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Enchiridion On Faith, Hope and Love
by Saint Augustine


CHAPTER XXXII

THE END OF ALL THE LAW

121. All the divine precepts are, therefore, referred back to love, of which the

apostle says, "Now the end of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart, and a

good conscience and a faith unfeigned."259 Thus every commandment harks back to

love. For whatever one does either in fear of punishment or from some carnal

impulse, so that it does not measure up to the standard of love which the Holy Spirit

sheds abroad in our hearts--whatever it is, it is not yet done as it should be,

although it may seem to be. Love, in this context, of course includes both the love of

God and the love of our neighbor and, indeed, "on these two commandments hang

all the Law and the Prophets"260--and, we may add, the gospel and the apostles, for

from nowhere else comes the voice, "The end of the commandment is love,"261 and,

"God is love."262

Therefore, whatsoever things God commands (and one of these is, "Thou shalt

not commit adultery"263) and whatsoever things are not positively ordered but are

strongly advised as good spiritual counsel (and one of these is, "It is a good thing for

a man not to touch a woman"264)--all of these imperatives are rightly obeyed only

when they are measured by the standard of our love of God and our love of our

neighbor in God [propter Deum]. This applies both in the present age and in the

world to come. Now we love God in faith; then, at sight. For, though mortal men

ourselves, we do not know the hearts of mortal men. But then "the Lord will

illuminate the hidden things in the darkness and will make manifest the cogitations

of the heart; and then shall each one have his praise from God"265--for what will be

praised and loved in a neighbor by his neighbor is just that which, lest it remain

hidden, God himself will bring to light. Moreover, passion decreases as love

increases266 until love comes at last to that fullness which cannot be surpassed, "for

greater love than this no one has, that a man lay down his life for his friends."267

Who, then, can explain how great the power of love will be, when there will be no

passion [cupiditas] for it to restrain or overcome? For, then, the supreme state of

256John 3:8.

257Rom. 14:9.

258Cf. Ps. 88:5.

259ITim. 1:5.

260Matt. 22:40.

2611Tim. 1:5.

262I John 4:16.

263Ex. 20:14; Matt. 5:27; etc.

264I Cor. 7:1.

265I Cor. 4:5.

266Minuitur autem cupiditas caritate crescente.

267John 15:23.


true health [summa sanitas] will have been reached, when the struggle with death

shall be no more.









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