Augustine Gobbets Notes
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Augustine Gobbets Revision
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Christian Moral Reasoning Augustine - Overview Book 1 exists in two parts. One relating to the discovery and the other to the expression, of the true sense of Scripture. In order to discover the meaning we must attend both to things and signs - it is necessary to know what things we ought to teach to the Christian people, and also the signs of these things. Three classes of things :
Things to be enjoyed
Things to be used
Things which use and enjoy
The only object that should be enjoyed is the Triune God, who is our highest good and true happiness. In enjoying God we are prevented from our sins. Love - the love of God for His own sake and the love of our neighbour for God's sake is the fulfilment and the end of all Scripture. Faith, hope and love are graces essentially necessary for him who would understand and explain the Holy Scriptures. Chapter 1 : Interpretation of scripture is dependent upon two things : ascertaining the proper meaning and making known this meaning when it is ascertained. Chapter 2 : 'All instruction is either about things or about signs; but things are learnt by means of signs'. Thing : that which is never employed as a sign of anything else, such as wood, stone and other things of that kind Signs : 'the stone which Jacob used as a pillow' - things but also signs. There are also signs that are just signs, such as worlds. We only use works as signs of something else - those things which are used to indicate something else. Subsequently, every sign is also a thing - for what is not a thing is nothing at all. Not every thing, however, is a sign. Chapter 3 : Some things are for use, some for enjoyment 'There are some things, then, which are to be enjoyed, others which are to be used, others still which enjoy and use'. Enjoyment : Make us happy Use : Assist in our efforts after happiness, so that we can attain the things that make us happy and rest in them. Chapter 4 : Difference of use and enjoyment To enjoy a thing is to rest with satisfaction in it for its own sake. To use, on the other hand, is to employ whatever means are at one's disposal to obtain what one desires, if it is a proper object of desire; for an unlawfulness ought rather to be called an abuse Chapter 5 : The Trinity the true object of enjoyment True objects of enjoyment are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who make up the trinity.
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In the Father is unity in the Son equality, in the Holy Spirit the harmony of unity and equality - and these three attributes are all one because of the Father, all equal because of the Son and all harmonious because of the Holy Spirit. Chapter 6 : In what sense God is ineffable 'If I have said anything [about God], it is not what I desired to say. How do I know this, except from the fact that God is unspeakable?'. God should not even be called unspeakable because this is to speak of him and so there is a 'curious contradiction of words'. Yet God, although nothing worthy of His greatness can be said of Him, has condescended to accept the worship of men's mouths, and has desired us through the medium of our own words to rejoice in his praise. It is because of this that He is called 'Deus' - those two syllables in itself conveys no true knowledge of His nature. Chapter 7 : What all men understand in the term God When man thinks of God it takes the form of that which nothing more excellent or more exalted exits. All concur in believing that God is that which excels in dignity all other objects. Chapter 8 : God to be esteemed above all else because He is unchangeable Wisdom As all who think about God think of Him as living, they only can form any conception of Him that is not absurd and unworthy who think of Him as life itself. They place Him in unchangeable life, which is not at one time foolish and at another time wise, but on the contrary it is wisdom itself. Chapter 9 : All acknowledge the superiority of unchangeable : wisdom to that which is variable It is not a questionable statement that life of unchangeable wisdom is preferable to one of change. The man who sees but shrinks from this truth is weak in his mental vision. Chapter 10 : To see God, the soul must be purified The soul must be purified in order to be able to see the truth of the things which He has made, and so that Witi has the power to perceive that light, and to rest in it when it is perceived. This purification is a kind of journey. Chapter 11 : Wisdom becoming incarnate, a pattern to us of purification The pattern of the holy life and wisdom has been adapted in our own form of our own humanity. When we come to God it is wisely and when we do we become strong. 'And thus, though Wisdom was Himself our home, He made Himself also the way by which we should reach our home' Chapter 12 : In what sense the Wisdom of God came to us God appeared to mortal men in the form of mortal flesh. For He came to a place where He had always been, seeing that "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him" Chapter 13 : The Word was made Flesh Just as when we speak, in order that what we leave in our minds may enter through the ear into the mind of the hearer, the Divine Word suffered no change of nature, yet became flesh in order to dwell among us. Chapter 14 : How the wisdom of God healed man His use of wisdom is our medicine, the wisdom of God cures man in the same way the healer uses medicine. We used our immortality so badly as to incur the penalty of death. Chapter 15 : Faith is buttressed by the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and is stimulated by His coming to judgment
