Authors/Augustine/confessions/L11

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AUGUSTINE'S CONFESSIONS, BOOK XI

Translated by J.G. Pilkington. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff.

  • Chapter 1 By Confession He Desires to Stimulate Towards God His Own Love and That of His Readers.
  • Chapter 2 He Begs of God that Through the Holy Scriptures He May Be Led to Truth.
  • Chapter 3 He Begins from the Creation of the World— Not Understanding the Hebrew Text.
  • Chapter 4 Heaven and Earth Cry Out that They Have Been Created by God.
  • Chapter 5 God Created the World Not from Any Certain Matter, But in His Own Word.
  • Chapter 6 He Did Not, However, Create It by a Sounding and Passing Word.
  • Chapter 7 By His Co-Eternal Word He Speaks, and All Things are Done.
  • Chapter 8 That Word Itself is the Beginning of All Things, in the Which We are Instructed as to Evangelical Truth.
  • Chapter 9 Wisdom and the Beginning.
  • Chapter 10 The Rashness of Those Who Inquire What God Did Before He Created Heaven and Earth.
  • Chapter 11 They Who Ask This Have Not as Yet Known the Eternity of God, Which is Exempt from the Relation of Time.
  • Chapter 12 What God Did Before the Creation of the World.
  • Chapter 13 Before the Times Created by God, Times Were Not.
  • Chapter 14 Neither Time Past Nor Future, But the Present Only, Really is.
  • Chapter 15 There is Only a Moment of Present Time.
  • Chapter 16 Time Can Only Be Perceived or Measured While It is Passing.
  • Chapter 17 Nevertheless There is Time Past and Future.
  • Chapter 18 Past and Future Times Cannot Be Thought of But as Present.
  • Chapter 19 We are Ignorant in What Manner God Teaches Future Things.
  • Chapter 20 In What Manner Time May Properly Be Designated.
  • Chapter 21 How Time May Be Measured.
  • Chapter 22 He Prays God that He Would Explain This Most Entangled Enigma.
  • Chapter 23 That Time is a Certain Extension.
  • Chapter 24 That Time is Not a Motion of a Body Which We Measure by Time.
  • Chapter 25 He Calls on God to Enlighten His Mind.
  • Chapter 26 We Measure Longer Events by Shorter in Time.
  • Chapter 27 Times are Measured in Proportion as They Pass by.
  • Chapter 28 Time in the Human Mind, Which Expects, Considers, and Remembers.
  • Chapter 29 That Human Life is a Distraction But that Through the Mercy of God He Was Intent on the Prize of His Heavenly Calling.
  • Chapter 30 Again He Refutes the Empty Question, What Did God Before the Creation of the World?
  • Chapter 31 How the Knowledge of God Differs from that of Man.


Latin English
The Confessions (Book XI)The design of his confessions being declared, he seeks from God the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and begins to expound the words of Genesis 1:1, concerning the creation of the world. The questions of rash disputers being refuted, What did God before he created the world? That he might the better overcome his opponents, he adds a copious disquisition concerning time.
11.1.1 Numquid, Domine, cum tua sit aeternitas, ignoras quae tibi dico, aut ad tempus vides quod fit in tempore? Cur ergo tibi tot rerum narrationes digero? Non utique ut per me noveris ea, sed affectum meum excito in te, et eorum qui haec legunt, ut dicamus omnes, 'magnus Dominus et laudabilis valde.' Iam dixi et dicam, 'amore amoris tui facio istuc.' Nam et oramus, et tamen veritas ait, 'novit pater uester quid vobis opus sit, priusquam petatis ab eo.' Affectum ergo nostrum patefacimus in te confitendo tibi miserias nostras et misericordias tuas super nos, ut liberes nos omnino, quoniam coepisti, ut desinamus esse miseri in nobis et beatificemur in te, quoniam vocasti nos, ut simus pauperes spiritu et mites et lugentes et esurientes ac sitientes iustitiam et misericordes et mundicordes et pacifici. Ecce narravi tibi multa, quae potui et quae volui, quoniam tu prior voluisti ut confiterer tibi, Domino Deo meo, quoniam bonus es, quoniam in saeculum misericordia tua. 1. O Lord, since eternity is Yours, are You ignorant of the things which I say unto You? Or see Thou at the time that which comes to pass in time? Why, therefore, do I place before You so many relations of things? Not surely that You might know them through me, but that I may awaken my own love and that of my readers towards You, that we may all say, Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. I have already said, and shall say, for the love of Your love do I this. For we also pray, and yet Truth says, Your Father knows what things you have need of before you ask Him. Matthew 6:8 Therefore do we make known unto You our love, in confessing unto You our own miseries and Your mercies upon us, that You may free us altogether, since You have begun, that we may cease to be wretched in ourselves, and that we may be blessed in You; since You have called us, that we may be poor in spirit, and meek, and mourners, and hungering and thirsty after righteousness, and merciful, and pure in heart, and peacemakers. Matthew 5:3-9 Behold, I have told unto You many things, which I could and which I would, for You first would have me confess unto You, the Lord my God, for You are good, since Your mercy endures for ever.
11.2.2 Quando autem sufficio lingua calami enuntiare omnia hortamenta tua et omnes terrores tuos, et consolationes et gubernationes, quibus me perduxisti praedicare verbum et sacramentum tuum dispensare populo tuo? Et si sufficio haec enuntiare ex ordine, caro mihi valent stillae temporum. Et olim inardesco meditari in lege tua et in ea tibi confiteri scientiam et imperitiam meam, primordia illuminationis tuae et reliquias tenebrarum mearum, quousque Deuoretur a fortitudine infirmitas. Et nolo in aliud horae diffluant quas invenio liberas a necessitatibus reficiendi corporis et intentionis animi et seruitutis quam debemus hominibus et quam non debemus et tamen reddimus. 2. But when shall I suffice with the tongue of my pen to express all Your exhortations, and all Your terrors, and comforts, and guidances, whereby You have led me to preach Your Word and to dispense Your Sacrament unto Your people? And if I suffice to utter these things in order, the drops of time are dear to me. Long time have I burned to meditate in Your law, and in it to confess to You my knowledge and ignorance, the beginning of Your enlightening, and the remains of my darkness, until infirmity be swallowed up by strength. And I would not that to anything else those hours should flow away, which I find free from the necessities of refreshing my body, and the care of my mind, and of the service which we owe to men, and which, though we owe not, even yet we pay.
11.2.3 Domine Deus meus, intende orationi meae et misericordia tua exaudiat desiderium meum, quoniam non mihi soli aestuat, sed usui uult esse fraternae caritati. Et vides in corde meo quia sic est. Sacrificem tibi famulatum cogitationis et linguae meae, et da quod offeram tibi. Inops enim et pauper sum, tu dives in omnes inuocantes te, qui securus curam nostri geris. Circumcide ab omni temeritate omnique mendacio interiora et exteriora labia mea. Sint castae deliciae meae scripturae tuae, nec fallar in eis nec fallam ex eis. Domine, attende et miserere, Domine Deus meus, lux caecorum et virtus infirmorum statimque lux videntium et virtus fortium, attende animam meam et audi clamantem de profundo. Nam nisi adsint et in profundo aures tuae, quo ibimus? Quo clamabimus? Tuus est dies et tua est nox; ad nutum tuum momenta transuolant. Largire inde spatium meditationibus nostris in abdita legis tuae, neque adversus pulsantes claudas eam. Neque enim frustra scribi voluisti tot paginarum opaca secreta, aut non habent illae siluae cenos suos, recipientes se in eas et resumentes, ambulantes et pascentes, recumbentes et ruminantes. O Domine, perfice me et reuela mihi eas. Ecce vox tua gaudium meum, vox tua super afffluentiam voluptatum. Da quod amo: amo enim, et hoc tu dedisti. Ne dona tua deseras nec herbam tuam spernas sitientem. Confitear tibi quidquid invenero in libris tuis et audiam vocem laudis, et te bibam et considerem mirabilia de lege tua ab usque principio in quo fecisti caelum et terram usque ad regnum tecum perpetuum sanctae civitatis tuae. 3. O Lord my God, hear my prayer, and let Your mercy regard my longing, since it bums not for myself alone, but because it desires to benefit brotherly charity; and You see into my heart, that so it is. I would sacrifice to You the service of my thought and tongue; and do Thou give what I may offer unto You. For I am poor and needy, Thou rich unto all that call upon You, Romans 10:12 who free from care carest for us. Circumcise from all rashness and from all lying my inward and outward lips. Exodus 6:12 Let Your Scriptures be my chaste delights. Neither let me be deceived in them, nor deceive out of them. Lord, hear and pity, O Lord my God, light of the blind, and strength of the weak; even also light of those that see, and strength of the strong, hearken unto my soul, and hear it crying out of the depths. For unless Your ears be present in the depths also, whither shall we go? Whither shall we cry? The day is Yours, and the night also is Yours. At Your nod the moments flee by. Grant thereof space for our meditations among the hidden things of Your law, nor close it against us who knock. For not in vain have You willed that the obscure secret of so many pages should be written. Nor is it that those forests have not their harts, betaking themselves therein, and ranging, and walking, and feeding, lying down, and ruminating. Perfect me, O Lord, and reveal them unto me. Behold, Your voice is my joy, Your voice surpasses the abundance of pleasures. Give that which I love, for I do love; and this have You given. Abandon not Your own gifts, nor despise Your grass that thirsts. Let me confess unto You whatsoever I shall have found in Your books, and let me hear the voice of praise, and let me imbibe You, and reflect on the wonderful things of Your law; even from the beginning, wherein You made the heaven and the earth, unto the everlasting kingdom of Your holy city that is with You.
11.2.4 Domine, miserere mei et exaudi desiderium meum. Puto enim quod non sit de terra, non de auro et argento et lapidibus aut decoris uestibus aut honoribus et potestatibus aut voluptatibus carnis, neque de necessariis corpori et huic vitae peregrinationis nostrae, quae omnia nobis apponuntur quaerentibus regnum et iustitiam tuam. Vide, Deus meus, unde sit desiderium meum. Narraverunt mihi iniusti delectationes, sed non sicut lex tua, Domine: ecce unde est desiderium meum. Vide, pater, aspice et vide et approba, et placeat in conspectu misericordiae tuae invenire me gratiam ante te, ut aperiantur pulsanti mihi interiora sermonum tuorum. Obsecro per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum filium tuum, virum dexterae tuae, filium hominis, quem confirmasti tibi mediatorem tuum et nostrum, per quem nos quaesisti non quaerentes te, quaesisti autem ut quaereremus te, verbum tuum per quod fecisti omnia (in quibus et me), unicum tuum per quem vocasti in adoptionem populum credentium (in quo et me) -- per eum te obsecro, qui sedet ad dexteram tuam et te interpellat pro nobis, in quo sunt omnes thesauri sapientiae et scientiae absconditi: ipsos quaero in libris tuis. Moyses de illo scripsit; hoc ipse ait, hoc veritas ait. 4. Lord, have mercy on me and hear my desire. For I think that it is not of the earth, nor of gold and silver, and precious stones, nor gorgeous apparel, nor honours and powers, nor the pleasures of the flesh, nor necessaries for the body, and this life of our pilgrimage; all which are added to those that seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness. Matthew 6:33 Behold, O Lord my God, whence is my desire. The unrighteous have told me of delights, but not such as Your law, O Lord. Behold whence is my desire. Behold, Father, look and see, and approve; and let it be pleasing in the sight of Your mercy, that I may find grace before You, that the secret things of Your Word may be opened unto me when I knock. I beseech, by our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, the Man of Your right hand, the Son of man, whom You made strong for Yourself, as Your Mediator and ours, through whom You have sought us, although not seeking You, but sought us that we might seek You, — Your Word through whom You have made all things, John 1:3 and among them me also, Your Only-begotten, through whom You have called to adoption the believing people, and therein me also. I beseech You through Him, who sits at Your right hand, and makes intercession for us, Romans 8:34 in whom are hid all treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3 Him do I seek in Your books. Of Him did Moses write; John 5:4-6 this says Himself; this says the Truth.
