Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
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Augustine of Hippo
“Woe unto them that call evil good.” For this text is to be understood to refer not to humans but to those things that make humans evil, and the prophet’s accusation is rightly applied to one who calls adultery good. But if someone should call another good whom he believes chaste, not knowing that he is an adulterer, he is deceived not in his understanding of good and evil but through the secrets of human conduct. He is calling a person good whom he believes to possess that which indubitably is good. The adulterer he would call evil, the chaste person good, and he calls the person in question good simply through not knowing that he is an adulterer and not chaste. - "Enchiridion 6.19"
Some accept little gifts and presents and endeavor to corrupt just cases, as the prophet says: “Putting darkness for light, and light for darkness: saying what is sweet is bitter, and what is bitter, sweet.” Therefore, they hear cases and decide them unjustly. They accept earthly gifts and lose eternal rewards; gaining money, they lose eternity. O miserable fellow, if you have done this or do it or attempt it, you pay attention to what you are acquiring but do not notice what you lose. By acquiring gold, you offend God, for while your money coffer is filled your conscience is weakened. In a few days or years your soul will leave your body; then the gold will remain in the coffer, but your unfortunate soul will descend into hell. However, if you had judged justly, refusing happily to serve avarice or dissipation, your soul would be lifted up to the kingdom full of God and your moneybox would stay in the world without gold. Therefore I beseech you, brothers, and I adjure you by him who r...
It is of the same crime to call goodness, light and sweetness by contrary names as it is to apply the names of the virtues to evil, darkness and bitterness. This is directed against those who do not think it a sin to curse the good, nor consider it an offense to praise evil. The Jews called good evil, and light darkness, and sweetness bitterness, when they received Barabbas, thief and traitor, while crucifying Jesus, who came only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, to save those who were dying. In Barabbas we can understand the devil, who though he was night and darkness, changed to appear as an angel of light. Hence the apostle said, “What participation does righteousness have with iniquity? What does light have in common with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial?” For a lamp must not be taken and placed under a basket or a bed but should be set on a stand that it might illuminate everyone. Nor should a tree that bears evil fruit be called a good tree. Hence i...
Must we be servile to the whim of those who are wicked? If they wish valueless praise conferred upon them, is it becoming that we, too, heap valueless and laughable praise on them? And this especially since they who wish to be ridiculous should not be laughed at by those who are honorable, just as they who desire to be decorated even with the label of false praise should not be praised in a lying manner. Our prime consideration should be not so much what they wish to hear as what it is fitting for us to say, especially since the prophet says, “Woe to them who speak sweet for bitter things and bitter for sweet things.” - "The Governance of God 8"
For, in like manner, they also who oppose martyrdoms, representing salvation to be destruction, transmute sweet into bitter, as well as light into darkness. Thus, by preferring this very wretched life to that most blessed one, they put bitter for sweet, as well as darkness for light. - "Scorpiace 1"