Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume III/Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin/A Treatise on Faith and the Creed/Chapter 7

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Chapter 7.—Of Christ’s Session at the Father’s Right Hand.

14. We believe also that He Sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father. This, however, is not to lead us to suppose that God the Father is, as it were, circumscribed by a human form, so that, when we think of Him, a right side or a left should suggest itself to the mind. Nor, again, when it is thus said in express terms that the Father sitteth, are we to fancy that this is done with bended knees; lest we should fall into that profanity, in [dealing with] which an apostle execrates those who “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of corruptible man.”[1] For it is unlawful for a Christian to set up any such image for God in a temple; much more nefarious is it, [therefore], to set it up in the heart, in which truly is the temple of God, provided it be purged of earthly lust and error. This expression, “at the right hand,” therefore, we must understand to signify a position in supremest blessedness, where righteousness and peace and joy are; just as the kids are set on the left hand,[2] that is to say, in misery, by reason of unrighteousness, labors, and torments.[3] And in accordance with this, when it is said that God “sitteth,” the expression indicates not a posture of the members, but a judicial power, which that Majesty never fails to possess, as He is always awarding deserts as men deserve them (digna dignis tribuendo); although at the last judgment the unquestionable brightness of the only-begotten Son of God, the Judge of the living and the dead, is destined yet to be[4] a thing much more manifest among men.


Footnotes[edit]

  1. Rom. i. 23
  2. Matt. xxv. 33
  3. Reading propter iniquitates, labores atque cruciatus. Several mss. give propter iniquitatis labores, etc. = by reason of the labors and torments of unrighteousness.
  4. Reading futura sit; for which fulsura sit also occurs = is destined to shine much more manifestly, etc.