11.3.5 Audiam et intellegam quomodo in principio fecisti caelum et terram. Scripsit hoc Moyses, scripsit et abiit, transiit hinc a te ad te, neque nunc ante me est. Nam si esset, tenerem eum et rogarem eum et per te obsecrarem ut mihi ista panderet, et praeberem aures corporis mei sonis erumpentibus ex ore eius, et si hebraea voce loqueretur, frustra pulsaret sensum meum nec inde mentem meam quicquam tangeret; si autem latine, scirem quid diceret. Sed unde scirem an verum diceret? Quod si et hoc scirem, num ab illo scirem? Intus utique mihi, intus in domicilio cogitationis, nec hebraea nec graeca nec latina nec barbara, veritas sine oris et linguae organis, sine strepitu syllabarum diceret, 'uerum dicit', et ego statim certus confidenter illi homini tuo dicerem, 'uerum dicis.' Cum ergo illum interrogare non possim, te, quo plenus vera dixit, veritas, rogo te, Deus meus, rogo, parce peccatis meis, et qui illi seruo tuo dedisti haec dicere, da et mihi haec intellegere. 5. Let me hear and understand how in the beginning Thou made the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1 Moses wrote this; he wrote and departed—passed hence from You to You. Nor now is he before me; for if he were I would hold him, and ask him, and would adjure him by You that he would open unto me these things, and I would lend the ears of my body to the sounds bursting forth from his mouth. And should he speak in the Hebrew tongue, in vain would it beat on my senses, nor would anything touch my mind; but if in Latin, I should know what he said. But whence should I know whether he said what was true? But if I knew this even, should I know it from him? Verily within me, within in the chamber of my thought, Truth, neither Hebrew, nor Greek, nor Latin, nor barbarian, without the organs of voice and tongue, without the sound of syllables, would say, He speaks the truth, and I, immediately assured of it, confidently would say unto that man of Yours, You speak the truth. As, then, I cannot inquire of him, I beseech You—You, O Truth, full of whom he spoke truth—You, my God, I beseech, forgive my sins; and do Thou, who gave to that Your servant to speak these things, grant to me also to understand them.
11.4.6 Ecce sunt caelum et terra! Clamant quod facta sint; mutantur enim atque variantur. Quidquid autem factum non est et tamen est, non est in eo quicquam quod ante non erat: quod est mutari atque variari. Clamant etiam quod se ipsa non fecerint: 'ideo sumus, quia facta sumus. Non ergo eramus antequam essemus, ut fieri possemus a nobis.' Et vox dicentium est ipsa evidentia. Tu ergo, Domine, fecisti ea, qui pulcher es (pulchra sunt enim), qui bonus es (bona sunt enim), qui es (sunt enim). Nec ita pulchra sunt nec ita bona sunt nec ita sunt, sicut tu conditor eorum, quo comparato nec pulchra sunt nec bona sunt nec sunt. Scimus haec: gratias tibi, et scientia nostra scientiae tuae comparata ignorantia est. 6. Behold, the heaven and earth are; they proclaim that they were made, for they are changed and varied. Whereas whatsoever has not been made, and yet has being, has nothing in it which there was not before; this is what it is to be changed and varied. They also proclaim that they made not themselves; therefore we are, because we have been made; we were not therefore before we were, so that we could have made ourselves. And the voice of those that speak is in itself an evidence. You, therefore, Lord, made these things; Thou who art beautiful, for they are beautiful; Thou who art good, for they are good; Thou who art, for they are. Nor even so are they beautiful, nor good, nor are they, as Thou their Creator art; compared with whom they are neither beautiful, nor good, nor are at all. These things we know, thanks be to You. And our knowledge, compared with Your knowledge, is ignorance.
11.5.7 Quomodo autem fecisti caelum et terram? Et quae machina tam grandis operationis tuae? Non enim sicut homo artifex formas corpus de corpore, arbitratu animae valentis imponere utcumque speciem, quam cernit in semet ipsa interno oculo (et unde hoc valeret, nisi quia tu fecisti eam?) et imponit speciem iam exsistenti et habenti, ut esset, veluti terrae aut lapidi aut ligno aut auro aut id genus rerum cuilibet. Et unde ista essent, nisi tu instituisses ea? Tu fabro corpus, tu animum membris imperitantem fecisti, tu materiam unde facit aliquid, tu ingenium quo artem capiat et videat intus quid faciat foris, tu sensum corporis quo interprete traiciat ab animo ad materiam id quod facit et renuntiet animo quid factum sit, ut ille intus consulat praesidentem sibi veritatem, an bene factum sit. Te laudant haec omnia creatorem omnium. Sed tu quomodo facis ea? Quomodo fecisti, Deus, caelum et terram? Non utique in caelo neque in terra fecisti caelum et terram neque in aere aut in aquis, quoniam et haec pertinent ad caelum et terram neque in universo mundo fecisti universum mundum, quia non erat ubi fieret antequam fieret, ut esset. Nec manu tenebas aliquid unde faceres caelum et terram: nam unde tibi hoc quod tu non feceras, unde aliquid faceres? Quid enim est, nisi quia tu es? Ergo dixisti et facta sunt atque in verbo tuo fecisti ea. 7. But how did Thou make the heaven and the earth, and what was the instrument of Your so mighty work? For it was not as a human worker fashioning body from body, according to the fancy of his mind, in somewise able to assign a form which it perceives in itself by its inner eye. And whence should he be able to do this, had not Thou made that mind? And he assigns to it already existing, and as it were having a being, a form, as clay, or stone, or wood, or gold, or such like. And whence should these things be, had not Thou appointed them? Thou made for the workman his body—Thou the mind commanding the limbs—Thou the matter whereof he makes anything, — Thou the capacity whereby he may apprehend his art, and see within what he may do without—Thou the sense of his body, by which, as by an interpreter, he may from mind unto matter convey that which he does, and report to his mind what may have been done, that it within may consult the truth, presiding over itself, whether it be well done. All these things praise You, the Creator of all. But how do You make them? How, O God, did Thou make heaven and earth? Truly, neither in the heaven nor in the earth did Thou make heaven and earth; nor in the air, nor in the waters, since these also belong to the heaven and the earth; nor in the whole world did Thou make the whole world; because there was no place wherein it could be made before it was made, that it might be; nor did Thou hold anything in Your hand wherewith to make heaven and earth. For whence couldest Thou have what You had not made, whereof to make anything? For what is, save because You are? Therefore You spoke and they were made, and in Your Word You made these things.
11.6.8 Sed quomodo dixisti? Numquid illo modo quo facta est vox de nube dicens, 'hic est filius meus dilectus'? Illa enim vox acta atque transacta est, coepta et finita. Sonuerunt syllabae atque transierunt, secunda post primam, tertia post secundam atque inde ex ordine, donec ultima post caeteras silentiumque post ultimam. Unde claret atque eminet quod creaturae motus expressit eam, seruiens aeternae voluntati tuae ipse temporalis. Et haec ad tempus facta verba tua nuntiavit auris exterior menti prudenti, cuius auris interior posita est ad aeternum verbum tuum. At illa comparavit haec verba temporaliter sonantia cum aeterno in silentio verbo tuo et dixit, 'aliud est longe, longe aliud est. Haec longe infra me sunt nec sunt, quia fugiunt et praetereunt; verbum autem Dei mei supra me manet in aeternum.' Si ergo verb is sonantibus et praetereuntibus dixisti, ut fieret caelum et terra, atque ita fecisti caelum et terram, erat iam creatura corporalis ante caelum et terram, cuius motibus temporalibus temporaliter vox illa percurreret. Nullum autem corpus ante caelum et terram, aut si erat, id certe sine transitoria voce feceras, unde transitoriam vocem faceres, qua diceres ut fieret caelum et terra. Quidquid enim illud esset unde talis vox fieret, nisi abs te factum esset omnino non esset. Ut ergo fieret corpus unde ista verba fierent, quo verbo a te dictum est? 8. But how did Thou speak? Was it in that manner in which the voice came from the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son? Matthew 17:5 For that voice was uttered and passed away, began and ended. The syllables sounded and passed by, the second after the first, the third after the second, and thence in order, until the last after the rest, and silence after the last. Hence it is clear and plain that the motion of a creature expressed it, itself temporal, obeying Your Eternal will. And these your words formed at the time, the outer ear conveyed to the intelligent mind, whose inner ear lay attentive to Your eternal word. But it compared these words sounding in time with Your eternal word in silence, and said, It is different, very different. These words are far beneath me, nor are they, since they flee and pass away; but the Word of my Lord remains above me for ever. If, then, in sounding and fleeting words Thou said that heaven and earth should be made, and thus made heaven and earth, there was already a corporeal creature before heaven and earth by whose temporal motions that voice might take its course in time. But there was nothing corporeal before heaven and earth; or if there were, certainly Thou without a transitory voice had created that whence You would make the passing voice, by which to say that the heaven and the earth should be made. For whatsoever that were of which such a voice was made, unless it were made by You, it could not be at all. By what word of Yours was it decreed that a body might be made, whereby these words might be made?
11.7.9 Vocas itaque nos ad intellegendum verbum, Deum apud te Deum, quod sempiterne dicitur et eo sempiterne dicuntur omnia. Neque enim finitur quod dicebatur et dicitur aliud, ut possint dici omnia, sed simul ac sempiterne omnia; alioquin iam tempus et mutatio et non vera aeternitas nec vera immortalitas. Hoc novi, Deus meus, et gratias ago. Novi, confiteor tibi, Domine, mecumque novit et benedicit te quisquis ingratus non est certae veritati. Novimus, Domine, novimus, quoniam in quantum quidque non est quod erat et est quod non erat, in tantum moritur et oritur. Non ergo quicquam verbi tui cedit atque succedit, quoniam vere immortale atque aeternum est. Et ideo verbo tibi coaeterno simul et sempiterne dicis omnia quae dicis, et fit quidquid dicis ut fiat. Nec aliter quam dicendo facis, nec tamen simul et sempiterna fiunt omnia quae dicendo facis. 9. You call us, therefore, to understand the Word, God with You, God, John 1:1 which is spoken eternally, and by it are all things spoken eternally. For what was spoken was not finished, and another spoken until all were spoken; but all things at once and for ever. For otherwise have we time and change, and not a true eternity, nor a true immortality. This I know, O my God, and give thanks. I know, I confess to You, O Lord, and whosoever is not unthankful to certain truth, knows and blesses You with me. We know, O Lord, we know; since in proportion as anything is not what it was, and is what it was not, in that proportion does it die and arise. Not anything, therefore, of Your Word gives place and comes into place again, because it is truly immortal and eternal. And, therefore, unto the Word co-eternal with You, You at once and for ever say all that You say; and whatever You say shall be made, is made; nor do You make otherwise than by speaking; yet all things are not made both together and everlasting which You make by speaking.
