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“ kingdom of God, and that He, seeing the ruin which A. D. 392. “ threatened His kingdom if nothing opposed this nation of “ darkness, sent a power, from the commixture of which with “ evil and the nation of darkness was formed the world. “ Hence it is that good souls are here in trouble and in “ servitude, go astray and become corrupted, so as to have “ need of a deliverer, to rescue them from error, mixture “ and servitude. It is this, which I deem impiety, to believe “ that Almighty God feared any nation adverse to him, or “ that He was under the necessity to precipitate us into “ miseries." Fortunatus replied; “I know that once you “ were one of us, and these are the principal points of our “ faith; but the question is now concerning our mode of “ life and the calumnious charges made against us. Let “ then these worthy persons, who are present, hear from “ you whether these charges are true or false. Have you “ been present at prayer?” St. Augustine replied, “I have ; “ but the questions of Faith and Manners are distinct. “ I spoke of the former. If, however, those who hear us “ would rather hear the latter discussed, I do not refuse.” Fortunatus said to the people, “I wish, first, to set myself “ clear in your opinion, by the testimony of a trustworthy “ witness." St. Augustine answered; “As to your manners, “ your Elect are better acquainted with them than I. You “ know I was only among your Hearers; so that, though I “ have been present at prayer, whether you use any other be“ side what I heard, God only and yourselves can tell. Where “ I was present, I saw nothing to blame. The only thing “ I noticed contrary to the Faith, which I have since learned, is “ that you said your prayers facing the sun'. Whoever objects [' contra “ to you any thing else touching manners, must apply to “ your Elect. What I received from you is the Faith which “ I, this day, condemn. Let an answer be given to the pro“ position which I have made.”
Fortunatus replied ; “We too maintain that God is in“ corruptible, full of light, inaccessible, incomprehensible, “ impassible ; dwelling in light eternal and proper to Him“ self alone; that He produces of Himself nothing cor“ ruptible, nor darkness, nor evil spirits, nor Satan, and that “ nothing can in His kingdom be found contrary to Him ;
A. D. 392. “ that He sent a Saviour like unto Himself; that the Word,
“ born from the creation of the world, has since come among “ men, and has chosen souls worthy of Himself, sanctified " by His heavenly commandments, imbued with Faith and “ Reason, who are, under His guidance, to return hence, “ according to His holy promise, to the kingdom of God." St. Augustine asked; “What cause precipitated these souls, “which, you confess, come through Christ to life from death, “ into death ?” “ Tell me,” said Fortunatus, “whether “ there is any thing beside God.” “Nay! answer me," said St. Augustine, “what cause was it, which precipitated these
“souls into death ?” As Fortunatus continued to evade the T$ 7.
point, St. Augustine said'; “ We ought not to trifle with “ the numbers who are assembled, in passing from one “ question to another. We both agree that God is incor“ruptible; this, then, is what I infer, either God being “incorruptible could suffer nothing from the nation of
“ darkness, and so, uncontrolled by any cause, sent us hither ?$9. “ cruelly'; or, on the other hand, if He could suffer aught,
“He is not incorruptible.” Fortunatus remarked that CHRIST suffered ; to which St. Augustine answered, “In His human “nature He suffered, which nature He took for our salva“tion, but nothing can be hence inferred as to His divine “ nature.”
Instead of answering this, Fortunatus asked”; “Is the “soul, of God or not?” “I am willing,” said St. Augustine,
“ to reply to your question ; recollect this, however, that you * $ 11.
“ refused to answer me, while I am ready to answer you",
“ God, as being liable to sin and error.” “I said,” replied $ 12. St. Augustine', “ that the soul is not the substance of God,
“ but God is the author of it. He that makes is one thing, “ that which is made is another. That which is made cannot “ possibly be equal to him that made it.” “ Since you " assert,” said Fortunatus, “ that the soul is made, and there
3 $ 9.
“ is nothing beside God, tell me, whence did God derive A. D. 392. “ the substance of the soul ?” “ Remember,” answered St. Augustine, “that we both acknowledge that God is “ Almighty. But He would cease to be so if He needed the “ help of any matter to make what He will'. So we believe, ' $ 13. “ that He has made every thing out of nothing.” Fortunatus objected the contrariety which appears in the world, as between darkness and light, truth and falsehood, death and life, soul and body; whence he inferred, that there are two substances in the world, one of the body, the other of God. St. Augustine said ; “ These contrarieties’, which strike you, '$ 15. “ are the consequence of our sin. For God made all things, “ and made them good; He did not make sin, which alone “ is evil; or rather, that are two evils, sin and its penalty. “ Sin appertains not to God; its penalty comes from Him, “ because He is just. He gave free-will to the rational soul, “ that we might merit a reward by being good, not of ne“ cessity, but of free-will. He subjected every thing to this “ soul, provided that it would itself be subject to Him. If “ it refused this condition, every thing, which had else been “ submitted to it, would be turned to its punishment.”
