(Augustine, Confessions. part 17)

the purpose of experiencing the discomfort that often accompanies
them, but out of a passion for experimenting and knowledge.
     For what pleasure is there in the sight of a lacerated
corpse, which makes you shudder?  And yet if there is one lying
close by we flock to it, as if to be made sad and pale.  People
fear lest they should see such a thing even in sleep, just as they
would if, when awake, someone compelled them to go and see it or
if some rumor of its beauty had attracted them.
     This is also the case with the other senses; it would be
tedious to pursue a complete analysis of it.  This malady of
curiosity is the reason for all those strange sights exhibited in
the theater.  It is also the reason why we proceed to search out
the secret powers of nature -- those which have nothing to do with
our destiny -- which do not profit us to know about, and
concerning which men desire to know only for the sake of knowing.
And it is with this same motive of perverted curiosity for
knowledge that we consult the magical arts.  Even in religion
itself, this prompting drives us to make trial of God when signs
and wonders are eagerly asked of him -- not desired for any saving
end, but only to make trial of him.
     56.  In such a wilderness so vast, crammed with snares and
dangers, behold how many of them I have lopped off and cast from
my heart, as thou, O God of my salvation, hast enabled me to do.
And yet, when would I dare to say, since so many things of this
sort still buzz around our daily lives -- when would I dare to say
that no such motive prompts my seeing or creates a vain curiosity
in me?  It is true that now the theaters never attract me, nor do
I now care to inquire about the courses of the stars, and my soul
has never sought answers from the departed spirits.  All
sacrilegious oaths I abhor.  And yet, O Lord my God, to whom I owe
all humble and singlehearted service, with what subtle suggestion
the enemy still influences me to require some sign from thee!  But
by our King, and by Jerusalem, our pure and chaste homeland, I
beseech thee that where any consenting to such thoughts is now far
from me, so may it always be farther and farther.  And when I
entreat thee for the salvation of any man, the end I aim at is
something more than the entreating: let it be that as thou dost
what thou wilt, thou dost also give me the grace willingly to
follow thy lead.
     57.  Now, really, in how many of the most minute and trivial
things my curiosity is still daily tempted, and who can keep the
tally on how often I succumb?  How often, when people are telling
idle tales, we begin by tolerating them lest we should give
offense to the sensitive; and then gradually we come to listen
willingly!  I do not nowadays go to the circus to see a dog chase
a rabbit, but if by chance I pass such a race in the fields, it
quite easily distracts me even from some serious thought and draws
me after it -- not that I turn aside with my horse, but with the
inclination of my mind.  And unless, by showing me my weakness,
thou dost speedily warn me to rise above such a sight to thee by a
deliberate act of thought -- or else to despise the whole thing
and pass it by -- then I become absorbed in the sight, vain
creature that I am.
     How is it that when I am sitting at home a lizard catching
flies, or a spider entangling them as they fly into her webs,
oftentimes arrests me?  Is the feeling of curiosity not the same
just because these are such tiny creatures?  From them I proceed
to praise thee, the wonderful Creator and Disposer of all things;
but it is not this that first attracts my attention.  It is one
thing to get up quickly and another thing not to fall -- and of
both such things my life is full and my only hope is in thy
exceeding great mercy.  For when this heart of ours is made the
depot of such things and is overrun by the throng of these
abounding vanities, then our prayers are often interrupted and
disturbed by them.  Even while we are in thy presence and direct
the voice of our hearts to thy ears, such a great business as this
is broken off by the inroads of I know not what idle thoughts.

