Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume I/Confessions/Book VII/Chapter 13
Chapter XIII.—It is Meet to Praise the Creator for the Good Things Which are Made in Heaven and Earth.
19. And to Thee is there nothing at all evil, and not only to Thee, but to Thy whole creation; because there is nothing without which can break in, and mar that order which Thou hast appointed it. But in the parts thereof, some things, because they harmonize not with others, are considered evil; whereas those very things harmonize with others, and are good, and in themselves are good. And all these things which do not harmonize together harmonize with the inferior part which we call earth, having its own cloudy and windy sky concordant to it. Far be it from me, then, to say, “These things should not be.” For should I see nothing but these, I should indeed desire better; but yet, if only for these, ought I to praise Thee; for that Thou art to be praised is shown from the “earth, dragons, and all deeps; fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy winds fulfilling Thy word; mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars; beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl; kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth; both young men and maidens; old men and children,” praise Thy name. But when, “from the heavens,” these praise Thee, praise Thee, our God, “in the heights,” all Thy “angels,” all Thy “hosts,” “sun and moon,” all ye stars and light, “the heavens of heavens,” and the “waters that be above the heavens,” praise Thy name. I did not now desire better things, because I was thinking of all; and with a better judgment I reflected that the things above were better than those below, but that all were better than those above alone.
- See v. sec. 2, note 1, above, where Augustin illustrates the existence of good and evil by the lights and shades in a painting, etc.
- Ps. cxlviii. 1–12.