29
Jun

Augustine (354–430) on the Death of Christ

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in For Whom did Christ Die?

Augustine:

Classic Secondary Sources:

1) William Bridge (1600–1670):

And whereas he was charged by the Pelagians with denying that Christ suffered for the Redemption of all men, he plainly gave his sense therein thus. As for the greatness and sufficiency of the price, the blood of Christ is the Redemption of the whole world; but they that die without Faith and Regeneration, are aliens from Redemption. All men (saith he) are rightly said to be redeemed in respect of one nature of all, and the one cause of all, which the Lord did truly take upon him, and yet all are not delivered from captivity. The propriety of Redemption without doubt belongs unto them out of whom the Prince of this world is cast, who are not vessels of Satan, but the members of Christ. And herein Prosper doth totidem verbis concur with him. This ergo was the sense of the Orthodox (for by Augustin’s judgment you may measure the rest) in those times.

William Bridge, “To the Reader” in, John Brinsley, Gospel-Marrow, the Great God Giving Himself for the Sons of Men (London: Printed by S. Griffin for Richard Tomlines, and are to be sold at the Sign of the Sun and Bible near Pye-Corner, 1659), vii–viii. [No pagination; pages numbered manually from the beginning] [Credit to Tony for the find.]

2) Richard Baxter (1615-1691):

“As for Augustine and some Protestants, they oft deny that Christ redeemeth any but the Faithful, because the word Redemption is ambiguous, and sometimes taken for the price or ransome paid, and often for the very liberation of the captive Sinner. And whenever Austin denieth common Redemption, he taketh Redemption in this last sense, for actual deliverance. But he asserteth it in the first sense, that Christ died for all. Yea, he thought his death is actually applied to the true Justification and Sanctification of some Reprobates that fall away and perish, though the Elect only are so redeemed as to be saved. Read yourself in Augustine, Prosper and Fulgentius, and you will see this with your own eyes.”

Richard Baxter, Catholick Theologie (London: Printed by Robert White, for Nevill Simmons at the Princes Arms in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1675), 2:57-58. [Credit to Tony for the find.]

Primary Sources:

None of the elect can perish:

1)None of the Elect and Predestinate can Perish.” Of such says the apostle, “We know that to those that love God He works together all things for good, to them who are called according to His purpose; because those whom He before foreknew, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” Of these no one perishes, because all are elected. Augustine, “Anti-Pelagian Writings,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 5:477.

Sins of believers (sample):

1) 18. How is it, by the way, that you use the words temple, altar, sacrifice, for the purpose of commending your own practices? If such things can be spoken of as properly belonging to true religion, they must constitute the true worship of the true God. And if there is such a thing as true sacrifice to the true God, which is implied in the expression divine honors, there must be some one true sacrifice of which the rest are imitations. On the one hand, we have the spurious imitations in the case of false and lying gods, that is, of devils, who proudly demand divine honors from their deluded votaries, as is or was the case in the temples and idols of the Gentiles. On the other hand, we have the prophetic intimations of one most true sacrifice to be offered for the sins of all believers, as in the sacrifices enjoined by God on our fathers; along with which there was also the symbolical anointing typical of Christ, as the name Christ itself means anointed. The animal sacrifices, therefore, presumptuously claimed by devils, were an imitation of the true sacrifice which is due only to the one true God, and which Christ alone offered on His altar. Thus the apostle says: “The sacrifices which the Gentiles offer, they offer to devils, and not to God.” He does not find fault with sacrifices, but with offering to devils. The Hebrews, again, in their animal sacrifices, which they offered to God in many varied forms, suitably to the significance of the institution, typified the sacrifice offered by Christ. This sacrifice is also commemorated by Christians, in the sacred offering and participation of the body and blood of Christ. The Manichæans understand neither the sinfulness of the Gentile sacrifices, nor the importance of the Hebrew sacrifices, nor the use of the ordinance of the Christian sacrifice. Their own errors are the offering they present to the devil who has deceived them. And thus they depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and to doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy. Augustine, ‘The Writings Against the Manichæans and Against the Donatists,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 4:26-261.

Lamb of God (sample):

1) They, then, who see their own mind, in whatever way that is possible, and in it that Trinity of which I have treated as I could in many ways, and yet do not believe or understand it to be an image of God, see indeed a glass, but do not so far see through the glass Him who is now to be seen through the glass, that they do not even know the glass itself which they see to be a glass, i.e. an image. And if they knew this, perhaps they would feel that He too whose glass this is, should by it be sought, and somehow provisionally be seen, an unfeigned faith purging their hearts,1041 that He who is now seen through a glass may be able to be seen face to face. And if they despise this faith that purifies the heart, what do they accomplish by understanding the most subtle disputes concerning the nature of the human mind, unless that they be condemned also by the witness of their own understanding? And they would certainly not so fail in understanding, and hardly arrive at anything certain, were they not involved in penal darkness, and burdened with the corruptible body that presses down the soul. And for what demerit save that of sin is this evil inflicted on them? Wherefore, being warned by the magnitude of so great an evil, they ought to follow the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world. Augustine, On the Holy :Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Moral Treatises,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 3:223.

2) 37. But regard the troops of virgins, holy boys and girls: this kind hath been trained up in Thy Church: there for Thee it hath been budding from its mother’s breasts; for Thy Name it hath loosed its tongue to speak, Thy Name, as through the milk of its infancy, it hath had poured in and hath sucked, no one of this number can say, “I, who before was a blasphemer, and persecutor, and injurious, but I obtained mercy, in that I did in being ignorant, in unbelief.” Yea more, that, which Thou commands not, but only did set forth, for such as would, to seize, saying, “Whoso can receive, let him receive;” they have seized, they have vowed, and, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, not for that Thou threatens, but for that Thou exhorts, they have made themselves eunuchs. To these cry out, let these hear Thee, in that Thou art “meek and lowly of heart.” Let these, by how much they are great, by so much humble themselves in all things, that they may find grace before Thee. They are just: but they are not, are they, such as Thou, justifying the ungodly? They are chaste: but them in sins their mothers nurtured in their wombs. They are holy, but Thou art also Holy of Holies. They are virgins, but they are not also born of virgins. They are wholly chaste both in spirit and in flesh: but they are not the Word made flesh. And yet let them learn, not from those unto whom Thou forgives sins, but from Thee Thyself, The Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, in that Thou art “meek and lowly of heart.” Augustine, On the Holy :Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Moral Treatises,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 3:430.

3) Chapter 33.—Christ is the Saviour and Redeemer Even of Infants.

