Enchiridion On Faith, Hope, and Love

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The End of All the Law
121. All the divine precepts are, therefore, referred back to love, of which the apostle says, "Now the end of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience and a faith unfeigned."259 Thus every commandment harks back to love. For whatever one does either in fear of punishment or from some carnal impulse, so that it does not measure up to the standard of love which the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in our hearts--whatever it is, it is not yet done as it should be, although it may seem to be. Love, in this context, of course includes both the love of God and the love of our neighbor and, indeed, "on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets"260--and, we may add, the gospel and the apostles, for from nowhere else comes the voice, "The end of the commandment is love,"261 and, "God is love."262

Therefore, whatsoever things God commands (and one of these is, "Thou shalt not commit adultery"263) and whatsoever things are not positively ordered but are strongly advised as good spiritual counsel (and one of these is, "It is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman"264)--all of these imperatives are rightly obeyed only when they are measured by the standard of our love of God and our love of our neighbor in God [propter Deum]. This applies both in the present age and in the world to come. Now we love God in faith; then, at sight. For, though mortal men ourselves, we do not know the hearts of mortal men. But then "the Lord will illuminate the hidden things in the darkness and will make manifest the cogitations of the heart; and then shall each one have his praise from God"265--for what will be praised and loved in a neighbor by his neighbor is just that which, lest it remain hidden, God himself will bring to light. Moreover, passion decreases as love increases266 until love comes at last to that fullness which cannot be surpassed, "for greater love than this no one has, that a man lay down his life for his friends."267 Who, then, can explain how great the power of love will be, when there will be no passion [cupiditas] for it to restrain or overcome? For, then, the supreme state of true health [summa sanitas] will have been reached, when the struggle with death shall be no more.

122. But somewhere this book must have an end. You can see for yourself whether you should call it an Enchiridion, or use it as one. But since I have judged that your zeal in Christ ought not to be spurned and since I believe and hope for good things for you through the help of our Redeemer, and since I love you greatly as one of the members of his body, I have written this book for you--may its usefulness match its prolixity!--on Faith, Hope, and Love.

1I Cor. 1:20.

2Wis. 6:26 (Vulgate).

3Rom. 16:19.

4A later interpolation, not found in the best MSS., adds, "As no one can exist from himself, so also no one can be wise in himself save only as he is enlightened by Him of whom it is written, 'All wisdom is from God' [Ecclus. 1:1]."

5Job 28:28.

6A transliteration of the Greek egceiridion, literally, a handbook or manual.

7Cf. Gal. 5:6.

8Cf. I Cor. 13:10, 11.

9I Cor. 3:11.

10Already, very early in his ministry (397), Augustine had written De agone Christiano, in which he had reviewed and refuted a full score of heresies threatening the orthodox faith.

11The Apostles' Creed. Cf. Augustine's early essay On Faith and the Creed.

12Joel 2:32.

13Rom. 10:14.

14Lucan, Pharsalia, II, 15.

15Virgil, Aeneid, IV, 419. The context of this quotation is Dido's lament over Aeneas' prospective abandonment of her. She is saying that if she could have foreseen such a disaster, she would have been able to bear it. Augustine's criticism here is a literalistic quibble.

16Heb. 11:1.

17Sacra eloquia--a favorite phrase of Augustine's for the Bible.

18Rom. 8:24, 25 (Old Latin).

19James 2:19.

20One of the standard titles of early Greek philosophical treatises was peri fnsewz, which would translate into Latin as De rerum natura. This is, in fact, the title of Lucretius' famous poem, the greatest philosophical work written in classical Latin.

21This basic motif appears everywhere in Augustine's thought as the very foundation of his whole system.

