Arise, O God, plead your own cause: remember how the foolish man reproaches you daily.
Read Chapter 74
Augustine of Hippo
22. "Arise, O Lord, judge Thou my cause" (ver. 22) . ...Because I am not able to show my God, as if I were following an empty thing, they revile me. And not only Heathen, or Jew, or heretic; but sometimes even a Catholic brother doth make a grimace when the promises of God are being preached, when a future resurrection is being foretold. And still even he, though already washed with the water of eternal Salvation, bearing the Sacrament of Christ, perchance saith, "and what man hath yet risen again?" And, "I have not heard my father speaking out of the grave, since I buried him!" "God hath given to His servants a law for time, to which let them betake themselves: for what man cometh back from beneath?" And what shall I do with such men? Shall I show them what they see not? I am not able: for not for the sake of them ought God to become visible . ...I see not, he saith: what am I to believe? Thy soul is seen then, I suppose? Fool, thy body is seen: thy soul who doth see? Since therefore thy body alone is seen, why art thou not buried? He marvelleth that I have said, If body alone is seen, why art thou not buried? And he answereth (for he knoweth as much as this), Because I am alive. How know I that thou art alive, of whom I see not the soul? How know I? Thou wilt answer, Because I speak, because I walk, because I work. Fool, by the operations of the body I know thee to be living, by the works of creation canst thou not know the Creator? And perchance he that saith, when I shall be dead, afterwards I shall be nothing; hath both learned letters, and hath learned this doctrine from Epicurus, who was a sort of doting philosopher, or rather lover of folly not of wisdom, whom even the philosophers themselves have named the hog: who said that the "chief good" was pleasure of body; this philosopher they have named the hog, wallowing in carnal mire. From him perchance this lettered man hath learned to say, I shall not be, after I have died. Dried be the rivers of Etham! Perish those doctrines of the Gentiles, flourish the plantations of Jerusalem! Let them see what they can, in heart believe what they cannot see! Certainly all those things which throughout the world now are seen, when God was working Salvation in the midst of the earth, when those things were being spoken of, they were not then as yet: and behold at that time they were foretold, now they are shown as fulfilled, and still the fool saith in his heart, "there is no God." Woe to the perverse hearts: for so will there come to pass the things which remain, as there have come to pass the things which at that time were not, and were being foretold as to come to pass. Hath God indeed performed to us all the things which He promised, and concerning the Day of Judgment alone hath He deceived us? Christ was not on the earth; He promised, He hath performed: no virgin had conceived; He promised, He hath performed: the precious Blood had not been shed whereby there should be effaced the handwriting of our death; He promised, He hath performed: not yet had flesh risen again unto life eternal; He promised, He hath performed: not yet had the Gentiles believed; He promised, He hath performed: not yet heretics armed with the name of Christ, against Christ were warring; He foretold, He hath performed: not yet the idols of the Gentiles from the earth had been effaced; He foretold, He hath performed: when all these things He hath foretold and performed, concerning the Day of Judgment alone hath He lied? It will come by all means as these things came; for even these things before they came to pass were future, and as future were first foretold, and afterwards they came to pass. It will come, my brethren. Let no one say, it will not come: or, it will come, but far off is that which will come. But to thyself it is near at hand to go hence. ...If thou shall have done that which the devil doth suggest, and shalt have despised that which God hath commanded; there will come the Judgment Day, and thou wilt find that true which God hath threatened, and that false which the devil hath promised. ..."Remember Thy reproaches, those which are from the imprudent man all the day long." For still Christ is reviled: nor will there be wanting all the day long, that is, even unto the end of time, the vessels of wrath. Still is it being said, "Vain things the Christians do preach:" still is it being said, "A fond thing is the resurrection of the dead." "Remember Thy reproaches." But what reproaches, save those "which are from the imprudent man all the day long?" Doth a prudent man say this? Nay, for a prudent man is said to be one far-seeing. If a prudent man is one far-seeing, by faith he seeth afar: for with eyes scarce that before the feet is seen.