St Aurelius Augustine Sermon on 1 John 4:4-12.

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Aconnected, modernized and also introduced by Stephen Tomkins. Edited and ready for the internet by Dan Graves.



Augustine lived from 354-430 and also was indisputably the a lot of important theologian in the first millennium of the western church. He shaped the Western Church’s thinking on salvation, the church, baptism, sin, the Trinity, the Christian state, sex – in short, practically everything.

He was a north African, like Tertullian, and the Bishop of Hippo, in Numidia (contemporary Algeria) from 391 till his fatality. He fought two great theological (and political) battles as Bishop. One was versus Pelagius, a Briton that taught that anyone have the right to attain salvation by selecting to live a great enough life, while Augustine insisted that we have the right to only be saved if God chooses us and also puts his love in our hearts.

The various other, previously dispute was versus the Donatists. These were a north Afrideserve to church who had parted means through the global Catholic Church early on in the fourth century, insisting on stricter standards. The majority of African Christians were Donatists, but Augustine was extremely effective in winning them over to the Catholic Church. He printed leafallows, preached sermons and also wrote songs against them, and also when namong that operated, he motivated the imperial forces to use fines and imprisonment to force the Donatists to convert, which operated extremely well. This sermon comes from a series extending the totality of 1 John, and also is on the theme of love. Love is a central Christian design template that transcends background and also have to be preached on today and 1600 years earlier, but Augustine’s take on it comes from the years of his anti-Donatist project, and also is very much tied up via his plan of “tough love” in the direction of them – using violent suggests for the sake of their salvation. The church ran through his concept throughout the Center Ages.

Source Material

The numbered paragraphs below correspond to numbered sections in the sermon.

6. …All that do not love God are strangers and antichrists. They can pertained to the churches, however they cannot be numbered among the kids of God. That fountain of life does not belong to them. A bad perboy deserve to have baptism and prophecy. King Saul had actually prophecy: also while he persecuted the holy David, he was filled through the Spirit of Prophecy, and began to prophesy. <1 Sam. 19> A negative perboy can get the sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord, for is said, “All who eat and also drink unworthily, eat and also drink judgment on themselves.” <1 Cor. 11:29> A negative perboy deserve to have actually the name of Christ and also be called a Christian. Such people are described when it states, “They polluted the name of their God.” To have all these sacraments is, as I say, feasible also for a bad perkid. But to have actually love and also be a negative perchild is impossible. Love is the distinctive gift, the fountain that is yours alone. The Spirit of God exhorts you to drink from it, and in so doing to drink from himself.

7. “This is just how the love of God is presented among us.” The reason why the writer exhorts us, is so that we may pertained to love God. Could we love him, unmuch less he first loved us? Though we were slow-moving to love, let us not be sluggish to love in rerevolve. He loved us initially. We do not also love in the very same way as he. He loved the unrighteous, however he took away the unrighteousness. He loved the sick, yet he saw them to make them entirety. Love, then, is God. “This is exactly how the love of God is shown among us: God sent out his just Son into the civilization, that we may live via him.” As the Lord himself said: “No one can have better love than this: to lay his dvery own his life for his friends.” This confirmed Christ’s love for us, the fact that he died for us. How is the Father’s love for us proved? By the fact that he sent out his only Son to die for us. As the apostle Paul claims, “He who did not spare his own Son, however ceded him up for us all, just how will he not openly give us all things?” Notice just how the Father delivered up Christ, and so did Judas. Does it not seem that they did the same sort of thing? … There was a moving up by the Father; a carrying up by the Son, and a carrying up by Judas. The point done is the very same, yet what is it that sets their actions apart? This: the Father and the Son did it in love, yet Judas did it in betrayal. So you view that we should consider not what a perboy does but with what mind and also will certainly he does it. Why execute we bless the Father and detest Judas for doing the same deed? We bless love and also detest wickedness. …

8. What I have actually shelp so far uses to actions that are equivalent. When they are various, we uncover human being made fierce by love; and also by wickedness made seductively gentle. A father beats a boy, while a kidnapper caresses him. Offered a choice between blows and also caresses, who would certainly not choose the caresses and stop the blows? But as soon as you think about the human being that offer them you realize that it is love that beats, wickedness that caresses. This is what I insist upon: human actions can only be understood by their root in love. All kinds of actions might show up good without proceeding from the root of love. Remember, thorns likewise have actually flowers: some actions seem truly savage, but are done for the sake of self-control encouraged by love. Once and also for all, I give you this one brief command: love, and also carry out what you will. If you host your peace, hold your tranquility out of love. If you cry out, cry out in love. If you correct someone, correct them out of love. If you spare them, spare them out of love. Let the root of love be in you: nothing deserve to spring from it yet excellent. …