                        CHAPTER XXXVI

     58.  Shall we, then, also reckon this vain curiosity among
the things that are to be but lightly esteemed?  Shall anything
restore us to hope except thy complete mercy since thou hast begun
to change us?  Thou knowest to what extent thou hast already
changed me, for first of all thou didst heal me of the lust for
vindicating myself, so that thou mightest then forgive all my
remaining iniquities and heal all my diseases, and "redeem my life
from corruption and crown me with loving-kindness and tender
mercies, and satisfy my desires with good things."[381]  It was
thou who didst restrain my pride with thy fear, and bowed my neck
to thy "yoke."[382]  And now I bear the yoke and it is "light" to
me, because thou didst promise it to be so, and hast made it to be
so.  And so in truth it was, though I knew it not when I feared to
take it up.
     59.  But, O Lord -- thou who alone reignest without pride,
because thou alone art the true Lord, who hast no Lord -- has this
third kind of temptation left me, or can it leave me during this
life: the desire to be feared and loved of men, with no other view
than that I may find in it a joy that is no joy?  It is, rather, a
wretched life and an unseemly ostentation.  It is a special reason
why we do not love thee, nor devotedly fear thee.  Therefore "thou
resistest the proud but givest grace to the humble."[383]  Thou
thunderest down on the ambitious designs of the world, and "the
foundations of the hills" tremble.[384]
     And yet certain offices in human society require the
officeholder to be loved and feared of men, and through this the
adversary of our true blessedness presses hard upon us, scattering
everywhere his snares of "well done, well done"; so that while we
are eagerly picking them up, we may be caught unawares and split
off our joy from thy truth and fix it on the deceits of men.  In
this way we come to take pleasure in being loved and feared, not
for thy sake but in thy stead.  By such means as this, the
adversary makes men like himself, that he may have them as his
own, not in the harmony of love, but in the fellowship of
punishment -- the one who aspired to exalt his throne in the
north,[385] that in the darkness and the cold men might have to
serve him, mimicking thee in perverse and distorted ways.
     But see, O Lord, we are thy little flock.  Possess us,
stretch thy wings above us, and let us take refuge under them.  Be
thou our glory; let us be loved for thy sake, and let thy word be
feared in us.  Those who desire to be commended by the men whom
thou condemnest will not be defended by men when thou judgest, nor
will they be delivered when thou dost condemn them.  But when --
not as a sinner is praised in the wicked desires of his soul nor
when the unrighteous man is blessed in his unrighteousness -- a
man is praised for some gift that thou hast given him, and he is
more gratified at the praise for himself than because he possesses
the gift for which he is praised, such a one is praised while thou
dost condemn him.  In such a case the one who praised is truly
better than the one who was praised.  For the gift of God in man
was pleasing to the one, while the other was better pleased with
the gift of man than with the gift of God.

                        CHAPTER XXXVII

     60.  By these temptations we are daily tried, O Lord; we are
tried unceasingly.  Our daily "furnace" is the human tongue.[386]
And also in this respect thou commandest us to be continent.  Give
what thou commandest and command what thou wilt.  In this matter,
thou knowest the groans of my heart and the rivers of my eyes, for
I am not able to know for certain how far I am clean of this
plague; and I stand in great fear of my "secret faults,"[387]
which thy eyes perceive, though mine do not.  For in respect of
the pleasures of my flesh and of idle curiosity, I see how far I
have been able to hold my mind in check when I abstain from them
either by voluntary act of the will or because they simply are not
at hand; for then I can inquire of myself how much more or less
frustrating it is to me not to have them.  This is also true about
riches, which are sought for in order that they may minister to
one of these three "lusts," or two, or the whole complex of them.
The mind is able to see clearly if, when it has them, it despises
them so that they may be cast aside and it may prove itself.
     But if we desire to test our power of doing without praise,
must we then live wickedly or lead a life so atrocious and
abandoned that everyone who knows us will detest us?  What greater
madness than this can be either said or conceived?  And yet if
praise, both by custom and right, is the companion of a good life
and of good works, we should as little forgo its companionship as
the good life itself.  But unless a thing is absent I do not know
whether I should be contented or troubled at having to do without
     61.  What is it, then, that I am confessing to thee, O Lord,
concerning this sort of temptation?  What else, than that I am
delighted with praise, but more with the truth itself than with
praise.  For if I were to have any choice whether, if I were mad
or utterly in the wrong, I would prefer to be praised by all men
or, if I were steadily and fully confident in the truth, would
prefer to be blamed by all, I see which I should choose.  Yet I
wish I were unwilling that the approval of others should add
anything to my joy for any good I have.  Yet I admit that it does
increase it; and, more than that, dispraise diminishes it.  Then,
when I am disturbed over this wretchedness of mine, an excuse
presents itself to me, the value of which thou knowest, O God, for
it renders me uncertain.  For since it is not only continence that
thou hast enjoined on us -- that is, what things to hold back our
love from -- but righteousness as well -- that is, what to bestow
our love upon -- and hast wished us to love not only thee, but
also our neighbor, it often turns out that when I am gratified by
intelligent praise I seem to myself to be gratified by the
competence or insight of my neighbor; or, on the other hand, I am
sorry for the defect in him when I hear him dispraise either what
he does not understand or what is good.  For I am sometimes
grieved at the praise I get, either when those things that
displease me in myself are praised in me, or when lesser and
trifling goods are valued more highly than they should be.  But,
again, how do I know whether I feel this way because I am
unwilling that he who praises me should differ from me concerning
myself not because I am moved with any consideration for him, but
because the good things that please me in myself are more pleasing
to me when they also please another?  For in a way, I am not
praised when my judgment of myself is not praised, since either
those things which are displeasing to me are praised, or those
things which are less pleasing to me are more praised.  Am I not,
then, quite uncertain of myself in this respect?
     62.  Behold, O Truth, it is in thee that I see that I ought
not to be moved at my own praises for my own sake, but for the
sake of my neighbor's good.  And whether this is actually my way,
I truly do not know.  On this score I know less of myself than
thou dost.  I beseech thee now, O my God, to reveal myself to me
also, that I may confess to my brethren, who are to pray for me in
those matters where I find myself weak.
     Let me once again examine myself the more diligently.  If, in
my own praise, I am moved with concern for my neighbor, why am I
less moved if some other man is unjustly dispraised than when it
happens to me?  Why am I more irritated at that reproach which is
cast on me than at one which is, with equal injustice, cast upon
another in my presence?  Am I ignorant of this also?  Or is it
still true that I am deceiving myself, and do not keep the truth
before thee in my heart and tongue?  Put such madness far from me,
O Lord, lest my mouth be to me "the oil of sinners, to anoint my

