Thursday, July 08, 2004
St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei
(The City of God
And thus beauty, which is indeed God's handiwork, but only a temporal, carnal, and lower kind of good, is not fitly loved in preference to God, the eternal, spiritual, and unchangeable good. When the miser prefers his gold to justice, it is through no fault of the gold, but of the man; and so with every created thing. For though it be good, it may be loved with an evil as well as with a good love: it is loved rightly when it is loved ordinately; evilly, when inordinately....So that it seems to me that it is a brief but true definition of virtue to say, it is the order of love.
Sic enim corporis pulchritudo, a Deo quidem factum, sed temporale carnale infimum bonum, male amatur postposito Deo, aeterno interno sempiterno bono, quem ad modum iustitia deserta et aurum amatur ab avaris, nullo peccato auri, sed hominis. Ita se habet omnis creatura. Cum enim bona sit, et bene amari potest et male: bene scilicet ordine custodito, male ordine perturbato....Unde mihi videtur, quod definitio brevis et vera virtutis ordo est amoris.