Aurelius Augustinus to J. W. Worthy

Peace in our dear Lord Jesus Christ

        Time is God's productive acre. When Father Abraham rejects the detested Chaldee images and the idolaters on the Plain of Mamre, he is setting us an example ever to improve our conception of divinity.  Who then were I, to quarrel with sincere seekers after God in a later millennium?   I have studied , with much interest and great personal profit, the seed sown by Brothers Wesley and Herder, in a sense, my sons--for do we not procreate through the fertile pen, and are not these men the direct spiritual descendants of my ardent student, Doctor Martinus, himself a most prolific Augustinian?

       Time is God's incessantly grinding millwheel.  According to a German poet:

                         Gottes Mühlen mahlen langsam,
                         Mahlen aber herzlich fein.
I am confident that sincere workers will continue to refine their thought about the good Lord, also out in your Dustbowl, dear professor.  But even with a full Professor of Moral Theology upon the Plains of the Leon, a light correspondence of this sort is less well suited for theological debate than for your original theme.  You had seized upon Cicero's requirement that a "classic" provide comfort for this life.  I agreed with you of course, and most enthusiastically when you noted the importance of inspiration, for Cicero himself was a grindstone for my own early thoughts--albeit with water which even in my youth was long since passed on down the river.  But is it not in the nature of the classic to keep on evolving truth, refining our understanding of God?

       Time is God's endless river, where, as you, my dear professor, have already said, there is no past or future:  in His eyes, all is present.  Each generation must be washed by the truth, but will not in this life come clean.  Witness the truth which Paul holds before us, of God's free grace and God's unquenchable wrath.  How many can sincerely accept it?   But you are quite right to affirm other classics than those in Holy Writ.  Your great heathen, for example, himself writes:
      Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen aß, 

      Wer nie die kummervollen Nächte 

     Auf seinem Bette weinend saß, 

     Der kennt Euch nicht, Ihr himmlischen  Mächte.

  Who hasn't taken bread with tears, 

He who's not in troubled nights 

Sat weeping on his bed, 

Does not know you, ye heavenly powers.

       Ihr führt ins Leben uns hinein 

      Ihr laßt den Armen schuldig werden. 

     Dann überlaßt ihr ihn der Pein, 

     Denn alle Schuld rächt sich auf Erden.

Ye lead us into life 

Ye let the wretch do wrong 

Ye consign him then to torment, 

For wrong is avenged on earth.


         The ditty may not be a "classic" in the same degree as a letter by Paul, but does it not, in its own way, set forth the hard truth?

         So there you have, in my own way, a notion as to what a "classic" might be:  a clear and sincere statement aout God; about the way things irreducibly are.  I am sure this notion can yet use considerable refinement.

                                                  With blessings from out of Time

                                                                                          Aurelius Augustinus

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