Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume I/Confessions/Book IV/Chapter 9

Chapter IX.—That the Love of a Human Being, However Constant in Loving and Returning Love, Perishes; While He Who Loves God Never Loses a Friend.

14. This is it that is loved in friends; and so loved that a man’s conscience accuses itself if he love not him by whom he is beloved, or love not again him that loves him, expecting nothing from him but indications of his love. Hence that mourning if one die, and gloom of sorrow, that steeping of the heart in tears, all sweetness turned into bitterness, and upon the loss of the life of the dying, the death of the living. Blessed be he who loveth Thee, and his friend in Thee, and his enemy for Thy sake. For he alone loses none dear to him to whom all are dear in Him who cannot be lost. And who is this but our God, the God that created heaven and earth,[1] and filleth them,[2] because by filling them He created them?[3] None loseth Thee but he who leaveth Thee. And he who leaveth Thee, whither goeth he, or whither fleeth he, but from Thee well pleased to Thee angry? For where doth not he find Thy law in his own punishment? “And Thy law is the truth,”[4] and truth Thou.[5]


  1. Gen. i. 1.
  2. Jer. xxiii. 24.
  3. See i. 2, 3, above.
  4. Ps. cxix. 142, and John xvii. 17.
  5. John xiv. 6.