Authors/Augustine/De libero arbitrio/L1

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Dic mihi, quaeso te, utrum deus non sit auctor mali
Latin English
Translated by Dom Mark Pontifex (LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO. 1955)
EVODIUS. Dic mihi, quaeso te, utrum deus non sit auctor mali. Evodius: should like you to tell me: is not God the cause of evil?
AUGUSTINUS. Dicam, si planum feceris, de quo malo quaeras. Duobus enim modis appellare malum solemus: uno, cum male quemque fecisse dicimus, alio, cum mali aliquid esse perpessum. Augustine: I will tell you, if you explain what kind of evil you mean. We use the word evil in two senses, one, of doing evil, and the other, of suffering evil.
EVODIUS. De utroque scire cupio. E.I want to know about both.
AUGUSTINUS. At si deum bonum esse nosti vel credis -- neque enim aliter fas est --, male non facit. Rursus, si deum iustum fatemur -- nam et hoc negare sacrilegum est --, ut bonis praemia, ita supplicia malis tribuit; quae utique supplicia patientibus mala sunt. Quamobrem si nemo iniuste poenas luit, quod necesse est credamus, quandoquidem divina providentia hoc universum regi credimus, illius primi generis malorum nullo modo, huis autem secundi auctor est deus. A. If you know or believe God is good and it would be wrong to think otherwise He does not do evil. Again, if we admit God is just and it would be wicked also to deny thisHe both rewards the good and punishes the bad. Now these punishments are evils to those who suffer them. Consequently, if no one is punished unjustly as we must necessarily believe, since we believe everything is ruled by God's providence God is certainly not the cause of the first kind of evil, but He is the cause of the second kind.
EVODIUS. Est ergo alius auctor illius mali, cuius deum non esse compertum est? E. Then there is some other cause of that evil which God is not found to be responsible for?
AUGUSTINUS. Est certe; non enim nullo auctore fieri posset. Si autem quaeris, quisnam iste sit, dici non potest; non enim unus aliquis est, sed quisque malus sui malefacti auctor est. Unde si dubitas, illud attende quod supra dictum est, maleficia iustitia dei vindicari. Non enim iuste vindicarentur, nisi fierent voluntate. A. Certainly there is; it could not come about without a cause. But if you ask what it is, the question cannot be answered. There is no single cause, but everyone who does wrong is the cause of his own wrongdoing. If you are not convinced, remember what I said just now, that wrongdoing > is punished by God's justice. It would not be punished justly, unless it were done wilfully. 2
EVODIUS. Nescio utrum quisquam peccet, qui non didicerit; quod si verum est, quisnam ille sit, a quo peccare didicerimus, inquiro. E . I should not have thought anyone sins without having learnt to do so. If this is true, I want to know who it is from whom we have learnt to sin.
AUGUSTINUS. Aliquid boni existimas esse disciplinam? A. Do you think that teaching is a good?
EVODIUS. Quis audeat dicere malum esse disciplinam? E. No one could say that teaching was an evil.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid, si nec bonum nec malum est? A. Might it be neither a good nor an evil?
EVODIUS. Mihi bonum videtur. E.I think it is a good.
AUGUSTINUS. Bene sane, siquidem scientia per illam datur aut excitatur nec quisquam nisi per disciplinam aliquid discit. An tu aliter putas? A. Quite right, for knowledge is given or stimulated by it, and no one learns anything except through teaching. Do you agree?
EVODIUS. Ego per disciplinam non nisi bona disci arbitror. E. I think only good is learnt through teaching.
AUGUSTINUS. Vide ergo ne non discantur mala; nam disciplina nisi a discendo non dicta est. A. Then be careful not to say that evil is learnt. Learning and teaching go together. 3
EVODIUS. Unde ergo ab homine fiunt, si non discuntur? E. How can man do evil, if he does not learn it?
AUGUSTINUS. Eo fortasse, quod se a disciplina, id est a discendo, avertit et abalienat. Sed sive hoc sive aliud aliquid sit, illud certe manifestum est, quoniam disciplina bonum est et a discendo dicta est disciplina, mala disci omnino non posse. Si enim discuntur, disciplina continentur atque ita disciplina non erit bonum. Bonum est autem, ut ipse concedis; non igittlr discuntur mala et frustra illum, a quo male facere discimus, quaeris. Aut si discuntur mala, vitanda, non facienda discuntur. Ex quo male facere nihil est nisi a disciplina deviare. A Perhaps because he turns away from, because he abandons, his teaching, which is the same as his learning. But however that may be, it is undoubtedly clear that since teaching is a good thing, and teaching and learning go together, evil cannot possibly be learnt. If it were learnt, it would be part of teaching, and so teaching would not be a good. But you yourself grant that it is. Therefore evil is not learnt, and it is useless to ask from whom we learn to do evil. If evil is learnt, we learn what ought to be avoided, not what ought to be done. Hence to do wrong is nothing else than to disobey our teaching.
EVODIUS. Prorsus ego duas esse disciplinas puto: unam per quam bene facere, aliam per quam male facere discimus. Sed cum quaereres, utrum disciplina bonum esset, ipsius boni amor intentionem meam rapuit, ut illam disciplinam intuerer, quae bene faciendi est, ex quo bonum esse respondi; nunc autem admoneor esse aliam, quam procul dubio malum esse confirmo et cuius auctorem requiro. E. I think there are really two kinds of teaching, one by which we learn to do right and another by which we learn to do wrong. When you asked whether teaching was a good, my love for the good > absorbed my attention, and I only thought of that kind of teaching which is concerned with doing good. So I answered that it was a good. Now I realise that there is another kind of teaching, which I am sure is unquestionably evil, and I want to know its cause.
AUGUSTINUS. Saltem intellegentiam non nisi bonum putas? A. Do you think at least that understanding is a pure good?
EVODIUS. Istam plane ita bonam puto, ut non videam quid in homine possit esse praestantius, nec ullo modo dixerim aliquam intellegentiam malam esse posse. E.l think it is plainly good in the sense that I do not see what can be more excellent in man. I could not possibly say that any understanding was evil.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? cum docetur quisque, si non intellegat, poteritne tibi doctus videri? A. When someone is taught but does not understand, could you suppose he has learnt anything?
EVODIUS. Omnino non poterit. E. No, of course I could not.
AUGUSTINUS. Si ergo omnis intellegentia bona est nec quisquam, qui non intellegit, discit, omnis qui discit bene facit. omnis enim qui discit intellegit et omnis qui intellegit bene facit. Quisquis igitur quaerit auctorem, per quem aliquid discimus, auctorem profecto, per quem bene facimus quaerit. Qua propter desine velle investigare nescio quem malum doctorem. Si enim malus est, doctor non est; si doctor est, malus non est. A. Then, if all understanding is good, and no one learns anything unless he understands, it is always good to learn. For all who learn understand, and all who understand do what is good. So if anyone wants to find the cause of our learning anything, he really wants to find the cause of our doing good. Give up, then, your wish to discover a teacher of evil. If he is evil, he is not a teacher; if he is a teacher, he is not evil.
EVODIUS. Age iam, quoniam satis cogis, ut fatear non nos discere male facere, dic mihi unde male faciamus. E. Well, then, as you have succeeded in making me agree that we do not learn to do evil, tell me how it comes about that we do evil
AUGUSTINUS. Eam questionem moves, quae me admodum adulescentem uehementer exercuit et fatigatum in hereticos impulit atque deiecit. Quo casu ita sum afflictus et tantis obrutus aceruis inanium fabularum, ut, nisi mihi amor inveniendi veri opcm divinam impetravisset, emergere inde atque in ipsam primam quaerendi libertatem respirare non possem. Et quoniam mecum sedulo actum est, ut ista quaestione liberarer, eo tecum agam ordine, quem secutus euasi. Aderit enim deus et nos intellegere quod credidimus faciet. Praescriptum enim per prophetam gradum, qui ait: Nisi credideritis non intellegetis, tenere nos bene nobis conscii sumus. Credimus autem ex uno deo esse omnia quae sunt et tamen non esse peccatorum auctorem deum. Movet autem animum, si peccata ex his animabus sunt quas deus creavit, illae autem animae ex deo, quomodo non paruo interuallo peccata referantur in deum. A. You are inquiring into a problem which deeply interested me when I was quite a young man; it troubled me so much that I was worn out and driven right into heresy. So low did I fall, and such was the mass of empty fables which overwhelmed me, that, if God had not helped me because I longed to find the truth, I could not have > escaped, or recovered the primary freedom to search. As I made great efforts to solve this problem, I will explain it to you in the way I finally worked it out. God will help us, and make us understand what we believe. We can be sure that we are treading in the path pointed out by the Prophet who says: Unless you believe you will not understand* We believe that everything which exists is created by one God, and yet that God is not the cause of sin. The difficulty is: if sins go back to souls created by God, and souls go back to God, how can we avoid before long tracing sin back to God? 5 WHAT IS SIN?
EVODIUS. Id nunc plane abs te dictum est quod me cogitantem satis excruci at et quod ad istam inquisitionem coegit et traxit. E. You have now put in plain words a problem which troubles my mind a great deal, and which has driven me on to this discussion.
AUGUSTINUS. Virili animo esto et crede quod credis; nihil enim creditur melius, etiamsi causa lateat cur ita sit. Optime namque de deo existimare verissimum est pietatis exordium nec quisquam de illo optime existimat, qui non eum omnipotentem atque ex nulla particula commutabilem credit, bonorum etiam omnium creatorem, quibus est ipse praestantior, rectorem quoque iustissimum eorum omnium quae creavit, nec ulla adiutum esse natura in creando, quasi qui non sibi sufficeret. Ex quo fit ut de nihilo creaverit omnia, de se autem non crearit, sed genuerit quod sibi par esset, quem filium dei unicum dicimus; quem cum planius cnuntiare conamur, dei virtutem et dei sapientiam nominamus, per quam fecit omnia quae de nihilo facta stlnt. Quibus constitutis ad intellegentiam eius rei quam requiris opitulante deo nitamur hoc modo. A. Do not let it depress you, but go on believing what you believe. We cannot have a better belief, even if we do not see the reason. The true foundation of a devout life is to have a right view of God, and we do not have a right view of God unless we believe Him to be almighty, utterly unchangeable, the creator of all things that are good, though Himself more excellent than they, the utterly just ruler of all He has created, selfsufficient and therefore without assistance from any other being in the act of creation. It follows from this that He created all out of nothing. Of Himself He did not create, but has begotten that which is equal to Himself. This we call the only> begotten Son of God, whom, when we try to express ourselves more plainly, we term the Power of God and the Wisdom of God, through which He made all things which He made out of nothing. Having stated this, let us try with God's help in the following way to understand the question you wish to examine. Quaeris certe unde male faciamus; prius ergo discutiendum est, quid sit male facere; qua de re tibi quid videatur exprome. Quod si non potes totum simul breviter verbis conprehendere, saltim particulatim malefacta ipsa commemorando sententiam tuam notam fac mihi. 3.6 Your problem is to find the cause of our wrongdoing, and therefore we must first discuss what doing wrong means. Explain your view about this. If you cannot cover the whole subject in a few short words, at least give some examples of wrongdoing, and tell me what you think.
EVODIUS. Adulteria et homicidia et sacrilegia, ut omittam caetera, quibus enumerandis vel tempus vel memoria non suppetit, quis est cui non male facta videantur? E. Adultery, murder, and sacrilege are examples. It would take too long to make a complete list, and I could not remember everything. All agree that these are wrongdoings.
AUGUSTINUS. Dic ergo prius cur adulterium male fieri putes; an quia id facere lex uetat? A .First tell me why you think adultery is wrong. Because the law forbids it?
