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“Augustine on The Trinity and The Holy Spirit (text 2)

from De Trinitate, 15.17.30 - 15.17.31

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Click here to read at in the original Latin (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the NPNF series.

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 Relevant books
 available at Amazon

Many Augustine translations
and studies with links to Amazon

A selection below


Peter Brown biography


Allan Fitzgerald


Henry Chadwick
a short indroduction


William Harmless.
Extracts from several of Augustine's main works


Henry Chadwick's translation of "Confessions"


R.W.Dyson's translation of "The City of God"


R.P.H. Green's translation of "On Christian Teaching"


Gareth Matthews' translation of "On The Trinity" (books 8 - 15)


Book 15, Chapter 17
30. Just as sometimes all the utterances of the Old Testament together in the Holy Scriptures are signified by the name of the Law. For the apostle, in citing a text from the prophet Isaiah, where he says, “With divers tongues and with divers lips will I speak to this people,” yet prefaced it by, “It is written in the Law.” And the Lord Himself says, “It is written in their Law, They hated me without a cause,” whereas this is read in the Psalm. And sometimes that which was given by Moses is specially called the Law: as it is said, “The Law and the Prophets were until John;” and, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Here, certainly, that is specially called the Law which was from Mount Sinai. And the Psalms, too, are signified under the name of the Prophets; and yet in another place the Saviour Himself says, “All things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the Law, and the Prophets, and the Psalms concerning me.” Here, on the other side, He meant the name of Prophets to be taken as not including the Psalms. Therefore the Law with the Prophets and the Psalms taken together is called the Law universally, and the Law is also specially so called which was given by Moses. Likewise the Prophets are so called in common together with the Psalms, and they are also specially so called exclusive of the Psalms. And many other instances might be adduced to teach us, that many names of things are both put universally, and also specially applied to particular things, were it not that a long discourse is to be avoided in a plain case. I have said so much, lest any one should think that it was therefore unsuitable for us to call the Holy Spirit Love, because both God the Father and God the Son can be called Love.

31. As, then, we call the only Word of God specially by the name of Wisdom, although universally both the Holy Spirit and the Father Himself is wisdom; so the Holy Spirit is specially called by the name of Love, although universally both the Father and the Son are love. But the Word of God, i.e. the only-begotten Son of God, is expressly called the Wisdom of God by the mouth of the apostle, where he says, “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” But where the Holy Spirit is called Love, is to be found by careful scrutiny of the language of John the apostle, who, after saying, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God,” has gone on to say, “And every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.” Here, manifestly, he has called that love God, which he said was of God; therefore God of God is love. But because both the Son is born of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father, it is rightly asked which of them we ought here to think is the rather called the love that is God. For the Father only is so God as not to be of God; and hence the love that is so God as to be of God, is either the Son or the Holy Spirit. But when, in what follows, the apostle had mentioned the love of God, not that by which we love Him, but that by which He “loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiator for our sins,” and thereupon had exhorted us also to love one another, and that so God would abide in us,—because, namely, he had called God Love; immediately, in his wish to speak yet more expressly on the subject, “Hereby,” he says, “know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” Therefore the Holy Spirit, of whom He hath given us, makes us to abide in God, and Him in us; and this it is that love does. Therefore He is the God that is love. Lastly, a little after, when he had repeated the same thing, and had said “God is love,” he immediately subjoined, “And he who abideth in love, abideth in God, and God abideth in him;” whence he had said above, “Hereby we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” He therefore is signified, where we read that God is love. Therefore God the Holy Spirit, who proceedeth from the Father, when He has been given to man, inflames him to the love of God and of his neighbor, and is Himself love. For man has not whence to love God, unless from God; and therefore he says a little after, “Let us love Him, because He first loved us.” The Apostle Paul, too, says, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.”







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original Latin text
from De Trinitate, Book 15
Holy Spirit specially called by the name of love
Migne Latin
Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Latina


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