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This has strengthened our hope. We all have gifts suitable for the building up of His Church, that we may do what He points out as right to be done, not only without a murmur, but even with delight. Chapter 16 : Christ purges His church by medicinal afflictions The Church is the body of God - held together in the bond of unity and love, which is its true health. He exercises in the present time. Chapter 17 : Christ, by forgiving our sins, opened the way to our home When we are on our way to changing of our affections then the guilt of our past sins are forgiven, through Christ being crucified for us to remove the stern decrees that barred the door against our return. Chapter 18 : The keys given to the Church He who does not believe that sins can be pardoned falls into despair and becomes worse - as if no greater good remained for him than to be evil, when he has ceased to have faith in the results of his own repentance. Chapter 19 : Bodily and spiritual death and resurrection Death of the soul : putting away of former habits and former ways of life, through repentance Death of the body : consists in the dissolution of the former principle of life We must hope and believe that the body, after that death which we all owe as a debt contracted through sin, shall at the resurrection be changed into a better form - that this mortal shall put on immortality. The being thus will be a source of no uneasiness because it can feel no want and shall enjoy unbroken peace. Chapter 20 : The resurrection to damnation 'Now he whose soul does not die to this world and begin here to be conformed to the truth, falls when the body dies into a more terrible death, and shall revive, not to change his earthly for a heavenly habitation, but to endure the penalty of sin' Chapter 21 : Neither body nor soul extinguished at death Neither the body or the soul suffer complete extinction at death - the wicked rise again to endure inconceivable punishment and the good to receive eternal life. Chapter 22 : God alone to be enjoyed We are commanded to love one anther : but it is a question whether man is to be loved by man for his own sake, or for the sake of something else. If it is for his own sake, we enjoy him; if it is for the sake of something else, we use him. Man should be loved for the sake of something else. If a thing is to be loved for its own sake, then in the enjoyment of it consists a happy life - the hope of which is our comfort in the present time. Neither should anyone have any joy in himself - no one should love himself for his own sake, but for the sake of Him who is the true object of enjoyment. Man is never in so good a state as when his whole life is a journey towards unchangeable life, and his affections are entirely fixed upon that. If one loves himself in their own sake, he does not look at himself in relation to God, but turns his mind in upon himself, and so is not occupied with anything that is unchangeable. He then will not enjoy himself at his best because he is better when is mind is fully fixed upon, and his affections wrapped up in, the unchangeable good, that when he turns from that to enjoy even himself.
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Chapter 23 : Man needs no injunction to love himself and his own body Objects of use should not be loved - only those which are either united with us in common relation to God (man or angel), or are so related to us as to need the goodness of God through our instrumentality such as the body. The health of the soul exists in the steadfast clinging to the unchangeable God - when it aspires to lord it even over those who are by nature its equals, that is, its fellow-men - this is a reach of arrogance utterly intolerable. Chapter 24 : No man hates his own flesh, not even those who abuse it No man hates himself or his own body. It is not the body but its corruptions and heaviness that they hate. It is not no body, but an uncorrupted and very light body that they want, but they think a body of that kind would be no body at all because they think such a thing as that must be a spirit. They strive by a kind of toilsome exercise of the body itself to root out those lusts that are hurtful to the body - those habits and affections of the soul that lead to the enjoyment of unworthy objects. Those who do this in perverse spirit make war upon their own body as if it were a natural enemy : "the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other". Not even those who are led astray by false notions, hate their bodies would be prepared to sacrifice one eye, even supposing they could do so without suffering any pain, and that they had as might sight left in one as they formerly had in two, Chapter 25 : A man may love something more than his body, but does not therefore hate his body. Man should be taught a good measure of loving, and that is, in what measure he may love himself so as to be of service to himself, so that he loves himself and does desire to do good to himself, nobody but a fool would doubt. A man may have something that he loves better than the safety and soundness of his body but nobody should not desire safety for their body if there is something he desires more and values more highly. Chapter 26 : The command to love God and our neighbour includes a command to love ourselves God is above us, our neighbour beside us and this is reflected in the two fold commandment : the love of God and the love of our neighbour. The love of God come first, and the measure of our love for Him is prescribed in such terms that it is evident all others things are to find their centre in Him. Nothing seems to be said about love for ourselves. Chapter 27 : The order of love No sinner is to be loved as a sinner; and every man is to be loved as a man for God's sake; but God is to be loved for His own sake. And if God is to be loved mre than any man, each man ought to love God more than himself. We ought to love another man better than our own body, because all things are to be loved in reference to God, and another man can have fellowship with us in the enjoyment of God, whereas our body cannot; for the body only lives through the soul, and it is by the soul that we enjoy God. Chapter 28 : How we are to decide who to aid All men are to be loved equally - but as we cannot do good to all we should pay special attention and regard to those who, by the accidents of time, place or circumstance, are bought close. Chapter 29 : We are to desire and endeavour that all men may love God We should desire that all join with us in loving God, and all the assistance that we either give or accept should tend to that one end. If they would turn to Him, they must of necessity love Him as the supreme good, and love us too as partakers with them in so great a blessing.
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Chapter 30 : Whether angels are to be reckoned our neighbours Angels too are happy in the enjoyment of Him, whom we long to enjoy. It is not irrational to ask whether in those two commandments is included the love of angels also. Chapter 31 : God uses rather than enjoys us We enjoy only that which we love for its own sake. For God loves us, but in what way does he love us ? As objects of use of enjoyment ?
