. And yet behold, I am, out of Thy goodness, anticipating all this which Thou hast made me, and of which Thou hast made me. For neither hadst Thou stood in need of me, nor am I such a good as to! be helpful unto Thee,2 my Lord and God; not that I may so serve Thee as though Thou weft fatigued in working, or lest Thy power may be less if lacking my assistance nor that, like the land, I may so cultivate Thee that Thou wouldest be uncultivated did I cultivate Thee not but that I may serve and worship Thee, to the end that I may have well-being from Thee; from whom it is that! am one susceptible of well-being.
2. For of the plenitude of Thy goodness Thy creature subsists, that a good, which could profit Thee nothing, nor though of Thee was equal to Thee, might yet be, since it could be made of Thee. For what did heaven and earth, which Thou madest in the beginning, deserve of Thee? Let those spiritual and corporeal natures, which Thou in Thy wisdom madest, declare what they deserve of Thee to depend thereon,-even the inchoate and formless, each in its own kind, either spiritual or corporeal, going into excess, and into remote unlikeness unto Thee (the spiritual, though formless, more excellent than if it were a formed body; and the corporeal, though formless, more excellent than if it were altogether nothing), and thus they as formless would depend upon Thy Word, unless by the same Word they were recalled to Thy Unity, and endued with form, and from Thee, the one sovereign Good, were all made very good. How have they deserved of Thee, that they should be even formless, since they would not be even this except from Thee?
3. How has corporeal matter deserved of Thee, to be even invisible and formless,3 since it were not even this hadst Thou not made it; and therefore since it was not, it could not deserve of Thee that it should be made? Or how could the inchoate spiritual creature4 deserve of Thee, that even it should flow darksomely like the deep,-unlike Thee, had it not been by the same Word turned to that by Whom it was created, and by Him so enlightened become light, although not equally, yet conformably to that Form which is equal unto Thee? For as to a body, to be is not all one with being beautiful, for then it could not be deformed; so also to a created spirit, to live is not all one with living wisely, for then it would be wise unchangeably. But it is good5 for it always to hold fast unto Thee,6 lest, in turning from Thee, it lose that light which it hath obtained in turning to Thee, and relapse into a light resembling the darksome deep. For even we ourselves, who in respect of the soul are a spiritual creature, having turned away from Thee, our light, were in that life "sometimes darkness; "7 and do labour amidst the remains of our darkness, until in Thy Only One we become Thy righteousness, like the mountains of God. For we have been Thy judgmentS, which are like the great deep.8
4. But what Thou saidst in the beginning of the creation, "Let there be light, and there was light,"9 I do not unfitly understand of the spiritual creature; because there was even then a kind of life, which Thou mightest illuminate. But as it had not deserved of Thee that it should be such a life as could be enlightened, so neither, when it already was, hath it deserved of Thee that it should be enlightened. For neither could its formlessness be pleasing unto Thee, .unless it became light,-not by merely existing, but by beholding the illuminating light, and cleaving unto it; so also, that it lives, and lives happily,10 it owes to nothing whatsoever but to Thy grace; being converted by means of a better change unto that which can be changed neither into better nor into worse; the which Thou only art because Thou only simply art, to whom it is not one thing to live, another to live blessedly, since Thou art Thyself Thine own Blessedness.
5. What, therefore, could there be wanting unto Thy good, which Thou Thyself art, although these things had either never been, or had remained formless,-the which Thou madest not out of any want, but out of the plenitude of Thy goodness, restraining them and converting them to form not as though Thy joy were perfected by them? For to Thee, being perfect. their imperfection is displeasing, and therefore were they perfected by Thee, and were pleasing unto Thee; but not as if Thou wert imperfect, and wert to be perfected in their perfection. For Thy good Spirit was borne over the waters,11 not borne up by them as if He rested upon them. For those in whom Thy. good Spirit is said to rest,12 He causes to rest in Himself. But Thy incorruptible and unchangeable will, which in itself is all-sufficient for itself, was borne over that life which Thou hadst made, to which to live is not all one with living happily, since, flowing in its own darkness, it liveth also; for which it remaineth to be converted unto Him by whom it was made, and to live more and more by" the fountain of life," and in His light to "see light,"13 and to be perfected, and enlightened, and made happy.
6. Behold now, the Trinity appears unto me in an enigma, which Thou, O my God, art, since [Thou, O Father, in the Beginning of our wisdom,-Which is Thy Wisdom, born of Thyself, equal and co-eternal unto Thee,-that is, in Thy Son, hast created heaven and earth. Many things have we said of the heaven of heavens, and of the earth invisible and formless, and of the darksome deep, in reference to the wandering defects of its spiritual deformity, were it not converted unto Him from whom was its life, such as it was, and by His enlightening became a beauteous life, and the heaven of that heaven which was afterwards set between water and water. And under the name of God, I now held the Father, who made these things; and under the name of the Beginning,14 the Son, in whom He made these things; and believing, as I did, that my God was the Trinity, I sought further in His holy words, and behold, Thy Spirit was borne over the waters. Behold the Trinity, O my God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,-the Creator of all creation.
7. But what was the cause, O Thou true-speaking Light? Unto Thee do I lift up my heart, let it not teach me vain things; disperse its darkness, and tell me, I beseech Thee, by our mother charity, tell me, I beseech Thee, the reason why, after the mention of heaven, and of the earth invisible and formless, and darkness upon the deep, Thy Scripture should then at length mention Thy Spirit? Was it because it was meet that it should be spoken of Him that He was "borne over," and this could not be said, unless that were first mentioned "over" which Thy Spirit may be understood to have been "borne?" For neither was He "borne over" the Father, nor the Son, nor could it rightly be said that He was "borne over" if He were "borne over" nothing. That, therefore, was first to be spoken of "over" which He might be "borne;" and then He, whom it was not meet to mention otherwise than as having been "borne." Why, then, was it not meet that it should otherwise be mentioned of Him, than as having been "borne over?"
