Augustin - Trinity 1538

Chapter 20.—Against Eunomius, Saying that the Son of God is the Son, Not of His Nature, But of His Will. Epilogue to What Has Been Said Already.

1538 38. Wherefore the logic of Eunomius, from whom the Eunomian heretics sprang, is ridiculous. For when he could not understand, and would not believe, that the only-begotten Word of God, by which all things were made is the Son of God by nature,—i.e. born of the substance of the Father,—he alleged that He was not the Son of His own nature or substance or essence, but the Son of the will of God; so as to mean to assert that the will by which he begot the Son was something accidental [and optional] to God,—to wit, in that way that we ourselves sometimes will something which before we did not will, as though it was not for these very things that our nature is perceived to be changeable,—a thing which far be it from us to believe of God. For it is written, “Many are the thoughts in the heart of man, but the counsel of the Lord abideth for ever,”101 for no other reason except that we may understand or believe that as God is eternal, so is His counsel for eternity, and therefore unchangeable, as He himself is. And what is said of thoughts can most truly be said also of the will: there are many wills in the heart of man, but the will of the Lord abideth for ever. Some, again, to escape saying that the only-begotten Word is the Son of the counsel or will of God, have affirmed the same Word to be the counsel or will itself of the Father. But it is better in my judgment to say counsel of counsel, and will of will, as substance of substance, wisdom of wisdom, that we may not be led into that absurdity, which we have refuted already, and say that the Son makes the Father wise or willing, if the Father has not in His own substance either counsel or will. It was certainly a sharp answer that somebody gave to the heretic, who most subtly asked him whether God begat the Son willingly or unwillingly, in order that if he said unwillingly, it would follow most absurdly that God was miserable; but if willingly, he would forthwith infer, as though by an invincible reason, that at which he was aiming, viz. that He was the Son, not of His nature, but of His will. But that other, with great wakefulness, demanded of him in turn, whether God the Father was God willingly or unwillingly; in order that if he answered unwillingly, that misery would follow, which to believe of God is sheer madness; and if he said willingly, it would be replied to him, Then He is God too by His own will, not by His nature. What remained, then, except that he should hold his peace, and discern that he was himself bound by his own question in an insoluble bond? But if any person in the Trinity is also to be specially called the will of God, this name, like love, is better suited to the Holy Spirit; for what else is love, except will?

1539 39. I see that my argument in this book respecting the Holy Spirit, according to the Holy Scripture, is quite enough for faithful men who know already that the Holy Spirit is God, and not of another substance, nor less than the Father and the Son,—as we have shown to be true in the former books, according to the same Scriptures. We have reasoned also from the creature which God made, and, as far as we could, have warned those who demand a reason on such subjects to behold and understand His invisible things, so far as they could, by those things which are made102 and especially by the rational or intellectual creature which is made after the image of God; through which glass, so to say, they might discern as far as they could, if they could, the Trinity which is God, in our own memory, understanding, will. Which three things, if any one intelligently regards as by nature divinely appointed in his own mind, and remembers by memory, contemplates by understanding, embraces by love, how great a thing that is in the mind, whereby even the eternal and unchangeable nature can be recollected, beheld, desired, doubtless that man finds an image of that highest Trinity. And he Ought to refer the whole of his life to the remembering, seeing, loving that highest Trinity, in order that he may recollect, contemplate, be delighted by it. But I have warned him, so far as seemed sufficient, that he must not so compare this image thus wrought by that Trinity, and by his own fault changed for the worse, to that same Trinity as to think it in all points like to it, but rather that he should discern in that likeness, of whatever sort it be, a great unlikeness also.

Chapter 21.—Of the Likeness of the Father and of the Son Alleged to Be in Our Memory and Understanding. Of the Likeness of the Holy Spirit in Our Will or Love.

