Augustine on NT 154

154 10. And in very truth, Brethren, I am not likely to discover any temporal resemblances which I can compare to eternity. But as to those which thou hast discovered, what are they? What hast thou discovered? That a father is greater in time than his son; and therefore thou wouldest have the Son of God to be less in time than the Eternal Father, because thou hast found that a son is less than a father born in time. Find me an eternal father here, and thou hast found a resemblance. Thou findest a son less than a father in time, a temporal son less than a temporal father. Hast thou found me a temporal son younger than eternal father? Seeing then that in Eternity is stability, but in time variety; in Eternity all things stand still, in time one thing comes, another succeeds; thou canst find a son of lesser age succeeding his father in the variety of time, for that he himself succeeded to his father also, not a son born in time to a father eternal. How then, Brethren, can we find in thecreature aught coeternal, when in the creature we find nothing eternal? Do thou find an eternal father in the creature, and I will find a coeternal son. But if thou find not an eternal father, and the one surpasses the other in thee; it is sufficient, that for a resemblance I find something coeval. For what is coeternal is one thing what is coeval another. Every day we call them coeval who have the same measure of times; the one is not preceded by the other in thee, yet they both whom we call coeval once began to “be.” Now if I shall be able to discover something which is born coeval with that of which it is born; if two coeval things can be discovered, that which begets, and that which is begotten; we discover in this case things coeval, let us understand in the other things coeternal. If hereI shall find that a thing begotten hath begun to be ever since that which besets began to be, we may understand at least that the Son of God did not begin to be, ever since He that begat Him did not begin to be. Lo, brethren, perhaps we may discover something in the creature, which is born of something else, and which yet began to be at the same thee as that of which it is born began to be. In the latter case, the one began to be when the other began to be; in the former the one did not begin to be, ever since the other began not to be. the first then is coeval, the second coeternal.

11. I suppose that your holiness has understood already what I am saying, that temporal things cannot be compared to eternal; but that by some slight and small resemblance, things coeval may be with things coeternal. Let us find accordingly two coeval things; and let us get our hints as to these resemblances from the Scriptures. We read in the Scriptures of Wisdom, “For she is the Brightness of the Everlasting Light.” Again we read, “The unspotted Mirror of the Majesty of God.”9 Wisdom Herself is called, “The Brightness of the Everlasting Light,” is called, “The Image of the Father;” from hence let us take a resemblance, that we may find two coeval things, from which we may understand things coeternal. O thou Arian, if I shall find that something that begets does not precede in time that which it begat, that a thing begotten is not less in time than that of which it is begotten; it is but just that thou concede to me, that these coeternals may be found in the Creator, when coevals can be found in the creature. I think that this indeed occurs already to some brethren. For some anticipated me as soon as I said, “For She is the Brightness of the Everlasting Light.” For the fire throws out light, light is thrown out from the fire. If we ask which comes from which, every day when we light a candle are we reminded of some invisible and indescribable thing, that the candle as it were of our understanding may be lighted in this night of the world. Observe him who lights a candle. While the candle is not lighted, there is as yet no fire, nor any brightness which proceedeth from the fire. But I ask, saying, “Does the brightness come from the fire, or the fire from the brightness?” Every soul answers me (for it has pleased God to sow the beginnings of understanding and wisdom in every soul); every soul answers me, and no one doubts, that that brightness comes from the fire, not the fire from the brightness. Let us then look at the fire as the father of that brightness; for I have said before that we are looking for things coeval, not coeternal. If I desire to light a candle, there is as yet no fire there, nor yet that brightness; but immediately that I have lighted it, together with the fire comes forth the brightness also. Give me then here a fire without brightness, and I believe you that the Father ever was without the Son.

