Nicene and Post Nicene-Fathers, Vol. I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Confessions: Chapter XLII
Chapter XLII.—In What Manner Many Sought the Mediator.
67. Whom could I find to reconcile me to Thee? Was I to solicit the angels? By what prayer? By what sacraments? Many striving to return unto Thee, and not able of themselves, have, as I am told, tried this, and have fallen into a longing for curious visions, 971 and were held worthy to be deceived. For they, being exalted, sought Thee by the pride of learning, thrusting themselves forward rather than beating their breasts, and so by correspondence of heart drew unto themselves the princes of the air, 972 the conspirators and companions in pride, by whom, through the power of magic, 973 they were deceived, seeking a mediator by whom they might be cleansed; but none was there. For the devil it was, transforming himself into an angel of light. 974 And he much allured proud flesh, in that he had no fleshly body. For they were mortal, and sinful; but Thou, O Lord, to whom they arrogantly sought to be reconciled, art immortal, and sinless. But a mediator between God and man ought to have something like unto God, and something like unto man; lest being in both like unto man, he should be far from God; or if in both like unto God, he should be far from man, and so should not be a mediator. That deceitful mediator, then, by whom in Thy secret judgments pride deserved to be deceived, hath one thing in common with man, that is, sin; another he would appear to have with God, and, not being clothed with mortality of flesh, would boast that he was immortal. 975 But since “the wages of sin is death,” 976 this hath he in common with men, that together with them he should be condemned to death.
It would be easy so to do, since even amongst believers, as we find from Evodius letter to Augustin (Ep. clvi.), there was a prevalent belief that the blessed dead visited the earth, and that visions had an important bearing on human affairs. See also Augustins answer to Evodius, in Ep. clix.; Chrysostom, De Sacer. vi. 4; and on Visions, see sec. 41, note, above.161:972
See note 5, p. 69, above.161:974
2 Cor. 11.14.161:975
In his De Civ. Dei, x. 24, in speaking of the Incarnation of Christ as a mystery unintelligible to Porphyrys pride, he has a similar passage, in which he speaks of the “true and benignant Mediator,” and the “malignant and deceitful mediators.” See vii. sec. 24, above.161:976
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