1540 40. I have undoubtedly taken pains so far as I could, not indeed so that the thing might be seen face to face, but that it might be seen by this likeness in an enigma,103 in how small a degree soever, by conjecture, in our memory and understanding, to intimate God the Father and God the Son: i.e. God the begetter, who has in some way spoken by His own co-eternal Word all things that He has in His substance; and God His Word Himself, who Himself has nothing either more or less in substance than is in Him, who, not lyingly but truly, hath begotten the Word; and I have assigned to memory everything that we know, even if we were not thinking of it, but to understanding the formation after a certain special mode of the thought. For we are usually said to understand what, by thinking of it, we have found to be true; and this it is again that we leave in the memory. But that is a still more hidden depth of our memory, wherein we found this also first when we thought of it, and wherein an inner word is begotten such as belongs to no tongue, — as it were, knowledge of knowledge, vision of vision, and understanding which appears in [reflective] thought; of understanding which had indeed existed before in the memory, but was latent there, although, unless the thought itself had also some sort of memory of its own, it would not return to those things which it had left in the memory while it turned to think of other things.

1541 41. But I have shown nothing in this enigma respecting the Holy Spirit such asmight appear to be like Him, except our own will, or love, or affection, which is a stronger will, since our will which we have naturally is variously affected, according as various objects are adjacent or occur to it, by which we are attracted or offended. What, then, is this? Are we to say that our will, when it is right, knows not what to desire, what to avoid? Further, if it knows, doubtless then it has a kind of knowledge of its own, such as cannot be without memory and understanding. Or are we to listen to any one who should say that love knows not what it does, which does not do wrongly? As, then, there are both understanding and love in that primary memory wherein we find provided and stored up that to which we can come in thought, because we find also those two things there, when we find by thinking that we both understand and love anything; which things were there too when we were not thinking of them: and as there are memory and love in that understanding, which is formed by thought, which true word we say inwardly without the tongue of any nation when we say what we know; for the gaze of our thought does not return to anything except by remembering it, and does not care to return unless by loving it: so love, which combines the vision brought about in the memory, and the vision of the thought formed thereby, as if parent and offspring, would not know what to love rightly unless it had a knowledge of what it desired, which it cannot have without memory and understanding.

Chapter 22.—How Great the Unlikeness is Between the Image of the Trinity Which We Have Found in Ourselves, and the Trinity Itself.

1542 42. But since these are in one person, as man is, some one may say to us, These three things, memory, understanding, and love, are mine, not their own; neither do they do that which they do for themselves, but for me, or rather I do it by them. For it is I who re member by memory, and understand by understanding, and love by love: and when I direct the mind’s eye to my memory, and so say in my heart the thing I know, and a true word is begotten of my knowledge, both aremine, both the knowledge certainly and the word. For it is I who know, and it is I who say in my heart the thing I know. And when I come to find in my memory by thinking that I understand and love anything, which understanding and love were there also before I thought thereon, it is my own understanding and my own love that I find in my own memory, whereby it is I that understand, and I that love, not those things themselves. Likewise, when my thought is mindful, and wills to return to those things which it had left in the memory, and to understand and behold them, and say them inwardly, it is my own memory that is mindful, and it is my own, not its will, wherewith it wills. When my very love itself, too, remembers and understands what it ought to desire and what to avoid, it remembers by my, not by its own memory; and understands that which it intelligently loves by my, not by its own, understanding. In brief, by all these three things, it is I that remember, I that understand, I that love, who am neither memory, nor understanding, nor love, but who have them. These things, then, can be said by a single person, which has these three, but is not these three. But in the simplicity of that Highest Nature, which is God, although there is one God, there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Chapter 23.—Augustin Dwells Still Further on the Disparity Between the Trinity Which is in Man, and the Trinity Which is God.

