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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 18

Early Church Fathers  Index     

18. So then we must confess that the dead indeed do not know what is doing here, but while it is in doing here: afterwards, however, they hear it from those who from hence go to them at their death; not indeed every thing, but what things those are allowed to make known who are suffered also to remember these things; and which it is meet for those to hear, whom they inform of the same. It may be also, that from the Angels, who are present in the things which are doing here, the dead do hear somewhat, which for each one of them to hear He judgeth right to Whom all things are subject. For were there not Angels, who could be present in places both of quick and dead, the Lord Jesus had not said, “It came to pass also that the poor man died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.” 2752 Therefore, now here, now there, were they able to be, who from hence bore thither whom God willed. It may be also, that the spirits of the dead do learn some things which are doing here, what things it is necessary that they should know, and what persons it is necessary should know the same, not only things past or present, but even future, by the Spirit of God revealing them: like as not all men, but the Prophets while they lived here did know, nor even they all things, but only what things to be revealed to them the providence of God judged meet. Moreover, that some from the dead are sent to the living, as, on the other hand, Paul from the living was rapt into Paradise, divine Scripture doth testify. 2753 For Samuel the Prophet, appearing to Saul when living, predicted even what should befall the king: 2754 although some think it was not Samuel himself, that could have been by magical arts evoked, but that some spirit, meet for so evil works, did figure his semblance: 2755 though the book Ecclesiasticus, which Jesus, son of Sirach, is reputed to have written, and which on account of some resemblance of style is pronounced to be Solomon’s, 2756 contains in the praise of the Fathers, that Samuel even when dead did prophesy. But if this book be spoken against from the canon of the Hebrews, 2757 (because it is not contained therein,) what shall we say of Moses, whom certainly we read both in Deuteronomy to have died, 2758 and in the Gospel to have, together with Elias who died not, appeared unto the living? 2759



Luke 16.22Luke xvi. 22


2 Cor. 12.42 Cor. xii. 4


1 Sam. 28.11-191 Sam. xxviii. 11-19


Quæst. ad Simplicianum, lib. ii. qu. 4.


Retract. ii. 4, and “On Christian Doctrine,” book ii. chap. viii., vol. ii. p. 539. Ben. ed.


Ecclus. 46.20Ecclus. xlvi. 20


Deut. 34.5Deut. xxxiv. 5


Matt. 17.3

Next: Section 19