Augustine Quote: The power of an image

“Many have come to the place of salvation, having laid down their sinful burdens, and having also received the Holy Spirit.  They now live out a double love.  They love God and they love their neighbors.

            Yet, saying it this way it is not all that pleasing to the listener.  It is better when I show it from Song of Solomon 4:2. In this passage the Church of Jesus is compared to a beautiful woman.  ‘Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing.  Each has its twin; not one of them is alone.’

            Does the listener learn anything more by this figurative passage then when the words are plain?  No.  Yet, somehow, I get more pleasure from imagining the servants of God as being so many teeth, tearing men away from their errors and bringing them into the Body of Christ, with all their hard edges chewed down, just as if they had been torn and chewed by teeth.  I also love to imagine the sinner as a sheep who lays aside its filth and arising clean from the waters of baptism.  And these sheep all have twins; in that they live according to God’s dual command to love God and to love others.  Not one of these fails, but all are full of the fruit of love.”              On Christian Doctrine, 2:6

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