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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 17

Early Church Fathers  Index     

17. Some man may say: “If there be not in the dead any care for the living, how is it that the rich man, who was tormented in hell, asked father Abraham to send Lazarus to his five brothers not as yet dead, and to take course with them, that they should not come themselves also into the same place of torments?” 2750 But does it follow, that because the rich man said this, he knew what his brethren were doing, or what they were suffering at that time? Just in that same way had he care for the living, albeit what they were doing he wist not at all, as we have care for the dead, albeit what they do we confessedly wot not. For if we cared not for the dead, we should not, as we do, supplicate God on their behalf. In fine, Abraham did not send Lazarus, and also answered, that they have here Moses and the Prophets, whom they ought to hear that they might not come to those torments. Where again it occurs to ask, how it was that what was doing here, father Abraham himself wist not, while he knew that Moses and the Prophets are here, that is, their books, by obeying which men should escape the torments of hell: and knew, in short, that rich man to have lived in delights, but the poor man Lazarus to have lived in labors and sorrows? For this also he says to him; “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime hast received good things, but Lazarus evil things.” He knew then these things which had taken place of course among the living, not among the dead. True, but it may be that, not while the things were doing in their lifetime, but after their death, he learned these things, by information of Lazarus: that it be not false which the Prophet saith, “Abraham hath not known us.” 2751



Luke 16.24-29Luke xvi. 24-29


Isa. 63.16Is. lxiii. 16

Next: Section 18

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