Let us therefore give in and yield our assent to the authority of Holy Scripture, which knows not how either to be deceived or to deceive; and as we do not believe that men as yet unborn have done any good or evil for raising a difference in their moral deserts, so let us by no means doubt that all men are under sin, which came into the world by one man and has passed through unto all men; and from which nothing frees us but the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [XXIII.] His remedial advent is needed by those that are sick, not by the whole: for He came not to call the righteous, but sinners; and into His kingdom shall enter no one that is not born again of water and the Spirit; nor shall any one attain salvation and eternal life except in His kingdom,–since the man who believes not in the Son, and eats not His flesh, shall not have life, but the wrath of God remains upon him. Now from this sin, from this sickness, from this wrath of God (of which by nature they are children who have original sin, even if they have none of their own on account of their youth), none delivers them, except the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world; except the Physician, who came not for the sake of the sound, but of the sick; except the Savior, concerning whom it was said to the human race: “Unto you there is born this day a Savior;” except the Redeemer, by whose blood our debt is blotted out. For who would dare to say that Christ is not the Savior and Redeemer of infants? But from what does He save them, if there is no malady of original sin within them? From what does He redeem them, if through their origin from the first man they are not sold under sin? Let there be then no eternal salvation promised to infants out of our own opinion, without Christ’s baptism; for none is promised in that Holy Scripture which is to be preferred to all human authority and opinion. Augustine, “Anti-Pelagian Writings,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 5:24.

1 John 2:2:

1) The apostle prays for the people, the people prays for the apostle. We pray for you, brethren: but do ye also pray for us. Let all the members pray one for another; let the Head intercede for all. Therefore it is no marvel that he here goes on and shuts the mouths of them that divide the Church of God. For he that has said, “We have Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins:” having an eye to those who would divide themselves, and would say, “Lo, here is Christ, lo, there;”and would show Him in a part who bought the whole and possesses the whole, he forthwith goes on to say, “Not our sins only, but also the sins of the whole world.” What is this, brethren? Certainly “we have found it in the fields of the woods,” we have found the Church in all nations. Behold, Christ “is the propitiation for our sins; not ours only, but also the sins of the whole world.” Behold, thou hast the Church throughout the whole world; do not follow false justifiers who in truth are cutters off. Be thou in that mountain which hath filled the whole earth: because “Christ is the propitiation for our sins; not only ours, but also the sins of the whole world,” which He hath bought with His blood. Augustine, “Homilies on the Gospel of John; Homilies on the Epistle of John; Solioquies,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 7:466.

2) 9. “Marvel not, brethren, if the world hate us.” Must one often be telling you what “the world” means? Not the heaven, not the earth, nor these visible works which God made; but lovers of the world. By often saying these things, to some I am burdensome: but I am so far from saying it without a cause, that some may be questioned whether I said it, and they cannot answer. Let then, even by thrusting it upon them, something stick fast in the hearts of them that hear. What is “the world”? The world, when put in a bad sense, is, lovers of the world: the world, when the word is used in praise, is heaven and earth, and the works of God that are in them; whence it is said, “And the world was made by Him.” Also, the world is the fullness of the earth, as John himself hath said, “Not only for our sins is He the propitiator, but (for the sins) of the whole world:” he means, “of the world,” of all the faithful scattered throughout the whole earth. But the world in a bad sense, is, lovers of the world. They that love the world, cannot love their brother. Augustine, “Homilies on the Gospel of John; Homilies on the Epistle of John; Solioquies,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 7:491.

Sin of the world:

1) Chapter 49.–Christ Was Not Regenerated in the Baptism of John, But Submitted to It to Give Us an Example of Humility, Just as He Submitted to Death, Not as the Punishment of Sin, But to Take Away the Sin of the World.

Now, those who were baptized in the baptism of John, by whom Christ was Himself baptized, were not regenerated; but they were prepared through the ministry of His forerunner, who cried, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord,” for Him in whom only they could be regenerated. For His baptism is not with water only, as was that of John, but with the Holy Ghost also; so that whoever believes in Christ is regenerated by that Spirit, of whom Christ being generated, He did not need regeneration. Whence that announcement of the Father which was heard after His baptism, “This day have I begotten Thee,” referred not to that one day of time on which He was baptized, but to the one day of an unchangeable eternity, so as to show that this man was one in person with the Only-begotten. For when a day neither begins with the close of yesterday, nor ends with the beginning of tomorrow, it is an eternal to-day. Therefore He asked to be baptized in water by John, not that any iniquity of His might be washed away, but that He might manifest the depth of His humility. For baptism found in Him nothing to wash away, as death found in Him nothing to punish; so that it was in the strictest justice, and not by the mere violence of power, that the devil was crushed and conquered: for, as he had most unjustly put Christ to death, though there was no sin in Him to deserve death, it was most just that through Christ he should lose his hold of those who by sin were justly subject to the bondage in which he held them. Both of these, then, that is, both baptism and death, were submitted to by Him, not through a pitiable necessity, but of His own free pity for us, and as part of an arrangement by which, as one man brought sin into the world, that is, upon the whole human race, so one man was to take away the sin of the world. Augustine, ‘The Writings Against the Manichæans and Against the Donatists,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 4:181-183.

Sins of the world:

1) 46. St. Ambrose also, though dealing with a question of very great importance, the equality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, employs the subdued style, because the object he has in view demands, not beauty of diction, nor the swaying of the mind by the stir of emotion, but facts and proofs. Accordingly, in the introduction to his work, we find the following passage among others: “When Gideon was startled by the message he had heard from God, that, though thousands of the people failed, yet through one man God would deliver His people from their enemies, he brought forth a kid of the goats, and by direction of the angel laid it with unleavened cakes upon a rock, and poured the broth over it; and as soon as the angel of God touched it with the end of the staff that was in his hand, there rose up fire out of the rock and consumed the offering. Now this sign seems to indicate that the rock was a type of the body of Christ, for it is written, ‘They drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ;’ this, of course, referring not to Christ’s divine nature but to His flesh, whose ever-flowing fountain of blood has ever satisfied the hearts of His thirsting people. And so it was at that time declared in a mystery that the Lord Jesus, when crucified, should abolish in His flesh the sins of the whole world, and not their guilty acts merely, but the evil lusts of their hearts. For the kid’s flesh refers to the guilt of the outward act, the broth to the allurement of lust within, as it is written, ‘And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting; and the children of Israel also wept again and again and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?’1996 When the angel, then, stretched out his staff and touched the rock, and fire rose out of it, this was a sign that our Lord’s flesh, filled with the Spirit of God, should burn up all the sins of the human race. Whence also the Lord says ‘I am come to send fire on the earth.’” And in the same style he pursues the subject, devoting himself chiefly to proving and enforcing his point. Augustine, “The City of God and Christian Doctrine,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 1:590-591.