EVODIUS. Non sane ideo malum est quia uetatur lege, sed ideo uetatur lege quia malum est. E. No, it is not wrong because the law forbids it; the law forbids it because it is wrong.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? si quispiam nos exagitet, exaggerans delectationes adulterii et quaerens a nobis, cur hoc malum et damnatione dignum iudicemus, num ad auctoritatem legis confugiendum censes hominibus iam non tantum credere sed intellegere cupientibus? Nam et ego tecum credo et inconcusse credo omnibusque populis atque gentibus credendum esse clamo malum esse adulterium. Sed nunc molimur id, quod in fidem recepimus, etiam intellegendo scire ac tenere firmissimum. Considera itaque quantum potes et renuntia mihi, quanam ratione adulterium malum esse cognoveris. A. If someone tried to confuse us, dwelling on the pleasures of adultery and asking why we thought it wrong and to be condemned, surely you do not think we ought to take shelter behind the authority of the law, when we desire not only to believe, but also to understand? I agree with you, and believe most firmly, and preach the belief to all peoples and nations that adultery is wrong. But now we are endeavouring to grasp firmly with the understanding what we have received on faith. Reflect, therefore, as carefully as you can, and tell me on what grounds you regard adultery as evil. >
EVODIUS. Hoc scio malum esse, quod hoc ipse in uxore mea pati nollem. Quisquis autem alteri facit, quod sibi fieri non vult, male utique facit. E. I know an act to be evil, which I should not allow in the case of my own wife. Whoever does to another what he would not like done to himself, surely does wrong.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? si cuiuspiam libido ea sit, ut uxorem suam praebeat alteri libenterque ab eo corrumpi patiatur, in cuius uxorem vicissim cupit parem habere licentiam, nihilne male facere tibi videtur? A. If a man's passion was so strong that he offered his own wife to another, and freely allowed her to be seduced by him because he wished to have the same licence with this man's wife, do you think he would be doing no wrong?
EVODIUS. Immo plurimum. E. Of course, a very great wrong.
AUGUSTINUS. At iste non illa regula peccat; non enim facit quod pati nolit. Quamobrem aliud tibi quaerendum est, unde adulterium malum esse convincas. A. He is not sinning against the principle you mentioned; he is not doing what he would not like done to himself. You must find another reason for your conviction that adultery is wrong.
EVODIUS. Eo mihi videtur malum, quod huius criminis homines vidi saepe damnari. E. I think it wrong, because I have often seen men condemned for this crime.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? propter recte facta nonne homines plerumque damnati sunt? Recense historiam, ne te ad alios libros mittam, eam ipsam quae divina auctoritate praecellit; iam invenies, quam male de apostolis et de omnibus martyribus sentiamus, si placet nobis damnationem certum iudicium esse malefacti, cum illi omnes damnatione digni propter confessionem suam iudicati sunt. Quamobrem si quicquid damnatur malum est, malum erat illo tempore credere in Christum et ipsam confiteri fidem. Si autem non omne malum est quod damnatur, quaere aliud, unde adulterium malum esse doceas. A. Are not men often condemned for good deeds? To save you further reference read history as you have it on God's own excellent authority. You will soon see what a bad impression we should get of the Apostles and all the martyrs, if we thought that condemnation was a sure proof of wrongdoing; all were condemned for confessing their faith. So if everything which is condemned is evil, it was evil at that time to believe in Christ and to confess His faith. But, if everything that is condemned is not evil, you must find another reason for teaching that adultery is wrong.
EVODIUS. Quid tibi respondeam non invenio. E. I do not see any answer to this.
AUGUSTINUS. Fortassis ergo libido in adulterio malum est, sed dum tu foris in ipso facto, quod iam videri potest, malum quaeris, pateris angustias. Nam ut intellegas libidinem in adulterio malum esse, si cui etiam non contingat facultas concumbendi cum coniuge aliena, planum tamen aliquo modo sit id eum cupere et, si potestas detur, esse facturum, non minus reus est quam si in ipso facto deprehenderetur. A. Well, possibly passion is the evil in adultery. Your trouble is that you are looking for the evil in the outward act, that we can see. I will prove that passion is the evil in adultery. If a man has no > opportunity of living with another man's wife, but if it is obvious for some reason that he would like to do so, and would do so if he could, he is no less guilty than if he was caught in the act.
EVODIUS. Nihil est omnino manifestius et iam video non opus esse longa sermocinatione, ut mihi de homicidio et sacrilegio ac prorsus de omnibus peccatis persuadeatur. Clarum est enim iam nihil aliud quam libidinem in toto malefaciendi genere dominari. E. Yes, that is perfectly clear. I see now that there is no need of a long argument to convince me that this is true of murder and sacrilege, and indeed of all sins. It is plain that nothing else than passion is the principal element in this whole matter of wrongdoing.
AUGUSTINUS. Scisne etiam istam libidinem alio nomine cupiditatem vocari? A. Do you know that there is another word for passion, namely desire? 6
EVODIUS. Scio. E.-Yes, I do.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? inter hanc et metum nihilne interesse an aliquid putas? A. Do you think there is any difference between this and fear?
EVODIUS. Immo plurimum haec ab invicem distare arbitror. E. I think there is a very great difference between them.
AUGUSTINUS. Credo te ob hoc arbitrari, quia cupiditas appetit, metus fugit. A. I suppose you think this because desire seeks its object, while fear avoids it.
EVODIUS. Est ita ut dicis. E.-Yes.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid si ergo quispiam non cupiditate adipiscendae alicuius rei, sed metuens, ne quid ei mali accidat, hominem occiderit? Num homicida iste non erit? A. If someone kills a man, not through desire of gain, but through fear of suffering some evil, will he still be a murderer?
EVODIUS. Erit quidem, sed non ideo factum hoc cupiditatis dominatu caret; nam qui metuens hominem occidit, cupit utique sine metu vivere. E. Yes indeed, but it does not follow that this act will be free from the motive of desire. If he kills a man through fear, he certainly desires to live without fear.
AUGUSTINUS. Et paruum tibi bonum videtur sine metu vivere? A. Do you think it is a small good to live without fear?
EVODIUS. Magnum bonum est, sed hoc illi homicidae per facinus suum provenire nullo modo potest. E.It is a great good, but the murderer cannot possibly gain this by his crime.
AUGUSTINUS. Non quaero, quid ei provenire possit, sed quid ipse cupiat. Certe enim bonum cupit, qui cupit vitam metu liberam, et idcirco ista cupiditas culpanda non est, alioquin omnes culpabimus amatores boni. Proinde cogimur fateri esse homicidium, in quo nequeat malae illius cupiditatis dominatio repperiri, falsumque erit illud, quod in omnibus peccatis ut mala sint libido dominatur; aut erit aliquod homicidium, quod possit non esse peccatum. A. I am not asking what he can gain, but what he desires. 7 He certainly desires what is good if he > desires to live without fear, and therefore the desire is free from blame. Otherwise we shall blame all who love what is good. So we must agree that we cannot point to evil desire as the dominant motive in every murder; it would be false to say that the dominance of passion constitutes the evil in every sin. If so, there might be a murder which was not a sin. 8
EVODIUS. Si homicidium est hominem occidere, potest accidere aliquando sine peccato. Nam et miles hostem et iudex vel minister eius nocentem, et cui forte inuito atque imprudenti telum manu fugit, non mihi videntur peccare, cum hominem occidunt. E. If to kill a man is murder, this may happen sometimes without any sin. When a soldier kills the enemy, when a judge or an executioner kills the criminal, or when a weapon flies from a man's hand inadvertently and by accident, I do not think they sin by killing a man.
AUGUSTINUS. Adsentior, sed homicidae isti appellari non solent. Responde itaque, utrum illum, qui dominum occidit, a quo sibi metuebat cruciatus graves, in eorum numero habendum existirnes, qui sic hominem occidunt, ut ne homicidarum quidem nomine digni sint? A. I agree, but they are not usually called murderers. Answer this question. If a slave kills his master because he is afraid of being tortured, do you think he should count among those who kill a man, without actually deserving to be called murderer?
EVODIUS. Longe ab eis istum differre video, nam illi vel ex legibus faciunt vel non contra leges, huius autem facinus nulla lex approbat. E. I think this is quite a different case from the other. The former act lawfully or not unlawfully; the latter are sanctioned by no law. 10
AUGUSTINUS. Rursus me ad auctoritatem reuocas, sed meminisse te oportet id nunc a nobis esse susceptum, ut intellegamus quod credimus. Legibus autem credimus; temptandum itaque est, si quo modo possumus, id ipsum intellegere, utrum lex quae punit hoc factum non perperam puniat. A. Again you appeal to authority. But you must remember that the task we have undertaken is to understand what we believe. We believe in the law, and so we must try, if we possibly can, to understand whether the law which punishes this act does not punish it wrongly.
EVODIUS. Nullo modo perperam punit, quandoquidem punit eum, qui volens et sciens dominum necat, quod nullus illorum. E. It certainly does not punish it wrongly, for it punishes a man who deliberately kills his master; this is quite unlike the other examples. >
AUGUSTINUS. Et quid? recordaris te paulo ante dixisse in omni facto malo libidinem dominari et eo ipso malum esse? A. Do you remember you said a few minutes ago that passion was the dominant motive in every evil act, and was the cause of its being evil?
EVODIUS. Recordor sane. E. Yes, I remember.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? illud nonne idem tu concessisti, eum, qui cupit sine metu vivere, non habere malam cupiditatem? A. Did you not also agree that the man who desires to live without fear does not have an evil desire?
EVODIUS. Et hoc recordor. E. I remember that too.
AUGUSTINUS. Cum ergo ista cupiditate a servo dominus interimitur, non illa culpabili cupiditate interimitur. Quamobrem cur sit hoc facinus malum, nondum comperimus. Convenit enim inter nos omnia malefacta non ob aliud mala esse nisi quod libidine, id est improbanda cupiditate, fiunt. A. It follows that when a master is killed by his slave through this desire, he is not killed through a desire that we can blame. Therefore we have not yet discovered why this action is evil. For we are agreed that evil deeds are always evil simply because they are done through passion, that is, through a blameworthy desire.
EVODIUS. Iam mihi videtur iniuria iste damnari, quod quidem non auderem dicere, si aliud haberem quod dicerem. E. I begin to think he is condemned wrongly. I should not have the courage to say this, if I could find any other solution.
AUGUSTINUS. Itane est? Prius tibi persuasisti tantum scelus impunitum esse oportere, quam considerares utrum ille seruus propter satiandas libidines suas metu domini carere cupiverit. Cupere namque sine metu vivere non tam bonorum, sed etiam malorum omnium est; verum hoc interest, quod id boni appetunt avertendo amorem ab his rebus, quae sine amittendi periculo nequeunt haberi; mali autem, ut his fruendis cum securitate incubent, removere impedimenta conantur et propterea facinorosam sceleratamque vitam, quae mors melius vocatur, gerunt. A. Have you persuaded yourself that such a crime ought not to be punished, before considering whether the slave wished to be freed from fear of his master in order to indulge his own passions? The desire to live without fear is common both to all good and to all evil men. But the important point is that good men seek it by turning away their love from things which they cannot possess without danger of losing them, while evil men try to remove obstacles, and settle down to enjoy these things, and consequently live a life of crime and wickedness, better called death.

EVODIUS. Resipisco et admodum gaudeo tam me plane cognovisse, quid sit etiam illa culpabilis cupiditas, quae libido nominatur. Quam esse iam apparet earum rerum amorem, quas potest quisque inultus amittere. I am coming to my senses again. I am very glad that I know clearly now what that blameworthy desire is which we call passion. I can now > see it is love of those things which each of us can lose against his will. TEMPORAL LAW AND ETERNAL LAW EVODIUS. Quare nunc, age quaeramus, si placet utrum etiam in sacrilegiis libido dominetur, quae videmus plura superstitione committi. E. So now I suggest we should inquire whether passion is also the chief motive in acts of sacrilege, which we often see committed through superstition. 9
AUGUSTINUS. Vide ne praeproperum sit. Prius enim mihi discutiendum videtur utrum vel hostis inruens vel insidiator sicarius, sive pro vita sive pro libertate sive pro pudicitia sine ulla interficiatur libidine. A. We must not be in too much hurry. I think we ought to discuss first whether an open enemy or a secret assassin can be killed without any passion in defence of life, liberty, or honour.
EVODIUS. Quomodo possum arbitrari carere istos libidine qui pro his rebus digladiantur, quas possunt amittere inuiti? Aut si non possunt, quid opus est pro his usque ad hominis necem progredi? E. I cannot imagine that men act without passion when they fight for things they would be unwilling to lose. If they cannot lose them, why need they go to the length of killing a man in their defence?
