Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume I/Confessions/Book X/Chapter 32
Chapter XXXII.—Of the Charms of Perfumes Which are More Easily Overcome.
48. With the attractions of odours I am not much troubled. When absent I do not seek them; when present I do not refuse them; and am prepared ever to be without them. At any rate thus I appear to myself; perchance I am deceived. For that also is a lamentable darkness wherein my capacity that is in me is concealed, so that my mind, making inquiry into herself concerning her own powers, ventures not readily to credit herself; because that which is already in it is, for the most part, concealed, unless experience reveal it. And no man ought to feel secure in this life, the whole of which is called a temptation, that he, who could be made better from worse, may not also from better be made worse. Our sole hope, our sole confidence, our sole assured promise, is Thy mercy.
- “For some,” says Thomas Taylor (Works, vol. I. “Christ’s Temptation,” p. 11), “through vain prefidence of God’s protection, run in times of contagion into infected houses, which upon just calling a man may: but for one to run out of his calling in the way of an ordinary visitation, he shall find that God’s angels have commission to protect him no longer than he is in his way (Ps. xci. 11), and that being out of it, this arrow of the Lord shall sooner hit him than another that is not half so confident.” We should not, as Fuller quaintly says, “hollo in the ears of a sleeping temptation;” and when we are tempted, let us remember that if (Hibbert, Syntagma Theologicum, p. 342) “a giant knock while the door is shut, he may with ease be still kept out; but if once open, that he gets in but a limb of himself, then there is no course left to keep out the remaining bulk.” See also Augustin on Peter’s case, De Corrept. et Grat. c. 9.
- Job vii. 1, Old Vers. See p. 153, note 1.