12. Attend; The matter has been explained by me as so great a matter could be, by the Lord helping the earnestness of your prayers, and the preparation of your heart, ye have taken ill as much as ye were able to receive. Yet these things are ineffable. Do not suppose that anything worthy of the subject has been spoken, if it only be for that things carnal are compared with coeternal, things temporal with things abiding ever, things subject to extinction to things immortal. But inasmuch as the Son is said also to be the Image of the Father, let us take from this too a sort of resemblance, though in things very different, as I have said before. The image of a man looking into a glass is thrown out from the glass. But this cannot assist us for the clearing of that which we are endeavouring in some sort to explain. For it is said to me, “A man who looks into a glass of course, ‘was’ already, and was born before that. The image came out only as soon as he looked at himself. For a man who looks in a glass, ‘was’ before he came to the glass.” What then shall we find, from which we may be able to draw out such a resemblance, as we did from the fire and the brightness? Let us find one from a very little thing. You know without any difficulty how water often throws out the images of bodies. I mean, when any one is passing, or standing still along the water, he sees his own image there. let us suppose then something born on the water’s side, as a shrub, or an herb, is it not born together with its image? As soon as ever it begins to be, its image begins to be with it, it does not precede in its birth its own image; it cannot be showed to me that anything is born upon the water’s side, and that its image has appeared afterwards, whereas it first appeared without its image; but it is born together with its image; and yet the image comes from it, not it from the image. It is born then together with its image, and the shrub and its image begin to be together. Dost thou not confess that the image is begotten of that shrub, not the shrub of the image? So then thou dost confess that the image is from that shrub. Accordingly that which begets and that which is begotten began to “be” together. Therefore they are coeval. If the shrub had been always, the image from the shrub would have been always too. Now that which has its being from something else, is of course born of it. It is possible then that one that begets might always be, and always be together with that which was born of him. For here it was that we were in perplexity and trouble, how the Eternal Nativity might he understood. So then the Son of God is so called on this principle, that there is the Father also, that He hath One from whom He derives His Being; not on this, that the Father is first in thee, and the Son after. The Father always was, the Son always from the Father. And because whatever “is” from another thing, is born, therefore the Son was always born. The Father always was, the image from Him always was; as that image of the shrub was born of the shrub, and if the shrub had always been, the image would also have always been born from the shrub. Thou couldest not find things begotten coeternal with the eternal begetters, but thou hast found things born coeval with those that begat them in thee. I understand the Son coeternal with the Eternal who begat Him. For what with regard to things of thee is coeval, with regard to things eternal is coeternal.

13. Here there is somewhat for you to consider, Brethren,10 as a protection against blasphemies. For it is constantly said, “See thou hast produced certain resemblances; but the brightness which is thrown out from the fire, shines less brilliantly than the fire itself, and the image of the shrub has less proper11 subsistence, than that shrub of which it is the image. These instances have a resemblance, but they have not a thorough equality: wherefore they do not seem to be of the same substance.” What then shall we say, if any one say, “The Father then is to the Son, such as the brightness is to the fire, and the image to the shrub “? See I have understood the Father to be eternal; and the Son to be coeternal with Him; nevertheless say we that He is as the brightness which is thrown out from and is less brilliant than the fire, or as the image which is reflected from and has less real existence than the shrub? No, but there is a thorough equality. “I do not believe it,” he will say, “because thou hast not discovered a resemblance.” Well then, believe the Apostle, because he was able to see what I have said. For he says, “He thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”12 Equality is13 perfect likeness in every way. And what said he? “Not robbery.” Why? Because that is robbery which belongs to another.

14. Yet from these two comparisons, these two kinds, we may perhaps find in the creature a resemblance whereby we may understand how the Son is both coeternal with the Father, and in no respect less than He. But this we cannot find in one kind of resemblances singly: let us join both kinds together. How both kinds? One, of which they themselves give instances of resemblances, and the other, of which we gave. For they gave instances of resemblances from those things which are born in thee, and are preceded in thee by them of whom they are born, as man of man. He that is born first is greater in thee; but yet man and man, that is of the same substance. For man begets a man, and a horse a horse, and a sheep a sheep. These beget after the same substance, but not after the same thee. They are diverse in thee, but not in nature diverse. What then do we praise here in this nativity? The equality of nature surely. But what is waiting? The equality of thee. Let us retain the one thing which is praised here, that is, the equality of nature. But in the other kind of resemblances, which we gave from the brightness of the fire and the image of the shrub, you find not an equality of nature, you do find an equalityof thee. What do we praise here? Equality of thee. What is wanting? Equality of nature. Join the things which you praise together. For in the creatures there is wanting something which you praise, in the Creator nothing can be wanting: because what you find in the creature, came forth from the Hand of the Creator. What then is there in things coeval? Must not that be given to God which you praise here in? But what is wanting must not be attributed to that Sovereign Majesty, in the which there is no defect. See I offer to you things begetting coeval with things begotten: in these you praise the equality of thee, but find fault with the inequality14 of nature. What you find fault with, do not attribute to God; what you praise, attribute to Him; so from this kind of resemblances you attribute to Him instead of a cotemporaneousness a coeternity, that the Son may be coeternal with Him of whom He was born. But from the other kind of resemblances, which itself too is a creature of God, and ought to praise the Creator, what do you praise in them? Equality of nature. You had before assigned coeternity by reason of the first distinction; by reason of this last, assign equality; and the nativity of the same substance is complete. For what is more mad, my brethren, than that I should praise the creature in anything which does not exist in the Creator? In man I praise equality of nature, shall I not believe it in Him who made man? That which is born of man is man; shall not that which is born of God, be That which He is of whom He was born? Converse have I none with works which God hath not made. Let then all the works of the Creator praise Him. I find in the one ease a cotemporaneousness, I get at the knowledge of a coeternity in the other. In the first I find an equality of nature, I understand an equality of substance in the other. In this then that is “wholly,” which in the ether case is found in the several parts, and several things. It is then “wholly” here altogether, and not only what is in the creature; I find it wholly here, but as being in the Creator, in so much higher a way, in that the one is visible, the Other Invisible; the one temporal, the Other Eternal; the one changeable, the Other Unchangeable; the one corruptible, the Other Incorruptible. Lastly, in the case of men themselves, what we Find, man and man, are two men; here the Father and the Son are One God.

