Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume I/Confessions/Book XIII/Chapter 10

Chapter X.—That Nothing Arose Save by the Gift of God.

11. Happy creature, which, though in itself it was other than Thou, hath known no other state than that as soon as it was made, it was, without any interval of time, by Thy Gift, which is borne over everything mutable, raised up by that calling whereby Thou saidst, “Let there be light, and there was light.” Whereas in us there is a difference of times, in that we were darkness, and are made light;[1] but of that it is only said what it would have been had it not been enlightened. And this is so spoken as if it had been fleeting and darksome before; that so the cause whereby it was made to be otherwise might appear,—that is to say, being turned to the unfailing Light it might become light. Let him who is able understand this; and let him who is not,[2] ask of Thee. Why should he trouble me, as if I could enlighten any “man that cometh into the world?”[3]


  1. Eph. v. 8.
  2. Et qui non potest, which words, however, some mss. omit, reading, Qui potest intelligat; a te petat.
  3. John i. 9; see p. 76, note 2, and p. 181, note 2, above.