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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 7

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 7.—We Conceive and Beget the Word Within, from the Things We Have Beheld in the Eternal Truth. The Word, Whether of the Creature or of the Creator, is Conceived by Love.

12. We behold, then, by the sight of the mind, in that eternal truth from which all things temporal are made, the form according to which we are, and according to which we do anything by true and right reason, either in ourselves, or in things corporeal; and we have the true knowledge of things, thence conceived, as it were as a word within us, and by speaking we beget it from within; nor by being born does it depart from us. And when we speak to others, we apply to the word, remaining within us, the ministry of the voice or of some bodily sign, that by some kind of sensible remembrance some similar thing may be wrought also in the mind of him that hears,—similar, I say, to that which does not depart from the mind of him that speaks. We do nothing, therefore, through the members of the body in our words and actions, by which the behavior of men is either approved or blamed, which we do not anticipate by a word uttered within ourselves. For no one willingly does anything, which he has not first said in his heart.

13. And this word is conceived by love, either of the creature or of the Creator, that is, either of changeable nature or of unchangeable truth. 707



[The inward production of a thought in the finite essence of the human spirit which is expressed outwardly in a spoken word, is analogous to the eternal generation of the Eternal Wisdom in the infinite essence of God expressed in the Eternal Word. Both are alike, in that something spiritual issues from something spiritual, without division or diminution of substance. But a thought of the human mind is not an objective thing or substance; while the Eternal Word is.—W.G.T.S.]

Next: Chapter 8

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