The Confessions of Saint Augustine
Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and Thy wisdom
infinite. And Thee would man praise; man, but a particle of Thy creation; man, that bears
about him his mortality, the witness of his sin, the witness that Thou resistest the proud:
yet would man praise Thee; he, but a particle of Thy creation. Thou awakest us to delight
in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in
Thee. Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise
Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee? for who can call on Thee, not
knowing Thee? for he that knoweth Thee not, may call on Thee as other than Thou art.
Or, is it rather, that we call on Thee that we may know Thee? but how shall they call on
Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe without a preacher? and
they that seek the Lord shall praise Him: for they that seek shall find Him, and they that
find shall praise Him. I will seek Thee, Lord, by calling on Thee; and will call on Thee,
believing in Thee; for to us hast Thou been preached. My faith, Lord, shall call on Thee,
which Thou hast given me, wherewith Thou hast inspired me, through the Incarnation of
Thy Son, through the ministry of the Preacher.
And how shall I call upon my God, my God and Lord, since, when I call for Him, I shall
be calling Him to myself? and what room is there within me, whither my God can come
into me? whither can God come into me, God who made heaven and earth? is there,
indeed, O Lord my God, aught in me that can contain Thee? do then heaven and earth,
which Thou hast made, and wherein Thou hast made me, contain Thee? or, because
nothing which exists could exist without Thee, doth therefore whatever exists contain
Thee? Since, then, I too exist, why do I seek that Thou shouldest enter into me, who were
not, wert Thou not in me? Why? because I am not gone down in hell, and yet Thou art
there also. For if I go down into hell, Thou art there. I could not be then, O my God,
could not be at all, wert Thou not in me; or, rather, unless I were in Thee, of whom are all
things, by whom are all things, in whom are all things? Even so, Lord, even so. Whither
do I call Thee, since I am in Thee? or whence canst Thou enter into me? for whither can I
go beyond heaven and earth, that thence my God should come into me, who hath said, I
fill the heaven and the earth.
Do the heaven and earth then contain Thee, since Thou fillest them? or dost Thou fill
them and yet overflow, since they do not contain Thee? And whither, when the heaven
and the earth are filled, pourest Thou forth the remainder of Thyself? or hast Thou no
need that aught contain Thee, who containest all things, since what Thou fillest Thou
fillest by containing it? for the vessels which Thou fillest uphold Thee not, since, though
they were broken, Thou wert not poured out. And when Thou art poured out on us, Thou
art not cast down, but Thou upliftest us; Thou art not dissipated, but Thou gatherest us.
But Thou who fillest all things, fillest Thou them with Thy whole self? or, since all things
cannot contain Thee wholly, do they contain part of Thee? and all at once the same part?
or each its own part, the greater more, the smaller less? And is, then one part of Thee