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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : 23. But if moreover any not having charity, which pertaineth to the unity of spirità

On Patience by St. Augustine

23. But if moreover any not having charity, which pertaineth to the unity of spirità

23. But if moreover any not having charity, which pertaineth to the unity of spirit and the bond of peace whereby the Catholic Church is gathered and knit together, being involved in any schism, doth, that he may not deny Christ, suffer tribulations, straits, hunger, nakedness, persecution, perils, prisons, bonds, torments, swords, or flames, or wild beasts, or the very cross, through fear of hell and everlasting fire; in nowise is all this to be blamed, nay rather this also is a patience meet to be praised. For we cannot say that it would have been better for him that by denying Christ he should suffer none of these things, which he did suffer by confessing Him: but we must account that it will perhaps be more tolerable for him in the judgment, than if by denying Christ he should avoid all those things: so that what the Apostle saith, |If I shall give my body to be burned, but have not charity, it profiteth me nothing,| should be understood to profit nothing for obtaining the kingdom of heaven, but not for having more tolerable punishment to undergo in the last judgment.

Footnotes:

1 Cor. xiii.3 c24. But it may well be asked, whether this patience likewise be the gift of God, or to be attributed to strength of the human will, by which patience, one who is separated from the Church doth, not for the error which separated him but for the truth of the Sacrament or Word which hath remained with him, for fear of pains eternal suffer pains temporal. For we must take heed lest haply, if we affirm that patience to be the gift of God, they in whom it is should be thought to belong also to the kingdom of God; but if we deny it to be the gift of God, we should be compelled to allow that without aid and gift of God there can be in the will of man somewhat of good. Because it is not to be denied that it is a good thing that a man believe he shall undergo pain of eternal punishment if he shall deny Christ, and for that faith endure and make light of any manner of punishment of man's inflicting.

Footnotes:

See on Profit of Believing, c.1, p.347. c25. So then, as we are not to deny that this is the gift of God, we are thus to understand that there be some gifts of God possessed by the sons of that Jerusalem which is above, and free, and mother of us all, (for these are in some sort the hereditary possessions in which we are |heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ:|) but some other which may be received even by the sons of concubines to whom carnal Jews and schismatics or heretics are compared. For though it be written, |Cast out the bondmaid and her son, for the son of the bondmaid shall not be heir with my son Isaac:| and though God said to Abraham, |In Isaac shall thy seed be called:| which the Apostle hath so interpreted as to say, |That is, not they which be sons of the flesh, these be the sons of God; but the sons of the promise are counted for the seed;| that we might understand the seed of Abraham in regard of Christ to pertain by reason of Christ to the sons of God, who are Christ's body and members, that is to say, the Church of God, one, true, very-begotten, catholic, holding the godly faith; not the faith which works through elation or fear, but |which worketh by love;| nevertheless, even the sons of the concubines, when Abraham sent them away from his son Isaac, he did not omit to bestow upon them some gifts, that they might not be left in every way empty, but not that they should be held as heirs. For so we read: |And Abraham gave all his estate unto Isaac; and to the sons of his concubines gave Abraham gifts, and sent them away from his son Isaac.| If then we be sons of Jerusalem the free, let us understand that other be the gifts of them which are put out of the inheritance, other the gifts of them which be heirs. For these be the heirs, to whom is said, |Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.|

Footnotes:

Gal. iv.26 Gal. iv.30; and Gen. xxi.10

Gen. xxi.12; and Rom. ix.7, 8

Gal. v.6

Gen. xxv.5, 6

Rom. viii.15

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