Stumble on the mountain

“For he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth; because the darkness hath blinded his eyes.” — There is no blindness like that of those who hate their brothers. The proof is, that they stumble on the mountain. We know that the stone cut from the mountain without hands is Christ who came of the kingdom of Jewry without human father: the stone that shattered all the kingdoms of the earth, all the tyrannies of idols and devils; the stone that grew and became a great mountain, and filled the whole world. We do not have to point out that mountain with the finger, as we sometimes point out the new moon to the short-sighted. This is a mountain that fills the whole face of the earth, the city of which it is written, “a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” And our Donatists stumble on the mountain, and when we tell them “Go up!” they say, “There is no mountain there,” and will sooner strike their face against it than seek a dwelling on it. Yesterday we read the text of Isaiah: “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be manifested, made ready on the summit of the mountains; and all nations shall come together unto it.” Who can go astray on that mountain? Who can break his head by stumbling upon it? Who cannot recognize the city set on a hill? No wonder that it is not recognized by those who hate their brothers; for they walk in darkness and know not whither they go; for the darkness hath blinded their eyes. That is the proof of their blindness: they hate their brothers. Because they find cause of stumbling in Africa, they cut themselves off from the world. (268-269)

Augustine | Homilies on I John

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