15. I render unspeakable thanks to our Lord God, that He hath vouchsafed, at your prayers, to deliver my infirmity from this most perplexed and difficult place. Yet above all things remember this, that the Creator transcends indescribably whatever we could gather from the creature, whether by the bodily senses, or the thought of the mind. But wouldest thou with the mind reach Him? Purify thy mind, purify thine heart. Make clean the eye whereby That, whatever It be, may be reached. For “blessed are the clean in heart, for they shall see God.”15 But whilst the heart was not cleansed, what could be provided and granted more mercifully by Him, than that That Word of whom we have spoken so great and so many things, and yet have spoken nothing worthy of Him; that That Word, “by whom all things were made,” should become that which we are, that we might be able to attain to That which we are not? For we are not God; but with the mind or the interior eye of the heart we can see God. Our eyes dulled by sins, blinded, enfeebled by infirmity, desire to see; but we are in hope, not yet in possession. We are the children of God. This saith John, who says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; “16 he who lay on the Lord’s Breast, who drew in these secrets from the Bosom of His Heart; he says, “Dearly beloved, we are the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”17 This is promised us.

16. But in order that we may attain, if we cannot yet see God the Word, let us hear the Word made Flesh; seeing we are carnal, let us hear the Word Incarnate. For for this cause came He, for this cause took upon Him our infirmity, that thou mightest be able to receivethe strong words of a God bearing thy weakness. And He is truly called “milk.” For He giveth milk to infants, that He may give the meat of wisdom to them of riper years. Suck then now with patience, that thou mayest be fed to thy heart’s most18 eager wish. For how is even the milk, wherewith infants are suckled, made? Was it not solid meat on the table? But the infant is not strong enough to eat the meat which is on the table; what does the mother do? She turns the meat19 into the substance of her flesh, and makes milk of it. Makes for us what we may be able to take. So the Word was made Flesh, that we little ones, who were indeed as infants with respect to food, might be nourished by milk. But there is this difference; that when the mother makes the food turned into flesh milk, the food is turned into milk; whereas theWord abiding Itself unchangeably assumed Flesh, that there might be, as it were, a tissue of the two. What He is, He did not corrupt or change, that in the fashion, He might speak to thee, not transformed and turned into man. For abiding unalterable, unchangeable, and altogether inviolable, He became what thou art in respect of thee, what He is in Himself in respect of the Father.

