Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume I/Confessions/Book XIII/Chapter 34
Chapter XXXIV.—He Briefly Repeats the Allegorical Interpretation of Genesis (Ch. I.), and Confesses that We See It by the Divine Spirit.
49. We have also examined what Thou willedst to be shadowed forth, whether by the creation, or the description of things in such an order. And we have seen that things severally are good, and all things very good, in Thy Word, in Thine Only-Begotten, both heaven and earth, the Head and the body of the Church, in Thy predestination before all times, without morning and evening. But when Thou didst begin to execute in time the things predestinated, that Thou mightest make manifest things hidden, and adjust our disorders (for our sins were over us, and we had sunk into profound darkness away from thee, and Thy good Spirit was borne over us to help us in due season), Thou didst both justify the ungodly, and didst divide them from the wicked; and madest firm the authority of Thy Book between those above, who would be docile unto Thee, and those under, who would be subject unto them; and Thou didst collect the society of unbelievers into one conspiracy, in order that the zeal of the faithful might appear, and that they might bring forth works of mercy unto Thee, even distributing unto the poor earthly riches, to obtain heavenly. And after this didst Thou kindle certain lights in the firmament, Thy holy ones, having the word of life, and shining with an eminent authority preferred by spiritual gifts; and then again, for the instruction of the unbelieving Gentiles, didst Thou out of corporeal matter produce the sacraments and visible miracles, and sounds of words according to the firmament of Thy Book, by which the faithful should be blessed. Next didst Thou form the living soul of the faithful, through affections ordered by the vigour of continency; and afterwards, the mind subjected to Thee alone, and needing to imitate no human authority, Thou didst renew after Thine image and likeness; and didst subject its rational action to the excellency of the understanding, as the woman to the man; and to all Thy ministries, necessary for the perfecting of the faithful in this life, Thou didst will that, for their temporal uses, good things, fruitful in the future time, should be given by the same faithful. We behold all these things, and they are very good, because Thou dost see them in us,—Thou who hast given unto us Thy Spirit, whereby we might see them, and in them love Thee.
- Gen. i. 31.
- Rom. iv. 5.
- See p. 165, note 2, above.
- “The peace of heaven,” says Augustin in his De Civ. Dei, xix. 17, “alone can be truly called and esteemed the peace of the reasonable creatures, consisting as it does in the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God. When we shall have reached that peace, this mortal life shall give place to one that is eternal, and our body shall be no more this animal body which by its corruption weighs down the soul, but a spiritual body feeling no want, and in all its members subjected to the will.” See p. 111, note 8 (end), above.