The Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love
Ever experienced whispers of the unknown? Have chills raced through you when you knew something would happen before it occurred? In the backdrop of a harsh and cold Russian countryside, Father Paul searches to understand God and the parlous state of the world around him. Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Share your thoughts with other customers.
Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. One of my theological professors, Albert C. Outler, did the translation of Augustine's catechism or enchiridion on how to serve God through faith, hope, and love.
Augustine, was a 5th century North African theologian, who explored the ramifications of faith, hope, and love in order to be a faithful Christian. The Creed and the Lord's Prayer become a prism through which one explores the sub-topics of faith, hope, and love. Once the proper foundation has been laid, Augustine deals with lying, the problem of evil, the problems of knowledge, mankind after the Fall [Genesis 3], and concludes, with chapter 16, with the Mysteries of Christ's Mediatorial Work and Justification.
If the wise and caring pastor wants to introduce a group to theology, I recommend this book as a beginning, and then move to tackle Martin Luther's "Smaller Catchism," and follow that with John Calvin's "Instruction in Faith. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Excellent read for students of.
Augustine for students who seek a broad understanding of. That was an excellent shopping experience. One person found this helpful. Good translation and worth the read. This is a book with which I was unfamiliar. You just have to love it if you are a St.
- Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love;
- Handbook on Hope, Faith and Love: Saint Augustine: afeditamyb.tk: Books!
Good edition of this work by Augustine. This book cuts off before the halfway point of Augustine's original work! While the original has sections, this book cuts off after 55!!! The sections on faith, hope, and love aren't even in this volume! Get this version instead: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. The theological insight propounded by Augustine, in his "Enchiridion" Greeek for handbook ,remains unparrelled when contrasted with the concise nature of this work.
Augustine necessitated nearly all the creedal professions and beliefs of the Nicene Fathers with an uncanny brievity. As intended, then, for an educated Roman layman, the "Enchiridion," now, raises interest in those who come in contact with it today. The three-fold division of faith, hope and love, at times, seems a bit obscure and difficult to detect. In other words, I had some trouble identifying Augustine's thesis as a whole as the translators did also. However, this was mearly a work that was quickly thrown together Augustine makes this apparent at the opening ,and is to be highly respected for its in-depth learning.
I doubt that Augustine intened his "handbook" to become some sort of "magnum opus" Augustine also deals with grace, original sin, repentance, and predestination with a scholars lore. This work conveys an image of Augustine's thought in relation to the Orthodox beliefs of Christianity then and now, and continues to stand as not his greatest, but yet, one of his most unique works. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I needed the paperback edition for class and posted the review because it's not clear the two formats listed together are totally different translations. The paperback version was translated by J.
Shaw and has an introduction by Thomas Hibbs with an appendix written by Adolph von Harnack. The kindle version was translated by Albert C. For instance the paperback is written to Laurentius, but the kindle version is written to Lawrence. The Shaw translation is organized into chapters while the same material in Outler is organized into 33 chapters with the original sections indicated by numbers at the beginning of a paragraph so for example in Outler's translation Chapter XIII "Baptism and Original Sin" covers 41 through This edition is far superior to the paper back copy I had from 40 years ago!
This little "handbook" is so inspirational. Augustine wrote this book as a response to one Laurentius, who asked the saint to provide him with a handbook explaining what it meant to be a Christian. In order to achieve this task, Augustine chose the three theological virtues as a structure.
Let me begin by addressing the question: There are thousands of introductions to Christianity and to Catholicism out there, but this one was written by one of the most venerated figures in the tradition, and one of the most significant philosophers the Western world has seen. The title of the book, it must be said, is a bit misleading. In fact, only three deal with hope, and five are concerned with love.
Is the book, then, poorly structured or underdeveloped?
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In order to explore the concept of faith, Augustine analyzes the Apostles' Creed, and since this is the main verbal expression of the faith, it can be said that this first part suffices to answer Laurentius' initial question. The chapters on hope which revolve around the Lord's Prayer and those on love may be seen as additional material.
