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AUGUSTINE 90

faith must close its eyes to the proofs of the divine testimony, under the penalty of its becoming science! — Or if one had spoken to him of faith in authority giving its assent, without examining any motive which might prove the value of the testimony! — It surely cannot be possible for the human mind to accept testimony without known motives for such acceptance, or, again, for any testimony, even when learnedly si'fted out, to give the science — the inward view — of the object.

(4) Controversies ivith Heretics. — (a) Agamst the Manichteans; "De Moribus Ecclesia Catholicte et de Moribus Manicha>orum " (at Rome, 368); "De Duabus Animabus" (before 392); "Acts of the Dispute with Fortunatus the Manichsean" (392); "Acts of the Conference with Felix" (404); "De Libero Arbitrio" — very important on the origin of evil; various writings "Contra Adimantum"; against the Epistle of Mani (the foundation); against Faust us (about 400); against Secundinus (405), etc. (b) Against the Donatists: "Psalmus contra partem Donati" (about 395), a purely rhythmic song for popular use (the oldest example of its kind); "Con- tra epistolam Parmeniani" (400); "De Baptismo contra Donatistas" (about 400), one of the most important pieces in this controversy; "Contra litteras Parmeniani", "Contra Cresconium", etc. — a good number of letters, also, relate to this debate, (c) Against the Pelagians, in chronological order, we have: 412, "De peccatorum meritis et remissione" (On merit and forgiveness); same year, "De spiritu et littera" (On the spirit and the letter); 415, "De Perfectione justitiije hominis" — important for understanding Pelagian impeccability; 417, "De Gestis Pelagii" — a history of the Council of Diospolis, whose acts it reproduces; 418, "De Gratisi Christi et de peccato originali"; 419, "De nuptiis et concupiscentia"; and other writings (420-428); "Against Julian of Eclanum" — the last of this series, interrupted by the death of the saint, (d) Against the Semipelagians: "De correptione et gratia" (427); "De prffidestinat lone Sanctorum" (428); "DeDono Perseverantiee " (429). — (e) Against Arianism: "Con- tra sermonem Arianorum" (418) and "Collatio cum Maximino Arianorum episcopo" (the celebrated con- ference of Hippo in 428).

(5) Scriptural Exegesis. — Augustine in the "De Doctrind Christiana" (begun in 397 and ended in 426) gives us a genuine treatise of exegesis, historically the first (for St. Jerome wrote rather as a contro- versialist). Several times he attempted a commen- tary on Genesis. The great work "De Genesi ad litteram" was composed from 401 to 415. The " Enarrationes in Psalmos" are a masterpiece of popular eloquence, with a swing and a warmth to them which are inimitable. On the New Testament: the "De Sermone Dei in Monte (during his priestly ministry) is especially noteworthy; "De Consensu Evangelist arum (Harmony of the Gospels — 400); "Homilies on St. John" (416), generally classed among the chief works of Augustine; the "Exposi- tion of the Epistle to the Galatians" (324), etc. The most remarkable of his Biblical works illustrate either a theory of exegesis (one generally approved) which delights in finding mystical or allegorical interpretations, or the style of preaching which is founded on that view. His strictly exegetical work is far from equalling in scientific value that of St. Jerome. His knowledge of the Biblical languages was insufficient: he read Greek with difficulty; as for Hebrew, all that we can gather from the recent studies of Schanz and Rottmanner is that he was familiar with Punic, a lang\iage allied to Hebrew. Moreover, the two grand qualities of his genius — ardent feeling and prodigious subtlety — carried him away into interpretations that were violent or more ingenious than solid.


AUGUSTINE

But the herraeneutics of Augustine merit great praise, especially for their insistence upon the stern law of extreme prudence in determining the meaning of Scripture: IT'e must be on our guard against giving interpretations u'hich are hazardous or opposed to science, and so exposing the word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers (De Genesi ad litteram, I, xix, xxi, especially n. 39). An admirable application of this well-ordered liberty appears in liis thesis on the simultaneous creation of the universe, and thei gradual development of the world iinder the action, of the natural forces which were placed in it. Cer-' tainly the instantaneous act of the Creator did not produce an organized universe as we see it now. But, in the beginning, God created all the elements of the world in a confused and nebulous mass (the word is Augustine's — Nebulosa species apparet; " De Genesi ad lift.", I, n. 27), and in this mass were the mysterious germs (rationes seminales) of the future beings which were to develop themsehes, when favourable circumstances should permit. Is Augustine, therefore, an Evolutionist? — If we mean that he had a deeper and wider mental grasp than other thinkers had of the forces of nature and the plasticity of beings, it is an incontestable fact; and from tliis point of view Father Zahm (Biljle, Science, and Faith, pp. 58-66, French tr.) properly felicitates him on having been the precursor of modern thought. But if we mean that he admitted in matter a power of differentiation and of gradual transformation, passing from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous, the most formal texts force us to recognize that Augustine proclaimed the fixity of species, and did not admit that "from one identical primitive principle, or from one germ, different realities can issue". This judgment of the Abb6 Martin in his very searching study on this subject (S. Augustin, p. 314) must correct the conclusion of Father Zahm. "The elements of this corporeal world have also their well defined force, and their proper quality, from which depends what each one of them can or carmot do, and what reality ought or ought not to issue from each one of them. Hence it is that from a grain of wheat a bean cannot issue, nor wheat from a bean, nor a man from a beast, nor a beast from a man " (De Genesi ad lift., IX, n. 32).

(6) Dogmatic and Moral Exposition. — (a) The fifteen books "De Trinitate", on which he worked for fifteen years, from 400 to 416, arc the most elaborate and profound work of St. Augustine. The last books on the analogies which the mystery of the Trinity have with our soul are much discussed. The saintly author liimself declares that they are only analogous and are far-fetched and very obscure.

(b) The "Enchiridion", or handbook, on Faith, Hope, and Love, composed, in 421, at the request of a pious Roman, Laurent ius, is an admirable synthesis of Augustine's theology, reduced to the three theological virtues. Father Faure has given us a learned commentary of it, and Harnack a de- tailed analysis (Hist, of dogmas, III, 205, 221).

(c) Several volumes of miscellaneous questions, among which "Ad Simplicianum " (397) has been especially noted, (d) Numberless writings of his have a practical aim: two on "Lying" (374 and 420), five on "Continence", "Marriage", and "Holy Widowhood", one on "Patience", another on "Prayer for the Dead" (421).

(7) Pastorals and Preaching. — The theory of preaching and religious instruction of the people is given in the "De Catechizandis Rudibus" (400) and in the fourth book "De Doctrinil Christiana". The oratorical work alone is of vast extent. Besides the Scriptural homilies, the Benedictines have col- lected 363 sermons which are certainly authentic; the brevity of these suggests that they are stenO' graphic, often revised by Augustine himself. If