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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XIX.—All Men Should Become Lights in the Firmament of Heaven.

24. But first, “Wash you, make you clean;” 1315 put away iniquity from your souls, and from before mine eyes, that the dry land may appear. “Learn to do well; judge the fatherless; plead for the widow,” 1316 that the earth may bring forth the green herb for meat, and the tree bearing fruit; 1317 and come let us reason together, saith the Lord, 1318 that there may be lights in the firmament of heaven, and that they may shine upon the earth. 1319 That rich man asked of the good Master what he should do to attain eternal life. 1320 Let the good Master, whom he thought a man, and nothing more, tell him (but He is “good” because He is God)—let Him tell him, that if he would “enter into life” he must “keep the commandments;” 1321 let him banish from himself the bitterness of malice and wickedness; 1322 let him not kill, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor bear false witness; that the dry land may appear, and bud forth the honouring of father and mother, and the love of our neighbour. 1323 All these, saith he, have I kept. 1324 Whence, then, are there so many thorns, if the earth be fruitful? Go, root up the woody thicket of avarice; sell that thou hast, and be filled with fruit by giving to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and follow the Lord “if thou wilt be perfect,” 1325 coupled with those amongst whom He speaketh wisdom, Who knoweth what to distribute to the day and to the night, that thou also mayest know it, that for thee also there may be lights in the firmament of heaven, which will not be unless thy heart be there; 1326 which likewise also will not be unless thy treasure be there, as thou hast heard from the good Master. But the barren earth was grieved, 1327 and the thorns choked the word. 1328

25. But you, “chosen generation, 1329 you weak things of the world,” who have forsaken all things that you might “follow the Lord,” go after Him, and “confound the things which are mighty;” 1330 go after Him, ye beautiful feet, 1331 and shine in the firmament, 1332 that the heavens may declare His glory, dividing between the light of the perfect, though not as of the angels, and the darkness of the little, though not despised ones. Shine over all the earth, and let the day, lightened by the sun, utter unto day the word of wisdom; and let night, shining by the moon, announce unto night the word of knowledge. 1333 The moon and the stars shine for the night, but the night obscureth them not, since they illumine it in its degree. For behold God (as it were) saying, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven.” There came suddenly a sound from heaven, as it had been the rushing of a mighty wind, and there appeared cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 1334 And there were made lights in the firmament of heaven, having the word of life. 1335 Run ye to and fro everywhere, ye holy fires, ye beautiful fires; for ye are the light of the world, 1336 nor are ye put under a bushel. 1337 He to whom ye cleave is exalted, and hath exalted you. Run ye to and fro, and be known unto all nations.



“He alludes to the sacrament of Baptism.”—W. W.


Isa. 1:16, 19.


Gen. 1:11, 30.


Isa. 1.18.


Gen. 1.15.


Matt. 19.16.


Matt. 19.17.


1 Cor. 5.8.


Matt. 19.16-19.


Matt. 19.20.


Matt. 19.21.


Matt. 6.21.


Matt. 19.22.


Matt. 13:7, 22.


1 Pet. 2.9.


1 Cor. 1.27.


Isa. 52.7.


Dan. 12.3.


Ps. 19.


Acts 2.3.


1 John 1.1.


That is, as having their light from Him who is their central Sun (see p. 76, note 2, above). For it is true of all Christians in relation to their Lord, as he says of John the Baptist (Serm. ccclxxxii. 7): “Johannes lumen illuminatum: Christus lumen illuminans.” See also note 1, above.


Matt. 5.14.

Next: Chapter XX