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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 13

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 13.—How Any One Can Forget and Remember God.

17. Let us take an instance for the purpose from visible things. Somebody whom you do not recognize, says to you, You know me; and in order to remind you, tells you where, when, and how he became known to you; and if, after the mention of every sign by which you might be recalled to remembrance, you still do not recognize him, then you have so come to forget, as that the whole of that knowledge is altogether blotted out of your mind; and nothing else remains, but that you take his word for it who tells you that you once knew him; or do not even do that, if you do not think the person who speaks to you to be worthy of credit. But if you do remember him, then no doubt you return to your own memory, and find in it that which had not been altogether blotted out by forgetfulness. Let us return to that which led us to adduce this instance from the intercourse of men. Among other things, the 9th Psalm says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations. that forget God;” 887 and again the 22d Psalm, “All the ends of the world shall be reminded, and turned unto the Lord.” 888 These nations, then, will not so have forgotten God as to be unable to remember Him when reminded of Him; yet, by forgetting God, as though forgetting their own life, they had been turned into death, i.e. into hell. 889 But when reminded they are turned to the Lord, as though coming to life again by remembering their proper life which they had forgotten. It is read also in the 94th Psalm, “Perceive now, ye who are unwise among the people; and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall He not hear?” etc. 890 For this is spoken to those, who said vain things concerning God through not understanding Him.



Ps. 9.17Ps. ix. 17


Ps. 22.27Ps. xxii. 27


[Augustin here understands “Sheol,” to denote the place of retribution for the wicked.—W.G.T.S.]


Ps. 94:8, 9Ps. 94:8, 9

Next: Chapter 14

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