17. For what doth He say Himself to the infirm, to the end that recovering that sight, they may be able in some measure to reach the Word by whom all things were made? “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, that I am meek and lowly in heart.”20 What doth the Master, the Son of God, the Wisdom of God, by whom all things were made, proclaim? He calleth the human race, and saith, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and learn of Me.” Thou wast thinking haply that the Wisdom of God would say, “Learn how I have made the heavens and the stars; how all things also were numbered in Me before they were made, how by virtue of unchangeable principles21 your very hairs were numbered.” Didst thou think that Wisdom would say these things, and such as these? No. But first that. “That I am meek and lowly in heart.” Lo, see here what ye can comprehend, brethren; it is surely a little thing. We are making our way to great things, let us receive the little things, and we shall be great. Wouldest thou comprehend the height of God? First comprehend the lowliness of God. Condescend to be humble for thine own sake, seeing that God condescended to be humble for thy sake too; for it was not for His own. Comprehend then the lowliness of Christ, learn to be humble, be loth to be proud Confess thine infirmity, lie patiently before the Physician; when thou shalt have comprehended His lowliness, thou risest with Him; not as though He should rise Himself in that He is the Word; but thou rather, that He may be more anti more comprehended by thee. At first thou didst understand falteringly and hesitatingly; afterwards thou wilt understand more surely and more clearly. He doth not increase, but thou makest progress, and He seemeth as it were to rise with thee. So it is, brethren. Believe the commandments of God, and do them, and He will give you the strength of understanding. Do not put the last first,22 and, as it were, prefer knowledge to the commandments of God; lest ye be only the lower, and none the more firmly rooted. Consider a tree; first it strikes downwards, that it may grow up on high; fixes its root low in the ground, that it may extend its top to heaven. Does it make an effort to grow except from humiliation? And wouldest thou without charity comprehend these transcendent matters, shoot toward the heaven without a root? This were a ruin, not a growing. With “Christ” then “dwelling in your hearts by faith, be ye rooted and grounded in charity, that ye may be filled with all the fulness of God.”23

1 (
Jn 1,3).
2 (Lc 2,14
3 (Jn 1,1
4 (Ps 104,24).
5 (Jn 1,1
6 (2Co 12,4).
7 Aura.
8 (1Co 13,12).
9 (Sg 7,26).
10 Propter.
11 Proprietatem.
12 (Ph 2,6
13 Conjungitur.
14 Disparilitatem).
15 (Mt 5,8
16 (Jn 1,1
17 (1Jn 3,2
18 Avidč.
19 Incarnat.
20 (Mt 11,28, 29.
21 Rationum.
22 Praesumatis).
23 (Ep 3,17 Ep 3,19.


Sermon LXVIII. [CXVIII. Ben.]

On the same words of the gospel, Jn 1 “In the beginning was the word,” etc.

1. All ye who are looking for a man’s many words, understand the One Word of God, “In the beginning was the Word.”1 Now, “In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth.”2 But, “The Word was,” since we have heard, “In the beginning God made.” Acknowledge we in Him the Creator; for Creator is He who made; and the creature what He made. For no creature which was made “was,” as God the Word “was,” by whom it was made, always. Now when we heard “The Word was,” with whom was It? We understand the Father who did not make nor create the Same Word, but begat Him. For, “In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth.” Whereby made He them? “The Word was, and the Word was with God;”3 but what kind of Word? Did it sound and so pass away? Was it a mere thought, and motion4 of the mind? No. Was it suggested by memory, and uttered? No. What kind of Word then? Why dost thou look for many words from me? “The Word was God.” When we hear, “The Word was God,” we do not make a second God; but we understand the Son. For the Word is the Son of God. Lo, the Son, and What but God? For “The Word was God.” What the Father? God of course. If the Father is God and the Son God, do we make two Gods? God forbid. The Father is God, the Son God; but the Father and the Son One God. For the Only Son of God was not made, but born. “In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth;” but the Word was of the Father. Was the Word therefore made by the Father? No. “All things were made by Him.”5 If by Him all things were made, was He too made by Himself? Do not imagine that He by whom thouhearest all things were made was Himself made among all things. For if He were made Himself, all things were not made by Him, but Himself was made among the rest. You say, “He was made;” what, by Himself? Who can make himself? If then He was made, how by Him were all things made? See, Himself too was made, as you say, not I, for that He was begotten, I do not deny. If then you say that He was made, I ask by what, by whom? By Himself? Then He “was,” before He was made, that He might make Himself. But if all things were made by Him, understand that He was not Himself made. If thou art not able to understand, believe, that thou mayest understand. Faith goes before; understanding follows after; since the Prophet says, “Unless ye believe, ye shall not understand.6 The Word was.” Look not for thee in Him, by whom times were made. “The Word was.” But you say, “There was a thee that the Word was not.” You say falsely; nowhere do you read this. But I do read for you, “In the beginning was the Word.” What look you for before the beginning? But if you should be able to find anything before the beginning, this will be the beginning. He is mad who looks for anything before the beginning. What then doth he say was before the beginning?”In the beginning was the Word.”