                        CHAPTER XXXVIII

     63.  "I am needy and poor."[389]  Still, I am better when in
secret groanings I displease myself and seek thy mercy until what
is lacking in me is renewed and made complete for that peace which
the eye of the proud does not know.  The reports that come from
the mouth and from actions known to men have in them a most
perilous temptation to the love of praise.  This love builds up a
certain complacency in one's own excellency, and then goes around
collecting solicited compliments.  It tempts me, even when I
inwardly reprove myself for it, and this precisely because it is
reproved.  For a man may often glory vainly in the very scorn of
vainglory -- and in this case it is not any longer the scorn of
vainglory in which he glories, for he does not truly despise it
when he inwardly glories in it.

                        CHAPTER XXXIX

     64.  Within us there is yet another evil arising from the
same sort of temptation.  By it they become empty who please
themselves in themselves, although they do not please or displease
or aim at pleasing others.  But in pleasing themselves they
displease thee very much, not merely taking pleasure in things
that are not good as if they were good, but taking pleasure in thy
good things as if they were their own; or even as if they were
thine but still as if they had received them through their own
merit; or even as if they had them through thy grace, still
without this grace with their friends, but as if they envied that
grace to others.  In all these and similar perils and labors, thou
perceivest the agitation of my heart, and I would rather feel my
wounds being cured by thee than not inflicted by me on myself.

                          CHAPTER XL

     65.  Where hast thou not accompanied me, O Truth, teaching me
both what to avoid and what to desire, when I have submitted to
thee what I could understand about matters here below, and have
sought thy counsel about them?
     With my external senses I have viewed the world as I was able
and have noticed the life which my body derives from me and from
these senses of mine.  From that stage I advanced inwardly into
the recesses of my memory -- the manifold chambers of my mind,
marvelously full of unmeasured wealth.  And I reflected on this
and was afraid, and could understand none of these things without
thee and found thee to be none of them.  Nor did I myself discover
these things -- I who went over them all and labored to
distinguish and to value everything according to its dignity,
accepting some things upon the report of my senses and questioning
about others which I thought to be related to my inner self,
distinguishing and numbering the reporters themselves; and in that
vast storehouse of my memory, investigating some things,
depositing other things, taking out still others.  Neither was I
myself when I did this -- that is, that ability of mine by which I
did it -- nor was it thou, for thou art that never-failing light
from which I took counsel about them all; whether they were what
they were, and what was their real value.  In all this I heard
thee teaching and commanding me.  And this I often do -- and this
is a delight to me -- and as far as I can get relief from my
necessary duties, I resort to this kind of pleasure.  But in all
these things which I review when I consult thee, I still do not
find a secure place for my soul save in thee, in whom my scattered
members may be gathered together and nothing of me escape from
thee.  And sometimes thou introducest me to a most rare and inward
feeling, an inexplicable sweetness.  If this were to come to
perfection in me I do not know to what point life might not then
arrive.  But still, by these wretched weights of mine, I relapse
into these common things, and am sucked in by my old customs and
am held.  I sorrow much, yet I am still closely held.  To this
extent, then, the burden of habit presses us down.  I can exist in
this fashion but I do not wish to do so.  In that other way I wish
I were, but cannot be -- in both ways I am wretched.

