Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume I/Confessions/Book X/Chapter 18
Chapter XVIII.—A Thing When Lost Could Not Be Found Unless It Were Retained in the Memory.
27. For the woman who lost her drachma, and searched for it with a lamp, unless she had remembered it, would never have found it. For when it was found, whence could she know whether it were the same, had she not remembered it? I remember to have lost and found many things; and this I know thereby, that when I was searching for any of them, and was asked, “Is this it?” “Is that it?” I answered “No,” until such time as that which I sought were offered to me. Which had I not remembered,—whatever it were,—though it were offered me, yet would I not find it, because I could not recognise it. And thus it is always, when we search for and find anything that is lost. Notwithstanding, if anything be by accident lost from the sight, not from the memory,—as any visible body,—the image of it is retained within, and is searched for until it be restored to sight; and when it is found, it is recognised by the image which is within. Nor do we say that we have found what we had lost unless we recognise it; nor can we recognise it unless we remember it. But this, though lost to the sight, was retained in the memory.
- Luke xv. 8.