8. Hence let him that is able now follow Thy apostle with his understanding where he thus speaks, because Thy love "is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us;"15 and where, "concerning spiritual gifts," he teacheth and showeth unto us a more excellent way of charity;16 and where he bows his knees unto Thee for us, that we may know the super-eminent knowledge of the love of Christ.17 And, therefore, from the beginning was He super-eminently "borne above the waters." To whom shall I tell this? How speak of the weight of lustful desires, pressing downwards to the steep abyss? and how charity raises us up again, through Thy Spirit which was "borne over the waters?" To whom shall I tell it? How tell it? For neither are there places in which we are merged and emerge.18 What can be more like, and yet more unlike? They be affections they be loves; the filthiness of our spirit flowing away downwards with the love of cares, and the sanctity of Thine raising us upwards by the love of freedom from care; that we may lift our hearts19 unto Thee where Thy Spirit is "borne over the waters;" and that we may come to that pre-eminent rest, when our soul shall have passed through the waters which have no substance.20
9. The angels fell, the soul of man fell21 and they have thus indicated the abyss in that dark deep, ready for the whole spiritual creation, unless Thou hadst said from the beginning, "Let there be light," and there had been light, and every obedient intelligence of Thy celestial City had cleaved to Thee, and rested in Thy Spirit, which unchangeably is "borne over" everything changeable. Otherwise, even the heaven of heavens itself would have been a darksome deep, whereas now it is light in the Lord. For even in that wretched restlessness of the spirits who fell away, and, when unclothed of the garments of Thy light, discovered their own darkness, dost Thou sufficiently disclose how noble Thou hast made the rational creature; to which nought which is inferior to Thee will suffice to yield a happy rest,22 and so not even herself. For Thou, O our God, shalt enlighten our darkness;23 from Thee are derived our garments of light,24 and then shall our darkness be as the noonday.25 Give Thyself unto me, O my God, restore Thyself unto me; behold, I love Thee, and if it be too little, let me love Thee more strongly. cannot measure my love, so that I may come to know how much there is yet wanting in me, ere my life run into Thy embracements, and not be turned away until it be hidden in the secret place of Thy Presence.26 This only I know, that woe is me except in Thee,-not only without, but even also within myself; and all plenty which is not my God is poverty to me.27
10. But was not either the Father or the Son "borne over the waters?" If we understand this to mean in space, as a body, then neither was the Holy Spirit; but if the incommutable super-eminence of Divinity above everything mutable, then both Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost were borne "over the waters." Why, then, is this said of Thy Spirit only? Why is it said of Him alone? As if He had been in place who is not in place, of whom only it is written, that He is Thy gift?28 In Thy gift we rest; there we enjoy Thee. Our rest is our place. Love lifts us up thither, and Thy good Spirit lifteth our lowliness from the gates of death.29 In Thy good pleasure lies our peace.30 The body by its own weight gravitates towards its own place. Weight goes not downward only, but to its own place. Fire tends upwards, a stone downwards. They are propelled by their own weights, they seek their own places. Oil poured under the water is raised above the water; water poured upon oil sinks under the oil. They are propelled by their own weights, they seek their own places. Out of order, they are restless; restored to order, they are at rest. My weight is my love;31 by it am I borne whithersoever I am borne. By Thy Gift we are inflamed, and are borne upwards; we wax hot inwardly, and go forwards. We ascend Thy ways that be in our heart,32 and sing a song of degrees; we glow inwardly with Thy fire, with Thy good fire, and we go, because we go upwards to the peace of Jerusalem; for glad was I when they said unto me, "Let us go into the. house of the Lord."33 There hath Thy good pleasure placed us, that we may desire no other thing than to dwell. there for ever.
11. Happy creature, which, though in itself it was other than Thou, hath known no other state than that as soon as it was made, it was, without any interval of time, by Thy Gift, which is borne over everything mutable, raised up by that calling whereby Thou saidst, "Let there be light, and there was light." Whereas in us there is a difference of times, in that we were darkness, and are made light;34 but of that it is only said what it would have been had it not been enlightened. And this is so spoken as if it had been fleeting and darksome before; that so the cause whereby it was made to be otherwise might appear,-that is to say, being turned to the unfailing Light it might become light. Let him who is able understand this; and let him who is not,35 ask of Thee. Why should he trouble me, as if I could enlighten any "man that cometh into the world?"36
12. Which of us understandeth the Almighty Trinity?37 And yet which speaketh not of It, if indeed it be It? Rare is that soul which, while it speaketh of It, knows what it speaketh of. And they contend and strive, but no one without peace seeth that vision. I could wish that men would consider these three things that are in themselves. These three are far other than the Trinity; but I speak of things in which they may exercise and prove themselves, and feel how far other they be.38 But the three things I speak of are, To Be, to Know, and to Will. For I Am, and I Know, and I Will; I Am Knowing and Willing; and I Know myself to Be and to Will; and I Will to Be and to Know. In these three, therefore, let him who can see how inseparable a life there is,-even one life, one mind, and one essence; finally, how inseparable is the distinction, and yet a distinction. Surely a man hath it before him; let him look into himself, and see, and tell me. But when he discovers and can say anything of these, let him not then think that he has discovered that which is above these Unchangeable, which Is unchangeably, and Knows unchangeably, and Wills unchangeably. And whether on account of these three there is also, where they are, a Trinity; or whether these three be in Each, so that the three belong to Each; or whether both ways at once, wondrously, simply, and vet diversely, in Itself a limit unto Itself, yet illimitable; whereby It is, and is known unto Itself, and sufficeth to Itself, unchangeably the Self-same, by the abundant magnitude of its Unity,-who can readily conceive? Who in any wise express it? Who in any way rashly pronounce thereon?
13. Proceed in thy confession, say to the Lord thy God, O my faith, Holy, Holy, Holy, O Lord my God, in Thy name have we been baptized, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in Thy name do we baptize, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,39 because among us also in His Christ did God make heaven and earth, namely, the spiritual and carnal people of His Church.40 Yea, and our earth, before it received the "form of doctrine,"41 was invisible and formless, and we were covered with the darkness of ignorance. For Thou correctest man for iniquity,42 and "Thy judgments are a great deep."43 But because Thy Spirit was "borne over the waters,"44 Thy mercy forsook not our misery,45 and Thou saidst, "Let there be light," "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."46 Repent ye, let there be light.47 And because our soul was troubled within us,48 we remembered Thee, O Lord, from the land of Jordan, and that mountain49 equal unto Thyself, but little for our sakes; and upon our being displeased with our darkness, we turned unto Thee, "and there was light." And, behold, we were sometimes darkness, but now light in the Lord.50
