Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 6
Chapter 6.—Of What Kind We are to Reckon the Rest (Requies), and End (Finis), of the Will in Vision.
10. Perhaps we can rightly call vision the end and rest of the will, only with respect to this one object [namely, the bodily thing that is visible]. For it will not will nothing else merely because it sees something which it is now willing. It is not therefore the whole will itself of the man, of which the end is nothing else than blessedness; but the will provisionally directed to this one object, which has as its end in seeing, nothing but vision, whether it refer the thing seen to any other thing or not. For if it does not refer the vision to anything further, but wills only to see this, there can be no question made about showing that the end of the will is the vision; for it is manifest. But if it does refer it to anything further, then certainly it does will something else, and it will not be now a will merely to see; or if to see, not one to see the particular thing. Just as, if any one wished to see the scar, that from thence he might learn that there had been a wound; or wished to see the window, that through the window he might see the passers-by: all these and other such acts of will have their own proper [proximate] ends, which are referred to that [final] end of the will by which we will to live blessedly, and to attain to that life which is not referred to anything else, but suffices of itself to him who loves it. The will then to see, has as its end vision; and the will to see this particular thing, has as its end the vision of this particular thing. Therefore the will to see the scar, desires its own end, that is, the vision of the scar, and does not reach beyond it; for the will to prove that there had been a wound, is a distinct will, although dependent upon that, of which the end also is to prove that there had been a wound. And the will to see the window, has as its end the vision of the window; for that is another and further will which depends upon it, viz. to see the passers-by through the window, of which also the end is the vision of the passers-by. But all the several wills that are bound to each other, are at once right, if that one is good, to which all are referred; and if that is bad, then all are bad. And so the connected series of right wills is a sort of road which consists as it were of certain steps, whereby to ascend to blessedness; but the entanglement of depraved and distorted wills is a bond by which he will be bound who thus acts, so as to be cast into outer darkness. 738 Blessed therefore are they who in act and character sing the song of the steps [degrees]; 739 and woe to those that draw sin, as it were a long rope. 740 And it is just the same to speak of the will being in repose, which we call its end, if it is still referred to something further, as if we should say that the foot is at rest in walking, when it is placed there, whence yet another foot may be planted in the direction of the mans steps. But if something so satisfies, that the will acquiesces in it with a certain delight; it is nevertheless not yet that to which the man ultimately tends; but this too is referred to something further, so as to be regarded not as the native country of a citizen, but as a place of refreshment, or even of stopping, for a traveller.
Ps. 120., and following.150:740
Isa. 5.18Isa. v. 18
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