This is hardly the case. I give two reasons for this. First, no matter how much one has studied Christianity and read the Bible, it is always a good thing, I'd even say a necessary thing, to be constantly reminded of the truths of this faith. Here are some of the fascinating issues Augustine considers in his brief digressions: Did God know that man was going to sin in Eden?
Is it permissible to lie in order to bring about a good result, say, to save someone's life? How many sins were involved in Adam's first sin, and what were they?
CHURCH FATHERS: Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love (St. Augustine)
How will children who died in the womb or deformed human beings appear during the resurrection of the body? It is not of God that shows mercy, but of man that wills, because the mercy of God by itself does not suffice? Surely, if no Christian will dare to say this, It is not of God that shows mercy, but of man that wills, lest he should openly contradict the apostle, it follows that the true interpretation of the saying, It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy, is that the whole work belongs to God , who both makes the will of man righteous, and thus prepares it for assistance, and assists it when it is prepared.
For the man's righteousness of will precedes many of God's gifts, but not all; and it must itself be included among those which it does not precede. We read in Holy Scripture , both that God's mercy shall meet me, and that His mercy shall follow me. It goes before the unwilling to make him willing; it follows the willing to make his will effectual.
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Why are we taught to pray for our enemies, who are plainly unwilling to lead a holy life, unless that God may work willingness in them? And why are we ourselves taught to ask that we may receive, unless that He who has created in us the wish, may Himself satisfy the wish? We pray , then, for our enemies, that the mercy of God may prevent them, as it has prevented us: And so the human race was lying under a just condemnation, and all men were the children of wrath.
Of which wrath it is written: All our days are passed away in Your wrath ; we spend our years as a tale that is told. Of which wrath also Job says: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. Of which wrath also the Lord Jesus says: He that believes in the Son has everlasting life: He does not say it will come, but it abides on him. For every man is born with it; wherefore the apostle says: We were by nature the children of wrath , even as others.
Now, as men were lying under this wrath by reason of their original sin , and as this original sin was the more heavy and deadly in proportion to the number and magnitude of the actual sins which were added to it, there was need for a Mediator, that is, for a reconciler, who, by the offering of one sacrifice , of which all the sacrifices of the law and the prophets were types, should take away this wrath.
Wherefore the apostle says: For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Now when God is said to be angry , we do not attribute to Him such a disturbed feeling as exists in the mind of an angry man; but we call His just displeasure against sin by the name anger , a word transferred by analogy from human emotions.
But our being reconciled to God through a Mediator, and receiving the Holy Spirit , so that we who were enemies are made sons For as many as are led by the Spirit of God , they are the sons of God: Now of this Mediator it would occupy too much space to say anything at all worthy of Him; and, indeed, to say what is worthy of Him is not in the power of man.
For who will explain in consistent words this single statement, that the Word was made flesh , and dwelt among us, so that we may believe in the only Son of God the Father Almighty, born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary. The meaning of the Word being made flesh, is not that the divine nature was changed into flesh, but that the divine nature assumed our flesh. And by flesh we are here to understand man, the part being put for the whole, as when it is said: By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified, that is, no man.
For we must believe that no part was wanting in that human nature which He put on, save that it was a nature wholly free from every taint of sin — not such a nature as is conceived between the two sexes through carnal lust , which is born in sin , and whose guilt is washed away in regeneration; but such as it behooved a virgin to bring forth, when the mother's faith , not her lust , was the condition of conception.
And if her virginity had been marred even in bringing Him forth, He would not have been born of a virgin ; and it would be false which God forbid that He was born of the Virgin Mary , as is believed and declared by the whole Church , which, in imitation of His mother, daily brings forth members of His body, and yet remains a virgin. Read, if you please, my letter on the virginity of the holy Mary which I sent to that eminent man, whose name I mention with respect and affection, Volusianus. God , because the Word of God for the Word was God ; and man, because in His one person the Word was joined with a body and a rational soul.
For when He was the only Son of God , not by grace , but by nature, that He might be also full of grace , He became the Son of man ; and He Himself unites both natures in His own identity, and both natures constitute one Christ; because, being in the form of God , He thought it not robbery to be, what He was by nature, equal with God. But He made Himself of no reputation , and took upon Himself the form of a servant, not losing or lessening the form of God.