The Trinity is Now Seen Through a Glass by the Help of Faith, that It May Hereafter Be More Clearly Seen in the Promised Sight Face to Face.
1543 43. A thing itself, then, which is a trinity is different from the image of a trinity in some other thing; by reason of which image, at the same time that also in which these three things are is called an image; just as both the panel, and the picture painted on it, are at the same time called an image; but by reason of the picture painted on it, the panel also is called by the name of image. But in that Highest Trinity, which is incomparably above all things, there is so great an indivisibility, that whereas a trinity of men cannot be called one man, in that, there both is said to be and is one God, nor is that Trinity in one God, but it is one God. Nor, again, as that image in the case of man has these three things but is one person, so is it with the Trinity; but therein are three persons, the Father of the Son, and the Son of the Father, and the Spirit of both Father and Son. For although the memory in the case of man, and especially that memory which beasts have not—viz. the memory by which things intelligible are so contained as that they have not entered that memory through the bodily senses104 —has in this image of the Trinity, in proportion to its own small measure, a likeness of the Father, incomparably unequal, yet of some sort, whatever it be: and likewise the understanding in the case of man, which by the purpose of the thought is formed thereby, when that which is known is said, and there is a word of the heart belonging to no tongue, has in its own great disparity some likeness of the Son; and love in the case of man proceeding from knowledge, and combining memory and understanding, as though common to parent and offspring, whereby it is understood to be neither parent nor offspring, has in that image, some, however exceedingly unequal, likeness of the Holy Spirit: it is nevertheless not the case, that, as in that image of the Trinity, these three are not one man, but belong to one man, so in the Highest Trinity itself, of which this is an image, these three belong to one God, but they are one God, and these are three persons, not one. A thing certainly wonderfully ineffable, or ineffably wonderful, that while this image of the Trinity is one person, but the Highest Trinity itself is three persons, yet that Trinity of three persons is more indivisible than this of one. For that [Trinity], in the nature of the Divinity, or perhaps better Deity, is that which it is, and is mutually and always unchangeably equal: andthere was no time when it was not, or when it was otherwise; and there will be no time when it will not be, or when it will be otherwise. But these three that are in the inadequate image, although they are not separate in place, for they are not bodies, yet are now in this life mutually separate in magnitude. For that there are therein no several bulks, does not hinder our seeing that memory is greater than understanding in one man, but the contrary in another; and that in yet another these two are overpassed by the greatness of love; and this whether the two themselves are or are not equal to one another. And so each two by each one, and each one by each two, and each one by each one: the less are surpassed by the greater. And when they have been healed of all infirmity, and are mutually equal, not even then will that thing which by grace will not be changed, be made equal to that which by nature cannot change, because the creature cannot be equalled to the Creator, and when it shall be healed from all infirmity, will be changed.

1544 44. But when the sight shall have come which is promised anew to us face to face, we shall see this not only incorporeal but also absolutely indivisible and truly unchangeable Trinity far more clearly and certainly than we now see its image which we ourselves are: and yet they who see through this glass and in this enigma, as it is permitted in this life to see, are not those who behold in their own mind the things which we have set in order and pressed upon them; but those who see this as if an image, so as to be able to refer what they see, in some way be it what it may, to Him whose image it is, and to see that also by conjecturing, which they see through the image by beholding, since they cannot yet see face to face. For the apostle does not say, We see now a glass, but, We see now through a glass.105

Chapter 24.—The Infirmity of the Human Mind.

They, then, who see their own mind, in whatever way that is possible, and in it that Trinity of which I have treated as I could in many ways, and yet do not believe or understand it to be an image of God, see indeed a glass, but do not so far see through the glass Him who is now to be seen through the glass, that they do not even know the glass itself which they see to be a glass, i.e. an image. And if they knew this, perhaps they would feel that He too whose glass this is, should by it be sought, and somehow provisionally be seen, an unfeigned faith purging their hearts,106 that He who is now seen through a glass may be able to be seen face to face. And if they despise this faith that purifies the heart, what do they accomplish by understanding the most subtle disputes concerning the nature of the human mind, unless that they be condemned also by the witness of their own understanding? And they would certainly not so fail in understanding, and hardly arrive at anything certain, were they not involved in penal darkness, and burdened. with the corruptible body that presses downthe soul.107 And for what demerit save that. of sin is this evil inflicted on them? Where-fore, being warned by the magnitude of so great an evil, they ought to follow the Lamb. that taketh away the sins of the world.108

Chapter 25.—The Question Why the Holy Spirit is Not Begotten, and How He Proceeds from the Father and the Son, Will Only Be Understood When We are in Bliss.