AUGUSTINUS. Non ergo lex iusta est, quae dat potestatem vel viatori, ut latronem, ne ab eo ipse occidatur, occidat, vel cuipiam viro aut feminae, ut violenter sibi stupratorem inruentem ante inlatum stuprum, si possit, interimat. Nam militi etiam iubetur lege, ut hostem necet, a qua caede si temperaverit, ab imperatore poenas luit. Num istas leges iniustas vel potius nullas dicere audebimus? Nam lex mihi esse non videtur, quae iusta non fuerit. A. In that case the law is not just which authorises a traveller to kill a robber in self -protection, or any man or woman to kill an assailant, if possible before the violence has been carried out. The law also orders a soldier to kill the enemy, and if he refuses to do so he is punished by the military authorities. Can we possibly call these laws unjust, or rather no laws at all? A law which is not just does not seem to me to be a law. 10
EVODIUS. Legem quidem satis video esse munitam contra huiuscemodi accusationem, quae in eo populo quem regit minoribus malefactis, ne maiora committerentur, dedit licentiam. Multo est enim mitius eum, qui alienae vitae insidiatur quam eum, qui suam tuetur, occidi, et multo est immanius inuitum hominem stuprum perpeti quam eum, a quo illa vis infertur, ab eo cui inferre conatur, interimi. Iam vero miles in hoste interficiendo minister est legis; quare officium suum facile nulla libidine implevit. Porro ipsa lex, quae tuendi populi causa lata est, nullius libidinis argui potest, siquidem ille qui tulit, si dei iussu tulit, id est quod praecipit aeterna iustitia, expers omnino libidinis id agere potuit. Si autem ille cum aliqua libidine hoc statuit, non ex eo fit, ut legi cum libidine obtemperare necesse sit, quia bona lex et a non bono ferri potest. Non enim si quis verbi causa tyrannicam potestatem nanctus ab aliquo, cui hoc conducit, pretium accipiat, ut statuat nulli licere vel ad coniugium feminam rapere, propterea mala lex erit, quia ille iniustus atque corruptus hanc tulit. Potest ergo illi legi, quae tuendorum civium causa vim hostilem eadem vi repelli iubet, sine libidine ob, temperari; et de omnibus ministris, qui iure atque ordine potestatibus quibusque subiecti sunt, id dici potest. E. I see pretty well that a law which gives its subjects " permission to commit lesser crimes in order to prevent greater ones, has a good defence against an accusation of this kind. It is a much lesser evil for the assassin than for the man who defends his own life, to be killed. It is far more dreadful that > an innocent person should suffer violence than that the assailant should be killed by the intended victim. When a soldier kills the enemy he is enforcing the law, and so has no difficulty in carrying out his duty without passion. The law itself, which is issued to protect its subjects, cannot be convicted of passion. If its author issued it in obedience to God's will, that is, to fulfil eternal justice, he may have done so without any passion at all. Even if he issued it out of passion, it does not follow that the law need be carried out with passion, because a good law can be issued by a man who is not good. For example, if a man, having reached supreme power, should take a bribe from an interested party, and decree it unlawful to carry off a woman even for marriage, the law will not be evil because its author is unjust and corrupt. Therefore the law which, to protect its citizens, lays down that force shall be met with force, can be obeyed without passion, and the same may be said about all servants who are subject to any higher power rightly and properly.
Sed illi homines lege inculpata quomodo inculpati queant esse non video; non enim eos lex cogit occidere, sed relinquit in potestate. Liberum eis itaque est neminem necare pro his rebus, quas inuiti possunt amittere et ob hoc amare non debent. De vita enim fortasse cuipiam sit dubium, utrum animae nullo pacto auferatur, dum hoc corpus interimitur; sed si auferri potest, contemnenda est, si non potest, nihil metuendum. De pudicitia vero quis dubitaverit quin ea sit, in ipso animo constituta, quandoquidem virtus est? unde a violento stupratore nec ipsa eripi potest. Quidquid igitur erepturus erat ille qui occiditur, id totum in nostra potestate non est. Quare quemadmodum nostrum appellandum sit, non intellego. Quapropter legem quidem non reprehendo, quae tales permittit interfici, sed quo pacto istos defendam qui interficiunt non invenio. But I do not see how the other men we mentioned can be without blame because the law is without blame. The law does not force them to kill, but leaves it to their own discretion, and so they are free not to kill anyone in defence of those things which they can lose against their will, and for this reason ought not to love. Some may perhaps doubt whether the soul's life is by any means taken away when the body perishes, but, if it can be taken away it is of no value, while if it cannot, > there is no reason for fear. And as for chastity, everyone knows that it is rooted in the soul itself, since it is a virtue; it cannot, therefore, be taken away by the violence of an aggressor. Whatever the man who is killed was going to take away is not wholly in our power, and so I do not understand how it can be called ours. I do not, therefore, blame the law which allows such men to be killed, but I do not see how I am to defend their slayers.
AUGUSTINUS. Multo minus ego invenire possum, cur hominibus defensionem quaeras quos nulla lex tenet. A. I find it much harder to see why you try to defend those whom no law holds guilty. 12
EVODIUS. Nulla fortasse, sed earum legum, quae apparent et ab hominibus leguntur; nam nescio, utrum non aliqua uehementiore ac secretissima lege teneantur, si nihil rerum est, quod non administret divina providentia. Quomodo enim apud eam sunt isti peccato Iiberi, qui pro his rebus, quas contemni oportet, humana caede polluti sint? Videtur ergo mihi et legem istam, quae populo regendo scribitur, recte ista permittere et divinam providentiam vindicare. Ea enim vindicanda sibi haec adsumit, quae satis sint conciliandae paci hominibus imperitis et quanta possunt per hominem regi. Illae vero culpae alias poenas aptas habent, a quibus sola mihi videtur posse liberare sapientia. E. No law may find them guilty, if we speak of those laws which are familiar to us and which are made by men. I rather think they may come under a stronger and entirely secret law, if everything is controlled by Divine Providence. How can they be free from sin against Divine Providence, if they are stained with human blood in defence of things which ought to be despised? So I think that that law which is issued for the government of a people rightly allows these acts, while Divine Providence punishes them. The law which governs a people concerns itself with the control of conduct sufficiently to keep the peace among a rough population, so far as this can be achieved by man. This other kind of fault has different punishments which are suited to it, and I think wisdom alone can save us from them.
AUGUSTINUS. Laudo et probo istam, quamvis inchoatam minusque perfectam, tamen fidentem et sublimia quaedam petentem distinctionem tuam. Videtur enim tibi lex ista, quae regendis civitatibus fertur, multa concedere atque impunita relinquere, quae per divinam tamen providentiam vindicantur, et recte. Neque enim quia non omnia facit, ideo quae facit improbanda sunt. Sed dispiciamus diligenter, si placet, quo usque per legem istam, quae populos in hac vita cohibet, malefacta ulciscenda sint, deinde quid restet, quod per divinam providentiam inevitabilius secretoque puniatur. A. I thoroughly approve of this distinction of yours; although it is incomplete and imperfect, yet it is full of faith and of ideals. The law which is decreed to govern states seems to you to permit much and to leave it unpunished, though it is pun> ished by Divine Providence. Rightly so. Because a law does not do everything, it does not follow that what it does do is to be blamed. I propose now that we examine carefully how far evil deeds ought to be punished by that law which controls peoples in this life. Then let us examine what remains to be punished necessarily and secretly by Divine Providence.
EVODIUS. Cupio, si modo possit ad tantae rei terminos perveniri; nam hoc ego infinitum puto. E. Yes, I should like to do this, provided we can reach the end of such an enquiry. I think it will go on for ever.
AUGUSTINUS. Immo adesto animo et rationis vias pietate fretus ingredere. Nihil est enim tam arduum atque difficile, quod non deo adivuante planissimum atque expeditissimum fiat. In ipsum itaque suspensi atque ab eo auxilium deprecantes, quod instituimus, quaeramus. Et prius responde mihi, utrum lex quae litteris promulgatur hominibus hanc vitam viventibus opituletur. A. Have some courage; use your reason with confidence in God. Whatever difficulties may threaten us, they are cleared away and all becomes smooth with God's help. So raising our thoughts to Him and seeking His help, let us examine the problem before us. First, tell me whether that law which is put forth in writing, is for the good of men living this present life.
EVODIUS. Manifestum est; nam ex his hominibus utique populi civitatesque consistunt. E. Obviously it is. Peoples and states are made up of such men.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? ipsi homines et populi eiusdemne generis rerum sunt, ut interire mutalive non possint aeternique omnino sint, an vero mutabiles temporibusque subiecti sunt? A. Do these peoples and states belong to that class of things which cannot perish or change? Are they altogether everlasting, or are they subject to time and change?
EVODIUS. Mutabile plane atque tempori obnoxium hoc genus esse quis dubitet? E Unquestionably they belong to the class of things subject to time and change.
AUGUSTINUS. Ergo, si populus sit bene moderatus et gravis communisque utilitatis diligentissimus custos, in quo unusquisque minoris rem privatam quam publicam pendat nonne recte lex fertur, qua huic ipsi populo liceat creare sibi magistratus per quos sua res, id est publica, administretur? A. Then, if a people is well-disciplined and observant of social good, and such that every individual puts public before private interest, is not this people rightly granted by law authority to elect its own officials to govern its affairs, that is, the affairs of the state? >
EVODIUS. Recte prorsus. E. Certainly.
AUGUSTINUS. Porro si paulatim deprauatus idem populus rem privatam rei publicae praeferat atque habeat venale suffragium corruptusque ab eis qui honores amant regimen in se flagitiosis consceleratisque committat, nonne item recte si quis tunc extiterit vir bonus, qui plurimum possit, adimat huic populo potestatem dandi honores et in paucorum bonorum vel etiam unius redigat arbitrium? A. If the people gradually deteriorates and prefers private to public interest, and sells its vote for bribes, and is corrupted by ambitious politicians, and puts into power criminals with no sense of honour, would not any honest man of sufficient influence who is left be justified in depriving this people of self-government, and in putting them under the authority of a few honest men or even of one? 13
EVODIUS. Et id recte. E. Quite justified.
AUGUSTINUS. Cum ergo duae istae leges ita sibi videantur esse contrariae, ut una erarum honorum dandorum populo tribuat potestatem, auferat altera, et cum ista secunda ita lata sit ut nullo modo ambae in una civitate simul esse possint, num dicemus aliquam earum iniustam esse et ferri minime debuisse? A. Well then, although these two laws seem to contradict one another, one giving the people selfgovernment, the other taking it away, and although the latter is issued in such a way that both cannot be in force at the same time in the same state, surely we shall not say that one of them is unjust, and ought not to be decreed?
EVODIUS. Nullo modo. E.-No.
AUGUSTINUS. Appellemus ergo istam legem, si placet, temporalem, quae quamquam iusta sit, commutari tamen per tempora iuste potest. A. Then, I suggest we call that law temporal law, which, though just, can be justly changed in course of time.
EVODIUS. Appellemus. E.By all means.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? illa lex quae summa ratio nominatur cui sem per obtemperandum est et per quam mali miseram, boni beatam vitam merentur, per quam denique illa, quam temporalem vocandam diximus, recte fertur recteque mutatur, potestne cuipiam intellegenti non incommutabilis aeternaque videri? An potest aliquando iniustum esse, ut mali miseri, boni autem beati sint? aut ut modestus et gravis populus ipse sibi magistratus creet, dissolutus vero et nequam ista licentia careat? A .Will not any intelligent man regard that law as unchangeable and eternal, which is termed the law of reason? 14 We must always obey it; it is the law through which wicked men deserve an unhappy, and good men a happy life, 15 and through which the law we have said should be called temporal is rightly decreed and rightly changed. Can it ever be unjust that the wicked should be unhappy and the good happy, or that a well-disciplined people should be self-governing, while an > ill-disciplined people should be deprived of this privilege?
EVODIUS. Video hanc aeternam esse atque incommutabilem legem. E. I see that this law is eternal and unchangeable.