And, accordingly, He was both made less and remained equal, being both in one, as has been said: As Word, He is equal with the Father; as man, less than the Father. God without beginning; man with a beginning, our Lord Jesus Christ. Now here the grace of God is displayed with the greatest power and clearness. For what merit had the human nature in the man Christ earned, that it should in this unparalleled way be taken up into the unity of the person of the only Son of God? What goodness of will, what goodness of desire and intention, what good works, had gone before, which made this man worthy to become one person with God?
Had He been a man previously to this, and had He earned this unprecedented reward, that He should be thought worthy to become God? Assuredly nay; from the very moment that He began to be man, He was nothing else than the Son of God , the only Son of God , the Word who was made flesh, and therefore He was God so that just as each individual man unites in one person a body and a rational soul , so Christ in one person unites the Word and man.
Now wherefore was this unheard of glory conferred on human nature — a glory which, as there was no antecedent merit, was of course wholly of grace — except that here those who looked at the matter soberly and honestly might behold a clear manifestation of the power of God's free grace , and might understand that they are justified from their sins by the same grace which made the man Christ Jesus free from the possibility of sin?
And so the angel , when he announced to Christ's mother the coming birth, saluted her thus: Hail, you that are full of grace ; and shortly afterwards, You have found grace with God. Now she was said to be full of grace , and to have found grace with God , because she was to be the mother of her Lord, nay, of the Lord of all flesh.
But, speaking of Christ Himself, the evangelist John, after saying, The Word was made flesh , and dwelt among us, adds, and we beheld His glory , the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father , full of grace and truth. When he says, The Word was made flesh , this is full of grace ; when he says, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father , this is full of truth. For the Truth Himself, who was the only-begotten of the Father , not by grace , but by nature, by grace took our humanity upon Him, and so united it with His own person that He Himself became also the Son of man.
And we know that the Holy Spirit is the gift of God , the gift being Himself indeed equal to the Giver. The fact, therefore, that the nativity of Christ in His human nature was by the Holy Spirit , is another clear manifestation of grace. For when the Virgin asked the angel how this which he had announced should be, seeing she knew not a man , the angel answered, The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: And when Joseph was minded to put her away, suspecting her of adultery , as he knew she was not with child by himself, he was told by the angel , Fear not to take unto you Mary your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost: Who will dare to say so?
Nor is it necessary to show by reasoning how many other absurdities flow from this supposition, when it is itself so absurd that no believer's ears can bear to hear it. Is it that He made Him, since our Lord Jesus Christ , though as God all things were made by Him, yet as man was Himself made; as the apostle says, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh? But as that created thing which the Virgin conceived and brought forth though it was united only to the person of the Son , was made by the whole Trinity for the works of the Trinity are not separable , why should the Holy Spirit alone be mentioned as having made it?
Or is it that, when one of the Three is mentioned as the author of any work, the whole Trinity is to be understood as working? That is true , and can be proved by examples. But we need not dwell longer on this solution. For the puzzle is, in what sense it is said, born of the Holy Ghost , when He is in no sense the Son of the Holy Ghost? For though God made this world, it would not be right to say that it is the Son of God , or that it was born of God ; we would say that it was created, or made, or framed, or ordered by Him, or whatever form of expression we can properly use.
Here, then, when we make confession that Christ was born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary , it is difficult to explain how it is that He is not the Son of the Holy Ghost and is the Son of the Virgin Mary , when He was born both of Him and of her. It is clear beyond a doubt that He was not born of the Holy Spirit as His father, in the same sense that He was born of the Virgin as His mother.
We need not therefore take for granted, that whatever is born of a thing is immediately to be declared the son of that thing. For, to pass over the fact that a son is born of a man in a different sense from that in which a hair or a louse is born of him, neither of these being a son; to pass over this, I say, as too mean an illustration for a subject of so much importance: For what I have said of the hair and the other things is sufficient to show us that not everything which is born of another can be called the son of that of which it is born, just as it does not follow that all who are called a man's sons were born of him, for some sons are adopted.
