(Augustine, Confessions. part 22) CHAPTER V 6. See now, how the Trinity appears to me in an enigma. And thou art the Trinity, O my God, since thou, O Father -- in the beginning of our wisdom, that is, in thy wisdom born of thee, equal and coeternal with thee, that is, thy Son -- created the heaven and the earth. Many things we have said about the heaven of heavens, and about the earth invisible and unformed, and about the shadowy abyss -- speaking of the aimless flux of its being spiritually deformed unless it is turned to him from whom it has its life (such as it is) and by his Light comes to be a life suffused with beauty. Thus it would be a [lower] heaven of that [higher] heaven, which afterward was made between water and water. And now I came to recognize, in the name of God, the Father who made all these things, and in the term "the Beginning" to recognize the Son, through whom he made all these things; and since I did believe that my God was the Trinity, I sought still further in his holy Word, and, behold, "Thy Spirit moved over the waters." Thus, see the Trinity, O my God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Creator of all creation! CHAPTER VI 7. But why, O truth-speaking Light? To thee I lift up my heart -- let it not teach me vain notions. Disperse its shadows and tell me, I beseech thee, by that Love which is our mother; tell me, I beseech thee, the reason why -- after the reference to heaven and to the invisible and unformed earth, and darkness over the abyss -- thy Scripture should then at long last refer to thy Spirit? Was it because it was appropriate that he should first be shown to us as "moving over"; and this could not have been said unless something had already been mentioned over which thy Spirit could be understood as "moving"? For he did not "move over" the Father and the Son, and he could not properly be said to be "moving over" if he were "moving over" nothing. Thus, what it was he was "moving over" had to be mentioned first and he whom it was not proper to mention otherwise than as "moving over" could then be mentioned. But why was it not fitting that he should have been introduced in some other way than in this context of "moving over"? CHAPTER VII 8. Now let him who is able follow thy apostle with his understanding when he says, "Thy love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us" and who teacheth us about spiritual gifts and showeth us a more excellent way of love; and who bows his knee unto thee for us, that we may come to the surpassing knowledge of the love of Christ. Thus, from the beginning, he who is above all was "moving over" the waters. To whom shall I tell this? How can I speak of the weight of concupiscence which drags us downward into the deep abyss, and of the love which lifts us up by thy Spirit who moved over the waters? To whom shall I tell this? How shall I tell it? For concupiscence and love are not certain "places" into which we are plunged and out of which we are lifted again. What could be more like, and yet what more unlike? They are both feelings; they are both loves. The uncleanness of our own spirit flows downward with the love of worldly care; and the sanctity of thy Spirit raises us upward by the love of release from anxiety -- that we may lift our hearts to thee where thy Spirit is "moving over the waters." Thus, we shall have come to that supreme rest where our souls shall have passed through the waters which give no standing ground. CHAPTER VIII 9. The angels fell, and the soul of man fell; thus they indicate to us the deep darkness of the abyss, which would have still contained the whole spiritual creation if thou hadst not said, in the beginning, "Let there be light: and there was light" -- and if every obedient mind in thy heavenly city had not adhered to thee and had not reposed in thy Spirit, which moved immutable over all things mutable. Otherwise, even the heaven of heavens itself would have been a dark shadow, instead of being, as it is now, light in the Lord. For even in the restless misery of the fallen spirits, who exhibit their own darkness when they are stripped of the garments of thy light, thou showest clearly how noble thou didst make the rational creation, for whose rest and beatitude nothing suffices save thee thyself. And certainly it is not itself sufficient for its beatitude. For it is thou, O our God, who wilt enlighten our darkness; from thee shall come our garments of light; and then our darkness shall be as the noonday. Give thyself to me, O my God, restore thyself to me! See, I love thee; and if it be too little, let me love thee still more strongly. I cannot measure my love so that I may come to know how much there is still lacking in me before my life can run to thy embrace and not be turned away until it is hidden in "the covert of thy presence." Only this I know, that my existence is my woe except in thee -- not only in my outward life, but also within my inmost self -- and all abundance I have which is not my God is poverty. CHAPTER IX 10. But was neither the Father nor the Son "moving over the waters"? If we understand this as a motion in space, as a body moves, then not even the Holy Spirit "moved." But if we understand the changeless supereminence of the divine Being above every changeable thing, then Father, Son, and Holy Spirit "moved over the waters." Why, then, is this said of thy Spirit alone? Why is it said of him only -- as if he had been in a "place" that is not a place -- about whom alone it is written, "He is thy gift"? It is in thy gift that we rest. It is there that we enjoy thee. Our rest is our "place." Love lifts us up toward that place, and thy good Spirit lifts our lowliness from the gates of death. Our peace rests in the goodness of will. The body tends toward its own place by its own gravity. A weight does not tend downward