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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 30

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 140

Chapter 30.—How Piety Distinguishes the Creator from the Creatures, So That, Instead of One God, There are Not Worshipped as Many Gods as There are Works of the One Author.

And now, to begin to go over those works of the one true God, on account of which these have made to themselves many and false gods, whilst they attempt to give an honorable interpretation to their many most abominable and most infamous mysteries,—we worship that God who has appointed to the natures created by Him both the beginnings and the end of their existing and moving; who holds, knows, and disposes the causes of things; who hath created the virtue of seeds; who hath given to what creatures He would a rational soul, which is called mind; who hath bestowed the faculty and use of speech; who hath imparted the gift of foretelling future things to whatever spirits it seemed to Him good; who also Himself predicts future things, through whom He pleases, and through whom He will, removes diseases who, when the human race is to be corrected and chastised by wars, regulates also the beginnings, progress, and ends of these wars who hath created and governs the most vehement and most violent fire of this world, in due relation and proportion to the other elements of immense nature; who is the governor of all the waters; who hath made the sun brightest of all material lights, and hath given him suitable power and motion; who hath not withdrawn, even from the inhabitants of the nether world, His dominion and power; who hath appointed to mortal natures their suitable seed and nourishment, dry or liquid; who establishes and makes fruitful the earth; who bountifully bestows its fruits on animals and on men; who knows and ordains, not only principal causes, but also subsequent causes; who hath determined for the moon her motion; who affords ways in heaven and on earth for passage from one place to another; who hath granted also to human minds, which He hath created, the knowledge of the various arts for the help of life and nature; who hath appointed the union of male and female for the propagation of offspring; who hath favored the societies of men with the gift of terrestrial fire for the simplest and most familiar purposes, to burn on the hearth and to give light.  These are, then, the things which that most acute and most learned man Varro has labored to distribute among the select gods, by I know not what physical interpretation, which he has got from other sources, and also conjectured for himself.  But these things the one true God makes and does, but as the same God,—that is, as He who is wholly everywhere, included in no space, bound by no chains, mutable in no part of His being, filling heaven and earth with omnipresent power, not with a needy nature.  Therefore He governs all things in such a manner as to allow them to perform and exercise their own proper movements.  For although they can be nothing without Him, they are not what He is.  He does also many things through angels; but only from Himself does He beatify angels.  So also, though He send angels to men for certain purposes, He does not for all that beatify men by the good inherent in the angels, but by Himself, as He does the angels themselves.


Next: Chapter 31

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