22This section (Chs. III and IV) is the most explicit statement of a major motif which pervades the whole of Augustinian metaphysics. We see it in his earliest writings, Soliloquies, 1, 2, and De ordine, II, 7. It is obviously a part of the Neoplatonic heritage which Augustine appropriated for his Christian philosophy. The good is positive, constructive, essential; evil is privative, destructive, parasitic on the good. It has its origin, not in nature, but in the will. Cf. Confessions, Bk. VII, Chs. III, V, XII-XVI; On Continence, 14-16; On the Gospel of John, Tractate XCVIII, 7; City of God, XI, 17; XII, 7-9.

23 Isa. 5:20.

24Matt. 12:35.

25This refers to Aristotle's well-known principle of "the excluded middle."

26Matt. 7:18.

27Cf. Matt. 12:33.

28Virgil, Georgios, II, 490.

29Ibid., 479.

30Sed in via pedum, non in via morum.

31Virgil, Eclogue, VIII, 42. The context of the passage is Damon's complaint over his faithless Nyssa; he is here remembering the first time he ever saw her--when he was twelve! Cf. Theocritus, II, 82.

32Cf. Matt. 5:37.

33Cf. Confessions, Bk. X, Ch. XXIII.

34Ad consentium contra mendacium, CSEL (J. Zycha, ed.), Vol. 41, pp. 469‑528; also Migne, PL, 40, c. 517-548; English translation by H.B. Jaffee in Deferrari, St. Augustine: Treatises on Various Subjects (The Fathers of the Church, New York, 1952), pp. 113-179. This had been written about a year earlier than the Enchiridion. Augustine had also written another treatise On Lying much earlier, c. 395; see De mendacio in CSEL (J. Zycha, ed.), Vol. 41, pp. 413-466; Migne, PL, 40, c. 487-518; English translation by M.S. Muldowney in Deferrari, op. cit., pp. 47-109. This summary of his position here represents no change of view whatever on this question.

35Sallust, The War with Catiline, X, 6-7.

36Cf. Acts 12:9.

37Virgil, Aeneid, X, 392.

38This refers to one of the first of the Cassiciacum dialogues, Contra Academicos. The gist of Augustine's refutation of skepticism is in III, 23ff. Throughout his whole career he continued to maintain this position: that certain knowledge begins with self-knowledge. Cf. Confessions, Bk. V, Ch. X, 19; see also City of God, XI, xxvii.

39Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17.

40A direct contrast between suspensus assenso--the watchword of the Academics--and assensio, the badge of Christian certitude.

41See above, VII, 90.

42Matt. 5:37.

43Matt. 6:12.

44Rom. 5:12.

45Cf. Luke 20:36.

46Rom. 4:17.

47Wis. 11:20.

48II Peter 2:19.

49John 8:36.

50Eph. 2:8.

51I Cor. 7:25.

52Eph. 2:8, 9.

53Eph. 2:10.

54Cf. Gal. 6:15; II Cor. 5:17.

55Ps. 51:10.

56Phil. 2:13.

57Rom. 9:16.

58Prov. 8:35 (LXX).

59From the days at Cassiciacum till the very end, Augustine toiled with the mystery of the primacy of God's grace and the reality of human freedom. Of two things he was unwaveringly sure, even though they involved him in a paradox and the appearance of confusion. The first is that God's grace is not only primary but also sufficient as the ground and source of human willing. And against the Pelagians and other detractors from grace, he did not hesitate to insist that grace is irresistible and inviolable. Cf. On Grace and Free Will, 99, 41-43; On the Predestination of the Saints, 19:10; On the Gift of Perseverance, 41; On the Soul and Its Origin, 16; and even the Enchiridion, XXIV, 97.

But he never drew from this deterministic emphasis the conclusion that man is unfree and everywhere roundly rejects the not illogical corollary of his theonomism, that man's will counts for little or nothing except as passive agent of God's will. He insists on responsibility on man's part in responding to the initiatives of grace. For this emphasis, which is characteristically directed to the faithful themselves, see On the Psalms, LXVIII, 7-8; On the Gospel of John, Tractate, 53:6-8; and even his severest anti-Pelagian tracts: On Grace and Free Will, 6-8, 10, 31 and On Admonition and Grace, 2-8.