only, but moves to its own place. Fire tends upward; a stone tends downward. They are propelled by their own mass; they seek their own places. Oil poured under the water rises above the water; water poured on oil sinks under the oil. They are moved by their own mass; they seek their own places. If they are out of order, they are restless; when their order is restored, they are at rest. My weight is my love. By it I am carried wherever I am carried. By thy gift, we are enkindled and are carried upward. We burn inwardly and move forward. We ascend thy ladder which is in our heart, and we sing a canticle of degrees; we glow inwardly with thy fire -- with thy good fire -- and we go forward because we go up to the peace of Jerusalem; for I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the Lord." There thy good pleasure will settle us so that we will desire nothing more than to dwell there forever. CHAPTER X 11. Happy would be that creature who, though it was in itself other than thou, still had known no other state than this from the time it was made, so that it was never without thy gift which moves over everything mutable -- who had been borne up by the call in which thou saidst, "Let there be light: and there was light." For in us there is a distinction between the time when we were darkness and the time when we were made light. But we are not told what would have been the case with that creature if the light had not been made. It is spoken of as though there had been something of flux and darkness in it beforehand so that the cause by which it was made to be otherwise might be evident. This is to say, by being turned to the unfailing Light it might become light. Let him who is able understand this; and let him who is not ask of thee. Why trouble me, as if I could "enlighten every man that comes into the world"? CHAPTER XI 12. Who can understand the omnipotent Trinity? And yet who does not speak about it, if indeed it is of it that he speaks? Rare is the soul who, when he speaks of it, also knows of what he speaks. And men contend and strive, but no man sees the vision of it without peace. I could wish that men would consider three things which are within themselves. These three things are quite different from the Trinity, but I mention them in order that men may exercise their minds and test themselves and come to realize how different from it they are. 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 a knowing and a willing being; I know that I am and that I will; and I will to be and to know. In these three functions, therefore, let him who can see how integral a life is; for there is one life, one mind, one essence. Finally, the distinction does not separate the things, and yet it is a distinction. Surely a man has this distinction before his mind; let him look into himself and see, and tell me. But when he discovers and can say anything about any one of these, let him not think that he has thereby discovered what is immutable above them all, which _is_ immutably and _knows_ immutably and _wills_ immutably. But whether there is a Trinity there because these three functions exist in the one God, or whether all three are in each Person so that they are each threefold, or whether both these notions are true and, in some mysterious manner, the Infinite is in itself its own Selfsame object -- at once one and many, so that by itself it is and knows itself and suffices to itself without change, so that the Selfsame is the abundant magnitude of its Unity -- who can readily conceive? Who can in any fashion express it plainly? Who can in any way rashly make a pronouncement about it? CHAPTER XII 13. Go forward in your confession, O my faith; say to the Lord your God, "Holy, holy, holy, O Lord my God, in thy name we have been baptized, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." In thy name we baptize, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For among us also God in his Christ made "heaven and earth," namely, the spiritual and carnal members of his Church. And true it is that before it received "the form of doctrine," our "earth" was "invisible and unformed," and we were covered with the darkness of our ignorance; for thou dost correct man for his iniquity, and "thy judgments are a great abyss." But because thy Spirit was moving over these waters, thy mercy did not forsake our wretchedness, and thou saidst, "Let there be light; repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Repent, and let there be light. Because our soul was troubled within us, we remembered thee, O Lord, from the land of Jordan, and from the mountain -- and as we became displeased with our darkness we turned to thee, "and there was light." And behold, we were heretofore in darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. CHAPTER XIII 14. But even so, we still live by faith and not by sight, for we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope. Thus far deep calls unto deep, but now in "the noise of thy waterfalls." And thus far he who said, "I could not speak to you as if you were spiritual ones, but only as if you were carnal" -- thus far even he does not count himself to have apprehended, but forgetting the things that are behind and reaching forth to the things that are before, he presses on to those things that are ahead, and he groans under his burden and his soul thirsts after the living God as the stag pants for the water brooks, and says, "When shall I come?" -- "desiring to be further clothed by his house which is from heaven." And he called to this lower deep, saying, "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." And "be not children in understanding, although in malice be children," in order that "in understanding you may become perfect." "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?" But this is not now only