AUGUSTINUS. Simul etiam te videre arbitror in illa temporali nihil esse iustum atque legitimum quod non ex hac aeterna sibi homines derivaverint. Nam si populus ille quodam tempore iuste honores dedit, quodam rursus iuste non dedit, haec vicissitudo temporalis ut esset iusta ex illa aeternitate tracta est, qua semper iustum est gravem populum honores dare, leuem non dare. An tibi aliter videtur? A. I think you also see that men derive all that is just and lawful in temporal law from eternal law. For if a nation is justly self-governing at one time, and justly not self-governing at another time, the justice of this temporal change is derived from that eternal principle by which it is always right for a disciplined people to be self-governing, but not a people that is undisciplined. Do you agree?
EVODIUS. Adsentior. E. I agree.
AUGUSTINUS. Ut igitur breviter aeternae legis notionem, quae inpressa nobis est, quantum valeo, verbis explicem, ea est, qua iustum est, ut omnia sint ordinatissima. Tu si aliter existimas, prome. A. Therefore, to explain shortly as far as I can the notion which is impressed on us 15 of eternal law, it is the law by which it is just that everything should have its due order. Tell me if you disagree.
EVODIUS. Quid tibi vera dicenti contradicam non habeo. E. I have nothing to say against this; it is true.
AUGUSTINUS. Cum ergo haec sit una lex, ex qua illae omnes temporales ad homines regendos variantur, num ideo ipsa variari ullo modo potest? A. Since there is this single law, from which all temporal laws for human government derive their various forms, I suppose it cannot itself be varied?
EVODIUS. Intellego omnino non posse; neque enim ulla vis ullus casus, ulla rerum labes umquam effecerit, ut iustum non sit omnia esse ordinatissima. E.l see that it is quite impossible. No power, no circumstances, no calamity can ever make it unjust that everything should have its due and perfect order. A MIND IS THE SLAVE OF PASSION THROUGH ITS OWN CHOICE
AUGUSTINUS. Age nunc, videamus homo ipse quomodo in se ipso sit ordinatissimus. Nam ex hominibus una lege sociatis populus constat, quae lex, ut dictum est, temporalis est. Et dic mihi utrum certissimum tibi sit vivere te. A. Well then, now let us see what is due order in man himself. A nation is made up of men bound together by a single law, and this law, we have said, is temporal. > Tell me: are you absolutely certain that you are alive?
EVODIUS. Hoc vero quid certius responderim? E. There is nothing more certain that I know of.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? illud potesne dinoscere, aliud esse vivere, aliud nosse se vivere? A. Well, can you distinguish between living and knowing that you live?
EVODIUS. Scio quidem neminem se nosse vivere nisi viventem, sed utrum omnis vivens noverit se vivere ignoro. E. I know that no one, unless he is alive, knows that he is alive, but I do not know whether everyone who is alive knows that he is alive.
AUGUSTINUS. Quam vellem, ut credis, ita etiam scires pecora carere ratione; cito nostra disputatio ab ista quaestione transiret Sed quoniam nescire te dicis, longam sermocinationem moves. Neque enim talis res est, qua praetermissa pergere in ea, quae intendimus, tanta conexione rationis, quanta opus esse sentio, sinamur. Dic itaque mihi, cum saepe viderimus bestias ab hominibus domitas -- id est, non corpus bestiae tantum, sed et animam ita homini subiugatam, ut voluntati eius sensu quodam et consuetudine seruiat -- utrum tibi ullo modo fieri posse videatur, ut bestia quaelibet inmanis vel feritate vel corpore vel etiam sensu quolibet acerrima pari vice sibi hominem subiugare conetur, cum corpus eius seu vi seu clam multae interimere valeant. A. How I wish that you knew, instead of merely believing, that animals lack reason! Our discussion would soon pass beyond this problem. Since you say you do not know, you involve us in a long argument. The point is not of such a kind that we can leave it out, and still be able to reach our conclusion with the rational precision I feel to be required. Tell me this. We often see beasts tamed by men, not only the beast's body but its spirit so quelled that it obeys a man's will instinctively and habitually. Do you think it at all possible that any beast, whatever its ferocity and bulk and keenness of sense, should turn round and try to subdue a man to its will, though many beasts can crush his body by open or secret attack?
EVODIUS. Nullo modo istuc fieri posse consentio. E. I agree that this is quite impossible.
AUGUSTINUS. Bene sane. Sed item dic mihi, cum manifestum sit viribus caeterisque officiis corporis a plurimis bestiis hominem facile superari, quaenam res sit, qua homo excevit, ut ei nulla bestiarum, ipse autem multis imperare possit? an forte ipsa est, quae ratio vel intellegentia dici solet? A. Very good. Tell me also, since it is clear that man is far surpassed by many beasts in strength and the various functions of the body, what is the quality in which man excels, so that no beast can control him, while he can control many beasts? Is it what we usually call reason or understanding?
EVODIUS. Non invenio aliud, quandoquidem in animo est id quod belius antecellimus; quae si exanimes essent, dicerem nos eo praestare, quod animum habemus. Nunc vero cum et illa sint animalia, id quod eorum animis non inest ut subdantur nobis, inest autem nostris ut eis meliores simus, quoniam neque nihil neque paruum aliquid esse cuivis apparet, quid aliud rectius quam rationem vocaverim? E. I cannot think of anything else, since it is some> thing in the soul by which we excel the beasts. If they were without souls, I should say we excelled them through having a soul. But, since they do have souls, what better word than reason can I use to denote what is lacking to their souls, and makes us superior to them? For it is no insignificant thing, as everyone realises.
AUGUSTINUS. Vide, quam facile fiat deo adivuante, quod homines difficillimum putant. Nam ego, fateor tibi, quaestionem istam, quae, ut intellego, terminata est, tam diu nos retenturam putaveram, quam fortasse omnia, quae dicta sunt ab ipso nostrae disputationis exordio. Quare accipe iam, ut deinde ratio conectatur; nam credo te non ignorare, id quod scire dicimus nihil esse aliud quam ratione habere perceptum. A. See how easily a task is accomplished with God's help, which men think very difficult. I confess I had thought that this problem, which I find we have solved, might hold us back for as long again as we have already taken over the discussion. So now let me run over the argument, so that you can keep it in mind. I think you are aware that what we call knowledge is nothing else than perception through reason.
EVODIUS. Ita est. E.-Yes.
AUGUSTINUS. Qui ergo scit se vivere, ratione non caret. A. Therefore a man who knows he is alive does not lack reason.
EVODIUS. Consequens est. E. That follows.
AUGUSTINUS. Vivunt autem bestiae, et sicut iam eminuit, rationis expertes sunt. A. Beasts live, and, as has now been shown, 17 are without reason.
EVODIUS. Manifestum est. E. Yes, clearly.
AUGUSTINUS. Ecce igitur iam nosti, quod te ignorare responderas, non omne quod vivit scire se vivere, quamquam omne quod se vivere sciat vivat necessario. A. So now you see you know what you said you did not know, that not everything which lives knows that it lives, though everything which knows that it lives necessarily lives. 17
EVODIUS. Non mihi est iam dubium. Perge quo intenderas; aliud enim esse vivere, aliud scire se vivere satis didici. E.I have no doubt about it now; carry on with your plan. I am satisfied that to live and to know that we live are not the same.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid ergo tibi horum duorum videtur esse praestantius? A. Which of these two do you think is the more excellent? >
EVODIUS. Quid putas nisi scientiam vitae? E. Plainly to know that we live.
AUGUSTINUS. Meliorne tibi videtur vitae scientia quam ipsa vita? an forte intellegis superiorem quandam et sinceriorem vitam esse scientiam, quoniam scire nemo potest nisi qui intellegit? Intellegere autem quid est nisi ipsa luce mentis inlustrius perfectiusque vivere? Quare tu mihi, nisi fallor, non vitae aliud aliquid, sed cuidam vitae meliorem vitam praeposuisti. A. Do you think that to know that we live is better than life itself? Or do you perhaps understand that knowledge is a higher and purer form of life, since no one can know unless he has understanding? 18 What else is understanding than a life brighter and more perfect through the very light of the mind? So, if I am not mistaken, you have not preferred something else to life, but a better life to a less perfect life.
EVODIUS. Optime omnino et cognovisti et explicasti sententiam meam, si tamen scientia mala esse numquam potest. E. You have fully grasped and explained my own view provided that knowledge can never be evil.
AUGUSTINUS. Nullo modo arbitror, nisi cum translato verbo scientiam pro experientia dicimus. Experiri enim non semper bonum est, sicut experiri supplicia. Illa vero quae proprie ac pure scientia nominatur, quia ratione atque intellegentia paratur, mala esse qui potest? A. I think it cannot be, unless we give the word a new meaning, and use knowledge for practical experience. It is not always good to have such experience; we can, for instance, experience punishment. But how can knowledge in the proper and pure sense of the word be evil, since it is produced by reason and understanding?
EVODIUS. Teneo et istam differentiam, persequere caetera. E. I follow the distinction: go on with your argument.
AUGUSTINUS. Illud est quod volo dicere: hoc quicquid est, quo pecoribus homo praeponitur, sive mens sive spiritus sive utrumque rectius appellatur -- nam utrumque in divinis libris invenimus -- si dominetur atque imperet caeteris, quibuscumque homo constat, tunc esse hominem ordinatissimum. Videmus enim habere nos non solum cum pecoribus, sed etiam cum arbustis et stirpibus multa communia. Namque alimentum corporis sumere, crescere, gignere, vigere arboribus quoque tributum videmus, quae infima quadam vita continentur; videre autem atque audire et olfactu, gustatu, tactu corporalia sentire posse bestias et acrius plerumque quam nos cernimus et fatemur. Adde vires et valentiam firmitatemque membrorum et celeritates facillimosque corporis motus, quibus omnibus quasdam eorum superamus, quibusdam aequamur, a nonnulis etiam vincimur. Genus tamen ipsum rerum est nobis certe commune cum beluis; iam vero appetere voluptates corporis et vitare molestias ferinae vitae omnis actio est. A. What I want to say is this. Whatever it is by which man is superior to beasts, whether mind or spirit or whether either of them is the correct term 10 (we find both in Sacred Scripture), if this governs and controls all the other elements of which man is composed, then man is duly ordered. We see that we have much in common not only with beasts, but also with trees and plants, for we see that nourishment, growth, generation, health, are characteristic also of trees, which belong to the lowest grade of life. We recognise too that blasts > have sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, often more keenly than we have. Or take strength, vigour, muscular power, swift and easy movement of the body, in all of which we excel some of them, equal some, and are surpassed by some. We are certainly in a common class with the beasts; every action of animal life is concerned with seeking bodily pleasure and avoiding pain.
Sunt alia quaedam, quae iam cadere in feras non videntur nec tamen in homine ipso summa sunt, ut iocari et ridere; quod humanum quidem, sed infimum hominis iudicat, quisquis de natura humana rectissime iudicat. Deinde amor laudis et gloriae et affectatio dominandi, quae tametsi bestiarum non sunt, non tamen earum rerum libidine bestiis meliores nos esse arbitrandum est. Nam et iste appetitus, cum rationi subditus non est, miseros facit. Nemo autem cuiquam miseria se praeponendum putavit. Hisce igitur animae motibus cum ratio dominatur, ordinatus homo dicendus est. Non enim ordo rectus aut ordo appellandus omnino est, ubi deterioribus meliora subiciuntur. An tibi non videtur? There are other characteristics which beasts do not seem to share, yet which are not the highest qualities of man, as for example, laughing and joking. If we judge rightly, we shall judge that this is characteristic of human nature, but of the lowest part of it. Then there is love of praise and glory, and ambition: though the beasts do not have these passions, we must not suppose that we are better than the beasts because we have them. When this craving is not subject to reason, it makes us wretched. Yet no one thinks that he ought to be preferred to someone else in wretchedness. When reason controls these motions of the soul, a man must be said to be in due order. It ought not to be called due order, or order at all, when the better is subordinated to the worse. Do you not think so?
EVODIUS. Manifestum est. E. It is clear.
AUGUSTINUS. Ratio ista ergo vel mens vel spiritus cum inrationales animi motus regit, id scilicet dominatur in homine cui dominatio lege debetur ea, quam aeternam esse comperimus. A. When reason, or mind, or spirit controls the irrational motions of the soul, then that element is ruling in man which ought to rule in virtue of that law which we have found to be eternal.
EVODIUS. Intellego ac sequor. E. I understand and agree.