14. But as yet "by faith, not by sight,"51 for "we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope."52 As yet deep calleth unto deep53 but in "the noise of Thy waterspouts."54 And as yet doth he that saith, I "could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal,"55 even he, as yet, doth not count himself to have apprehended, and forgetteth those things which are behind, and reacheth forth to those things which are before,56 and groaneth being burdened;57 and his soul thirsteth after the living God, as the hart after the water-brooks, and saith, "When shall I come?"58 "desiring to be clothed upon with his house which is from heaven;"59 and calleth upon this lower deep, saying, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."60 And, "Be not children in understanding, howbeit in malice be ye children," that in "understanding ye may be perfect;"61 and "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?"62 But now not in his own voice, but in Thine who sentest Thy Spirit from above;63 through Him who "ascended up on high,"64 and set open the flood-gates of His gifts,65 that the force of His streams might make glad the city of God.66 For, for Him doth "the friend of the bridegroom"67 sigh, having now the first-fruits of the Spirit laid up with Him, yet still groaning within himself, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of his body;68 to Him he sighs, for. he is a member of the Bride; for Him is he jealous, for he is the friend of the Bridegroom;69 for Him is he jealous, not for himself; because in the voice of Thy "waterspouts,"70 not in his own voice, doth he call on that other deep, for whom being jealous he feareth, lest that, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so their minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in our Bridegroom, Thine only Son.71 What a light of beauty will that be when "we shall see Him as He is,"72 and those tears be passed away which "have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?"73
15. And so say I too, O my God, where art Thou? Behold where Thou art! In Thee I breathe a little, when I pour out my soul by myself in the voice of joy and praise, the sound of him that keeps holy-day.74 And yet it is "cast down," because it relapses and becomes a deep, or rather it feels that it is still a deep. Unto it doth my faith speak which Thou hast kindled to enlighten my feet in the night, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God;"75 His "word is a lamp unto my feet."76 Hope and endure until the night,-the mother of the wicked,-until the anger of the Lord be overpast,77 whereof we also were once children who were sometimes darkness,78 the remains whereof we carry about us in our body, dead on account of sin,79 "until the day break and the shadows flee away."80 "Hope thou in the Lord." In the morning I shall stand in Thy presence, and contemplate Thee;81 I shall for ever confess unto Thee.82 In the morning I shall stand in Thy presence, and shall see "the health of my countenance,"83 my God, who also shall quicken our mortal bodies by the Spirit that dwelleth in us,84 because in mercy He was borne over our inner darksome and floating deep. Whence we have in this pilgrimage received "an earnest"85 that we should now be light, whilst as yet we "are saved by hope,"86 and are the children of light, and the children of the day,-not the children of the night nor of the darkness,87 which yet we have been.88 Betwixt whom and us, in this as yet uncertain state of human knowledge, Thou only dividest, who provest our hearts89 and callest the light day, and the darkness night.90 For who discerneth us but Thou? But what have we that we have not received of Thee?91 Out of the same lump vessels unto honour, of which others also are made to dishonour.92
16. Or who but Thou, our God, made for us that firmament93 of authority over us in Thy divine Scripture?94 As it is said, For heaven shall be folded up like a scroll;95 and now it is extended over us like a skin.96 For Thy divine Scripture is of more sublime authority, since those mortals through whom Thou didst dispense it unto us underwent mortality. And Thou knowest, O Lord, Thou knowest, how Thou with skins didst clothe men97 when by sin they became mortal. Whence as a skin hast Thou stretched out the firmament of Thy Book;98 that is to say, Thy harmonious words, which by the ministry of mortals Thou hast spread over us. For by their very death is that solid firmament of authority in Thy discourses set forth by them more sublimely extended above all things that are under it, the which, while they were living here, was not so eminently extended.99 Thou hadst not as yet spread abroad the heaven like a skin; Thou hadst not as yet noised everywhere the report of their deaths.
17. Let us look, O Lord, "upon the heavens, the work of Thy fingers;"100 clear from our eyes that mist with which Thou hast covered them. There is that testimony of Thine which giveth wisdom unto the little ones.101 Perfect, O my God, Thy praise out of the mouth of babes and sucklings.102 Nor have we known any other books so destructive to pride, so destructive to the enemy and the defender,103 who resisteth Thy reconciliation in defence of his own sins.104 I know not, O Lord, I know not other such "pure"105 words which so persuade me to confession, and make my neck submissive to Thy yoke, and invite me to serve Thee for nought. Let me understand these things, good Father. Grant this to me, placed under them; because Thou hast established these things for those placed under them.
18. Other "waters" there be "above" this "firmament," I believe immortal, and removed from earthly corruption. Let them praise Thy Name,-those super-celestial people, Thine angels, who have no need to look up at this firmament, or by reading to attain the knowledge of Thy Word,-let them praise Thee. For they always behold Thy face,106 and therein read without any syllables in time what Thy eternal will willeth. They read, they choose, they love.107 They are always reading; and that which they read never passeth away. For, by choosing and by loving, they read the very unchangeableness of Thy counsel. Their book is not closed, nor is the scroll folded up,108 because Thou Thyself art this to them, yea, and art so eternally; because Thou hast appointed them above this firmament, which Thou hast made firm over the weakness of the lower people, where they might look up and learn Thy mercy, announcing in time Thee who hast made times. "For Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds."109 The clouds pass away, but the heaven remaineth. The preachers of Thy Word pass away from this life into another; but Thy Scripture is spread abroad over the people, even to the end of the world. Yea, both heaven and earth shall pass away, but Thy Words shall not pass away.110 Because the scroll shall be rolled together,111 and the grass over which it was spread shall with its goodliness pass away; but Thy Word remaineth for ever,112 which now appeareth unto us in the dark image of the clouds, and through the glass of the heavens, not as it is;113 because we also, although we be the well-beloved of Thy Son, yet it hath not yet appeared what we shall be.114 He looketh through the lattice115 of our flesh, and He is fair-speaking, and hath inflamed us, and we run after His odours.116 But "when He shall appear, then shall we be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."117 As He is, O Lord, shall we see Him, although the time be not yet.
19. For altogether as Thou art, Thou only knowest, Who art unchangeably, and knowest unchangeably, and wiliest unchangeably. And Thy Essence Knoweth and Willeth unchangeably; and Thy Knowledge Is, and Willeth unchangeably; and Thy Will Is, and Knoweth unchangeably. Nor doth it appear just to Thee, that as the Unchangeable Light knoweth Itself, so should It be known by that which is enlightened and changeable.118 Therefore unto Thee is my soul as "land where no water is,"119 because as it cannot of itself enlighten itself, so it cannot of itself satisfy itself. For so is the fountain of life with Thee, like as in Thy light we shall see light.120
20. Who hath gathered the embittered together into one society? For they have all the same end, that of temporal and earthly happiness, on account of which they do all things, although they may fluctuate with an innumerable variety of cares. Who, O Lord, unless Thou, saidst, Let the waters be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear,121 which "thirsteth after Thee"?122 For the sea also is Thine,and Thou hast made it, and Thy hands prepared the dry land.123 For neither is the bitterness of men's wills, but the gathering together of waters called sea; for Thou even curbest the wicked desires of men's souls, and fixest their bounds, how far they may be permitted to advance,124 and that their waves may be broken against each other; and thus dost Thou make it a sea, by the order of Thy dominion over all things.
21. But as for the souls that thirst after Thee, and that appear before Thee (being by other bounds divided from the society of the sea), them Thou waterest by a secret and sweet spring, that the earth may bring forth her fruit,125 and, Thou, O Lord God, so commanding, our soul may bud forth works of mercy according to their kind,126 -loving our neighbour in the relief of his bodily necessities, having seed in itself according to its likeness, when from our infirmity we compassionate even to the relieving of the needy; helping them in a like manner as we would that help should be brought unto us if we were in a like need; not only in the things that are easy, as in "herb yielding seed," but also in the protection of our assistance, in our very strength, like the tree yielding fruit; that is, a good turn in delivering him who suffers an injury from the hand of the powerful, and in furnishing him with the shelter of protection by the mighty strength of just judgment.