For if any belong to Him, although far duller in intellect than those, yet when they are freed from the body at the end of this life, the envious powers have no right to holdthem. For that Lamb that was slain by them without any debt of sin has conquered them; but not by the might of power before He had done so by the righteousness of blood. And free accordingly from the power of the devil, they are borne up by holy angels, being set free from all evils by the mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus.109 Since by the harmonious testimony of the Divine Scriptures, both Old and New, both those by which Christ was foretold, and those by which He was announced, there is no other name under heaven whereby men must be saved.110 And when purged from all contagion of corruption, they are placed in peaceful abodes until they take their bodies again, their own, but now incorruptible, to adorn, not to burden them. For this is the will of the best and most wise Creator, that the spirit of a man, when piously subject to God, should have a body happily subject, and that this happinessshould last for ever.

1545 45. There we shall see the truth without any difficulty, and shall enjoy it to the full, most clear and most certain. Nor shall we be inquiring into anything by a mind that reasons, but shall discern by a mind that contemplates, why the Holy Spirit is not a Son, although He proceeds from the Father. In that light there will be no place for inquiry: but here, by experience itself it has appeared to me so difficult,—as beyond doubt it will likewise appear to them also who shall carefully and intelligently read what I have written,—that although in the second book111 I promised that I would speak thereof in another place, yet as often as I have desired to illustrate it by the creaturely image of it which we ourselves are, so often, let my meaning be of what sort it might, did adequate utterance entirely fail me; nay, even in my very meaning I felt that I had attained to endeavor rather than accomplishment. I had indeed found in one person, such as is a man, an image of that Highest Trinity, and had desired, especially in the ninth book, to illustrate and render more intelligible the relation of the Three Persons by that which is subject to time and change. But three things belonging to one person cannot suit those Three Persons, as man’s purpose demands; and this we have demonstrated in this fifteenth book.

Chapter 26.—The Holy Spirit Twice Given by Christ. The Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son is Apart from Time, Nor Can He Be Called the Son of Both.

Further, in that Highest Trinity which is God, there are no intervals of time, by which it could be shown, or at least inquired, whether the Son was born of the Father first and then afterwards the Holy Spirit proceeded from both; since Holy Scripture calls Him the Spirit of both. For it is He of whom the apostle says, “But because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts:”112 and it is He of whom the same Son says, “For it is not ye who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaketh in you.”113 And it is proved by many other testimonies of the Divine Word, that the Spirit, who is specially called in the Trinity the Holy Spirit, is of the Father and of the Son: of whom likewise the Son Himself says, “Whom I will send unto you from the Father;”114 and in another place, “Whom the Father will send in my name.”115 And we are so taught that He proceeds from both, because the Son Himself says, He proceeds from the Father. And when He had risen from the dead, and had appeared to His disciples, “He breathed upon them, and said, Receive the Holy Ghost,”116 so as to show that He proceeded also from Himself. And Itself is that very “power that went out from Him,” as we read in the Gospel, “and healed them all.”117

