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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 12

Early Church Fathers  Index     

12. But concerning true patience, worthy of the name of this virtue, whence it is to be had, must now be inquired. For there are some 2650 who attribute it to the strength of the human will, not which it hath by Divine assistance, but which it hath of free-will. Now this error is a proud one: for it is the error of them which abound, of whom it is said in the Psalm, “A scornful reproof to them which abound, and a despising to the proud.” 2651 It is not therefore that “patience of the poor” which “perisheth not forever.” 2652 For these poor receive it from that Rich One, to Whom is said, “My God art Thou, because my goods Thou needest not:” 2653 of Whom is “every good gift, and every perfect gift;” 2654 to Whom crieth the needy and the poor, and in asking, seeking, knocking, saith, “My God, deliver me from the hand of the sinner, and from the hand of the lawless and unjust: because Thou art my patience, O Lord, my hope from my youth up.” 2655 But these which abound, and disdain to be in want before God, lest they receive of Him true patience, they which glory in their own false patience, seek to “confound the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his hope.” 2656 Nor do they regard, seeing they are men, and attribute so much to their own, that is, to the human will, that they run into that which is written, “Cursed is every one who putteth his hope in man.” 2657 Whence even if it chance them that they do bear up under any hardships or difficulties, either that they may not displease men, or that they may not suffer worse, or in self-pleasing and love of their own presumption, do with most proud will bear up under these same, it is meet that concerning patience this be said unto them, which concerning wisdom the blessed Apostle James saith, “This wisdom cometh not from above, but is earthly, animal, devilish.” 2658 For why may there not be a false patience of the proud, as there is a false wisdom of the proud? But from Whom cometh true wisdom, from Him cometh also true patience. For to Him singeth that poor in spirit, “Unto God is my soul subjected, because from Him is my patience.” 2659





Ps. 123.4Ps. cxxiii. 4


Ps. 9.18Ps. ix. 18


Ps. 16.2Ps. xvi. 2


Jas. 1.17James i. 17


Ps. 71:4, 5Ps. 71:4, 5


Ps. 14.6Ps. xiv. 6


Jer. 17.5Jer. xvii. 5


Jas. 3.15James iii. 15


Ps. 62.5Ps. lxii. 5

Next: Section 13

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