22. Thus, O Lord, thus, I beseech Thee, let there arise, as Thou makest, as Thou givest joy and ability,-let "truth spring out of the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven," and let there be "lights in the firmament."127 Let us break our bread to the hungry, and let us bring the houseless poor to our house.128 Let us clothe the naked, and despise not those of our own flesh. The which fruits having sprung forth from the earth, behold, because it is good;129 and let our temporary light burst forth;130 and let us, from this inferior fruit of action, possessing the delights of contemplation and of the Word of Life above, let us appear as lights in the world,131 clinging to the firmament of Thy Scripture. For therein Thou makest it plain unto us, that we may distinguish between things intelligible and things of sense, as if between the day and the night; or between souls, given, some to things intellectual, others to things of sense; so that now not Thou only in the secret of Thy judgment, as before the firmament was made, dividest between the light and the darkness, but Thy spiritual children also, placed and ranked in the same firmament (Thy grace being manifest throughout the world), may give light upon the earth, and divide between the day and night, and be for signs of times; because "old things have passed away," and "behold all things are become new;"132 and "because our salvation is nearer than when we believed;"133 and because "the night is far spent, the day is at hand;"134 and because Thou wilt crown Thy year with blessing,135 sending the labourers of Thy goodness into Thy harvest,136 in the sowing of which others have laboured, sending also into another field, whose harvest shall be in the end.137 Thus Thou grantest the prayers of him that asketh, and blessest the years of the just;138 but Thou art the same, and in Thy years which fail not139 Thou preparest a garner for our passing years. For by an eternal counsel Thou dost in their proper seasons bestow upon the earth heavenly blessings.
23. For, indeed, to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, as if the greater light, on account of those who are delighted with the light of manifest truth, as in the beginning of the day; but to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, as if the lesser light;140 to another faith; to another the gift of healing; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another the discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues. And all these as stars. For all these worketh the one and self-same Spirit, dividing to every man his own as He willeth;141 and making stars appear manifestly, to profit withal.142 But the word of knowledge, wherein are contained all sacraments,143 which are varied in their periods like the moon, and the other conceptions of gifts, which are successively reckoned up as stars, inasmuch as they come short of that splendour of wisdom in which the fore-entioned day rejoices, are only for the beginning of the night. For they are necessary to such as he Thy most prudent servant could not speak unto as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal144 -even he who speaketh wisdom among those that are perfect.145 But the natural man, as a babe in Christ,-and a drinker of milk,-until he be strengthened for solid meat,146 and his eye be enabled to look upon the Sun,147 let him not dwell in his own deserted night, but let him be contented with the light of the moon and the stars. Thou reasonest these things with us, our All-wise God, in Thy Book, Thy firmament, that we may discern all things in an admirable contemplation, although as yet in signs, and in times, and in days, and in years.
24. But first, "Wash you, make you clean;"148 put away iniquity from your souls, and from before mine eyes, that the dry land may appear. "Learn to do well; judge the fatherless; plead for the widow,"149 that the earth may bring forth the green herb for meat, and the tree bearing fruit;150 and come let us reason together, saith the Lord,151 that there may be lights in the firmament of heaven, and that they may shine upon the earth.152 That rich man asked of the good Master what he should do to attain eternal life.153 Let the good Master, whom he thought a man, and nothing more, tell him (but He is "good" because He is God)-let Him tell him, that if he would "enter into life" he must "keep the commandments;"154 let him banish from himself the bitterness of malice and wickedness;155 let him not kill, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor bear false witness; that the dry land may appear, and bud forth the honouring of father and mother, and the love of our neighbour.156 All these, saith he, have I kept.157 Whence, then, are there so many thorns, if the earth be fruitful? Go, root up the woody thicket of avarice; sell that thou hast, and be filled with fruit by giving to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and follow the Lord "if thou wilt be perfect,"158 coupled with those amongst whom He speaketh wisdom, Who knoweth what to distribute to the day and to the night, that thou also mayest know it, that for thee also there may be lights in the firmament of heaven, which will not be unless thy heart be there;159 which likewise also will not be unless thy treasure be there, as thou hast heard from the good Master. But the barren earth was grieved,160 and the thorns choked the word.161
25. But you, "chosen generation,162 you weak things of the world," who have forsaken all things that you might "follow the Lord," go after Him, and "confound the things which are mighty;"163 go after Him, ye beautiful feet,164 and shine in the firmament,165 that the heavens may declare His glory, dividing between the light of the perfect, though not as of the angels, and the darkness of the little, though not despised ones. Shine over all the earth, and let the day, lightened by the sun, utter unto day the word of wisdom; and let night, shining by the moon, announce unto night the word of knowledge.166 The moon and the stars shine for the night, but the night obscureth them not, since they illumine it in its degree. For behold God (as it were) saying, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven." There came suddenly a sound from heaven, as it had been the rushing of a mighty wind, and there appeared cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.167 And there were made lights in the firmament of heaven, having the word of life.168 Run ye to and fro everywhere, ye holy fires, ye beautiful fires; for ye are the light of the world,169 nor are ye put under a bushel.170 He to whom ye cleave is exalted, and hath exalted you. Run ye to and fro, and be known unto all nations.
26. Let the sea also conceive and bring forth your works, and let the waters bring forth the moving creatures that have life.171 For ye, who "take forth the precious from the vile,"172 have been made the mouth of God, through which He saith, "Let the waters bring forth," not the living creature which the earth bringeth forth, but the moving creature having life, and the fowls that fly above the earth. For Thy sacraments, O God, by the ministry of Thy holy ones, have made their way amid the billows of the temptations of the world, to instruct the Gentiles in Thy Name, in Thy Baptism. And amongst these things, many great works of wonder have been wrought, like as great whales; and the voices of Thy messengers flying above the earth, near to the firmament of Thy Book; that being set over them as an authority, under which they were to fly whithersoever they were to go. For "there is no speech, nor language, where their voice is not heard;" seeing their sound173 "hath gone through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world," because Thou, O Lord, hast multiplied these things by blessing.174
27. Whether do I lie, or do I mingle and confound, and not distinguish between the clear knowledge of these things that are in the firmament of heaven, and the corporeal works in the undulating sea and under the firmament of heaven? For of those things whereof the knowledge is solid and defined, without increase by generation, as it were lights of wisdom and knowledge, yet of these self-same things the material operations are many and varied; and one thing in growing from another is multiplied by Thy blessing, O God, who hast refreshed the fastidiousness of mortal senses; so that in the knowledge of our mind, one thing may, through the motions of the body, be in many ways175 set out and expressed. These sacraments have the waters brought forth;176 but in Thy Word. The wants of the people estranged from the eternity of Thy truth have produced them, but in Thy Gospel; because the waters themselves have cast them forth, the bitter weakness of which was the cause of these things being sent forth in Thy Word.