                          CHAPTER XLI

     66.  And now I have thus considered the infirmities of my
sins, under the headings of the three major "lusts," and I have
called thy right hand to my aid.  For with a wounded heart I have
seen thy brightness, and having been beaten back I cried: "Who can
attain to it?  I am cut off from before thy eyes."[390]  Thou art
the Truth, who presidest over all things, but I, because of my
greed, did not wish to lose thee.  But still, along with thee, I
wished also to possess a lie -- just as no one wishes to lie in
such a way as to be ignorant of what is true.  By this I lost
thee, for thou wilt not condescend to be enjoyed along with a lie.

                         CHAPTER XLII

     67.  Whom could I find to reconcile me to thee?  Should I
have approached the angels?  What kind of prayer?  What kind of
rites?  Many who were striving to return to thee and were not able
of themselves have, I am told, tried this and have fallen into a
longing for curious visions and deserved to be deceived.  Being
exalted, they sought thee in their pride of learning, and they
thrust themselves forward rather than beating their breasts.[391]
And so by a likeness of heart, they drew to themselves the princes
of the air,[392] their conspirators and companions in pride, by
whom they were deceived by the power of magic.  Thus they sought a
mediator by whom they might be cleansed, but there was none.  For
the mediator they sought was the devil, disguising himself as an
angel of light.[393]  And he allured their proud flesh the more
because he had no fleshly body.
     They were mortal and sinful, but thou, O Lord, to whom they
arrogantly sought to be reconciled, art immortal and sinless.  But
a mediator between God and man ought to have something in him like
God and something in him like man, lest in being like man he
should be far from God, or if only like God he should be far from
man, and so should not be a mediator.  That deceitful mediator,
then, by whom, by thy secret judgment, human pride deserves to be
deceived, had one thing in common with man, that is, his sin.  In
another respect, he would seem to have something in common with
God, for not being clothed with the mortality of the flesh, he
could boast that he was immortal.  But since "the wages of sin is
death,"[394] what he really has in common with men is that,
together with them, he is condemned to death.

                         CHAPTER XLIII

     68.  But the true Mediator, whom thou in thy secret mercy
hast revealed to the humble, and hast sent to them so that through
his example they also might learn the same humility -- that
"Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,"[395]
appeared between mortal sinners and the immortal Just One.  He was
mortal as men are mortal; he was righteous as God is righteous;
and because the reward of righteousness is life and peace, he
could, through his righteousness united with God, cancel the death
of justified sinners, which he was willing to have in common with
them.  Hence he was manifested to holy men of old, to the end that
they might be saved through faith in his Passion to come, even as
we through faith in his Passion which is past.  As man he was
Mediator, but as the Word he was not something in between the two;
because he was equal to God, and God with God, and, with the Holy
Spirit, one God.
     69.  How hast thou loved us, O good Father, who didst not
spare thy only Son, but didst deliver him up for us wicked
ones![396]  How hast thou loved us, for whom he who did not count
it robbery to be equal with thee "became obedient unto death, even
the death of the cross"[397]!  He alone was "free among the
dead."[398]  He alone had power to lay down his life and power to
take it up again, and for us he became to thee both Victor and
Victim; and Victor because he was the Victim.  For us, he was to
thee both Priest and Sacrifice, and Priest because he was the
Sacrifice.  Out of slaves, he maketh us thy sons, because he was
born of thee and did serve us.  Rightly, then, is my hope fixed
strongly on him, that thou wilt "heal all my diseases"[399]
through him, who sitteth at thy right hand and maketh intercession
for us.[400]  Otherwise I should utterly despair.  For my
infirmities are many and great; indeed, they are very many and
very great.  But thy medicine is still greater.  Otherwise, we
might think that thy word was removed from union with man, and
despair of ourselves, if it had not been that he was "made flesh
and dwelt among us."[401]
     70.  Terrified by my sins and the load of my misery, I had
resolved in my heart and considered flight into the wilderness.
But thou didst forbid me, and thou didst strengthen me, saying
that "since Christ died for all, they who live should not
henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for
them."[402]  Behold, O Lord, I cast all my care on thee, that I
may live and "behold wondrous things out of thy law."[403]  Thou
knowest my incompetence and my infirmities; teach me and heal me.
Thy only Son -- he "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom
and knowledge"[404] -- hath redeemed me with his blood.  Let not
the proud speak evil of me, because I keep my ransom before my
mind, and eat and drink and share my food and drink.  For, being
poor, I desire to be satisfied from him, together with those who
eat and are satisfied: "and they shall praise the Lord that seek