Christ died for the perishing (sample):

1) 21. But if our mind is agitated by some cause of offense, so as not to be capable of delivering a discourse of a calm and enjoyable strain, our charity towards those for whom Christ died, desiring to redeem them by the price of His own blood from the death of the errors of this world, ought to be so great, that the very circumstance of intelligence being brought us in our sadness, regarding the advent of some person who longs to become a Christian, ought to be enough to cheer us and dissipate that heaviness of spirit, just as the delights of gain are wont to soften the pain of losses. For we are not (fairly) oppressed by the offense of any individual, unless it be that of the man whom we either perceive or believe to be perishing himself, or to be the occasion of the undoing of some weak one. Accordingly, one who comes to us with the view of being formally admitted, in that we cherish the hope of his ability to go forward, should wipe away the sorrow caused by one who fails us. For even if the dread that our proselyte may become the child of hell comes into our thoughts, as, there are many such before our eyes, from whom those offenses arise by which we are distressed, this ought to operate, not in the way of keeping us back, but rather in the way of stimulating us and spurring us on. And in the same measure we ought to admonish him whom we are instructing to be on his guard against imitating those who are Christians only in name and not in very truth, and to take care not to suffer himself to be so moved by their numbers as either to be desirous of following them, or to be reluctant to follow Christ on their account, and either to be unwilling to be in the Church of God, where they are, or to wish to be there in such a character as they bear. And somehow or other, in admonitions of this sort, that address is the more glowing to which a present sense of grief supplies the fuel; so that instead of being duller, we utter with greater fire and vehemence under such feelings things which, in times of greater ease, we would give forth in a colder and less energetic manner. And this should make us rejoice that an opportunity is afforded us under which the emotions of our mind pass not away without yielding some fruit. Augustine, On the Holy; Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Moral Treatises,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 3:298-299.

2) The punishment of chastising therefore is not an evil, though the fault be an evil. For indeed it is the steel, not of an enemy inflicting a wound, but of a surgeon performing an operation. Things like this are done within the Church, and that spirit of gentleness within its pale burns with zeal towards God, lest the chaste virgin which is espoused to one husband, even Christ, should in any of her members be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ, as Eve was beguiled by the subtlety of the serpent. Notwithstanding, far be it from the servants of the father of the family that they should be unmindful of the precept of their Lord, and be so inflamed with the fire of holy indignation against the multitude of the tares, that while they seek to gather them in bundles before the time, the wheat should be rooted up together with them. And of this sin these men would be held to be guilty, even though they showed that those were true charges which they brought against the traditors whom they accused; because they separated themselves in a spirit of impious presumption, not only from the wicked, whose society they professed to be avoiding, but also from the good and faithful in all nations of the world, to whom they could not prove the truth of what they said they knew; and with themselves they drew away into the same destruction many others over whom they had some slight authority, and who were not wise enough to understand that the unity of the Church dispersed throughout the world was on no account to be forsaken for other men’s sins. So that, even though they themselves knew that they were pressing true charges against certain of their neighbors, yet in this way a weak brother, for whom Christ died, was perishing through their knowledge; whilst, being offended at other men’s sins, he was destroying in himself the blessing of peace which he had with the good brethren, who partly had never heard such charges, partly had shrunk from giving hasty credence to what was neither discussed nor proved, partly, in the peaceful spirit of humility, had left these charges, whatsoever they might be, to the cognizance of the judges of the Church, to whom the whole matter had been referred, across the sea. Augustine, ‘The Writings Against the Manichæans and Against the Donatists,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 4:599.

3) 7. Consider then, brethren, for of these are ye; ye are of this people, even then foretold, and now exhibited. Yes, verily, ye are of those who have been called from the East and West, to sit down in the kingdom of heaven, not in the temple of idols. Be ye then the Body of Christ, not the pressure of His Body. Ye have the border of His garment to touch, that ye may be healed of the issue of blood, that is, of carnal pleasures. Ye have, I say, the border of the garment to touch. Look upon the Apostles as the garment, by the texture of unity clinging closely to the sides of Christ. Among these Apostles was Paul, as it were the border, the least and last; as he saith himself, “I am the least of the Apostles.”In a garment the last and least thing is the border. The border is in appearance contemptible, yet is it touched with saving efficacy. “Even to this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked and buffeted.” What state so low, so contemptible as this! Touch then, if thou art suffering from a bloody flux. There will go power out of Him whose garment it is, and it will heal thee. The border was proposed to you just now to be touched, when out of the same Apostle there was read, “For if any one see him which hath knowledge sit at meat in an idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him who is weak, be emboldened to eat things offered to idols? And through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother perish, for whom Christ died!” How think ye may men be deceived by idols, which they suppose are honored by Christians? A man may say, “God knows my heart.” Yes, but thy brother did not know thy heart. If thou art weak, beware of a still greater weakness; if thou art strong, have a care of thy brother’s weakness. They who see what you do, are emboldened to do more, so as to desire not only to eat, but also to sacrifice there. And lo, “Through thy knowledge the weak brother perishes.” Hear then, my brother; if thou did disregard the weak, would thou disregard a brother also? Awake. What if so thou sin against Christ Himself? For attend to what thou canst not by any means disregard. “But,” saith he, “when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”Let them who disregard these words, go now, and sit at meat in the idol’s temple; will they not be of those who press, and do not touch? And when they have been at meat in the idol’s temple, let them come and fill the Church; not to receive saving health, but to make a pressure there…