28. Now all things are fair that Thou hast made, but behold, Thou art inexpressibly fairer who hast made all things; from whom had not Adam fallen, the saltness of the sea would never have flowed from him,-the human race so profoundly curious, and boisterously swelling, and restlessly moving; and thus there would be no need that Thy dispensers should work in many waters,177 in a corporeal and sensible manner, mysterious doings and sayings. For so these creeping and flying creatures now present themselves to my mind, whereby men, instructed, initiated, and subjected by corporeal sacraments, should not further profit, unless their soul had a higher spiritual life, and unless, after the word of admission, it looked forwards to perfection.178
29. And hereby, in Thy Word, not the depth of the sea, but the earth parted from the bitterness of the waters,179 bringeth forth not the creeping and flying creature that hath life,180 but the living soul itself.181 For now hath it no longer need of baptism, as the heathen have, and as itself had when it was covered with the waters,-for no other entrance is there into the kingdom of heaven,182 since Thou hast appointed that this should be the entrance,-nor does it seek great works of miracles by which to cause faith; for it is not such that, unless it shall have seen signs and wonders, it will not believe,183 when now the faithful earth is separated from the waters of the sea, rendered bitter by infidelity; and "tongues are for a sign, not to those that believe, but to those that believe not."184 Nor then doth the earth, which Thou hast founded above the waters,185 stand in need of that flying kind which at Thy word the waters brought forth. Send Thy word forth into it by Thy messengers. For we relate their works, but it is Thou who workest in them, that in it they may work out a living soul. The earth bringeth it forth, because the earth is the cause that they work these things in the soul; as the sea has been the cause that they wrought upon the moving creatures that have life, and the fowls that fly under the firmament of heaven, of which the earth hath now no need; although it feeds on the fish which was taken out of the deep, upon that table which Thou hast prepared in the presence of those that believe.186 For therefore He was raised from the deep, that He might feed the dry land; and the fowl, though bred in the sea, is yet multiplied upon the earth. For of the first preachings of the Evangelists, the infidelity of men was the prominent cause; but the faithful also are exhorted, and are manifoldly blessed by them day by day. But the living soul takes its origin from the earth, for it is not profitable, unless to those already among the faithful, to restrain themselves from the love of this world, that so their soul may live unto Thee, which was dead while living in pleasures,187 -in death-bearing pleasures, O Lord, for Thou art the vital delight of the pure heart.
30. Now, therefore, let Thy ministers work upon the earth,-not as in the waters of infidelity, by announcing and speaking by miracles, and sacraments, and mystic words; in which ignorance, the mother of admiration, may be intent upon them, in fear of those hidden signs. For such is the entrance unto the faith for the sons of Adam forgetful of Thee, while they hide themselves from Thy face,188 and become a darksome deep. But let Thy ministers work even as on the dry land, separated from the whirlpools of the great deep; and let them be an example unto the faithful, by living before them, and by stimulating them to imitation. For thus do men hear not with an intent to hear merely, but to act also. Seek the Lord, and your soul shall live,189 that the earth may bring forth the living soul. "Be not conformed to this world."190 Restrain yourselves from it; the soul lives by avoiding those things which it dies by affecting. Restrain yourselves from the unbridled wildness of pride, from the indolent voluptuousness of luxury, and from the false name of knowledge;191 so that wild beasts may be tamed, the cattle subdued, and serpents harmless. For these are the motions of the mind in allegory; that is to say, the haughtiness of pride, the delight of lust, and the poison of curiosity are the motions of the dead soul; for the soul dies not so as to lose all motion, because it dies by forsaking the fountain of life,192 and so is received by this transitory world, and is conformed unto it.
31. But Thy Word, O God, is the fountain of eternal life, and passeth not away; therefore this departure is kept in check by Thy word when it is said unto us, "Be not conformed unto this world,"193 so that the earth may bring forth a living soul in the fountain of life,-a soul restrained in Thy Word, by Thy Evangelists, by imitating the followers of Thy Christ.194 For this is after his kind; because a man is stimulated to emulation by his friend.195 "Be ye," saith he, "as I am, for I am as you are."196 Thus in the living soul shall there be good beasts, in gentleness of action. For Thou hast commanded, saying, Go on with thy business in meekness, and thou shalt be beloved by all men;197 and good cattle, which neither if they eat, shall they over-abound, nor if they do not eat, have they any want;198 and good serpents, not destructive to do hurt, but "wise"199 to take heed; and exploring only so much of this temporal nature as is sufficient that eternity may be "clearly seen, being understood by the things that are."200 For these animals are subservient to reason,201 when, being kept in check from a deadly advance, they live, and are good.
32. For behold, O Lord our God, our Creator, when our affections have been restrained from the love of the world, by which we died by living ill, and began to be a "living soul" by living well;202 and Thy word which Thou spakest by Thy apostle is made good in us, "Be not conformed to this world;" next also follows that which Thou presently subjoinedst, saying, "But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,"203 -not now after your kind, as if following your neighbour who went before you, nor as if living after the example of a better man (for Thou hast not said, "Let man be made after his kind," but, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"),204 that we may prove what Thy will is. For to this purpose said that dispenser of Thine,-begetting children by the gospel,205 -that he might not always have them "babes," whom he would feed on milk, And cherish as a nurse;206 "be ye transformed," saith He, "by the renewing of your mind, that he may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."207 Therefore Thou sayest not, "Let man be made," but, "Let us make man." Nor sayest Thou, "after his kind," but, after "our image" and "likeness." Because, being renewed in his mind, and beholding and apprehending Thy truth, man needeth not man as his director208 that he may imitate his kind; but by Thy direction proveth what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of Thine. And Thou teachest him, now made capable, to perceive the Trinity of the Unity, and the Unity of the Trinity. And therefore this being said in the plural, "Let us make man," it is yet subjoined in the singular, "and God made man;" and this being said in the plural, "after our likeness," is subjoined in the singular, "after the image of God."209 Thus is man renewed in the knowledge of God, after the image of Him that created him;210 and being made spiritual, he judgeth all things,-all things that are to be judged,-"yet he himself is judged of no man."211
33. But that he judgeth all things answers to his having dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over all cattle and wild beasts, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For this he doth by the discernment of his mind, whereby he perceiveth the things "of the Spirit of God;"212 whereas, otherwise, man being placed in honour, had no understanding, and is compared unto the brute beasts, and is become like unto them.213 In Thy Church, therefore, O our God, according to Thy grace which Thou hast accorded unto it, since we are Thy workmanship created in good works,214 there are not only those who are spiritually set over, but those also who are spiritually subjected to those placed over them; for in this manner hast Thou made man, male and female,215 in Thy grace spiritual, where, according to the sex of body, there is not male and female, because neither Jew nor Greek, nor bond nor free.216 Spiritual persons, therefore, whether those that are set over, or those who obey, judge spiritually; not of that spiritual knowledge which shines in the firmament, for they ought not to judge as to an authority so sublime, nor doth it behove them to judge of Thy Book itself, although there be something that is not clear therein; because we submit our understanding unto it, and esteem as certain that even that which is shut up from our sight is rightly and truly spoken.217 For thus man, although now spiritual and renewed in the knowledge of God after His image that created him, ought yet to be the "doer of the law, not the judge."218 Neither doth he judge of that distinction of spiritual and carnal men, who are known to Thine eyes, O our God, and have not as yet made themselves manifest unto us by works, that by their fruits we may know them;219 but Thou, O Lord, dost already know them, and Thou hast divided and hast called them in secret, before the firmament was made. Nor doth that man, though spiritual, judge the restless people of this world; for what hath he to do to judge them that are without,220 knowing not which of them may afterwards come into the sweetness of Thy grace, and which continue in the perpetual bitterness of impiety?
