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Hope of mine from my youth onward, where were you to me and where had you gone? For had you not created me and differentiated me from the beasts of the feild and the birds of the air, making me wiser than they? And yet I was wandering about in a dark and slippery way, seeking you outside myself and thus not finding the God of my heart. I had gone down into the depths of the sea and had lost faith, and had despaired of ever finding the truth.
Confessions; by Saint Augustine.
And now I have thus considered the infirmities of my sins, under the headings of the three majors lusts, and I have called your right hand to my aid. For with a wounded heart I have seen your brightness, and having been beaten back I cried: "Who can attain to it? I am cut off from before your eyes." You are the truth, who preside over all things, but I, because of my greed, did not wish to loose you. But still, along with you, I wished also to possess a lie- just as no one wishes to lie in such a way as to be ignorant of what is true. By this I lost you, for you will not condescend to be enjoyed along with a lie.
Whom could I find to reconcile me to you? Should I have approached the angels? What kind of prayer? What kind of rites? Many who were striving to return to you and were not able of themselves have, I am told, tried this and have fallen into a longing for curious visions and deserved to be deceived. Being exalted, they sought you in their pride of learning, and they thrust themselves forward rather than beating their breasts. And so by a likeness of hearth, they drew to themselves the princes of the aire, their conspiritors and companions in pride, by whom they were decieved by the power of magic. Thus they sought a mediator by whom they might be cleansed, but there was none. For the mediator they sought was the devil, disguising himself as and angel of light. And he allured their proud flesh the more because he had no fleshy body.
They were mortal and sinful, but you, Lord, to whom they arrogantly sought to be roconviled, are immortal and sinless. But a mediator between god and man ought to have something in him like god and comthing in him like man, lest in being like man he should be far from god, or if only like god he should be far from man, and so should not be a mediator. That deceitful mediator, then, by whom, by your secret judgement, human pride deserves to be deceived, had one thing in common with man, that is, his sin. In another respect, he would seem to have something in common with god, for not being clothed with the mortality of the frlesh, he could boast that he was immortal. But since "the wages of sin is death," what he really has in common with men is that, together with them, he is condemned to death.
Confessions; by Saint Augustine. (Book 10)
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- Thomas Jefferson.