Christ’s Coin Is Man

From “Sermon XL” in Sermons on Selected New Testament Lessons.

“So let charity be advanced, so be it nourished, that being nourished it may be perfected; so be “the wedding garment” put on; so be the image of God, after which we were created, by this our advancing, engraven anew in us. For by sin was it bruised and worn away. How is it bruised? how worn away? When it is rubbed against the earth? And what is, “When it is rubbed against the earth?” When it is worn by earthly lusts. For “though man walketh in this image, yet is he disquieted in vain” (Ps. 39:6).

Truth is looked for in God’s image, not vanity. By the love of the truth then be that image, after which we were created, engraven anew, and its own tribute rendered to our Caesar. For so ye have heard from the Lord’s answer, when the Jews tempted Him, as he said, “Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites; show Me the tribute money” (Matt. 22:18, 19), that is, the impress and superscription of the image. Show me what ye pay, what ye get ready, what is exacted of you. And “they showed Him a denarius;” and “He asked whose image and superscription it had.” They answered, “Caesar’s.”

So, Caesar looks for his own image. It is not Caesar’s will that what he ordered to be made should be lost to him, and it is not surely God’s will that what He hath made should be lost to Him. Caesar, my brethren, did not make the money; the masters of the mint make it; the workmen have their orders, he issues his commands to his ministers. His image was stamped upon the money; on the money was Caesar’s image. And yet he requires what others have stamped; he puts it in his treasures; he will not have it refused him. Christ’s coin is man. In him is Christ’s image, in him Christ’s Name, Christ’s gifts, Christ’s rules of duty.”

St. Augustine (354-430) was a theologian and philosopher who served as Bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa. He was a voluminous author, whose writings about God’s grace, the Sacraments, and the Church have been profoundly influential in the development of Western Christianity. He is commemorated on August 28 on the Kalendar of the Episcopal Church. 


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