34. Man, therefore, whom Thou hast made after Thine own image, received not dominion over the lights of heaven, nor over the hidden heaven itself, nor over the day and the night, which Thou didst call before the foundation of the heaven, nor over the gathering together of the waters, which is the sea; but he received dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and over all cattle, and over all the earth, and over all creeping things which creep upon the earth. For He judgeth and approveth what He findeth right, but disapproveth what He findeth amiss, whether in the celebration of those sacraments by which are initiated those whom Thy mercy searches out in many waters; or in that in which the Fish221 Itself is exhibited, which, being raised from the deep, the devout earth feedeth upon; or in the signs and expressions of words, subject to the authority of Thy Book,-such signs as burst forth and sound from the mouth, as it were flying under the firmament, by interpreting, expounding, discoursing, disputing, blessing, calling upon Thee, so that the people may answer, Amen. The vocal pronunciation of all which words is caused by the deep of this world, and the blindness of the flesh, by which thoughts cannot be seen, so that it is necessary to speak aloud in the ears; thus, although flying fowls be multiplied upon the earth, yet they derive their beginning from the waters. The spiritual man judgeth also by approving what is right and reproving what he finds amiss in the works and morals of the faithful, in their alms, as if in "the earth bringing forth fruit;" and he judgeth of the "living soul," rendered living by softened affections, in chastity, in fastings, in pious thoughts; and of those things which are perceived through the senses of the body. For it is now said, that he should judge concerning those things in which he has also the power of correction.
35. But what is this, and what kind of mystery is it? Behold, Thou blessest men, O Lord, that they may "be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth;"222 in this dost Thou not make a sign unto us that we may understand something? Why hast Thou not also blessed the light, which Thou calledst day, nor the firmament of heaven, nor the lights, nor the stars, nor the earth, nor the sea? I might say, O our God, that Thou, who hast created us after Thine Image,-I might say, that Thou hast willed to bestow this gift of blessing especially upon man, hadst Thou not in like manner blessed the fishes and the whales, that they should be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the waters of the sea, and that the fowls should be multiplied upon the earth. Likewise might I say, that this blessing belonged properly unto such creatures as are propagated from their own kind, if I had found it in the shrubs, and the fruit trees, and beasts of the earth. But now is it not said either unto the herbs, or trees, or beasts, or serpents, "Be fruitful and multiply;" since all these also, as well as fishes, and fowls, and men, do by propagation increase and preserve their kind.
36. What, then, shall I say, O Thou Truth, my Light,-"that it was idly and vainly said?" Not so, O Father of piety; far be it from a minister of Thy word to say this. But if I understand not what Thou meanest by that phrase, let my betters-that is, those more intelligent than I-use it better, in proportion as Thou, O my God, hast given to each to understand. But let my confession be also pleasing before Thine eyes, in which I confess to Thee that I believe, O Lord, that Thou hast not thus spoken in vain; nor will I be silent as to what this lesson suggests to me. For it is true, nor do I see what should prevent me from thus understanding the figurative sayings223 of Thy books. For I know a thing may be manifoldly signified by bodily expression which is understood in one manner by the mind; and that that may be manifoldly understood in the mind which is in one manner signified by bodily expression. Behold, the single love of God and of our neighbour, by what manifold sacraments and innumerable languages, and in each several language in how innumerable modes of speaking, it is bodily expressed. Thus do the young of the waters increase and multiply. Observe again, whosoever thou art who readest; behold what Scripture delivers, and the voice pronounces in one only way, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth;" is it not manifoldly understood, not by any deceit of error, but by divers kinds of true senses?224 Thus are the offspring of men "fruitful" and do "multiply."
37. If, therefore, we conceive of the natures of things, not allegorically, but properly, then does the phrase, "be fruitful and multiply," correspond to all things which are begotten of seed. But if we treat those words as taken figuratively (the which I rather suppose the Scripture intended, which doth not, verily, superfluously attribute this benediction to the offspring of marine animals and man only), then do we find that "multitude" belongs also to creatures both spiritual and corporeal, as in heaven and in earth; and to souls both righteous and unrighteous, as in light and darkness; and to holy authors, through whom the law has been furnished unto us, as in the firmament225 which has been firmly placed betwixt waters and waters; and to the society of people yet endued with bitterness, as in the sea; and to the desire of holy souls, as in the dry land; and to works of mercy pertaining to this present life, as in the seed-bearing herbs and fruit-bearing trees; and to spiritual gifts shining forth for edification, as in the lights of heaven; and to affections formed unto temperance, as in the living soul. In all these cases we meet with multitudes, abundance, and increase; but what shall thus "be fruitful and multiply," that one thing may be expressed in many ways, and one expression understood in many ways, we discover not, unless in signs corporeally expressed, and in things mentally conceived. We understand the signs corporeally pronounced as the generations of the waters, necessarily occasioned by carnal depth; but things mentally conceived we understand as human generations, on account of the fruitfulness of reason. And therefore do we believe that to each kind of these it has been said by Thee, O Lord, "Be fruitful and multiply." For in this blessing I acknowledge that power and faculty has been granted unto us, by Thee, both to express in many ways what we understand but in one, and to understand in many ways what we read as obscurely delivered but in one. Thus are the waters of the sea replenished, which are not moved but by various significations; thus even with the human offspring is the earth also replenished, the dryness226 whereof appeareth in its desire, and reason ruleth over it.
