Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sin is a Lesser Imitation of God

Pride imitates exaltedness,
but God alone is exalted.
Ambition seeks honours and glory,
but God alone is to be honoured above all, glorious forevermore.
Cruelty seeks to implant in others fear,
but God alone is to be feared, whose power holds all in place.
The 'tenderness' of lust calls itself love,
Yet nothing is more tender than His love.
Curiosity pretends to desire knowledge,
but God alone knows all.
Ignorance and foolishness imitate simplicity and harmlessness,
but there is nothing more single than You
Laziness longs to be a rest,
but what stable rest in the Lord!
Luxury affects to be called plenty and abundance,
but God is the fullness and neverfailing plenteousness of incorruptible pleasures.
Extravagance gives the impression of generosity
but God is the most overflowing Giver of good.
Covetousness wants to possess many things,
but God possesses all things.

Envy argues over excellency,
but what is more excellent than God?
Anger seeks revenge,
but who avenges more justly than God?
Fear is afraid of startling things which threaten things it loves,
but what is starting to God, and what can take from Him what He loves?
Grief pines for things lost: the delight of its desires, because it wishes nothing taken from it,
even as nothing can be taken from God.

- Augustine, Confessions [a paraphrase]

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