Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume I/Confessions/Book I/Chapter 5
Chapter V.—He Seeks Rest in God, and Pardon of His Sins.
5. Oh! how shall I find rest in Thee? Who will send Thee into my heart to inebriate it, so that I may forget my woes, and embrace Thee my only good? What art Thou to me? Have compassion on me, that I may speak. What am I to Thee that Thou demandest my love, and unless I give it Thee art angry, and threatenest me with great sorrows? Is it, then, a light sorrow not to love Thee? Alas! alas! tell me of Thy compassion, O Lord my God, what Thou art to me. “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” So speak that I may hear. Behold, Lord, the ears of my heart are before Thee; open Thou them, and “say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” When I hear, may I run and lay hold on Thee. Hide not Thy face from me. Let me die, lest I die, if only I may see Thy face.
6. Cramped is the dwelling of my soul; do Thou expand it, that Thou mayest enter in. It is in ruins, restore Thou it. There is that about it which must offend Thine eyes; I confess and know it, but who will cleanse it? or to whom shall I cry but to Thee? Cleanse me from my secret sins, O Lord, and keep Thy servant from those of other men. I believe, and therefore do I speak; Lord, Thou knowest. Have I not confessed my transgressions unto Thee, O my God; and Thou hast put away the iniquity of my heart? I do not contend in judgment with Thee, who art the Truth; and I would not deceive myself, lest my iniquity lie against itself. I do not, therefore, contend in judgment with Thee, for “if Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?”
- Ps. xxxv. 3.
- Moriar ne moriar, ut eam videam. See Ex. xxxiii. 20.
- Ps. xix. 12, 13. “Be it that sin may never see the light, that it may be like a child born and buried in the womb; yet as that child is a man, a true man, there closeted in that hidden frame of nature, so sin is truly sin, though it never gets out beyond the womb which did conceive and enliven it.”—Sedgwick
- Ps. cxvi. 10.
- Ps. xxxii. 5.
- Job ix. 3.
- Ps xxvi. 12, Vulg. “The danger of ignorance is not less than its guilt. For of all evils a secret evil is most to be deprecated, of all enemies a concealed enemy is the worst. Better the precipice than the pitfall; better the tortures of curable disease than the painlessness of mortification; and so, whatever your soul’s guilt and danger, better to be aware of it. However alarming, however distressing self-knowledge may be, better that than the tremendous evils of self-ignorance.”—Caird.
- Ps. cxxx. 3.