Iniquitas

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“Simul imprudens et insipiens peribunt.” quis est “imprudens”? qui non sibi prospicit in futurum. quis est “insipiens”? qui non intellegit in quo malo sit. tu vero intellege in quo malo sis modo, et prospice ut in bonis sis in posterum. intellegendo in quo malo sis, non eris insipiens: prospiciendo tibi in futurum, non eris imprudens. quis est qui sibi prospicit? servus ille cui dedit Dominus suus quod erogaret, et postea dixit ei: “non potes mihi agere, redde rationem actus tui.” et ille: “quid facio? fodere non possum, mendicare confundor.” sed et de re domini sui fecit sibi amicos, qui illum reciperent, cum de actu proiceretur. et ille fraudem fecit domino suo, ut compararet sibi amicos qui illum susciperent: tu noli timere ne fraudem facias; ipse Dominus hortatur ut facias, ipse tibi dicit: “fac tibi amicos de mammona iniquitatis”. fortassis ea quae acquisisti, de iniquitate acquisisti; aut fortasse ea ipsa est iniquitas, quia tu habes et alter non habet, tu abundas et alter eget. de ista mammona iniquitatis, de divitiis istis quas iniqui vocant divitias, fac tibi amicos et prudens eris: comparas tibi, non fraudaris. modo enim videris perdere. numquid perdes in thesaurario ponens? nam pueri, fratres, unde sibi emant nescio quid simul inveniunt nummos, et ponunt in thesaurario, et non aperiunt nisi postea: numquid quia non vident quod colligunt, ideo perdiderunt? noli timere: ponunt pueri in thesaurario, et securi sunt; ponis tu in manu Christi, et times! esto prudens, et prospice tibi in posterum in coelo. esto ergo prudens, imitare formicam, sicut dicit Scriptura; “reconde aestate, ne esurias in hieme”: hiems est dies novissimus, dies tribulationis; hiems est dies scandalorum et amaritudinis: collige quod ibi tibi sit in posterum; si autem non facis, simul imprudens et insipiens peribis.
(Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 48 1.12)

“The imprudent and unwise shall perish together.” Who is “the imprudent”? He that looketh not out for himself for the future. Who is “the unwise”? He that perceiveth not in what evil case he is. But do thou perceive in what evil case thou art now, and look out that thou be in a good case for the future. By perceiving in what evil case thou art, thou wilt not be unwise: by looking out for thyself for the future, thou wilt not be imprudent. Who is he that looketh out for himself? That servant to whom his master gave what he should expend, and afterwards said to him, “Thou canst not be my steward, give an account of thy stewardship;” and who answered, “What shall I do? I cannot dig, to beg I am ashamed;” [Luke 16.1, 2] had, nevertheless, by even his master’s goods made to himself friends, who might receive him when he was put out of his stewardship. Now he cheated his master in order that he might get to himself friends to receive him: fear not thou lest thou be cheating, the Lord Himself exhorteth thee to do so: He saith Himself to thee, “Make to thyself friends of the mammon of unrighteousness” [Luke 16.9]. Perhaps what thou hast got, thou hast gotten of unrighteousness: or perhaps this very thing is unrighteousness, that thou hast and another hath not, thou aboundest and another needeth. Of this mammon of unrighteousness, of these riches which the unrighteous call riches, make to thyself friends, and thou shalt be prudent: thou art gaining for thyself, and art not cheating. For now thou seemest to lose it. Wilt thou lose it if thou place it in a treasury? For boys, my brethren, no sooner find some money, wherewith to buy something, than they put it in a money-box, which they open not until afterwards: do they, because they see not what they have got, on that account lose it? Fear not: boys put in a money-box, and are secure: dost thou place it in the hand of Christ, and fear? Be prudent, and provide for thyself against the future in Heaven. Be therefore prudent, copy the ant, as saith the Scripture [cf. Prov. 6.6; 30.25]: “Store in summer, lest thou hunger in winter;” the winter is the last day, the day of tribulation; the winter is the day of offences and of bitterness: gather what may be there for thee for the future: but if thou doest not so, thou wilt perish both imprudent and unwise. (tr. Arthur Cleveland Coxe)

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