155 2. But you will say, “The Father both ‘was,’ and was before the Word.” What are you looking for? “In the beginning was the Word.” What you find, understand; seek not for what you are not able to find. Nothing is before the beginning. “In the beginning was the Word.” The Son is the Brightness of the Father. Of the Wisdom of the Father, which is the Son, it is said, “For He is the brightness of the Everlasting Light.”7 Are you seeking for a Son without a Father? Give me a light without brightness. If there was a time when the Son was net, the Father was a light obscure. For how was He not an obscure Light, if It had no brightness? So then the Father always, the Son always. If the Father always, the Son always. Do you ask of me, whether the Son were born? I answer, “born.” For He would not be a Son if not born. So when I say, the Son always was, I say in fact was always born. And who understands, “Was always born “? Give me an eternal fire, and I will give thee an eternal brightness. We bless God who hath given to us the holy Scriptures. Be ye not blind in the brightness of the light. Brightness is engendered of the Light, and yet the Brightness is Coeternal with the Light that engenders It. The Light always, its Brightness always. It begat Its Own Brightness; but was it ever without Its Brightness? Let God be allowed to beget an eternal Son. I pray you hear of whom we are speaking; hear, mark, believe, understand. Of God are we speaking. We confess and believe the Son coeternal with the Father But you will say, “When a man begets a Son, he that begets is the elder, and he that is begotten the younger.” It is true; in the case of men, he that begets is the elder, and he that is begotten, the younger, and he arrives in thee to his father’s strength. But why, save that whilst the one grows, the other grows old? Let the father stand still a while, and in his growing the son will follow on him, and you will see him equal. But see, I give you whereby to understand this. Fire engenders a coeval brightness. Among men you only find sons younger, fathers older; you do not find them coeval: but as I have said, I show you brightness coeval with its parent fire. For fire begets brightness, yet is it never without brightness. Since then you see that the brightness is coeval with its fire, suffer God to beget a Coeternal Son. Whoso understandeth, let him rejoice: but whoso understandeth not, let him believe. For the word of the Prophet cannot be disannulled; “Unless ye believe, ye shall not understand.”8

1 (
Jn 1,1
2 (Gn 1,1
3 (Jn 1,1
4 Volvebatur.
5 (Jn 1,3
6 (Is 7,9 Sept.
7 (Sg 7,26).
8 (Is 7,9 Sept.


Sermon LXIX. [CXIX. Ben.]

On the same words, Jn 1 “In the beginning was the word,” etc.

1. That our Lord Jesus Christ in seeking lost man was made Man, our preaching has never withholden, and your faith has ever retained; and moreover, that this our Lord, who for our sakes was made Man, was always God with the Father, and always will be, yea rather always Is; for where there is no succession of thee, there is no “hath been” and “will be.” For that of which it is said, “it hath been,” is now no more; that of which it is said, “it will be,” is not yet; but He always is, because He truly “is,” that is, is unchangeable. For the Gospel lesson has just now taught us a high and divine mystery. For this beginning of the Gospel St. John poured forth1 for that he drank it in from the Lord’s Breast. For ye remember, that it has been very lately read to you, how that this St. John the Evangelist lay in the Lord’s Bosom.2 And wishing to explain this clearly, he says, “On the Lord’s Breast;”3 that we might understand what he meant, by “in the Lord’s bosom.” For what, think we, did he drink in who was lying on the Lord’s Breast? Nay, let us not think, but drink;4 for we too have just now heard what we may drink in.

2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”5 O glorious preaching! O6 the result of the full feast of the Lord’s Breast! “In the beginning was the Word.” Why seekest thou for what was before It? “In the beginning was the Word.” If the Word had been made (for made indeed that was not by which all things were made); if the Word had been made, the Scripture would have said, “In the beginning God made the Word;” as it is said in Genesis, “In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth.”7 God then did not in the beginning make the Word; because, “In the beginning was the Word.” This Word which was in the beginning, where was It? Follow on, “And the Word was with God.” But from our daily hearing the words of men we are wont to think lightly of this name of “Word.” In this case do not think lightly of the Name of “Word;” “The Word was God. The same,” that is the Word, “was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.”