                         BOOK ELEVEN

     The eternal Creator and the Creation in time.  Augustine ties
together his memory of his past life, his present experience, and
his ardent desire to comprehend the mystery of creation.  This
leads him to the questions of the mode and time of creation.  He
ponders the mode of creation and shows that it was  de nihilo and
involved no alteration in the being of God.  He then considers the
question of the beginning of the world and time and shows that
time and creation are cotemporal.  But what is time?  To this
Augustine devotes a brilliant analysis of the subjectivity of time
and the relation of all temporal process to the abiding eternity
of God.  From this, he prepares to turn to a detailed
interpretation of Gen. 1:1, 2.

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  Is it possible, O Lord, that, since thou art in eternity,
thou art ignorant of what I am saying to thee?  Or, dost thou see
in time an event at the time it occurs?  If not, then why am I
recounting such a tale of things to thee?  Certainly not in order
to acquaint thee with them through me; but, instead, that through
them I may stir up my own love and the love of my readers toward
thee, so that all may say, "Great is the Lord and greatly to be
praised." I have said this before[406] and will say it again: "For
love of thy love I do it." So also we pray -- and yet Truth tells
us, "Your Father knoweth what things you need before you ask
him."[407]  Consequently, we lay bare our feelings before thee,
that, through our confessing to thee our plight and thy mercies
toward us, thou mayest go on to free us altogether, as thou hast
already begun; and that we may cease to be wretched in ourselves
and blessed in thee -- since thou hast called us to be poor in
spirit, meek, mourners, hungering and athirst for righteousness,
merciful and pure in heart.[408]  Thus I have told thee many
things, as I could find ability and will to do so, since it was
thy will in the first place that I should confess to thee, O Lord
my God -- for "Thou art good and thy mercy endureth forever."[409]

