Chapter XLIII

The Confessions of Saint Augustine

Book 10 - Chapter XLIII

CHAPTER XLIII

68. But the true Mediator, whom thou in thy secret mercy hast revealed to the humble, and hast sent to them so that through his example they also might learn the same humility--that "Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,"[395] appeared between mortal sinners and the immortal Just One. He was mortal as men are mortal; he was righteous as God is righteous; and because the reward of righteousness is life and peace, he could, through his righteousness united with God, cancel the death of justified sinners, which he was willing to have in common with them. Hence he was manifested to holy men of old, to the end that they might be saved through faith in his Passion to come, even as we through faith in his Passion which is past. As man he was Mediator, but as the Word he was not something in between the two; because he was equal to God, and God with God, and, with the Holy Spirit, one God.

69. How hast thou loved us, O good Father, who didst not spare thy only Son, but didst deliver him up for us wicked ones![396] How hast thou loved us, for whom he who did not count it robbery to be equal with thee "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross"[397]! He alone was "free among the dead."[398] He alone had power to lay down his life and power to take it up again, and for us he became to thee both Victor and Victim; and Victor because he was the Victim. For us, he was to thee both Priest and Sacrifice, and Priest because he was the Sacrifice. Out of slaves, he maketh us thy sons, because he was born of thee and did serve us. Rightly, then, is my hope fixed strongly on him, that thou wilt "heal all my diseases"[399] through him, who sitteth at thy right hand and maketh intercession for us.[400] Otherwise I should utterly despair. For my infirmities are many and great; indeed, they are very many and very great. But thy medicine is still greater. Otherwise, we might think that thy word was removed from union with man, and despair of ourselves, if it had not been that he was "made flesh and dwelt among us."[401]

70. Terrified by my sins and the load of my misery, I had resolved in my heart and considered flight into the wilderness. But thou didst forbid me, and thou didst strengthen me, saying that "since Christ died for all, they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them."[402] Behold, O Lord, I cast all my care on thee, that I may live and "behold wondrous things out of thy law."[403] Thou knowest my incompetence and my infirmities; teach me and heal me. Thy only Son--he "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"[404]--hath redeemed me with his blood. Let not the proud speak evil of me, because I keep my ransom before my mind, and eat and drink and share my food and drink. For, being poor, I desire to be satisfied from him, together with those who eat and are satisfied: "and they shall praise the Lord that seek Him."[405]

 

Book 10 - Chapter XLII Book 11 - Chapter I


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