1546 46. But the reason why, after His resurrection, He both gave the Holy Spirit, first on earth,118 and afterwards sent Him from heaven,119 is in my judgment this: that “love is shed abroad in our hearts,”120 by that Gift itself,whereby we love God and our neighbors, according to those two commandments,”onwhich hang all the law and the prophets.”121 And Jesus Christ, in order to signify this,gave to them the Holy Spirit, once upon earth, on account of the love of our neighbor, and a second time from heaven, on account of the love of God. And if some other reason may perhaps be given for this double gift of the Holy Spirit, at any rate we ought not to doubt that the same Holy Spirit was given when Jesus breathed upon them, of whom He by and by says, “Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” where this Trinity is especially commended to us. It is therefore He who was also given from heaven on the day of Pentecost, i.e. ten days after the Lord ascended into heaven. How, therefore, is He not God, who gives the Holy Spirit? Nay, how great a God is He who gives God! For no one of His disciples gave the HolySpirit, since they prayed that He might come upon those upon whom they laid their hands: they did not give Him themselves. And the Church preserves this custom even now in the case of her rulers. Lastly, Simon Magus also, when he offered the apostles money, does not say, “Give me also this power, that I may give” the Holy Spirit; but, “that on whomsoever I may lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.” Because neither had the Scriptures said before, And Simon, seeing that the apostles gave the Holy Spirit; but it had said,” And Simon, seeing that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands.”122 Therefore also the Lord Jesus Christ Himself not only gave the Holy Spirit as God, but also received it as man, and therefore He is said to be full of grace,123 and of the Holy Spirit.124 And in the Ac of the Apostles it is more plainly written of Him, “Because God anointed Him With the Holy Spirit.”125 Certainly not with visible oil but with the gift of grace which is signified by the visible ointment wherewith the Church anoints the baptized. And Christ was certainly not then anointed with the Holy Spirit, when He, as a dove, descended upon Him at His baptism.126 For at that time He deigned to prefigure His body, i.e. His Church, in which especially the baptized receive the Holy Spirit. But He is to be understood to have been then anointed with that mystical and invisible unction, when the Word of God was made flesh,127 i.e. when human nature, without any precedent merits of good works, was joined to God the Word in the womb of the Virgin, so that with it it became one person. Therefore it is that we confess Him to have been born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. For it is most absurd to believe Him to have received the Holy Spirit when He was near thirty years old: for at that age He was baptized by John;128 but that He came to baptism as without any sin at all, so not without the Holy Spirit. For if it was written of His servant and forerunner Jn himself, “He shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb,”129 because, although generated by his father, yet he received the Holy Spirit when formed in the womb; what must be understood and believed of the man Christ, of whose flesh the very conception was not carnal, but spiritual? Both natures, too, as well the human as the divine, are shown in that also that is written of Him, that He received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, and shed forth the Holy Spirit:130 seeing that He received as man, and shed forth as God. And we indeed can receive that gift according to our small measure, but assuredly we cannot shed it forth upon others; but, that this may be done, we invoke over them God, by whom this is accomplished.

1547 47. Are we therefore able to ask whether the Holy Spirit had already proceeded from the Father when the Son was born, or had not yet proceeded; and when He was born, proceeded from both, wherein there is no such thing as distinct times: just as we have been able to ask, in a case where we do find times, that the will proceeds from the human mind first, in order that that may be sought which, when found, may be called offspring; which offspring being already brought forth or born, that will is made perfect, resting in this end, so that what had been its desire when seeking, is its love when enjoying; which love now proceeds from both, i.e. from the mind that begets, and from the notion that is begotten, as if from parent and offspring? These things it is absolutely impossible to ask in this case, where nothing is begun in time, so as to be perfected in a time following. Wherefore let him who can understand the generation of the Son from the Father without time, understand also the procession of the Holy Spirit from both without time. And let him who can understand, in that which the Son says, “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself,”131 not that the Father gave life to the Son already existing without life, but that He so begat Him apart from time, that the life which the Father gave to the Son by begetting Him is co-eternal with the life of the Father who gave it:132 let him, I say, understand, that as the Father has in Himself that the Holy Spirit should proceed from Him, so has He given to the Son that the same Holy Spirit should proceed fromHim, and be both apart from time: and that the Holy Spirit is so said to proceed from the Father as that it be understood that His proceeding also from the Son, is a property derived by the Son from the Father. For if the Son has of the Father whatever He has, then certainly He has of the Father, that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from Him. But let no one think of any times therein which imply a sooner and a later; because these things are not there at all. How, then, would it not bemost absurd to call Him the Son of both: when, just as generation from the Father, without any changeableness of nature, gives to the Son essence, without beginning of time; so procession from both, without any changeableness of nature, gives to the Holy Spirit essence without beginning of time? For while we do not say that the Holy Spirit is begotten, yet we do not therefore dare to say that He is unbegotten, lest any one suspect in this word either two Fathers in that Trinity, or two who are not from another. For the Father alone is not from another, and therefore He alone is called unbegotten, not indeed in the Scriptures,133 but in the usage of disputants, who employ such language as they can on so great a subject. And the Son is born of the Father; and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father principally, the Father giving the procession without any interval of time, yet in common from both [Father and Son].134 But He would be called the Son of the Father and of the Son, if—a thing abhorrent to the feeling of all sound minds—both had begotten Him. Therefore the Spirit of both is not begotten of both, but proceeds from both.