60Ps. 58:11 (Vulgate).

61Ps. 23:6.

62Cf. Matt. 5:44.

63The theme that he had explored in Confessions, Bks. I-IX. See especially Bk. V, Chs. X, XIII; Bk. VII, Ch. VIII; Bk. IX, Ch. I.

64Cf. Ps. 90:9.

65Job 14:1.

66John 3:36.

67Eph. 2:3.

68Rom. 5:9, 10.

69Rom. 8:14.

70John 1:14.

71Rom. 3:20.

72Epistle CXXXVII, written in 412 in reply to a list of queries sent to Augustine by the proconsul of Africa.

73John 1:1.

74Phil. 2:6, 7.

75These metaphors for contrasting the "two natures" of Jesus Christ were favorite figures of speech in Augustine's Christological thought. Cf. On the Gospel of John, Tractate 78; On the Trinity, I, 7; II, 2; IV, 19-20; VII, 3; New Testament Sermons, 76, 14.

76Luke 1:28-30.

77John 1:14.

78Luke 1:35.

79Matt. 1:20.

80Rom. 1:3.

81Rom. 8:3.

82Cf. Hos. 4:8.

83II Cor. 5:20, 21.

84Virgil, Aeneid, II, 1, 20.

85Num. 21:7 (LXX).

86Matt. 2:20.

87Ex. 32:4.

88Rom. 5:12.

89Deut. 5:9.

90Ezek. 18:2.

91Ps. 51:5.

92I Tim. 2:5.

93Matt. 3:13.

94Luke 3:4; Isa. 40:3.

95Ps. 2:7; Heb. 5:5; cf. Mark 1:9-11.

96Rom. 5:16.

97Rom. 5:18.

98Rom. 6:1.

99Rom. 5:20.

100Rom. 6:2.

101Rom. 6:3.

102Rom. 6:4-11.

103Gal. 5:24.

104Col. 3:1-3.

105Col. 3:4.

106John 5:29.

107Ps. 54:1.

108Cf. Matt. 25:32, 33.

109Ps. 43:1.

110Reading the classical Latin form poscebat (as in Scheel and PL) for the late form poxebat (as in Riviere and many old MSS.).

111Cf. Ps. 113:3.

112Here reading unum deum (with Rivire and PL) against deum (in Scheel).

113A hyperbolic expression referring to "the saints." Augustine's Scriptural backing for such an unusual phrase is Ps. 82:6 and John 10:34f. But note the firm distinction between ex diis quos facit and non factus Deus.

114I Cor. 6:19.

115I Cor. 6:15.

116Col. 1:18.

117John 2:19.

118II Peter 2:4 (Old Latin).

119Heb. 1:13.

120Ps. 148:2 (LXX).

121Co1. 1:16.

122Zech. 1:9.

123Matt. 1:20.

124Gen. 18:4; 19:2.

125Gen. 32:24.

126Rom. 8:31, 32.

127Cf. Eph. 1:10.

128Col. 1:19, 20.

129Cf. I Cor. 13:9, 12

130Cf. Luke 20:36.

131I Cor. 13:12.

132Cf. Luke 15:24.

133Rom. 8:14.

134I John 1:8.

135In actione poenitentiae; cf. Luther's similar conception of poenitentiam agite in the 95 Theses and in De poenitentia.

136Ps. 51:17.

137Ps. 38:9.

138II Cor. 1:22.

139Ecclus. 40:1 (Vulgate).

140I Cor. 11:31, 32.

141This chapter supplies an important clue to the date of the Enchiridion and an interesting side light on Augustine's inclination to re-use "good material." In his treatise on The Eight Questions of Dulcitius (De octo Dulcitii quaestionibus), 1: 10-13, Augustine quotes this entire chapter as a part of his answer to the question whether those who sin after baptism are ever delivered from hell. The date of the De octo is 422 or, possibly, 423; thus we have a terminus ad quem for the date of the Enchiridion. Still the best text of De octo is Migne, PL, 40, c. 147-170, and the best English translation is in Deferrari, St. Augustine: Treatises on Various Subjects (The Fathers of the Church, New York, 1952), pp. 427-466.