And some men are called sons of hell , not as being born of hell , but as prepared for it, as the sons of the kingdom are prepared for the kingdom. And, therefore, as one thing may be born of another, and yet not in such a way as to be its son, and as not every one who is called a son was born of him whose son he is called, it is clear that this arrangement by which Christ was born of the Holy Spirit , but not as His son, and of the Virgin Mary as her son, is intended as a manifestation of the grace of God.
For it was by this grace that a man , without any antecedent merit, was at the very commencement of His existence as man, so united in one person with the Word of God , that the very person who was Son of man was at the same time Son of God , and the very person who was Son of God was at the same time Son of man ; and in the adoption of His human nature into the divine, the grace itself became in a way so natural to the man, as to leave no room for the entrance of sin. Wherefore this grace is signified by the Holy Spirit ; for He, though in His own nature God , may also be called the gift of God.
And to explain all this sufficiently, if indeed it could be done at all, would require a very lengthened discussion. Begotten and conceived, then, without any indulgence of carnal lust , and therefore bringing with Him no original sin , and by the grace of God joined and united in a wonderful and unspeakable way in one person with the Word, the Only-begotten of the Father , a son by nature, not by grace , and therefore having no sin of His own; nevertheless, on account of the likeness of sinful flesh in which He came, He was called sin , that He might be sacrificed to wash away sin.
For, under the Old Covenant, sacrifices for sin were called sins. And He, of whom all these sacrifices were types and shadows, was Himself truly made sin. Hence the apostle, after saying, We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God , immediately adds: He does not say, as some incorrect copies read, He who knew no sin did sin for us, as if Christ had Himself sinned for our sakes; but he says, Him who knew no sin , that is, Christ, God , to whom we are to be reconciled, has made to be sin for us, that is, has made Him a sacrifice for our sins , by which we might be reconciled to God.
He, then, being made sin , just as we are made righteousness our righteousness being not our own, but God's, not in ourselves, but in Him ; He being made sin , not His own, but ours, not in Himself, but in us, showed, by the likeness of sinful flesh in which He was crucified, that though sin was not in Him, yet that in a certain sense He died to sin , by dying in the flesh which was the likeness of sin ; and that although He Himself had never lived the old life of sin , yet by His resurrection He typified our new life springing up out of the old death in sin. And this is the meaning of the great sacrament of baptism which is solemnized among us, that all who attain to this grace should die to sin , as He is said to have died to sin , because He died in the flesh, which is the likeness of sin ; and rising from the font regenerate, as He arose alive from the grave, should begin a new life in the Spirit , whatever may be the age of the body?
For from the infant newly born to the old man bent with age, as there is none shut out from baptism , so there is none who in baptism does not die to sin. But infants die only to original sin ; those who are older die also to all the sins which their evil lives have added to the sin which they brought with them. But even these latter are frequently said to die to sin , though undoubtedly they die not to one sin , but to all the numerous actual sins they have committed in thought, word, or deed: And we read in our own Scriptures: Pray to the Lord, that He take away the serpent from us.
He does not say serpents though the people were suffering from many; and so in other cases. When, on the other hand, the original sin is expressed in the plural number, as when we say that infants are baptized for the remission of sins , instead of saying for the remission of sin , this is the converse figure of speech, by which the plural number is put in place of the singular; as in the Gospel it is said of the death of Herod , for they are dead which sought the young child's life, instead of saying, he is dead.
They have made them, Moses says, gods of gold, though they had made only one calf, of which they said: These be your gods, O Israel , which brought you up out of the land of Egypt , — here, too, putting the plural in place of the singular. However, even in that one sin , which by one man entered into the world, and so passed upon all men , and on account of which infants are baptized , a number of distinct sins may be observed, if it be analyzed as it were into its separate elements.
For there is in it pride , because man chose to be under his own dominion, rather than under the dominion of God ; and blasphemy , because he did not believe God ; and murder , for he brought death upon himself; and spiritual fornication, for the purity of the human soul was corrupted by the seducing blandishments of the serpent; and theft, for man turned to his own use the food he had been forbidden to touch; and avarice , for he had a craving for more than should have been sufficient for him; and whatever other sin can be discovered on careful reflection to be involved in this one admitted sin.