Chapter 27.—What It is that Suffices Here to Solve the Question Why the Spirit is Not Said to Be Begotten, and Why the Father Alone is Unbegotten.

What They Ought to Do Who Do Not Understand These Things.
1548 48. But because it is most difficult to distinguish generation from procession in that co-eternal, and equal, and incorporeal, and ineffably unchangeable and indivisible Trinity, let it suffice meanwhile to put before those who are not able to be drawn on further, what we said upon this subject in a sermon to be delivered in the ears of Christian people, and after saying wrote it down. For when, among other things, I had taught them by testimonies of the Holy Scriptures that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both, I continue: “If, then, the Holy Spirit proceeds both from the Father and from the Son, why did the Son say, ’He proceedeth from the Father?’ “135 Why, think you, except as He is wont to refer to Him, that also which is His own, from whom also He Himself is? Whence also is that which He saith, “My doctrine is not mine own, but His that sent me?”136 If, therefore, it is His doctrine that is here understood, which yet He said was not His own, but His that sent Him, how much more is it there to be understood that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from Himself, where He so says, He proceedeth from the Father, as not to say, He proceedeth not from me? From Him, certainly, from whom the Son had his Divine nature, for He is God of God, He has also, that from Him too proceeds the Holy Spirit; and hence the Holy Spirit has from the Father Himself, that He should proceed from the Son also, as He proceeds from the Father. Here, too, in some way may this also be understood, so far as it can be understood by such as we are, why the Holy Spirit is not said to be born, but rather to proceed;137 since if He, too, was called a Son, He would certainly be called the Son of both, which is most absurd, since no one is son of two, save of father and mother. But far be it from us to surmise any such thing as this between God the Father and God the Son. Because not even the son of men proceeds at the same time from both father and mother; but when he proceeds from the father into the mother, he does not at that time proceed from the mother; and when he proceeds from the mother into this present light, he does not at that time proceed from the father. But the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Father into the Son, and from the Son proceed to sanctify the creature, but proceeds at once from both; although the Father has given this to the Son, that He should proceed, as from Himself, so also from Him. For we cannot say that the Holy Spirit is not life, while the Father is life, and the Son is life: and hence as the Father, while He has life in Himself, has given also to the Son to have life in Himself; so has He given also to Him that life should proceed from Him, as it also proceeds from Himself.”138 I have transferredthis from that sermon into this book, but I was speaking to believers, not to unbelievers.