11.8.10 Cur, quaeso, Domine Deus meus? Utcumque video, sed quomodo id eloquar nescio, nisi quia omne quod esse incipit et esse desinit tunc esse incipit et tunc desinit, quando debuisse incipere vel desinere in aeterna ratione cognoscitur, ubi nec incipit aliquid nec desinit. Ipsum est verbum tuum, quod et principium est, quia et loquitur nobis. Sic in euangelio per carnem ait, et hoc insonuit foris auribus hominum, ut crederetur et intus quaereretur et inveniretur in aeterna veritate, ubi omnes discipulos bonus et solus magister docet. Ibi audio vocem tuam, Domine, dicentis mihi, quoniam ille loquitur nobis qui docet nos, qui autem non docet nos, etiam si loquitur, non nobis loquitur. Quid porro nos docet nisi stabilis veritas? Quia et per creaturam mutabilem cum admonemur, ad veritatem stabilem ducimur, ubi vere discimus, cum stamus et audimus eum et gaudio gaudemus propter vocem sponsi, reddentes nos unde sumus. Et ideo principium, quia, nisi maneret cum erraremus, non esset quo rediremus. Cum autem redimus ab errore, cognoscendo utique redimus; ut autem cognoscamus, docet nos, quia principium est et loquitur nobis. 10. Why is this, I beseech You, O Lord my God? I see it, however; but how I shall express it, I know not, unless that everything which begins to be and ceases to be, then begins and ceases when in Your eternal Reason it is known that it ought to begin or cease where nothing begins or ceases. The same is Your Word, which is also the Beginning, because also It speaks unto us. Thus, in the gospel He speaks through the flesh; and this sounded outwardly in the ears of men, that it might be believed and sought inwardly, and that it might be found in the eternal Truth, where the good and only Master teaches all His disciples. There, O Lord, I hear Your voice, the voice of one speaking unto me, since He speaks unto us who teaches us. But He that teaches us not, although He speaks, speaks not to us. Moreover, who teaches us, unless it be the immutable Truth? For even when we are admonished through a changeable creature, we are led to the Truth immutable. There we learn truly while we stand and hear Him, and rejoice greatly because of the Bridegroom's voice, John 3:29 restoring us to that whence we are. And, therefore, the Beginning, because unless It remained, there would not, where we strayed, be whither to return. But when we return from error, it is by knowing that we return. But that we may know, He teaches us, because He is the Beginning and speaks unto us.
11.9.11 In hoc principio, Deus, fecisti caelum et terram in verbo tuo, in filio tuo, in virtute tua, in sapientia tua, in veritate tua, miro modo dicens et miro modo faciens. Quis comprehendet? Quis enarrabit? Quid est illud quod interlucet mihi et percutit cor meum sine laesione? Et inhorresco et inardesco: inhorresco, in quantum dissimilis ei sum, inardesco, in quantum similis ei sum. Sapientia, sapientia ipsa est quae interlucet mihi, discindens nubilum meum, quod me rursus cooperit deficientem ab ea caligine atque aggere poenarum mearum, quoniam sic infirmatus est in egestate vigor meus ut non sufferam bonum meum, donec tu, Domine, qui propitius factus es omnibus iniquitatibus meis, etiam sanes omnes languores meos, quia et redimes de corruptione vitam meam, et coronabis me in miseratione et misericordia, et satiabis in bonis desiderium meum, quoniam renouabitur ivuentus mea sicut aquilae. Spe enim salui facti sumus et promissa tua per patientiam expectamus. Audiat te intus sermocinantem qui potest: ego fidenter ex oraculo tuo clamabo, 'quam magnificata sunt opera tua, Domine, omnia in sapientia fecisti!' et illa principium, et in eo principio fecisti caelum et terram. 11. In this Beginning, O God, have You made heaven and earth—in Your Word, in Your Son, in Your Power, in Your Wisdom, in Your Truth, wondrously speaking and wondrously making. Who shall comprehend? Who shall relate it? What is that which shines through me, and strikes my heart without injury, and I both shudder and burn? I shudder inasmuch as I am unlike it; and I burn inasmuch as I am like it. It is Wisdom itself that shines through me, clearing my cloudiness, which again overwhelms me, fainting from it, in the darkness and amount of my punishment. For my strength is brought down in need, so that I cannot endure my blessings, until Thou, O Lord, who hast been gracious to all mine iniquities, heal also all mine infirmities; because You shall also redeem my life from corruption, and crown me with Your loving-kindness and mercy, and shall satisfy my desire with good things, because my youth shall be renewed like the eagle's. For by hope we are saved; and through patience we await Your promises. Romans 8:24-25 Let him that is able hear You discoursing within. I will with confidence cry out from Your oracle, How wonderful are Your works, O Lord, in Wisdom have You made them all. And this Wisdom is the Beginning, and in that Beginning have You made heaven and earth.
11.10.12 Nonne ecce pleni sunt uetustatis suae qui nobis dicunt, 'quid faciebat Deus antequam faceret caelum et terram? Si enim uacabat,' inquiunt, 'et non operabatur aliquid, cur non sic semper et deinceps, quemadmodum retro semper cessavit ab opere? Si enim ullus motus in Deo nouus extitit et voluntas noua, ut creaturam conderet quam numquam ante condiderat, quomodo iam vera aeternitas, ubi oritur voluntas quae non erat? Neque enim voluntas Dei creatura est sed ante creaturam, quia non crearetur aliquid nisi creatoris voluntas praecederet. Ad ipsam ergo Dei substantiam pertinet voluntas eius. Quod si exortum est aliquid in Dei substantia quod prius non erat, non veraciter dicitur aeterna illa substantia. Si autem Dei voluntas sempiterna erat, ut esset creatura, cur non sempiterna et creatura?' 12. Lo, are they not full of their ancient way, who say to us, What was God doing before He made heaven and earth? For if, say they, He were unoccupied, and did nothing, why does He not for ever also, and from henceforth, cease from working, as in times past He did? For if any new motion has arisen in God, and a new will, to form a creature which He had never before formed, however can that be a true eternity where there arises a will which was not before? For the will of God is not a creature, but before the creature; because nothing could be created unless the will of the Creator were before it. The will of God, therefore, pertains to His very Substance. But if anything has arisen in the Substance of God which was not before, that Substance is not truly called eternal. But if it was the eternal will of God that the creature should be, why was not the creature also from eternity?
11.11.13 Qui haec dicunt nondum te intellegunt, o sapientia Dei, lux mentium, nondum intellegunt quomodo fiant quae per te atque in te fiunt, et conantur aeterna sapere, sed adhuc in praeteritis et futuris rerum motibus cor eorum volitat et adhuc uanum est. Quis tenebit illud et figet illud, ut paululum stet, et paululum rapiat splendorem semper stantis aeternitatis, et comparet cum temporibus numquam stantibus, et vid eat e sse incomparabilem, et vide at longum tempus, nisi ex multis praetereuntibus motibus qui simul extendi non possunt, longum non fieri; non autem praeterire quicquam in aeterno, sed totum esse praesens; nullum vero tempus totum esse praesens; et videat omne praeteritum propelli ex futuro et omne futurum ex praeterito consequi, et omne praeteritum ac futurum ab eo quod semper est praesens creari et excurrere? Quis tenebit cor hominis, ut stet et videat quomodo stans dictet futura et praeterita tempora nec futura nec praeterita aeternitas? Numquid manus mea valet hoc aut manus oris mei per loquellas agit tam grandem rem? 13. Those who say these things do not as yet understand You, O Thou Wisdom of God, Thou light of souls; not as yet do they understand how these things be made which are made by and in You. They even endeavour to comprehend things eternal; but as yet their heart flies about in the past and future motions of things, and is still wavering. Who shall hold it and fix it, that it may rest a little, and by degrees catch the glory of that everstanding eternity, and compare it with the times which never stand, and see that it is incomparable; and that a long time cannot become long, save from the many motions that pass by, which cannot at the same instant be prolonged; but that in the Eternal nothing passes away, but that the whole is present; but no time is wholly present; and let him see that all time past is forced on by the future, and that all the future follows from the past, and that all, both past and future, is created and issues from that which is always present? Who will hold the heart of man, that it may stand still, and see how the still-standing eternity, itself neither future nor past, utters the times future and past? Can my hand accomplish this, or the hand of my mouth by persuasion bring about a thing so great?
11.12.14 Ecce respondeo dicenti, 'quid faciebat Deus antequam faceret cae lum et terram?' respondeo non illud quod quidam respondisse perhibetur, ioculariter eludens quaestionis violentiam: 'alta,' inquit, 'scrutantibus gehennas parabat.' Aliud est videre, aliud ridere: haec non respondeo. Libentius enim responderim, 'nescio quod nescio', quam illud unde inridetur qui alta interrogavit et laudatur qui falsa respondit. Sed dico te, Deus noster, omnis creaturae creatorem et, si caeli et terrae nomine omnis creatura intellegitur, audenter dico, 'antequam faceret Deus caelum et terram, non faciebat aliquid.' Si enim faciebat, quid nisi creaturam faciebat? Et utinam sic sciam quidquid utiliter scire cupio, quemad mod um scio quod nulla fiebat creatura antequam fie ret ulla creatura. 14. Behold, I answer to him who asks, What was God doing before He made heaven and earth? I answer not, as a certain person is reported to have done facetiously (avoiding the pressure of the question), He was preparing hell, says he, for those who pry into mysteries. It is one thing to perceive, another to laugh—these things I answer not. For more willingly would I have answered, I know not what I know not, than that I should make him a laughing-stock who asks deep things, and gain praise as one who answers false things. But I say that Thou, our God, art the Creator of every creature; and if by the term heaven and earth every creature is understood, I boldly say, That before God made heaven and earth, He made not anything. For if He did, what did He make unless the creature? And would that I knew whatever I desire to know to my advantage, as I know that no creature was made before any creature was made.