And it is said, with much appearance of probability, that infants are involved in the guilt of the sins not only of the first pair, but of their own immediate parents. For that divine judgment, I shall visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, certainly applies to them before they come under the new covenant by regeneration. And it was this new covenant that was prophesied of, when it was said by Ezekiel, that the sons should not bear the iniquity of the fathers, and that it should no longer be a proverb in Israel , The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.
Here lies the necessity that each man should be born again, that he might be freed from the sin in which he was born. For the sins committed afterwards can be cured by penitence, as we see is the case after baptism. And therefore the new birth would not have been appointed only that the first birth was sinful , so sinful that even one who was legitimately born in wedlock says: I was shapen in iniquities, and in sins did my mother conceive me. He did not say in iniquity , or in sin , though he might have said so correctly; but he preferred to say iniquities and sins , because in that one sin which passed upon all men , and which was so great that human nature was by it made subject to inevitable death, many sins , as I showed above, may be discriminated; and further, because there are other sins of the immediate parents , which though they have not the same effect in producing a change of nature, yet subject the children to guilt unless the divine grace and mercy interpose to rescue them.
But about the sins of the other progenitors who intervene between Adam and a man's own parents , a question may very well be raised. Whether every one who is born is involved in all their accumulated evil acts, in all their multiplied original guilt, so that the later he is born, so much the worse is his condition; or whether God threatens to visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations, because in His mercy He does not extend His wrath against the sins of the progenitors further than that, lest those who do not obtain the grace of regeneration might be crushed down under too heavy a burden if they were compelled to bear as original guilt all the sins of all their progenitors from the very beginning of the human race , and to pay the penalty due to them; or whether any other solution of this great question may or may not be found in Scripture by a more diligent search and a more careful interpretation, I dare not rashly affirm.
Nevertheless, that one sin , admitted into a place where such perfect happiness reigned, was of so heinous a character, that in one man the whole human race was originally, and as one may say, radically, condemned; and it cannot be pardoned and blotted out except through the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who only has had power to be so born as not to need a second birth.
Now, those who were baptized in the baptism of John, by whom Christ was Himself baptized , were not regenerated; but they were prepared through the ministry of His forerunner, who cried, Prepare the way of the Lord, for Him in whom only they could be regenerated. For His baptism is not with water only, as was that of John, but with the Holy Ghost also; so that whoever believes in Christ is regenerated by that Spirit, of whom Christ being generated, He did not need regeneration.
Whence that announcement of the Father which was heard after His baptism , This day have I begotten You, referred not to that one day of time on which He was baptized , but to the one day of an unchangeable eternity , so as to show that this man was one in person with the Only-begotten. For when a day neither begins with the close of yesterday, nor ends with the beginning of tomorrow, it is an eternal today. Therefore He asked to be baptized in water by John, not that any iniquity of His might be washed away, but that He might manifest the depth of His humility. For baptism found in Him nothing to wash away, as death found in Him nothing to punish; so that it was in the strictest justice , and not by the mere violence of power, that the devil was crushed and conquered: Both of these, then, that is, both baptism and death, were submitted to by Him, not through a pitiable necessity, but of His own free pity for us, and as part of an arrangement by which, as one man brought sin into the world, that is, upon the whole human race , so one man was to take away the sin of the world.
Hence the apostle says: And not as it was by one that sinned , so is the gift: For it is evident that the one sin which we bring with us by nature would, even if it stood alone, bring us under condemnation; but the free gift justifies man from many offenses: But what he says a little after, Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life, shows clearly enough that there is no one born of Adam but is subject to condemnation, and that no one, unless he be new born in Christ , is freed from condemnation.
And after he has said as much about the condemnation through one man, and the free gift through one man, as he deemed sufficient for that part of his epistle, the apostle goes on to speak of the great mystery of holy baptism in the cross of Christ , and to clearly explain to us that baptism in Christ is nothing else than a similitude of the death of Christ , and that the death of Christ on the cross is nothing but a similitude of the pardon of sin: What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin , that grace may abound?
