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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 1

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 1.—A Trace of the Trinity Also In the Outer Man.

1. No one doubts that, as the inner man is endued with understanding, so is the outer with bodily sense. Let us try, then, if we can, to discover in this outer man also, some trace, however slight, of the Trinity, not that itself also is in the same manner the image of God. For the opinion of the apostle is evident, which declares the inner man to be renewed in the knowledge of God after the image of Him that created him: 729 whereas he says also in another place, “But though our outer man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 730 Let us seek, then, so far as we can, in that which perishes, some image of the Trinity, if not so express, yet perhaps more easy to be discerned. For that outer man also is not called man to no purpose, but because there is in it some likeness of the inner man. And owing to that very order of our condition whereby we are made mortal and fleshly, we handle things visible more easily and more familiarly than things intelligible; since the former are outward, the latter inward; and the former are perceived by the bodily sense, the latter are understood by the mind; and we ourselves, i.e. our minds, are not sensible things, that is, bodies, but intelligible things, since we are life. And yet, as I said, we are so familiarly occupied with bodies, and our thought has projected itself outwardly with so wonderful a proclivity towards bodies, that, when it has been withdrawn from the uncertainty of things corporeal, that it may be fixed with a much more certain and stable knowledge in that which is spirit, it flies back to those bodies, and seeks rest there whence it has drawn weakness. And to this its feebleness we must suit our argument; so that, if we would endeavor at any time to distinguish more aptly, and intimate more readily, the inward spiritual thing, we must take examples of likenesses from outward things pertaining to the body. The outer man, then, endued as he is with the bodily sense, is conversant with bodies. And this bodily sense, as is easily observed, is fivefold; seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. But it is both a good deal of trouble, and is not necessary, that we should inquire of all these five senses about that which we seek. For that which one of them declares to us, holds also good in the rest. Let us use, then, principally the testimony of the eyes. For this bodily p. 145 sense far surpasses the rest; and in proportion to its difference of kind, is nearer to the sight of the mind.


Footnotes

144:729

Col. 3.10Col. iii. 10

144:730

2 Cor. 4.162 Cor. iv. 16


Next: Chapter 2

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