11.13.15 At si cuiusquam volatilis sensus uagatur per imagines retro temporum et te, Deum omnipotentem et omnicreantem et omnitenentem, caeli et terrae artificem, ab opere tanto, antequam id faceres, per innumerabilia saecula cessasse miratur, evigilet atque attendat, quia falsa miratur. Nam unde poterant innumerabilia saecula praeterire quae ipse non feceras, cum sis omnium saeculorum auctor et conditor? Aut quae tempora fuissent quae abs te condita non essent? Aut quomodo praeterirent, si numquam fuissent? Cum ergo sis operator omnium temporum, si fuit aliquod tempus antequam faceres caelum et terram, cur dicitur quod ab opere cessabas? Idipsum enim tempus tu feceras, nec praeterire potuerunt tempora antequam faceres tempora. Si autem ante caelum et terram nullum erat tempus, cur quaeritur quid tunc faciebas? Non enim erat tunc, ubi non erat tempus. 15. But if the roving thought of any one should wander through the images of bygone time, and wonder that You, the God Almighty, and All-creating, and All-sustaining, the Architect of heaven and earth, for innumerable ages refrained from so great a work before You would make it, let him awake and consider that he wonders at false things. For whence could innumerable ages pass by which You did not make, since You are the Author and Creator of all ages? Or what times should those be which were not made by You? Or how should they pass by if they had not been? Since, therefore, You are the Creator of all times, if any time was before You made heaven and earth, why is it said that You refrained from working? For that very time You made, nor could times pass by before You made times. But if before heaven and earth there was no time, why is it asked, What were You doing then? For there was no then when time was not.
11.13.16 Nec tu tempore tempora praecedis, alioquin non omnia tempora praecederes. Sed praecedis omnia praeterita celsitudine semper praesentis aeternitatis et superas omnia futura, quia illa futura sunt, et cum venerint, praeterita erunt. Tu autem idem ipse es, et anni tui non deficient: anni tui nec eunt nec veniunt, isti enim nostri eunt et veniunt, ut omnes veniant; anni tui omnes simul stant, quoniam stant, nec euntes a venientibus excluduntur, quia non transeunt. Isti autem nostri omnes erunt, cum omnes non erunt. Anni tui dies unus, et dies tuus non cotidie sed hodie, quia hodiernus tuus non cedit crastino; neque enim succedit hesterno. Hodiernus tuus aeternitas; ideo coaeternum genuisti cui dixisti, 'ego hodie genui te.' Omnia tempora tu fecisti et ante omnia tempora tu es, nec aliquo tempore non erat tempus. 16. Nor dost Thou by time precede time; else would not Thou precede all times. But in the excellency of an ever-present eternity, Thou precedest all times past, and survivest all future times, because they are future, and when they have come they will be past; but You are the same, and Your years shall have no end. Your years neither go nor come; but ours both go and come, that all may come. All Your years stand at once since they do stand; nor were they when departing excluded by coming years, because they pass not away; but all these of ours shall be when all shall cease to be. Your years are one day, and Your day is not daily, but today; because Your today yields not with tomorrow, for neither does it follow yesterday. Your today is eternity; therefore You begot the Co-eternal, to whom You said, This day have I begotten You. You have made all time; and before all times You are, nor in any time was there not time.
11.14.17 Nullo ergo tempore non feceras aliquid, quia ipsum tempus tu feceras. Et nulla tempora tibi coaeterna sunt, quia tu permanes. At illa si permanerent, non essent tempora. Quid est enim tempus? Quis hoc facile breviterque explicaverit? Quis hoc ad verbum de illo proferendum vel cogitatione comprehenderit? Quid autem familiarius et notius in loquendo commemoramus quam tempus? Et intellegimus utique cum id loquimur, intellegimus etiam cum alio loquente id audimus. Quid est ergo tempus? Si nemo ex me quaerat, scio; si quaerenti explicare velim, nescio. Fidenter tamen dico scire me quod, si nihil praeteriret, non esset praeteritum tempus, et si nihil adveniret, non esset futurum tempus, et si nihil esset, non esset praesens tempus. Duo ergo illa tempora, praeteritum et futurum, quomodo sunt, quando et praeteritum iam non est et futurum nondum est? Praesens autem si semper esset praesens nec in praeteritum transiret, non iam esset tempus, sed aeternitas. Si ergo praesens, ut tempus sit, ideo fit, quia in praeteritum transit, quomodo et hoc esse dicimus, cui causa, ut sit, illa est, quia non erit, ut scilicet non vere dicamus tempus esse, nisi quia tendit non esse? 17. At no time, therefore, had Thou not made anything, because You had made time itself. And no times are co-eternal with You, because You remain for ever; but should these continue, they would not be times. For what is time? Who can easily and briefly explain it? Who even in thought can comprehend it, even to the pronouncing of a word concerning it? But what in speaking do we refer to more familiarly and knowingly than time? And certainly we understand when we speak of it; we understand also when we hear it spoken of by another. What, then, is time? If no one ask of me, I know; if I wish to explain to him who asks, I know not. Yet I say with confidence, that I know that if nothing passed away, there would not be past time; and if nothing were coming, there would not be future time; and if nothing were, there would not be present time. Those two times, therefore, past and future, how are they, when even the past now is not; and the future is not as yet? But should the present be always present, and should it not pass into time past, time truly it could not be, but eternity. If, then, time present— if it be time— only comes into existence because it passes into time past, how do we say that even this is, whose cause of being is that it shall not be— namely, so that we cannot truly say that time is, unless because it tends not to be?
11.15.18 Et tamen dicimus longum tempus et breue tempus, neque hoc nisi de praeterito aut futuro dicimus. Praeteritum tempus longum verbi gratia vocamus ante centum annos, futurum itidem longum post centum annos, breue autem praeteritum sic, ut puta dicamus ante decem dies, et breue futurum post decem dies. Sed quo pacto longum est aut breue, quod non est? Praeteritum enim iam non est et futurum nondum est. Non itaque dicamus, 'longum est,' sed dicamus de praeterito, 'longum fuit,' et de futuro, 'longum erit.' Domine meus, lux mea, nonne et hic veritas tua deridebit hominem? Quod enim longum fuit praeteritum tempus, cum iam esset praeteritum longum fuit, an cum adhuc praesens esset? Tunc enim poterat esse longum quando erat, quod esset longum; praeteritum vero iam non erat, unde nec longum esse poterat, quod omnino non erat. Non ergo dicamus, 'longum fuit praeteritum tempus'; neque enim inveniemus quid fuerit longum, quando, ex quo praeteritum est, non est, sed dicamus, 'longum fuit illud praesens tempus,' quia cum praesens esset, longum erat. Nondum enim praeterierat ut non esset, et ideo erat quod longum esse posset; postea vero quam praeteriit, simul et longum esse destitit quod esse destitit. 18. And yet we say that time is long and time is short; nor do we speak of this save of time past and future. A long time past, for example, we call a hundred years ago; in like manner a long time to come, a hundred years hence. But a short time past we call, say, ten days ago: and a short time to come, ten days hence. But in what sense is that long or short which is not? For the past is not now, and the future is not yet. Therefore let us not say, It is long; but let us say of the past, It has been long, and of the future, It will be long. O my Lord, my light, shall not even here Your truth deride man? For that past time which was long, was it long when it was already past, or when it was as yet present? For then it might be long when there was that which could be long, but when past it no longer was; wherefore that could not be long which was not at all. Let us not, therefore, say, Time past has been long; for we shall not find what may have been long, seeing that since it was past it is not; but let us say that present time was long, because when it was present it was long. For it had not as yet passed away so as not to be, and therefore there was that which could be long. But after it passed, that ceased also to be long which ceased to be.
11.15.19 Videamus ergo, anima humana, utrum praesens tempus possit esse longum, datum enim tibi est sentire moras atque metiri. Quid respondebis mihi? An centum anni praesentes longum tempus est? Vide prius utrum possint praesentes esse centum anni. Si enim primus eorum annus agitur, ipse praesens est, nonaginta vero et novem futuri sunt et ideo nondum sunt. Si autem secundus annus agitur, iam unus est praeteritus, alter praesens, caeteri futuri. Atque ita mediorum quemlibet centenarii huius numeri annum praesentem posuerimus. Ante illum praeteriti erunt, post illum futuri. Quocirca centum anni praesentes esse non poterunt. Vide saltem utrum qui agitur unus ipse sit praesens. Et eius enim si primus agitur mensis, futuri sunt caeteri, si secundus, iam et primus praeteriit et reliqui nondum sunt. Ergo nec annus qui agitur totus est praesens, et si non totus est praesens, non annus est praesens. Duodecim enim menses annus est, quorum quilibet unus mensis qui agitur ipse praesens est, caeteri aut praeteriti aut futuri. Quamquam neque mensis qui agitur praesens est, sed unus dies. Si primus, futuris caeteris, si novissimus, praeteritis caeteris, si mediorum quilibet, inter praeteritos et futuros. 19. Let us therefore see, O human soul, whether present time can be long; for to you is it given to perceive and to measure periods of time. What will you reply to me? Is a hundred years when present a long time? See, first, whether a hundred years can be present. For if the first year of these is current, that is present, but the other ninety and nine are future, and therefore they are not as yet. But if the second year is current, one is already past, the other present, the rest future. And thus, if we fix on any middle year of this hundred as present, those before it are past, those after it are future; wherefore a hundred years cannot be present. See at least whether that year itself which is current can be present. For if its first month be current, the rest are future; if the second, the first has already passed, and the remainder are not yet. Therefore neither is the year which is current as a whole present; and if it is not present as a whole, then the year is not present. For twelve months make the year, of which each individual month which is current is itself present, but the rest are either past or future. Although neither is that month which is current present, but one day only: if the first, the rest being to come, if the last, the rest being past; if any of the middle, then between past and future.
11.15.20 Ecce praesens tempus, quod solum inveniebamus longum appellandum, vix ad unius diei spatium contractum est. Sed discutiamus etiam ipsum, quia nec unus dies totus est praesens. Nocturnis enim et diurnis horis omnibus viginti quattuor expletur, quarum prima caeteras futuras habet, novissima praeteritas, aliqua vero interiectarum ante se praeteritas, post se futuras. Et ipsa una hora fugitivis particulis agitur. Quidquid eius auolavit, praeteritum est, quidquid ei restat, futurum. Si quid intellegitur temporis, quod in nullas iam vel minutissimas momentorum partes dividi possit, id solum est quod praesens dicatur; quod tamen ita raptim a futuro in praeteritum transuolat, ut nulla morula extendatur. Nam si extenditur, dividitur in praeteritum et futurum; praesens autem nullum habet spatium. Ubi est ergo tempus quod longum dicamus? An futurum? Non quidem dicimus, 'longum est,' quia nondum est quod longum sit, sed dicimus, 'longum erit.' Quando igitur erit? Si enim et tunc adhuc futurum erit, non erit longum, quia quid sit longum nondum erit. Si autem tunc erit longum, cum ex futuro quod nondum est esse iam coeperit et praesens factum erit, ut possit esse quod longum sit, iam superioribus vocibus clamat praesens tempus longum se esse non posse. 20. Behold, the present time, which alone we found could be called long, is abridged to the space scarcely of one day. But let us discuss even that, for there is not one day present as a whole. For it is made up of four-and-twenty hours of night and day, whereof the first has the rest future, the last has them past, but any one of the intervening has those before it past, those after it future. And that one hour passes away in fleeting particles. Whatever of it has flown away is past, whatever remains is future. If any portion of time be conceived which cannot now be divided into even the minutest particles of moments, this only is that which may be called present; which, however, flies so rapidly from future to past, that it cannot be extended by any delay. For if it be extended, it is divided into the past and future; but the present has no space. Where, therefore, is the time which we may call long? Is it nature? Indeed we do not say, It is long, because it is not yet, so as to be long; but we say, It will be long. When, then, will it be? For if even then, since as yet it is future, it will not be long, because what may be long is not as yet; but it shall be long, when from the future, which as yet is not, it shall already have begun to be, and will have become present, so that there could be that which may be long; then does the present time cry out in the words above that it cannot be long.