142A short treatise, written in 413, in which Augustine seeks to combine the Pauline and Jacobite emphases by analyzing what kind of faith and what kind of works are both essential to salvation. The best text is that of Joseph Zycha in CSEL, Vol. 41, pp. 35-97; but see also Migne, PL, 40, c. 197-230. There is an English translation by C.L. Cornish in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church; Seventeen Short Treatises, pp. 37-84.

143Gal. 5:6.

144James 2:17.

145James 2:14.

146I Cor. 3:15.

147I Cor. 6:9, 10.

148I Cor. 3:11, 12.

149I Cor. 3:11-15.

150Ecclus. 27:5.

151Cf. I Cor. 7:32, 33

152See above, XVIII, 67.

153Matt. 25:34, 41.

154Ecclus. 15:20.

155John 3:5.

156Matt. 6:9-12.

157Cf. Luke 11 :41.

158This is a close approximation of the medieval lists of "The Seven Works of Mercy." Cf. J.T. McNeill, A History of the Cure of Souls, pp. 155, 161. (Harper & Brothers, 1951, New York.)

159Matt. 5:44.

160John 14:6.

161Matt. 6:14, 15.

162Luke 11:37-41.

163Acts 15:9.

164Titus 1:15.

165Ecclus. 30:24 (Vulgate).

166Rom. 5:16.

167Rom. 5:8.

168Luke 10:27.

169Luke 11:42.

170Matt. 23:26.

171Ps. 10:6 (Vulgate).

172Ps. 58:11 (Vulgate); cf. Ps. 59:10 (R.S.V.).

173I Cor. 7:5 (mixed text).

174I Cor. 6:1.

175I Cor. 6:4-6.

176I Cor. 6:7a.

177I Cor. 6:7b.

178Matt. 5:40.

179Luke 6:30.

180James 3:2 (Vulgate).

181Matt. 5:22, 23.

182Gal. 4:11 (Vulgate).

183Ps. 10:3 (Vulgate).

184Isa. 5:7 (LXX).

185Gen. 18:20 (Vulgate with one change).

186For example, Contra Faust., XXII, 78; De pecc. meritis et remissione, I, xxxix, 70; ibid., II, xxii, 26; Quaest. in Heptateuch, 4:24; De libero arbitrio, 3:18, 55; De div. quaest., 83:26; De natura et gratia, 67:81; Contra duas ep. Pelag., I:3, 7; I:13:27.

187Ps. 27:1.

188II Tim. 2:25 (mixed text).

189Cf. Luke 22:61.

190Cf. John 20:22, 23.

191This libellus is included in Augustine's Sermons (LXXI, PL, 38, col. 445-467), to which Possidius gave the title De blasphemia in Spiritum Sanctum. English translation in N-PNF, 1st Series, Vol. VI, Sermon XXI, pp. 318-332.

192Sicut semina quae concepta non fuerint.

193Jerome, Epistle to Vitalis, Ep. LXXII, 2; PL, 22, 674. Augustine also refers to similar phenomena in The City of God, XVI. viii, 2.

194Gal. 5:17.

195I Cor. 15:40.

196I Cor. 15:50.

197I Cor. 15:44.

198Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14.

199Ps. 100:1 (Vulgate); cf. Ps. 101:1 (R.S.V.).

200Matt. 11:21.

