“It is with no doubtful knowledge, Lord, but with utter certainty that I love You. You have stricken my heart with Your word and I have loved You. And indeed heaven and earth and all that is in them tell me wherever I look that I should love You […].

“But what is it that I love when I love You? Not the beauty of any bodily thing, nor the order of seasons, not the brightness of light that rejoices the eye, nor the sweet melodies of all songs, nor the sweet fragrance of flowers and ointments and spices: not manna nor honey, not the limbs that carnal love embraces. None of these things do I love in loving my God. Yet in a sense I do love light and melody and fragrance and food and embrace when I love my God—the light and the voice and the fragrance and the food and embrace in the soul, when that light shines upon my soul which no place can contain, that voice sounds which no time can take from me, I breathe that fragrance which no wind scatters, I eat the food which is not lessened by eating, and I lie in the embrace which satiety never comes to sunder. This it is that I love, when I love my God.

“And what is this God? I asked the earth and it answered: ‘I am not He’; and all things that are in the earth made the same confession. I asked the sea and the deeps and the creeping things, and they answered: ‘We are not your God; seek higher.’ I asked the winds that blow, and the whole air with all that is in it answered: ‘Anaximenes was wrong; I am not God.’ I asked the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars, and they answered: ‘Neither are we God whom you seek.’ And I said to all the things that throng about the gateways of the senses: ‘Tell me of my God, since you are not He. Tell me something of Him.’ And they cried out in a great voice: ‘He made us.’ My question was my gazing upon them, and their answer was their beauty.

“And I turned to myself and said: ‘And you, who are you?’ And I answered: ‘A man.’ Now clearly there is a body and a soul in me, one exterior, one interior. From which of these two should I have enquired of my God? I had already sought Him by my body, from earth to heaven, as far as my eye could send its beams on the quest. But the interior part is the better, seeing that all my body’s messengers delivered to it, as ruler and judge, the answers that heaven and earth and all things in them made when they said: ‘We are not God,’ and, ‘He made us.’

“The inner man knows these things through the ministry of the outer man: I the inner man knew them, I the soul, through the senses of the body. I asked the whole frame of the universe about my God and it answered me: ‘I am not He, but He made me.’ (215-16).

Confessions, X:VI