Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Augustine rediscovered

I'm slogging my way through City of God -- many reasons behind this. In part, I believe that a lot of the gobbledygook that floats about as Christian teaching is easily countered when we have a rich vibrant connection to the past -- I believe in giving our predecessors in the faith a voice in the conversation.

It's a mental equivalent of double chocolate cake with cream cheese icing -- rich and deservedly slow going. I'm in book 5 now, where Augustine begins to work out some of the differences between fatalism and God's sovereignty. Smack in the middle of this heady theological disputation is this wonderful spouting forth of praise of God's work of creation and providence -- just thought I'd share with you (read slowly and let each phrase linger in your mind for a bit):

“Therefore God supreme and true, with His Word and Holy Spirit (which three are one), one God omnipotent, creator and maker of every soul and of every body; by whose gift all are happy who are happy through verity and not through vanity; who made man a rational animal consisting of soul and body, who, when he sinned, neither permitted him to go unpunished, nor left him without mercy; who has given to the good and to the evil, being in common with stones, vegetable life in common with trees, sensuous life in common with brutes, intellectual life in common with angels alone; from whom is every mode, every species, every order; from whom are measure, number, weight; from whom is everything which has an existence in nature, of whatever kind it be, and of whatever value; from whom are the seeds of forms and the forms of seeds, and the motion of seeds and forms; who gave also to flesh its origin, beauty, health, reproductive fecundity, disposition of members, and the salutary concord of its parts; who also to the irrational soul has given memory, sense, appetite, but to the rational soul, in addition to these, has given intelligence and will; who has not left, not even to speak of heaven and earth, angels and men, but not even the entrails of the smallest and most contemptable animal or the feather of a bird, or the little flower of a plant, or the leaf of a tree, without an harmony, and, as it were, a mutual peace among all its parts; — that God can never be believed to have left the kingdoms of men, their dominations and servitudes, outside of the laws of His providence.”

Soli Deo Gloria