AUGUSTINUS. Cum ergo ita homo constitutus atque ordinatus est, nonne tibi sapiens videtur? A. Therefore, when a man is established and ordered in this way, do you not think he is wise? >
EVODIUS. Nescio alius quis mihi sapiens homo videri possit, si hic non videtur. E. If not, I do not know who else is to be thought wise.
AUGUSTINUS. Credo etiam te illud scire, plerosque homines stultos esse. A. I suppose you also know that very many men are foolish.
EVODIUS. Hoc quoque satis constat. E.That too is quite obvious.
AUGUSTINUS. At si stultus sapienti est contrarius, quoniam sapientem comperimus, quis etiam stultus sit, profecto iam intellegis. A. If folly is the opposite of wisdom, since we have found out who is wise, you now know who is foolish.
EVODIUS. Cui non appareat hunc esse, in quo mens summam potestatem non habet? E. Everyone can see that a man is foolish, if his mind is not in control.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid igitur dicendum, cum homo ita est affectus? deesse illi mentem, an quamvis insit, eam carere dominatu? A. Then what must we say, when a man is in this state? Does he lack mind, or is the mind, though present, not in control?
EVODIUS. Hoc potius quod ultimum subiecisti. E. I think, the second of these.
AUGUSTINUS. Pervellem abs te audire quibus documentis perceptum habeas mentem inesse homini, quae suum non exerat principatum. A. I should like you to tell me by what evidence you are aware that a man has a mind which does not exercise its control.
EVODIUS. Utinam tuas istas partes facere velles, nam non mihi facile est sustinere quod ingeris. E. Please do this yourself: it is too hard a task for me. 20
AUGUSTINUS. Illud saltim facile est tibi recordari, quod paulo ante diximus, quemadmodum bestiae mansuefactae ab hominibus ac domitae seruiant; quod ab eis vicissim homines, ut demonstravit ratio, paterentur, nisi aliquo excellerent. Id autem non inveniebamus in corpore; ita cum in animo esse appareret, quid aliud appellandum esset quam ratio non comperimus; quam postea et mentem et spiritum vocari recordati sumus. Sed si aliud ratio, aliud mens, constat certe nonnisi mentem uti posse ratione. Ex quo illud conficitur, eum qui rationem habet mente carere non posse. A. At least you can easily remember, what we said a few minutes ago, 21 how beasts are tamed and broken in to serve men, and how men would suffer the same from beasts, as we have shown, unless they excelled them in some way. We did not trace this superiority to the body; it showed itself in the soul, and we found no other name for it but reason. Later we remembered it was called also mind and spirit. But if reason and mind are distinct, we certainly agree that only mind can use reason. Hence it follows that the man who possesses reason cannot lack mind.
EVODIUS. Probe ista reminiscor ac teneo. E.I remember this quite well, and accept it. >
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? illud credisne, domitores beluarum nisi sapientes esse non posse? Eos enim sapientes voco, quos veritas vocari iubet, id est, qui regno mentis omni libidinis subiugatione pacati sunt. A. Then do you think that those who tame beasts can be such only if they are wise? I call those wise who truly deserve the name, that is, who are controlled by mind, and who are disturbed by no power of passion.
EVODIUS. Ridiculum est tales putare istos, quos uulgo mansuetarios nuncupant vel etiam pastores aut bubulcos aut aurigas, quibus omnibus domitum pecus subiectum videmus et quorum industria indomitum subici. E. It is absurd to think that men who go by the name of animal tamers are like this, or even shepherds or herdsmen or charioteers, all of whom, as we see, control tame animals and when they are untamed break them in.
AUGUSTINUS. En igitur habes documentum certissimum, quo manifestum fiat inesse mentem homini sine dominatu. His quippe inest; agunt enim talia quae agi sine mente non possent; non tamen regnat; nam stulti sunt neque regnum mentis nisi sapientium esse percognitum est. A. There then you have plain evidence which makes it clear that a man has a mind, even when it is not in control. Such men as these have a mind, for they do things which could not be done without a mind. It is not in control, 22 for they are foolish, and, as we know, the mind is in control only in wise men.
EVODIUS. Mirum est hoc iam fuisse a nobis in superioribus confectum et mihi quid responderem non potuisse in mentem venire. Sed alia contexamus. Iam enim et regnum mentis humanae humanam esse sapientiam et eam posse etiam non regnare compertum est. E. It amazes me that, when we discussed this earlier on, I could not think how to answer. But let us continue. We have now discovered that human wisdom consists in the control of the human mind, and that it is also possible for the mind not to be in control.
AUGUSTINUS. Putasne ista mente, cui regnum in libidines aeterna lege concessum esse cognoscimus, potentiorem esse libidinem? Ego enim nullo pacto puto. Neque enim esset ordinatissimum, ut impotentiora potentioribus imperarent. Quare necesse arbitror esse, ut plus possit mens quam cupiditas, eo ipso quo cupiditati recte iusteque dominatur. A. Do you think that passion is more powerful than mind, though we know that eternal law has granted mind control over passion? I certainly do not think so. There would not be due order if the weaker governed the stronger. So I think mind must have more power than desire, from the very fact that it is right and just for it to control desire.
EVODIUS. Ego quoque ita sentio. E. -I think so too.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? virtutem omnem num dubitabimus omni vitio sic anteponere, ut virtus, quanto melior atque sublimior, tanto firmior inuictiorque sit? A. Surely we do not hesitate to prefer every vir>tue to vice, so that virtue is stronger and more dominant, just as it is better and nobler?
EVODIUS. Quis dubitaverit? E. Undoubtedly.
AUGUSTINUS. Nullus igitur vitiosus animus virtute armatum animum superat. A. It follows that no wicked soul overcomes a soul which is armed with virtue.
EVODIUS. Verissimum est. E. Quite true.
AUGUSTINUS. Iam corpore omni qualemlibet animum meliorem potentioremque esse non te arbitror negaturum. A. I think you will not deny that any soul is better and stronger than any body.
EVODIUS. Nemo id negat qui Ñ quod facile est Ñ videt aut substantiam viventcm non viventi aut eam quae vitam dat ei quae accipit esse praeferendam. E. No one denies this, who sees and it is obvious that a living substance is better than a non-living substance, or one that gives life better than one that receives it.
AUGUSTINUS. Multo minus igitur corpus, qualecumque id sit, animum virtute praeditum vincit. A. Much less, then, does any body whatever overcome a soul endowed with virtue.
EVODIUS. Evidentissimum est. E.-Plainly.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? animus iustus mensque ius proprium imperiumque custodiens num potest aliam mentem pari aequitate ac virtute regnantem ex arce deicere atque libidini subiugare? A .Then surely a just soul, and a mind which keeps its proper and rightful control, cannot dethrone and subdue to passion another mind which keeps control with the same justice and virtue?
EVODIUS. Nullo modo, non solum propter eandem in utraque excellentiam, sed etiam quod a iustitia prior decidet fietque vitiosa mens, quae aliam facere conabitur, eoque ipso erit infirmior. E. Certainly not; not only because the same excellence is present in both, but also because the former will fall from justice, and become a wicked mind, if it tries to make another mind wicked, and by that very fact will be weaker.
AUGUSTINUS. Bene intellegis. Quare illud restat ut respondeas, si potest, utrum tibi videatur rationali et sapienti mente quicquam esse praestantius. A. You have understood the point well. It remains for you to answer, if you can, whether anything seems more excellent to you than a rational and wise mind.
EVODIUS. Nihil praeter deum arbitror. E.I think nothing except God.
AUGUSTINUS. Et mea ista sententia est. Sed quoniam res ardua est neque nunc oportune quaeritur, ut ad intellegentiam veniat, quamquam robustissima teneatur fide, integra nobis sit huius quaestionis diligens et cauta tractatio. In praesentia enim scire possumus, quaecumque illa natura sit, quam menti virtute pollenti fas est excellere, iniustam esse nullo modo posse. Quare ne ista quidem, tametsi habeat potestatem, coget mentem seruire libidini. A. That is my opinion too. But the problem is difficult, and now is not a suitable time to try and understand it thoroughly. Let us hold the conclu> sion firmly on faith, but not attempt a full and precise examination. For the moment we can recognise that, whatever kind of being 23 rightly excels a virtuous mind, cannot possibly be unjust. Therefore not even this, though it may have the power, will force mind to serve passion.
EVODIUS. Istuc prorsus nemo est qui non sine ulla cunctatione fateatur. E. Everyone would at once accept that.
AUGUSTINUS. Ergo relinquitur ut, quoniam regnanti menti conpotique virtutis quidquid par aut praelatum est non eam facit servam libidinis propter iustitiam, quidquid autem inferius non possit hoc facere propter infirmitatem, sicut ea quae inter nos constiterunt docent, nulla res alia mentem cupiditatis comitem faciat quam propria voluntas et liberum arbitrium. A So we conclude that, since what is equal or superior does not make a mind the slave of passion, if it is in control and virtuous, on account of its justice, while what is inferior cannot do this on account of its weakness, as our argument has shown, therefore, nothing makes a mind give way to desire except its own will and free choice.
EVODIUS. Nihil tam necessarium restare video. E. I see that this is quite conclusive.
AUGUSTINUS. Sequitur iam ut tibi videatur iuste illam pro peccato tanto poenas pendere. A. It follows that you think such a mind justly punished for so great a sin.
EVODIUS. Negare non possum. E. I cannot deny it.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid ergo? Num ista ipsa poena parua existimanda est, quod ei libido dominatur expoliatamque virtutis opulentia per diversa inopem atque indigentem trahit, nunc falsa pro veris approbantem, nunc etiam defensitantem, nunc improbantem quae antea probavisset et nihilominus in alia falsa inruentem, nunc adsensionem suspendentem suam et plerumque perspicuas ratiocinationes formidantem, nunc desperantem de tota inventione veritatis et stultitiae tenebris penitus inherentem, nunc conantem in lucem intellegendi rursusque fatigatione decidentem. Cum interea cupiditatum illud regnum tyrannice saeviat et variis contrariisque tempestatibus totum hominis animum vitamque perturbet, hinc timore inde desiderio, hinc anxietate inde inani falsaque laetitia, hinc cruciatu rei amissae quae diligebatur inde ardore adipiscendae quae non habebatur, hinc acceptae iniuriae doloribus, inde facibus vindicandae; quaquaversum potest coartare auaritia, dissipare luxuria, addicere ambitio, inflare superbia, torquere inuidia, desidia sepelire, peruicacia concitare, afflictare subiectio et quaecumque alia innumerabilia regnum illius libidinis frequentant et exercent? Possumisne tandem nullam istam poenam putare quam, ut cernis, omnes qui non inherent sapientiae necesse est perpeti? A. Well, surely that punishment should not be thought a light one, which consists in the mind being ruled by passion, being robbed of its store of virtue, being dragged hither and thither, poor and needy, now judging false for true, now defending, now attacking what before it approved, and in spite of this running off into fresh falsehood, now withholding its assent, and often frightened of clear reasoning, now despairing of finding any truth at all, and clinging closely to the darkness of its folly, now striving for the light of understanding, and again falling back through exhaustion. Meanwhile the passions rage like tyrants, and > throw into confusion the whole soul and life of men with storms from every quarter, fear on one side, desire on another, on another anxiety, or false empty joy, here pain for the thing which was loved and lost, there eagerness to win what is not possessed, there grief for an injury received, here burning desire to avenge it. Wherever he turns, avarice can confine him, self-indulgence dissipate him, ambition master him, pride puff him up, envy torture him, sloth drug him, obstinacy rouse him, oppression afflict him, and the countless other feelings which crowd and exploit the power of passion. Can we then think this no punishment at all, which, as you see, all who do not cling to wisdom must necessarily suffer? 23 JUST PUNISHMENT
EVODIUS. Magnam quidem istam poenam esse iudico et omnino iustam, si quis iam in sublimitate sapientiae conlocatus inde descendere ac libidini seruire delegerit. Sed utrum esse quisquam possit incertum est qui haec aut voluerit facere aut velit. Quamquam enim credamus hominem tam perfecte conditum a deo et in beata vita constitutum, ut ad aerumnas mortalis vitae ipse inde propria voluntate delapsus sit, tamen hoc cum firmissima fide teneam, intellegentia nondum adsecutus sum; cuius rei diligentem inquisitionem si nunc differendam putas, me inuito facis. Verum illud quod me maxime movet, cur huius cemodi acerbissimas poenas patiamur nos, qui certe stulti sumus nec sapientes umquam fuimus, ut merito haec dicamur perpeti propter desertam virtutis arcem et electam sub libidine seruitutem, quin aperias disputando, si vales, nullo modo tibi differendum esse concesserim. E. In my opinion this punishment is a great one, and entirely just, if a man, being established on the heights of wisdom, should choose to come down and be the slave of passion; but I am doubtful whether there can be anyone who has wished, or wishes, to do so. We believe that man was so perfectly formed by God and established in a life of happiness, that only of his own will did he come down thence to the troubles of mortal life. Yet while I hold this firmly by faith, I have never grasped it with my understanding. If you think careful inquiry into this problem should be put off, you do so against my will. 12.24 But the problem which worries me most is why > we should suffer grievous punishments of this kind, seeing that, though admittedly foolish, we have never been wise. How, then, can we be said to suffer these punishments deservedly, for having abandoned the fortress of virtue, and chosen to be slaves of passion? I should certainly not agree to your putting it off, if you can discuss this problem and explain it.
