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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXXII.—Of the Particular Works of God, More Especially of Man.

47. Thanks to Thee, O Lord. We behold the heaven and the earth, whether the corporeal p. 206 part, superior and inferior, or the spiritual and corporeal creature; and in the embellishment of these parts, whereof the universal mass of the world or the universal creation consisteth, we see light made, and divided from the darkness. We see the firmament of heaven, 1424 whether the primary body of the world between the spiritual upper waters and the corporeal lower waters, or—because this also is called heaven—this expanse of air, through which wander the fowls of heaven, between the waters which are in vapours borne above them, and which in clear nights drop down in dew, and those which being heavy flow along the earth. We behold the waters gathered together through the plains of the sea; and the dry land both void and formed, so as to be visible and compact, and the matter of herbs and trees. We behold the lights shining from above,—the sun to serve the day, the moon and the stars to cheer the night; and that by all these, times should be marked and noted. We behold on every side a humid element, fruitful with fishes, beasts, and birds; because the density of the air, which bears up the flights of birds, is increased by the exhalation of the waters. 1425 We behold the face of the earth furnished with terrestrial creatures, and man, created after Thy image and likeness, in that very image and likeness of Thee (that is, the power of reason and understanding) on account of which he was set over all irrational creatures. And as in his soul there is one power which rules by directing, another made subject that it might obey, so also for the man was corporeally made a woman, 1426 who, in the mind of her rational understanding should also have a like nature, in the sex, however, of her body should be in like manner subject to the sex of her husband, as the appetite of action is subjected by reason of the mind, to conceive the skill of acting rightly. These things we behold, and they are severally good, and all very good.



In his Retractations, ii. 6, he says: “Non satis considerate dictum est; res enem in abdito est valde.”


Compare De Gen. con. Manich. ii. 15.


“‘Concipiendam,’ or the reading may be ‘concupiscendam,’ according to St. Augustin’s interpretation of Gen. 3.16, in the De Gen. con. Manich. ii. 15. ‘As an instance hereof was woman made, who is in the order of things made subject to the man; that what appears more evidently in two human beings, the man and the woman, may be contemplated in the one, man; viz. that the inward man, as it were manly reason, should have in subjection the appetite of the soul, whereby we act through the bodily members.’”—E. B. P.

Next: Chapter XXXIII