Western Mysticism

by Dom Cuthbert Butler | Harper Torchbooks


St. Augustine | "The Two Lives" | Page 157


"The simplest and most distinct definition given by St Augustine of the 'Two Lives' is, I believe, the following: The study and pursuit of wisdom lies in action and in contemplation, so that one part of it may be called 'active', the other 'contemplative'. The active has to say to living one's life and to moral conduct; the contemplative to beholding the causes of nature and most pure truth …"

"The Church knows two lives divinely preached and commended unto her; whereof the one is in faith, the other in 'specie'; the one is in the time of pilgrimage, the other in eternity of abiding; the one is in labour, the other in rest; the one is on the way, the other in the [true] country; the one is in the work of action, the other in the reward of contemplation; the one turns away from evil and does good, the other has no evil from which to turn away, and has great good to enjoy; the one wars with the foe, the other reigns without a foe; the one is strong in things adverse, the other has no sense of aught adverse; the one bridles the lusts of the flesh, the other is given up to the joys of the spirit; the one is anxious with the care of getting the victory, the other in the peace of victory is without care; the one is helped in temptations, the other, without any temptation, rejoices in its Helper Himself; the one assists the needy, the other is where it finds none needy; the one pardons the sins of others that its own sins may be pardoned, the other suffers nothing that it can pardon, nor does anything that calls for pardon; the one is scourged with evil that it be not lifted up with good things, the other through so great fullness of grace is without any evil, so that without temptation of pride it cleaves to the Supreme Good; the one discerns between good and evil, the other sees things which are only good;: therefore the one is good, but still in miseries; the other is better and in beatitude
(Tract, in Ioan, cssiv. 5).