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The Confessions And Letters Of St by St. Augustine

Chapter XVIII.--What Error is Harmless in Sacred Scripture.

27. All which things having been heard and considered, I am unwilling to contend about words, for that is profitable to nothing but to the subverting of the hearers. But the law is good to edify, if a man use it lawfully; for the end of it |is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.| And well did our Master know, upon which two commandments He hung all the Law and the Prophets. And what doth it hinder me, O my God, Thou light of my eyes in secret, while ardently confessing these things, -- since by these words many things may be understood, all of which are yet true, -- what, I say, doth it hinder me, should I think otherwise of what the writer thought than some other man thinketh? Indeed, all of us who read endeavour to trace out and to understand that which he whom we read wished to convey; and as we believe him to speak truly, we dare not suppose that he has spoken anything which we either know or suppose to be false. Since, therefore, each person endeavours to understand in the Holy Scriptures that which the writer understood, what hurt is it if a man understand what Thou, the light of all true-speaking minds, dost show him to be true although he whom he reads understood not this, seeing that he also understood a Truth, not, however, this Truth?
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