in his own voice but in thy voice, who sent thy Spirit from above through Him who both "ascended up on high" and opened up the floodgates of his gifts, that the force of his streams might make glad the city of God. For that city and for him sighs the Bridegroom's friend, who has now the first fruits of the Spirit laid up with him, but who is still groaning within himself and waiting for adoption, that is, the redemption of his body. To Him he sighs, for he is a member of the Bride; for him he is jealous, not for himself, but because not in his own voice but in the voice of thy waterfalls he calls on that other deep, of which he is jealous and in fear; for he fears lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtlety, his mind should be corrupted from the purity which is in our Bridegroom, thy only Son. What a light of beauty that will be when "we shall see him as he is"! -- and when these tears shall pass away which "have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, 'Where is your God?'" CHAPTER XIV 15. And I myself say: "O my God, where art thou? See now, where art thou?" In thee I take my breath for a little while, when I pour out my soul beyond myself in the voice of joy and praise, in the voice of him that keeps holyday. And still it is cast down because it relapses and becomes an abyss, or rather it feels that it still is an abyss. My faith speaks to my soul -- the faith that thou dost kindle to light my path in the night: "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted in me? Hope in God." For his word is a lamp to your feet. Hope and persevere until the night passes -- that mother of the wicked; until the Lord's wrath subsides -- that wrath whose children once we were, of whom we were beforehand in darkness, whose residue we still bear about us in our bodies, dead because of sin. Hope and endure until the day breaks and the shadows flee away. Hope in the Lord: in the morning I shall stand in his presence and keep watch; I shall forever give praise to him. In the morning I shall stand and shall see my God, who is the health of my countenance, who also will quicken our mortal bodies by the Spirit that dwells in us, because in mercy he was moving over our lightless and restless inner deep. >From this we have received an earnest, even now in this pilgrimage, that we are now in the light, since already we are saved by hope and are children of the light and children of the day -- not children of the night, nor of the darkness, which we have been hitherto. Between those children of the night and ourselves, in this still uncertain state of human knowledge, only thou canst rightly distinguish -- thou who dost test the heart and who dost call the light day, and the darkness night. For who can see us clearly but thee? What do we have that we have not received from thee, who madest from the same lump some vessels to noble, and others to ignoble, use? CHAPTER XV 16. Now who but thee, our God, didst make for us that firmament of the authority of thy divine Scripture to be over us? For "the heaven shall be folded up like a scroll"; but now it is stretched over us like a skin. Thy divine Scripture is of more sublime authority now that those mortal men through whom thou didst dispense it to us have departed this life. And thou knowest, O Lord, thou knowest how thou didst clothe men with skins when they became mortal because of sin. In something of the same way, thou hast stretched out the firmament of thy Book as a skin -- that is to say, thou hast spread thy harmonious words over us through the ministry of mortal men. For by their very death that solid firmament of authority in thy sayings, spoken forth by them, stretches high over all that now drift under it; whereas while they lived on earth their authority was not so widely extended. Then thou hadst not yet spread out the heaven like a skin; thou hadst not yet spread abroad everywhere the fame of their death. 17. Let us see, O Lord, "the heavens, the work of thy fingers," and clear away from our eyes the fog with which thou hast covered them. In them is that testimony of thine which gives wisdom even to the little ones. O my God, out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, perfect thy praise. For we know no other books that so destroy man's pride, that so break down the adversary and the self-defender who resists thy reconciliation by an effort to justify his own sins. I do not know, O Lord, I do not know any other such pure words that so persuade me to confession and make my neck submissive to thy yoke, and invite me to serve thee for nothing else than thy own sake. Let me understand these things, O good Father. Grant this to me, since I am placed under them; for thou hast established these things for those placed under them. 18. There are other waters that are above this firmament, and I believe that they are immortal and removed from earthly corruption. Let them praise thy name -- this super-celestial society, thy angels, who have no need to look up at this firmament or to gain a knowledge of thy Word by reading it -- let them praise thee. For they always behold thy face and read therein, without any syllables in time, what thy eternal will intends. They read, they choose, they love. They are always reading, and what they read never passes away. For by choosing and by loving they read the very immutability of thy counsel. Their book is never closed, nor is the scroll folded up, because thou thyself art this to them, and art this to them eternally; because thou didst range them above this firmament which thou madest firm over the infirmities of the people below the heavens, where they might look up and learn thy mercy, which proclaims in time thee who madest all times. "For thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness reaches to the clouds." The clouds pass away, but the heavens remain. 