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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXX.—In the Great Diversity of Opinions, It Becomes All to Unite Charity and Divine Truth.

41. In this diversity of true opinions let Truth itself beget concord; 1162 and may our God have mercy upon us, that we may use the law lawfully, 1163 the end of the commandment, pure charity. 1164 And by this if any one asks of me, “Which of these was the meaning of Thy servant Moses?” these were not the utterances of my confessions, should I not confess unto Thee, “I know not;” and yet I know that those opinions are true, with the exception of those carnal ones concerning which I have spoken what I thought well. However, these words of Thy Book affright not those little ones of good hope, treating few of high things in a humble fashion, and few things in varied ways. 1165 But let all, whom I acknowledge to see and speak the truth in these words, love one another, and equally love Thee, our God, fountain of truth,—if we thirst not for vain things, but for it; yea, let us so honour this servant of Thine, the dispenser of this Scripture, full of Thy Spirit, as to believe that when Thou revealedst Thyself to him, and he wrote these things, he intended that which in them chiefly excels both for light of truth and fruitfulness of profit.



See p. 164, note 2, above.


1 Tim. 1.8.


See p. 183, note, above; and on the supremacy of this law of love, may be compared Jeremy Taylor’s curious story (Works, iv. 477, Eden’s ed.): “St. Lewis, the king, having sent Ivo, Bishop of Chartres, on an embassy, the bishop met a woman on the way, grave, sad, fantastic, and melancholy, with fire in one hand, and water in the other. He asked what those symbols meant. She answered, ‘My purpose is with fire to burn Paradise, and with my water to quench the flames of hell, that men may serve God without the incentives of hope and fear, and purely for the love of God.’”


See end of note 17, p. 197, below.

Next: Chapter XXXI