38. I would also say, O Lord my God, what the following Scripture reminds me of; yea, I will say it without fear. For I will speak the truth, Thou inspiring me as to what Thou wiliest that I should say out of these words. For by none other than Thy inspiration do I believe that I can speak the truth, since Thou art the Truth, but every man a liar.227 And therefore he that "speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; "228 therefore that I may speak the truth, I will speak of Thine. Behold, Thou hast given unto us for food "every herb bearing seed," which is upon the face of all the earth, "and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed."229 Nor to us only, but to all the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the earth, and to all creeping things;230 but unto the fishes, and great whales, Thou hast not given these things. Now we were saying, that by these fruits of the earth works of mercy were signified and figured in an allegory, the which are provided for the necessities of this life out of the fruitful earth. Such an earth was the godly Onesiphorus, unto whose house Thou didst give mercy, because he frequently refreshed Thy Paul, and was not ashamed of his chain.231 This did also the brethren, and such fruit did they bear, who out of Macedonia supplied what was wanting unto him.232 But how doth he grieve for certain trees, which did not afford him the fruit due unto hi.m, when he saith, "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge."233 For these fruits are due to those who minister spiritual234 doctrine, through their understanding of the divine mysteries; and they are due to them as men. They are due to them, too, as to the living soul, supplying itself as an example in all continency; and due unto them likewise as flying creatures, for their blessings which are multiplied upon the earth, since their sound went out into all lands.235
39. But they who are delighted with them are fed by those fruits; nor are they delighted with them "whose god is their belly."236 For neither in those that yield them are the things given the fruit, but in what spirit they give them. Therefore he who serves God and not his own belly,237 I plainly see why he may rejoice; I see it, and I rejoice with him exceedingly. For he hath received from the Philippians those things which they had sent from Epaphroditus;238 but yet I see why he rejoiced. For whereat he rejoices, upon that he feeds; for speaking in truth, "I rejoiced," saith he, "in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful,"239 but it had become wearisome unto you. These Philippians, then, by protracted wearisomeness, had become enfeebled, and as it were dried up, as to bringing forth this fruit of a good work; and he rejoiceth for them, because they flourished again, not for himself, because they ministered to his wants. Therefore, adds he, "not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. I know both how to be abused, and I know how to abound everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."240
40. Whereat, then, dost thou rejoice in all things, O great Paul? Whereat dost thou rejoice? Whereon dost thou feed, O man, renewed in the knowledge of God, after the image of Him that created thee, thou living soul of so great continency, and thou tongue like flying fowls, speaking mysteries,-for to such creatures is this food due,-what is that which feeds thee? Joy. Let us hear what follows. "Notwithstanding," saith he, "ye have well done that ye did communicate with My affliction."241 Hereat doth he rejoice, hereon doth he feed; because they have well done,242 not because his strait was relieved, who saith unto thee, "Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; "243 because he knew both "to abound and to suffer need,"244 in Thee Who strengthenest him. For, saith he, "ye Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no Church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity."245 Unto these good works he now rejoiceth that they have returned; and is made glad that they flourished again, as when a fruitful field recovers its greenness.
41. Was it on account of his own necessities that he said, "Ye have sent unto my necessity ? Rejoiceth he for that? Verily not for that. But whence know we this? Because he himself continues, "Not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit."246 From Thee, O my God, have I learned to distinguish between a "gift" and "fruit." A gift is the thing itself which he gives who bestows these necessaries, as money, food, drink, clothing, shelter, aid; but the fruit is the good and right will of the giver. For the good Master saith not only, "He that receiveth a prophet," but addeth, "in the name of a prophet." Nor saith He only, "He that receiveth a righteous man," but addeth, "in the name of a righteous man." So, verily, the former shall receive the reward of a prophet, the latter that of a righteous man. Nor saith He only, "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water," but addeth, "in the name of a disciple" and so concludeth, "Verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."247 The gift is to receive a prophet, to receive a righteous man, to hand a cup of cold water to a disciple; but the fruit is to do this in the name of a prophet, in the name of a righteous man, in the name of a disciple. With fruit was Elijah fed by the widow, who knew that she fed a man of God, and on this account fed him; but by the raven was he fed with a gift. Nor was the inner man248 of Elijah fed, but the outer only, which might also from want of such food have perished.
42. Therefore will I speak before Thee, O Lord, what is true, when ignorant men and infidels (for the initiating and gaining of whom the sacraments of initiation and great works of miracles are necessary,249 which we believe to be signified under the name of "fishes" and "whales") undertake that Thy servants should be bodily refreshed, or should be otherwise succoured for this present life, although they may be ignorant wherefore this is to be done, and to what end; neither do the former feed the latter, nor the latter the former; for neither do the one perform these things through a holy and right intent, nor do the other rejoice in the gifts of those who behold not as yet the fruit. For on that is the mind fed wherein it is gladdened. And, therefore, fishes and whales are not fed on such food as the earth bringeth not forth until it had been separated and divided from the bitterness of the waters of the sea.
43. And Thou, O God, sawest everything that Thou hadst made, and behold it was very good.250 So we also see the same, and behold all are very good. In each particular kind of Thy works, when Thou hadst said, "Let them be made," and they were made, Thou sawest that it was good. Seven times have I counted it written that Thou sawest that that which Thou madest was "good;" and this is the eighth, that Thou sawest all things that Thou hadst made, and behold they are not only good, but also "very good," as being now taken together. For individually they were only good, but all taken together they were both good and very good. All beautiful bodies also express this; for a body which consists of members, all of which are beautiful, is by far more beautiful than the several members individually are by whose well-ordered union the whole is completed, though these members also be severally beautiful.251
44. And I looked attentively to find whether seven or eight times Thou sawest that Thy works were good, when they were pleasing unto Thee; but in Thy seeing I found no times, by which I might understand that thou sawest so often what Thou madest. And I said, "O Lord,! is not this Thy Scripture true, since Thou art true, and being Truth hast set it forth? Why, then, dost Thou say unto me that in thy seeing there are no times, while this Thy Scripture telleth me that what Thou madest each day, Thou sawest to be good; and when I counted them I found how often?" Unto these things Thou repliest unto me, for Thou art my God, and with strong voice tellest unto Thy servant in his inner ear, bursting through my deafness, and crying, "O man, that which My Scripture saith, I say; and yet doth that speak in time; but time has no reference to My Word, because My Word existeth in equal eternity with Myself. Thus those things which ye see through My Spirit, I see, just as those things which ye speak through My Spirit, I speak. And so when ye see those things in time, I see them not in time; as when ye speak them in time, I speak them not in time."
45. And I heard, O Lord my God, and drank up a drop of sweetness from Thy truth, and understood that there are certain men to whom Thy works are displeasing, who say that many of them Thou madest being compelled by necessity;-such as the fabric of the heavens and the courses of the stars, and that Thou madest them not of what was Thine, but, that they were elsewhere and from other sources created; that Thou mightest bring together and compact and interweave, when from Thy conquered enemies Thou raisedst up the walls of the universe, that they, bound down by this structure, might not be able a second time to rebel against Thee. But, as to other things, they say Thou neither madest them nor compactedst them,-such as all flesh and all very minute creatures, and whatsoever holdeth the earth by its roots; but that a mind hostile unto Thee and another nature not created by Thee, and in everywise contrary unto Thee, did, in these lower places of the world, beget and frame these things.252 Infatuated are they who speak thus, since they see not Thy works through Thy Spirit, nor recognise Thee in them.
