Theological Virtues Per St Augustine, Doctor of the Church, Bishop of Hippo (354-430 AD)
The author usually calls the book On Faith, Hope and Love, because he treats the subject under these three heads cf. (1Cor13:13). He follows under the first head the order of the Apostles’ Creed, and refutes, without naming them, the Manichaan, Apollinarian, Arian,the and Pelagian heresies. Under the second head he gives a brief exposition of the Lord’s Prayer. The third part is a discourse on Christian Charity.
Faith; cont. (Chapters 53 – 56)
Chapter 53. Christ’s Cross and Burial, Resurrection, Ascension, and Sitting Down at the Right Hand of God, are Images of the Christian Life.
All the events, then, of Christ’s crucifixion, of His burial, of His resurrection the third day, of His ascension into heaven, of His sitting down at the right hand of the Father, were so ordered, that the life which the Christian leads here might be modeled upon them, not merely in a mystical sense, but in reality. For in reference to His crucifixion it is said: They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. And in reference to His burial: We are buried with Him by baptism into death. In reference to His resurrection: That, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. And in reference to His ascension into heaven and sitting down at the right hand of the Father: If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where “Christ sits on the right hand of God.” [Col3:1; Mt22:44; Act2:33]; Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Chapter 54. Christ’s Second Coming Does Not Belong to the Past, But Will Take Place at the End of the World.
But what we believe as to Christ’s action in the future, when He shall come from heaven to judge the quick and the dead, has no bearing upon the life which we now lead here; for it forms no part of what He did upon earth, but is part of what He shall do at the end of the world. And it is to this that the apostle refers in what immediately follows the passage quoted above: When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory.
Chapter 55. The Expression, Christ Shall Judge the Quick and the Dead, May Be Understood in Either of Two Senses.
Now the expression, to judge the quick and the dead, may be interpreted in two ways: either we may understand by the quick those who at His advent shall not yet have died, but whom He shall find alive in the flesh, and by the dead those who have departed from the body, or who shall have departed before His coming; or we may understand the quick to mean the righteous, and the dead the unrighteous; for the righteous shall be judged as well as others. Now the judgment of God is sometimes taken in a bad sense, as, for example, They that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment; sometimes in a good sense, as, Save me, O God, by Your name, and “judge me by Your strength.” (Ps54:1). This is easily understood when we consider that it is the judgment of God which separates the good from the evil, and sets the good at His right hand, that they may be delivered from evil, and not destroyed with the wicked; and it is for this reason that the Psalmist cried, “Judge me, O God”, and then added, as if in explanation, and “distinguish my cause from that of an ungodly nation.” (Ps43:1)
Chapter 56. The Holy Ghost and the Church. The Church is the Temple of God.
And now, having spoken of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, our Lord, with the brevity suitable to a confession of our faith, we go on to say that we believe also in the Holy Ghost — thus completing the Trinity which constitutes the Godhead. Then we mention the Holy Church. And thus we are made to understand that the intelligent creation, which constitutes the free Jerusalem, ought to be subordinate in the order of speech to the Creator, the Supreme Trinity: for all that is said of the man Christ Jesus has reference, of course, to the unity of the person of the Only-begotten. Therefore the true order of the Creed demanded that the Church should be made subordinate to the Trinity, as the house to Him who dwells in it, the temple to God who occupies it, and the city to its builder. And we are here to understand the whole Church, not that part of it only which wanders as a stranger on the earth, praising the name of God from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, and singing a new song of deliverance from its old captivity; but that part also which has always from its creation remained steadfast to God in heaven, and has never experienced the misery consequent upon a fall. This part is made up of the holy angels, who enjoy uninterrupted happiness; and (as it is bound to do) it renders assistance to the part which is still wandering among strangers: for these two parts shall be one in the fellowship of eternity, and now they are one in the bonds of love, the whole having been ordained for the worship of the one God. Wherefore, neither the whole Church, nor any part of it, has any desire to be worshiped instead of God, nor to be God to any one who belongs to the temple of God — that temple which is built up of the saints who were created by the uncreated God. And therefore the Holy Ghost, if a creature, could not be the Creator, but would be a part of the intelligent creation. He would simply be the highest creature, and therefore would not be mentioned in the Creed before the Church; for He Himself would belong to the Church, to that part of it which is in the heavens. And He would not have a temple, for He Himself would be part of a temple. Now He has a temple, of which the apostle says: Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which you have of God? Of which body he says in another place: Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? How, then, is He not God, seeing that He has a temple? And how can He be less than Christ, whose members are His temple? Nor has He one temple, and God another, seeing that the same apostle says: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God? and adds, as proof of this, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you. (1Cor3:16-) God, then, dwells in His temple: not the Holy Ghost only, but the Father also, and the Son, who says of His own body, through which He was made Head of the Church upon earth (that in all things He might have the pre-eminence): “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn2:19)
The temple of God, then, that is, of the Supreme Trinity as a whole, is the Holy Church, embracing in its full extent both heaven and earth.
CityofGod Next posting continues with Day 8 Faith Hope & Charity as taught by Augustine explains the “Faith walk with the Apostles Creed”