11.16.21 Et tamen, Domine, sentimus interualla temporum et comparamus sibimet et dicimus alia longiora et alia breviora. Metimur etiam quanto sit longius aut brevius illud tempus quam illud, et respondemus duplum esse hoc vel triplum, illud autem simplum aut tantum hoc esse quantum illud. Sed praetereuntia metimur tempora cum sentiendo metimur. Praeterita vero, quae iam non sunt, aut futura, quae nondum sunt, quis metiri potest, nisi forte audebit quis dicere metiri posse quod non est? Cum ergo praeterit tempus, sentiri et metiri potest, cum autem praeterierit, quoniam non est, non potest. 21. And yet, O Lord, we perceive intervals of times, and we compare them with themselves, and we say some are longer, others shorter. We even measure by how much shorter or longer this time may be than that; and we answer, That this is double or treble, while that is but once, or only as much as that. But we measure times passing when we measure them by perceiving them; but past times, which now are not, or future times, which as yet are not, who can measure them? Unless, perchance, any one will dare to say, that that can be measured which is not. When, therefore, time is passing, it can be perceived and measured; but when it has passed, it cannot, since it is not.
11.17.22 Quaero, pater, non affirmo. Deus meus, praeside mihi et rege me. Quisnam est qui dicat mihi non esse tria tempora, sicut pueri didicimus puerosque docuimus, praeteritum, praesens, et futurum, sed tantum praesens, quoniam illa duo non sunt? An et ipsa sunt, sed ex aliquo procedit occulto cum ex futuro fit praesens, et in aliquod recedit occultum cum ex praesenti fit praeteritum? Nam ubi ea viderunt qui futura cecinerunt, si nondum sunt? Neque enim potest videri id quod non est. Et qui narrant praeterita, non utique vera narrarent si animo illa non cernerent. Quae si nulla essent, cerni omnino non possent. Sunt ergo et futura et praeterita. 2. I ask, Father, I do not affirm. O my God, rule and guide me. Who is there who can say to me that there are not three times (as we learned when boys, and as we have taught boys), the past, present, and future, but only present, because these two are not? Or are they also; but when from future it becomes present, comes it forth from some secret place, and when from the present it becomes past, does it retire into anything secret? For where have they, who have foretold future things, seen these things, if as yet they are not? For that which is not cannot be seen. And they who relate things past could not relate them as true, did they not perceive them in their mind. Which things, if they were not, they could in no way be discerned. There are therefore things both future and past.
11.18.23 Sine me, Domine, amplius quaerere, spes mea; non conturbetur intentio mea. Si enim sunt futura et praeterita, volo scire ubi sint. Quod si nondum valeo, scio tamen, ubicumque sunt, non ibi ea futura esse aut praeterita, sed praesentia. Nam si et ibi futura sunt, nondum ibi sunt, si et ibi praeterita sunt, iam non ibi sunt. Ubicumque ergo sunt, quaecumque sunt, non sunt nisi praesentia. Quamquam praeterita cum vera narrantur, ex memoria proferuntur non res ipsae quae praeterierunt, sed verba concepta ex imaginibus earum quae in animo velut uestigia per sensus praetereundo fixerunt. Pueritia quippe mea, quae iam non est, in tempore praeterito est, quod iam non est; imaginem vero eius, cum eam recolo et narro, in praesenti tempore intueor, quia est adhuc in memoria mea. Utrum similis sit causa etiam praedicendorum futurorum, ut rerum, quae nondum sunt, iam existentes praesentiantur imagines, confiteor, Deus meus, nescio. Illud sane scio, nos plerumque praemeditari futuras actiones nostras eamque praemeditationem esse praesentem, actionem autem quam praemeditamur nondum esse, quia futura est. Quam cum aggressi fuerimus et quod praemeditabamur agere coeperimus, tunc erit illa actio, quia tunc non futura, sed praesens erit. 23. Allow me, O Lord, to seek further; O my Hope, let not my purpose be confounded. For if there are times past and future, I desire to know where they are. But if as yet I do not succeed, I still know, wherever they are, that they are not there as future or past, but as present. For if there also they be future, they are not as yet there; if even there they be past, they are no longer there. Wheresoever, therefore, they are, whatsoever they are, they are only so as present. Although past things are related as true, they are drawn out from the memory,— not the things themselves, which have passed, but the words conceived from the images of the things which they have formed in the mind as footprints in their passage through the senses. My childhood, indeed, which no longer is, is in time past, which now is not; but when I call to mind its image, and speak of it, I behold it in the present, because it is as yet in my memory. Whether there be a like cause of foretelling future things, that of things which as yet are not the images may be perceived as already existing, I confess, my God, I know not. This certainly I know, that we generally think before on our future actions, and that this premeditation is present; but that the action whereon we premeditate is not yet, because it is future; which when we shall have entered upon, and have begun to do that which we were premeditating, then shall that action be, because then it is not future, but present.
11.18.24 Quoquo modo se itaque habeat arcana praesensio futurorum, videri nisi quod est non potest. Quod autem iam est, non futurum sed praesens est. Cum ergo videri dicuntur futura, non ipsa quae nondum sunt, id est quae futura sunt, sed eorum causae vel signa forsitan videntur, quae iam sunt. Ideo non futura sed praesentia sunt iam videntibus, ex quibus futura praedicantur animo concepta. Quae rursus conceptiones iam sunt, et eas praesentes apud se intuentur qui illa praedicunt. Loquatur mihi aliquod exemplum tanta rerum numerositas. Intueor auroram, oriturum solem praenuntio. Quod intueor, praesens est, quod praenuntio, futurum. Non sol futurus, qui iam est, sed ortus eius, qui nondum est; tamen etiam ortum ipsum nisi animo imaginarer, sicut modo cum id loquor, non eum possem praedicere. Sed nec illa aurora quam in caelo video solis ortus est, quamvis eum praecedat, nec illa imaginatio in animo meo. Quae duo praesentia cernuntur, ut futurus ille ante dicatur. Futura ergo nondum sunt, et si nondum sunt, non sunt, et si non sunt, videri omnino non possunt; sed praedici possunt ex praesentibus, quae iam sunt et videntur. 24. In whatever manner, therefore, this secret preconception of future things may be, nothing can be seen, save what is. But what now is is not future, but present. When, therefore, they say that things future are seen, it is not themselves, which as yet are not (that is, which are future); but their causes or their signs perhaps are seen, the which already are. Therefore, to those already beholding them, they are not future, but present, from which future things conceived in the mind are foretold. Which conceptions again now are, and they who foretell those things behold these conceptions present before them. Let now so multitudinous a variety of things afford me some example. I behold daybreak; I foretell that the sun is about to rise. That which I behold is present; what I foretell is future—not that the sun is future, which already is; but his rising, which is not yet. Yet even its rising I could not predict unless I had an image of it in my mind, as now I have while I speak. But that dawn which I see in the sky is not the rising of the sun, although it may go before it, nor that imagination in my mind; which two are seen as present, that the other which is future may be foretold. Future things, therefore, are not as yet; and if they are not as yet, they are not. And if they are not, they cannot be seen at all; but they can be foretold from things present which now are, and are seen.
11.19.25 Tu itaque, regnator creaturae tuae, quis est modus quo doces animas ea quae futura sunt? Docuisti enim prophetas tuos. Quisnam ille modus est quo doces futura, cui futurum quicquam non est? Vel potius de futuris doces praesentia? Nam quod non est, nec doceri utique potest. Nimis longe est modus iste ab acie mea: inualuit. Ex me non potero ad illum, potero autem ex te, cum dederis tu, dulce lumen occultorum oculorum meorum. 25. You, therefore, Ruler of Your creatures, what is the method by which Thou teachest souls those things which are future? For You have taught Your prophets. What is that way by which Thou, to whom nothing is future, dost teach future things; or rather of future things dost teach present? For what is not, of a certainty cannot be taught. Too far is this way from my view; it is too mighty for me, I cannot attain unto it; but by You I shall be enabled, when You shall have granted it, sweet light of my hidden eyes.
11.20.26 Quod autem nunc liquet et claret, nec futura sunt nec praeterita, nec proprie dicitur, 'tempora sunt tria, praeteritum, praesens, et futurum,' sed fortasse proprie diceretur, 'tempora sunt tria, praesens de praeteritis, praesens de praesentibus, praesens de futuris.' Sunt enim haec in anima tria quaedam et alibi ea non video, praesens de praeteritis memoria, praesens de praesentibus contuitus, praesens de futuris expectatio. Si haec permittimur dicere, tria tempora video fateorque, tria sunt. Dicatur etiam, 'tempora sunt tria, praeteritum, praesens, et futurum,' sicut abutitur consuetudo; dicatur. Ecce non curo nec resisto nec reprehendo, dum tamen intellegatur quod dicitur, neque id quod futurum est esse iam, neque id quod praeteritum est. Pauca sunt enim quae proprie loquimur, plura non proprie, sed agnoscitur quid velimus. 26. But what now is manifest and clear is, that neither are there future nor past things. Nor is it fitly said, There are three times, past, present and future; but perchance it might be fitly said, There are three times; a present of things past, a present of things present, and a present of things future. For these three do somehow exist in the soul, and otherwise I see them not: present of things past, memory; present of things present, sight; present of things future, expectation. If of these things we are permitted to speak, I see three times, and I grant there are three. It may also be said, There are three times, past, present and future, as usage falsely has it. See, I trouble not, nor gainsay, nor reprove; provided always that which is said may be understood, that neither the future, nor that which is past, now is. For there are but few things which we speak properly, many things improperly; but what we may wish to say is understood.
