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St. Augustine

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CHAPTER XVI - Problems About Heavenly and Earthly Divisions of the Church

60. It is more important to be able to discern and tell when Satan transforms himself as an
angel of light, lest by this deception he should seduce us into harmful acts. For, when he
deceives the corporeal senses, and does not thereby turn the mind from that true and right
judgment by which one leads the life of faith, there is no danger to religion. Or if, feigning
himself to be good, he does or says things that would fit the character of the good angels, even if
then we believe him good, the error is neither dangerous nor fatal to the Christian faith. But
when, by these alien wiles, he begins to lead us into his own ways, then great vigilance is
required to recognize him and not follow after. But how few men are there who are able to
avoid his deadly stratagems, unless God guides and preserves them! Yet the very difficulty of
this business is useful in this respect: it shows that no man should rest his hopes in himself, nor
one man in another, but all who are God's should cast their hopes on him. And that this latter is
obviously the best course for us no pious man would deny.

61. This part of the Church, therefore, which is composed of the holy angels and powers of
God will become known to us as it really is only when, at the end of the age, we are joined to it,
to possess, together with it, eternal bliss. But the other part which, separated from this heavenly
company, wanders through the earth is better known to us because we are in it, and because it
is composed of men like ourselves. This is the part that has been redeemed from all sin by the
blood of the sinless Mediator, and its cry is: "If God be for us, who is against us? He that spared
not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all. . . ."
126 Now Christ did not die for the
angels. But still, what was done for man by his death for man's redemption and his deliverance
from evil was done for the angels also, because by it the enmity caused by sin between men and
the angels is removed and friendship restored. Moreover, this redemption of mankind serves to
repair the ruins left by the angelic apostasy.

62. Of course, the holy angels, taught by God - in the eternal contemplation of whose truth
they are blessed - know how many of the human race are required to fill up the full census of
that commonwealth. This is why the apostle says "that all things are restored to unity in Christ,
both those in heaven and those on the earth in him."
127 The part in heaven is indeed restored
when the number lost from the angelic apostasy are replaced from the ranks of mankind. The
part on earth is restored when those men predestined to eternal life are redeemed from the old
state of corruption.
Thus by the single sacrifice, of which the many victims of the law were only shadows, the
heavenly part is set at peace with the earthly part and the earthly reconciled to the heavenly.
Wherefore, as the same apostle says: "For it pleased God that all plenitude of being should dwell
in him and by him to reconcile all things to himself, making peace with them by the blood of his
cross, whether those things on earth or those in heaven."

63. This peace, as it is written,
"passes all
understanding." It cannot be known by us until we have entered into it. For how is the heavenly
realm set at peace, save together with us; that is, by concord with us? For in that realm there is
always peace, both among the whole company of rational creatures and between them and their
Creator. This is the peace that, as it is said, "passes all understanding." But obviously this means
_our_ understanding, not that of those who always see the Father's face. For no matter how
great our understanding may be, "we know in part, and we see in a glass darkly."
129 But
when we shall have become "equal to God's angels,"
130 then, even as they do, "we shall see
face to face."
131 And we shall then have as great amity toward them as they have toward us;
for we shall come to love them as much as we are loved by them.
In this way their peace will become known to us, since ours will be like theirs in kind and
measure - nor will it then surpass our understanding. But the peace of God, which is there, will
still doubtless surpass our understanding and theirs as well. For, of course, in so far as a rational
creature is blessed, this blessedness comes, not from himself, but from God. Hence, it follows
that it is better to interpret the passage, "The peace of God which passes all understanding," so
that from the word "all" not even the understanding of the holy angels should be excepted.
Only God's understanding is excepted; for, of course, his peace does not surpass his own

126 Rom. 8:31, 32.

127 Cf. Eph. 1:10.

128 Col. 1:19, 20.

129 Cf. 1 Cor. 13:9, 12

130 Cf. Luke 20:36.

131 1 Cor. 13:12.

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