3. Extend your hearts, help the poverty of my words. What I shall be able to express, give ear to; on what I shall not be able to express, meditate. Who can comprehend the abiding Word? All our words sound, and pass away. Who can comprehend the abiding Word, save He who abideth in Him? Wouldest thou comprehend the abiding Word? Do not follow the current of the flesh. For this flesh is indeed a current; for it has none abiding. As it were from a kind of secret fount of nature men are born, they live, they die; or whence they come, or whither they go, we know not. It is a hidden water, till it issue from its source; it flows on, and is seen in its course; and again it is hidden in the sea. Let us despise this stream flowing on, running, disappearing, let us despise it. “All flesh is grass, and all the glory of flesh is as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, the flower falleth away.” Wouldest thou endure? “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.”8

4. But in order to succour us, “The Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us.”9 What is, “The Word was made Flesh “? The gold became grass. It became grass for to be burned; the grass was burned, but the gold remained; in the grass It perisheth not, yea, It changed the grass. How did It change it? It raised it up, quickened it, lifted it up to heaven, and placed it at the right Hand of the Father. But that it might be said, “And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us,” let us recollect awhile what went before. “He came unto His Own, and His Own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” “To become,” for they “were” not; but He “was” Himself in the beginning. “He gave them” then “power to become the sons of God, to them that believe in His Name; who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”10 Lo, born they are, in whatever age of the flesh they may be; ye see infants; see and rejoice. Lo, they are born; but they are born of God.Their mother’s womb is the water of baptism.

5. Let no man in poorness of soul entertain this conceit, and turn over such most beggarly thoughts in his mind, and say to himself, “How ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: all things were made by Him;’ and lo, ‘the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us?’“ Hear why it was done. “To those” we know “who believed on Him He hath given power to become the sons of God.” Let not those then to whom He hath given power to become the sons of God, think it impossible to become the sons of God. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Do not imagine that it is too great a thing for you to become the sons of God; for your sakes He became the Son of man, who was the Son of God. If He was made, that He might be less, who was more; can He not bring it to pass, that of that less which we were, we may be something more? He descended to us, and shall not we ascend to Him? For us He accepted our death, and shall He not give us His Life? For thee He suffered thy evil things, and shall He not give thee His good things?

6. “But how,” one will say, “can it be, that the Word of God, by whom the world is governed, by whom all things both were, and are created, should contract Himself into the womb of a Virgin; should abandon the world, and leave the Angels, and be shut up in one woman’s womb?” Thou skillest not to conceive of things divine. The Word of God (I am speaking to thee, O man, I am speaking to thee of the omnipotence of the Word of God) could surely do all, seeing that the Word of God is omnipotent, at once remain with the Father, and come to us; at once in the flesh come forth to us, and lay concealed in Him. For He would not the less have been, if He had not been born of flesh. He “was” before His own flesh; He created His Own mother. He chose her in whom He should be conceived, He created her of whom He should be created. Why marvellest thou? It is God of whom I am speaking to thee: “The Word was God.”

7. I am treating of the Word, and perchance the word of men may furnish somewhat like; though very unequal, far distant, in no comparable, yet something which may convey a hint to you by way of resemblance. Lo, the word which I am speaking to you, I have had previously in my heart: it came forth to thee, yet it has not departed from me; that began to be in thee, which was not in thee; it continued with me when it went forth to thee. As then my word was brought forth to thy sense, yet did not depart from my heart; so That Word came forth to our senses, yet departed not from His Father. My word was with me, and it came forth into a voice: the Word of God was with the Father, and came forth into Flesh. But can I do with my voice that which He could do with His Flesh? For I am not master11 of my voice as it flies; He is not only master of His Flesh, that It should be born, live, act; but even when dead He raised It up, and exalted unto the Father the Vehicle as it were in which He came forth to us. You may call the Flesh of Christ a Garment, you may call It a Vehicle, and as perchance Himself vouchsafed to teach us, you may call It His Beast; for on this beast He raised him who had been wounded by robbers;12 lastly, as He said Himself more expressly, you may call It a Temple; This Temple knows death no more, Its seat is at the right Hand of the Father: in This Temple shall He come to judge the quick and dead. What He hath by precept taught, He hath by example manifested. What He hath in His own Flesh shown, that oughtest thou to hope for in thy flesh. This is faith; hold fast what as yet thou seest not. Need there is, that by believing thou abide firm in that thou seest not; lest when thou shalt see, thou be put to shame.

1 Ructuavit.
2 (Jn 13,23
3 (Jn 13,25
4 Non putemus sed potemus.
5 (Jn 1,1
6 Saginam Dominici pertoris eructuare.
7 (Gn 1,1
8 (Is 40,6-7 Sept.; 1P 1,24-25.
9 (Jn 1,14).
10 (Jn 1,11-14.
11 Tenere.
12 (Lc 10,30

Augustine on NT 154