11.21.27 Dixi ergo paulo ante quod praetereuntia tempora metimur, ut possimus dicere duplum esse hoc temporis ad illud simplum, aut tantum hoc quantum illud, et si quid aliud de partibus temporum possumus renuntiare metiendo. Quocirca, ut dicebam, praetereuntia metimur tempora, et si quis mihi dicat, 'unde scis?', respondeam, scio quia metimur, nec metiri quae non sunt possumus, et non sunt praeterita vel futura. Praesens vero tempus quomodo metimur, quando non habet spatium? Metitur ergo cum praeterit, cum autem praeterierit, non metitur; quid enim metiatur non erit. Sed unde et qua et quo praeterit, cum metitur? Unde nisi ex futuro? Qua nisi per praesens? Quo nisi in praeteritum? Ex illo ergo quod nondum est, per illud quod spatio caret, in illud quod iam non est. Quid autem metimur nisi tempus in aliquo spatio? Neque enim dicimus simpla et dupla et tripla et aequalia, et si quid hoc modo in tempore dicimus nisi spatia temporum. In quo ergo spatio metimur tempus praeteriens? Utrum in futuro, unde praeterit? Sed quod nondum est, non metimur. An in praesenti, qua praeterit? Sed nullum spatium non metimur. An in praeterito, quo praeterit? Sed quod iam non est, non metimur. 27. I have just now said, then, that we measure times as they pass, that we may be able to say that this time is twice as much as that one, or that this is only as much as that, and so of any other of the parts of time which we are able to tell by measuring. Wherefore, as I said, we measure times as they pass. And if any one should ask me, Whence do you know? I can answer, I know, because we measure; nor can we measure things that are not; and things past and future are not. But how do we measure present time, since it has not space? It is measured while it passes; but when it shall have passed, it is not measured; for there will not be anything that can be measured. But whence, in what way, and whither does it pass while it is being measured? Whence, but from the future? Which way, save through the present? Whither, but into the past? From that, therefore, which as yet is not, through that which has no space, into that which now is not. But what do we measure, unless time in some space? For we say not single, and double, and triple, and equal, or in any other way in which we speak of time, unless with respect to the spaces of times. In what space, then, do we measure passing time? Is it in the future, whence it passes over? But what yet we measure not, is not. Or is it in the present, by which it passes? But no space, we do not measure. Or in the past, whither it passes? But that which is not now, we measure not.
11.22.28 Exarsit animus meus nosse istuc implicatissimum aenigma. Noli claudere, Domine Deus meus, bone pater, per Christum obsecro, noli claudere desiderio meo ista et usitata et abdita, quominus in ea penetret et dilucescant allucente misericordia tua, Domine. Quem percontabor de his? Et cui fructuosius confitebor imperitiam meam nisi tibi, cui non sunt molesta studia mea flammantia uehementer in scripturas tuas? Da quod amo; amo enim, et hoc tu dedisti. Da, pater, qui vere nosti data bona dare filiis tuis, da, quoniam suscepi cognoscere et labor est ante me, donec aperias. Per Christum obsecro, in nomine eius sancti sanctorum nemo mihi obstrepat. Et ego credidi, propter quod et loquor. Haec est spes mea, ad hanc vivo, ut contempler delectationem Domini. Ecce ueteres posuisti dies meos et transeunt, et quomodo, nescio. Et dicimus tempus et tempus, tempora et tempora: 'quamdiu dixit hoc ille', 'quamdiu fecit hoc ille', et 'quam longo tempore illud non vidi', et 'duplum temporis habet haec syllaba ad illam simplam breuem.' Dicimus haec et audimus haec et intellegimur et intellegimus. Manifestissima et usitatissima sunt, et eadem rursus nimis latent et noua est inventio eorum. 28. My soul yearns to know this most entangled enigma. Forbear to shut up, O Lord my God, good Father,— through Christ I beseech You—forbear to shut up these things, both usual and hidden, from my desire, that it may be hindered from penetrating them; but let them dawn through Your enlightening mercy, O Lord. Of whom shall I inquire concerning these things? And to whom shall I with more advantage confess my ignorance than to You, to whom these my studies, so vehemently kindled towards Your Scriptures, are not troublesome? Give that which I love; for I do love, and this have You given me. Give, Father, who truly know to give good gifts unto Your children. Matthew 7:11 Give, since I have undertaken to know, and trouble is before me until Thou dost open it. Through Christ, I beseech You, in His name, Holy of Holies, let no man interrupt me. For I believed, and therefore do I speak. This is my hope; for this do I live, that I may contemplate the delights of the Lord. Behold, You have made my days old, and they pass away, and in what manner I know not. And we speak as to time and time, times and times—How long is the time since he said this? How long the time since he did this? and, How long the time since I saw that? and, This syllable has double the time of that single short syllable. These words we speak, and these we hear; and we are understood, and we understand. They are most manifest and most usual, and the same things again lie hidden too deeply, and the discovery of them is new.
11.23.29 Audivi a quodam homine docto quod solis et lunae ac siderum motus ipsa sint tempora, et non adnui. Cur enim non potius omnium corporum motus sint tempora? An vero, si cessarent caeli lumina et moveretur rota figuli, non esset tempus quo metiremur eos gyros et diceremus aut aequalibus morulis agi, aut si alias tardius, alias velocius moveretur, alios magis diuturnos esse, alios minus? Aut cum haec diceremus, non et nos in tempore loqueremur aut essent in verbis nostris aliae longae syllabae, aliae breues, nisi quia illae longiore tempore sonuissent, istae breviore? Deus, dona hominibus videre in paruo communes notitias rerum paruarum atque magnarum. Sunt sidera et luminaria caeli in signis et in temporibus et in diebus et in annis. Sunt vero, sed nec ego dixerim circuitum illius ligneolae rotae diem esse, nec tamen ideo tempus non esse ille dixerit. 29. I have heard from a learned man that the motions of the sun, moon, and stars constituted time, and I assented not. For why should not rather the motions of all bodies be time? What if the lights of heaven should cease, and a potter's wheel run round, would there be no time by which we might measure those revolutions, and say either that it turned with equal pauses, or, if it were moved at one time more slowly, at another more quickly, that some revolutions were longer, others less so? Or while we were saying this, should we not also be speaking in time? Or should there in our words be some syllables long, others short, but because those sounded in a longer time, these in a shorter? God grant to men to see in a small thing ideas common to things great and small. Both the stars and luminaries of heaven are for signs and for seasons, and for days and years. Genesis 1:14 No doubt they are; but neither should I say that the circuit of that wooden wheel was a day, nor yet should he say that therefore there was no time.
11.23.30 Ego scire cupio vim naturamque temporis, quo metimur corporum motus et dicimus illum motum verbi gratia tempore duplo esse diuturniorem quam istum. Nam quaero, quoniam dies dicitur non tantum mora solis super terram, secundum quod aliud est dies, aliud nox, sed etiam totius eius circuitus ab oriente usque orientem, secundum quod dicimus, 'tot dies transierunt' (cum suis enim noctibus dicuntur tot dies, nec extra reputantur spatia noctium)Ñquoniam ergo dies expletur motu solis atque circuitu ab oriente usque orientem, quaero utrum motus ipse sit dies, an mora ipsa quanta peragitur, an utrumque. Si enim primum dies esset, dies ergo esset, etiamsi tanto spatio temporis sol cursum illum peregisset, quantum est horae unius. Si secundum, non ergo esset dies, si ab ortu solis usque in ortum alterum tam brevis mora esset quam est horae unius, sed viciens et quater circuiret sol ut expleret diem. Si utrumque, nec ille appellaretur dies, si horae spatio sol totum suum gyrum circuiret, nec ille, si sole cessante tantum temporis praeteriret, quanto peragere sol totum ambitum de mane in mane adsolet. Non itaque nunc quaeram quid sit illud quod vocatur dies, sed quid sit tempus, quo metientes solis circuitum diceremus eum dimidio spatio temporis peractum minus quam solet, si tanto spatio temporis peractus esset, quanto peraguntur horae duodecim, et utrumque tempus comparantes diceremus illud simplum, hoc duplum, etiamsi aliquando illo simplo, aliquando isto duplo sol ab oriente usque orientem circuiret. Nemo ergo mihi dicat caelestium corporum motus esse tempora, quia et cuiusdam voto cum sol stetisset, ut victoriosum proelium perageret, sol stabat, sed tempus ibat. Per suum quippe spatium temporis, quod ei sufficeret, illa pugna gesta atque finita est. Video igitur tempus quandam esse distentionem. Sed video? An videre mihi videor? Tu demonstrabis, lux, veritas. 30. I desire to know the power and nature of time, by which we measure the motions of bodies, and say (for example) that this motion is twice as long as that. For, I ask, since day declares not the stay only of the sun upon the earth, according to which day is one thing, night another, but also its entire circuit from east even to east—according to which we say, So many days have passed (the nights being included when we say so many days, and their spaces not counted apart)—since, then, the day is finished by the motion of the sun, and by his circuit from east to east, I ask, whether the motion itself is the day, or the period in which that motion is completed, or both? For if the first be the day, then would there be a day although the sun should finish that course in so small a space of time as an hour. If the second, then that would not be a day if from one sunrise to another there were but so short a period as an hour, but the sun must go round four-and-twenty times to complete a day. If both, neither could that be called a day if the sun should run his entire round in the space of an hour; nor that, if, while the sun stood still, so much time should pass as the sun is accustomed to accomplish his whole course in from morning to morning. I shall not therefore now ask, what that is which is called day, but what time is, by which we, measuring the circuit of the sun, should say that it was accomplished in half the space of time it was wont, if it had been completed in so small a space as twelve hours; and comparing both times, we should call that single, this double time, although the sun should run his course from east to east sometimes in that single, sometimes in that double time. Let no man then tell me that the motions of the heavenly bodies are times, because, when at the prayer of one the sun stood still in order that he might achieve his victorious battle, the sun stood still, but time went on. For in such space of time as was sufficient was that battle fought and ended. Joshua 10:12-14 I see that time, then, is a certain extension. But do I see it, or do I seem to see it? Thou, O Light and Truth, wilt show me.
11.24.31 Iubes ut approbem, si quis dicat tempus esse motum corporis? Non iubes. Nam corpus nullum nisi in tempore moveri audio: tu dicis. Ipsum autem corporis motum tempus esse non audio: non tu dicis. Cum enim movetur corpus, tempore metior quamdiu moveatur, ex quo moveri incipit donec desinat. Et si non vidi ex quo coepit et perseuerat moveri, ut non videam cum desinit, non valeo metiri, nisi forte ex quo videre incipio donec desinam. Quod si diu video, tantummodo longum tempus esse renuntio, non autem quantum sit, quia et quantum cum dicimus, collatione dicimus, velut 'tantum hoc, quantum illud', aut 'duplum hoc ad illud', et si quid aliud isto modo. Si autem notare potuerimus locorum spatia, unde et quo veniat corpus quod movetur, vel partes eius, si tamquam in torno movetur, possumus dicere quantum sit temporis ex quo ab illo loco usque ad illum locum motus corporis vel partis eius effectus est. Cum itaque aliud sit motus corporis, aliud quo metimur quamdiu sit, quis non sentiat quid horum potius tempus dicendum sit? Nam si et varie corpus aliquando movetur, aliquando stat, non solum motum eius sed etiam statum tempore metimur et dicimus, 'tantum stetit, quantum motum est', aut 'duplo vel triplo stetit ad id quod motum est', et si quid aliud nostra dimensio sive comprehenderit sive existimaverit, ut dici solet plus minus. Non ergo tempus corporis motus. 31. Do you command that I should assent, if any one should say that time is the motion of a body? Thou dost not command me. For I hear that no body is moved but in time. This You say; but that the very motion of a body is time, I hear not; You say it not. For when a body is moved, I by time measure how long it may be moving from the time in which it began to be moved till it left off. And if I saw not whence it began, and it continued to be moved, so that I see not when it leaves off, I cannot measure unless, perchance, from the time I began until I cease to see. But if I look long, I only proclaim that the time is long, but not how long it may be because when we say, How long, we speak by comparison, as, This is as long as that, or, This is double as long as that, or any other thing of the kind. But if we were able to note down the distances of places whence and whither comes the body which is moved, or its parts, if it moved as in a wheel, we can say in how much time the motion of the body or its part, from this place unto that, was performed. Since, then, the motion of a body is one thing, that by which we measure how long it is another, who cannot see which of these is rather to be called time? For, although a body be sometimes moved, sometimes stand still, we measure not its motion only, but also its standing still, by time; and we say, It stood still as much as it moved; or, It stood still twice or thrice as long as it moved; and if any other space which our measuring has either determined or imagined, more or less, as we are accustomed to say. Time, therefore, is not the motion of a body.
