Nicene and Post Nicene-Fathers, Vol. I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Confessions: Chapter IV
Chapter IV.—Heaven and Earth Cry Out that They Have Been Created by God.
6. Behold, the heaven and earth are; they proclaim that they were made, for they are changed and varied. Whereas whatsoever hath not been made, and yet hath being, hath nothing in it which there was not before; this is what it is to be changed and varied. They also proclaim that they made not themselves; “therefore we are, because we have been made; we were not therefore before we were, so that we could have made ourselves.” And the voice of those that speak is in itself an evidence. Thou, therefore, Lord, didst make these things; Thou who art beautiful, for they are beautiful; Thou who art good, for they are good; Thou who art, for they are. Nor even so are they beautiful, nor good, nor are they, as Thou their Creator art; compared with whom they are neither beautiful, nor good, nor are at all. 1026 These things we know, thanks be to Thee. And our knowledge, compared with Thy knowledge, is ignorance.
It was the doctrine of Aristotle that excellence of character is the proper object of love, and in proportion as we recognise such excellence in others are we attracted to become like them (see Sidgwicks Methods of Ethics, book iv. c. 5, sec. 4). If this be true of the creature, how much more should it be so of the Creator, who is the perfection of all that we can conceive of goodness and truth. Compare De Trin. viii. 3–6, De Vera Relig. 57, and an extract from Athanese Coquerel in Archbishop Thomsons Bampton Lectures, note 73.
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