9. What need of more, Brethren. Ye are Christians, and have heard, that “If ye sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.” Do not disregard it, if ye would not be wiped out of the book of life. How long shall I go about to speak in bright and pleasing terms to you, what my grief forces me to speak in some sort, and will not suffer me to keep secret? Whosoever they are who are minded to disregard these things, and sin against Christ, let them only consider what they are doing. We wish the rest of the Heathen to be gathered in; and ye are stones in their way: they have a wish to come; they stumble, and so return. For they say in their hearts, Why should we leave the gods whom the very Christians worship as we do? God forbid, thou wilt say, that I should worship the gods of the Gentiles. I know, I understand, I believe thee. But what account art thou making of the consciences of the weak which thou art wounding? What account art thou making of their price, if thou disregard the purchase? Consider for how great a price was the purchase made. “Through thy knowledge,” saith the Apostle, “shall the weak brother perish;” that knowledge which thou professes to have, in that thou knows that an idol is nothing, and that in thy mind thou art thinking only of God, and so sits down in the idol’s temple. In this knowledge the weak brother perishes. And lest thou should pay no regard to the weak brother, he added, “for whom Christ died.” If thou would disregard him, yet consider his Price, and weigh the whole world in the balance with the Blood of Christ. And lest thou should still think that thou art sinning against a weak brother, and so esteem it after that he had heard that he was “Peter,” a trivial fault, and of small account, he saith, “Ye sin against Christ.” For men are in the habit of saying, I sin against man; am I sinning against God?” Deny then that Christ is God. Dost thou dare deny that Christ is God? Hast thou learned this other doctrine, when thou did sit at meat in the idol’s temple? The school of Christ doth not admit that doctrine. I ask; Where learned thou that Christ is not God? The Pagans are wont to say so. See thou what bad associations do? See thou, “that evil communications corrupt good manners?” There thou can not speak of the Gospel, and thou dost hear others talking of idols. There thou loses the truth that Christ is God; and what thou dost drink in there, thou vomits out in the Church. It may be thou art bold enough to speak here; bold enough to mutter among the crowds; “Was not then Christ a man? Was He not crucified?” This hast thou learned of the Pagans. Thou hast lost thy soul’s health, thou hast not touched the border. On this point then touch again the border, and receive health. As I taught thee to touch it in this that is written, “Whoso sees a brother sit at meat in the idol’s temple;” touch it also concerning the Divinity of Christ. The same border said of the Jews, “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.”Behold, against Whom, even the Very God, thou dost sin, when thou sits down with false gods. Augustine, “Sermon on the Mount; Harmony of the Gospels; Homilies on the Gospels,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 6:300 and 301.

Redeemed sheep:

1) Chapter 2.–Why Heretical Writings Must Be Answered. For the new heretics, enemies of the grace of God which is given by Jesus Christ our Lord to small and great, although they are already shown more openly to need to be avoided by a manifest disapprobation, still do not cease by their writings to try the hearts of the less cautious and less learned. And these must certainly be answered, lest they should confirm themselves or their friends in that wicked error; even if we were not afraid that they might deceive some one of the catholics by their plausible discourse. But since they do not cease to growl at the entrances to the Lord’s fold, and from every side to tear open approaches with a view to tear in pieces the sheep redeemed at such a price; and since the pastoral watch-tower is common to all of us who discharge the office of the episcopate (although you are prominent therein on a loftier height), I do what I can in respect of my small portion of the charge, as the Lord condescends by the aid of your prayers to grant me power, to oppose to their pestilent and crafty writings, healing and defensive writings, so that the madness with which they are raging may either itself be cured, or may be prevented from hurting others. Augustine, “Anti-Pelagian Writings,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 5:377-378.

Church redeemed:

1) 4. The Lord, on being invited, came to the marriage. What wonder if He came to that house to a marriage, having come into this world to a marriage? For, indeed, if He came not to a marriage, He has not here a bride. But what says the apostle? “I have espoused you to one husband, to present you a chaste virgin to Christ.” Why does he fear lest the virginity of Christ’s bride should be corrupted by the subtlety of the devil? “I fear,” saith he, “lest as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtlety, so also your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and chastity which is in Christ.” Thus has He here a bride whom He has redeemed by His blood, and to whom He has given the Holy Spirit as a pledge. He has freed her from the bondage of the devil: He died for her sins, and is risen again for her justification. Who will make such offerings to his bride? Men may offer to a bride every sort of earthly ornament,–gold, silver, precious stones, houses, slaves, estates, farms,–but will any give his own blood? For if one should give his own blood to his bride, he would not live to take her for his wife. But the Lord, dying without fear, gave His own blood for her, whom rising again He was to have, whom He had already united to Himself in the Virgin’s womb. For the Word was the Bridegroom, and human flesh the bride; and both one, the Son of God, the same also being Son of man. The womb of the Virgin Mary, in which He became head of the Church, was His bridal chamber: thence He came forth, as a bridegroom from his chamber, as the Scripture foretold, “And rejoiced as a giant to run his way.” From His chamber He came forth as a bridegroom; and being invited, came to the marriage. Augustine, “Homilies on the Gospel of John; Homilies on the Epistle of John; Solioquies,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 7:58.

2) 7. For hear and see. Certainly all who go out from the Church, and are cut off from the unity of the Church, are antichrists; let no man doubt it: for the apostle himself hath marked them, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.” Therefore, whoso continue not with us, but go out from us, it is manifest that they are antichrists. And how are they proved to be antichrists? By lying. “And who is a liar, but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ?” Let us ask the heretics: where do you find a heretic that denies that Jesus is the Christ? See now, my beloved, a great mystery. Mark what the Lord God may have inspired us withal, and what I would fain work into your minds. Behold, they went out from us, and turned Donatists: we ask them whether Jesus be the Christ; they instantly confess that Jesus is the Christ. If then that person is an antichrist, who denies that Jesus is the Christ, neither can they call us antichrists, nor we them; therefore, neither they went out from us, nor we from them. If then we have not gone out one from another, we are in unity: if we be in unity, what means it that there are two altars in this city? what, that there are divided houses, divided marriages? that there is a common bed, and a divided Christ? He admonishes us, he would have us confess what is the truth:–either they went out from us, or we from them. But let it not be imagined that we have gone out from them. For we have the testament of the Lord’s inheritance, we recite it, and there we find, “I will give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and for Thy possessions the ends of the earth.” We hold fast Christ’s inheritance; they hold it not, for they do not communicate with the whole earth, do not communicate with the universal body redeemed by the blood of the Lord. We have the Lord Himself rising from the dead, who presented Himself to be felt by the hands of the doubting disciples: and while they yet doubted, He said to them, “It behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name”–Where? which way? to what persons?–through all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Our minds are set at rest concerning the unity of the inheritance! Whoso does not communicate with this inheritance, is gone out. Augustine, “Homilies on the Gospel of John; Homilies on the Epistle of John; Solioquies,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 7:478.

Redemption of the human race:

1) Now it is to no purpose that he says all this. He does not clear himself thereby. Not even they have ever denied the impossibility of infants entering the kingdom of heaven without baptism. But this is not the question; what we are discussing concerns the obliteration of original sin in infants. Let him clear himself on this point, since he refuses to acknowledge that there is anything in infants which the laver of regeneration has to cleanse. On this account we ought carefully to consider what he has afterwards to say. After adducing, then, the passage of the Gospel which declares that “whosoever is not born again of water and the Spirit cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven” (on which matter, as we have said, they raise no question), he goes on at once to ask: “Who indeed is so impious as to have the heart to refuse the common redemption of the human race to an infant of any age whatever?” But this is ambiguous language; for what redemption does he mean? Is it from evil to good? or from good to better? Now even Coelestius, at Carthage, allowed a redemption for infants in his book; although, at the same time, he would not admit the transmission of sin to them from Adam. Augustine, “Anti-Pelagian Writings,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 5:243.