11.25.32 Et confiteor tibi, Domine, ignorare me adhuc quid sit tempus, et rursus confiteor tibi, Domine, scire me in tempore ista dicere, et diu me iam loqui de tempore, atque ipsum diu non esse diu nisi mora temporis. Quomodo igitur hoc scio, quando quid sit tempus nescio? An forte nescio quemadmodum dicam quod scio? Ei mihi, qui nescio saltem quid nesciam! Ecce, Deus meus, coram te, quia non mentior! Sicut loquor, ita est cor meum. Tu illuminabis lucernam meam, Domine, Deus meus, illuminabis tenebras meas. 32. And I confess unto You, O Lord, that I am as yet ignorant as to what time is, and again I confess unto You, O Lord, that I know that I speak these things in time, and that I have already long spoken of time, and that very long is not long save by the stay of time. How, then, know I this, when I know not what time is? Or is it, perchance, that I know not in what wise I may express what I know? Alas for me, that I do not at least know the extent of my own ignorance! Behold, O my God, before You I lie not. As I speak, so is my heart. You shall light my candle; Thou, O Lord my God, wilt enlighten my darkness.
11.26.33 Nonne tibi confitetur anima mea confessione veridica metiri me tempora? Itane, Deus meus, metior et quid metiar nescio. Metior motum corporis tempore: item ipsum tempus nonne metior? An vero corporis motum metirer, quamdiu sit et quamdiu hinc illuc perveniat, nisi tempus in quo movetur metirer? Ipsum ergo tempus unde metior? An tempore breviore metimur longius sicut spatio cubiti spatium transtri? Sic enim videmur spatio brevis syllabae metiri spatium longae syllabae atque id duplum dicere. Ita metimur spatia carminum spatiis versuum et spatia versuum spatiis pedum et spatia pedum spatiis syllabarum et spatia longarum spatiis brevium, non in paginis (nam eo modo loca metimur, non tempora) sed cum voces pronuntiando transeunt et dicimus, 'longum carmen est, nam tot versibus contexitur; longi versus, nam tot pedibus constant; longi pedes, nam tot syllabis tenduntur; longa syllaba est, nam dupla est ad breuem.' Sed neque ita comprehenditur certa mensura temporis, quandoquidem fieri potest ut ampliore spatio temporis personet versus brevior, si productius pronuntietur, quam longior, si correptius. Ita carmen, ita pes, ita syllaba. Inde mihi visum est nihil esse aliud tempus quam distentionem; sed cuius rei, nescio, et mirum, si non ipsius animi. Quid enim metior, obsecro, Deus meus? Et dico aut indefinite, 'longius est hoc tempus quam illud', aut etiam definite, 'duplum est hoc ad illud.' Tempus metior, scio; sed non metior futurum, quia nondum est, non metior praesens, quia nullo spatio tenditur, non metior praeteritum, quia iam non est. Quid ergo metior? An praetereuntia tempora, non praeterita? Sic enim dixeram. 33. Does not my soul pour out unto You truly in confession that I do measure times? But do I thus measure, O my God, and know not what I measure? I measure the motion of a body by time; and the time itself do I not measure? But, in truth, could I measure the motion of a body, how long it is, and how long it is in coming from this place to that, unless I should measure the time in which it is moved? How, therefore, do I measure this very time itself? Or do we by a shorter time measure a longer, as by the space of a cubit the space of a crossbeam? For thus, indeed, we seem by the space of a short syllable to measure the space of a long syllable, and to say that this is double. Thus we measure the spaces of stanzas by the spaces of the verses, and the spaces of the verses by the spaces of the feet, and the spaces of the feet by the spaces of the syllables, and the spaces of long by the spaces of short syllables; not measuring by pages (for in that manner we measure spaces, not times), but when in uttering the words they pass by, and we say, It is a long stanza because it is made up of so many verses; long verses, because they consist of so many feet; long feet, because they are prolonged by so many syllables; a long syllable, because double a short one. But neither thus is any certain measure of time obtained; since it is possible that a shorter verse, if it be pronounced more fully, may take up more time than a longer one, if pronounced more hurriedly. Thus for a stanzas, thus for a foot, thus for a syllable. Whence it appeared to me that time is nothing else than protraction; but of what I know not. It is wonderful to me, if it be not of the mind itself. For what do I measure, I beseech You, O my God, even when I say either indefinitely, This time is longer than that; or even definitely, This is double that? That I measure time, I know. But I measure not the future, for it is not yet; nor do I measure the present, because it is extended by no space; nor do I measure the past, because it no longer is. What, therefore, do I measure? Is it times passing, not past? For thus had I said.
11.27.34 Insiste, anime meus, et attende fortiter. Deus adiutor noster: ipse fecit nos, et non nos. Attende ubi albescit veritas. Ecce puta vox corporis incipit sonare et sonat et adhuc sonat, et ecce desinit, iamque silentium est, et vox illa praeterita est et non est iam vox. Futura erat antequam sonaret, et non poterat metiri quia nondum erat, et nunc non potest quia iam non est. Tunc ergo poterat cum sonabat, quia tunc erat quae metiri posset. Sed et tunc non stabat; ibat enim et praeteribat. An ideo magis poterat? Praeteriens enim tendebatur in aliquod spatium temporis quo metiri posset, quoniam praesens nullum habet spatium. Si ergo tunc poterat, ecce puta altera coepit sonare et adhuc sonat continuato tenore sine ulla distinctione. Metiamur eam dum sonat. Cum enim sonare cessaverit, iam praeterita erit et non erit quae possit metiri. Metiamur plane et dicamus quanta sit. Sed adhuc sonat nec metiri potest nisi ab initio sui, quo sonare coepit, usque ad finem, quo desinit. Ipsum quippe interuallum metimur ab aliquo initio usque ad aliquem finem. Quapropter vox quae nondum finita est metiri non potest, ut dicatur quam longa vel brevis sit, nec dici aut aequalis alicui aut ad aliquam simpla vel dupla vel quid aliud. Cum autem finita fuerit, iam non erit. Quo pacto igitur metiri poterit? Et metimur tamen tempora, nec ea quae nondum sunt, nec ea quae iam non sunt, nec ea quae nulla mora extenduntur, nec ea quae terminos non habent. Nec futura ergo nec praeterita nec praesentia nec praetereuntia tempora metimur, et metimur tamen tempora. 34. Persevere, O my mind, and give earnest heed. God is our helper; He made us, and not we ourselves. Give heed, where truth dawns. Lo, suppose the voice of a body begins to sound, and does sound, and sounds on, and lo! It ceases—it is now silence, and that voice is past and is no longer a voice. It was future before it sounded, and could not be measured, because as yet it was not; and now it cannot, because it no longer is. Then, therefore, while it was sounding, it might, because there was then that which might be measured. But even then it did not stand still, for it was going and passing away. Could it, then, on that account be measured the more? For, while passing, it was being extended into some space of time, in which it might be measured, since the present has no space. If, therefore, then it might be measured, lo! suppose another voice has begun to sound, and still sounds, in a continued tenor without any interruption, we can measure it while it is sounding; for when it shall have ceased to sound, it will be already past, and there will not be that which can be measured. Let us measure it truly, and let us say how much it is. But as yet it sounds, nor can it be measured, save from that instant in which it began to sound, even to the end in which it left off. For the interval itself we measure from some beginning unto some end. On which account, a voice which is not yet ended cannot be measured, so that it may be said how long or how short it may be; nor can it be said to be equal to another, or single or double in respect of it, or the like. But when it is ended, it no longer is. In what manner, therefore, may it be measured? And yet we measure times; still not those which as yet are not, nor those which no longer are, nor those which are protracted by some delay, nor those which have no limits. We, therefore, measure neither future times, nor past, nor present, nor those passing by; and yet we do measure times.
11.27.35 'Deus creator omnium': versus iste octo syllabarum brevibus et longis alternat syllabis. Quattuor itaque breues (prima, tertia, quinta, septima) simplae sunt ad quattuor longas (secundam, quartam, sextam, octauam). Hae singulae ad illas singulas duplum habent temporis. Pronuntio et renuntio, et ita est quantum sentitur sensu manifesto. Quantum sensus manifestus est, brevi syllaba longam metior eamque sentio habere bis tantum. Sed cum altera post alteram sonat, si prior brevis, longa posterior, quomodo tenebo breuem et quomodo eam longae metiens applicabo, ut inveniam quod bis tantum habeat, quandoquidem longa sonare non incipit nisi brevis sonare destiterit? Ipsamque longam num praesentem metior, quando nisi finitam non metior? Eius autem finitio praeteritio est: quid ergo est quod metior? Ubi est qua metior brevis? Ubi est longa quam metior? Ambae sonuerunt, auolaverunt, praeterierunt, iam non sunt. Et ego metior fidenterque respondeo, quantum exercitato sensu fiditur, illam simplam esse, illam duplam, in spatio scilicet temporis. Neque hoc possum, nisi quia praeterierunt et finitae sunt. Non ergo ipsas quae iam non sunt, sed aliquid in memoria mea metior, quod infixum manet. 35. Deus Creator omnium; this verse of eight syllables alternates between short and long syllables. The four short, then, the first, third, fifth and seventh, are single in respect of the four long, the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth. Each of these has a double time to every one of those. I pronounce them, report on them, and thus it is, as is perceived by common sense. By common sense, then, I measure a long by a short syllable, and I find that it has twice as much. But when one sounds after another, if the former be short the latter long, how shall I hold the short one, and how measuring shall I apply it to the long, so that I may find out that this has twice as much, when indeed the long does not begin to sound unless the short leaves off sounding? That very long one I measure not as present, since I measure it not save when ended. But its ending is its passing away. What, then, is it that I can measure? Where is the short syllable by which I measure? Where is the long one which I measure? Both have sounded, have flown, have passed away, and are no longer; and still I measure, and I confidently answer (so far as is trusted to a practised sense), that as to space of time this syllable is single, that double. Nor could I do this, unless because they have past, and are ended. Therefore do I not measure themselves, which now are not, but something in my memory, which remains fixed.
