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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 7.—Of Christ’s Session at the Father’s Right Hand.

14. We believe also that He Sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father. This, however, is p. 327 not to lead us to suppose that God the Father is, as it were, circumscribed by a human form, so that, when we think of Him, a right side or a left should suggest itself to the mind. Nor, again, when it is thus said in express terms that the Father sitteth, are we to fancy that this is done with bended knees; lest we should fall into that profanity, in [dealing with] which an apostle execrates those who “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of corruptible man.” 1582 For it is unlawful for a Christian to set up any such image for God in a temple; much more nefarious is it, [therefore], to set it up in the heart, in which truly is the temple of God, provided it be purged of earthly lust and error. This expression, “at the right hand,” therefore, we must understand to signify a position in supremest blessedness, where righteousness and peace and joy are; just as the kids are set on the left hand, 1583 that is to say, in misery, by reason of unrighteousness, labors, and torments. 1584 And in accordance with this, when it is said that God “sitteth,” the expression indicates not a posture of the members, but a judicial power, which that Majesty never fails to possess, as He is always awarding deserts as men deserve them (digna dignis tribuendo); although at the last judgment the unquestionable brightness of the only-begotten Son of God, the Judge of the living and the dead, is destined yet to be 1585 a thing much more manifest among men.


Footnotes

327:1582

Rom. 1.23Rom. i. 23

327:1583

Matt. 25.33

327:1584

Reading propter iniquitates, labores atque cruciatus. Several mss. give propter iniquitatis labores, etc. = by reason of the labors and torments of unrighteousness.

327:1585

Reading futura sit; for which fulsura sit also occurs = is destined to shine much more manifestly, etc.


Next: Chapter 8

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