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Nicene and Post Nicene-Fathers, Vol. I:
The Confessions: Chapter XVI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XVI.—He Wishes to Have No Intercourse with Those Who Deny Divine Truth.

23. With such as grant that all these things which Thy truth indicates to my mind are true, I desire to confer a little before Thee, O my God. For let those who deny these things bark and drown their own voices with their clamour as much as they please; I will endeavour to persuade them to be quiet, and to suffer Thy word to reach them. But should they be unwilling, and should they repel me, I beseech, O my God, that Thou “be not silent to me.” 1123 Do Thou speak truly in my heart, for Thou only so speakest, and I will send them away blowing upon the dust from without, and raising it up into their own eyes; and will myself enter into my chamber, 1124 and sing there unto Thee songs of love,—groaning with groaning unutterable 1125 in my pilgrimage, and remembering Jerusalem, with heart raised up towards it, 1126 p. 182 Jerusalem my country, Jerusalem my mother, and Thyself, the Ruler over it, the Enlightener, the Father, the Guardian, the Husband, the chaste and strong delight, the solid joy, and all good things ineffable, even all at the same time, because the one supreme and true Good. And I will not be turned away until Thou collect all that I am, from this dispersion 1127 and deformity, into the peace of that very dear mother, where are the first-fruits of my spirit, 1128 whence these things are assured to me, and Thou conform and confirm it for ever, my God, my Mercy. But with reference to those who say not that all these things which are true and false, who honour Thy Holy Scripture set forth by holy Moses, placing it, as with us, on the summit of an authority 1129 to be followed, and yet who contradict us in some particulars, I thus speak: Be Thou, O our God, judge between my confessions and their contradictions.



Ps. 28.1.


Isa. 26.20.


Rom. 8.26.


Baxter has a noteworthy passage on our heavenly citizenship in his Saints’ Rest: “As Moses, before he died, went up into Mount Nebo, to take a survey of the land of Canaan, so the Christian ascends the Mount of Contemplation, and by faith surveys his rest.…As Daniel in his captivity daily opened his window towards Jerusalem, though far out of sight, when he went to God in his devotions, so may the believing soul, in this captivity of the flesh, look towards ‘Jerusalem which is above’ (Gal. 4.26). And as Paul was to the Colossians (Col. 2.5) so may the believer be with the glorified spirits, ‘though absent in the flesh,’ yet with them ‘in the spirit,’ joying and beholding their heavenly ‘order.’ And as the lark sweetly sings while she soars on high, but is suddenly silenced when she falls to the earth, so is the frame of the soul most delightful and divine while it keeps in the views of God by contemplation. Alas, we make there too short a stay, fall down again, and lay by our music!” (Fawcett’s Ed. p. 327).


See ii. sec. 1; ix. sec. 10; x. sec. 40, note; ibid. sec. 65; and xi. sec. 39, above.


See ix. sec. 24, above; and xiii. sec. 13, below.


See p. 118, note 12, above.

Next: Chapter XVII