2) 4. But as arising out of this occasion, this must not be passed over, which may haply of itself perplex some of you; with what design is it, that when this Jacob’s grandfather Abraham’s name was changed (for he too was first called Abram, and God changed his name, and said, “Thou shall not be called Abram, but Abraham”); from that time he was not called Abram. Search in the Scriptures, and you will see that before he received another name, he was called only Abram; after he received it, he was called only Abraham. But this Jacob, when he received another name, heard the same words, “Thou shalt not be called Jacob, but Israel shalt thou be called.” Search the Scriptures, and see how that he was always called both, both Jacob and Israel. Abram after he had received another name, was called only Abraham. Jacob after he had received another name, was called both Jacob and Israel. The name of Abraham was to be developed in this world; for here he was made the father of many nations, whence he received his name. But the name of Israel relates to another world, where we shall see God. Therefore the people of God, the Christian people in this present time, is both Jacob and Israel, Jacob in fact, Israel in hope. For the younger people is called the Supplanter of its brother the elder people. What! have we supplanted the Jews? No, but we are said to be their supplanters, for that for our sakes they were supplanted. If they had not been blinded, Christ would not have been crucified; His precious Blood would not have been shed; if that Blood had not been shed, the world would not have been redeemed. Because then their blindness hath profited us, therefore hath the elder brother been supplanted by the younger, and the younger is called the Supplanter. But how long shall this be? Augustine, “Sermon on the Mount; Harmony of the Gospels; Homilies on the Gospels,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 6:471-472.

3) 6. My brethren, if we acknowledge our price, that it is the blood of the Lamb, who are they who this day celebrate the festival of the blood of I know not what woman, and how ungrateful are they! The gold was snatched, they say, from the ear of a woman, and the blood ran, and the gold was placed on a pair of scales or on a balance, and the advantage was much on the side of the blood. If the blood of a woman was sufficiently weighty to outweigh the gold, what power to outweigh the world has the blood of the Lamb by whom the world was made? And, indeed, that spirit, I know not who, was pacified by the blood that he should depress the weight. Impure spirits knew that Jesus Christ would come, they had heard of His coming from the angels, they had heard of it from the prophets, and they expected it. For if they were not expecting it, why did they exclaim, “What have we to do with Thee? art Thou come before the time to destroy us? We know who Thou art; the Holy One of God.” They expected that He would come, but they were ignorant of the time. But what have you heard in the psalm regarding Jerusalem? “For Thy servants have taken pleasure in her stones, and will pity the dust thereof. Thou shall arise,” says he, “and have mercy upon Zion: for the time is come that Thou wilt have mercy upon her.” When the time came for God to have mercy, the Lamb came. What sort of a Lamb whom wolves fear? What sort of a Lamb is it who, when slain, slew a lion? For the devil is called a lion, going about and roaring, seeking whom he may devour. By the blood of the Lamb the lion was vanquished. Behold the spectacles of Christians. And what is more: they with the eyes of the flesh behold vanity, we with the eyes of the heart behold truth. Do not think, brethren, that our Lord God has dismissed us without spectacles; for if there are no spectacles, why have ye come together to-day? Behold, what we have said you saw, and you exclaimed; you would not have exclaimed if you had not seen. And this is a great thing to see in the whole world, the lion vanquished by the blood of the Lamb: members of Christ delivered from the teeth of the lions, and joined to the body of Christ. Therefore some spirit or other contrived the counterfeit that His image should be bought for blood, because he knew that the human race was at some time to be redeemed by the precious blood. For evil spirits counterfeit certain shadows of honor to themselves, that they may deceive those who follow Christ. So much so, my brethren, that those who seduce by means of amulets, by incantations, by the devices of the enemy, mingle the name of Christ with their incantations: because they are not now able to seduce Christians, so as to give them poison they add some honey, that by means of the sweet the bitter may be concealed, and be drunk to ruin. So much so, that I know that the priest of that Pilleatus was sometimes in the habit of saying, Pilleatus himself also is a Christian. Why so, brethren, unless that they were not able otherwise to seduce Christians? Augustine, “Homilies on the Gospel of John; Homilies on the Epistle of John; Solioquies,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 7:49-50.

4) 10. Says one, If he had this power, why, when the Jews insulted him on the cross and said, “If he be the Son of God let him come down from the cross,” did He not come down, to show them His power by coming down? Because He was teaching us patience, therefore He deferred the demonstration of His power. For if He came down, moved as it were at their words, He would be thought to have been overcome by the sting of their insults. He did not come down; there He remained fixed, to depart when He would. For what great matter was it for Him to descend from the cross, when He could rise again from the sepulcher? Let us, then, to whom this is ministered, understand that the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, then concealed, will be made manifest in the judgment, of which it is said, “God will come manifest; our God, and He will not be silent.” Why is it said, “will come manifest”? Because He, our God,–namely, Christ,–came hidden, will come manifest. “And will not be silent:” why this “will not be silent”? Because at first He did keep silence. When? When He was judged; that this, too, might be fulfilled which the prophet had foretold: “As a sheep He was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.” He would not have suffered did He not will to suffer: did He not suffer, that blood had not been shed; if that blood were not shed, the world would not be redeemed. Therefore let us give thanks to the power of His divinity, and to the compassion of His infirmity; both concerning the hidden power which the Jews did not recognize, whence it is now said to them, “Ye neither know me nor my Father,” and also concerning the flesh assumed, which the Jews did not recognize, and yet knew His lineage: whence He said to them elsewhere, “Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am.” Let us know both in Christ, both wherein He is equal to the Father and wherein the Father is greater than He. That is the Word, this is the flesh; that is God, this is man; but yet Christ is one, God and man. Augustine, “Homilies on the Gospel of John; Homilies on the Epistle of John; Solioquies,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 7:216-217.

