The Enchiridion, on Faith, Hope and Charity day 4

Theological Virtues Per St Augustine, Doctor of the Church, Bishop of Hippo: (354-430AD) Ch.#25-32

The Enchiridion, or Handbook, is addressed to Laurentius, in answer to his questions. One manuscript calls him a deacon, another a notary of the city of Rome. St. Augustine wrote it sometime after the death of Jerome (September 30, 420), for he alludes in Chapter 87 to Jerome of blessed memory. St Jerome is one of four Doctors of the Church in this age, and baptized St Augustine into “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Faith: [cont. ch. #25-32]

Chapter 25. God’s Judgments Upon Fallen Men and Angels. The Death of the Body is Man’s Peculiar Punishment.

And yet such a nature, in the midst of all its evils, could not lose the craving after happiness. Now the evils, I have mentioned are common to all who for their wickedness have been justly condemned by God, whether they be men or angels. But there is one form of punishment peculiar to man — the death of the body. God had threatened him with this punishment of death if he should sin, leaving him indeed to the freedom of his own will, but yet commanding his obedience under pain of death; and He placed him amid the happiness of Eden, as it were in a protected nook of life, with the intention that, if he preserved his righteousness, he should thence ascend to a better place.

Chapter 26. Through Adam’s Sin His Whole Posterity Were Corrupted, and Were Born Under the Penalty of Death, Which He Had Incurred.

Thence, after his sin, he was driven into exile, and by his sin the whole race of which he was the root was corrupted in him, and thereby subjected to the penalty of death. And so it happens that all descended from him, and from the woman who had led him into sin, and was condemned at the same time with him — being the offspring of carnal lust on which the same punishment of disobedience was visited — were tainted with the original sin, and were by it drawn through various errors and sufferings into that last and endless punishment which they suffer in common with the fallen angels, their corrupters and masters, and the partakers of their doom. And thus by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. By the world the apostle, of course, means in this place the whole human race.

Chapter 27. The State of Misery to Which Adam’s Sin Reduced Mankind, and the Restoration Effected Through the Mercy of God.

Thus, then, matters stood. The whole mass of the human race condemnation, was lying steeped and wallowing in misery, and was being tossed from one form of evil to another, and, having joined the faction of the fallen angels, was paying the well-merited penalty of that impious rebellion. For whatever the wicked freely do through blind and unbridled lust, and whatever they suffer against their will in the way of open punishment, this all evidently pertains to the just wrath of God. But the goodness of the Creator never fails either to supply life and vital power to the wicked angels (without which their existence would soon come to an end); or, in the case of mankind, who spring from a condemned and corrupt stock, to impart form and life to their seed, to fashion their members, and through the various seasons of their life, and in the different parts of the earth, to quicken their senses, and bestow upon them the nourishment they need. For He judged it better to bring good out of evil, than not to permit any evil to exist. And if He had determined that in the case of men, as in the case of the fallen angels, there should be no restoration to happiness, would it not have been quite just, that the being who rebelled against God, who in the abuse of his freedom spurned and transgressed the command of his Creator when he could so easily have kept it, who defaced in himself the image of his Creator by stubbornly turning away from His light, who by an evil use of his free-will broke away from his wholesome bondage to the Creator’s laws— would it not have been just that such a being should have been wholly and to all eternity deserted by God, and left to suffer the everlasting punishment he had so richly earned? Certainly so God would have done, had He been only just and not also merciful, and had He not designed that His unmerited mercy should shine forth the more brightly in contrast with the unworthiness of its objects.

Chapter 28. When the Rebellious Angels Were Cast Out, the Rest Remained in the Enjoyment of Eternal Happiness with God.

Whilst some of the angels, then, in their pride and impiety rebelled against God, and were cast down from their heavenly abode into the lowest darkness, the remaining number dwelt with God in eternal and unchanging purity and happiness. For all were not sprung from one angel, who had fallen and been condemned, so that they were not all, like men, involved by one original sin in the bonds of an inherited guilt, and so made subject to the penalty which one had incurred; but when he, who afterwards became the devil, was with his associates in crime exalted in pride, and by that very exaltation was with them cast down, the rest remained steadfast in piety and obedience order, and obtained, what before they had not enjoyed, a sure and certain knowledge of their eternal safety, and freedom from the possibility of falling.

Our Lady, Queen of Angels

Chapter 29. The Restored Part of Humanity Shall, in Accordance with the Promises of God, Succeed to the Place Which the Rebellious Angels Lost.