11.27.36 In te, anime meus, tempora metior. Noli mihi obstrepere, quod est; noli tibi obstrepere turbis affectionum tuarum. In te, inquam, tempora metior. Affectionem quam res praetereuntes in te faciunt et, cum illae praeterierint, manet, ipsam metior praesentem, non ea quae praeterierunt ut fieret; ipsam metior, cum tempora metior. Ergo aut ipsa sunt tempora, aut non tempora metior. Quid cum metimur silentia, et dicimus illud silentium tantum tenuisse temporis quantum illa vox tenuit, nonne cogitationem tendimus ad mensuram vocis, quasi sonaret, ut aliquid de interuallis silentiorum in spatio temporis renuntiare possimus? Nam et voce atque ore cessante peragimus cogitando carmina et versus et quemque sermonem motionumque dimensiones quaslibet et de spatiis temporum, quantum illud ad illud sit, renuntiamus non aliter ac si ea sonando diceremus. Voluerit aliquis edere longuisculam vocem, et constituerit praemeditando quam longa futura sit, egit utique iste spatium temporis in silentio memoriaeque commendans coepit edere illam vocem quae sonat, donec ad propositum terminum perducatur. Immo sonuit et sonabit; nam quod eius iam peractum est, utique sonuit, quod autem restat, sonabit atque ita peragitur, dum praesens intentio futurum in praeteritum traicit, deminutione futuri crescente praeterito, donec consumptione futuri sit totum praeteritum. 36. In you, O my mind, I measure times. Do not overwhelm me with your clamour. That is, do not overwhelm yourself with the multitude of your impressions. In you, I say, I measure times; the impression which things as they pass by make on you, and which, when they have passed by, remains, that I measure as time present, not those things which have passed by, that the impression should be made. This I measure when I measure times. Either, then, these are times, or I do not measure times. What when we measure silence, and say that this silence has lasted as long as that voice lasts? Do we not extend our thought to the measure of a voice, as if it sounded, so that we may be able to declare something concerning the intervals of silence in a given space of time? For when both the voice and tongue are still, we go over in thought poems and verses, and any discourse, or dimensions of motions; and declare concerning the spaces of times, how much this may be in respect of that, not otherwise than if uttering them we should pronounce them. Should any one wish to utter a lengthened sound, and had with forethought determined how long it should be, that man has in silence verily gone through a space of time, and, committing it to memory, he begins to utter that speech, which sounds until it be extended to the end proposed; truly it has sounded, and will sound. For what of it is already finished has verily sounded, but what remains will sound; and thus does it pass on, until the present intention carry over the future into the past; the past increasing by the diminution of the future, until, by the consumption of the future, all be past.
11.28.37 Sed quomodo minuitur aut consumitur futurum, quod nondum est, aut quomodo crescit praeteritum, quod iam non est, nisi quia in animo qui illud agit tria sunt? Nam et expectat et attendit et meminit, ut id quod expectat per id quod attendit transeat in id quod meminerit. Quis igitur negat futura nondum esse? Sed tamen iam est in animo expectatio futurorum. Et quis negat praeterita iam non esse? Sed tamen adhuc est in animo memoria praeteritorum. Et quis negat praesens tempus carere spatio, quia in puncto praeterit? Sed tamen perdurat attentio, per quam pergat abesse quod aderit. Non igitur longum tempus futurum, quod non est, sed longum futurum longa expectatio futuri est, neque longum praeteritum tempus, quod non est, sed longum praeteritum longa memoria praeteriti est. 37. But how is that future diminished or consumed which as yet is not? Or how does the past, which is no longer, increase, unless in the mind which enacts this there are three things done? For it both expects, and considers, and remembers, that that which it expects, through that which it considers, may pass into that which it remembers. Who, therefore, denies that future things as yet are not? But yet there is already in the mind the expectation of things future. And who denies that past things are now no longer? But, however, there is still in the mind the memory of things past. And who denies that time present wants space, because it passes away in a moment? But yet our consideration endures, through which that which may be present may proceed to become absent. Future time, which is not, is not therefore long; but a long future is a long expectation of the future. Nor is time past, which is now no longer, long; but a long past is a long memory of the past.
11.28.38 Dicturus sum canticum quod novi. Antequam incipiam, in totum expectatio mea tenditur, cum autem coepero, quantum ex illa in praeteritum decerpsero, tenditur et memoria mea, atque distenditur vita huius actionis meae in memoriam propter quod dixi et in expectationem propter quod dicturus sum. Praesens tamen adest attentio mea, per quam traicitur quod erat futurum ut fiat praeteritum. Quod quanto magis agitur et agitur, tanto breviata expectatione prolongatur memoria, donec tota expectatio consumatur, cum tota illa actio finita transierit in memoriam. Et quod in toto cantico, hoc in singulis particulis eius fit atque in singulis syllabis eius, hoc in actione longiore, cuius forte particula est illud canticum, hoc in tota vita hominis, cuius partes sunt omnes actiones hominis, hoc in toto saeculo filiorum hominum, cuius partes sunt omnes vitae hominum. 38. I am about to repeat a psalm that I know. Before I begin, my attention is extended to the whole; but when I have begun, as much of it as becomes past by my saying it is extended in my memory; and the life of this action of mine is divided between my memory, on account of what I have repeated, and my expectation, on account of what I am about to repeat; yet my consideration is present with me, through which that which was future may be carried over so that it may become past. Which the more it is done and repeated, by so much (expectation being shortened) the memory is enlarged, until the whole expectation be exhausted, when that whole action being ended shall have passed into memory. And what takes place in the entire psalm, takes place also in each individual part of it, and in each individual syllable: this holds in the longer action, of which that psalm is perchance a portion; the same holds in the whole life of man, of which all the actions of man are parts; the same holds in the whole age of the sons of men, of which all the lives of men are parts.
11.29.39 Sed quoniam melior est misericordia tua super vitas, ecce distentio est vita mea, et me suscepit dextera tua in Domino meo, mediatore filio hominis inter te unum et nos multos, in multis per multa, ut per eum apprehendam in quo et apprehensus sum, et a ueteribus diebus colligar sequens unum, praeterita oblitus, non in ea quae futura et transitura sunt, sed in ea quae ante sunt non distentus sed extentus, non secundum distentionem sed secundum intentionem sequor ad palmam supernae vocationis, ubi audiam vocem laudis et contempler delectationem tuam nec venientem nec praetereuntem. Nunc vero anni mei in gemitibus, et tu solacium meum, Domine, pater meus aeternus es. At ego in tempora dissilui quorum ordinem nescio, et tumultuosis varietatibus dilaniantur cogitationes meae, intima viscera animae meae, donec in te confluam purgatus et liquidus igne amoris tui. 39. But because Your loving-kindness is better than life, behold, my life is but a distraction, and Your right hand upheld me in my Lord, the Son of man, the Mediator between You, 1 Timothy 2:5 The One, and us the many—in many distractions amid many things—that through Him I may apprehend in whom I have been apprehended, and may be recollected from my old days, following The One, forgetting the things that are past; and not distracted, but drawn on, not to those things which shall be and shall pass away, but to those things which are before, Philippians 3:13 not distractedly, but intently, I follow on for the prize of my heavenly calling, where I may hear the voice of Your praise, and contemplate Your delights, neither coming nor passing away. But now are my years spent in mourning. And You, O Lord, art my comfort, my Father everlasting. But I have been divided amid times, the order of which I know not; and my thoughts, even the inmost bowels of my soul, are mangled with tumultuous varieties, until I flow together unto You, purged and molten in the fire of Your love.
11.30.40 Et stabo atque solidabor in te, in forma mea, veritate tua, nec patiar quaestiones hominum qui poenali morbo plus sitiunt quam capiunt et dicunt, 'quid faciebat Deus antequam faceret caelum et terram?', aut 'quid ei venit in mentem ut aliquid faceret, cum antea numquam aliquid fecerit?' da illis, Domine, bene cogitare quid dicant, et invenire quia non dicitur numquam ubi non est tempus. Qui ergo dicitur numquam fecisse, quid aliud dicitur nisi nullo tempore fecisse? Videant itaque nullum tempus esse posse sine creatura et desinant istam uanitatem loqui. Extendantur etiam in ea quae ante sunt, et intellegant te ante omnia tempora aeternum creatorem omnium temporum neque ulla tempora tibi esse coaeterna nec ullam creaturam, etiamsi est aliqua supra tempora. 40. And I will be immoveable, and fixed in You, in my mould, Your truth; nor will I endure the questions of men, who by a penal disease thirst for more than they can hold, and say, What did God make before He made heaven and earth? Or, How came it into His mind to make anything, when He never before made anything? Grant to them, O Lord, to think well what they say, and to see that where there is no time, they cannot say never. What, therefore, He is said never to have made, what else is it but to say, that in no time was it made? Let them therefore see that there could be no time without a created being, and let them cease to speak that vanity. Let them also be extended unto those things which are before, Philippians 3:13 and understand that you, the eternal Creator of all times, art before all times, and that no times are co-eternal with You, nor any creature, even if there be any creature beyond all times.
11.31.41 Domine Deus meus, quis ille sinus est alti secreti tui et quam longe inde me proiecerunt consequentia delictorum meorum? Sana oculos meos, et congaudeam luci tuae. Certe si est tam grandi scientia et praescientia pollens animus, cui cuncta praeterita et futura ita nota sint, sicut mihi unum canticum notissimum, nimium mirabilis est animus iste atque ad horrorem stupendus, quippe quem ita non lateat quidquid peractum et quidquid reliquum saeculorum est, quemadmodum me non latet cantantem illud canticum, quid et quantum eius abierit ab exordio, quid et quantum restet ad finem. Sed absit ut tu, conditor universitatis, conditor animarum et corporum, absit ut ita noveris omnia futura et praeterita. Longe tu, longe mirabilius longeque secretius. Neque enim sicut nota cantantis notumue canticum audientis expectatione vocum futurarum et memoria praeteritarum variatur affectus sensusque distenditur, ita tibi aliquid accidit incommutabiliter aetemo, hoc est vere aeterno creatori mentium. Sicut ergo nosti in principio caelum et terram sine varietate notitiae tuae, ita fecisti in principio caelum et terram sine distentione actionis tuae. Qui intellegit, confiteatur tibi, et qui non intellegit, confiteatur tibi. O quam excelsus es, et humiles corde sunt domus tua! Tu enim erigis elisos, et non cadunt quorum celsitudo tu es. 41. O Lord my God, what is that secret place of Your mystery, and how far thence have the consequences of my transgressions cast me? Heal my eyes, that I may enjoy Your light. Surely, if there be a mind, so greatly abounding in knowledge and foreknowledge, to which all things past and future are so known as one psalm is well known to me, that mind is exceedingly wonderful, and very astonishing; because whatever is so past, and whatever is to come of after ages, is no more concealed from Him than was it hidden from me when singing that psalm, what and how much of it had been sung from the beginning, what and how much remained unto the end. But far be it that Thou, the Creator of the universe, the Creator of souls and bodies—far be it that You should know all things future and past. Far, far more wonderfully, and far more mysteriously, You know them. For it is not as the feelings of one singing known things, or hearing a known song, are— through expectation of future words, and in remembrance of those that are past— varied, and his senses divided, that anything happens unto You, unchangeably eternal, that is, the truly eternal Creator of minds. As, then, Thou in the Beginning knew the heaven and the earth without any change of Your knowledge, so in the Beginning Thou made heaven and earth without any distraction of Your action. Let him who understands confess unto You; and let him who understands not, confess unto You. Oh, how exalted are You, and yet the humble in heart are Your dwelling-place; for Thou raisest up those that are bowed down, and they whose exaltation You are fall not.

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