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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXXI.—We Do Not See “That It Was Good” But Through the Spirit of God Which is in Us.

46. But as for those who through Thy Spirit see these things, Thou seest in them. When therefore, they see that these things are good, Thou seest that they are good; and whatsoever things for Thy sake are pleasing, Thou art pleased in them; and those things which through Thy Spirit are pleasing unto us, are pleasing unto Thee in us. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we,” saith he, “have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” 1420 And I am reminded to say, “Truly, ‘the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God;’ how, then, do we also know ‘what things are given us by God’?” It is answered unto me, “Because the things which we know by His Spirit, even these ‘knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.’ For, as it is rightly said unto those who were to speak by the Spirit of God, ‘It is not ye that speak,’ 1421 so is it rightly said to them who know by the Spirit of God, ‘It is not ye that know.’ None the less, then, is it rightly said to those that see by the Spirit of God, ‘It is not ye that see;’ so whatever they see by the Spirit of God that it is good, it is not they, but God who ‘sees that it is good.’” It is one thing, then, for a man to suppose that to be bad which is good, as the fore-named do; another, that what is good a man should see to be good (as Thy creatures are pleasing unto many, because they are good, whom, however, Thou pleasest not in them when they wish to enjoy them rather than enjoy Thee); and another, that when a man sees a thing to be good, God should in him see that it is good,—that in truth He may be loved in that which He made, 1422 who cannot be loved unless by the Holy Ghost, which He hath given. “Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us;” 1423 by whom we see that whatsoever in any degree is, is good. Because it is from Him who Is not in any degree, but He Is that He Is.



1 Cor. 2.12.


Matt. 10.20.


See the end of note 1, p. 74.


Rom. 5.5.

Next: Chapter XXXII