After Fortunatus had cited a long passage of St. Paul', Eph. 2. St. Augustine took occasion from it, to press him on the ', &c. subject of free-will, as follows; “ The soul, to which God “ promises pardon of its sins, on condition of its penitence, “ might, according to your faith, answer, 'What have I de“served? why hast Thou driven me from Thy kingdom, to “struggle against I know not what nation? Thou knowest ««the necessity under which I lay, and that I had no free“will. Why impute to me the wounds of which Thou art “ Thyself the cause? If I am indeed part of Thyself, I ought “'not, surely, to suffer any thing in this nation of darkness. « « But if this nation could not be amended but by my cor“ ruption, how can it be that I am part of Thee, and at the “ 'same time that Thou art incorruptible, or, at least, not “ cruel, in having made me suffer for Thy kingdom, which this “nation of darkness after all could not hurt?'” They went on examining passages from St. Paul, though, as St. Augustine objects, it had been agreed to discuss the creation of the two principles, by reason. The audience was now disturbed ;
XL. Second day.
A. D. 392. every one began to speak, until Fortunatus said that the
word of God had been bound in the nation of darkness, a speech which excited such horror in the assembly, that it broke up.
On the morrow the conference was resumed. It was argued that God could not be the author of evil, and St. Augustine
insisted upon free-will, without which there could be neither 1 & 20.
just punishment nor desert. To this Fortunatus answered', “ If God gave this licence to sin, which you call free-will, He “must either consent to my sin and be the author of it, or “else, being ignorant of what I should become, He must have “ done ill in producing me, a creature unworthy of Himself;" and afterwards, “ We sin in spite of ourselves, controlled by “ a power adverse and inimical to us; otherwise, if the soul, “ to which God, as you say, has given free-will, were put
“ alone in the body, it would never have made itself subject 'S 21. “ to sin.” St. Augustine replied”; “ Though all that God
“ has made is good, His work cannot be so good as Himself, “ for it would be wrong and foolish to believe that the creature
“ is equal to the Creator.” He then pressed the words of 'Tim.6. 10. the Apostle, that Lust is the root of all evil: a; and after
wards, speaking of the imaginary nation of darkness, he says; “ If this nation only commit sin, it alone, and not the soul, " ought to be punished; for if the soul is constrained of neces. “sity to do evil, is it not unreasonable to believe that I should “ exercise penitence, when it is the nation of darkness that “sins ? that it should sin, and I should have the pardon of “ the sin granted to me?"
Fortunatus adduced the passages of St. Paul, which speak Gal. 5. 17. of a struggle in us of the flesh against the spirit', to which &c.
• 23, St. Augustine answered, “ The first man possessed free-will, PS: 22.1.: , “ so that nothing could have resisted his will, if he would
“ only have kept the commandments of God; but after that “ he had sinned of his free-will, we, his descendants, have “ been thrown into necessity. Every man may experience " within himself, that before contracting a habit, we are free, “ but when, by this liberty, we have done any thing, the per“ nicious sweetness and pleasure of the act so gains upon us, “ that we become no longer able to master the habit, which we
• The Vulgate reads Cupiditas. In the original is diapupla.
“ have ourselves formed; it is this habit formed in the flesh, A. D. 392. “ which fights against the soul. So our LORD speaks of the “ good tree and the bad', and to shew that by the two trees 1 St. Mat. “ He means free-will, and not two different natures, He says "2. “ either make the tree good or else make the tree corrupt, and “ who," says St. Augustine, “could make a nature?”
He then returned to his first question and pressed Fortu- - $ 24, 25. natus to say why God, whom nothing can hurt, sent us here against the nation of darkness. He replied by these words of the Apostle', Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed' Rom. 9. it, why hast Thou made me thus ? He said at first that there existed necessity; he afterwards maintained that God had sent the soul voluntarily, on which St. Augustine had' his * $ 28. former statement read to shew the contradiction, for there were persons to write the conference as it proceeded. At last, when St. Augustine pressed him to explain why it was that God, whom nothing can hurt, had sent the soul hither to misery, he was reduced to answer, “What must I says ?” 58 36. “I know," said St. Augustine, “ that you have nothing to “ say, and that when I was one of your Hearers, I too could • § 37. “ never find an answer to this question; and it was by this “ means that God recovered me from my error. But if you “ will confess that you have no answer, I will, if those who “ hear us think good, explain the Catholic Faith.” Fortunatus replied; “Without prejudice to my former declaration I tell “ you, that I will examine your objections with my superiors; “ if they give me no satisfactory answer, it will then remain “ for me to consider whether I should seek that which you « offer to shew me; for I too would save my soul.” St. Augustine then said, “Thanks be to God," and the conference ended. It displayed to all those who had a high opinion of 'Possid.c.6. Fortunatus, the weakness of the sect, which he had so ill defended. He was himself so abashed at the result, that he forthwith quitted Hippo and never returned; he remained, however, unconverted. Aurelius, formerly a Deacon in the Church of Carthage, XLI.
od St. Augushad just succeeded Genethlius in the Episcopate, and all good tine
u tine's letter men were filled with hope that God would make use of him, to Aurelius to remedy the evils of the African Churches. He was already Agapæ. a friend of St. Augustine, and he now wrote to him for the
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