AUGUSTINUS. Ita istuc dicis, quasi liquido compertum habcas numquam nos fuisse sapientes; attendis enim tempus ex quo in hanc vitam nati sumus. Sed cum sapientia in animo sit utrum ante consortium huius corporis alia quadam vita vixerit animus et an aliquando sapienter vixerit, magna quaestio est, magnum secretum et suo considerandum loco; neque ideo tamen hoc quod nunc habemus in manibus impeditur quominus aperiatur ut potest. Nam quaero abs te, sitne aliqua nobis voluntas. A. -You say that we have never been wise, as if it was a manifest truism. You are only thinking of the time since we were born into this life. But, since wisdom is in the soul, whether the soul lived in another life before it was joined to the body, and whether at one time it lived in a state of wisdom, is a great question, a great mystery, to be considered in its proper place. 24 Yet this does not prevent us from clearing up, so far as possible, our present problem. 25 I am asking you whether we have a will.
EVODIUS. Nescio. E. I do not know.
AUGUSTINUS. Visne hoc scire? A. Do you want to know?
EVODIUS. Et hoc nescio. E. I do not even know this.
AUGUSTINUS. Nihil ergo deinceps me interroges. A. Then you must ask me nothing more.
AUGUSTINUS. Quia roganti tibi respondere non debeo nisi volenti scire quod rogas. Deinde nisi velis ad sapientiam pervenire sermo tecum de huiuscemodi rebus non est habendus. Postremo amicus meus esse non poteris nisi velis ut bene sit mihi. Iam vero de te tu ipse videris, utrum tibi voluntas nulla sit beatae vitae tuae. A. Because I ought not to answer your questions, unless you want to know what you ask. Also unless you wish to become wise, I ought not to discuss the subject with you. Finally, you could not be my friend, unless you wish me well. Reflect, too, whether you do not yourself will that your life may be happy.
EVODIUS. Fateor, negari non potest habere nos voluntatem. Perge iam, videamus quid hinc conficias. E. I agree it cannot be denied we have a will. > Now go on, and let us see what you conclude from this.
AUGUSTINUS. Faciam, sed dic etiam prius, utrum et bonam voluntatem habere te sentias. A. I will do so; but tell me first whether you are conscious of having a good will.
EVODIUS. Quid est bona voluntas? E.What is a good will?
AUGUSTINUS. Voluntas, qua appetimus recte honesteque vivere et ad summam sapientiam pervenire. Modo tu vide, utrum rectam honestamque vitam non appetas aut esse sapiens non uehementer velis aut certe negare audeas, cum haec volumus, nos habere voluntatem bonam. A. -A will by which we seek to live rightly and virtuously and to reach the height of wisdom. Now see whether you do not seek to live rightly and virtuously, or whether you do not have a strong desire to be wise, or can really venture to deny that we have a good will when we wish for these things.
EVODIUS. Nihil horum nego et propterea me non solum voluntatem, sed etiam bonam voluntatem iam habere confiteor. E.-I do not deny any of this, and therefore I agree that I have not only a will, but now that I have a good will also.
AUGUSTINUS. Quanti pendis, oro te, hanc voluntatem? Numquidnam ei ulla ex parte divitias aut honores aut voluptates corporis aut haec simul omnia conferenda arbitraris? A. I want you to tell me how much you think this will is worth. Do you think that riches or honours or bodily pleasures or all these together bear any comparison with it?
EVODIUS. Averterit deus istam sceleratam dementiam. E. God forbid anything so stupid and wicked.
AUGUSTINUS. Parumne ergo gaudendum est habere nos quiddam in animo, hanc ipsam dico bonam voluntatem, in cuius conparatione abiectissima sint ea quae commemoravimus, pro quibus adipiscendis multitudinem videmus hominum nullos labores, nulla pericula recusare? A. Should it then be only a small joy to us that we have something in the soul, I mean this good will, in comparison with which these things I have mentioned are utterly worthless, yet to gain which we see countless men accepting every toil and danger?
EVODIUS. Gaudendum vero ac plurimum. E. It ought to be a joy to us, and a very great joy indeed.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? hoc gaudio qui non fruuntur, paruo damno eos affectos putas tanti boni? A. Do you think that those who lack this joy suffer a small loss in being deprived of such a good?
EVODIUS. Immo maximo. E.A very great loss. 26
AUGUSTINUS. Vides igitur iam, ut existimo, in voluntate nostra esse constitutum, ut hoc vel fruamur vel careamus tanto et tam vero bono. Quid enim tam in voluntate quam ipsa voluntas sita est? Quam quisque cum habet bonam, id certe habet, quod terrenis omnibus regnis voluptatibusque omnibus corporis longe anteponendum sit. Quisquis autem non habet, caret profecto illa re, quam praestantiorem omnibus bonis in potestate nostra non constitutis sola illi voluntas per se ipsam daret. Itaque cum se ipse miserrimum iudicet, si amiserit gloriosam famam, ingentes opes et quaelibet corporis bona, tu eum non miserrimum iudicabis, etiamsi talibus abundet omnibus, cum his inheret quae amittere facillime potest neque dum vult habet, caret autem bona voluntate, quae nec comparanda est cum istis et cum sit tam magnum bonum, velle solum opus est, ut habeatur? A. I think you now see that it lies in the power of > our will whether we enjoy or lack this great and true good. What is so fully in the power of the will as the will itself? 25 When a man has a good will he has a possession which is far to be preferred before all earthly kingdoms and all bodily pleasures. But if a man does not possess it, then he lacks that which is more excellent than all good things not under our control, and which only the will of itself could give him. And so, when he judges himself wretched if he loses the glory of fame, great wealth, and any bodily goods, will you not judge him wretched, even though he abounds in all these things? For he clings to things which he can very easily lose and not possess while wishing to do so, but he lacks a good will which is beyond all comparison with these, and which, though it is so great a good, needs only to be desired in order to be possessed.
EVODIUS. Verissimum est. E. That is very true.
AUGUSTINUS. Iure igitur ac merito stulti homines, tametsi numquam sapientes fuerunt -- hoc enim dubium et occultissimum est -- huiuscemodi afficiuntur miseria. A. Therefore it is right and just that foolish men should be made wretched in this way, although they were never wiseobscure and mysterious though this latter point is.
EVODIUS. Adsentior. E.l agree.
AUGUSTINUS. Considera nunc utrum tibi videatur esse prudentia appetendarum et vitandarum rerum scientia. A. Now consider whether prudence seems to you to consist in the knowledge what to seek and what to avoid.
EVODIUS. Videtur. E. I think it does.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? fortitudo nonne illa est animae affectio, qua omnia incommoda et damna rerum non in nostra potestate constitutarum contemnimus? A. And is not fortitude that state of the soul in which we despise all misfortunes and the loss of things not resting in our power?
EVODIUS. lta existimo. E. I think so. >
AUGUSTINUS. Porro temperantia est affectio coercens et cohibens appetitum ab his rebus quae turpiter appetuntur. An tu aliter putas? A. Then do you. agree that temperance is that state of soul which controls and checks desire in regard to those things which it is shameful to desire?
EVODIUS. Immo ita ut dicis sentio. E. That is certainly my view.
AUGUSTINUS. Iam iustitiam quid dicamus esse nisi virtutem, qua sua cuique tribuuntur? A. And what else are we to say about justice than that it is the virtue by which each man is given his due?
EVODIUS. Nulla mihi alia iustitiae notio est. E. That is what I think about justice. 26
AUGUSTINUS. Quisquis ergo habens bonam voluntatem, de cuius excellentia iam diu loquimur, hanc unam dilectione amplexetur qua interim melius nihil habet, hac sese oblectet, hac denique perfruatur et gaudeat considerans eam et iudicans quanta sit quamque inuito illi eripi vel subripi nequeat, num dubitare poterimus istum adversari rebus omnibus quae huic uni bono inimicae sunt? A. Then the man who has a good will, the excellence of which we have discussed at such length, will love this alone, his most precious possession, will delight in this and make it his joy and pleasure, realising fully its value, and that he cannot be robbed of it against his will. Surely we cannot doubt that he will be opposed to all that conflicts with this one good?
EVODIUS. Necesse est omnino ut adversetur. E. Most certainly he must be opposed to it.
AUGUSTINUS. Nullane hunc putamus praeditum esse prudentia, qui hoc bonum appetendum et vitanda ea quae huic inmica videt? A. Can we suppose such a man is not endowed with prudence, who sees that this good should be sought for and everything avoided which conflicts with it?
EVODIUS. Nullo modo mihi videtur hoc posse quisquam sine prudentia. E. I think no one can see this without prudence.
AUGUSTINUS. Recte; sed cur non huic etiam fortitudinem tribuimus? Illa quippe omnia, quae in nostra potestate non sunt, amare iste ac plurimi aestimare non potest. Mala enim voluntate amantur, cui tamquam inimicae carissimo suo bono resistat necesse est. Cum autem non amat haec, non dolet amissa et omnino contemit; quod opus esse fortitudinis dictum atque concessum est. A. Quite right. But why should we not grant him fortitude? 27 He cannot love and value highly all these things not under our control. They are loved through an evil will, and he is bound to resist an evil will as the enemy of his most precious good. Since he does not love these things, he does not grieve at their loss, but altogether despises them. We have declared and admitted that this is the work of fortitude. >
EVODIUS. Tribuamus sane; non enim intellego quem fortem verius appellare possim quam eum, qui rebus his, quas neque ut adipiscamur neque ut optineamus in nobis situm est, aequo et tranquillo animo caret; quod hunc necessario facere compertum est. E. Yes, we must certainly grant him fortitude. I know no one who could be more truly said to have fortitude than the man who is perfectly resigned to the lack of those things of which it is not in our power to gain possession. We have concluded such a man must necessarily do this.
AUGUSTINUS. Vide iam nunc utrum ab eo temperantiam alienare possimus, cum ea sit virtus quae libidines cohibet. Quid autem tam iniquum bonae voluntati est quam libido? Ex quo profecto intellegis istum bonae suae voluntatis amatorem resistere omni modo atque adversari libidinibus et ideo iure temperantem vocari. A. Now consider whether we can deprive him of temperance, since this is the virtue which checks passion. What is so opposed 28 to a good will as passion? Hence you can understand that the man who loves his good will resists his passions by every means, and fights against them. Therefore he is rightly said to have temperance.
EVODIUS. Perge, adsentior. E. Go on: I agree.
AUGUSTINUS. Iustitia restat, quae quomodo desit huic homini non sane video. Qui enim habet et diligit voluntatem bonam et obsistit eis, ut dictum est, quae huic inimica sunt, male cuiquam velle non potest. Sequetur ergo ut nemini faciat iniuriam, quod nullo pacto potest nisi qui sua cuique tribuerit. Hoc autem ad iustitiam pertinere cum dicerem, approbasse te, ut puto, meministi. A. There remains justice, and I certainly do not see how such a man can lack this. If he possesses and loves to possess a good will, and resists, as I have said, what is opposed to it, he cannot wish evil to anyone. It follows that he harms no one, and this can only be the case, if he gives to everyone his due. You remember, I think, that you agreed when I said this was the concern of justice.