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. Indeed, both heaven and earth shall pass away, but thy words shall never pass away. The scroll shall be rolled together, and the "grass" over which it was spread shall, with all its goodliness, pass away; but thy Word remains forever -- thy Word which now appears to us in the dark image of the clouds and through the glass of heaven, and not as it really is. And even if we are the well-beloved of thy Son, it has not yet appeared what we shall be. He hath seen us through the entanglement of our flesh, and he is fair-speaking, and he hath enkindled us, and we run after his fragrance. But "when he shall appear, then we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." As he is, O Lord, we shall see him -- although that time is not yet. CHAPTER XVI 19. For just as thou art the utterly Real, thou alone dost fully know, since thou art immutably, and thou knowest immutably, and thou willest immutably. And thy Essence knows and wills immutably. Thy Knowledge is and wills immutably. Thy Will is and knows immutably. And it does not seem right to thee that the immutable Light should be known by the enlightened but mutable creature in the same way as it knows itself. Therefore, to thee my soul is as a land where no water is; for, just as it cannot enlighten itself by itself, so it cannot satisfy itself by itself. Thus the fountain of life is with thee, and "in thy light shall we see light." CHAPTER XVII 20. Who has gathered the "embittered ones" into a single society? For they all have the same end, which is temporal and earthly happiness. This is their motive for doing everything, although they may fluctuate within an innumerable diversity of concerns. Who but thee, O Lord, gathered them together, thou who saidst, "Let the waters be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear" -- athirst for thee? For the sea also is thine, and thou madest it, and thy hands formed the dry land. For it is not the bitterness of men's wills but the gathering together of the waters which is called "the sea"; yet thou dost curb the wicked lusts of men's souls and fix their bounds: how far they are allowed to advance, and where their waves will be broken against each other -- and thus thou makest it "a sea," by the providence of thy governance of all things. 21. But as for the souls that thirst after thee and who appear before thee -- separated from "the society of the [bitter] sea" by reason of their different ends -- thou waterest them by a secret and sweet spring, so that "the earth" may bring forth her fruit and -- thou, O Lord, commanding it -- our souls may bud forth in works of mercy after their kind. Thus we shall love our neighbor in ministering to his bodily needs, for in this way the soul has seed in itself after its kind when in our own infirmity our compassion reaches out to the relief of the needy, helping them even as we would desire to be helped ourselves if we were in similar need. Thus we help, not only in easy problems (as is signified by "the herb yielding its seed") but also in the offering of our best strength in affording them the aid of protection (such as "the tree bearing its fruit"). This is to say, we seek to rescue him who is suffering injury from the hands of the powerful -- furnishing him with the sheltering protection which comes from the strong arm of a righteous judgment. CHAPTER XVIII 22. Thus, O Lord, thus I beseech thee: let it happen as thou hast prepared it, as thou givest joy and the capacity for joy. Let truth spring up out of the earth, and let righteousness look down from heaven, and let there be lights in the firmament. Let us break our bread with the hungry, let us bring the shelterless poor to our house; let us clothe the naked, and never despise those of our own flesh. See from the fruits which spring forth from the earth how good it is. Thus let our temporal light break forth, and let us from even this lower level of fruitful action come to the joy of contemplation and hold on high the Word of Life. And let us at length appear like "lights in the world," cleaving to the firmament of thy Scripture. For in it thou makest it plain to us how we may distinguish between things intelligible and things tangible, as if between the day and the night -- and to distinguish between souls who give themselves to things of the mind and others absorbed in things of sense. Thus it is that now thou art not alone in the secret of thy judgment as thou wast before the firmament was made, and before thou didst divide between the light and the darkness. But now also thy spiritual children, placed and ranked in this same firmament -- thy grace being thus manifest throughout the world -- may shed light upon the earth, and may divide between the day and night, and may be for the signs of the times; because old things have passed away, and, lo, all things are become new; and because our salvation is nearer than when we believed; and because "the night is far spent and the day is at hand"; and because "thou crownest the year with blessing," sending the laborers into thy harvest, in which others have labored in the sowing and sending laborers also to make new sowings whose harvest shall not be until the end of time. Thus thou dost grant the prayers of him who seeks, and thou dost bless the years of the righteous man. But thou art always the Selfsame, and in thy years which fail not thou preparest a granary for our transient years. For by an eternal design thou spreadest the heavenly blessings on the earth in their proper seasons. 