For he had said previously, But where sin , abounded, grace did much more abound. And therefore he proposes to himself the question, whether it would be right to continue in sin for the sake of the consequent abounding grace. But he answers, God forbid; and adds, How shall we, that are dead to sin , live any longer therein?
Then, to show that we are dead to sin , Do you not know , he says, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ , were baptized into His death? If, then, the fact that we were baptized into the death of Christ proves that we are dead to sin , it follows that even infants who are baptized into Christ die to sin , being baptized into His death.
For there is no exception made: So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ , were baptized into His death. And this is said to prove that we are dead to sin. Now, to what sin do infants die in their regeneration but that sin which they bring with them at birth? And therefore to these also applies what follows: Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father , even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin , but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Now he had commenced with proving that we must not continue in sin that grace may abound, and had said: How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?
And to show that we are dead to sin , he added: Do you not know , that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ , were baptized into His death? And so he concludes this whole passage just as he began it. For he has brought in the death of Christ in such a way as to imply that Christ Himself also died to sin. To what sin did He die if not to the flesh, in which there was not sin , but the likeness of sin , and which was therefore called by the name of sin?
To those who are baptized into the death of Christ , then — and this class includes not adults only, but infants as well — he says: All the events, then, of Christ's crucifixion, of His burial, of His resurrection the third day, of His ascension into heaven, of His sitting down at the right hand of the Father , were so ordered, that the life which the Christian leads here might be modelled upon them, not merely in a mystical sense, but in reality.
For in reference to His crucifixion it is said: They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. And in reference to His burial: We are buried with Him by baptism into death. In reference to His resurrection: That, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father , even so we also should walk in newness of life. And in reference to His ascension into heaven and sitting down at the right hand of the Father: If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. But what we believe as to Christ's action in the future, when He shall come from heaven to judge the quick and the dead, has no bearing upon the life which we now lead here; for it forms no part of what He did upon earth, but is part of what He shall do at the end of the world. And it is to this that the apostle refers in what immediately follows the passage quoted above: When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory.
Now the expression, to judge the quick and the dead, may be interpreted in two ways: Now the judgment of God is sometimes taken in a bad sense, as, for example, They that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment; sometimes in a good sense, as, Save me, O God , by Your name, and judge me by Your strength. This is easily understood when we consider that it is the judgment of God which separates the good from the evil , and sets the good at His right hand, that they may be delivered from evil , and not destroyed with the wicked ; and it is for this reason that the Psalmist cried, Judge me, O God , and then added, as if in explanation, and distinguish my cause from that of an ungodly nation.
And now, having spoken of Jesus Christ , the only Son of God , our Lord, with the brevity suitable to a confession of our faith , we go on to say that we believe also in the Holy Ghost — thus completing the Trinity which constitutes the Godhead. Then we mention the Holy Church. And thus we are made to understand that the intelligent creation, which constitutes the free Jerusalem, ought to be subordinate in the order of speech to the Creator, the Supreme Trinity: Therefore the true order of the Creed demanded that the Church should be made subordinate to the Trinity, as the house to Him who dwells in it, the temple to God who occupies it, and the city to its builder.
And we are here to understand the whole Church , not that part of it only which wanders as a stranger on the earth, praising the name of God from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, and singing a new song of deliverance from its old captivity; but that part also which has always from its creation remained steadfast to God in heaven, and has never experienced the misery consequent upon a fall.
This part is made up of the holy angels , who enjoy uninterrupted happiness ; and as it is bound to do it renders assistance to the part which is still wandering among strangers: Wherefore, neither the whole Church , nor any part of it, has any desire to be worshipped instead of God , nor to be God to any one who belongs to the temple of God — that temple which is built up of the saints who were created by the uncreated God.
And therefore the Holy Spirit , if a creature, could not be the Creator, but would be a part of the intelligent creation. He would simply be the highest creature, and therefore would not be mentioned in the Creed before the Church ; for He Himself would belong to the Church , to that part of it which is in the heavens. And He would not have a temple, for He Himself would be part of a temple. Now He has a temple, of which the apostle says: Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost , which is in you, which you have of God?
