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On Christian Doctrine In Four Books by St. Augustine

Chapter 11. For who would not see what the apostle meant to sayà

11. For who would not see what the apostle meant to say, and how wisely he has said it, in the following passage: |We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us|? Now were any man unlearnedly learned (if I may use the expression) to contend that the apostle had here followed the rules of rhetoric, would not every Christian, learned or unlearned, laugh at him? And yet here we find the figure which is called in Greek |klimax| (climax,) and by some in Latin gradatio, for they do not care to call it scala (a ladder), when the words and ideas have a connection of dependency the one upon the other, as we see here that patience arises out of tribulation, experience out of patience, and hope out of experience. Another ornament, too, is found here; for after certain statements finished in a single tone of voice, which we call clauses and sections (membra et caesa), but the Greeks |koola| and |kommata|, there follows a rounded sentence (ambitus sive circuitus ) which the Greeks call |periodos|, the clauses of which are suspended on the voice of the speaker till the whole is completed by the last clause. For of the statements which precede the period; this is the first clause, |knowing that tribulation worketh patience;| the second, |and patience, experience;| the third, |and experience, hope.| Then the period which is subjoined is completed in three clauses, of which the first is, |and hope maketh not ashamed;| the second, |because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts;| the third, |by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.| But these and other matters of the same kind are taught in the art of elocution. As then I do not affirm that the apostle was guided by the rules of eloquence, so I do not deny that his wisdom naturally produced, and was accompanied by, eloquence.

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