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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Soul and its Origin.: Chapter 8

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 8.—We Have No Memory of Our Creation.

And whosoever shall have attempted to fathom such knowledge may not improperly have addressed to him the words we have before quoted, “Seek not out the things that are too high for thee, neither search the things that are above thy strength.” Now it is not a question of mere altitude, such as is beyond our stature, but it is an elevation which our intelligence cannot reach, and a strength which our mental power cannot cope with. And yet it is neither the heaven of heavens, nor the measure of the stars, nor the scope of sea and land, nor the nethermost hell; it is our own selves that we are incapable of comprehending; it is our own selves, who, in our too great height and strength, transcend the humble limits of our own knowledge; it is our own selves, whom we are incapable of embracing, although we are certainly not beside ourselves. But we are not to be compared with cattle simply because we do not perfectly discover what we ourselves are: and yet you think that we deserve the humiliating comparison, if we have forgotten what we were, even though we knew it once. My soul is not now being derived from my parents, is not now receiving insufflation from God. Whichever of these two processes He used, He used when He created p. 358 me; He is not at this moment using it of me, or within me. It is past and gone,—not a present thing, nor a recent one to me. I do not even know whether I was aware of it and then forgot it; or whether I was unable, even at the time when it was done, to feel and to know it.


Next: Chapter 9

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