201This is one of the rare instances in which a textual variant in Augustine's text affects a basic issue in the interpretation of his doctrine. All but one of the major old editions, up to and including Migne, here read: Nec utique deus injuste noluit salvos fiere eum possent salvi esse SI VELLENT (if they willed it). This would mean the attribution of a decisive role in human salvation to the human will and would thus stand out in bold relief from his general stress in the rest of the Enchiridion and elsewhere on the primacy and even irresistibility of grace. The Jansenist edition of Augustine, by Arnauld in 1648, read SI VELLET (if He willed it) and the reading became the subject of acrimonious controversy between the Jansenists and the Molinists. The Maurist edition reads si vellet, on the strength of much additional MS. evidence that had not been available up to that time. In modern times, the si vellet reading has come to have the overwhelming support of the critical editors, although Rivire still reads si vellent. Cf. Scheel, 76-77 (See Bibl.); Rivire, 402-403; J.=G. Krabinger, S. Aurelii Augustini Enchiridion (TŸbingen, 1861 ), p. 116; Faure-Passaglia, S. Aurelii Augustini Enchiridion (Naples, 1847), p. 178; and H. Hurter, Sanctorum Patrum opuscula selecta (Innsbruck, 1895), p. 123.

202Cf. Ps. 113:11 (a mixed text; composed inexactly from Ps. 115:3 and Ps. 135:6; an interesting instance of Augustine's sense of liberty with the texts of Scripture. Here he is doubtless quoting from memory).

203I Tim. 2:4.

204Matt. 23:37.

205Rom. 9:18.

206Rom. 9:11, 12.

207Cf. Mal. 1:2, 3 and Rom. 9:13.

208Rom. 9:14.

209Rom. 9:15.

210Rom. 9:15; see above, IX, 32.

211Eph. 2:3.

212Rom. 9:16.

213I Cor. 1 :31; cf. Jer. 9:24. The religious intention of Augustine's emphasis upon divine sovereignty and predestination is never so much to account for the doom of the wicked as to underscore the sheer and wonderful gratuity of salvation.

214Rom. 9:17; cf. Ex. 9:16.

215Rom. 9:19.

216Rom. 9:20, 21.

217I Cor. 1:31.

218Ps. 110:2 (Vulgate).

219Matt. 16:23.

220Acts 21:10-12.

221I Tim. 2:4.

222John 1:9.

223I Tim. 2:1.

224I Tim. 2:2.

225I Tim. 2:3.

226I Tim. 2:4.

227Luke 11:42.

228Ps. 135:6.

229Another example of Augustine's wordplay. Man's original capacities included both the power not to sin and the power to sin (posse non peccare et posse peccare). In Adam's original sin, man lost the posse non peccare (the power not to sin) and retained the posse peccare (the power to sin)--which he continues to exercise. In the fulfillment of grace, man will have the posse peccare taken away and receive the highest of all, the power not to be able to sin, non posse peccare. Cf. On Correction and Grace XXXIII.

230Again, a wordplay between posset non mori and non possit mori.

231Prov. 8:35 (LXX).

232Rom. 6:23.

233Cf. John 1:16.

234Rom. 9:21.

235I Tim. 2:5 (mixed text).

236Rom. 14:10; II Cor. 5:10.

237Cf. Ps. 77:9.

238Rom. 9:23.

239Matt. 25:46.

240Cf. Ps. 31:19.

241Note the artificial return to the triadic scheme of the treatise: faith, hope, and love.

242Jer. 17:5.

243Matt. 6:9, 10.

244Matt. 6:11-13.

245Luke 11:2-4.

246Matt. 7:7.

247Another wordplay on cupiditas and caritas.

248An interesting resemblance here to Freud's description of the Id, the primal core of our unconscious life.

249Rom. 3:20.

250II Peter 2:19.

251Rom. 5:20.

252Compare the psychological notion of the effect of external moral pressures and their power to arouse guilt feelings, as in Freud's notion of "superego."

253Gal. 5:17.

254Wis. 11:21 (Vulgate).

255Cf. John 1:17.

256John 3:8.

257Rom. 14:9.

258Cf. Ps. 88:5.

259ITim. 1:5.

260Matt. 22:40.

2611Tim. 1:5.

262I John 4:16.

263Ex. 20:14; Matt. 5:27; etc.

264I Cor. 7:1.

265I Cor. 4:5.

266Minuitur autem cupiditas caritate crescente.

267John 15:23.

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