5) 3. “The God,” therefore, “of gods, the Lord hath spoken”(ver. 1). Hath spoken many ways. By Angels He hath Himself spoken, by Prophets He hath Himself spoken, by His own mouth He hath Himself spoken, by His faithful He doth Himself speak, by our lowliness, when we say anything true, He doth Himself speak. See then, by speaking diversely, many ways, by many vessels, by many instruments, yet He doth Himself sound everywhere, by touching, moulding, inspiring: see what He hath done. For “He hath spoken, and hath called the world.” What world? Africa, perhaps! for the sake of those that say, the Church of Christ is the portion of Donatus. Africa indeed alone He hath not called, but even Africa He hath not severed. For He that “hath called the world from the rising of the sun unto the going down,” leaving out no parts that He hath not called, in His calling hath found Africa. Let it rejoice therefore in unity, not pride itself in division. We say well, that the voice of the God of gods hath come even into Africa, hath not stayed in Africa. For “He hath called the world from the rising of the sun unto the going down.” There is no place where may lurk the conspiracies of heretics, they have no place wherein they may hide themselves under the shadow of falsehood; for “there is none that can hide himself from the heat thereof.” He that hath called the world, hath called even the whole world: He that hath called the world, hath called as much as He hath formed. Why do false christs and false prophets rise up against me? why is it that they strive to ensnare me with captious words, saying, “Lo! here is Christ, Lo! He is there!” I hear not them that point out portions: the God of gods hath pointed out the whole: “He” that “hath called the world from the rising of the sun unto the going down,” hath redeemed the whole; but hath condemned them that lay false claim to portions. Augustine, “Exposition on the Book of the Psalms,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 8:178-179.

Redeemer of all men:

1) 28. What then, when the sun went down, when our Lord suffered? There was a sort of darkness with the Apostles, hope failed, in those to whom He at first seemed great, and the Redeemer of all men. How so? “Thou did make darkness, and it became night; wherein all the beasts of the forest shall move” (ver. 20).…Here the beasts of the forest are used in different ways: for these things are always understood in varying senses; as our Lord Himself is at one time termed a lion, at another a lamb. What is so different as a lion and a lamb? But what sort of lamb? One that could overcome the wolf, overcome the lion. He is the Rock, He the Shepherd, He the Gate. The Shepherd enters by the gate: and He saith, “I am the good Shepherd:” and, “I am the Door of the Sheep.”…Learn thus to understand, when these things are spoken figuratively; lest perchance when ye have read that the Rock signifies Christ, ye may understand it to mean Him in every passage. In one place it means one thing, another in another, just as we can only understand the meaning of a letter by seeing its position. “The lion’s whelps roaring after their prey, do seek their meat from God” (ver. 21). Justly then our Lord, when nigh unto His going down, the very Sun of Righteousness recognising His going down, said to His disciples, as if darkness being about to come, the lion would roam about to seek whom he might devour, that that lion could devour no man, unless with leave: “Simon,” said He, “this night Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” When Peter thrice denied, was he not already between the lion’s teeth?… Augustine, “Exposition on the Book of the Psalms,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 8:516.

Judas redeemed:

1) 27. Why so? “For Him whom Thou hast smitten they have themselves persecuted, and upon the pain of my wounds they have added” (ver. 27). How then have they sinned if they have persecuted one by God smitten? What sin is ascribed to their mind? Malice. For the thing was done in Christ which was to be. To suffer indeed He had come, and He punished him through whom He suffered. For Judas the traitor was punished, and Christ was crucified: but us He redeemed by His blood, and He punished him in the matter of his price. For he threw down the price of silver, for which by him the Lord had been sold; and he knew not the price wherewith he had himself by the Lord been redeemed. This thing was done in the case of Judas. But when we see that there is a sort of measure of requital in all men, and that not any one can be suffered to rage more than he hath received power to do: how have they “added,” or what is that smiting of the Lord? Without doubt He is speaking in the person of him from whom He had received a body, from whom He had taken unto Him flesh, that is in the person of mankind, of Adam himself who was smitten with the first death because of his sin. Augustine, “Exposition on the Book of the Psalms,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 8:309.

Redeemed all those held captive:

1) 3. But wherefore is there hope? “For there is propitiation with Thee” (ver. 4). And what is this propitiation, except sacrifice? And what is sacrifice, save that which hath been offered for us? The pouring forth of innocent blood blotted out all the sins of the guilty: so great a price paid down redeemed all captives from the hand of the enemy who captured them. “With Thee,” then, “there is propitiation.” For if there were not mercy with Thee, if Thou chooses to be Judge only, and did refuse to be merciful, Thou would mark all our iniquities, and search after them. Who could abide this? Who could stand before Thee, and say, I am innocent? Who could stand in Thy judgment? There is therefore one hope: “for the sake of Thy law have I borne Thee, O Lord.” What law? That which made men guilty. For a “law, holy, just, and good,” was given to the Jews; but its effect was to make them guilty. A law was not given that could give life, but which might show his sins to the sinner. For the sinner had forgotten himself, and saw not himself; the law was given him, that he might see himself. The law made him guilty, the Lawgiver freed him: for the Lawgiver is the Supreme Power.…There is therefore a law of the mercy of God, a law of the propitiation of God. The one was a law of fear, the other is a law of love… Augustine, “Exposition on the Book of the Psalms,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 8:613.

Ransom of the world:

1)

Letter LXXVI.

(a.d. 402.)

1. Hear, O Donatists, what the Catholic Church says to you: “O ye sons of men, how long will ye be slow of heart? why will ye love vanity, and follow after lies?” Why have you severed yourselves, by the heinous impiety of schism, from the unity of the whole world? You give heed to the falsehoods concerning the surrendering of the divine books to persecutors, which men who are either deceiving you, or are themselves deceived, utter in order that you may die in a state of heretical separation: and you do not give heed to what these divine books themselves proclaim, in order that you may live in the peace of the Catholic Church. Wherefore do you lend an open ear to the words of men who tell you things which they have never been able to prove, and are deaf to the voice of God speaking thus: “The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession”? “To Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to thy seed,’ which is Christ.” And the promise to which the apostle refers is this: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Therefore lift up the eyes of your souls, and see how in the whole world all nations are blessed in Abraham’s seed. Abraham, in his day, believed what was not yet seen; but you who see it refuse to believe what has been fulfilled. The Lord’s death was the ransom of the world; He paid the price for the whole world; and you do not dwell in concord with the whole world, as would be for your advantage, but stand apart and strive contentiously to destroy the whole world, to your own loss. Hear now what is said in the Psalm concerning this ransom: “They pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones; they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”Wherefore will you be guilty of dividing the garments of the Lord, and not hold in common with the whole world that coat of charity, woven from above throughout, which even His executioners did not rend? In the same Psalm we read that the whole world holds this, for he says: “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee; for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He is the Governor among the nations.” Open the ears of your soul, and hear: “The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth, from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof; out of Zion, the perfection of beauty.” If you do not wish to understand this, hear the gospel from the Lord’s own lips, how He said: “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Him; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” The words in the Psalm, “the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof,” correspond to these in the Gospel, “among all nations;” and as He said in the Psalm, “from Zion, the perfection of beauty,” He has said in the Gospel, “beginning at Jerusalem.” Augustine, “The City of God and Christian Doctrine,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 1:343.