And so it pleased God, the Creator and Governor of the universe, that, since the whole body of the angels had not fallen into rebellion, the part of them which had fallen should remain in perdition eternally, and that the other part, which had in the rebellion remained steadfastly loyal, should rejoice in the sure and certain knowledge of their eternal happiness; but that, on the other hand, mankind ,who constituted the remainder of the intelligent creation, having perished without exception under sin, both original and actual, and the consequent punishments, should be in part restored, and should fill up the gap which the rebellion and fall of the devils had left in the company of the angels. For this is the promise to the saints, that at the resurrection they shall be equal to the angels of God. And thus the Jerusalem which is above, which is the mother of us all, the City of God, shall not be spoiled of any of the number of her citizens, shall perhaps reign over even a more abundant population. We do not know the number either of the saints or of the devils; but we know that the children of the holy mother who was called barren on earth shall succeed to the place of the fallen angels, and shall dwell for ever in that peaceful abode from which they fell. But the number of the citizens, whether as it now is or as it shall be, is present to the thoughts of the great Creator, who calls those things which are not as though they were, and orders all things in measure, and number, and weight.

Chapter 30. Men are Not Saved by Good Works, Nor by the Free Determination of Their Own Will, But by the Grace of God Through Faith.

But this part of the human race to which God has promised pardon and a share in His eternal kingdom, can they be restored through the merit of their own works? God forbid. For what good work can a lost man perform, except so far as he has been delivered from perdition? Can they do anything by the free determination of their own will? Again I say, God forbid. For it was by the evil use of his free-will that man destroyed both it and himself. For, as a man who kills himself must, of course, be alive when he kills himself, but after he has killed himself ceases to live, and cannot restore himself to life; so, when man by his own free-will sinned, then sin being victorious over him, the freedom of his will was lost. For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. This is the judgment of the Apostle Peter. And as it is certainly true, what kind of liberty, I ask, can the bond-slave possess, except when it pleases him to sin? For he is freely in bondage who does with pleasure the will of his master. Accordingly, he who is the servant of sin is free to sin. And hence he will not be free to do right, until, being freed from sin, he shall begin to be the servant of righteousness. And this is true liberty, for he has pleasure in the righteous deed; and it is at the same time a holy bondage, for he is obedient to the will of God. But whence comes this liberty to do right to the man who is in bondage and sold under sin, except he be redeemed by Him who has said, If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed? And before this redemption is wrought in a man, when he is not yet free to do what is right, how can he talk of the freedom of his will and his good works, except he be inflated by that foolish pride of boasting which the apostle restrains when he says, “By grace are you saved, through faith.” (Eph2:8)

Chapter 31. Faith Itself is the Gift of God; And Good Works Will Not Be Wanting in Those Who Believe.

And lest men should arrogate to themselves the merit of their own faith at least, not understanding that this too is the gift of God, this same apostle, who says in another place that he had obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful, here also adds: and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph2:9). And lest it should be thought that good works will be wanting in those who believe, he adds further: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. We shall be made truly free, then, when God fashions us, that is, forms and creates us anew, not as men — for He has done that already — but as good men, which His grace is now doing, that we may be a new creation in Christ Jesus, according as it is said: Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Ps51:10).For God had already created his heart, so far as the physical structure of the human heart is concerned; but the psalmist prays for the renewal of the life which was still lingering in his heart.

Augustine’s Baptism by St Ambrose Icon

Chapter 32. The Freedom of the Will is Also the Gift of God, for God Works in Us Both to Will and to Do.

And further, should any one be inclined to boast, not indeed of his works, but of the freedom of his will, as if the first merit belonged to him, this very liberty of good action being given to him as a reward he had earned, let him listen to this same preacher of grace, when he says: For it is God which works in you, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure; and in another place: So, then, it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy. Now as, undoubtedly, if a man is of the age to use his reason, he cannot believe,hope, love, unless he will to do so, nor obtain the prize of the high calling of God unless he voluntarily run for it; in what sense is it not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy, except that, as it is written, the preparation of the heart is from the Lord? (Prov16:1) Otherwise, if it is said, It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy, (Rom(9:16) because it is of both, that is, both of the will of man and of the mercy of God, so that we are to understand the saying, It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy, as if it meant the will of man alone is not sufficient, if the mercy of God go not with it — then it will follow that the mercy of God alone is not sufficient, if the will of man go not with it; and therefore, if we may rightly say, it is not of man that wills, but of God that shows mercy, because the will of man by itself is not enough, why may we not also rightly put it in the converse way: It is not of God that shows mercy, but of man that wills, because the mercy of God by itself does not suffice? Surely, if no Christian will dare to say this, It is not of God that shows mercy, but of man that wills, lest he should openly contradict the apostle, it follows that the true interpretation of the saying, It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy, is that the whole work belongs to God, who both makes the will of man righteous, and thus prepares it for assistance, and assists it when it is prepared. For the man’s righteousness of will precedes many of God’s gifts, but not all; and it must itself be included among those which it does not precede. We read in Holy Scripture, both that, God’s mercy shall meet me, and that His mercy shall follow me. (Ps59:10). It goes before the unwilling to make him willing; it follows the willing to make his will effectual. Why are we taught to pray for our enemies, who are plainly unwilling to lead a holy life, unless that God may work willingness in them? And why are we ourselves taught to ask that we may receive, unless that He who has created in us the wish, may Himself satisfy the wish? We pray, then, for our enemies, that the mercy of God may prevent them, as it has prevented us: we pray for ourselves that His mercy may follow us.

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