Chapter VII

The Confessions of Saint Augustine

Book 13 - Chapter VII

CHAPTER VII

8. Now let him who is able follow thy apostle with his understanding when he says, "Thy love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us"[515] and who teacheth us about spiritual gifts[516] and showeth us a more excellent way of love; and who bows his knee unto thee for us, that we may come to the surpassing knowledge of the love of Christ.[517] Thus, from the beginning, he who is above all was "moving over" the waters.

To whom shall I tell this? How can I speak of the weight of concupiscence which drags us downward into the deep abyss, and of the love which lifts us up by thy Spirit who moved over the waters? To whom shall I tell this? How shall I tell it? For concupiscence and love are not certain "places" into which we are plunged and out of which we are lifted again. What could be more like, and yet what more unlike? They are both feelings; they are both loves. The uncleanness of our own spirit flows downward with the love of worldly care; and the sanctity of thy Spirit raises us upward by the love of release from anxiety--that we may lift our hearts to thee where thy Spirit is "moving over the waters." Thus, we shall have come to that supreme rest where our souls shall have passed through the waters which give no standing ground.[518]

 

Book 13 - Chapter VI Book 13 - Chapter VIII


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