World bought:

1) 5. …For the spot where he wished to build the house, is itself woody, where it was said yesterday, “we found it in the wood.” For he was seeking that very house, when he said, “in the wood.” And why is that spot woody? Men used to worship images: it is not wonderful that they fed hogs. For that son who left his father, and spent his all on harlots, living as a prodigal, used to feed hogs, that is, to worship devils; and by this very superstition of the heathen, all the earth became a wood. But he who builds a house, roots up the wood; and for this reason it was said, “While the house was being built, after the captivity.” For men were held captive under the devil, and served devils; but they were redeemed from captivity. They could sell, but they could not redeem themselves. The Redeemer came, and gave a price; He poured forth His Blood, and bought the whole world. Ye ask what He bought? Ye see what He hath given; find out then what He bought. The Blood of Christ was the price. What is equal to this? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations? They are very ungrateful for their price, or very proud, who say that the price is so small that it bought the Africans only; or that they are so great, as that it was given for them alone. Let them not then exult, let them not be proud: He gave what He gave for the whole world. He knew what He bought, because He knew at what price He bought it. Thus because we are redeemed, the house is built after the captivity. And who are they who held us in captivity? Because they to whom it is said, “Declare His honor,” are the clearers of the wood: that they may root out the wood, free the earth from captivity, and build, and raise up, by declaring the greatness of the Lord’s house. How is the wood of devils cleared away, unless He who is above them all be preached? All nations then had devils for their gods: those whom they called gods, were devils, as the Apostle more openly saith, “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice unto devils, and not to God.” Since therefore they were in captivity, because they sacrificed to devils, and on that account the whole earth had remained woody; He is declared to be great, and above all worldly praise. Augustine, “Exposition on the Book of the Psalms,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 8:471-472.

2) 15. “For with righteousness shall He judge the world:” not a part of it, for He bought not a part: He will judge the whole, for it was the whole of which He paid the price. Ye have heard the Gospel, where it saith, that when He cometh, “He shall gather together His elect from the four winds. He gathers all His elect from the four winds: therefore from the whole world. For Adam himself (this I had said before) signifies in Greek the whole world; for there are four letters, A, D, A, and M. But as the Greeks speak, the four quarters of the world have these initial letters, ‘Anatole., they call the East; Dusos, the West; Arktos, the North; Meseubria, the South: thou hast the word Adam. Adam therefore hath been scattered over the whole world. He was in one place, and fell, and as in a manner broken small, he filled the whole world: but the mercy of God gathered together the fragments from every side, and forged them by the fire of love, and made one what was broken. That Artist knew how to do this; let no one despair: it is indeed a great thing, but reflect who that Artist was. He who made, restored: He who formed, reformed. What are righteousness and truth? He will gather together His elect with Him to the judgment, but the rest He will separate one from another; for He will place some on the right, others on the left hand. But what is more just, what more true, than that they shall not expect mercy from their Judge, who have refused to act mercifully, before their Judge come? But those who chose to act with mercy, with mercy shall be judged.… Augustine, “Exposition on the Book of the Psalms,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 8:474-475.

3) 3. “He hath remembered His mercy to Jacob, and His truth unto the house of Israel” (ver. 3). What meaneth this, “He hath remembered His mercy and truth”? He hath pitied, so that He promised; because He promised and showed His mercy, truth hath followed: mercy hath gone before promise, promise hath been fulfilled in truth.…

“And His truth unto the house of Israel.” Who is this Israel? That ye may not perchance think of one nation of the Jews, hear what followeth: “All the ends of the world have seen the salvation of our God.” It is not said, all the earth: but, “all the ends of the world:” as it is said, from one end to the other. Let no man cut this down, let no man scatter it abroad; strong is the unity of Christ. He who gave so great a price, hath bought the whole: “All the ends of the world.” Augustine, “Exposition on the Book of the Psalms,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 8:478.

4) 7. “May the Lord shield thee upon the hand of thy right hand” (ver. 6). I have said, and I believe ye have recognized it. For had ye not recognized it, and that from the Scriptures, ye would not signify your understanding of it by your voices. Since then ye have understood, brethren, consider what follows; wherefore the Lord shields thee “upon the hand of thy right hand,” that is, in thy faith, wherein we have received “power to become the sons of God,” and to be on His right hand: wherefore should God shield us? On account of offences. Whence come offences? Offences are to be feared from two quarters, for there are two precepts upon which the whole Law hangs and the Prophets, the love of God and of our neighbor. The Church is loved for the sake of our neighbor, but God for the sake of God. Of God, is understood the sun figuratively: of the Church, is understood the moon figuratively. Whoever can err, so as to think otherwise of God than he ought, believing not the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost to be of one Substance, has been deceived by the cunning of heretics, chiefly of the Arians. If he hath believed anything less in the Son or in the Holy Spirit than in the Father, he hath suffered an offence in God; he is scorched by the sun. Whoever again believeth that the Church exists in one province only, and not that she is diffused over the whole world, and whoso believeth them that say, “Lo here,” and “Lo there, is Christ,” as ye but now heard when the Gospel was being read; since He who gave so great a price, purchased the whole world: he is offended, so to speak, in his neighbor, and is burnt by the moon. Whoever therefore errs in the very Substance of Truth, is burnt by the sun, and is burnt through the day; because he errs in Wisdom itself…God therefore hath made one sun, which rises upon the good and the evil, that sun which the good and the evil see; but that Sun is another one, not created, not born, through whom all things were made; where is the intelligence of the Immutable Truth: of this the ungodly say, “the Sun rose not upon us.” Whosoever errs not in Wisdom itself, is not burnt by the sun. Whosoever errs not in the Church, and in the Lord’s Flesh, and in those things which were done for us in time, is not burnt by the moon. But every man although he believeth in Christ, errs either in this or that respect, unless what is here prayed for, “The Lord is thy defense upon the hand of thy right hand,” is realized in him. He goes on to say, “So that the sun shall not burn thee by day, nor the moon by night” (ver. 6). Thy defense, therefore, is upon the hand of thy right hand for this reason, that the sun may not burn thee by day, nor the moon by night. Understand hence, brethren, that it is spoken figuratively. For, in truth, if we think of the visible sun, it burns by day: doth the moon burn by night? But what is burning? Offence. Hear the Apostle’s words: “Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” Augustine, “Exposition on the Book of the Psalms,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 8:592-593.