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  But how long would it take for the voice of my pen to
tell enough of thy exhortations and of all thy terrors and
comforts and leadings by which thou didst bring me to preach thy
Word and to administer thy sacraments to thy people?  And even if
I could do this sufficiently, the drops of time[410] are very
precious to me and I have for a long time been burning with the
desire to meditate on thy law, and to confess in thy presence my
knowledge and ignorance of it -- from the first streaks of thy
light in my mind and the remaining darkness, until my weakness
shall be swallowed up in thy strength.  And I do not wish to see
those hours drained into anything else which I can find free from
the necessary care of the body, the exercise of the mind, and the
service we owe to our fellow men -- and what we give even if we do
not owe it.
     3.  O Lord my God, hear my prayer and let thy mercy attend my
longing.  It does not burn for itself alone but longs as well to
serve the cause of fraternal love.  Thou seest in my heart that
this is so.  Let me offer the service of my mind and my tongue --
and give me what I may in turn offer back to thee.  For "I am
needy and poor"; thou art rich to all who call upon thee -- thou
who, in thy freedom from care, carest for us.  Trim away from my
lips, inwardly and outwardly, all rashness and lying.  Let thy
Scriptures be my chaste delight.  Let me not be deceived in them,
nor deceive others from them.  O Lord, hear and pity!  O Lord my
God, light of the blind, strength of the weak -- and also the
light of those who see and the strength of the strong -- hearken
to my soul and hear it crying from the depths.[411]  Unless thy
ears attend us even in the depths, where should we go?  To whom
should we cry?
     "Thine is the day and the night is thine as well."[412]  At
thy bidding the moments fly by.  Grant me in them, then, an
interval for my meditations on the hidden things of thy law, nor
close the door of thy law against us who knock.  Thou hast not
willed that the deep secrets of all those pages should have been
written in vain.  Those forests are not without their stags which
keep retired within them, ranging and walking and feeding, lying
down and ruminating.[413]  Perfect me, O Lord, and reveal their
secrets to me.  Behold, thy voice is my joy; thy voice surpasses
in abundance of delights.  Give me what I love, for I do love it.
And this too is thy gift.  Abandon not thy gifts and despise not
thy "grass" which thirsts for thee.[414]  Let me confess to thee
everything that I shall have found in thy books and "let me hear
the voice of thy praise."[415]  Let me drink from thee and
"consider the wondrous things out of thy law"[416] -- from the
very beginning, when thou madest heaven and earth, and
thenceforward to the everlasting reign of thy Holy City with thee.
     4.  O Lord, have mercy on me and hear my petition.  For my
prayer is not for earthly things, neither gold nor silver and
precious stones, nor gorgeous apparel, nor honors and power, nor
fleshly pleasures, nor of bodily necessities in this life of our
pilgrimage: all of these things are "added" to those who seek thy
Kingdom and thy righteousness.[417]
     Observe, O God, from whence comes my desire.  The unrighteous
have told me of delights but not such as those in thy law, O Lord.
Behold, this is the spring of my desire.  See, O Father, look and
see -- and approve!  Let it be pleasing in thy mercy's sight that
I should find favor with thee -- that the secret things of thy
Word may be opened to me when I knock.  I beg this of thee by our
Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, the Man of thy right hand, the Son of
Man; whom thou madest strong for thy purpose as Mediator between
thee and us; through whom thou didst seek us when we were not
seeking thee, but didst seek us so that we might seek thee; thy
Word, through whom thou madest all things, and me among them; thy
only Son, through whom thou hast called thy faithful people to
adoption, and me among them.  I beseech it of thee through him who
sitteth at thy right hand and maketh intercession for us, "in whom
are hid all treasures of wisdom and knowledge."[418]  It is he I
seek in thy books.  Moses wrote of him.  He tells us so himself;
the Truth tells us so.

                          CHAPTER III

     5.  Let me hear and understand how in the beginning thou
madest heaven and earth.[419]  Moses wrote of this; he wrote and
passed on -- moving from thee to thee -- and he is now no longer
before me.  If he were, I would lay hold on him and ask him and
entreat him solemnly that in thy name he would open out these
things to me, and I would lend my bodily ears to the sounds that
came forth out of his mouth.  If, however, he spoke in the Hebrew
language, the sounds would beat on my senses in vain, and nothing
would touch my mind; but if he spoke in Latin, I would understand
what he said.  But how should I then know whether what he said was
true?  If I knew even this much, would it be that I knew it from
him?  Indeed, within me, deep inside the chambers of my thought,
Truth itself -- neither Hebrew, nor Greek, nor Latin, nor
barbarian, without any organs of voice and tongue, without the
sound of syllables -- would say, "He speaks the truth," and I
should be assured by this.  Then I would confidently say to that
man of thine, "You speak the truth."[420]  However, since I cannot
inquire of Moses, I beseech thee, O Truth, from whose fullness he
spoke truth; I beseech thee, my God, forgive my sins, and as thou
gavest thy servant the gift to speak these things, grant me also
the gift to understand them.

                          CHAPTER IV

     6.  Look around; there are the heaven and the earth.  They
cry aloud that they were made, for they change and vary.  Whatever
there is that has not been made, and yet has being, has nothing in
it that was not there before.  This having something not already
existent is what it means to be changed and varied.  Heaven and
earth thus speak plainly that they did not make themselves: "We
are, because we have been made; we did not exist before we came to
be so that we could have made ourselves!"  And the voice with
which they speak is simply their visible presence.  It was thou, O
Lord, who madest these things.  Thou art beautiful; thus they are
beautiful.  Thou art good, thus they are good.  Thou art; thus
they are.  But they are not as beautiful, nor as good, nor as
truly real as thou their Creator art.  Compared with thee, they
are neither beautiful nor good, nor do they even exist.  These
things we know, thanks be to thee.  Yet our knowledge is ignorance
when it is compared with thy knowledge.

(continued in part 18...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01: agcon-17.txt