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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 1995
  • Online publication date: November 2009

3 - The God within: Augustine's Confessions

Summary

For, wondering how I recognized the beauty of bodies, whether heavenly or earthly, and by what criterion I might rightly judge concerning mutable things and say: ‘This ought to be so, that ought not to be so’, wondering therefore what was the source of my judgement when I did thus judge, I had discovered the unchangeable and true eternity of truth above my changing mind. And so, by degrees passing from bodies to the soul which uses the body for its perceiving and from this to the soul's interior power, to which the bodily senses present exterior things, as indeed the beasts are able to do, and from there I passed to the reasoning power to which whatever is received from the bodily senses is referred for judgement. This also finding itself mutable in me awakened itself to its own understanding and withdrawing my thought from its usual ways, removing it from the confused crowd of phantasms so that it might discover what light suffused it, without any doubt cried aloud that the unchangeable was to be preferred to the changeable and that it had come to know the changeable itself; for if it had not arrived at some knowledge of the unchangeable, it could in no way have preferred it with certainty to the changeable. And then in the flash of a trembling glance my mind arrived at that which is. Now indeed I saw your ‘invisible things, understood through those things which are made’.

(Rom. I, 20)