1549 49. But if they are not competent to gaze upon this image, and to see how true these things are which are in their mind, and yet which are not so three as to be three persons, but all three belong to a man who is one person; why do they not believe what they find in the sacred books respecting that highest Trinity which is God, rather than insist on the clearest reason being rendered them, which cannot be comprehended by the human mind, dull and infirm as it is? And to be sure, when they have steadfastly believed the Holy Scriptures as most true witnesses, let them strive, by praying and seeking and living well, that they may understand, i.e. that so far as it can be seen, that may be seen by the mind which is held fast by faith. Who would forbid this? Nay, who would not rather exhort them to it? But if they think they ought to deny that these things are, because they, with their blind minds, cannot discern them, they, too, who are blind from their birth, ought to deny that there is a sun. The light then shineth in darkness; but if the darkness comprehend it not,139 let them first be illuminated by the gift of God, that they may be believers, and let them begin to be light in comparison with the unbelievers; and when this foundation is first laid, let them be built up to see what they believe, that at some time they may be able to see. For some things are so believed, that they cannot be seen at all. For Christ is not to be seen a second time on the cross; but unless this be believed which has been so done and seen, that it is not now to be hoped for as about to be and to be seen, there is no coming to Christ, such as without end He is to be seen. But as far as relates to the discerning in some way by the understanding that highest, ineffable, incorporeal, and unchangeable nature the sight of the human mind can nowhere better exercise itself, so only that the rule of faith govern it, than in that which man himself has in his own nature better than the other animals, better also than the other parts of his own soul, which is the mind itself, to which has been assigned a certain sight of things invisible, and to which, as though honorably presiding in a higher and inner place, the bodily senses also bring word of all things, that they may be judged, and than which there is no higher, to which it is to be subject, and by which it is to be governed, except God.

1550 50. But among these many things which I have now said, and of which there is nothing that I dare to profess myself to have said worthy of the ineffableness of that highest Trinity, but rather to confess that the wonderful knowledge of Him is too great for me, and that I cannot attain140 to it: O thou, my soul, where dost thou feel thyself to be? where dost thou lie? where dost thou stand? until all thy infirmities be healed by Him who has forgiven all thy iniquities.141 Thou perceivest thyself assuredly to be in that inn whither that Samaritan brought him Whom he found with many wounds inflicted by thieves, half-dead.142 And yet thou hast seen many things that are true, not by those eyes by which colored objects are seen, but by those for which he prayed who said, “Let mine eyes behold the things that are equal.”143 Certainly, then, thou hast seen many things that are true, and hast distinguished them from that light by the light of which thou hast seen them. Lift up thine eyes to the light itself, and fix them upon it if thou canst. For so thou wilt see how the birth of the Word of God differs from the procession of the Gift of God, on account of which the only-begotten Son did not say that the Holy Spirit is begotten of the Father, otherwise He would be His brother, but that lie proceeds from Him. Whence, since the Spirit of both is a kind of consubstantial communion of Father and Son, He is not called, far be it from us to say so, the Son of both. But thou canst not fix thy sight there, so as to discern this lucidly and clearly; I know thou canst not. I say the truth, I say to myself, I know what I cannot do; yet that light itself shows to thee these three things in thyself, wherein thou mayest recognize an image of the highest Trinity itself, which thou canst not yet contemplate with steady eye. Itself shows to thee that there is in thee a true word, when it is born of thy knowledge, i.e. when we say what we know: although we neither utter nor think of any articulate word that is significant in any tongue of any nation, but our thought is formed by that which we know; and there is in the mind’s eye of the thinker an image resembling that thought which the memory contained, will or love as a third combining these two as parent and offspring. And he who can, sees and discerns that this will proceeds indeed from thought (for no one wills that of which he is absolutely ignorant what or of what sort it is), yet is not an image of the thought: and so that there is insinuated in this intelligible thing a sort of difference between birth and procession, since to behold by thought is not the same as to desire, or even to enjoy will. Thou, too, hast been able [to discern this], although thou hast not been, neither art, able to unfold with adequate speech what, amidst the clouds of bodily likenesses, which cease not to flit up and down before human thoughts, thou hast scarcely seen. But that light which is not thyself shows thee this too, that these incorporeal likenesses of bodies are different from the truth, which, by rejecting them, we contemplate with the understanding. These, and other things similarly certain, that light hath shown to thine inner eyes. What reason, then, is there why thou canst not see that light itself with steady eye, except certainly infirmity? And what has produced this in thee, except iniquity? Who, then, is it that healeth all thine infirmities, unless it be He that forgiveth all thine iniquities? And therefore I will now at length finish this book by a prayer better than by an argument.

Augustin - Trinity 1538