If he enjoys us, He must be in need of good from us. He does not enjoy us then, but makes use of us. For if He neither enjoys or uses us, 'I am at a loss to discover in what way He can love us'. Chapter 32 : In what way God uses man Neither does He use after our fashion of using as when we use objects, we do so with a view of the full enjoyment of the goodness of God. God however has reference of His own goodness as it is because He is good we exist; and so far as we truly exist we are good. It is our highest reward that we should fully enjoy Him, and that all who enjoy Him should enjoy one another in Him. Chapter 33 : In what way man should be enjoyed If we find our happiness complete in one another, we stop short upon the road and place our hope of happiness in man or angel. But when you have joy of a man in God, it is God rather than man that you enjoy. For you enjoy Him by whom you are made happy, and you rejoice to have come to Him in whose presence you place your hope of joy. Chapter 34 : Christ the First Way to God Christ, desiring not only to give the possession to those who had completed the journey, but also to be Himself the way to those who were just setting out, determined to take a fleshly body Chapter 35 : The fulfilment and end of Scripture is the love of God and our neighbour We should clearly understand that the fulfilment and the end of the Law, and of all Holy Scripture, is the love of an object which is to be enjoyed, and the love of an object which can enjoy that other in fellowship with ourselves. For there is no need of a command that each man should love himself. Chapter 36 : That interpretation of Scripture which builds us up in love is not perniciously deceptive nor mendacious, even though it be faulty. The interpreter, however should be corrected An individual only truly understands the meaning of scripture if they obey the twofold love commandment. Now every man who lies commits an injustice; and if any man thinks that a lie is ever useful, he must think that injustice is sometimes useful. For no liar keeps faith in the matter about which he lies. He wishes, of course, that the man to whom he lies should place confidence in him; and yet he betrays his confidence by lying to him. Now every man who breaks faith is unjust. Either, then, injustice is sometimes useful (which is impossible), or a lie is never useful. Whoever takes another meaning out of Scripture than the writer intended, goes astray, but not through any falsehood in Scripture. Chapter 37 : Dangers of mistaken interpretation
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For if he takes up rashly a meaning which the author whom he is reading did not intend, he often falls in with other statements which he cannot harmonise with this meaning. And if he should once permit that evil to creep in, it will utterly destroy him - faith will fall is scripture begins to shake and love will not grow. If a man has called from faith he also necessarily falls from love - one cannot love what he does not believe to exist. There are the three things to which all knowledge and all prophecy are subservient: faith, hope, love. Chapter 38 : Love never faileth There is a great difference between things temporal and things eternal. A temporal object is valued more before we possess it but does not satisfy the soul. An eternal object is loved with greater ardour when it is in possession that while it is still an object of desire. Chapter 39 : He who is mature in faith hope and love, needs Scripture no longer And thus a man who is resting upon faith, hope and love, and who keeps a firm hold upon these, does not need the Scriptures except for the purpose of instructing others. The apostle says: "Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity:" because, when a man shall have reached the eternal world, while the other two graces will fail, love will remain greater and more assured. Chapter 40 : What manner of reader Scripture demands The three graces are necessary for a true understanding of scripture.
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Augustine, the Christian Ethic and Love Self-giving love : Implies that one must always prioritise the welfare of others, or veneration of God over themselves. Augustine's treatment of Love Love is a capacity that God has given us in order to bond and unite men. It can also inform other ethical decisions justice, peace and morality. Teleological interpretation of the scriptures and the role that love should take in our lives. Love is the sole end goal and the Great Commandment. There are, however, different forms and directions that love works in :
That above us : God
That with us : Neighbour
That beneath us : Animals
(2) : we do not need a commandment to love ourselves as this is natural Types of Love I.
Amor - used in a positive and negative sense to express all directions of love, as well as being used for stylistic rather than theological purpose.
Dilectio - Love directed at worthy objects, a love which may be approved and encouraged.
III. Caritas - Seen in relation to religion - it refers only to the love for the end goal either directly or through objects of use. Differentiation of Enjoyment and Use Enjoy : Rest in satisfaction in it for its own sake Use : To employ whatever means are at one's disposal to obtain what one desires True enjoyment rests solely in God. The relationship that man should hold with other men therefore is of a partially instrumental nature. We can still love them as neighbourly love is part of the twofold commandment, but if we love a man for his own sake then we are enjoying them. We can love others but this is for the sake of God and as part of the final end. Self Love Self love is best illustrated by our tendency towards self-preservation. There is no need for an injunction to love oneself, their body or their soul. Augustine does not however seem to give a comprehensive solution to self-love as it becomes mixed with being a natural phenomena but at the same time is part of the active love of God. Yet the act of loving God is the greatest means to happiness for man. From a positive perspective, this form of love is the benevolent type - it is good for ourselves and our welfare, making it a form of self love. If we love ourselves for our own sake, then we turn away from faith and God. Augustine believes that this would then turn into 'self-hate' showing the negative side to self love. Jeanrond : We should remember that human love is embodied and it can only escape this at death.
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