46. But as for those who through Thy Spirit, I see these things, Thou seest in them. When: therefore, they see that these things are good, Thou seest that they are good; and whatsoever things for Thy sake are pleasing, Thou art pleased in them; and those things which through Thy Spirit are pleasing unto us, are pleasing unto Thee in us. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we," saith he, "have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."253 And I am reminded to say, "Truly, `the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God;' how, then, do we also know `what things are given us by God'?" It is answered unto me, "Because the things which we know by His Spirit, even these `knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.' For, as it is rightly said unto those who were to speak by the Spirit of God, `It is not ye that speak,'254 so is it rightly said to. I them who know by the Spirit of God, `It is not ye that know.' None the less, then, is it not, have said to those that see by the Spirit of God, `It is not ye that see;' so whatever they see by the Spirit of God that it is good, it is not they, but God who `sees that it is good.'" It is one thing, then, for a man to suppose that to be bad which is good, as the fore-named do; another, that what is good a man should see to be good (as Thy creatures are pleasing unto many, because they are good, whom, however, Thou pleasest not in them when they wish to enjoy them rather than enjoy Thee); and another, that when a man these a thing to be good, God should in him see that it is good,-that in truth He may be loved in that which He made,255 who cannot be loved unless by the Holy Ghost, which He hath given. "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us;"256 by whom we see that whatsoever in any degree is, is good. Because it is from Him who Is not in any degree, but He Is that He Is.
47 Thanks to Thee, O Lord. We behold the heaven and the earth, whether the corporeal part, superior and inferior, or the spiritual and corporeal creature; and in the embellishment of these parts, whereof the universal mass of the world or the universal creation consisteth, we see light made, and divided from the darkness. We see the firmament of heaven,257 whether the primary body of the world between the spiritual upper waters and the corporeal lower waters, or-because this also is called heaven-this expanse of air, through which wander the fowls of heaven, between the waters which are in vapours borne above them, and which in clear nights drop down in dew, and those which being heavy flow along the earth. We behold the waters gathered together through the plains of the sea; and the dry land both void and formed, so as to be visible and compact, and the matter of herbs and trees. We behold the lights shining from above,-the sun to serve the day, the moon and the stars to cheer the night; and that by all these, times should be marked and noted. We behold on every side a humid element, fruitful with fishes, beasts, and birds; because the density of the air, which bears up the flights of birds, is increased by the exhalation of the waters.258 We behold the face of the earth furnished with terrestrial creatures, and man, created after Thy image and likeness, in that very image and likeness of Thee (that is, the power of reason and understanding) on account of which he was set over all irrational creatures. And as in his soul there is one power which rules by directing, another made subject that it might obey, so also for the man was corporeally made a woman,259 who, in the mind of her rational understanding should also have a like nature, in the sex, however, of her body should be in like manner subject to the sex of her husband, as the appetite of action is subjected by reason of the mind, to conceive the skill of acting rightly. These things we behold, and they are severally good, and all very good.
48. Let Thy works praise Thee, that we may love Thee; and let us love Thee, that Thy works may praise Thee, the which have beginning and end from time,-rising and setting, growth and decay, form and privation. They have therefore their successions of morning and evening, partly hidden, partly apparent; for they were made from nothing by Thee, not of Thee, nor of any matter not Thine, or which was created before, but of concreted matter (that is, matter at the same time created by Thee), because without any interval of time Thou didst form its formlessness.260 For since the matter of heaven and earth is one thing, and the form of heaven and earth another, Thou hast made the matter indeed of almost nothing, but the form of the world Thou hast formed of formless matter; both, however, at the same time, so that the form should follow the matter with no interval of delay.
49. We have also examined what Thou willedst to be shadowed forth, whether by the creation, or the description of things in such an order. And we have seen that things severally are good, and all things very good,261 in Thy Word, in Thine Only-Begotten, both heaven and earth, the Head and the body of the Church, in Thy predestination before all times, without morning and evening. But when Thou didst begin to execute in time the things predestinated, that Thou mightest make manifest things hidden, and adjust our disorders (for our sins were over us, and we had sunk into profound I darkness away from thee, and Thy good Spirit was borne over us to help us in due season), Thou didst both justify the. ungodly,262 and didst divide them from the wicked; and madest firm the authority of Thy Book between those above, who would be docile unto Thee, and those under, who would be subject unto them; and Thou didst collect the society of unbelievers into one conspiracy, in order that the zeal of the faithful might appear, and that they might bring forth works of mercy unto Thee, even distributing unto the poor earthly riches, to obtain heavenly. And after this didst Thou kindle certain lights in the firmament, Thy holy ones, having the word of life, and shining with an eminent authority preferred by spiritual gifts; and then again, for the instruction of the unbelieving Gentiles, didst Thou out of corporeal matter produce the sacraments and visible miracles, and sounds of words according to the firmament be Thy Book, by which the faithful should of blessed. Next didst Thou form the living soul of the faithful, through affections ordered by the vigour of continency; and afterwards, the mind subjected to Thee alone, and needing to imitate no human authority,263 Thou didst renew after Thine image and likeness; and didst subject its rational action to the excellency of the understanding, as the woman to the man; and to all Thy ministries, necessary for the perfecting of the faithful in this life, Thou didst will that, for their temporal uses, good things, fruitful in the future time, should be given by the same faithful.264 We behold all these things, and they are very good, because Thou dost see them in us,-Thou who hast given unto us Thy Spirit, whereby we might see them, and in them love Thee.
50. O Lord God, grant Thy peace unto us,for Thou hast supplied us with all things,-the peace of rest, the peace of the Sabbath, which hath no evening. For all this most beautiful order of things, "very good" (all their courses being finished), is to pass away, for in them there was morning and evening.
51. But the seventh day is without any evening, nor hath it any setting, because Thou hast sanctified it to an everlasting continuance that that which Thou didst after Thy works, which were very good, resting on the seventh day, although in unbroken rest Thou madest them that the voice of Thy Book may speak beforehand unto us, that we also after our works (therefore very good, because Thou hast given them unto us) may repose in Thee also in the Sabbath of eternal life.
52. For even then shalt Thou so rest in us, as now Thou dost work in us; and thus shall that be Thy rest through us, as these are Thy works through us.265 But Thou, O Lord, ever workest, and art ever at rest. Nor seest Thou in time, nor movest Thou in time, nor restest Thou in time; and yet Thou makest the scenes of time, and the times themselves, and the rest which results from time.
53. We therefore see those things which Thou madest, because they are; but they are because Thou seest them. And we see without that they are, and within that they are good, but Thou didst see them there, when made, where Thou didst see them to be made. And we were at another time moved to do well, after our hearts had conceived of Thy Spirit; but in the former time, forsaking Thee, we were moved to do evil; but Thou, the One, the Good God, hast never ceased to do good. And we also have certain good works, of Thy gift, but not eternal; after these we hope to rest in Thy great hallowing. But Thou, being the Good, needing no good, art ever at rest, because Thou Thyself art Thy rest. And what man will teach man to understand this? Or what angel, an angel? Or what angel, a man? Let it be asked of Thee, sought in Thee, knocked for at Thee; so, even so shall it be received, so shall it be found, so shall it be opened.266 Amen.