EVODIUS. Ego vero memini et fateor in hoc homine, qui suam bonam voluntatem magni pendit et diligit, omnes quattuor i virtutes quae abs te paulo ante me adsentiente descriptae sunt esse compertas. E. I remember. I accepted your account of the four virtues just now, and agree that all of them are present in the man who values highly and loves his own good will. 28
AUGUSTINUS. Quid igitur impedit cur huius vitam non concedamus esse laudabilem? A.-What then prevents us from admitting that the life of this man is praiseworthy?
EVODIUS. Nihil prorsus, immo hortantur vel etiam cogunt omnia. E. Nothing at all. The whole argument points to this, and in fact requires it.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? vitam miseram potesne ullo modo non iudicare fugiendam? A. Well, can you possibly help thinking that a miserable life ought to be avoided? >
EVODIUS. Et magnopere quidem iudico nihilque aliud agendum existimo. E. That is emphatically my opinion; I think it certainly ought to be avoided.
AUGUSTINUS. At laudabilem fugiendam profecto non putas. A. And you do not think a praiseworthy life ought to be avoided?
EVODIUS. Quid etiam appetendam sedulo existimo. E. No, I think decidedly that it ought to be aimed at.
AUGUSTINUS. Non ergo misera est quae laudabilis vita est. A. Therefore a life which is praiseworthy is not miserable.
EVODIUS. Hoc utique sequitur. E. That follows.
AUGUSTINUS. Nihil iam, quantum opinor, difficile tibi ut adsentiaris relinquitur, eam scilicet quae misera non est beatam esse vitam. A. So far as I can see, nothing now prevents you from agreeing that that life which is not miserable is the life of happiness.
EVODIUS. Manifestissimum est. E. Obviously.
AUGUSTINUS. Placet igitur beatum esse hominem dilectorem bonae voluntatis suae et prae illa contemnentem quodcumque aliud bonum dicitur, cuius amissio potest accidere, etiam cum voluntas tenendi manet. A .We hold, then, that a man is happy who loves his own good will, and who despises in comparison with this whatever else is called good and can be lost, while the desire to keep it remains.
EVODIUS. Quidni placeat, quo superiora quae concessimus necessario trahunt? E. Yes, our former conclusions lead to this, and we must agree.
AUGUSTINUS. Bene intellegis. Sed dic, quaeso, nonne bonam suam voluntatem diligere et tam magni aestimare, quam dictum est, etiam ipsa bona voluntas est? A. You have a clear grasp of the question. But I should like you to tell me whether to love one's own good will, and to value it as highly as we have said, is itself good will.
EVODIUS. Verum dicis. E. Yes, it is.
AUGUSTINUS. Ac si hunc beatum recte iudicamus, nonne recte miserum qui contrariae voluntatis est? A. But if we are right in judging the one man happy whose will is good, shall we not be right in judging the other man unhappy whose will is bad?
EVODIUS. Rectissime. E. Quite right.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid ergo causae est cur dubitandum putemus, etiamsi numquam antea sapientes fuimus, voluntate nos tamen laudabilem et beatam vitam voluntate turpem ac miseram mereri ac degere? A. Then what reason is there for doubting that, even though we were never wise before, yet by our will we deserve, and spend, a praiseworthy and > happy life, and by our will a life that is shameful and unhappy? 29
EVODIUS. Fateor huc certis et minime negandis rebus esse peruentum. E.l agree that we have reached this conclusion by arguments which are certain and undeniable. 29
AUGUSTINUS. Vide etiam aliud, nam credo te memoria tenere quam dixerimus esse bonam voluntatem; opinor enim, ea dicta est qua recte atque honeste vivere appetimus. A. Also consider another point. I think you remember our definition of a good will: it was, I believe, a will by which we seek to live rightly and virtuously.
EVODIUS. Ita memini. E. I remember.
AUGUSTINUS. Hanc igitur voluntatem si bona itidem voluntate diligamus atque amplectamur rebusque omnibus, quas retinere non quia volumus possumus, anteponamus, consequenter illae virtutes, ut ratio docuit, animum nostrum incolent, quas habere id ipsum est recte honesteque vivere. Ex quo conficitur ut, quisqllis recte honesteque vult vivere, si id se velle prae fugacibus bonis velit, adsequatur tantam rem tanta facilitate, ut nihil aliud ei quam ipsum velle sit habere quod voluit. A. Then, if through our good will we love this good will itself, and cling to it, and prefer it before all things which we cannot be sure to keep because we want to, the result will be, as reason has shown, that these virtues will dwell in our soul. To possess them is to live rightly and virtuously. Hence it follows that whoever wishes to live rightly and virtuously, if he wishes so to wish in preference to the goods which are but passing, acquires this great possession with such ease, that to wish for it is the same as to possess what he wished. 30
EVODIUS. Vere tibi dico, vix me contineo quin exclamem laetitia, repente mihi oborto tam magno et tam in facili constituto bono. E. Really, I can hardly keep myself from crying out for joy, when a good so great and so easy to gain is suddenly set before me.
AUGUSTINUS. Atqui hoc ipsum gaudium quod huius boni adeptione gignitur, cum tranquille et quiete atque constanter erigit animum, beata vita dicitur; nisi tu putas aliud esse beate vivere quam veris bonis certisque gaudere. A. This very joy, which is caused by winning this good, if it supports the soul calmly, quietly, and steadily, is called the happy life, unless you think the happy life is different from taking joy in goods which are true and certain.
EVODIUS. Ita sentio. E. That is my opinion.
AUGUSTINUS. Recte. Sed censesne quemquam hominum non omnibus modis velle atque optare vitam beatam? A. Quite right. But do you think that anyone does not by every means desire and long for a happy life? >
EVODIUS. Quis dubitat omnem hominem velle? E. Undoubtedly everyone desires it.
AUGUSTINUS. Cur igitur eam non adipiscuntur omnes? Dixeramus enim atque convenerat inter nos voluntate illam mereri homines, voluntate etiam miseram, et sic mereri ut accipiant. Nunc vero existit nescio qua repugnantia, et nisi diligenter dispiciamus, perturbare nititur superiorem tam evigilatam firmamque rationem. Quomodo enim voluntate quisque miseram vitam patitur, cum omnino nemo velit misere vivere? Aut quomodo voluntate beatam vitam consequitur homo, cum tam multi miseri sint et beati esse omnes velint? An eo evenit, quod aliud est velle bene aut male, aliud mereri aliquid per bonam vel malam voluntatem? Nam illi qui beati sunt, quos etiam bonos esse oportet, non propterea sunt beati quia beate vivere voluerunt -- nam hoc volunt etiam mali -- sed quia recte, quod mali nolunt. Quam ob rem nihil mirum est, quod miseri homines non adipiscuntur quod volunt, id est, beatam vitam. Illud enim, cui comes est et sine qua ea nemo dignus est nemoque adsequitur, recte scilicet vivere, non itidem volunt. Hoc enim aeterna lex illa, ad cuius considerationem redire iam tempus est, incommutabili stabilitate firrnavit, ut in voluntate meritum sit, in beatitate autem et miseria praemium atque supplicium. Itaque cum dicimus voluntate homines miseros esse, non ideo dicimus quod esse miseri velint, sed quod in ea voluntate sunt, quam etiam his inuitis miseria sequatur necesse est. Quare non repugnat superiori rationi, quod volunt omnes beati esse nec possunt non enim omnes volunt recte vivere, cui uni voluntati vita beata debetur. Nisi quid habes adversus haec dicere. A. Why then does not everyone gain it? We agreed that men deserve a happy life by their will, and also an unhappy life by their will, and deserve it in such a way as to receive it. But here a difficulty arises, and unless we scrutinise it carefully, it will tend to upset the clear reasoning we worked out before. For how does anyone of his own will endure an unhappy life, though no one at all wishes to live unhappily? Or how does a man through his own will gain a happy life, if so many are unhappy, and all wish to be happy? Does it come about because to desire good or evil is different from deserving something through a good or bad will? For those who are happy and who ought also to be good, are not happy because they wished to live happily the wicked also wish this but because they wished to live rightly, which the wicked do not wish. Therefore it is not surprising that unhappy men do not get what they want, namely, a happy life. They do not also want that which accompanies it, and without which no one is worthy of it or gains it, that is to say, a life of right conduct. For the eternal law, to the consideration of which it is now time to return, has settled this with unchangeable firmness; it has settled that merit lies in the will, while reward and punishment lie in happiness and misery. 31 And so, when we say that men are wilfully unhappy, we do not mean that they wish to be unhappy, but that their will is such that unhappiness is the necessary result, unwilling > though they are. Hence this does not contradict our former conclusion, that all wish to be happy, but not all are able so to be. Not all wish to live rightly, which is the only state of will that deserves a happy life. Have you any objections to this?
EVODIUS. Ego vero nihil. Sed videamus iam quomodo haec ad propositam illam quaestionem de duabus legibus referantur. E. No, I have none. But now let us see how this is connected with the problem we were going to discuss about the two laws.
AUGUSTINUS. Fiat. Sed dic mihi prius, utrum qui recte vivere diligit eoque ita delectatur, ut non solum ei rectum sit, sed etiam dulce atque iucundum, amet hanc legem habeatque carissimam, qua videt tributam esse bonae voluntati beatam vitam, malae miseram? A. Very well. But first tell me about the man who loves to live rightly, and so delights in it that not only is it right for him but also pleasant and agreeable. Does he not love this law, and hold it most dear to him? For by it he sees that a happy life is given to a good will, and an unhappy life to an evil will.
EVODIUS. Amat omnino ac uehementer; nam istam ipsam sequens ita vivit. E. He loves it with all his heart and strength since he lives as he does in obedience to this law.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid? cum hanc amat, mutabile aliquid amat ac temporale an stabile ac sempiternum? A. Well, when he loves this law, does he love something which is changeable and temporal, or something which is firm and everlasting?
EVODIUS. Aeternum sane atque incommutabile. E. Certainly, something which is everlasting and unchangeable.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid illi qui in mala voluntate perseuerantes nihilominus beati esse cupiunt? possuntne amare istam legem, qua talibus hominibus miseria merito rependitur? A. Do those who persist in their evil will, at the same time desire to be happy? Can they love that law by which such men rightly earn unhappiness?
EVODIUS. Nullo modo, arbitror. E. I think they cannot.
AUGUSTINUS. Nihilne amant aliud? A. Do they love nothing else? >
EVODIUS. Immo plurima, ea scilicet in quibus adipiscendis vel retinendis mala voluntas illa persistit. E. They love very many things, those things in gaining or keeping which their evil will persists.
AUGUSTINUS. opinor te dicere divitias, honores, voluptates et pulchritudinem corporis caeteraque omnia, quae possunt et volentes non adipisci et amittere inuiti. A. I suppose you mean wealth, honours, pleasures, physical beauty, and all the other things which they may be unable to gain though they want them, and may lose against their will.
EVODIUS. Ista ipsa sunt. E. Yes, those are the things.
AUGUSTINUS. Num haec aeterna esse censes, cum temporis volubilitati videas obnoxia? A. You do not think these last for ever, do you, for you see they are subject to time and change?
EVODIUS. Quis hoc vel dementissimus senserit? E. It would be sheer madness to think so.
AUGUSTINUS. Cum igitur manifestum sit alios esse homines amatores rerum aeternarum, alios temporalium, cumque duas leges esse convenerit, unam aeternam, aliam temporalem, si quid aequitatis sapis, quos istorum iudicas aeternae legi, quos temporali esse subdendos? A. Then, since it is clear that some men love eternal things while others love temporal things, and since we agree that there are two laws, one eternal and the other temporal, if you have a sense of fairness, which of these men do you think should be subject to the eternal law, and which to the temporal law?
EVODIUS. Puto in promptu esse quod quaeris, nam beatos illos ob amorem ipsorum aeternorum sub aeterna lege agere existimo, mlserls vero temporalis inponitur. E. Your question seems easy. I think that happy men through their love of eternal things live under the eternal law, while the temporal law is laid upon the unhappy.
