Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 21
Chapter 21.—Of the Likeness of the Father and of the Son Alleged to Be in Our Memory and Understanding. Of the Likeness of the Holy Spirit in Our Will or Love.
40. I have undoubtedly taken pains so far as I could, not indeed so that the thing might be seen face to face, but that it might be seen by this likeness in an enigma, 1038 in how small a degree soever, by conjecture, in our memory and understanding, to intimate God the Father and God the Son: i.e. God the begetter, who has in some way spoken by His own co-eternal Word all things that He has in His substance; and God His Word Himself, who Himself has nothing either more or less in substance than is in Him, who, not lyingly but truly, hath begotten the Word; and I have assigned to memory everything that we know, even if we were not thinking of it, but to understanding the formation after a certain special mode of the thought. For we are usually said to understand what, by thinking of it, we have found to be true; and this it is again that we leave in the memory. But that is a still more hidden depth of our memory, wherein we found this also first when we thought of it, and wherein an inner word is begotten such as belongs to no tongue,—as it were, knowledge of knowledge, vision of vision, and understanding which appears in [reflective] thought; of understanding which had indeed existed before in the memory, but was latent there, although, unless the thought itself had also some sort of memory of its own, it would not return to those things which it had left in the memory while it turned to think of other things.
41. But I have shown nothing in this enigma respecting the Holy Spirit such as might appear to be like Him, except our own will, or love, or affection, which is a stronger will, since our will which we have naturally is variously affected, according as various objects are adjacent or occur to it, by which we are attracted or offended. What, then, is this? Are we to say that our will, when it is right, knows not what to desire, what to avoid? Further, if it knows, doubtless then it has a kind of knowledge of its own, such as cannot be without memory and understanding. Or are we to listen to any one who should say that love knows not what it does, which does not do wrongly? As, then, there are both understanding and love in that primary memory wherein we find provided and stored up that to which we can come in thought, because we find also those two things there, when we find by thinking that we both understand and love anything; which things were there too when we were not thinking of them: and as there are memory and love in that understanding, which is formed by thought, which true word we say inwardly without the tongue of any nation when we say what we know; for the gaze of our thought does not return to anything except by remembering it, and does not care to return unless by loving it: so love, which combines the vision brought about in the memory, and the vision of the thought formed thereby, as if parent and offspring, would not know what to love rightly unless it had a knowledge of what it desired, which it cannot have without memory and understanding.
1 Cor. 13.121 Cor. xiii. 12
Next: Chapter 22
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