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NPNF1-03. On the Holy Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Moral Treatises
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Chapter 10.—Whether Only Knowledge that is Loved is the Word of the Mind.

15. It is rightly asked then, whether all knowledge is a word, or only knowledge that is loved. For we also know the things which we hate; but what we do not like, cannot be said to be either conceived or brought forth by the mind. For not all things which in anyway touch it, are conceived by it; but some only reach the point of being known, but yet are not spoken as words, as for instance those of which we speak now. For those are called words in one way, which occupy spaces of time by their syllables, whether they are pronounced or only thought; and in another way, all that is known is called a word imprinted on the mind, as long as it can be brought forth from the memory and defined, even though we dislike the thing itself; and in another way still, when we like that which is conceived in the mind. And that which the apostle says, must be taken according to this last kind of word, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost;”717717    1 Cor. xii. 3 since those also say this, but according to another meaning of the term “word,” of whom the Lord Himself says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”718718    Matt. vii. 21 Nay, even in the case of things which we hate, when we rightly dislike and rightly censure them, we approve and like the censure bestowed upon them, and it becomes a word. Nor is it the knowledge of vices that displeases us, but the vices themselves. For I like to know and define what intemperance is; and this is its word. Just as there are known faults in art, and the knowledge of them is rightly approved, when a connoisseur discerns the species or the privation of excellence, as to affirm and deny that it is or that it is not; yet to be without excellence and to fall away into fault, is worthy of condemnation. And to define intemperance, and to say its word, belongs to the art of morals; but to be intemperate belongs to that which that art censures. Just as to know and define what a solecism is, belongs to the art of speaking; but to be guilty of one, is a fault which the same art reprehends. A word, then, which is the point we wish now to discern and intimate, is knowledge together with love. Whenever, then, the mind knows and loves itself, its word is joined to it by love. And since it loves knowledge and knows love, both the word is in love and love is in the word, and both are in him who loves and speaks.719719    [The meaning of this obscure chapter seems to be, that only what the mind is pleased with, is the real expression and index of the mind—its true “word.” The true nature of the mind is revealed in its sympathies. But this requires some qualification. For in the case of contrary qualities, like right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, the real nature of the mind is seen also in its antipathy as well as in its sympathy; in its hatred of wrong as well as in its love of right. Each alike is a true index of the mind, because each really implies the other.—W.G.T.S.]


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