AUGUSTINUS. Recte iudicas, dummodo illud inconcussum teneas quod apertissime iam ratio demonstravit, eos, qui temporali legi seruiunt, non esse posse ab aeterna liberos, unde omnia quae iusta sunt iusteque variantur exprimi diximus; eos vero qui legi aeternae per bonam voluntatem herent, temporalis legis non indigere, satis, ut apparet, intellegis. A. You judge rightly, provided you keep constantly in view what reason has very clearly shown, that those who serve the temporal law cannot escape the eternal law. Through it we have maintained that every just effect, every just change is brought about. You understand no doubt that those who cling to the eternal law with a good will do not need the temporal law.
EVODIUS. Teneo quod dicis. E. Yes, I understand. 32
AUGUSTINUS. Iubet igitur aeterna lex avertere amorem a temporalibus et eum mundatum ad aeterna convertere. A. So the eternal law bids us turn away our love > from temporal things, and turn it back, when purified, towards things that are eternal.
EVODIUS. Iubet vero. E. Yes, it bids us do this.
AUGUSTINUS. Quid deinde censes temporalem iubere, nisi ut haec, quae ad tempus nostra dici possunt, quando eis homines cupiditate inherent, eo iure possideant quo pax et societas humana seruetur, quanta in his rebus servari potest? [] Ea sunt autem primo hoc corpus et eius quae vocantur bona ut integra valitudo, acumen sensuum, vires, pulchritudo et si qua sunt caetera, partim, necessaria bonis artibus et ideo pluris pensanda, partim viliora; deinde libertas; quae quidem nulla vera est nisi beatorum et legi aeternae adherentium sed eam nunc libertatem commemoro qua se liberos putant qui dominos homines non habent et quam desiderant hi qui a dominis hominibus manumitti volunt; deinde parentes, fratres, coniunx, liberi, propinqui, affines, familiares et quicumque vobis aliqua necessitudine adiuncti sunt; ipsa denique civitas, quae parentis loco haberi solet, honores etiam et laus et ea quae dicitur gloria popularis; ad extremum pecunia, quo uno nomine continentur omnia quorum iure domini sumus et quorum vendendorum aut donandorum habere potestatem videmur. Horum omnium quemadmodum les illa sua cuique distribuat, difficile et longum est explicare et plane et ad id quod proposuimus non necessarium. Satis est enim videre non ultra porrigi huius legis potestatem in vindicando, quam ut haec vel aliquid horum adimat atque auferat ei quem plmit. Metu coercet ergo et ad id quod vult torquet ac retorquet animos quibus regendis accomodata est. Dum enim haec amittere timent, tenent in his utendis quendam modum aptum vinculo civitatis, qualis ex huiuscemodi hominibus constitui potest. Non autem ulciscitur peccatum cum amantur ista, sed cum aliis per improbitatem auferuntur. Quam ob rem vide utrum iam peruentum sit ad id quod infinitum putabas. Institueramus enim quaerere quatenus habeat ius ulciscendi ea lex qua populi terreni civitatesque gubernantur. A. What else then do you think the temporal law orders but that, when men cling with their desire to those things which can be called ours for a short time, they shall possess them by that same right by which peace is maintained in human society, so far as is possible in such affairs? The things I mean are, first, the body and what are called its goods, such as sound health, keen senses, strength, beauty, and so on, some of which are necessary for the useful arts, and therefore of more value, others of which are of less value. Then there is freedom, though indeed there is no true freedom except for those who are happy and cling to the eternal law; but here I mean that freedom by which men think they are free, when they do not have other men as their masters, and which is desired by those who wish to be released from any human masters. Then parents, brothers, wife, children, relations, connections, friends, and all who are joined to us by some bond. Or again the state itself, which is usually regarded as a parent; honours, too, and distinctions, and what is called popular favour. Lastly, money, under which single term is included everything of which we are rightful masters, and which we are regarded as having the power to sell and give away. How this law assigns to each man his share, it would be a long and difficult matter to explain, and one plainly not necessary for our purpose, > We need only notice that the power of this law to enforce itself does not extend further than to take away and confiscate as a punishment those things or a part of them. Hence it brings pressure to bear through fear, and to gain its end turns and twists the souls of the unhappy people for whose government it is fitted. For, while they fear to lose these things, they exercise in their use a certain restraint suitable to hold together such a society as can be composed of men of this kind. This law does not punish the sin which consists in loving the above objects, but the sin which consists in taking them wrongfully from other people. So consider whether we have now finished the task you thought would be endless. We set out to inquire how far the right of punishment extended of that law by which earthly peoples and states are governed.
EVODIUS. Video perventum. E. I see we have finished the task. 33
AUGUSTINUS. Vides ergo etiam illud, quod poena non esset, sive quae per iniuriam sive quae per talem vindictam infertur hominibus, si eas res quae inuito auferri possunt non amarent. A. Do you see also that there would not be any punishment, whether wrongly inflicted, or inflicted by the sanction of the above law, unless men loved those things which can be taken away against their will?
EVODIUS. Id quoque video. E. I see that too.
AUGUSTINUS. Cum igitur eisdem rebus alius male alius bene utatur, et is quidem qui male, amore his inhereat atque implicetur -- scilicet subditus eis rebus quas ei subditas esse oportebat, et ea bona sibi constituens quibus ordinandis beneque tractandis ipse esse utique deberet bonum -- ille autem qui recte his utitur, ostendat quidem bona esse, sed non sibi -- non enim eum bonum melioremue faciunt, sed ab eo potius fiunt -- et ideo non eis amore adglutinetur neque velut membra sui animi faciat, quod fit amando, ne cum resecari coeperint, eum cruciatu ac tabe foedent, sed eis tot us superferatur, et habere illa atque regere, cum opus est, paratus et amittere ac non habere paratior -- cum ergo haec ita sint, num aut argentum et aurum propter auaros accusandum putas aut cibos propter voraces aut vinum propter ebriosos aut muliebres formas propter scortatores et adulteros atque hoc modo caetera, cum praesertim videas et igne bene uti medicum et pane scelerate veneficum? A. Now, one man makes good use and another bad use of the same things. The man who makes bad use, clings to them and is attached to them by his love, that is to say, is subject to things which ought to be subject to him. He makes those things of service to himself, for the control and good management of which he himself ought to be of > service. On the other hand, the man who uses them rightly shows indeed their value, but not for himself. They do not make him good or better, but rather are made good by him. Therefore he is not attached to them by love of them, and does not make them, as it were, members of his own soul as would happen if he loved them lest, when the time comes for their amputation, they may infect him with painful corruption. He is fully their master, ready to possess and control them when there is need, and still more ready to lose them and not possess them. This being so, surely you do not think silver or gold are to be condemned because some men are avaricious, 32 or food because some men are greedy, or wine because some men are drunkards, or beautiful women because some men are fornicators and adulterers, and so on, especially as you see that a doctor makes a good use of heat, and a poisoner a bad use of bread?
EVODIUS. Verissimum est non res ipsas, sed homines qui eis male utuntur esse culpandos. E. It is quite true that not the things themselves are to be blamed, but the men who make a bad use of them.
AUGUSTINUS. Recte. Sed quoniam et quid valeat aeterna Iex, ut opinor, videre iam coepimus, et quantum lex temporalis in vindicando progredi possit inventum est, et rerum duo genera, aeternalium et temporalium, duoque rursus hominum aliorum aeternas aliorum temporales sequentium et diligentium, satis apertcque distincta sunt, quid autem quisque sectandum et amplectendum eligat in voluntate esse positum constitit nullaque re de arce dominandi rectoque ordine mentem deponi nisi voluntate, et est manifestum non rem ullam, cum ea quisque male utitur, sed ipsum male utentem esse arguendum -- referamus nos, si placet, ad questionem in exordio sermonis huius propositam et videamus utrum soluta sit. Nam quaerere institueramus quid sit male facere, et propter hoc omnia quae dicta sunt diximus. Quocirca licet nunc animadvertere et considerare utrum sit aliud male facere quam neglectis rebus aeternis, quibus per se ipsam mens fruitur et per se ipsam percipit et quae amans amittere non potest, temporalia et quaeque per corpus, partem homlnls vilissimam, sentiuntur et numquam esse certa possunt quasi magna et miranda sectari. Nam hoc uno genere omnia malefacta, id est peccata, mihi videntur includi. Tibi autem quid videatur exspecto cognoscere. A. Very well. I think we now begin to see what is the power of eternal law, and how far temporal law can go in inflicting punishment. We have distinguished precisely enough the two classes of things, eternal and temporal, and the two classes of men, those who love and seek for eternal things, and those who love and seek for temporal things. We have agreed that it lies in the will what each man chooses to seek and attach himself to, 33 and that the mind is not cast down from its position of > control, and from its right order, except by the will. It is plain too that the thing is not to be condemned when a man uses it wrongly, but the man himself who uses it wrongly. Let us return now, I suggest, to the question proposed at the beginning of this discussion, and see whether it has been solved. We set out to ask what wrongdoing is, and with this end in view we have conducted the whole discussion. Therefore we are now ready to turn our minds to the question whether wrongdoing is anything else than the neglect of eternal things, which the mind enjoys of itself and perceives of itself, and which it cannot lose when it loves them, and the pursuit, as though they were great and wonderful, of temporal things, which are perceived by the body, the lowest part of man, and the possession of which can never be assured. In this one class all wrongdoing, that is, all sin, seems to me to be included. I am anxious to know what you think about it.
EVODIUS. Est ita ut dicis, et adsentior peccata omnia hoc uno genere contineri, cum quisque avertitur a divinis vereque manentibus et ad mutabilia atque incerta comlertitur. Quae quamquam in ordine suo recte locata sint et suam quandam pulchritudinem peragant, peruersi tamen animi est et inordinati eis sequendis subici quibus ad nutum suum duccndis potius divino ordine ac iure praelatus est. Et illud simul mihi vidcre iam videor absolutum atque compertum, quod post illam quaestionem, quid sit male facere, deinceps quaerere institueramus, unde male facimus. Nisi enim fallor, ut ratio tractata monstravit, id facimus ex libero voluntatis arbitrio. Sed quaero utrum ipsum liberum arbitrium, quo peccandi facultatem habere convincimur, oportuerit nobis dari ab eo qui nos fecit. Videmur enim non fuisse peccaturi si isto careremus, et metuendum est, ne hoc modo deus etiam malefactorum nostrorum auctor existimetur. E. What you say is true, and I agree that all sins are included in this one class, and consist in turning away from godly things which are truly lasting, and in turning towards things which are changeable and insecure. Although these latter things are constituted rightly in their own order, and attain a certain beauty of their own, nevertheless it shows a corrupt and disordered soul if we are given over to their pursuit, seeing that by divine disposition and right the soul is given power to control them at its will. > And now I think that other problem is also cleared up and settled, which we decided to consider after the question what wrongdoing is, namely, the question why we do wrong. Unless I am mistaken, the argument has shown that we do wrong through the free choice of our will. But I want to know whether that very free choice, by which we have concluded that we have power of sinning, ought to have been given us by Him who created us. Without it apparently we should not have sinned, and there is danger that through this line of argument God may be thought the cause even of our wrongdoing.
AUGUSTINUS. Nullo modo istuc timueris, sed ut diligentius requiratur, aliud tempus sumendum est. Nam haec iam sermocinatio modum terminumque desiderat, qua velim credas magnarum abditarumque rerum inquirendarum quasi fores esse pulsatas. In quarum penetralia cum deo duce venire coeperimus iudicabis profecto quantum inter hanc disputationem et eas quae sequuntur intersit quantumque illa praestent non modo investigationis sagacitate, sed etiam maiestate rerum et clarissima luce veritatis. Pietas tantum adsit, ut nos divina providentia cursum quem instituimus tenere et perficere permittat. A. Have no fear of this. We must, however, find some other opportunity of examining the question more carefully: now it is time to bring the present discussion to an end. I want you to believe that we have, as it were, knocked at the door of great and hidden questions which we must search out. When with God's help we begin to enter their sanctuaries, you will certainly recognise what a difference there is between this discussion and those which follow, and how far more excellent are the latter, not only in the intelligence required to examine them, but also in the profundity of their content and in the clear light of their truth. Only let us have a right spirit, so that Divine Providence may allow us to keep to the course we have marked out, and to reach the end.
EVODIUS. Cedo voluntati tuae et ei meam iudicio et voto libentissime adiungo. E.l will do what you wish, and willingly fall in with your proposal.


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