23. For "to one there is given by thy Spirit the word of wisdom" (which resembles the greater light -- which is for those whose delight is in the clear light of truth -- as the light which is given for the ruling of the day). But to another the word of knowledge is given by the same Spirit (as it were, the "lesser light"); to another, faith; to another, the gift of healing; to another, the power of working miracles; to another, the gift of prophecy; to another, the discerning of spirits; to another, other kinds of tongues -- and all these gifts may be compared to "the stars." For in them all the one and selfsame Spirit is at work, dividing to every man his own portion, as He wills, and making stars to appear in their bright splendor for the profit of souls. But the word of knowledge, scientia, in which is contained all the mysteries which change in their seasons like the moon; and all the other promises of gifts, which when counted are like the stars -- all of these fall short of that splendor of Wisdom in which the day rejoices and are only for the ruling of the night. Yet they are necessary for those to whom thy most prudent servant could not speak as to the spiritually mature, but only as if to carnal men -- even though he could speak wisdom among the perfect. Still the natural man -- as a babe in Christ, and a drinker of milk, until he is strong enough for solid meat, and his eye is able to look into the sun -- do not leave him in a lightless night. Instead, let him be satisfied with the light of the moon and the stars. In thy book thou dost discuss these things with us wisely, our God -- in thy book, which is thy "firmament" -- in order that we may be able to view all things in admiring contemplation, although thus far we must do so through signs and seasons and in days and years. CHAPTER XIX 24. But, first, "wash yourselves and make you clean; put away iniquity from your souls and from before my eyes" -- so that "the dry land" may appear. "Learn to do well, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow," that the earth may bring forth the green herb for food and fruit-bearing trees. "And come, let us reason together, saith the Lord" -- that there may be lights in the firmament of heaven and that they may shine upon the earth. There was that rich man who asked of the good Teacher what he should do to attain eternal life. Let the good Teacher (whom the rich man thought a man and nothing more) give him an answer -- he is good for he is God. Let him answer him that, if he would enter into life, he must keep the commandments: let him put away from himself the bitterness of malice and wickedness; let him not kill, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor bear false witness -- that "the dry land" may appear and bring forth the honoring of fathers and mothers and the love of neighbor. "All these," he replied, "I have kept." Where do so many thorns come from, if the earth is really fruitful? uproot the brier patch of avarice; "sell what you have, and be filled with fruit by giving to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and follow" the Lord if you would be perfect and joined with those in whose midst he speaketh wisdom -- who know how to give rightly to the day and to the night -- and you will also understand, so that for you also there may be lights in the firmament of heaven -- which will not be there, however, unless your heart is there also. And your heart will not be there unless your treasure is there, as you have heard from the good Teacher. But "the barren earth" was grieved, and the briers choked the word. 25. But you, O elect people, set in the firmament of the world, who have forsaken all that you may follow the Lord: follow him now, and confound the mighty! Follow him, O beautiful feet, and shine in the firmament, that the heavens may declare his glory, dividing the light of the perfect ones -- though not yet so perfect as the angels -- from the darkness of the little ones -- who are nevertheless not utterly despised. Shine over all the earth, and let the day be lighted by the sun, utter the Word of wisdom to the day ("day unto day utters speech") and let the night, lighted by the moon, display the Word of knowledge to the night. The moon and the stars give light for the night; the night does not put them out, and they illumine in its proper mode. For lo, it is as if God were saying, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven": and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as if it were a rushing mighty wind, and there appeared cloven tongues of fire, and they sat on each of them. And then they were made to be lights in the firmament of heaven, having the Word of life. Run to and fro everywhere, you holy fires, you lovely fires, for you are the light of the world and you are not to be hid under a peck measure. He to whom you cleave is raised on high, and he hath raised you on high. Run to and fro; make yourselves known among all the nations! CHAPTER XX 26. Also let the sea conceive and bring forth your works, and let the waters bear the moving creatures that have life. For by separating the precious from the vile you are made the mouth of God by whom he said, "Let the waters bring forth." This does not refer to the living creatures which the earth brings forth, but to the creeping creatures that have life and the fowls that fly over the earth. For, by the ministry of thy holy ones, thy mysteries have made their way amid the buffeting billows of the world, to instruct the nations in thy name, in thy Baptism. And among these things many great and marvelous works have been wrought, which are analogous to the huge whales. The words of thy messengers have gone flying over the earth, high in the firmament of thy Book which is spread over them as the authority beneath which they are to fly wheresoever they go. For "there is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard," because "their sound has gone out through all the earth, and their words (continued in part 23...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01: agcon-22.txt .