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S. AUGUSTINE

CONCERNING

FAITH OF THINGS NOT SEEN.

This tract was thought spurious by some, but is known to be St. Augustine's

by his mention of it in Ep. ccxxxi. ad Darium Comitem. It seems to have been written after 399, from what is said about Idols, $. 10; for in that year Honorius enacted laws against them. From Ben. The reader of Butler's Analogy will recognise many similar turns of thought.

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1. THERE are who think that the Christian religion is de fide what we should smile at, rather than hold fast, for this reason, that, in it, not what may be seen, is shewn, but men NON VIare commanded faith of things which are not seen. We

i. therefore, that we may refute these, who seem to themselves through prudence to be unwilling to believe what they cannot see, although we are not able to shew unto human sight those divine things which we believe, yet do shew unto human minds that even those things which are not seen are to be believed. And first they are to be admonished, (whom folly hath so made subject to their carnal eyes, as that, whatsoever they see not through them, they think not that they are to believe, how many things they not only believe but also know, which cannot be seen by such eyes. Which things being without number in our mind itself, (the nature of which mind is incapable of being seen,) not to mention others, the very faith 'whereby we believe, or the thought whereby we know that we either believe any thing, or believe not, being as it is altogether alien from the sight of those eyes ; what so naked, so clear, what so certain is there to the inner eyes of our minds? How then are we not to believe what we see not with the eyes of the body, whereas, either that we believe, or that we believe not, in a case where we cannot apply the eyes of the body, we without any doubt see?

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Minis and wills of men known without sight. DEFIDH 2 :But; isay they, ihose things which are in the mind, in

that we can by the mind itself discern them, we hare no need to know through the eyes of the body; but those things, which you say unto us that we should believe, you neither point to without, that through the eyes of the body we may know them; nor are they within, in our own mind, that by exercising thought we may see them. And these things they so say, as though any one would be bidden to believe, if that, which is believed, he could already see set before

him. Therefore certainly ought we to believe certain mere- temporal things also, which we see not, that we may merit?

to see eternal things also, which we believe. But, whosoever thou art who wilt not believe save what thou seest, lo, bodies that are present thou seest with the eyes of the body, wills and thoughts of thine own that are present, because they are in thine own mind, thou seest by the mind itself; tell me, I pray thee, thy friend's will towards thee by what eyes seest thou? For no will can be seen by the eyes of the body. What? see you in your own mind this also which is going on in the mind of another? But if you see it not, how do you repay in turn the good will of your friend, if what you cannot see, you believe not? Will you haply say that you see the will of another through his works? Therefore you will see acts, and hear words, but, concerning your friend's will, that which cannot be seen and heard you will believe. For that will is not colour or figure, so as to be thrown upon the

eyes; or sound or strain, so as to glide into the ears; por 2. affec- indeed is it your own, so as to be perceived by the motion?

of your own heart. It remains therefore that, being neither seen, nor heard, nor beheld within thyself, it be believed, that thy life be not left deserted without any friendship, or affection bestowed upon thee be not repaid by thee in return, Where then is that which thou saidest, that thou oughtest not to believe, save what thou sawest either outwardly in the body, or inwardly in the heart ? Lo, out of thine own heart, thou believest an heart not thine own; and lendest thy faith, where thou dost not direct the glance of thy body or of thy mind. Thy friend's face thou discernest by thy own body, thy own faith thou discernest by thine own mind; but thy friend's faith is not loved by thee, unless there

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Ventures made for trial shew some belief.

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be in thee in return that faith, whereby thou mayest believe QUÆ that which in him thou seest not. Although a man may also deceive by feigning good will, and hiding malice: or, if he have no thought to do harm, yet by expecting some benefit from thee, feigns, because he has not, love.

3. But you say, that you therefore believe your friend, whose heart you cannot see, because you have proved him in your trials, and have come to know of what manner of spirit he was towards you in your dangers, wherein he deserted you not.

Seemeth it therefore to you that we must wish for our own affliction, that our friends' love towards us may be proved? And shall no man be happy in most sure friends, unless he shall be unhappy through adversity? so that, forsooth, he enjoy not the tried love of the other, unless he be racked by pain and fear of his own ? And how in the haring of true friends can that happiness be wished for, and not rather feared, which nothing save unhappiness can put to the proof? And yet it is true that a friend may be had also in prosperity, but proved more surely in adversity. But assuredly in order to prove him, neither would you ii. commit yourself to dangers of your own, unless you believed; and thus, when you commit yourself in order to prove, you believe before you prove. For surely, if we ought not to believe things not seen', since indeed we believe the hearts of our friends, and that, not yet surely proved ; and, after we shall have proved them good by our own ills, even then we believe rather than see their good will towards us: except that so great is faith, that, not unsuitably, we judge that we see, with certain eyes of it, that which we believe, whereas we ought therefore to believe, because we cannot see.

4. If this faith be taken away from human affairs, who but must observe how great disorder in them, and how fearful confusion must follow? For who will be loved by any with mutual affection, (being that the loving' itself is in- ' dilectio visible, if what I see not, I ought not to believe? There

· The text seems corrupt. A Ms. will be, For certainly if you will not in Brasenose Library reads, si non have us believe things unseen, we ought sis rebus credere. If we read 'Si non not (to believe this,) since &c.' vis rebus non visis credere,' the sense

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