Augustine on 2 Cor 5:14-15:

1) Now this resurrection regards not the body, but the soul. For souls, too, have a death of their own in wickedness and sins, whereby they are the dead of whom the same lips say, “Suffer the dead to bury their dead,”–that is, let those who are dead in soul bury them that are dead in body. It is of these dead, then–the dead in ungodliness and wickedness–that He says, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” “They that hear,” that is, they who obey, believe, and persevere to the end. Here no difference is made between the good and the bad. For it is good for all men to hear His voice and live, by passing to the life of godliness from the death of ungodliness. Of this death the Apostle Paul says, “Therefore all are dead, and He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again.” Thus all, without one exception, were dead in sins, whether original or voluntary sins, sins of ignorance, or sins committed against knowledge; and for all the dead there died the one only person who lived, that is, who had no sin whatever, in order that they who live by the remission of their sins should live, not to themselves, but to Him who died for all, for our sins, and rose again for our justification, that we, believing in Him who justifies the ungodly, and being justified from ungodliness or quickened from death, may be able to attain to the first resurrection which now is. For in this first resurrection none have a part save those who shall be eternally blessed; but in the second, of which He goes on to speak, all, as we shall learn, have a part, both the blessed and the wretched. The one is the resurrection of mercy, the other of judgment. And therefore it is written in the psalm, “I will sing of mercy and of judgment: unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing.” Augustine,“The City of God and Christian Doctrine,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series. 2:425.

2) Likewise to the Corinthians he says: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Again, in his Second Epistle to these Corinthians: “For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if One died for all, then all died: and for all did Christ die, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore, henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from henceforth know we Him so no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the minis try of reconciliation. To what effect? That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and putting on us the ministry of reconciliation. Now then are we ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, to be reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For He saith, I have heard thee in an acceptable time, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” Now, if infants are not embraced within this reconciliation and salvation, who wants them for the baptism of Christ? But if they are embraced, then are they reckoned as among the dead for whom He died; nor can they be possibly reconciled and saved by Him, unless He remit and impute not unto them their sins. Augustine, “Anti-Pelagian Writings,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 5:32.

3) 8. The context of the passage containing this clause of which our adversaries make such a bad use, brings out its real meaning. “The love of Christ,” we read, “constrains us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but to Him who died for them, and rose again. Therefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; and though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.” The words, “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again,” show plainly that the resurrection of Christ is the ground of the apostle’s statement. To live not to themselves, but to Him, must mean to live not after the flesh, in the hope of earthly and perishable goods, but after the spirit, in the hope of resurrection,–a resurrection already accomplished in Christ. Of those, then, for whom Christ died and rose again, and who live henceforth not to themselves, but to Him, the Apostle says that he knows no one after the flesh, on account of the hope of future immortality to which they were looking forward,–a hope which in Christ was already a reality. So, though he has known Christ after the flesh, before His death, now he knows Him no more; for he knows that He has risen, and that death has no more dominion over Him. And because in Christ we all are even now in hope, though not in reality, what Christ is, he adds: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Christ.” What the new creature–that is, the people renewed by faith–hopes for regarding itself, it has already in Christ; and the hope will also hereafter be actually realized. And, as regards this hope, old things have passed away, because we are no longer in the times of the Old Testament, expecting a temporal and carnal kingdom of God; and all things are become new, making the promise of the kingdom of heaven, where there shall be no death or corruption, the ground of our confidence. But in the resurrection of the dead it will not be as a matter of hope, but in reality, that old things shall pass away, when the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed; and all things shall become new when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality. This has already taken place in Christ, whom Paul accordingly, in reality, knew no longer after the flesh. But not yet in reality, but only in hope, did be know no one after the flesh of those for whom Christ died and rose again. For, as he says to the Ephesians, we are already saved by grace. The whole passage is to the purpose: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by whose grace we have been saved.” The words, “hath quickened us together with Christ,” correspond to what he said to the Corinthians, “that they which live should no longer live to themselves, but to Him that died for them and rose again.” And in the words, “by whose grace we have been saved,” he speaks of the thing hoped for as already accomplished. So, in the passage quoted above, he says explicitly, “We have been saved by hope.” And here he proceeds to specify future events as if already accomplished. “And has raised us up together,” he says, “and has made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Christ is certainly already seated in heavenly places, but we not yet. But as in an assured hope we already possess the future, he says that we sit in heavenly places, not in ourselves, but in Him. And to show that it is still future, in case it should be thought that what is spoken of as accomplished in hope has been accomplished in reality, he adds, “that He might show in the ages to come the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.” So also we must understand the following passage: “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” He says, “when we were in the flesh,” as if they were no longer in the flesh. He means to say, when we were in the hope of fleshly things, referring to the time when the law, which can be fulfilled only by spiritual love, was in force, in order that by transgression the offense might abound, that after the revelation of the New Testament, grace and the gift by grace might much more abound. And to the same effect he says elsewhere, “They which are in the flesh cannot please God;” and then, to show that he does not mean those not yet dead, he adds, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.” The meaning is, those who are in the hope of fleshly good cannot please God; but you are not in the hope of fleshly things, but in the hope of spiritual things, that is, of the kingdom of heaven, where the body itself, which now is natural, will, by the change in the resurrection, be, according to the capacity of its nature, a spiritual body. For “it is sown a natural body, it will be raised a spiritual body.” If, then, the apostle knew no one after the flesh of those who were said to be not in the flesh, because they were not in the hope of fleshly things, although they still were burdened with corruptible and mortal flesh; how much more significantly could he say of Christ that he no longer knew Him after the flesh, seeing that in the body of Christ what they hoped for had already been accomplished! Surely it is better and more reverential to examine the passages of sacred Scripture so as to discover their agreement with one another, than to accept some as true, and condemn others as false, whenever any difficulty occurs beyond the power of our weak intellect to solve. As to the apostle in his childhood understanding as a child, this is said merely as an illustration. And when he was a child he was not a spiritual man, as he was when he produced for the edification of the churches those writings which are not, as other books, merely a profitable study, but which authoritatively claim our belief as part of the ecclesiastical canon. Augustine, ‘The Writings Against the Manichæans and Against the Donatists,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 4:181-183.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 6:00 am and is filed under For Whom did Christ Die?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed at this time.