Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 34.--The Apostle's Eulogy of Love. Correction to Be Administered with Love.
This charity, that is, this will glowing with intensest love, the apostle eulogizes with these words: |Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? (As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.| And in another passage he says, |And yet I show unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth.| And a little afterwards he says, |And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Follow after love.| He also says to the Galatians, |For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.| This is the same in effect as what he writes to the Romans: |He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.| In like manner he says to the Colossians, |And above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.| And to Timothy he writes, |Now the end of the commandment is love;| and he goes on to describe the quality of this grace, saying, |Out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.| Moreover, when he says to the Corinthians, |Let all your things be done with love,| he shows plainly enough that even those chastisements which are deemed sharp and bitter by those who are corrected thereby, are to be administered with love. Accordingly, in another passage, after saying, |Warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men,| he immediately added, |See that none render evil for evil unto any man.| Therefore, even when the unruly are corrected, it is not rendering evil for evil, but contrariwise, good. However, what but love worketh all these things?