Of which body he says in another place: Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? How, then, is He not God , seeing that He has a temple? And how can He be less than Christ, whose members are His temple? Nor has He one temple, and God another, seeing that the same apostle says: Do you not know that you are the temple of God? God , then, dwells in His temple: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The temple of God , then, that is, of the Supreme Trinity as a whole, is the Holy Church, embracing in its full extent both heaven and earth.
But of that part of the Church which is in heaven what can we say, except that no wicked one is found in it, and that no one has fallen from it, or shall ever fall from it, since the time that God spared not the angels that sinned , as the Apostle Peter writes, but cast them down to hell , and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment? Now, what the organization is of that supremely happy society in heaven: I am not even certain upon this point: Further, who will tell with what sort of bodies it was that the angels appeared to men , making themselves not only visible, but tangible; and again, how it is that, not through material bodies, but by spiritual power, they present visions not to the bodily eyes, but to the spiritual eyes of the mind , or speak something not into the ear from without, but from within the soul of the man, they themselves being stationed there too, as it is written in the prophet , And the angel that spoke in me said to me he does not say, that spoke to me, but that spoke in me ; or appear to men in sleep, and make communications through dreams, as we read in the Gospel , Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream , saying?
For these methods of communication seem to imply that the angels have not tangible bodies, and make it a very difficult question to solve how the patriarchs washed their feet, and how it was that Jacob wrestled with the angel in a way so unmistakeably material. To ask questions like these, and to make such guesses as we can at the answers, is a useful exercise for the intellect , if the discussion be kept within proper bounds, and if we avoid the error of supposing ourselves to know what we do not know. For what is the necessity for affirming, or denying, or defining with accuracy on these subjects, and others like them, when we may without blame be entirely ignorant of them?
It is more necessary to use all our powers of discrimination and judgment when Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, lest by his wiles he should lead us astray into hurtful courses. For, while he only deceives the bodily senses, and does not pervert the mind from that true and sound judgment which enables a man to lead a life of faith , there is no danger to religion; or if, feigning himself to be good, he does or says the things that befit good angels , and we believe him to be good, the error is not one that is hurtful or dangerous to Christian faith.
But when, through these means, which are alien to his nature, he goes on to lead us into courses of his own, then great watchfulness is necessary to detect, and refuse to follow, him. But how many men are fit to evade all his deadly wiles, unless God restrains and watches over them? The very difficulty of the matter, however, is useful in this respect, that it prevents men from trusting in themselves or in one another, and leads all to place their confidence in God alone. And certainly no pious man can doubt that this is most expedient for us. This part of the Church , then, which is made up of the holy angels and the hosts of God , shall become known to us in its true nature, when, at the end of the world, we shall be united with it in the common possession of everlasting happiness.
But the other part, which, separated from it, wanders as a stranger on the earth, is better known to us, both because we belong to it, and because it is composed of men , and we too are men. This section of the Church has been redeemed from all sin by the blood of a Mediator who had no sin , and its song is: If God be for us, who can be against us?
He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.
Now it was not for the angels that Christ died. Yet what was done for the redemption of man through His death was in a sense done for the angels , because the enmity which sin had put between men and the holy angels is removed, and friendship is restored between them, and by the redemption of man the gaps which the great apostasy left in the angelic host are filled up.
And, of course, the holy angels , taught by God , in the eternal contemplation of whose truth their happiness consists, know how great a number of the human race are to supplement their ranks, and fill up the full tale of their citizenship. Wherefore the apostle says, that all things are gathered together in one in Christ , both which are in heaven and which are on earth.
The things which are in heaven are gathered together when what was lost therefrom in the fall of the angels is restored from among men ; and the things which are on earth are gathered together, when those who are predestined to eternal life are redeemed from their old corruption. And thus, through that single sacrifice in which the Mediator was offered up, the one sacrifice of which the many victims under the law were types, heavenly things are brought into peace with earthly things, and earthly things with heavenly.
Wherefore, as the same apostle says: For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell: This peace, as Scripture says, passes all understanding, and cannot be known by us until we have come into the full possession of it. For in what sense are heavenly things reconciled, except they be reconciled to us, viz.