10. “No one has actually ever watched God.” He is invisible, and must be looked for not with the eye yet through the heart. But just as if we wiburned to watch the sunlight, we should purge our eyes, wishing to watch God, let us purge the eye through which God can be viewed. Wbelow is this eye? Hear the Gospel: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall view God.” But perform not imagine God according to the lust of your eyes. If you do, you will develop for yourself a huge develop or an incalculable magnitude which (like the light which you view with your bodily eyes) exhas a tendency in eexceptionally direction. Your creative thinking lets it fill realm after realm of area, all the vastness you deserve to develop of. Or probably you image for yourself a venerable-looking old guy. Do not imagine any kind of of these things. If you would watch God, here is what you have to imagine: God is love. What kind of confront does love have? What shape is it? What size? What hands and feet does it have? No one deserve to say. And yet it does have actually feet, those feet that lug people to church. It does have hands, those hands that reach out to the poor. It has actually eyes, those via which we consider the needy: “blessed is the perboy,” it is said, “who considers the needy and also the negative.” It has ears, of which the Lord states, “He that has ears to hear let him hear.”

These components of the body are not separated by different places: anyone with love sees the whole at when. Inhalittle, and you shall be lived in. Dwell, and you shall be dwelt in. After all, that loves what he cannot check out, my brothers? But why then carry out you contact out “Amen!” to my praises of love? What have I shown you? Have I produced a gleam of colors? Have I been talking around somepoint made from gold and silver? Have I dug out jewels from covert treasure? Have I shown anypoint choose this to your eyes? Is my challenge adjusted while I speak? No, you and also I afavor are in the very same forms as before. But love is pincreased, and also you shout and applaud. Indeed you execute not check out anything. But as it pleases you to praise love, so let it please you to save it in your heart. Pay attention to what I say brothers. I urge you on, as God enables me, towards a great treasure. If you were presented a beautiful little vase, inlassist through gold, and also it charmed your eyes and also drew the eager desire of your heart, would you not all say, “If only I had that vase!” And it would be pointless for you to say it, bereason it would not be in your power to possess it – although someone who wants to have it might think of stealing it from another’s house. Love is pelevated to you. If it pleases you, have actually it, possess it. There is no must rob anyone, no have to buy it. It is cost-free. Take it, clasp it. There is nopoint sweeter. If this is what it is like merely to talk around it, what have to it be choose once one has actually it?

11. If any kind of of you should wish to act out of love, brothers, execute not imagine it to be a self-abasing, passive and timid thing. And do not think that love can be kept by a kind of gentleness – or rather tame listlessness. This is not just how it is kept. Do not imagine that you love your servant once you refrain from beating him, or that you love your son as soon as you carry out not self-control him, or that you love your neighbor as soon as you perform not rebuke him. This is not love, it is feebleness. Love have to be fervent to correct. Take delight in great actions, yet amfinish what is bad. Love the perchild, but not the error in the person: God made the perkid, but the perboy alone made the error. Love what God made, not what the perkid made. If you love one thing, you rerelocate an additional. When you esteem one point, you readjust another. But if you are major, let it be out of love, for the sake of correction. This is why love was represented by the dove which descfinished upon the Lord. Why did the Holy Spirit, who pours love right into us, take the create of a dove? The dove has actually no bitterness, yet she fights through beak and also wings for her young; hers is a fierceness without bitterness. In the same means, as soon as a father chastises his child he does so for self-control. As I shelp previously, the kidnapper inveigles the son with bitter endearments, in order to market him; a father, for the sake of correction, chastises without bitterness.

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This is just how you need to act to all people. Let this be a good lesson for you, brothers, a great rule. You all have youngsters, or wish to have – or if you have decided for certain to have no kids, at leastern spiritually you want to have actually children. Well, what father does not correct his son? What child does not respect his father’s discipline? And yet he appears to be fierce via him. It is the fierceness of love, a fierceness without bitterness, in the means of the dove, not of the raven. From this it occurs to me, my brothers, to tell you that the violators of love are: they are the ones that have actually break-up amethod from the Church . As they hate love itself, so they hate the dove also. But the dove convicts them: it comes from heaven, the heavens open up, and also it rests on the head of the Lord. Why? That John may hear, “This is he that baptizes.” Ameans from here, robbers! Amethod, you that invade of the possession of Christ! You have dared to ascribe to your own points the ownership of God – although you firmly insist on being lords tbelow. He recognizes and also rules over his own possession; he does not cancel the deeds, but enters in and takes charge. When any type of come to the Catholic Church, their baptism is not cancelled, so that the ownership of the Commander is not cancelled. What is done in the Catholic Church? The Owner is identified and also enters in under his very own title. But the robber was enters in under a title that does not belengthy to him.